The Humble Farmer

Banquet Speaker, Entertainer, Humorist

Location: St. George, Maine, United States

I enjoy standing on stages in front of sober people who like to laugh. I enjoy playing bass in a jazz band.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

February 4, 2005 Tentative Radio Rants

Did you know that 55 percent of Americans live in an area where smog or particle air pollution is at unsafe levels? I didn’t know it until I just read it. And while I was stumbling around on the Internet I also read these recent words by the president of the American Lung Association who says, “No one should have to breathe unsafe air. With the stroke of a pen, EPA could issue a rule that will clean tons of particle pollution out of the air. Instead, just last weekend, the Administration decided to gamble with the health of millions of Americans and set that rule aside.
“Today’s action is the equivalent of a diagnosis that millions are exposed to one of the most dangerous and widespread poisons that exists in the air. At levels in this country today, particle pollution significantly increases the risk of premature death, lung cancer, chronic bronchitis and heart attacks. In addition it triggers asthma attacks, shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, and leads to increased trips to the emergency room and hospitalizations for asthma and other respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.
“The Administration dropped plans to issue a major rule that would have taken hundreds of thousands of tons of particle pollution out of the air. The Administration decided last Saturday to put off the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR), which would have greatly reduced emissions from one of the largest sources of particle pollution, dirty coal-fired power plants.” End of quote
Do you get the impression that big business has more political clout than the American Lung Association? If you think about it, all the other businesses that make money when people get sick would also be against clean air. So, America, get used to burning eyes and a sick feeling in your lungs. Why should I mention this? As I speak, my eyes smart and my lungs have been burning from smoke and smog for three days. When it comes to smoke and smog, I’m sorry to say that I am a very wimpy person. Oh, I also read about two simple and very sensible things you can do to provide yourself and your loved ones with a healthier home environment, but I’ll bet you don’t love your kids enough to change your ways. Don’t smoke inside and don’t burn wood.

You have heard that four ounces of red wine knocks the stuffing out of the bad body bugs that cause prostate trouble. I just heard about it 3 gallons ago and because I have empirical evidence to suggest that my genes are very susceptible to prostrate trouble, I’ve been walking the four ounces to me every noon right after dinner. For my entire life I have been such an alcohol hater that I wouldn’t even eat anything if I knew it had been cooked in wine. But now I stand by the sink, take a big breath, and gulp four ounces of red medicine in six swallows. Without taking a breath, I wash it down with a cup of water. If you have ever had a taste of wine, you know why I wash it down with water. Unless you count some white, chalky goo that only doctors can prescribe, wine is about the nastiest tasting medicine known. You would think that one would develop a tolerance to something that tastes bad if you have to swill it day after day after day. But three gallons and three months later, wine still tastes as rotten as it did on day one. Please, if you were not on the wine medication and if as a result you had prostrate trouble, please send me an email. Encourage me to continue my six swallows of nasty every day. Tell me that there is something worse.


My wife Marsha, The Almost Perfect woman said, “Why are you reading that scam letter? They are all the same.” Which goes to show that she doesn’t know much about Nigerian scam letters. Listen to this one. “I have been trying to contact any of his relative in the city of Moss, his home country Norway through his address with me, to let his people know about his money in our bank but I did not receive any response. I later remembered that Mr. Brge carlos came to my country out of shame he was receiving from his country because he was impotent.” This is obviously a poorly thought out lie: there are no impotent Norwegians.


Over 12 million people voted for Hitler, and seventy years later we must believe that many of them already knew what he was going to do. After 1933, at every stage of his career, Hitler had a lot of serious support from well-meaning people. Back then it would have been considered unpatriotic to question your neighbors who really believed in Hitler’s plan to bring his kind of freedom to the oppressed people in Poland, France and Holland. True, in the German academic community there was an uncomfortable scholar or two, but in 1944 a critique of the program within earshot of one’s fascist neighbors would have been unproductive. The dissenters prudently kept their opinions to themselves. About the only way one could identify them was by the lack of that little black “Support Our Blitzkrieg” swastika on the back of their cars.


Dear (h)umble, Perhaps I am not finding enough responsible things to occupy my time but your program is a highlight of my radio listening.

Please add my e-mail address to the list for your newsletter. Mike in Bangor


Today I got an email from Olga who asked me why I had sent her an email that talked about Fred and the National BMW Bikers’ Convention. And I realized that I had mistakenly sent Olga a letter I had written to Fred. Have you ever had it happen to you? Get the wrong letter in the envelope or push the wrong button just because you were trying to do too many things at one time? This has been happening to people for years, but now they have a new name for it. Your boss summons you to his office, he looks up from a pile of papers and says, “So, multi-tasking again, hah?” If your boss is old enough he probably doesn’t know that you’ve been multi tasking and he’ll simply ask you why you’ve been running around like a chicken with your head cut off.


You have heard me read letters from Olga, who warrants our constant attention if only because Olga once refused to contribute at a Ku Klux Klan roadblock. Here is part of a letter I got from Olga. I wrote back that I would not read on the radio this letter that I’m about to read.

Listen. Olga says: “The apple trees in your bed and breakfast pictures interest me. There are many apple trees around Kennebunk from which nobody picks the apples. Are they open season? Why don't people pick the apples? If I pick the apples, will I be shot (like I would in Arkansas)? Some of the trees are on public property and I have availed myself of their fruit, albeit surreptitiously, but have been reluctant to be seen in this pursuit and have not made a visible dent in their verdant pro-flig-acy.”


End of quote. In 69 years, 9 of which were spent in ivy covered halls of higher learning, I never heard anyone say profligacy. I’ll bet that even Professor Jake Bennett, who knows everything there is to know about the English language wouldn’t dare pronounce that word. Forty years ago I do remember someone in my biology class at Gorham Normal School ask the professor if such and so a creature were vivi parous, and everyone who was there probably still remembers it.

So I’m not going to sit behind this microphone and stumble over words that would choke a Dutchman, just so you letter writers can sit by your radios and laugh and say, “Well, I snubbed him up good on that one.”

You know that professional newscasters avoid certain Greek, Latin and French words because they cannot be spoken into a live mike.

Yes, there are certain phonemic strings that you do not hear on the evening news.

This is because they do not readily lend themselves to flowing from the lips and teeth and tongue melli-forously.

When I spoke at the National Farmers Organization meeting in Michigan I was very surprised to learn that American farmers are afraid of our government and the big companies that are dictating the policies of our government. Jim Hightower spoke before I did on the program and because I’d read Jim Hightower’s newsletters and because I’d heard Jim Hightower on Public Radio, I didn’t want to sit on the platform with him for fear of accidentally getting clobbered by a flying brick. When I first saw his name on the program, I even asked the person who was running the meeting if she had ever heard Jim Hightower. You see, I wondered if they knew what they were doing by bringing him in. They did. I had this misconception about farmers from North Dakota and Iowa and Ohio. And when I finally found out the way the wind was blowing and got up courage enough to ask individual farmers about it, I was told, “Walll, there’s farmers and there’s farmers.” Yes, an example of what I learned at that convention. As I recall, I heard that Wal*Mart is the second largest grocer in the country. They have so much economic muscle that they can now eliminate any competitor in any town by simply dropping, dropping, dropping prices on food, so that everyone shops at Wal*Mart. They can keep their prices down for a year or five years or however long it takes to plow the competition under. A couple of years down the road when everybody else has been put out of business, they are going to charge you whatever they want. At present, they are telling American farmers what they are willing to pay for tomatoes or lettuce and if American farmers can’t go along with the price that is offered, Wal*Mart buys tomatoes or lettuce in China or Mexico and sells that to American consumers instead. And the growling I heard at this meeting of American farmers who are trying to earn a living by raising good food for other Americans, is that when you pick up a nice looking Chinese cucumber in Wal*Mart at low, low prices, you, the American consumer, have no idea what kind of chemicals it’s been sprayed with or what kind of genetic tinkering you’re feeding the kids. Out at that Amway Grand Hotel in Grand Rapids I made the mistake of eating a Subway sandwich across the table from a man who has a PhD in bio chemistry or some such obscure discipline, and by the time he’d told me a bit about a company called Montsano, I wasn’t hungry. If learning about this kind of thing upsets you as it did me, you might do what I plan to do. I want to be happy. So from now on I’m going to do what apparantly over 50 percent of my neighbors have been doing for several years now. I'm going to avoid meetings where people get together to discuss matters that are really important, and I’m not going to read a newspaper or watch the evening news.


