Show: The humble Farmer

Episode: humble 2010 0404.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 McKinney’s Cotton Pickers, Erroll Garner, Ted Weems, Ukulele Ike, Django Reinhardt and Woody Herman. Pictures over the music are the Chaplin films The Masquerader and Recreation found on public domain.
The show is tightly scripted. Here's the script for the week of April 4, 2010:
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1. You have seen movies where the hero and the girl struggle up out of an ash filled volcanic crater. As they reach the summit, they gaze into each other’s eyes and, unable to control themselves, snap together like the waist band in a new pair of pajamas. You have seen movies where, after crawling through a million gallons of spilled crude oil, the hero and the girl meld into one glorious black glob. To bring it closer to home, perhaps you have welcomed your spouse in a similar manner when he comes home from 12 hours of baiting lobster traps. But --- today when I walked up to my loving wife, held out my arms, and said, “Can I have a hug?” she looked me up and down and said, “Are you clean?” Should I assume from this that the honeymoon is over?
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2. We read that there is a move afoot to place wind turbines in the water along the coast of Maine. Fishermen are naturally concerned. The US is far behind much of the world when it comes to alternate energy sources and we all know why. Huge wind turbines have long been a common sight in Northern Europe. A farmer might have in his barnyard a medium sized wind powered generator that provides more than all of the power he needs for his entire farm. The system is different there, because the farmer is paid perhaps 40 times more for the surplus energy he sells back to the power company than a similar farmer would get in Maine. So in the parts of Europe I have seen, wind generators, or solar panels, are very prudent investments. You can be sure, however, that when wind and solar power finally do come to Maine, the system will be set up so that you do not own your own unit, but will still be paying more than you should to a money-gouging corporate giant.
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3. My question to you was: With the power of the Internet, do we still need librarians? Here is the very informative reply that came from one of my librarian friends. She says, “Hi humble. I'm glad you asked me and not someone else (or the Maine State's librarians' listserv) because a torrent of hellfire would rain down on you. The very short answer is --- that as you well know, there are trillions of pieces of information on the Internet ready for selection and reading. The librarian steps in by culling the irrelevant (by doing a fine-tuned search right off the bat) and sifting out the crap. The latter is critical in what I do, providing medical information. I need to know the credible sites, not the ones that are for commercial gain and certainly not the ones that are misleading, wrong and downright evil. With the sophistication of websites nowadays, it is challenging to determine the credible source vrs the jerk making up diagnoses in his basement (and selling "medicine" to cure what he told you you have). And remember, despite all of the information on the Internet, you are only getting what "they" want you to get for free. I spend tens of thousands of dollars on subscriptions here for medical journals and whatnot. Due to capitalism, copyright laws and intellectual property regs, you won't get it all. Get it? What you might get is old or of inferior quality. There are people trying desperately for "open source" information, the good stuff available for free, but it is an uphill battle.” --- she continues: “PS: And you still need librarians prominently in schools and public libraries to teach children (and adults!) how to develop good search strategies, how to do research, and how to determine what is a credible site and what is... hog drippin's.
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4. A medical librarian sent me an email that said, “I need to know the credible sites, not the ones that are for commercial gain and certainly not the ones that are misleading, wrong and downright evil. With the sophistication of websites nowadays, it is challenging to determine the credible source versus the jerk.” Doesn’t that summarize it nicely? If you are always on line as I am, looking for accurate information that you can pass along, don’t you spend a lot of time trying to determine the accuracy of your sources? As my librarian friend says, there are cadres of people out there who are evil. Many of them have slick looking web sites and even more of them spend their afternoons composing hoax emails that many ignorant people will eagerly forward to you. And that’s not the really bad part. The really bad part is that they will also forward these emails to me.
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5. My watch stopped working when the battery died. I mentioned to a friend that it was too much bother to get a new battery and that I’d lived without a watch for several months. He said that his life is so meaningless he doesn’t need watch batteries. Isn’t it refreshing to have a few friends who have figured out why we’re all here?
