Jul 23

Last Missing the Ground Post. Maybe Unless Someone Else Posts Something Before the End of the Month

“You picked a fine time to leave me Lucille…”-Kenny Rogers

Ben messaged me a few weeks ago and broke the news that he was going to turn off Missing the Ground. They were raising the cost of maintaining the site and, quite frankly, things were pretty dead around here. It didn’t shock me, For probably the better part of the last year I was the only one contributing and my posts were few and far between. Plus I am by far the least talented of various authors we had contributing pieces here and I wasn’t pitching in any cash for the upkeep so there wasn’t much I could say. I momentarily thought about just taking the reins from TB and paying the fees myself but Ben was right. There just wasn’t enough going on here to make it worthwhile.

Writing is hard. I’m not that creative in any other areas but I assume they are just as difficult. Making something out of nothing or producing entertainment on a daily basis was way more difficult than I ever really imagined before we started this blog. I have gained newfound respect for anyone that gets out there and provides any sort of creative entertainment on a continuing basis. I learned so much from the other writers here. There were 5 of us here on a regular or semi-regular basis. Ben (TB), Brian (The Daily Wit), Irvine Redd, and Harmony. The professional jackass Jack Napier joined us for the last couple of years but I can neither confirm nor deny that Jack was also me. 😉

I really want to express my gratitude to TB for inviting me to this project in the first place. I didn’t even know what “Missing the Ground” was a reference to when we started. Lol. I figured it out later. I want to also thank all four of y’all for sharing your beautiful thoughts and writing styles with me and the MTGU. I hope in much the same way a dog learns not to touch an electric fence that I may have marginally improved my writing style thanks to y’all.

I wanted to save all my pieces from the blog. Mainly because one day when I’m gone, I hope my children will read them and get an even better grasp (for better and worse) of who their dad was. A friend gave me a link for a program that basically built an offline mirror of the entire site on my computer. This worked but basically I am too stupid to open it or make it work now. So the other day I sat down and started copying and pasting all of my pieces into a folder. I was kind of glad I was too dumb to work the computer program because even though it took me about 4-5 hours, it gave me a chance to slowly go back in time through the MTGU. There were world events I wrote about that I don’t even remember happening now. I was happy to see that my political sway hasn’t changed a whole lot over the last 4 years. The first few years of the blog were really the golden age in my opinion. Everyone was posting a lot and the subjects were a virtual hodgepodge of topics. Ben used to post LOTS of vacation pics. And do y’all remember “Mash Up Mondays”? Apparently it was a thing we used to do.

Even though it’s really been gone awhile, I am going to miss the little world we built here. We helped a lot of people with the Be Excellent to a Stranger campaigns and I hope, in some little way, we provided entertainment with our pontifications. Until the next time folks, adios and adieu.

A few stats from the site.
Total views-99,820 (So close to 100k…typical)
Total comments-4.944
Best day ever-449 views. Post-“Gibson Field Days” (a tribute piece to our Pascagoula roots if memory serves)

“The Guide says there is an art to flying”, said Ford, “or rather a knack. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.”― Douglas Adams, Life, the Universe and Everything

Permanent link to this article: http://www.missingtheground.com/2016/07/last-missing-the-ground-post-maybe-unless-someone-else-posts-something-before-the-end-of-the-month/

Jul 03

PUT YOUR OWN SEAT DOWN-A lesson in personal responsibility

Not 10 minutes ago, my youngest daughter almost fell in the toilet. She immediately started hollering at me, since I am the only male in this house. While it is true that I was the last one to use that particular bathroom, I have to ask you ladies an earnest question.

How, in the world, do y’all almost fall in the toilet so often? The fact that we men have allowed ourselves to even be painted into this corner is beyond me. I think it definitely coincides with the mainstreaming of agriculture. You see, when we learned to farm and didn’t have to hunt our food down daily, other things started to slip as well. We are poor shadows of our former alpha male selves.

I think I can speak for the entire male sex and frankly say that a man has never fallen into a toilet. It is beyond my comprehension that I would plop my hiney down on a toilet without first checking to see that the seat is down. I can’t imagine having that kind of blind faith in something seemingly so important.

