Show: The humble Farmer

Episode: humble 2010 0314.mpg


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Episode Description:

Well received by the intelligentsia in Northern New England, this is the same old music and humorous social commentary show The humble Farmer has produced every week since April 6, 1978 for radio and now on television . This week The Boswell Sisters, Ted Weems, Ben Pollack, Erroll Garner, Mckensie & Condon’s Chicagoans, Ukulele Ike, Mugsy Spanier, Fletcher Henerson, Jelly Roll Morton and Maxine Sullivan. Pictures over the music are the Chaplin films The Floorwalker and 1 A. M found on public domain.

The show is tightly scripted. Here's the script for the week of March 14, 2010:
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1. May we pause here and shed just one tear for the demise of the American hero? Can you remember the last time you saw a hero? Or did heroes wither and fade away so gradually, much like the standard of living we once enjoyed, that you didn’t even notice that something you once took for granted was gone? Of course young people always take the status quo for granted. Nowadays college graduates expect to spend the next 15 or 20 years paying off their college loans, and would find it hard to believe that the $10 we were able to earn on Saturdays paid for our food and room and that we graduated without owing a cent. And nowadays young people don’t know that, back when men had a function, heroes used to rush in at the last minute to save the girl. In a pinch she tossed her hair over the balcony and the hero climbed up on it. But this is the way you’ll see it played now: The bad guy with a gun or knife moves toward the helpless heroine. Her male friends are outside, guns in hand, trying to break down a door or climb in a window. But as the door gives in they hear screams and they know they’re too late. Sure enough, when they rush down into the cellar, she is drinking a Starbucks coffee and the battered bad guy is on the floor, hog tied hand, foot and mouth with duct tape.
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2. Someone told me that her friend was taking a writing course. One of the assignments was to write an entire story using only 6 words. Well, some of the best things I’ve ever written were only two sentences and if you can say something worthwhile in two sentences you stand a good chance of getting your letter published in USA Today. So --- two sentences, yes, but I think that writing an entire story in 6 words is pushing it somewhat. Oh, you’re right --- some of the most wonderful or terrible things you’ve ever heard that even conveyed worlds of meaning were perhaps the simple words “Yes” or “No.” And all this talking about being able to tell a story in a few words takes me back 50 years to the days when four or five of us would crowd all our instruments into a freezing cold station wagon in the middle of winter and go up to Belfast where for years we played for the Saturday night dance at The Blue Goose. Izzy Prince from Camden was the trombone player and one night I told Iz I’d thought up an epitaph that he could have carved on his gravestone. Iz liked it so much that he talked about it for quite a while afterwards. --- Which is probably why I can still remember it now. It said, “Iz ain’t.”
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3. Here is an extremely long letter from a doctor. I’ve posted it on my blog because what he says is so important. But that’s not why I’m going to read his letter. What he says will save you money, and now that I have your attention Dr. Ron says: I've worked as a doctor for over thirty years now. As well as seeing patients with every insurance to no insurance and paying for health insurance for my family and employees I have come to the conclusion that a Medicare like health coverage for all is the way to go. Ask anyone over 65 if Medicare works for them and the answer is always yes. Yes, one buys supplemental, and that could, and perhaps should continue and/or medical savings account that could also be allowed.
Medicare insures the worse population.......the older folks and most certainly the ones who will pass away while under that coverage and spend a lot of money in the process. Best way to "spread the risk"...insure the young as well as the old.
Use of money for health and illness care really should not be thought of as insurance. Insurance is something you hope you don't use and insures against risk, like getting into a car wreck, or hitting a deer or moose, or having your dog bite the meter man. Everyone uses, or should use some health dollars, for preventive care, immunizations, having babies. We should think of having health coverage (and paying for it), as well as insurance to the catastrophic unanticipated events, like hitting a moose or being the meter man who gets bitten.
So what does health insurance cost now? Well, here in Michigan I have a Blue Cross Policy for my wife and me, a reduced policy from what I had two years ago, because I couldn't afford that one anymore. Now I have $8,000 deductible, which I fund through a medical savings account (allowed in this state), and then pay $1000 a month for "catastrophic" coverage, up from about $700/month just last year.
