Show: The humble Farmer

Episode: humble 2010 1107.mpg

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Episode Description:

Well received by the intelligentsia in Northern New England, this is the same old fashioned music and humorous social commentary show The humble Farmer has produced every week since April 6, 1978 for radio and now on television.

Music by: Benny Goodman, Flip Phillips, Count Basie, Ted Weems, Denny Breau, Chick Webb, Ray Brown and Django Reinhardt.

This show contains Dr. Dick’s Dancing Puppets, 3 ½ minutes of guitarist Denny Breau live on stage and 2 minutes of The humble Farmer live on stage in Jefferson.

The show is tightly scripted. Here's most of the humorous commentary for The humble Farmer show for the week of November 7, 2010
Most of the video tape over the music is a demonstration of how to make photovoltaic solar panels by John Burke.
1. Booth Tarkington wrote Penrod in 1913. Chapter 19 is a litany of the things Penrod consumed in one afternoon. Candy, lobster croquettes, an extrodinarily large pickle, a glass of raspberry lemonade, a box of sardines, and a half pint of lukewarm cider. Mug in hand, a gentle glow radiating toward his surface from various centers of activity deep inside him, he then ate a slice of watermellon, a bag of peanuts, a box of popcorn larded with partially boilded molasses, three waffles thickly powdered with sugar, a slab of Neapolitan ice-cream, and two and one half weniers. Because you might be having supper right now, I’m not going to tell you what happened next. But Penrod’s lack of intestinal fortitute came to mind one night when, for the first time in our marriage, my wife Marsha, The Almost Perfect Woman, was suddenly struck down. She never gets sick, so I couldn’t believe it was the flu and I asked her what she had eaten since supper. Do you believe peanuts, popcorn, a large Dairy Queen chocolate sundae that a friend had left in our freezer, and a diet coke? Just the diet coke would have finished me. 050527
2. A junk email that came this morning offered to help me find a job. You might have recently seen a television program about people who lost their jobs. One man was making $200,000 a year and since he lost his job he doesn’t know what to do. I believe that the problem has to do with becoming acclimated to a certain standard of living. Back around 1938 when I was little, my father cut paving in the quarry. The quarry shut down in the winter so my father didn’t work all winter. That’s the way it was. I recently filmed seven people between the ages of 80 and 95 who sat down at the historical society meeting and told us what it was like to live through the Great Depression. Everyone had a garden, perhaps a cow and some chickens. Because there was no money, people would trade services and goods. I’ve thought about this for many years and can’t see that the Great Depression made a difference in the lifestyle of rural Maine people. My friend Kendall Morse from down Machias way said that the depression wouldn’t have been so bad if it hadn’t immediately followed such hard times. I don’t know about you, but I can tell you what I’d do if I earned $200,000 a year for only one year: Even if half of it went for income tax I’d still have enough left over to pay off the mortgage on my house and live in luxury for the rest of my life.
3. A while back you might have heard me say that "The way things are today, there is so much money to be made from an uninformed public that education is discouraged.” Radio friend Pete who lives way up in The County replied: “A long time ago, P. T. Barnum observed nobody ever went broke by underestimating average intelligence.”
5. Before an election you will see many television ads urging you to support one candidate or another. Because the outcome of an election decides no more than who will get to spend your tax dollars, the contests for the control of your money is always fierce and ruthless. Throughout the ages in every country two entities always emerged to participate in this fight for control, and with only minor variations the two entities have always been the same --- the 2 percent of the people with most of the wealth, and everyone else who worked for them. For many centuries, the majority opposition could be intimidated by personal armies --- or starved into submission. But in recent years the media has simplified controlling the masses. Put into very plain language, if people only hear, see and read one thing, many of them are going to vote as they are told. For example, knowing he’d soon more than double his original investment, a person who had made 100 million dollars in the privatized health care business could easily change the face of Congress by throwing five million dollars worth of advertising into senate races in several states. In each state --- to raise the same amount of money to run commercials for a people’s candidate who would support the kind of health care enjoyed by progressive countries in Northern Europe, 500,000 people scraping by on social security or minimum wage would each have to contribute $10. With our present system, one wealthy person can buy as much political influence as a half million workers. Keeping up with moneyed interests is next to impossible because there are more than a few folks in their camp who are contributing a million bucks or whatever they think it will take in advertising to swing an election. Some of our neighbors are eagerly buying for themselves the kind of government enjoyed by wealthy Germans in 1938. It’s even easier to purchase nowadays with the present war economy’s unemployment.