I think the females realize this is true and that’s where we see the universal man blame coming into play. They have to stand strong and tow that line because if the big lie is ever exposed, well, everything we know might come to an end. To be clear, somehow, through some medieval twisting of logic, it is the mans responsibility to make sure that you don’t go dive bombing in the porcelain throne because you couldn’t take 2 milliseconds to glance at the seat?

I guess I should just be thankful y’all don’t hover like you do in public restrooms getting pee everywhere.

Yea, we know.

P.S. We are also onto that little hand on the hip trick in pictures.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.missingtheground.com/2016/07/put-your-own-seat-down-a-lesson-in-personal-responsibility/

Permanent link to this article: http://www.missingtheground.com/2016/06/your-freedom-if-you-please/

Jun 08

Berry Pickin’

Quote of the Day:

The dewberries are a group of species in the genus Rubus, section Rubus, closely related to the blackberries. They are small trailing (rather than upright or high-arching) brambles with aggregate fruits, reminiscent of the raspberry, but are usually purple to black instead of red. Unlike many other Rubus species, dewberries have separate male and female plants (they are dioecious).

Dewberries are common throughout most of the Northern Hemisphere, sometimes thought of as a nuisance weed, but the leaves can be used for a tea, and the berries are sweet and edible. They can be eaten raw, or used to make cobbler, jam, or pie.     —Wikipedia

“Them’s Dewberries.” As in not blackberries no matter what every other kid called them. The man knew (knows) his produce, so who was (am) I to argue, even if I had (have) never yet heard another soul in the world refer to any sort of berry beginning with “Dew.” He knows his English grammar too, by the way; he’s just never put much stock in it.

TB used to go pick berries with my Dad back in the 70’s and early 80’s. We’d drive out to the industrial park in east Pascagoula and tear ’em up after supper every summer. Well, Daddy would. He could pick about 4 Folgers cans/pails/cracked tupperware bowls to my one. Two trips out to the big ditch next to the fertilizer plant/oil refinery/engine factory and we’d have blackb–errr, dewberry cobblers and dewberry jelly all summer and half the school year. Never even tasted the TCE or DDT neither.

It’s been a few Presidents since I last bent low and braved the bugs and briars to pick berries before today. But I had my little girl out with me on my morning walk  and we passed several good stands that the deer and other foragers had yet to rake over. I thought I’d show them to her because she’s growing up a lot different than I did and I wanted her to see where berries come from and I secretly hoped she’d demand to pick ’em.

And the kid came through.

We went back to the car and I found a plastic Kroger sack on the floorboard. Not nearly as good as a coffee can, nostalgia-wise, but easier to hang on to I found. I showed Scamp how to stamp down on the briars to get to the good berries, how to freeze and go backwards when her shirt got hung up on the stickers, how to pull the berries gently so as not to squish ’em prematurely.

Scamp was feeling a little low about me outpickin’ her by two to one, so I reassured her that’s what Dads are supposed to do. Matter of fact, I’m mortally certain my Dad at 80 can still beat me two coffee cans to one with little trouble.

We talked about how much I liked pickin’ berries when I was nine like her, and she smiled in that way that shows a kid is not just happy, but happy in a way that she’s beginning to understand how families work down through the generations and how good it is to be with her Dad during summer vacation learning about when he was a kid and seeing where berries come from and how to pick ’em.

“I like pickin’ berries too Dad. Maybe one day I’ll have a little girl and she’ll like it too. Just like you and Graddaddy and me.”

I said something like, “I’m sure you will Sweetheart,” and I hoped she would, but I was really being a little selfish, reveling at the same time in the recollection of my own ninth year, and figuring that while she may or may not remember this day at 45, I’d gained an awesome bonus scene associated forever with my childhood memories of berry pickin’.

She interrupted the reverie with a pertinent query. “Dad, are these red ones raspberries?”

“No, they’re just berries that aren’t ripe. Don’t pick ’em. Save ’em for someone else that comes after us.” That’s what my Dad used to tell me.

“Oh, ok,” she said. “What do you call the black ones?”

“Blackberries.”