Have you ever booked an airplane ticket on line? --- going through your computer? I have. I’ve done it several times. Usually it goes right through. But one night I spent almost two hours on a web page representing US Airways going round and round. Before they would let me buy the ticket, they wanted a user profile and a password. So I filled in the user profile page and entered a password and user name and pin number. And I wrote all these things down on a piece of paper but when I entered them, the computer balked. It kept telling me I had entered the wrong user name. But --- they know that there are simple old people who forget those things so right there on the page was a button that said, “push this if you have forgotten your user name.” So I pushed it, and sure enough, here comes an email --- with my dividend miles number. I spent enough time on the project to fly from Bangor to Detroit, before I was finally able to find a telephone number for US Air. For only an extra $5 fee, a kindly woman was able to help me buy a ticket. I didn’t mind paying the extra five for help --- but --- I didn’t like the salt they rubbed in my raw wounds. You see, while I was on hold a recording kept telling me how much quicker and easier it would be if I’d simply hang up and book the flight on line.
Would you expect that The American Industrial Health Council is an industry-funded group that lobbies against "excessive" regulation of carcinogens? I asked Will Sugg about carcinogens.
Dear humble. Carcinogen means "causes cancer" so hundreds if not thousands of compounds fall into this category. When you look on the Stolen Future website (, you will see much mention of PCBs and PDBEs, which are industrial chemicals that are thought to be some of the worst. Another good website for a Maine group is at Thanks, Will Sugg


You have heard me say that I’ve been reading the same Harlequin Romance in French for two winters now. This afternoon, though, I pulled from my shelf a harmless looking book called Hocus Pocus, which you probably know was written around 1990 by Kurt Vonnegut. I had never heard of Hocus Pocus but I knew that Kurt Vonnegut was famous, so I figured it was worth the quarter I paid for it at a lawn sale. Vonnegut writes: I was a Lieutenant Colonel at the end of the Viet Nam war, "which was about nothing but the ammunition business." So Vonnegut got my attention right there on the second page. And then, on the same page, I read something about profanity that I hope I will remember and honor for the rest of my life. Listen. Profanity "entitles people who don’t want unpleasant information to close their ears and eyes to you." If you were to think about it, shouting does the same thing. The book is Hocus Pocus and it might contain more observations worthy of our consideration.


Anyone who lives in Maine knows that there are two basic schools of thought when it comes to putting on your sweater. You can either hang onto your shirt cuffs or you can let the sweater drag them way up over your elbows. Every morning when I put on my sweater I am faced with this ubiquitous metaphysical problem. Should I cast my lot with the cuff holders or should I join those who don’t mind their shirt cuffs pulled up above the elbow. The reason I have never taken a stand might suggest to an unbiased observer that one way is no better than the other. The difference between the philosophies is so meaningless and insignificant, I'm surprised the two camps have never gone to war.


ear humble, Here's what my friend Mike M has to say regarding the Thomas Bearden material you asked me about.

Mike is easily the most highly self-educated person I've ever known. He was employed as a research assistant in the UMO physics department's Surface Science lab, where the Ph.D. hotshots who ran the place spontaneously started referring to him as "Doctor McDade" due to his ability to discuss their work with them on their own level. Eventually they discovered that he actually "only" held a bachelor's degree in philosophy (earned at Bowdoin) and seemed to feel he had hoodwinked them somehow. While there he availed himself of the employee benefit to education and earned a bachelor in computer science.

Mike knows an awful lot about almost anything you can think of, and any question he can't answer is only one he can't answer *yet*. He stands out to me as one of a very few people I know who manage to be skeptical and inquiring while keeping an open mind about things; to him, it isn't a question of how you feel about a thing, it's all a question of what the facts really are, so he's as happy to find his skepticism unwarranted as he is to learn that it wasn't.

Here's what he has to say:
From: Mike To: Mike S Subject: Re: Thomas Bearden from humble
I've heard this stuff battered around in bull sessions for
years and here are some of the conclusions I have reached:

1. Anything can be obfuscated by writing a mathematical
expression to represent it.

1a. It is fun, and lucrative in some cases, to write mathematical
expressions to describe things.

1b. After you write enough mathematical expressions to
get graduate student help, grants, and tenure you tend
to be locked into strange dead-end research with many
publications by large numbers of colaborating authors
that get presented as papers in interesting far-away

2. If anyone quotes any physicist and Rupert Sheldrake in
the same paragraph he probably is looking for an original
idea but probably hasn't found it yet.

3. Be suspicious of relatively easy-to-understand concepts
that seem to unify cosmological-scale and nuclear-scale

3a. String theory at its current level of evolution seems
to me to be just a complicated way of saying "I don't

3b. Physicists like to criticize philosophers for "just
playing with words" then turn around and come up
with elaborate equations to reduce phenomena
that we cannot see into expressions we cannot

3c. Stephen Hawking seems to be having lots of fun
and I admire him profoundly.

4. People who are despondent over not being able to
understand how their own lives are controlled by
external physical law are not really in touch with
their own freedom as thinking human beings.

5. The quantum mechanical world is impossible to
visualize from the perspective of the macroscopic

5a. It appears that we do not need to understand
quantum mechanics to fix the tractor.

5b. I think (a matter of belief for me) that the
world is arranged *SO THAT* we do not need
to know QM to FTT.

6. A 10-dimensional model of matter, energy, space,
and time is not likely to help me understand my
own personal experience.

7. It is interesting that black holes probably
evaporate and that every star will be gone in
a 100 billion years or so, but please do not
confuse "interesting" with "useful."

8. Sheldrake would have been more successful
if he had focussed on the behavior of brains as
processors of discrete patterns rather than on
consciousness as some kind of continuous
energy phenomenon.

8a. I believe a digital theory of consciousness
will turn out ultimately to be more interesting than
an analog theory.

8b. I find it interesting that the greatest divide
among science professionals is between the
physicists who work with "continuous"
phenomena by means of differential equations
and mathematicians working with "discrete"
integers and logic who also seem to make
good muscians.

9. At present the level of competence of those
who participate in these discussions is like two
boys discussing mechanical engineering who
have only seen the inside of a Farmall Cub

10. The great missing part of these debates is
the role of information as a quantity somehow
related to perceivablity of quantum mechanical
states and entropy as hinted at by Claude
Shannon 50 years ago and even by Ernst Mach
100 years ago.

10a. A comprehensive theory of 10. above might
actually help me understand why I am having
trouble getting around to fixing the tractor.
Hi Humble, Ive read the first third of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintanace - then I put it down and never picked it back up. Perhaps I will finish it now, I look forward to your review. Have you read this book that has been popular lately - The Di Vinci Code. It is an intertesting take on the search for the Holy Grail, and supposidly full of facts, I picked it up and haven't been able to put it down. It's very well written, but offensive to many whereas it is basically saying Christianity is a big lie. Enjoy Florida! I will be just outside of Jacksonville on February 28th. I was nominated and accepted for the 2005 Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders program...(I am very excited!) The website appears to be down so below is a description taken from the acceptance letter. Best to you and Martha, Roxie
Yo' Humble-- When I read Zen and the Art, I found it amazingly self righteous. There's a guy in my church who sends out tidbits of wisdom to enlighten everybody and I found them in the same vein. One day he was writing on the value of letting go of judgment--he fancies himself a Buddhist-- and I wrote back that I thought sound judgment was one of the benefits of age. At 49.999, I find myself the victim of fewer bad decisions and mislaid trust than I did in my 20's. I also judged that he couldn't spell judgment, and he wrote back that he pitied me. Alas. Lately he sent an all church email to my husband (who was not summarily unsubscribed) about the value of everybody sending $5 (like him) to aid in the disaster relief and if everybody sent $5, that would make a lot. What a cheapskate, I so egoistically judged. I guess I don't trust people who describe their lives as the answer to all the rest of us. Zen and the Art describes this guy who learns from his mistakes not to be such an impatient bastard and he takes over 400 pages to get there, if I remember correctly. He sounds to me like the victim of a blistering narcissism who is bent on spreading the gospel of him. Gospels of any stripe don't have much appeal to me. If they make people behave and be kind to others, then that's ok, but I think they have a more sinister subtext. Mostly people use them to separate us believers from them infidels. Speaking of infidels, I've been thinking about your query about how barbarians didn't have to justify their actions. I think part of that is that barbarians didn't have a particular view of themselves as world citizens. They believed themselves part of a group who must either conquer and prosper or wander without anything to make them happy: no glory, wealth, comradeship, stuff to leave their kids...Often in a space between the settled agriculture based economies that surrounded them. All these folks left home to do their pilaging. There must have been some reason they left. Have you ever read the old English poem The Wanderer? Exile, to people who lived in tribal groups, was like death. Or how 'bout, "Oh Western wind, when wilt thou blow, the small rain down can rain. Ah that my love was in my arms and I in my bed again." People who live in connection with the family/tribe that gives joy and meaning to their lives push pretty hard to keep it. If that requires relocating, then they were gung ho. We didn't have much justification for running out the natives in our neck of the woods. They were barbarians, after all. Did you hear about the Wolfowitz doctrine on NPR or elsewhere? Olga
Dear humble,

You asked in the last W & S what everyone thought of receiving that epistle a day prior to the actual airplay of the corresponding show. Personally, it doesn't matter to me either way, as I normally won't read it until after the show. I refuse to open Christmas presents early, and this seems to me to be pretty much the same situation. I don't care to spoil the surprise.

This well-reasoned approach did not prepare me for the receipt of a Whine and Snivel for which there was no corresponding show that Friday evening!

It's amazing enough that the miracle of pre-recording can allow you to send out a transcript of what you haven't yet said on the air, but a transcript of what you didn't say was just mind-boggling! I was theorizing that this was the result of some kind of time travel on your part - forward to some future time when you had actually done a show such as described in this week's W & S - or some excursion into a parallel universe where this week's rerun show didn't air. (You know how the science fiction writers like to ruminate over what might have happened if Hitler hadn't come to power, or hadn't lost the war? I'm betting at some point they'll have a field day with George W. Bush scenarios.)