7. You know that ever since I found out who you are, I have been in awe of you. Thank you for listening. It is an honor and privilege to chat here with you every week. You have earned the respect of your intelligent friends who can recognize and appreciate your ability. One of the other things I’ve learned about you, is that you have a remarkable mind. It is like a steel trap. You never forget anything so I know you remember our recent chat about the words we casually let drop to indicate our status in the community. We mention our clubs and the famous people we might have met over the past ten years. I wonder if social commentators like John Steinbeck or Michael Moor or Sinclair Lewis, who had to go to Europe to be appreciated for their genius and collect their prizes, needed to mention it to their friends? --- Anyway, aren’t these awards that you have had thrust upon you the ones that count? You didn’t go looking for it. You didn’t ask to be teacher or citizen of the year. You went about minding your own business and you were amazed when the award came looking for you. I remember the first time it happened to me. It was 1952, I was sitting next to Roy Swanson in the Tenants Harbor Baptist church, and they were about to announce the high school manual training woodworking award for the year. Roy and I both knew that it would go to our very clever classmate Ralph who was the best carpenter in the entire high school since Robert Polky had graduated. When they called my name I can still remember that Roy and I looked at each other with our mouths open. Over fifty years later, I was once again startled and flattered by yet another unearned honor. One morning, by first class mail from Machias, I was awarded an honorary life time membership in the Maine Black fly Breeders Association. (book to print)
8. My wife Marsha’s friend Donna is very generous, and I mentioned it to her one time. Donna was raised on a hen farm over in Waldoboro by Seidenspacker Pond. She had four or five brothers and sisters and Donna said, “I learned to share at an early age. If I didn’t give them what they wanted, they took it anyway.” 050422
11. If I don’t say, “How are you?” when we meet, it might mean that I really don’t want to know. Although other people might smile and give you a cheerful, “How are you today” I will bet you money that they don’t really want to know, either. You certainly know that “How Are You?” is no more than a formal standardized form of, “You are in my space. This is what my voice sounds like. What does your voice sound like?” The amount of space in which one feels comfortable before one feels obligated to speak differs from place to place. Russell Baker once claimed that New Yorkers walk about like zombies, never making eye contact for fear of being accosted. Crocodile Dundee, on the other hand, is a classic example of a rural person who speaks to everyone he sees. You know of cultures and countries where this How Are You I Am Fine type of conversation can be carried on by simply raising an eyebrow and shrugging a shoulder. Many suprasegmental phonemes employed by the French and Italians are body language. To end the conversation, all you’d have to do is tie their hands. My wife Marsha comes into the room and I know I’ve done something wrong just from her posture and the expression on her face. Remember Jiggs and Maggi in Bringing up Father? Maggie always had one hand on her hip and her chin down with one eye looking up at the ceiling. You probably know of married couples who have refined their ability to communicate to the point where they haven’t said a word to each other for years. On the other hand, I was once asked to contribute my Spaghetti For The Single Person recipe to the Maine Writers’ Cookbook. And, because I was born and raised on the coast of Maine, I was genetically and culturally programmed to unload my whole life’s history before even listing the ingredients. You will remember from Mark Twain’s Jumping Frog story, that years ago, way out there in the wild west, there were people who would back you into a corner and then talk for hours without saying anything. Today you’ll hear many of them hosting talk shows on AM radio. 012805
Thank you for considering The humble Farmer.

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Date SD Episode Video Uploaded: Saturday, January 8, 2011 - 06:07

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