 

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.missingtheground.com/2016/06/berry-pickin/

Jun 07

Sticks and Stones

I had a good friend once who spent tons of time in the woods. His sons also spent lots of time in the woods. They were nature hippy/country boy types I guess. Always fishing, hunting, catching wildlife etc. Well, one day my buddy comes to work and says that his son was bitten by a venomous snake. Luckily the kid got medical attention quickly and it everything ended up fine. Since everything was ok, I joked with my friend and asked him if he knew why that snake bit his son? He said no. “Because he was tromping around in the woods where snakes live.”

I tell you that story because it reminds me of Donald Trump. Trump has said something recently that got him into hot water. I know, I know, I apologize. I should have told you to sit down before springing that bombshell on you. I also realize that I need to be specific when referencing gaffes the Donald has made.

This particular snafu was him wondering if the judge in his fraud case (or whatever it is) might be biased against him because the judge is Latino. Now, why do you suppose, would Trump possibly think the judge might be unfair to him because he is Latino? Is it because Trump (and EVERY single one of his supporters) knows that he has said some racist crap against Latinos and possibly ticked them off a little? Yea, I bet that’s how he knows.

Before the Trumpeteers start explaining to me how it’s ok to be racist because that’s how the real world works and you are tired of being “politically correct”, let me finish my thought process. You can just sit over there while I finish and talk to Donald’s “African American”.

Another hot topic lately has been the gangs of liberals attacking poor innocent, bible reading Trump supporters at Trump rally’s. Now while I am not saying it is ever ok for someone to attack another person like that, I am not an idiot and I can at least see why it is happening. Trump pisses people off. A lot of them. Hell, it’s one of the main things his supporters like about him. But don’t act like innocent Ann over there when those pissed off people act on it. Trump does attract full blown racists. NO I’M NOT SAYING YOU ARE ALL RACISTS. But, again, I am not an ostrich head in the sand guy by nature. Racists like the Donald. You know it and I know it. Now, let’s move forward.

This “poor poor pitiful me” routine reminds me of another situation that I have discussed before. Good Christian folk want to pass a law outlawing some homosexual behavior. The gay community (and decent not assholes) push back against the law. The religious folks then throw up their hands and declare that their religious rights are being trampled. Acting like THEY ARE THE VICTIMS here.

Look, wherever you land on Hurricane Trump, you have to admit that he is ticking people off. Cause and effect is a real thing folks. Some of our most basic physics principles rely on the principle and similar concepts like conservation of energy. Energy can neither be created nor destroyed.

It simply changes form.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.missingtheground.com/2016/06/sticks-and-stones/

Jun 04

Sick Leave

It’s a good bet that most of you know or have worked with someone that “abuses” sick leave. You know, the guy that burns his time just as soon as he accumulates enough to take off. I have watched these people for 20 years in the fire service. You see, at many fire departments, there is a minimum staffing requirement and it does tend to get aggravating when you can’t take off because ole Jimmy over there called in sick for the 200th time this year.

One of the main responsibilities in my current job is scheduling. I have to find people to fill in shifts every time one of my firemen takes off for any reason. So you would probably think that I would be one of those folks that gets my panties knotted up over leave “abuse”. You would be wrong.

As a matter of fact, I wish folks would quit even calling it “abuse”. You see, I learned a long time ago that there is not anything you can do about it. The people that burn all their time are, by and large, usually not breaking any rules when they are doing so. When you allow yourself to get all twisted up over something that you have absolutely no power over, the only person you are hurting is yourself. The guy burning all his leave doesn’t give a flying rats ass that you are losing sleep, that’s for sure. My firefighters know that I don’t want them calling me at 2am, fake coughing and telling me they are going to be sick the following morning. 99 times out of 100, you know that you are going to be sick well before then. I just ask that they call me at a decent hour to tell me. I literally don’t care if they tell me 2 weeks ahead of time that they are going to be sick. I also don’t care (as MANY others do) what you are doing on your day off. You really sick? Ok, I hope you feel better soon. You’re partying at the Flora Bama and Mullet Toss? Ok, I hope you don’t get too hungover. And I sleep like a baby at night.