What a relief to know that the laws of physics (at least, as we think we understand them) haven't come unglued, sending humble Farmer programs and their corresponding Whines and Snivels careening through Einstein knows how many different dimensions! It's enough trouble just keeping email working without being overwhelmed by all the spam; I'd hate to have to figure out how to track your communications through the Twilight Zone!

Sorry not to have gotten back to you on your inquiry about Thomas Bearden's writings. I've been swamped lately and haven't looked into it too closely. One thing that jumps out at me is the warped definition he applies to the concept of scalar quantities, on which basis he builds much of his subsequent argument. It's so fundamental a concept in physics that any confusion on that regard seems difficult to explain, but I'm very far from accusing Bearden of being intentionally obtuse on that point in order to fabricate a case. I'm passing this to a friend who is much better qualified to deal with the deeper points of Bearden's material than I.

Mike in Winterport
Humble-- Perhaps if you had the old parchment edition of The Constantinople Times, the spin doctors of yore would have an equally persuasive declaration which said, "The invading army wants everyone to know that we have only your best interest at heart. Since our god(s) are the really real ones and yours are mere naturalistic representations of a primitive tribal consciousness, we are giving you a great boon by taking over, helping ourselves to your stuff and imposing our [brutal and extremely violent] own government/religion in Its(their) place. Ours is the way to salvation, progress and prosperity. Remember, to make an omelet you hafta break a few eggs. Yours in Barbarism, The Horde." Or maybe in preliterate society, a mere retelling of the epic/saga/Niebelungenlied of your tribe was supposed to function in the same way...I think those people really did believe that the other was subhuman and therefore unworthy of an explanation. I'm sure we don't treat Charly, Akbar or Fritz the same way. Olga
True Hall, of St. George, went into Craignair Inn for supper and told the young waitress that the last time he ate in there was 40 years ago.
“My goodness,” she said, “the food must have been terrible.”
Dear Humble, I think you've got the best public radio show around. I've been listening to your show ever since I started traveling to NAS Brunswick for my Naval Reserve drill weekends. Your show is usually the at the end of my 3 1/2 hour drive from Cornish, NH to Brunswick, ME. It makes my last hour such enjoyable/relaxed one. Thank you. Please keep doing what you do best...entertaining us!! Take care, Glenn Thornton Cornish, NH
On December 24, the day before Christmas, Christmas Eve, I sat down at my computer to download my email. But after the initial slug that came in the night before, I didn’t get any more. And as I thought about it, a warm glow of inner peace settled over me. What a wonderful world we now live in, when even spammers, the people who send out invitations to visit their porn sites and the people who want to deposit 24 million dollars in your bank account, take this day off to spend it in reverent contemplation of the season with their families.
If you’re as old as I am, don’t you find it interesting that there are good people out there who are still trying? I got a phone call from a young man in Washington DC who is concerned about genetically engineered crops. I don’t understand the problem. It well might be the end of the world and it might be another Y2K where midnight came and nothing happened. I don’t know. I no longer believe that world overpopulation will be a problem because greedy kings and dictators will always be starting wars. Wars are doubly effective when it comes to population control because when everything goes into the war effort, there’s nothing left for medical research. And when you’re wondering if your kid is going to have his legs blown off, how much time are you going to spend worrying about gene-altered crops? The bottom line here is the same with any social issue. If there’s money to be made, it’s a great idea. Bring more rabbits to Australia.
Just wanted to let you know that someone is still making wreaths in Maine. I am! With real Maine pine, pinecones and all. I've made all of 7 so far but they are beautiful. I love the show. Warmest Regards, Megan Keogh
Robert-- When I was a gradual student at University of Southern Mississippi, we were shown a copy of a college catalog of the University of Mississippi, and it had an extra "iss" in it. "Missississippi." Olga
When I flunked out of music school in 1960, I bought a one way ticket to Sweden on a freighter and sponged off my aunts until my favorite uncle bought me a ticket to get home. But I lived in Sweden long enough to consider it a second home. My grandmother and thousands of my relatives are buried there. For years I had a recurring dream that I had gone back to visit my friends and relatives in Sweden. If you lived abroad when you were a kid, you probably get all weepy every time you go back for a visit. I’ve been back 15 or 20 times and it is always the same. I get on the ferry boat in Halsingo, Denmark. I can see Sweden a couple of miles away. I stand out on deck, surrounded by Swedes, their hand carts piled high with tax free cigarettes and whisky, and as we approach the Swedish shore the tears come to my eyes as I think back to all the fun times I had with my long gone aunts. At least that was the way it used to be. But recently they dug a tunnel so you don’t even know when you’re there. How does one get all weepy roaring through a dark tunnel in a train?
Hi! I too attended a one room school for the first four years and spent a year with relatives due to ailing parents, then part of one more year in a one room school. We sold Christmas cards to earn money to but a swing set for the school, actually for the first of the three schools in town. + I attended one room schools in Alna, I was suprised to find the first school I attended in the Smithsonian Magazine this pass spring. I didn't start school until 1956 so the war effort was past by then. There was a crockery jar in the back by a soapstone sink, it had a spigot, and that was the drinking and washing water for the day. When we arrived at school there would be a fire in the stove, in the coldest of weather, we would put clay, up on the tin under the stove so it would soften if we were going to do a project with it. I believe that the less affluent children sat nearer the stove as they hadn't clothing as warm as others. I think everyone rode the bus to school, unless they wanted to walk. The second one room school had the 4th,5th and 6th grade. The third one room school when I attended it had the 6th ,7th and 8th grades. After the 6th grade, we were all bused to the larger school in Wiscasset. The third one room school was on the hill by the Head Tide Church in Alna. The bus would leave us at the bottom of the hill and we would all walk up. The water there came from a spring in the village, in fall and spring the girls would go down and bring up buckets of water for the day, in winter, when it was icy the boys would be the ones to fetch the water. The wood shed for the school was on the side of the hall out to the boys' privey, in winter they would have to bring back wood for the stove when they went to use the privey. I remember teachers doing things that would be illegal today. The children in one poor family all had their hair cut by the teacher, they also had boils lanced by the teacher. I had my mouth washed out with soap for calling someone who pushed me off the new swings "fatso", I swallowed soap and ended up being sent home on the schoolbus because I got sick. I remember boys bringing guns to school, they would be out at daybreak hunting deer for the winters meat. They would have to leave the guns in the front of the room, where they could be seen by all and untouched until school was out for the day. They didn't ride the bus but hunted on their way home. I'm sure you must remember similiar things about the school you attended. Truly , Ruth E
Attention women. Do your friends look at you and say, “My, you look old, my dear.”
This is a compliment. Remember that youth is folly, age is wisdom.
Here’s a gee whiz fact for you. On this date in 1638, Massachusetts annexed Casco Bay. If we ask them they might come back and take that strip of fast-food stores in Ellsworth.
My friend John Cushing told me that a doe rabbit that weighs ten pounds can produce 320 pounds of meat in a year. By comparison, it takes two acres of land to raise a cow. Rabbits will produce six pounds of meat on the same feed and water as a cow will produce one pound of meat. When John went home, I Googled his comments and found them confirmed in the Alabama Living magazine. I also read that the Office of Home Economics and the U.S. Department of Agriculture has made extensive tests resulting in findings which state that domestic rabbit meat is the most nutritious meat known to man.
Maine houses defy category. You might live in a cape that your great-great grandfather built in 1820. In 1880 his grandson changed the windows from many small ones to three big ones. In 1940 your father covered up the clapboards with sheets of insulation board --- up to almost the second story. He either ran out of money or was scared to climb any higher. In 1960 he covered most of the insulation board with asbestos shingles. In 1980 you covered most of the asbestos shingles with wooden shingles, and now you live in a house with five or six generations of attempted improvements visible to the naked eye. Your house is one of Maine’s greatest assets. Tourists carry photographs of it back across the Kittery Bridge as mementos of the real Maine.
Good news. Although there are people out there on the Internet that you don’t want to do business with, there are websites you can check to find out who is likely to cheat you. You might recall that I got cheated by Avalon Gadgets when I bought a camera for Marsha. I’m still looking for a cable to download pictures from that camera into my computer because they didn’t send me one. But, since then I have learned that there are sites out there that will help you. You are able to check a company’s track record before buying anything from them. Today I was looking for some CO805 Columbian 5” x 5” envelopes that hold cds. A company called Shoplet had a very good price listed. But --- I looked them up and saw that they are notorious for bad service. You can believe that very few people bother to write a review when everything goes good, but a few will be mad enough to write something bad if they were cheated. I am of the opinion that every time you see a 5 star perfect wonderful service listing snuggled in with 5 reviews that tell how people were ripped off, you can assume that it was written by a flunky with a vested interest. This is a public service message. Don’t buy on line unless you go on line and read the reviews. I now do it. I wish I knew about it a year ago. You’ll be glad you did.
What a fine surprise! We've been listening to you for 28 years, in fact (I wouldn't have known how long without your note below, but I remember hearing a few of your earliest shows). I've always liked your taste in jazz, and your way with words. Where is St. George? Near Tenant's Harbor? We'd love to come to your Bed & Breakfast some day, but with our place in Blue Hill beckoning, it doesn't really make much sense. We usually dash right up from MA. But who knows, maybe some wintry weekend it would be fun. Are you open year round? Dan Dennett ps. I'm curious about what I've done that earns me a free overnight!
Dear Humble, First I would like to say that I am a big fan of yours, however that would not be entirely true. But my girlfriend however is, and it is on her behalf (sort of) that I am contacting you. I want to turn the back porch of our house into a would be greenhouse.Sarah is a master gardner and I need to find a way to satisfy her earthly desires, before she leafs me and moves to California like her other sun worshiping friends have done! I have been looking online for greenhouse supplies, such as sheets of polycarbonate, located in Maine. However I only seem to find companies in Italy, and the shipping strikes me as slightly cost prohibitive. Perhaps there are no such places because the only thing people think we grow up here are taters and tourists, maybe you can shed a little uv light on the situation. Sarah's loyalty to you is deserving of your assistance, she makes me prepare dinner while she listens to your show! PS: By the by I went to the common ground fair for the first time this year, even though I am a native of Pittsfield, Sarah has been going her whole life, she is from Belfast. I was hoping to run into you there, but only saw your truck.I was actually working there that day taking pictures for a fancy food magazine in NY called Saveur. There should be a couple of photos and a mention in their top 100 issue out in Jan. See you on the radio, John
Whine and Snivel Please is what it said on the subject line. All the letter said was, “Dear Humble, see above. Thanks, Steve” When I saw that this letter came from Colby, I was concerned. I am always flattered when a professor at Colby listens, but the person who wrote, Steve, might be a student. College students should not be listening to this program. Don’t you agree that they are at school to learn how to make a living? What in the world could a college student possibly learn from listening to this program that would contribute to his or her well being 20 or 30 years from now? And students are too young to understand what I am saying half the time, anyway. An older person will chuckle and say, “You got that right humble,” but if you haven’t walked on this planet for 50 or more years a lot of this is going to go right over your head. So if you are a student, please turn off the radio and open your book. When exam time comes around you’ll be glad you did.
I always enjoy your jazz show when I can catch it (we're kind of on the western fringe of the Maine Public Radio signal). Also, I was lucky enough to enjoy your humor in person several years ago when you attended a meeting of the Lakes Region Board of REALTORS® in Laconia, New Hampshire. You mentioned your weight on a recent radio show. I've been studying nutrition and lifestyle since 1994 when I had triple bypass surgery at the age of 48. In these past 10+ years I've maintained my weight at 161 pounds (I'm 6'1" tall) without varying a pound or two because I've restricted my nutrition to 10 % of calories from fat and I do some light to moderate aerobic exercise (walk, bicycle, cross country ski, snowshoe etc. only a little but, practically every day). My cholesterol is now excellent. Prior to 1994 I'd averaged 210 pounds for most of my adult life and my cholesterol ratio was about 8 to 1! From my studies I've concluded personal body fat is not a health problem of itself, rather a symptom of lifestyle and too much nutritional fat. Although Ornish recommends vegetarianism we've done very well over the years by including small amounts of animal protein in dishes derived from all of the cuisines of the world. I'll be happy to share some with you if you'd like.
If you limit your fat calories you'll actually have to eat more food to maintain your weight after your initial weight loss. Carbohydrates are good for you. What do asian people eat? Check out incidences of lifestyle diseases in their native countries in the research done by Raymond Kurzweil below.
Highly recommend "THE 10 % SOLUTION FOR A HEALTHY LIFE" by Raymond Kurzweil; "THE PRITIKIN DIET"; and any of the books by Dr. Dean Ornish. Google Ornish and some of these others, should prove interestin'. Regards, Don Bristol, NH
Dear humble,
I was very interested to hear about the experiences your friends Linda and Gerald Polley had in their appearances on Jimmy Kimmel's show. As you may recall, I work for the local outlet of the network which carries that show, so I am familiar with the program although I must admit I do not watch it. I'm sure Jimmy Kimmel is a perfectly nice person, but there is little I find so repellent as a person who makes obvious the fact that he thinks he is far funnier than I do. Who am I to criticize? After all, he *does* have a network TV show... seen after midnight, an hour at which I, as a much younger man, was too often "under the affluence of inkahol", and Ted Starrett, Jr. used to say, a condition in which almost everything seems much funnier than it actually is. Perhaps I have matured out of Kimmel's target demographic.

