Show: The humble Farmer

Episode: humble 2011 1225.mpg


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Episode Description:

The music in this show is by Clark Terry, Errol Garner, Sydney Bechet, Lenny Breau, Count Basie, and Bix Beiderbecke.

This show also contains 3.46 minutes of Denny Breau playing guitar, 24 seconds of Jim Sharp's dancing lobster, 1.04 seconds of Dr. Dick's Dancing Puppets and 1.59 minutes of Jason Philbrook talking about photography with old cameras.

The approximate humorous social commentary for December 25, 2011 show follows:
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1. Do we have another presidential inauguration coming up? More people than you can imagine are looking forward to it and you know as well as I do who these people are. On the morning of the last presidential inauguration what came to your mind when you looked at the television and saw three million happy people jostling each other, elbow to elbow in that space between the Washington Monument and the Capitol Steps. Could you help but think what a great day it was in Washington for pickpockets?
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2. You have heard me say oh so many times that in the winter I go to exercise class. Three times a week I stand before a television screen in the select company of 15 or ladies who were born around 1930 and swing my arms and stretch my legs for an hour. The last time I looked, I was the only man there. But --- I pass many pot-bellied men of a similar vintage on my way in and out of the building. Most of them are seated or standing near a pool table, where one of the company pokes at a little ball with a stick. Even if you have never played pool, you might remember seeing Jackie Gleason as Minnesota Fats in the movies, which is about all the education anyone needs on pool right there. I never learned how to play pool. The pool hall was 9 miles away in the city of Rockland. It was owned by Phil Sulides who was a good guy. As I recall, there was a chair or chairs in the front of the pool hall where you could get a shoe shine. I can’t remember now why I ever went in there, but I think there were two or three pool tables out back obscured by the amount of cigarette smoke that you can’t even find in the cellar of an Elk’s Club today. I was one of those wimpy little kids who never learned how to play baseball, either. Many men would consider my entire childhood a waste. About the only thing I did as a kid was learn how to read and write.
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3. Winters are always tough on those who drink while driving snowmobiles and authorities are looking for common characteristics found in men who crack up. Here's one characteristic they might want to investigate. My friend John Riley told me that he once saw a guy standing up on a snowmobile, rocking it back and forth, as it shot across an icy pond at 70 miles an hour. It flipped, and the man and his wife were thrown on the ice. When the man stopped spinning, he immediately got up and rushed over to make sure that the snowmobile was OK.
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4. You might have heard me say that back when I got my undergraduate degree, the fully-furnished house and garage on an acre of land that I bought cost as much as my salary from that first year of teaching. Nowadays that very same house is valued at what a teacher would earn in five or six years. In recent years I have wondered how young people could buy even a modest home, unless both man and wife had graduate degrees, no children, and worked full time. I could see a day coming when uneducated Americans would be living with 7 hungry infants under a piece of tin on a muddy hillside. When the prices of houses drop, panic reigns. If things continue along that path, a school teacher might, once again, be able to buy a home with one year’s salary. My question to you is, is that good or is it bad? A radio friend hearing this comment wrote to say that 37 years ago they bought their house with $3,000 down and a $7,500 mortgage. I also bought my home back then as did Warren Buffett. It would seem that the three of us are lucky to have bought when we did.
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5. Corporate America took away our rural grocery stores and our rural garages. They took away our post offices. These were the places where country people, the community elders, gathered to gossip and simply interact with their neighbors. Winter and summer, we walked to get there. There were comfortable chairs or high stools where you could sit. You knew which chair was yours and nobody would be in it, even if you arrived late. There were hot stoves to lean on, in season. This was where you got the news: Who had gone where and, in whispers followed by throaty chuckles, who was doing what to whom. All of this is gone, but, because human beings have a genetically programmed need to interact with their neighbors, we now meet at the town dump. Here, at the dump, we meet a neighbor who leaves his million dollar home on the ocean every morning to search through the metal pile for wood screws --- or whatever treasure turns up. We are joined by a man who can make anything out of metal, and help him pull out some old bed springs. I throw a child’s bicycle in the back of my truck. It is better than the one I got a month ago, and a little larger which is good because the grandchildren are growing. Half an hour later we get in our trucks and head for home with our treasures --- which really don’t amount to all that much: we just went down there to get the news.
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6. For a year I have toyed with the idea of making a television program that consists of nothing except an old man who sits in a chair and simply talks while tossing a baseball from hand to hand. Until this morning, I wondered who would watch such a show. I wish I’d asked you, because that person lives with you so you knew a long time ago. For hour upon endless hour, that person sits like a rag doll and watches men run with a ball under their arms, or men hit a round thing with a stick. When they are lucky, they watch girls who hop on sand while pounding a ball over a net. Sometimes they watch cars going round and round an oval track and won’t even take a bathroom break for fear they’ll miss the pile up of the century. So --- we have determined that it is not what it is on the screen that builds a faithful television audience --- anything that provides an excuse to sit and drink whatever is in the glass or can is a show capable of climbing off the charts. So, when the day comes that they stumble upon this show, and they will, will you please do me a favor and, as you fill up the dish with heavily salted nuts, suggest that it might be time to order a catheter?
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7. The email said, “Erase years with anti-wrinkle solution.” Wouldn’t you guess that this ad was written by a young person? Ask old people if they’d rather have their wrinkles removed or have a new liver to replace the one they’ve been using as a sieve for alcohol for 50 years, and see what many of them say. Ask old people if, given a choice, they’d have their wrinkles removed or to be able to sleep 9 hours every night without getting up once. Ask old people if they’d rather have their wrinkles removed or have new joints that didn’t feel as if they were being stuck with an ice pick every time it rains. Why do so many people have to be 75 years old before they can get their priorities in order?
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8. A radio friend from Washington County sent us this. She says, “Herbert Hoover, perhaps the most feckless foolish president in history, did NOT include in his "legacy"....two wars, a HUGE increase in the cost of fuel, a military complex that soaks us all, a foolish $700 billion bailout for the banks, a damaged image of America in the world-at-large, or a prison system that incarcerates more prisoners percentage-wise than any other nation.” I would like to thank her for her letter, because until now, all of this had somehow escaped my attention.
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9. You will recall I mentioned a while back about seeing a program that promised to tell me how to tell a real Rolex watch from a counterfeit Rolex watch. I was so busy taking notes, so I could tell you about it, that I didn’t see how the program ended. Radio friend Bill Miller sends this: “Dear Humble, Once, while working for U -Haul a few years back, I stumbled upon a Rolex laying in the under-seat portion of a truck. No one claimed it, and I had, a Rolex Presidential watch. This watch had diamonds on the quarter hour and a gold bezel...Im not sure what that would get me in life but wow...I had a Rolex. For years I wore that watch very proudly as a status symbol..showing I was a winner in life..a ROLEX. Some years later I was working as a paramedic on the beach in florida and had to extricate a young man who had imprudently dove into the water wearing speedos, showing off to women who wanted gucci flannel pajamas, and had broken his neck. As I reached below the backboard in 4 feet of water I felt that watch unclip and fall off my wrist...gone...forever. That was a life lesson I couldnt have paid enough for. I wear a Timex now. Bill” My question to you is the obvious one: Why would anyone wear a watch that came with a cheap strap?
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