The Humble Farmer

Banquet Speaker, Entertainer, Humorist

Name:
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.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

February 25, 2005 Tentative Rants

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Start: Have you ever lost your keys in the sand at the beach, had your credit cards stolen from your gym locker, or left your wallet at the tennis court? If these unfortunate situations sound familiar, then perhaps you ought to give up sports.
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2. I have a letter here from my friend Larz, in Boothbay Harbor, who writes: “Hey, humble - did you catch the piece on Maine Public Radio this morning about a guy got arrested for stealing $150,000 from the safe of a lobsterman in St. George? They didn't identify the lobsterman, but they did tell what was in the safe: $150,000 cash and a large bag of marijuana.” Gee Larz, you know, that could be almost anybody.
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3. In the course of my day I get to exchange email with many nice people. I also get to talk with many pleasant and friendly people on the phone. About one person out of 100, however, comes across just about as nasty as you can get. One never knows why these people are being rude --- no let’s use the word nasty. Because we don’t know why these people are being nasty, you and I always try to be nice to them. Perhaps their spouse backed over their favorite pet that morning. Perhaps they ate something that has given them a stomach ache. Perhaps they’ve been eating too much cheese and not enough apples and prunes, which would have given even Mother Teresa the personality of the Wicked Witch of the West. Perhaps you have to have phone conversations with some of these people in the course of your business. Have you ever asked yourself what you could do to help them? On the other hand, there are people in the world who get their kicks from teasing anyone who is mentally ill. If they can’t find a reason, they will invent one. Can’t you see one of these teasers compiling a web page of the telephone numbers of these mentally ill or hung over people who are always nasty on the phone? Any time you think things sound bad at home you could go to that web page and call one of these people who snarl and bite. What’s that? You’d be afraid to call for fear of getting your own wife?
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4. I dropped out of scouting because I didn't like the socks and I was always partnered to this girl named Barbara who was even less popular than I and totally boring and she liked the socks. My father called us neo-fascist reactionaries when we were in scouts. Olga Thank you Olga. Dear humble, You might be surprised to know that you can actually see parts of my lawn. The part that is just over the septic and the part that is directly below my dryer vent. Gregory in Arundel
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5. You know that I’m interested in words and their social implications. The National Soft Drink Association has changed its name to the American Beverage Association. We know that all big industries spend millions of dollars researching what will sell. Do the words “soft drinks” leave a bad taste in your mouth? Are soft drinks a mealtime option in the school in your town? Would you feel more comfortable if you knew that the sugary chemicals your kid drinks from the can were called beverages instead of soft drinks? I don’t know. I would never have thought of this if The National Soft Drink Association had not changed its name to the American Beverage Association. I’m asking you why they changed their name. I’m humblefarmer@midcoast.com What do you think about it?
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6. When you started school were there big pictures of letters over the blackboard in front of the room? Did you have to hold your pencil in a manner proven to be conducive to legible penmanship? My wife Marsha, The Almost Perfect Woman, has 2 and one half grandchildren and pictures arrive by email almost every day now. You will not be surprised to hear that the two-year-old, who lives up in Fort Kent where they invented snow, is probably having her ears blown to pieces riding around on a snowmobile. Do snowmobiles make a noise like a lawnmower that would hurt unprotected ears? I hope they don’t, and I hope that’s what you’ll tell me. I don’t know. But what really distressed me in the picture that came today was the way the kid holds a crayon. One would think she had a chisel in her hand and was about to hit it with a hammer. By the time the poor little thing gets to school, where I hope they still teach the correct way to hold a pencil, they’ll have to break all her fingers and start her again from scratch.
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7. I was surprised that only two of my pedantic friends wrote to point out that last week I wrote brother in laws instead of brothers in law. My computer didn’t like brother in laws, but I said heck with it because brothers in law sounded unnatural --- as in, “this is something up with which I will not put.” My friend Robert in Bath had this to say: “I am one of those who approve of using words not necessarily because the grammar is correct, but because it sounds good. Thank you, Robert. I ain’t got nothing against that.