How I envy Linda and Gerald! They obviously enjoy a much clearer level of communication with John Lennon than I am able to attain with many people who have not yet passed over to the Other Side (I capitalize this so as to avoid having anyone ask "Other side of what?", to which question I have no response sufficiently concise as to answer more questions than it raises.)

Mind you, I don't wish to communicate with people on the Other Side arbitrarily; while there are some I'd cherish hearing from again, there are far more who would likely relish the opportunity to give me one more earful of something I didn't care much for the first time. Besides not really wanting to give them the satisfaction of doing so, I'd rather not risk blurting out some rejoinder that would further insult someone I will have to deal with for all Eternity once I eventually arrive Over There (I capitalize this to avoid having anyone think I allude to World War One Europe.)

I recall vividly the uproar that followed John Lennon's statement that he thought the Beatles were more popular than Jesus Christ. That incident should be a monument to the precise use of language; after all, he didn't say "better than," "preferable to," or even "nearly as pleasant as" Jesus Christ, but if you only paid attention to the firestorm of condemnation that was unleashed upon him for the remark, you'd have thought he had.

I have to wonder, though: did he have some tall explaining to do when he made his untimely arrival Over There on the Other Side, or did the plainly superior communication Over There make that a moot point?

Play some Lenny Breau for me when you can? Mike in Winterport
Greetings Mike And Humble! John has spoken of this incident to me on several occasions. I know Linda gave you the basic details but I'd like to express some of the finer points. The subject of John's comment was never taken up when he first arrived at The Kingdom Of God. He was very cordially welcomed and began his 17 year period of self imposed isolation, during which very few people were permitted to visit him, the chief ones being Jesus and Mary, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Others that wished to contact him were usually replied to by a written message. During this period of isolation when Jesus and Mary were visiting John brought up the incident that you are speaking of, and told Jesus he was deeply sorry for having made such a comment. Jesus laughed heartily, and answered, "My Dear John, when you made that satement it was absolutely true! At that point in history you and The Beatles WERE more popular than me! I cannot critisize, I cannot rebuke someone for speaking the absolute truth! God The Father would forbid my doing so. So let us not be concerned with this any more. Let us never have any concerns about it again!" And that was the end of it! It has never been spoken of since, except to tell someone that brings it up that it is not a matter to be concerned with.

The relationship between John and Jesus is beyond the understanding of the living. Jesus would tolerate no attacks on John. Considering what John has done for The Kingdom Of God, this is only understandable. That's about all I can tell you on that subject.

As for Jimmy Kimmel, the kindness and understanding of his staff and his good nature have made our appearances on the show something to be warmly remembered for a long time. We find him a delightful and sincere person. Some of the more recent skits have delighted Those in The Kingdom Of God. The Haunnaka song had Everyone in stitches, everybody is singing it. The skit about the Al Quaida tape with the guy saying he wasn't Santa Clause literally had Everybody rolling on the floor! Jimmy has some very good writers. We were posting on Jimmy's forum, but are now trying to get them taken down because the ignorant responses we have been getting from some of the other people posting there have just been too much. Jesus made a proposal of giving one of our stories to Arnold Schwarzennegger called "The Return Of Dagos" and having him make a movie out of it and use the proceeds to help pay the war debt. I told Him He couldn't do this, that it wasn't legal and He wanted people to tell Him if it was or not. Instead of answering the question, we got all kinds of crap that we were crazy and idiots, and why were we posting on a comedy site. It simply became too much. One of the posters commented "I was just having a little fun with you. I thought you were a comedy act, a schizophrenic."

Thanks again for your question! Glad to answer them.

Speaker Gerald Polley
As a beekeeper, I listened with interest to your comdplaint about the price of honey at Walmart, which doubled after the competition went under.

Well, without wishing to defend Walmart from a multitude of correct accusations---this is not one of them. The price of honey has risen to a more decent level for beekeepers in the past year or two, mainly because the Feds (very belatedly) stopped the dumping of Chinese and other foreign honey in the US market. Much of it was honey analog---that is, corn syrup chemically altered so that it can be mixed with honey so that it is undetectable by normal testing. This fake honey has been produced in India in large amounts.
Hi Humble, I lived in Poona (Pune) for a few months in 1961. It was a lovely town. I returned in 1994. The population had at least doubled, the traffic tripled, polution up 100%, noise terrible. The best thing about Poona now is getting there from Bombay (Mumbai) on the Deccan Express, a wonderful train that winds its way up the ghats (hills) to Pune on the Deccan (plateau). Later I lived in the south for six years - that in the 60's. India is a great place to live, but I wouldn't want to visit there. Keep the faith, Don in Gliford, NH

Monday, January 10, 2005

January 28, 2005 Tentative Radio Rants


Last night I saw one of the funniest episodes of Keeping Up Appearances that have ever been aired. It was the show where Richard retires and is pressed into becoming a movie maker. You’ve known this for years, but last night I realized that the fun in watching comes from anticipating what’s going to happen. The woman who lives next door knows that every time she comes to visit, her hand is going to shake so much that she is going to drop and smash a very expensive tea cup. And because you already know what is going to happen, you watch and you wait with gleeful anticipation. The same is true of Dagwood or Charlie Brown or Archie Bunker. You have to be familiar with their fatal human flaws, before you can grasp the significance of Charlie Brown standing, saying nothing for two weeks, with his hand on a kite string beneath the kite eating tree. So if you don’t hear me say anything for two weeks, hang in there. Anyone who has listened to this program for 25 years understands.