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6. Here’s an interesting article that you can read on the Bangor Daily News Blog. It says that Sargent Mountain Pond, on the top of Sargent Mountain, was the first lake to appear in Maine after the last ice age. Sargent Mountain is the second-tallest peak in Arcadia National Park and would have been one of the first areas of Maine to become ice-free. In studying the lake scientists have gathered evidence about vegetation, soil, climate and water chemistry, working up from the oldest layer of sediment to the current lake bottom. Perhaps even more interesting than the article itself was this comment one of our Maine friends posted below it that says, “I’m glad they didn’t find evidence of a keg party we had there 30 years ago.”
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7. Michael Moore made a movie on capitalism. He doesn’t like capitalism and pointed out its many flaws. But you and I can certainly see the positive side of capitalism: with the possible exception of disease and religion, can you think of anything that has done more to curb the world’s population?
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8. What kind of a world do we live in when I can get over 100 email advertisements for Viagra in one morning? You and I know that if you go on line to look for airline tickets, for the next week you get emails that promote plane tickets. Because I have never bought Viagra or investigated one of their sites, can you imagine the amount of email that is sent to the people who have? It is true that I wrote about Viagra when they were trying to get it subsidized under medicare. Because smokers are about the only men who need Viagra, I did not think that those of us who do not smoke should have to pay for the shortcomings of men who do. At the time I encouraged all non smoking males to write to the legislature to let them know where we stand. And then there is this new influx of sad emails we get from passionate women in Russia. How long do you think a Russian woman who says her passions include cleaning house would have to stand in line?
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9. Little public service announcement here. Beware of the clothing donation scam. Our friend David just received a call from a charity asking him to donate some of his clothes to the starving people throughout the world. He told them to buzz off! Anybody who fits into your average American’s clothing isn't starving!
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10. A month ago I caught a scrap of Marlon Brando in a movie I think was called Morituri. He played the part of a German who had crept off to another country where he passed himself off as Swiss. And what I think I heard him say, was that war was pointless: Twenty years later you have conveniently forgotten that your best friends were the people you were fighting. This was brought to mind at a solar workshop last week when my friend Rich told us that some poor people in Central America are now working together to make photo voltaic panels so they can have one light bulb in the house. --- The Sandinistas with no hands are helping the Contras with no legs.
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11. If you have never visited a poor country, or walked deep into the Maine woods, you might not realize that some people still do not have electricity. Dr. Richard Komp, who teaches people all over the world how to build solar panels, says that a single solar panel that will run one light bulb is considered by many to be a tremendous technological advancement. An even greater improvement is the bank of community solar panels that can run several light bulbs in several houses for an evening. Because electricity is so precious, the head man in one village made everyone promise that they would not waste electricity by watching television. And because the panels were so rare and valuable, he was afraid that someone would steal them. So Dr. Rich said, “Let them watch television. Then they’ll guard those panels.”
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12. Dr. Rich Komp, who travels to some very remote rural places on this planet to teach people how to build photo voltaic solar panels, says he visited one place that had a very practical religion. They had a big religious ceremony just before they first activated the solar panels, and everyone brought gifts for the gods and piled them all around the unit. After the ceremony, the people picked up all the gifts that the gods hadn’t taken and took them home.
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13. You heard me say that I have attended several of the solar workshops given by Dr. Richard Komp. You might have seen some of my television shows where I actually show you how to solder the solar cells together and laminate them on a piece of glass. Perhaps the most difficult part of the entire process is cutting the 45 degree angles in the right place on the aluminum frame so they will fit together neatly. You might agree with me that the person who cuts those pieces with the hacksaw has a much more difficult job than a surgeon who performs an operation. If you don’t cut those pieces of aluminum so they fit together right, everybody knows.
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Thank you for considering The humble Farmer.

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