Now, instead of paying Blue Cross $12,000/year, how would I feel about payroll deduction of about $5,000-$8,000/year for my wife and me that went for Medicare like coverage. Pretty good. I believe Medicare is better run than many private insurance companies, has less administrative costs, does not have to pay expensive executives, does not have to create reserves. I believe all should contribute through payroll deduction, amount of which can be "means" tested and dependent on factors such as age, income, and perhaps life-style (smokers should pay more). [again, this is a doctor talking.] The insurance should cover certain valuable preventive care fully, and have some copays or deductibles on other care. Medical savings accounts should be allowed to build up as savings over many years and be used for supplemental care, the deductibles and copays.
Here's another problem many of the public don't understand. Doctors and hospitals bill maximum for everything in order to capture every insurance dollar. But most accept insurance as full payment. Thus there may be a $300 doctor bill but the doctor accepts $150 from insurance. Or the Hospital bill $20,000 but accepts $10,000. It is illegal to bill lower to the self pay or uninsured or underinsured. So if you don't have insurance you have to pay much more. It would be much better for all if the "billing" side was appropriate and fair, and that the full amount was paid by all. Right now if doctors or hospitals or pharmacies lower their fees, insurance is likely to pay them even less.
So who would lose out on this? The insurance companies? No..claims processing would still be needed so I think those jobs would be preserved. The highly paid execs? Probably. Okay by me.
Doctors and hospitals? No matter what, they are needed and must be paid appropriately to stay in business and keep health care the best and available. Reductions in payment on the high end would likely be compensated by receiving payment for all, whereas now there is still lots of free and underinsured care given in ER's, doctor's offices and hospitals.
I don't think a government administered plan would fail. All Americans would have a stake in it.
Lastly, there is medicare, medicaid and other insurance fraud and abuse. Some real teeth have to be put into saving those lost dollars, and such savings would benefit all.
Skog....keep up the good work. What is really needed for most of our problems is education about the problem. Too often emotion, false beliefs, politics obscure and distort reality and the correct path to solutions. If you got this far, accept my thanks for listening. Ron B , MD
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4. Have you ever heard of media democracy? Media democracy means that radio and television airwaves are public property and that everyone has a right to hear a variety of viewpoints. But after radio and television were deregulated by the Reagan and Bush administrations, we had so many media mergers that fewer and fewer billionaires ended up owning most of the newspapers and radio and television stations. Hundreds of radio stations were put out of business. Even if you are struggling along with no health insurance and are living on a tiny social security check, if you listen to the radio the only thing you are going to hear is what the billionaires who own the stations want you to hear. If you sit behind a mike and you don’t say what they want you to say, you’re going to get fired. Big business has already come a long way in getting you to believe that your government is to blame for all your troubles. “The government is too big. Government regulation is bad.” How does this affect you? When it comes time to vote, you have probably already been bamboozled into voting against your own best interests. If you hear the same absurd lies over and over and over, before long you are going to believe what you have been told. Remember that if you are the only one in the crowd who can think and reason, if you dare open your mouth to offer a dissenting opinion you are going to look like a nut. As you know, even what used to be called public radio is now financed by huge conglomerates --- like Monsanto --- and you tell me if you don’t think that corporate sponsorship will slant the perspective you get on any news program. Is there any hope for America? Listen to this quote by Louis Brandeis and tell me what you think: "You can have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, or democracy, but you cannot have both."
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5. Every day we hear that one more company has severed its ties with Tiger Woods. No more will corporate America pay him hundreds of millions of dollars every year to have him drink their sugared water or drive their cars. I don’t know about you, but I’m somewhat concerned for his well-being. If he spends only 80 million dollars a year, he’ll just barely be holding his own, because that’s about what his billion earns him in interest. Wouldn’t you guess that Olympic skaters will be now quickly sought out to hawk products? Corporate America could get quite a few safe years out of them --- before they’re old enough to date.