You know that I consider this program something of a public service. I really try to talk about things that I hope will be of benefit to you, so listen closely. Although I have received almost as many letters from Nigeria as you have, this morning I got one from Barrister Frank Smith asking me to present myself as next of kin to his deceased client who had deposited forty five million dollars in a bank in Holland. Think about this. A man who has somehow managed to scrape together 45 million dollars probably has more than a little bit on the ball. Would you agree with me that he probably knows how to handle and manage his money? And this man deposited 45 million of it in a bank in Holland. You and I might do well to find out what they are paying for interest over there.


Dear humble, Here’s how you tell who is really important in any organization: it's not what they do, much less what they say they do, it's what happens when they go on vacation. Mike in Winterport ----

And ---- Here’s a riddle that you can easily solve if you were watching the morning news a while back. What’s the difference between Brad Pitt and his wife and The humble Farmer and his wife? You think about it and see if you get the answer I’ll give later on in the program. Here’s a hint for you. My wife Marsha, The Almost Perfect Woman, bakes a small round delicacy for me that we call muff-outs.


Fellow was in to see me the other day and he got telling about his first car which he said was a 32 Ford. Said it had a spark and throttle under the steering wheel. And when I think about it, the Model B might have had a spark and throttle in it just like a model A. But the 1932 Model B coupe that I was driving in 1951 had a 1936 V8 engine in it. So they might have taken the spark and throttle out of mine. I don’t know. But the more this fellow talked, the more I realized that he didn’t know the difference between a Model T and a Model A and a Model B. Sounded like a single man talking about women. And I could have let it rest there, but then he got telling me about a 1946 Dodge he had with suicide doors. --- You know that I’m not one of the lemme-show-you or lemme-tell-you boys, so I didn’t say anything. But as soon as he was gone, I Googled suicide doors because I had a 39 Plymouth, which is a cousin to a Dodge, and although they might have had suicide doors on a Dodge in 1934, I don’t think they had them any later than that, and if they did I’d like to know. If you know, or can direct me to a web page that tells when they took suicide doors off automobiles, I’m Anyway, the point of all this is that I Googled suicide doors. And when you Google anything, there is another commercial side bar that automatically opens up on the side. This time it said, “Suicide Doors. Huge selection. Great deals on everything.” --- Yes. You know me. You know I had to Google “backhouse” to see how the privy market is holding up. I was educated again because the pop up ad on the side bar said, “Sexy Backhouse Singles. View photos, personals and hot profiles.


Here’s a riddle that you can easily solve if you were watching the morning news a while back. What’s the difference between Brad Pitt and his wife and The humble Farmer and his wife?
Brad Pitt and his wife are breaking up.


In her valuable Speaker Net newsletter, Editor Rebecca Morgan says, “… we tend to give more information than is called for. A common example is the response to a question like "Will you be at the NSA workshop in Burbank?" "No, I've got a booking in Chicago and need to leave on Thurs." A simple "No, I won't." would suffice.”

Rebecca’s observation certainly warrants our attention because one could write volumes on the extraneous noise in conversations --- simply by repeating what has already been said. You get more credit if your footnotes are in Greek and Latin.

Rebecca’s reply of “No, I won’t” might come across as blatantly garrulous to anyone from northern Vermont, where the answer would be a simple “No.”

Benjamin Franklyn and Socrates are among the notables who addressed the issue of extraneous noise in conversation. O. W. Holmes and Woodrow Wilson also had valid opinions that should command the attention of any serious student.

You’ve got to admit that anyone who asks, if you’re going to be in Burbank is a step above the “How are you today?” people, although both camps, as Rebecca astutely points out, would probably appreciate a one word answer.

Everyone knows 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 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 conversatioin, 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.


I just made the mistake of walking out in the other room to ask Marsha what she was watching. A creepy movie. Sure enough, here was a woman police officer walking all by herself in a huge creepy gloomy coal shed where Rambo, Arnold and Clint, standing shoulder to shoulder, would fear to tread. My my. What have we here? A hand sticking out of the coal pile. What does she do? She digs until a face appears. That was enough for me and I went back to my computer. --- The people who make movies had better start getting it together. About the only program our basic cable brings up on a regular basis is Cops and watching Cops every night for a year might well be the equivalent of a police academy degree. Even a small child knows that the first thing any cop does when he --- or she steps out of the car is push a little button on his collar to either report in or request a backup. Cops are not as foolish as Hollywood makes them out to. You and I know that. We watch Cops.


Do you miss the good old songs you used to hear? I don’t see any sense in these rap songs they sing nowadays, do you? Back when I was a kid they sang songs like, Chickery Chick, chala chala, chekala romy, in a bananica, bolika wollica – and they made sense. This morning I got to thinking that it had been a long time since I had heard I’m a Ding Dong Daddy from Dumas. You know you’re old when you realize that you miss the good old songs. Old people have always cried that they no longer hear the good old songs. You probably recall Aristophanes’ story about the young man who sneered at his father when the old man requested someone sing one of the good old songs called Simoides' Shearing of the Ram. The kid had to explain to his father that Simoides’ Ram was a corny old song. Do you hear the same thing from your children and grandchildren? Do they listen to music that you can’t understand or appreciate? You might have seen a TV program advertised on which they promised to play the 40 worst songs from last year. Did it make you wonder how they could be sure they got the right ones? I’m



Recorded by : Louis Armstrong; Lawrence Brown; Eddie Condon; Arthur Godfrey; Benny Goodman; Phil Harris: Eddy Howard; Ben Pollack; Somethin' Smith; Squadronaires; Bob Wills

Now, I know all, you all don't know who I isBecause I just got here todayMy hometown is a little townWay down Dixie way Now, everybody down there from miles aroundAll calls me by my nameNow that I'm up hereIn your big cityI sure wish you'd all do the same Because I'm a ding dong daddy from DumasAnd you oughtta see me do my stuffWhy, I'm a clean cut fellaFrom Hohner's CornerOoh, you oughtta see me strut


You might have seen that documentary on Sammy the Bull who ratted out his Mafia buddies in return for a new life. How does that work? Does the FBI give informants a pension and a new house where they can spend their golden years pining away in repentance? Psychologists could have told the FBI that Type A individuals who are really good at what they do often long to go back to work, and that Sammy the Bull was one of them. Before he has unpacked his suitcase, Sammy the Bull was back in the business he understood and enjoyed. Of course because he had immunity from his past crimes, the police had to put together a whole new case from scratch. Will you tell me why it is so difficult to collect and present evidence that will put bad people in jail? Let’s go back to the program called Cops. The camera is on a fellow in a stolen car that the police are following at speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour. A police helicopter in the air also has a spotlight and a camera on the car. Suddenly, the car crosses the median strip and heads the wrong way on an interstate highway. An hour later, after riding on no tires and sparking, smoking rims, the car catches fire and stops. A dozen or more police cars involved in the chase converge on the burning vehicle, someone smashes out a window in the car, and the driver is dragged out and handcuffed --- at which time we hear a voice over that says, “All suspects are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law.”


Are you a computer guru? I have many friends who are computer gurus. They know everything there is to know about computers. But here is a very important thing that they never told me. I figured this out myself. You know when you want to find and update a document in your computer that you go to the file folder. And then you open C drive. And then you open 2005. And then you open Radio. And then you open Rants. And then you open the rant for the upcoming week. And by then you have forgotten why you were going in there. Well, I finally figured out that I can paste that last rant on my desktop so when I get a letter from you that I want to read on the air, I can go directly to the rant for the upcoming week right there on my desktop. Simple? Yes. So simple and obvious that no one bothered to tell me about it. You can keep any unfinished document right out there on your desktop where it is handy. You’re welcome.


Humble, I have to get up early tomorrow and teach a school class about the history of Vermont. There's so little going on over there that the web site that lists 50 facts for each state could only think of 14 things to say about VT. Once you get past the cows and the maple trees and the snow, that's about it. Richard in Bar Harbor


Negligent (adj.), describes a condition in which you absentmindedly answer the door in your nightgown.


While clicking through the channels the other night, I stumbled on a program called “The 40 worst You Done Me Wrong songs.” It is a program I didn’t get to see because it was time for bed. But it is my understanding that Brad Terry wants to make an album of You Done Me Wrong Songs. If you know where we can find a website that lists You Done Me Wrong songs, please pass it along to me. I’m sure that Brad would be interested.


One of the hardest things I have to do all week, is break into a fantastic solo by Sonny Stitt or Django or Garner or Clark Terry to say, “Argh, where does the time go? Sorry, but I’ve got to make way for Marian McPartland and get out of here. Remember, tell your friends they can hear this show anywhere in the world on the Internet --- and --- Nikki has very cleverly posted my 8 most recent shows on our Maine Public Radio Website. With any luck I’ll be back here next Friday night at 7 --- waiting for YOU. Thank you very much for listening.” Well, because my friend, The Wisdom Weasel, agrees with me, that it is a sacrilege to talk over one of those great solos, next week I think the last tune will have to be rap, rock or country and western: Tex Ritter: “Jealous Heart, Oh, Jealous Heart stop beating Can't you see the damage you have done.” Would you mind if I had to break into that? I’m
You are listening to the cheer me up part of the program. No matter how low you might feel right now, I’m going to say something that will make you feel good about yourself. To start with, not one day of your life was wasted. Everything you have done that made you the person you are today was worth while. If you’ll think back over all the wonderful things you have done, you’ll know I’m right. Remember all the years you spent in college, reading history books and sociology books and anthropology books? You learned even more about yourself and the way people think when you went abroad to study for a year. Even when you got older, you still enjoyed those two and three week trips you made to visit good friends in other countries. So sit back, savor those memories from bygone years, and give yourself a hug. What? All that study, all that travel, all of those enjoyable exchanges with friends all over the world didn’t make you rich? No, perhaps it didn’t. But here’s the good part. It did keep you from becoming a fascist.


