Feb 25

Technology is making us stoopid.

I have been noticing lately that my spelling is getting worse. I blame Apple. Autocorrect is making me more stoopid. You see, Word has underlined stoopid and is begging me to change it. Screw you Word. I’m leaving it. Wrap your little computer head around that, T-1000.

In all seriousness though, I think technology is making us dumber. I am seeing it in a small way with my diminishing spelling skills. I used to be able to spell anything. I have gotten lazy. I don’t even try to cipher it out anymore. I just machine gun it out there knowing the computer is going to fix it.

I think we will see this become more pronounced over the next 50 years and beyond. Today’s generation of kids are being raised on this technology. How lazy are they going to be as adults? By that time, the computer won’t just correct word spelling. It will correct the entire text for spelling, grammar and who knows what else. How many times have you heard a kid (or adult) say “What do I need math for? I have a calculator in my pocket.”

Warning-Entering black helicopter conspiracy territory. Enter at your own risk.

At some point in the future, computers will do everything for us. The world of non-mobile fat humans in the movie Wall-E comes to mind. Make no mistake, sooner than you think, most things done on this Earth will be done by tech and robots. Driverless cars are already here. How long before they knock cab drivers and garbage collectors out of a job? Apply this logic to every job you know. It’s scary stuff.

What are we going to do when we create real artificial intelligence (AI)? Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk both think it will mean the end for humanity. I tend to agree with them. We already know how much faster computers move than the human mind. How long will it take the AI to grow its intelligence many multitudes of degrees past ours? Not long. Do you know why human beings are the dominant species on this planet? It’s not because we have opposable thumbs or god like hair. It’s that mass of tissue sitting between your ears. We are the smartest species on the planet.

What happens when we are not?

Permanent link to this article: http://www.missingtheground.com/2015/02/technology-is-making-us-stoopid/

Feb 20

Compulsion

I am just about fed up with your bullshit, religion. Nevermind all the shenanigans Christianity is constantly pulling over here in the States. Now we have ISIS mass beheading Christians in an attempt to poke the bear into a fight and bring about the end of the world.

“What’s that Jack?” you are saying. That is correct. Radical Islam (currently ISIS) believes in a strict interpretation of the Koran and believe they are intricate players in an all out Armageddon. I HIGHLY suggest you read the following link. It is long but you will have a much better understanding of who we are dealing with over there if you take the time to read it. Let me tease the article like this. If Al Queda was a cracked out doberman…ISIS is a full grown angry Bengal Tiger. They are two totally different animals. And one is obviously more ominous. Make no mistake about it. ISIS is 100% about bringing about a religious war to this planet.

What ISIS Really Wants

The problem, as I see it, with Islam is the statement that it is a religion of peace is total hogwash. Their holy book is quite clear on their mission of taking over the world by force and killing infidels. It’s spelled out in black and white. Now the majority of Muslims in the world decry radical Islam in the public arena. But they follow the same book. They kinda believe it to varying degrees. This is where we run into a sticky wicket when we go to war with them. We bomb the radicals. Innocents get killed. Muslims that were on the fence get mad and join the revolution. Rinse and repeat.

As to the Christians getting beheaded, I wish we could stop pointing out that they were Christians. 21 PEOPLE got their heads removed. Saying they were Christians further fuels the religious war bonfire that they are TRYING to light over there. It means about as much to me that they were Christian as it would if they were all drivers of Green Priuses. Don’t get me wrong. I know you are sitting there thinking “How much of this BS are we supposed to take before we go kick some ass?” I get that sentiment, believe me. Heck, I am almost totally against getting involved overseas but if we started carpet bombing that cesspool over there tomorrow, I wouldn’t lose a lot of sleep. The problem with this, however, comes back to what I touched on before. There are a billion Muslims in the world. I really don’t think we want to turn the current 5% of them that are radical Islamists into 100%.

I think most organized religions are bad but Islam is the most rotten of the bunch by a damn sight in my opinion. They are stuck in the Middle Ages and want to bring that mindset to the rest of the world. But, saying that, I also don’t think that Christians should forget that they were not unlike radical Islam back in the day. Even today, they want to convert everyone to their religion. They just don’t cut off your head to do it.

There isn’t an easy answer. Read the article I posted and tell us what you think. I have said it before but I honestly believe that if we could wave a magic wand and make all religion disappear from this world, we would all be better off. But that is never going to happen. So we are left having to deal with this mess.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.missingtheground.com/2015/02/compulsion/

Feb 12

Home Schooled Kids and Public Sports

So the Mississippi Senate today shot down the “Tim Tebow” bill. It would have allowed home schooled kids to play on public schools sports teams. This information came to me via a friend and an article on the Clarion Ledger facebook page. As usual, the comments on the article really brought out the best in people.

