Show: The humble Farmer

Episode: humble 2011 0206.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 for television.

Music by: Clark Terry, Erroll Garner, Coleman Hawkins, Stephane Grapelli, Jack Teagarden, Ray Brown, and Denny Breau

This show contains 1.09 minutes of The humble Farmer live on stage in Rockland, Maine, and 6.27 minutes of guitarist Denny Breau live on stage on Monhegan.

The video over the music is from Monhegan, Maine and the donkey in my pasture in 2010.

The show is tightly scripted. It starts out with a spoof on the fact that candy bars and bars of soap get smaller every year. Here's the humorous commentary for The humble Farmer show for the week of February 6, 2011.
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1. Please listen closely because I’m about to say something that might make your life easier. You know that I could never afford to have children. But when I married the widow Marsha VanZandbergen she had two wonderful daughters. And now my wife Marsha, The Almost Perfect Woman, has three grandchildren. The oldest one recently turned 6, and although they live in Fort Kent way up by the Canadian border, they drove five hours to get down to see us because the child wanted to celebrate her birthday here with us. I was out in the barn working on my hot water solar collectors during the party, but looked up often enough to notice that the dooryard was full of cars. You know how gobs of cake and partially masticated cookies get ground into the floor at these things, so you can believe that I rushed right in to vacuum up the mess as soon as they were gone. And here is the tip that could save you a lot of bother: At this party --- not one crumb on the floor. Someone had brought a dog.
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2. An age is reflected in its literature. Edward Arlington Robinson, who 100 years ago was probably related to almost everybody in St. George, Maine, wrote about whiskey. Gustaf Fröding wrote about poverty. Poets have written about bubbling brooks and whippoorwills and malleable young men who march off to die. My question to you is, how could any contemporary bard aspire for immortality when our present culture can be summarized in an essay about Viagra and plastic toys from China?
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3. Years ago privilege was inherited. The lord of the manor passed the estate to his eldest son. But since the French Revolution the rich have had to buy privilege. One of my rich friends says it's annoying to have to stop at a 4 way intersection, and thinks it would be nice to be able to buy the right of way. Why, he asks, should a guy in a three piece suit in a BMW have to stop and wait for a rusted out hulk with the bumper dragging on the ground to get across the intersection? Back in the 17th century, you would have simply run right over those annoying raggedy peasants with your gilded carriage. Today the best you can do is privatize their healthcare and social security.
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4. While watching NCIS on television the other night, I learned what lol means. If you’ve ever read emails between younger people you might have seen lol and wondered what it was. Wonder no more. Last night someone on NCIS told Gibbs that lol means laugh out loud. And have you ever heard of pubilect? We read that pubilect is the primary mode of communication among teenagers. Publilect is, like, the way adolescents, like, talk. Because I very seldom see, let alone get a chance to talk with teenagers, I didn’t realize that emotive utterances constitute 65 percent of their speech. Like duhhhh. The trend seems to be universal because we read that Italian adolescents throw in an “mmmmm” where ours would insert a like. Mmmmm non capisco mmmmm. The “mmmm” and “like” reveal unconscious uncertainty, much as the “and ahhh” does in the speech of adults. And, ahhh, we read that young males employ name calling in their verbal dueling to assert power. And, ahhh, much of it is vulgar interjections. I can remember being shocked when I first heard this kind of talk. I was 12 or 14 and was listening to some young men who had brought it home from army boot camp. I can remember some of the things they said very well. You might remember that John Gould wrote about verbal dueling, but the examples he gave weren’t vulgar and only indicated how clever you could be with a come-back. Example: Think they’ll have it? Possible answer: They always have. Now that we’ve been talking about this adolescent phenomenon of name-calling, you will probably see examples of it everywhere over the next two weeks. I read somewhere that, like, um ahh, it predominates in letters to the editor in newspaper blogs.