Good news for health loving people who like to travel. There is no more smoking in workplaces in Italy. This means you can now eat inside of Italian restaurants. I think there is also no smoking in Ireland and Norway. Sweden will join them sometime this summer. Of course, some people are pretty militant about their right to poison their friends and neighbors when and where they want, so I’d like to know if these long overdue laws are enforced. If you’ve been to Norway or Ireland or Italy, you might let us know if these laws are working. Have they really eliminated the smoking areas in Norwegian and Irish and Italian airports? Trains used to be wicked hard on the lungs, because no matter where they smoked on a train, the smoke would blow all the way through. I’m and I’d like to hear from you.


Dear humble, Seeing the snow fall today made me recount an event that took place at our school last year. I thought you might like to whine and snivel about it a bit.
It was early April, and unusually late for a snowfall. We got about twenty to thirty centimeters or so, and word had it that school would be cancelled the next morning. Yet it wasn't, and when we got to school, all the students and most of the teachers were fuming.
Word had it that the driving was poor, and some cars had gone off the road. Alarmed by this, a charismatic student broke onto the morning announcements and asked the students to go on strike for our safety. Over a hundred students skipped class that day to protest this "outrage". The local news channel came to film the disobedient students.
So where has the Maine spirit gone? Doesn't anyone who lives here expect to drive in a little snow? I earnestly believe that today's youth don't know how to pick their battles- protesting for a snow day?? But perhaps all of society is growing cowardly in the face of old man winter. What do you think?
With all due respect,
paul in Hampden

Sunday, January 09, 2005

January 14, 2005 ------ Radio Rants

While searching for places on the Internet that mentioned The humble Farmer, I found this in a Wall Street Journal article that mentioned me and Uncle Henry’s. Who do you suppose ran this ad in Uncle Henry’s? "Three pairs of skis, two pairs of ski boots, three pairs of crutches and walker, real cheap."
I think about things. If you also think about things, it might be because you don’t have enough to do and I suggest that you find something to occupy your hands. This is why they say idle hands are the devil’s workshop. If you are busy you can’t think and thinking does not always give you a productive feeling of well being. This morning I was thinking about James Bond, which you might agree is about as unproductive as you can get when it comes to thinking. Because you have never wasted your time thinking about Bond, James Bond, you should know that James Bond is a good guy who zips about the globe while fighting powerful evil men. And for years I wondered how evil men like Dr. No and Goldfinger could find seemingly expendable cadres of people to aid them in their bloody pursuits of world domination. I hope you won’t think about this, because if you do, you will realize, as I just did, that there are millions of people out there who honestly like them.
humble. I've got to tell you that your Friday evening show is part of our weekly ritual. We enjoy eating out quite often but on Fridays after grocery shopping, we order a foot long Italian sub sandwich, which we split and share, along with chips and drinks; we sit in our truck and listen to your show while we eat. I don't imagine that you ever thought of yourself as a Maine version of "Dinner Theater"? Love the show and appreciate your humor.
According to a Rockland psychologist, the beautiful woman, like the plain woman, is plagued with doubts and fears. The beautiful woman knows that her plain sisters are envious --- jealous and afraid of what she can do without even trying --- a wink in the right direction would be enough. If she wants any woman friends, she must slouch and dress in baggy clothes, frizz her hair and avoid showing her perfect teeth in a smile. Look for her on Main Street the next time you go to town.
A Thomaston man, who is in the hospital recovering from a heart attack, is in the same room as a mailman from Augusta who only shot seven deer in his whole life.
The poor Thomaston man had to listen to that mailman shoot every one of those deer over and over and over, from the time he filled his thermos at 4 A. M. until he digested the meat.
But the poor Augusta man looks gray, and the wife of the Thomaston man asked her ailing husband what was going to happen to his roommate.
“He’s going to die,” the Thomaston man whispered. “I’m going to kill him if he tells one of them deer stories again.”
As I am now a landlocked captain out here in California I miss being anchored in my boat in Penobscot bay listening to your show on one of those beautiful fall evenings that defy description. Your voice and a few tunes were all I needed. - Captain Sean (Dana point Ca.)
Dear humble, The magic toothpaste tube... You asked why you were still getting toothpaste out of an empty tube. Since you have read quantum mechanics I'm surprised you ask. You will recall that a photon behaves either as a wave or as a particle depending on how you observe it. The same is true of your toothpaste tube. The first time you observed it as an empty tube and it was. The next day, and days since, you observed it as a tube with one shot left. Therefore it continues to behave as a tube with a little left.
This same phenomena also explains marriage behavior. Before marriage you observe your significant other in one manner and they behave accordingly. AFTER marriage you observe them in an altogether different manner so of course they behave accordingly. It is the same for men and women. Marriage also illustrates another oddity of quantum mechanics: That is that time is a variable. When a woman goes out shopping with friends she is only gone for a few minutes even though to you it appears as many hours. On the other hand that fix-it project she asked you to do on her way out the door will be quite different. She will recall asking you months ago and why isn't it done yet? In the world of quantum mechanics things are very strange. Carl
A couple of weeks ago, you described the works of cartoonist George Booth, whom you mistakenly named “Price”. (Of course, he is priceless!) I’m your friend from the Whole Life Tent - we met and hugged at out old stomping ground this Fall. It just so happens that I’m a great admirer of Booth’s cartoons myself, and have an extra copy of his book, Think Good Thoughts About a Pussycat” (copyright 1975). I believe you’ll enjoy it. If you’d be good enough to send me your address, I’ll mail it right out to you. I spied it in a used bookstore and snatched it right up, not knowing where it would be headed, but realizing I couldn’t let it languish there. Hoping you and your lovely, longsuffering wife have the best of winters, I look forward to seeing you at next year’s Common Ground Fair.
When I was a kid, I could have easily learned Finnish or Swedish because many of my neighbors were either Swedes or Finns. You have heard me say that when I was 6 or 7 years old, the older boys taught those of us who were little how to swear and say the most terrible things in Finnish. The other day I wrote to the Finnish Embassy, told them about this, and asked if there were any websites where I could learn some more Finnish words. Here’s the reply I got. “Glad to hear about your interest in Finnish language. I'm afraid you could easily understand half of the conversations teenagers have in Helsinki streetcars today with the few words you learned from your friends.” It would appear that over the past 60 years, nothing has changed.
+ Did you know that there are people whose hobby is teasing Nigerian scammers? I Googled Olu Martins, who sent me my most recent Nigerian scam letter and found a picture of Olu Martins on the web page of 419eater. 419eater has nothing better to do than exchange emails with Nigerian scammers. 419 eater will tell the scammer that he will gladly send $30,000 to pay the tax and duties on 25 million dollars, but to make sure he is sending it to the right person Olu Martins has to print certain words on a cardboard sign and email back a photograph of himself holding this sign. There is even a trophy page where these people who tease scammers vie to post the most ridiculous pictures of Nigerians. One scammer was pouring milk on his head. Several had signs that said, “I am a Rat” or some obscene comment written phonemically. One picture, which I will make sure my wife never sees, was a Nigerian scammer without a stitch on. Everyone has to have a hobby, and baiting Nigerian scammers, although time consuming and unproductive, is harmless and certainly entertaining. On the other end, I suppose the scammers figure they really don’t have anything to lose by sending silly pictures to rich Americans and Europeans. You have probably heard that their estimated yearly take is around 100 million a year.