Right off the bat, let me say that I never realized there was such a widespread stigma against home schooled children. Some of the comments were downright rude and all around ignorant. There was a pervasive sentiment that home schooled kids think they are too good for public schools. That they feel themselves superior to public school kids. That they sleep til 10:00am every morning and play video games all day. People were definitely basing their opinions on whether or not the kids should be allowed to play on emotional feelings.

I don’t really know anything about home schooling. Definitely not enough to have an informed conversation on whether or not it is a good idea to home school your child. Here’s what I do know. This is the United States of America and if you want to keep your kid home and teach them, you should absolutely be allowed to do so. I was surprised that in Mississippi, the bastion of Christian conservatives and purported upholders of American individualism, there was such a widespread sentiment that if you didn’t go to the state sponsored school you had to be a pariah. There was definitely an opinion that these kids were somehow cheating in being home schooled. “My kid has to go to school, yours should too, by God!” This in a state where yelling “OBAMA’S A SOCIALIST!” is a mating call.

On the question of whether or not the home schooled kids should be able to play on public schools sports teams, I say absolutely they should. Here is the big reason why. Home schooling parents have put in just as much tax money as you to fund that public school. Technically, they are paying for your kids’ education. If anyone should be pissed around here, it should be them. In my opinion, if a home schooled child needs to come take a year of math in the public school he should be allowed to. His/her parents have already paid for it. All of the arguments I saw today against letting them play fell apart at that one fact. Their parents pay taxes. The only legitimate argument I saw was that student athletes need to maintain a certain GPA to play and there was no way to verify the home schooled kids grades. This is a legitimate point. We need to figure out how to make that happen.

I do know this with 100% certainty. If home schooled Johnny had a 4.5 40 time, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. :-)

Permanent link to this article: http://www.missingtheground.com/2015/02/home-schooled-kids-and-public-sports/

Feb 09

Very, Very Sweet Home Alabama

Alabama today sort of became the 37th state in our great union to allow same sex marriage. I say sort of because they are going into kicking and screaming. The populace had voted it down time and time again and duly elected other like minded bigots to public office. Chief of the Alabama Supreme Court Roy Moore tried a last minute stop on the impending federal mandate but it mostly fell short. Many offices today in Alabama were issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. In many counties though, the powers that be refused to issue any licenses at all. Literally crossing their arms and stomping their feet in an all out temper tantrum. This fight is far from over.

I was too young to remember the real fight for civil rights. By the time I had any memory of anything, those uppity black folk were attending my schools and drinking from my water fountains and being my friends. I feel quite certain, however, that the people who stood against black equality (and any equality throughout time) felt just as those that are opposing gay marriage feel now. They think they are right. Hell, they KNOW they are right. My only solace is our history though. Racism and bigotry fall by the wayside given enough time. So it will be with this. Being openly racist today is a sure way to get fired and bring upon yourself societal shame. It’s not dead, mind you. People will always hold hate in their hearts. It’s just not acceptable by today’s standards in civilized society.

My overall point tonight though is not really to argue about whether gay marriage is right or wrong. The Christian Right is concentrating their arguments now on states rights. Can the federal government lawfully tell a state what it is or is not going to do. This is not an easy question to answer folks no matter how incredibly wrong a state is. Clearly in my mind, states should not be able to do crazy stuff. Again, should states be allowed to hold slaves or segregate races? That question has been asked and answered and I hope the majority of people would agree that they should be stopped from such barbarism.

I like the idea of individual liberty and I hate slippery slopes. But I know people are stupid, especially in large numbers. If the federal government doesn’t stop them, who will?

What do you think?

Permanent link to this article: http://www.missingtheground.com/2015/02/very-very-sweet-home-alabama/

Feb 09

Joys of Parenthood (the little things)

Quote of the Day:

Insanity is hereditary–you get it from your kids.”     –Sam Leveson

TB had occasion last week to walk the halls of St. Andrew’s Episcopal (Lower) School with Li’l Scamp. As we passed the Spanish room, we encountered a little whippersnapper of her grade, but another teacher. A roundish sort of creature with a pleasantly out of control curly mop on his head. His knees were dirty and his shirt was all ahoo. Most noticeably, the strap of his backpack was clutched resolutely among his mixture of baby, permanent, loose and missing teeth, the rest of the item hanging empty and limp before him.

He and Scamp smiled at each other and she asked him, in light of his appearance, what in the world he was doing.

“I’m half-dog,” he replied, momentarily holding the bag with his left paw, losing his grin and adopting a posture of total sincerity.