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5. We read that in a recent 30-year period, obesity rates doubled in the United States. I haven’t had a dish of ice cream or a cookie in 7 years and I walked two miles this morning and you should know that I am not doing this to improve the US obesity statistics but to put off the day when my beautiful young wife will be out looking for someone who can bleed the air out of the solar hot water heaters. Listen to this. Most of the extra calories that are packing the pounds on our friends and neighbors came from an increase in carbohydrate consumption rather than fat consumption. And the primary sources of these extra carbohydrates are sweetened beverages, which now account for almost 25 percent of the daily calories in young adults in America. Can you believe this? Sweet drinks are accounting for 25 percent of the daily calories in young adults? How can they drink that stuff? Last summer, just to see what would happen, I drank a bottle of Pepsie someone had left in the house and I didn’t feel well for three days. Is it possible that everybody feels sick from drinking sugared water but because they do it every day they take that sick feeling for granted? You tell me. In a recent 20 year period in the US consumption of fast-food meals tripled and calorie intake from these meals quadrupled. We read that in the United States, subsidization of corn, soy, wheat, and rice has made the main sources of processed food cheap compared to fruits and vegetables. So why don’t we improve the health of all Americans by subsidizing organically grown produce so we can all afford to eat it? Would it be cheaper in the long run than helping pay for their medical bills? Another study found that obese people consistently under-report their food consumption as compared to people of normal weight. I can’t understand why obese people would try to conceal the amount of food that they eat, can you? People who can’t get through a day without some form of adult beverage to take away the shakes are quick to admit that they are alcoholics.
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6. A woman just told me that her 75-year-old brother hasn’t shaved or cut his hair since he sold his business and retired. He is wearing his hair in a ponytail, he says, because now his income doesn’t depend on how he looks. Perhaps you can explain this to me. Would you rather buy your heating oil from a very rich man dressed in a white shirt and tie who manages his business from behind a desk? Or would you rather buy your heating oil from a very rich man who sports a beard and pony tail who manages his business from behind a desk? I don’t know about you but I don’t understand the ponytail man’s thinking. Don’t you always look for the best service offered at the best price?
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7. Here’s a very revealing letter to the editor. It is about wind power and says, “Just another should be, could be, might be, list of very speculative prophecies about the future cost of energy created by yet another wind power project. This is a failed technology. The Europeans, who invested heavily in wind power, both land based and off shore, are publishing press releases very routinely now saying that they're backing away from future investments, cutting subsidies, and generally admitting they were sold a bill of goods.” If you have recently read any scientific articles or textbooks about wind power, you know that they say just the opposite. Would this letter not strongly suggest to you that the average American’s understanding of science now comes from talk radio?
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8. Here’s something I recently learned on You Tube. In Africa they are using teams of rats to detect TB bacteria in saliva samples from four clinics serving slum neighborhoods. In less than one year, the 25 rats trained for the pilot medical project identified 300 cases of early-stage TB - infections missed by lab technicians with their microscopes. If not for the rodents, many of these victims would have died and others would have spread the disease. Forty years ago when I was a grad student at the University of Rochester I learned how to train rats. But I had no idea then that rats could be trained to sniff out land mines or to sniff out disease. Have you heard anything about using rats to sniff out disease in this country? I doubt if they’d use it here because it’s simple, nobody would make any money selling it, and it works.
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9. Have you ever heard of the Heinz dilemma? If you’d like to learn why people lose in a lose-lose situation, Google the Heinz dilemma and consider it your cultural enrichment for the week. The Heinz dilemma turned up while I was reading about Kohlberg’s levels of moral reasoning. Kohlberg figured out that a person’s cognitive development determines the way that person looks at moral issues. Although a few people can recognize conflicts between moral standards, conventional morality is usually attained by the age of 10 and most people never get beyond that stage. This explains many of the letters to the editor that you read in newspapers.
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Thank you for considering The humble Farmer.

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Date SD Episode Video Uploaded: Wednesday, February 9, 2011 - 12:52


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