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6. I very seldom see a “Pass this along” email that is worth passing along. But this is one of them, because it applies to me. Because, yes, a couple of weeks ago I blew up a cup of drug drink that I was warming in the new microwave that my wife bought at a sale for $4. This new $4 micro has a lot more power than the old radar range we had been using and I’m still trying to learn how long I have to leave things in to warm them without burning them to a crisp. I think I had it set for one minute. And just like it said in the email article, my coffee drug drink did not get warm gradually. But as I leaned down and looked through the glass in the door, so I could shut if off if it started to boil, it exploded and erupted like a volcano. I saw the coffee lift up out of the cup and splatter the entire inside of the micro. It looked and sounded like a huge fire cracker had exploded in a cup of coffee. I mention this as a public service in case there is another old man out there who didn’t know that water or his morning drug drink is likely to explode if overheated in a microwave. I’m glad they didn’t have microwaves when I was 10 years old. I would have been blowing up cups of water every time my mother was out of the house.
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7. You talk about age discrimination. It is alive and well on the Internet today. I wouldn’t have known about it but Blip, that distributes clips of my television program, gave me a dozen more optional sites where they would post these video clips. And on one, I think it was MySpace, there was an advertisement on the side that was hard to miss. It was a picture of a very clean cut, very attractive young girl and underneath it said, “Men Wanted: Age 60-64.” I’m married and my days of running around with any thing that even resembled a young girl were over some 25 years ago, but it hurts to see that even if I were 10 years younger I’d barely get in there at their 64 cutoff age. Was it 90-year-old Oliver Wendell Holmes who saw a pretty woman and said, “Oh to be 80 again.”
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8. You know that good things can often come out of bad things. I dropped in on the old movie channel just long enough to hear the host say that so and so refused to be in this wonderful movie. But, as a result, so and so was available to be in another movie which made him rich and famous. You heard me say that a man crushed my cousin’s foot when he dropped his suitcase on it. But that was how they met and they’ve been married for almost 60 years. Even more horrible because it’s closer to home, was my coffee overheating in the microwave and exploding like a bomb. But what good could come out of my coffee exploding, you ask? Well. I wrote about it and then recorded the story on an mp2 file for Public Radio Exchange and someone bought it for 90 cents.
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9. Perhaps you get these emails, too. The ones that ask you for $5 or $25 to help defeat someone in Congress who is not doing the job that really needs to be done. The one that came today says, “If we can hit $1 million this week, we'll have a great shot of replacing Sen” so and so. Isn’t this staggering? That it takes millions of dollars to run for Congress? This means that you can’t run for Congress unless you are very well heeled to begin with and even then your friends are going to have to kick in millions of dollars to buy the television ads that are necessary to get you elected. Of course, then the people who put up the money will own the person who wins the election. With our present system, that only makes sense: If you turn your back on the people who gave you the money that got you elected, wouldn’t they be foolish to help you get elected again? That’s the system we have now. Can you imagine an election where no political advertisements of any kind were allowed and voters made their decisions on what the candidates said during debates? Don’t expect to see your local newspapers or television stations come out in favor of such a system. And until you do see that day, it’s a pretty safe bet that the candidates who have the richest friends will win most of the elections. From what I’ve heard and seen of Congress over the past 50 years, I don’t know if that’s a good thing, do you?
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10. Yes. I recycle. From time to time you hear me repeat something that you heard me say weeks or years ago and that is what you are going to hear now. Some things I like so much I just can’t keep them to myself. This one is about the dirtiest hotels in the world. That was what the junk email said. Of course I had to Google The dirtiest hotels in the world so I could see where they were. Number one is in San Francisco. Let me read you a sample of the reviews: “First and foremost no one should ever walk into a hotel only to find prostitutes walking around the inside.” Think about this. What reason would they have to complain about a prostitute who was on her feet?
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11. If you were to read even a few of the hotel reviews that turned up on a web page called The Dirtiest Hotels in the World, you might not have to wonder where Stephen King gets material for his novels. Listen to this: “When we checked in, the Manager offered us a free upgrade to the "Honeymoon Suite". It was a set up. The "Honeymoon Suite" had a vacant room next door that was "under construction". I was undressed to get into my swimsuit and heard breathing. I looked under the big gap under the adjoining room door. I saw eyes looking back at me!” I don’t know if eyes would have bothered me. It’s the hidden camera that can come back and bite you. And here’s another review: “We were looking for a dog friendly hotel…. It was absolutely horrible! The room smelled musty” --- Probably because the last people who stayed there had a dog.
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Thank you for considering The humble Farmer.

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