“Oh,” replied Scamp, accepting his reply at face value, content with the logic of it all.

Who was I to question anything what with the satisfaction apparent to both of the actual conversation participants? We continued on our path and spoke no more of it, moving on to weightier issues such as the lifespan of the class hamster and his moral superiority over the simple goldfish of a rival set of second graders in the building.

Yet the encounter nagged at my subconscious self, in much the way a basketball nags a poodle.

That night we were discussing our day and I asked Scamp what that kid’s name was. She told me but then carried it further. “He thinks he’s half-dog.”

“Yes, I recall him saying something about that,” I replied.

“But he’s not.”

“No?,” I asked.

Scamp looked at me like I was a first-grader. “Well, can a half-dog talk? Can a half-dog play soccer? Can a half-dog go to the cafeteria?”

Oblivious to the fact we had somehow adopted opposite sides, from whence I’d assumed we’d started in our conversation, regarding the genetic and biological make-up of which our young school friend consisted, I rose to the debate.

“Well, he IS half-BOY, right? And that half of him ought to be able to talk, to play soccer, go to the cafeteria and what-not. Right?”

She simply rolled her eyes, realizing what a hopeless case I am. “Oh Daddy, they would never let the dog part of him do any of that. Not at MY school anyway. Especially not in second grade. Not even in Ms. C’s class, even if all they have is a goldfish. I’m going to bed.”

Permanent link to this article: http://www.missingtheground.com/2015/02/joys-of-parenthood-the-little-things/

Feb 04

Measles and Anti Vaccination Quacks

I have been trying to not comment on this measles outbreak and all the anti-vaccination stories going on. It’s because every time I think about it, it makes me REALLY REALLY angry. I know I am not supposed to call people stupid, ignorant, simpletons or morons but I have trouble keeping those words out of my mouth when discussing this topic.

Should you be forced to vaccinate your children against your will? I suppose not. But you should have the common decency to go live in a mountain commune with other fools and never leave the compound. This is not an argument about personal rights people. You do not live in a goddamn bubble. You live out here with everyone else. Your rights’ end where another persons’ begins.

A friend of my wife (I don’t know her or I would give her proper credit) posted something on FB the other day that captured the idiocy going on here. She was basically satirically talking about letting her 10 year old daughter start driving. Because it was her right as a parent. And the government shouldn’t be able to tell her what to do. And the child probably wouldn’t kill herself or anyone else. You get the picture. Straw man, shmaw man. Not vaccinating your kids is EXACTLY like this.

Did you know Mississippi has the best child vaccination rate in the whole country? Go MS! It’s because we require vaccinations for children to go to public schools without the bullshit exemptions a lot of other states have. It’s basically vaccinate your kid or teach em yourself at home.

Did you also know that in the year 2000 the United States declared that measles was eradicated from this country? And that measles kills 2 out of 1000 people it infects? And complications can make you deaf and many other lifelong calamities? Did you know that vaccines are not in any shape, form or fashion tied to autism? Do you deal in facts? Or whatever blows up your skirt? Do you realize the average human lifespan for humans used to be like 40 before vaccinations and modern medicine? I am going to say it one more time to no avail. GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF THE SAND DIPSHITS.

The measles are back and it is 100% because of you selfish, ignorant assholes.

I hope you are happy. I’m (obviously) not.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.missingtheground.com/2015/02/measles-and-anti-vaccination-quacks/

Feb 01

Impatient Parents

No one ever listens to me. I have told every single pregnant couple I know that they should wait to find out the sex of their baby until it’s born. They never take my advice. Seriously, not one of them ever. Why are you people so impatient, lol? The excuse I normally get is that people want to know what color crap to buy before the baby gets here. Babies have a larger accumulation of crap than they ever will have in the rest of their lives. There is no rush folks. Like color matters anyway. Let me tell you a baby’s favorite color. Brown. As in poop. You should buy all brown stuff so it will blend in. Especially your clothes.

I bet all of you peeked at your Christmas presents too! When we had our first child we did in vitro so we knew she was a girl from very early on. Couldn’t help it. But we waited on our second child. Neither of us knew what she was until she popped out. I have trouble articulating how incredibly excited we both were to find out. It’s all I was thinking about waiting on my second child to make her initial appearance. My wife was busy cursing my name in that moment but she backs me up 100% in the waiting idea. If we had 5 more children, we would wait on every one of them.