I guess my overall advice today is just learn to let go of the things you can’t control. It will make you healthier and possibly a better employee or manager.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.missingtheground.com/2016/06/sick-leave/

May 31

Monkey See Monkey Do

You have probably heard the recent story of the 4 year old toddler that managed to get into a gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo. The Zoo officials shot the gorilla dead and saved the child. This was absolutely the right thing to do.

The blowback online about this incident is enough to make me want to give up on humanity more than I normally do. People are saying all kinds of outlandish crap. Blaming the zoo. Blaming the mother of the child, saying she’s unfit and should have her child taken away from her. Saying she should have been made to go into the enclosure herself so the gorilla could kill her. Saying the zoo officials should have shot the gorilla with tranquilizer darts.

Listen folks. I am going to say this again, slowly. Human life trumps animal life. Every. Single. Time.

“But the gorilla was protecting the child.” Shut up. You are talking about a Silverback Gorilla. Do you have ANY clue how strong those things are? I heard Jack Hanna (the wildlife dude) talking about it this morning. He said that gorilla could crush a green coconut (which you can’t cut open with a hatchet) like it is nothing. Meaning it would have taken this animal exactly 2 milliseconds to crush that kids skull like an egg. And shooting it with tranquilizer darts doesn’t work like it does in the movies you ignorant jackass. He’s not just going to fall over and go night night. He is going to be supremely ticked off that you just shot him with a dart. A 350lb super strong animal standing over a 4 year old baby. Morons.

“She is the worst mother ever. How come she wasn’t watching her kid closer.” I can only surmise that people making these asinine comments don’t have children. Those folks always seem to have all the super best parenting answers. Are you legitimately telling me that you have never lost track of your kids? Ever? Bullcrap. Granted, them wandering into a gorilla habitat is probably one of the worst outcomes I can imagine but we have all lost our kids at some point or another.

Look, the zoo absolutely made the right decision. It is a terrible tragedy that the amazing animal had to die but it is what it is. He didn’t crawl into a cage with a terrier people. It’s a freaking silverback. Do y’all remember what that orangutan did to that woman a few years back?

Permanent link to this article: http://www.missingtheground.com/2016/05/monkey-see-monkey-do/

May 14

Passage

The sound of thunder filled the air as I began to pile sand into mounds at the beach. Creation always seems to give way to the basic act of holding sand while watching it slip through my fingers. Slowly, diminishing remnants of a forgotten purpose work their way through my grip. Each granule a representation of a moment in time. Time falls around me, effortlessly, and through my hand tiny mounds form. Their significance small, the act of observing its travel satiated, forgotten. A mesmerizing progression that allows my mind to give way to unspoken theories. Ponderings so deep that peripheral vision blurs into darkness, as I surrender myself inward. Until I look up and see that my anthills have become one with the beach and the wrinkles of time have been smoothed out, leaving a straight determinate timeline separating now from then and in that moment the passages of time have fabricated a life out of retrospect.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.missingtheground.com/2016/05/passage/

May 03

Nicotine. You stank bitch.

I am in a dark, dark place.

I have been addicted to nicotine for approximately the last 20-30 years. My estimates of time are hazy. Due mostly to the fact that I haven’t been a boring stick in the mud my entire life. I regret exactly jack shit for the record.

I’m sorry if I am a bit abrasive. My body’s dependence on this terrible drug has me bending over backwards right now. I have tried quitting a few times in the past. The symptoms are always exactly the same. Let me explain to you what it’s like quitting nicotine. It’s not a sharp knife to the heart pang. Like I am going to murder someone immediately if I don’t get a smoke/dip. It’s more like the tide. Creeping ever forward. Inch by inch and always there. The first couple of weeks it’s all you think about. Every second of every day. Even though a sharp thought can take you away for a moment, it comes back. Like the tide. And you KNOW, just one cigarette or one dip will make all of it go away. Like in 30 seconds.

I can’t imagine what it’s like being on heroin or other hard drugs. Trying to quit. I make a thousand excuses a day to myself on why one little dip can’t possibly hurt.