Robert also says, “When you mentioned the picture book of life one-hundred years ago, I couldn't help thinking of the excellent photo exhibit at Owls Head Transportation Museum of the fishing and boating industry in New England one-hundred years ago. There are also quotes from people like Henry David Thoreau, who visited one fishing community in the late 1840's and said that between the bed-bugs and the cats hollering on the roof, he could not get any sleep at night....
Thank you Robert. I don’t remember hearing this Thoreau quote. I do remember that before taking an exam in an undergrad class in American lit I walked through the classroom just before our exam and sprinkled water from Walden Pond on anyone who thought it might help. I am not alone in my belief that sprinkling on a bit of water from Walden Pond can be effective before an American lit exam. I know what your thinking and I don’t want to hear it. A drink of Sam Adams would not help you pass an exam in American history.
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8. Did you know that you can earn a college degree in only two weeks? That’s what the email said. You can earn any college degree in only two weeks, and I believe it. Yes, I would bet ready money that I have many intelligent but uneducated friends who could, in two weeks, pass all the examinations necessary to obtain a degree from any college in the United States. And because you can think faster than I can, you’re already saying, “Of course, anyone could do it, if their ancestors lived for hundreds of years in Russian ghettos or practiced medicine in places like Viet Nam.
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9. My brother in law Mark Sisco recently called to tell me that in a Mark Trail comic strip, Mark Trail is standing on an oyster bar ankle deep in water, surrounded by hungry sharks. Mark Trail is saying, “I’m in big trouble. I’m surrounded by sharks on this oyster bar and the tide is going out.” My brother in law thought that this was funny and said that Mark Trail wasn’t going to get in trouble as long as the tide was going out. But anyone who thinks about this knows that although only a very few men have been eaten by sharks, many men have been undone after eating a few oysters.
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10. My friend Denise from down Kennebunkport way writes that Mark Trail doesn’t age much over the years- she says he looks too cute now. I had to remind Denise that Mark Trail was the same age when she started reading him. Now he looks like a kid because she’s old enough to be his grandmother. If you will remember, Mary Worth got younger and younger. When I was two years old Mary Worth had already outlived most of her peers. If you are without bias, even if you don’t care for Mary Worth, you have to admit she looks awful good for a 130 year old woman.
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11. Alison, the oldest kid, said that she was in a road race and came in in the top 16 percent. I asked for the web site www.beach2beacon.org so I could see the chart for myself.
When I saw that the fastest six runners in that race were from Kenya, all I could think was, “Wow, I wonder why Swedes and Italians don’t find out what kind of a training program they have for their runners in Kenya so they’d be able to run fast, too?” And wouldn’t you think that American educators in charge of physical education programs would want to incorporate as much as they could of the Kenyan system, too? Any educator in America today will tell you that genes have nothing to do with a young person’s performance in the classroom or on the playing field. When we get rid of the teachers who are incompetent dubbers, when our school system stops failing, when we finally implement the right kind of magic program, no child will be left behind. Imagine what chaos will reign when every country implements the training program they use in Kenya, and 10,000 runners all show up at the finish line at the same time.
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12. When I was sitting in the Knox County Courthouse hoping to be selected for jury duty, people were asked to stand if they or a close family member had been involved in an incident involving alcohol. 20 or so stood. The judge asked one man, “Was it you or a family member who was involved in this incident,” and the man said, “It was me and I still think I was innocent.”
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13. My wife Marsha works hard and I thought it would be nice to take her on a little winter trip down to Key West where it is warm. I opened the AAA tour book and read the motel prices: 599, 279, 498. I says to her maybe we can’t go. But then --- I looked further down the list and said, look at this. Here are some motels we can afford: $24, $25, She said, “You are looking at the prices of meals in low class restaurants.”
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14. End: You can learn a lot about a man by simply going into his bathroom and seeing how many extra holes he had to drill in the wall to put up his towel racks.

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