I know my speech is falling on deaf ears. Like I said, I have had this same conversation with every expectant parent I have known since the birth of my second daughter. So far I have been unsuccessful. I am hoping that one couple will listen to me one day. You will not regret it.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.missingtheground.com/2015/02/impatient-parents/

Jan 08

Cha-cha-cha

Quote of the Day:

I am the Great Cornholio!”     –Beavis

TB was speaking with a friend just the other day when suddenly they said something terrible.

What made it so bad was she wasn’t the first person to say such a thing to me–far from it. In fact, though I block it out immediately each time because it is so horrible to contemplate and I therefore find the frequency of the utterance impossible to quantify, I get told this with something approaching, dare I say it, regularity.

We were commiserating over the fact that we are both suffering from colds. Both of us are are thankful we’ve not had the flu. A few more pleasantries and then BAM! “This diarrhea is killin’ me though.”

Say what? Yeah, I actually had her repeat it, partly due to me being hard of hearing and partly because I can never freaking believe it when someone, uh,  drops this revolting and completely unuseful fact. “This diarrhea, it’s bad,” she shook her head to emphasize the extent of her suffering.

Taken aback as always, and unable to, errr, evacuate the conversation without making some reply, I laughed. I always laugh when someone, um, runs that ailment by me.

What the hell else am I supposed to do? I can’t exactly help can I? What are these people after? “Well, you look great!” Or, “I can hardly even smell it!” Perhaps they’re hoping to connect on a deeper level? “Me too, dude!”

Sorry, all they’re gettin’, ehh, out of me is a laugh. That and probably something like “That stinks, man,” as I flee the encounter at a trot.

People I implore you. Those Facebook posts on how “it’s comin’ out both ways?” Wipe ‘em clean.

Water cooler talk about “sittin’ on the throne all night?” Hold it.

And for God’s sake, when communicating the details of your travails to old TB, when you get to the part about diarrhea, just flush it.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.missingtheground.com/2015/01/cha-cha-cha/

Jan 07

Religious Law

I picked up a Sun Herald newspaper today. For you young folks, a newspaper is a periodical publication containing news, other informative articles, and usually advertising. A newspaper is usually printed on relatively inexpensive, low-grade paper such as newsprint. I stole that definition from Wikipedia because sometimes simple objects can be hard to put into words.

We are having some local drama and the headlines made me buy my first paper in a long, long time. Did you know they cost 75 cents now? Caught me by surprise. Anyway, as I was thumbing through this piece of living history, a story on page 5A caught my eye. It has moved me to write this little diatribe. That and the fact that TB threatened to drop my workers comp if I didn’t start posting again.

I wasn’t aware of it but did you know that according the the State of Mississippi’s constitution, one has to believe in a Supreme Being to hold public office? Apparently, a group called Openly Secular is trying to remove this requirement from the Constitution.

Now this seems like common sense to me but I am surrounded by a state full of people that would probably declare Openly Secular’s efforts to be the “continued war on religion”. This is exactly the type of warped thinking that runs rampant here. Here’s the problem with religious folk as I see it. It’s ok to have laws on the books that discriminate because we are in the majority. Of course we believe in the Constitution and separation of church and state. But you have to believe in God to hold public office. And we should post the Ten Commandments in every courtroom. And we should put prayer back in our public schools. And clearly we should have “In God I Trust” on our national currency. And, of course, Adam and Steve can’t get married. “Yoo no this country was formed by Christians stoopid!”

Openly Seculars efforts don’t stand a chance in hell of being successful. And that is a shame. No, I am not very religious as you can probably tell. But I can guarantee you that even if I was, I would hold these same convictions. Stop legislating with the Bible folks. Another religion holds this same goal. I believe they call it Shariah or something like that. And if they ever get the majority, you can enjoy living under what you always wanted.

Religious Law.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.missingtheground.com/2015/01/religious-law/

Dec 25

MTGU Xmas Update

Merry Christmas MTGU.

Thought you’d like to know, we raised $825 this year. It went to a guy who’s had a tough medical year but is on the mend physically–still fighting it financially; another guy who’s business suffered a major setback not entirely of his making and is now trying to get his head above water; to a family of 5 who lost everything in a fire two weeks ago; and there was no fourth nominee, so we’re on the lookout for someone, probably in the service industry or retail to drop it on before the New Year.
TB’s heading out for Winter Vacation, so who knows if I’ll be able to post anything for a couple of weeks (what else is new), but I am resolved to get this thing back in gear for 2015. In the meantime, I’ll probably tweet out some pics and observations on Vermont.

For the eleven of us in the money pool, RJ won the big money, edging out Flyin’ J.  Mac and MadDawg shared last place honors. I’ll get with you after the New Year to deliver your winnings.

Thanks, everyone, peace-out.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.missingtheground.com/2014/12/mtgu-xmas-update/

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