Jon over in Stratham NH sent me a newspaper called Wire. And in Wire I read, for the first time in a couple of years, Chuck Shepherd’s News of The Weird. The News of the Weird is a weekly chronicle of the continuing decline of civilization. One of the comments was about a guy who was still in jail even though DNA had now proven that he was innocent. So I Googled that prisoner, just like you do when you want to know about anything, and I found a web page with a list of people who had been found innocent by DNA and released after years and years in jail --- and other people who had been found innocent by DNA who are still in jail. Interesting thing, isn’t it. You can be innocent, have a fair trial, and still end up in jail. But, hey, we all make mistakes.
Chuck Shepherd advertises The News of the Weird as a weekly chronicle of the continuing decline of civilization. It is my understanding that he is being put out of business by the evening news. ----- Here's a sample: In a September issue of the London Review of Books, Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zisek made the point that the essential ideological differences in German, French and British-American societies, as noted by Hegel and others, can be represented by their countries' respective toilet designs. The German toilet's evacuation hole is in the front, facilitating "inspection and analysis," but the French design places the hole in the rear, so that waste disappears quickly. The British-American toilet allows floatation, which of course signals that society's "utilitarian pragmatism." Zisek described his theory as an "excremental correlative-counterpoint" to a framework identified with French philosopher Claude Levi-Strauss. [Boston Globe, 9-12-04]
And in Watertown, Mass., a playful Kudzai Kwenda, 23, accidentally locked handcuffs on his wrist at home in October, and figured they would know how to get them off at the local police station, but shortly after arrival, he was jailed because he had apparently forgotten there was an arrest warrant out against him. [Hartford Courant, 10-21-04] [Boston Herald, 10-15-04]
A journal study by Maastricht University in The Netherlands concluded that even the air quality alongside major highways is not as dangerous as the air inside the typical church (with candles, incense and poor ventilation).
Archaeologists excitedly announced in October that in examining ruins on the Wittenberg, Germany, property of 16th-century philosopher Martin Luther, they discovered the actual stone toilet on which he composed the manifesto that launched the Protestant Revolution. (Luther suffered chronic constipation and thus spent much of his days on the toilet.) [Tennessean, 10-23-04] [Chicago Sun-Times, 10-22-04]
Least Competent Criminal It was one of the classics, but it happened anew, in Bloomington, Ill., in October. Donald R. Hilger was arrested and charged with robbing 11 local businesses over the previous two weeks. He was picked up shortly after a robbery of a Jewel/Osco store, and police brought two of that robbery's witnesses by the arrest scene to see if they could identify him. According to police, however, as soon as the employees spotted Hilger, Hilger pointed at one of them and blurted out, "That's the one I robbed." [Pantagraph (Bloomington), 10-15-04]
Robert- Your toothpaste experience bears striking resemblance to the Hanuka Story, You weren't in some holy place, were you? The oil burned eight days when it should only last for one. They made an entire holiday out of it. You could have your own personal holiday. You don't need a scientific explanation, you've already got a theological one. Trust the force, dude. Perhaps you could write a hymn, maybe a whole cantata. Olga
Young people don’t realize that there are many advantages to being old. For example, this afternoon when I got hankering for a hot drink, I went out to the kitchen and found one that I’d put in the microwave an hour before.
Not read on show: Humble, Tony learned bees from his grandmother, who lived to be over 100 years old in central New Jersey. It is not unusual to meet old beekeepers, and it is very unusual to meet a beekeeper with arthritis. The stinging is supposed to promote the bodies’ defense mechanisms. You have probably heard of apitherapy, or bee sting therapy, where people actually have someone use bees to sting them in the affected areas. I have met many people who utilize this practice, and there is an excellent book called Bees Don’t Get Arthritis, which chronicles the journey of a man around the U.S. in search of material on this subject. I went to a beekeepers conference ion MA. many years ago where the guest speaker was a youngest woman who has MS, and she told the story about how she was largely incapacitated until she began the sting therapy. She then had upwards of 50 people per month coming to her house to be stung. I know this sounds insane, but it actually goes back to the ancient Greeks (Herodotus) who utilized this practice. Even the big drug companies have utilized bee venom in their research, probably because they felt threatened, and they had heard so much about the results of the sting therapy. There was at one time, and may still be today, a company that would ship tubes of live bees for people doing the apitherapy work, which is particularly useful during the winter months when opening the hives would be damaging to the bees. You would keep them in the fridge with a paper towel soaked in honey, and take them out with tweezers as you needed them. Many years I was working on a political campaign with Bruce Reeves and Lance Tapley to have an elected Public Utilities Commission. I was dropping off some materials at a meals site in Freeport when I was asked to say a few words on the topic. After I finished, a hand went up in the back from an elderly gentlemen. I acknowledged him, and he asked where I was from. I knew what he was asking, but wasn’t about to let him get away with it easily. “Buxton” was my reply, as that was where I was living at the time. “No”, he said with a great Maine drawl, “where are you from?” “Do you mean where was I born?” I replied. “Yes” he said. “New Jersey” was my answer. “I thought so” he said. Without a thought came this answer. “I don’t know about you sir, but I didn’t have any control over where my mother happened to be when I was born”. The old ladies howled. The old man came up to me afterwards, extended his hand, and nodded at me. No words were spoken, but we both knew where the other stood. Best regards, Mark
The more I think about it, the more I believe that if I had my life to live over, as soon as I got out of high school I’d live abroad for six or eight years. You’ve heard me say that a kid could work for room and board in France for 6 months while learing French and the art of repairing washing machines. At the same time he could develop contacts for his move to other countries. At the end of 6 months, he’d go to Germany or Spain and work as a go fer in a garage for six months. Then on to Italy to work for an electrician for six months. Computers in Sweden, plumbing in Portugal, woodworking in Finland, agriculture in Russia, perhaps even a bulldozer mechanic in Israel. Imagine what an education you’d have before you were 30. You’d have a conversational ability in a dozen languages and you’d be able to fix most anything. For the rest of your life you’d be able to amaze a Frenchman with your facility with his language --- as long as you were clever enough to direct the topic to washing machines. I got to thinking about this again this morning while watching half a dozen good neighbors helping a man repair his home. It wouldn’t have taken you more than a minute to realize that you would have asked three of the “pound it with the sharp edge of a two by four and it will fit” fellows to go home. And that’s what got me thinking about this. Even earning high honors in your PhD exam in chemical engineering won’t help you know how much torque you can apply to a nut before you strip the threads.
From Susan: Two antennas meet on a roof, fall in love and get married. The ceremony wasn't much, but the reception was excellent. Did you hear about the dyslexic man who walked into a bra?
Not read on show but worth mentioning : In response to my comments about road rage, a radio friend sent me a table that ranks the states due to aggressive driving. The ultimate measurement is deaths per 100,000. Here are the 24 most aggressive states. It starts out with the most dangerous one, South Carolina, where 15 drivers out of 100,000 got blown away because of road rage.