I know what you are saying. “He’s full of shit. He’s on day two. He is incredibly hot for 43.” Ok the last part was some old man wishful thinking. But you are correct. Most “quits” end up falling short and banging their knee getting off that wagon. Let me explain to you why you are wrong and I am so confident that I will be successful.
I have an addictive personality. I get highly invested in things. I have things I like. And things I must have. Most things fall into the former. I like to gamble and I will, at times, go blow it out at the casino and spend way more than many people think I should. But that’s when I have play money. I’m not the guy, and have never been the guy, that is going to go blow the rent on the craps tables and end up homeless.

Nicotine has me though. If I don’t drink for a few days, I am not sitting around every night thinking “I have to get a drink right now”. Nicotine does that to me. I am thinking, RIGHT NOW, how incredibly sweet a dip would be. I will be thinking it when I get up in the morning. The difference is, this time, I have made up my mind. I AM going to quit this disgusting habit. My dental hygienist told me a week ago that my gum line was receding. She always warns me about my dipping but this was the first time she produced what I perceive as evidence. She told me that once the gums recede so far, the underlying tissue is much more susceptible to decay and it will go much quicker. This was the wake up call I needed. I always dipped because I couldn’t see any discernable effects. This was touchable.

You have to have your mind made up to quit any habit. Of this I am sure. And I mean truly made up. No bullshit. In my entire life I can only remember one time that my mind was “made up” about quitting. And I quit. For six straight months. Then my dad died. Everybody has an excuse but for those that know me, this was a traumatic experience. I went into about a two month shock. Well, it was during this time that I decided not much of anything mattered and I started dipping again because “who gives a shit, really”.

I have made up my mind for the second time. I will not dip again.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.missingtheground.com/2016/05/4114/

May 01

Potty Mouth

Earlier today on Facebook I saw a “conversation” break out that was inspiration for the following diatribe. I am a member of one of the FB for sale pages. I am a member of a few of them but this one is called “Man Stuff for Sale or Trade”. I actually like this group a lot. Like the title says, it’s man stuff. Equipment, old beater cars, tools, and my new favorite, guns. I’m not interested in the guns per se. I just find the postings hilarious. FB doesn’t allow you to sell guns on its site. So everybody posts it as something else. There will be a photo of a Buzz Lightyear doll lying next to an AR-15. “Slightly Used Buzz Lightyear Doll For Sale”. I don’t know why but it just cracks me up.

Anyway, obviously there are mostly dudes in this group. Apparently one of the dudes dropped a F bomb in a comment. One of the other members asked him to watch his language. This ended up launching an entirely different thread on the pros and cons of colorful language. Basically you had a few guys saying that it shouldn’t be allowed because of kids possibly seeing it or just general decorum. The majority of the folks in there were cussing until they were red in the face saying they should be able to say whatever the #$%^ they want to. One fella threatened to kick everyone’s internet rumps if they were foolish enough to find their way to Long Beach. He had a couple of takers. Not sure how that turned out.

I jumped in with the old farts. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have a grade” A” potty mouth. F-bombs, compound cusswords, the c word the ladies like so much, you name it and I probably say it fairly regular. But I try to be audience specific in my usage of foul language. I am not always successful but I try not to cuss in front of my family. And I am certainly not about to break out a mother&$^%$# around strangers. That was really the point I was trying to get across to everyone in the group. It seems to me that there is a pretty exponential erosion of civility across society. I’m no social conservative and usually land on the liberal side of these type issues but to me it always boils down to your rights ending where mine begin. I don’t want to listen to your foul mouth when I am eating dinner with my family. And as my wife will attest, I have called people out in real life for just such behavior.

What level of jackass (it’s an animal, I’m ok) do you have to be to think it’s ok to cuss indiscriminately in public? I attribute it to the “me” culture. It’s the same reason people take forever in a line when it’s their turn. “Screw you, I’m getting mine.” Will you shout out $%#$sucker in church? Of course you won’t. Why is that? I will tell you. It’s respect. You should have that same level of respect when you are around strangers or anyone who might not be ok with hearing it. You are posting on a public page on the most popular social media site the world has ever seen. It’s a pretty good assumption that you don’t know who some of these people are.

This just seems like common sense to me. But if the past 4 decades have taught me anything at all, it’s that common sense becomes a more rare commodity with each passing year.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.missingtheground.com/2016/05/potty-mouth/

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