1 South Carolina 15.1
2 Wyoming 13.9
3 Alabama 13.7
4 Kansas 13.7
5 Oklahoma 13.6
6 New Mexico 12.9
7 North Carolina 12.4
8 Arkansas 12.4
9 Idaho 11.9
10 Florida 11.7
11 Missouri 10.8
12 Mississippi 10.5
13 Tennessee 10.2
14 Montana 10.2
15 Texas 9.9
16 Arizona 9.8
17 Utah 9.7
18 Nevada 9.7
19 North Dakota 9.6
20 South Dakota 9.6
21 Georgia 9.4
22 Colorado 9.3
23 Kentucky 9.0
24 Nebraska 8.7 Blow them away. Yippi Ki Oh Ki A

And here are the six states where you are least likely to get shot because of road rage.

45 Connecticut 4.5
46 New Jersey 4.1
47 New Hampshire 4.1
48 New York 3.7
49 Massachusetts 3.3
50 Rhode Island 3.1

You just heard two lists of the states where enraged people are or are not likely to whip out a gun and shoot you. Did you notice that it might also give you a hint of how they’ll vote in a presidential election?

January 21, 2005 ------ Radio Rants

I have a terrible habit called reading. You and I both have friends who have never heard of it. I’m probably like you, because I’ll read most anything, and because I can understand a disturbing amount of what I read in French or Dutch or Swedish newspapers, I don’t like to watch the evening news. Before I was old enough to read I probably had difficulty understanding that my view of the world might be but one of many. Egocentrism is the inability to see the world from someone else’s perspective. I just read that in a psychology textbook, and I mention it because will fit in here with something I just read in a history textbook. As early as 444 B. C. Chinese astronomers had computed the year as 365 ¼ days. In 28 B. C. astronomers in China observed sunspots, which the Europeans didn’t learn about for another 1600 years. You know as well as I do that I won’t be able to remember any of this in a week, even though I find these little gee-whiz facts very interesting. What you might find even more interesting is that I have a few friends I couldn’t say this to. If I did, they would snap, “If you think China is so great, why don’t you go live there?”
You know that I will pick up a book, open it in the middle, and start to read, just to see what interesting things are in there. Unable to sleep at midnight, I pulled Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance off the shelf and stood there until I’d read the last two chapters. I thought I must have missed something by not reading the first 30 chapters, until I noticed that the book was praised in a review by Richard Bach.
Hi humble, Hope we can visit some time this year. We spent the month of December celebrating our 50th anniversary. Glenn. Thank you for writing, Glenn. Yes, being 68 years old, I can understand that it could take a whole month to celebrate a 50th anniversary.
Dear Humble: I heard your suggestion that itching triggered human speech. I have long subscribed to the theory that speech developed after humans were colonized by the dogs. The very first words were "NO!", "Stop That!", "Drop It!", "Down!", "Sit!", "Shut Up!", "Out!". Recently, right here in Litchfield, we had a very large fire. It was set by an angry town employee who was fired for lying about his education on his application. He tore up a copy of "Gulliver's Travels" and used the pages to set fire to a tire dump. The local paper headlined: DIRE LIAR WITH HIRE IRE USES SATIRE QUIRE TO SET PYRE FIRE IN TIRE MIRE regards, Richard
This morning I blogged for the first time. Why did I blog? I get a newsletter that is sent out to professional speakers. It contained the blog web site. I went to the blog web site and was able to post a story out there in my very own humble farmer blog. From the little I read, blogging is a new rage. Then, I googled humble farmer blog, and found an on line blog letter, which is no more than a public exchange of emails between two friends that anyone can read. One person told another person that I was playing Django right at that minute on my radio program and they even sent the Maine Public Radio website so the other person could plug it in and listen. Last month when I was Googling the humble farmer, I turned up what I now realize must have been a blog site. And although there was a picture of a young man who had just moved up to Maine to work at L. L. Beans, he didn’t give his name or address --- probably because he said that The humble Farmer program was his favorite show on the radio. Which is, of course, why he turned up when I googled humble farmer. I lifted his picture and put it in with my other radio friends who have been good enough to send me pictures. Blogging. You and I will probably see the word all over now that we’ve had our attention called to it. Tell me what you know about blogging. I’m Blog and blogging are so new that a red underline appears under them when you type them in your computer.
You know as well as I do that blogging can be a waste of time. One you get out there on the Internet looking at things, you might as well be looking the pages in my web site which seem to go on forever. Anyway, when you set up your blog web site, you type in your favorite music and your favorite movie and your favorite books. And if you have “Django” typed in as your favorite music, you go back to your site and click on “Django” and it will bring up 50 or 60 people who also like Django. Unfortunately, most people who have blog sites like to remain anonymous, so although their picture is there along with the fact that they love Django, I don’t think there is any way to contact them. You know how much I’d love to email them our Public Radio web site with a note that here is a place where they can hear Django anytime.
Although there was a whole raft of people who also liked the movie What About Bob, I was amazed that I seem to be the only blogger in the world whose favorite book is the one by Mickey Spillane called, Doden Pa Dig Vantar.
Perhaps you know people who have done this. Five or six years ago a widow, who was in my high school class, met someone over the Internet and moved a thousand miles away when she married him. I’ve always wondered how you could marry someone you’d met over the Internet but I suppose it is no more dangerous than marrying someone you met over a table of food in the darkened cellar of a Camden church like I did. My wife, Marsha, The Almost Perfect Woman, was even raised in Connecticut, but I still have to admit that she’s wonderful. She’s a Type A whose genes are programmed to cook and scrub and clean and push a lawn mower 18 hours every day, so I figure I did all right. But when I blogged for the first time this morning, I realized that if you lived to do nothing but read Shakespeare, you could easily blog up hundreds of possible soul mates who also eat, breathe and drink Shakespeare. Blogging would expedite the mating process. You would be taking even less of a chance than the 12-year-old Spanish princesses who were sent up to England to marry kings. Which reminds me that my wife Marsha was only 13 when I started teaching school. It’s just as well she wasn’t one of my students. They probably wouldn’t have renewed my contract.
Dear humble.......I like getting the Whine & Snivel before Friday. Thank you!!!!!!!!! It will help me enjoy the program that much more when it is on. Best wishes to you both for a healthy, happy 2OO5!!! Linda
You might remember that I once told you what turned up when I Googled a sequence of words. I’m sorry that I can’t remember what the words were because I’d like you to try them for yourself, but I do remember that they brought up an eclectic assortment ranging from Devil Worship to Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. This was just brought to mind when I employed a fascinating Internet tool called stats to see how many people had looked at my web pages. According to this stats tool, two people found me by typing “nude bed and breakfast” into a search engine. Nude bed and breakfast? Is there such a thing as a nude bed and breakfast, and if there is who would want to stay there? Most of us look bad enough with our clothes on. I went to my Bed & Breakfast page and typed in “nude” to see how this could have happened. And sure enough, there was the word “nude” on my web page. How did that come to pass? I posted this reply on my web page when Sherri up at the Rockland Chamber of Commerce asked me if we had a television set. “Si! Por su puesto. Adelphia's cup runneth over: Friends from away will be delighted to discover that even way out here in the willywags they can enjoy preachers quoting from John 14, half nude girls demonstrating exercise machines, sales pitches on jewelry and weight loss, a very fuzzy channel where people appear to be playing tennis and two channels where Clint Eastwood speaks a dubbed in French augmented with French subtitles.”
You’ve heard me say that every day I read a page or two in a high school history book. The one presently by my bedside is People and Nations, A World History. My undergraduate degree is in history, but I’m like Henry Adams in that I’ll readily admit that I really don’t know anything about history. I’m still trying to understand why so few of us bother to put our lives and times in perspective when we can do it so easily by reading a few pages in a high school history book. You might think that people and the way they operate never change. But today I believe I can point out one basic difference between a highly civilized society and a primitive group of marauding raiders. You tell me if it would make an interesting topic for a PhD dissertation. Uncivilized people thought nothing of invading their neighbors and stealing everything they could get their hands on. I’m talking here about the Hittites, the Babylonians, the Assyrians, the Chaldeans, the Persians, the Indo-Aryans, and of course you had the same thing going on in China and India and any other place in the world where one group had something that another group wanted. Yes, back in the old days, uncivilized people simply marched into town, took what they wanted, and either killed everyone they could catch or carried them off as slaves. This barbaric way of operating went on for several thousand years, right up through Viking times. But then, as people became more civilized, the process changed. By the time of the First Crusade, leaders in civilized God fearing countries had to fabricate an excuse to attack and plunder their neighbors.
For $499 people in Boston can buy a dummy to put in the window to discourage would be robbers. The dummy has broad shoulders; a firm expression molded into a rugged face with a square set jaw, and huge arms and legs.
It is being outsold, however, by the dummy of a small, rat faced man with a gun.
Have you ever heard of an impressive exercise called tai chi? If I have the name right, from what I have seen, anyone who knows tai chi is a pretty limber person, indeed, and if I lived next door to a tai chi master, I’d be tai chiing for all I’m worth. The next best thing is exercise class, which I attend three times a week. It might surprise you to hear that I can now do things that I couldn’t do a month ago, like deep knee bends so I can squeegee the shower stall right down to the floor. The more I think about it, the more I believe that some old people simply freeze up, or get fat and die, simply because they don’t get any exercise. And I am guilty on both accounts here. Do you exercise? You would be amazed how hard your muscles get after only a month or two of exercise. The muscles in my arms and shoulders are hard hard hard. You’ve seen the men who work out on exercise machines in the TV ads. They have huge ugly arms and shoulders that I’m sure my wife Marsha would find repulsive. Luckily, I don’t have that bone and muscle structure to begin with. But I started to say that although a speeding bullet would probably bounce off the hardened muscles in my arms and shoulders, you wouldn’t even know they were there. I’m still a stooped and scrawny mild-mannered reporter. On top of that, for the past week I’ve have a vague pain somewhere in my right shoulder. You can see at once that there is a lesson to be learned here. My posture is so bad, I’m so stooped over, that there is a danger involved in hardening up my muscles: My skeletal structure is not designed to support it.
When you get your newspaper you probably turn first to the court record, just to find out what your neighbors have been up to. Being a police officer isn’t easy where I come from. Cops rushed into one home to break up a domestic argument and found a young couple trying to catch a mouse. And here’s a fellow who fell asleep in his pickup and almost smothered in a pile of bills in small denominations. Experienced crime scene investigators determined that he was on his way to town to make his monthly health insurance payment. And then I see that in only one week, five different people ran into deer. Total estimated damage to the five cars was $9500. Right below that we see that a fellow was fined $1,000 for hunting deer in closed season. Doesn’t it make you wonder if we have our priorities in order?
Last night I dreamed I was helping Ruth Ann fill up her soda cooler. I think that’s what it was called. A soda cooler. When I was a kid they had a soda cooler in the store. It was a rectangular metal tub with two metal covers on the top that were attached with hinges. When you wanted a soda, which cost a nickel, you lifted the cover and the soda was in about 4 inches of cool water. Must have had some kind of refrigeration device underneath that cooled the water. I mentioned soda cooler to my wife Marsha, The Almost Perfect Woman, and she didn’t know what I was talking about. Said she’d never seen a soda cooler. And now that I stop to think of it, I haven’t seen one for five or ten years, have you?
humble, Am home now and sharing Christmas with our family's adopted Colby international student, Andrei Roman from Bucharest, Romania.I was showing him your web page, where we both read about your adventures in Bucharest and Andrei had a flashback. He remembered that his aunt, Zizi Stefanescu-Goanga, who attended the 10th International Linguistics Conference, had met the "crazy American representative." According to your biographical information, it had to be you, as the lone American representative, whether or not you were the only American to apply for the honor. Andrei remembered that his aunt mentioned that she had received three letters after the conference from you with lots of family information. Could it be? Now, some 20+ years later, in the next generation, Zizi, whom you met in Bucharest, has a nephew attending Colby in the Great State of Maine.....go figure!your pal, Steve

Friday, January 07, 2005

No Stress In Maine

Last week, my doctor says to me, "You're lucky to live here in Maine where there is no stress."
No stress here in Maine? I'd like to see that doctor's wife drag him out of bed at 5 o'clock some January morning when it's two below zero. I'd like to see him bundle up and head out to start his 25-year-old diesel tractor --- the one with the plow but no cab on it. I'd like to see him go out through a window, because last night's slush on the doorstep had turned into solid ice when the temperature dropped forty degrees. And after spending an hour freezing his fingers while getting that old tractor started, I'd like to see that doctor try to move three feet of ice and snow in front the garage door so his wife could get out and drive 30 miles to teach school. And then I'd like to hear his wife yapping at him to take an axe and chop the ice off the doorstep so she, who is already half an hour late in leaving, can get out of the house without climbing out the window like he did. And after he'd knocked a corner off his granite doorstep and ruined his axe while chopping away the ice, can't you see his wife stepping into a two foot drift and getting snow down her boots because he hadn't had time to shovel a path? Oh, wouldn't I like to be there right then when he turns to his wife and says, "I love it here in Maine, where there is no stress."