Monday, December 31, 2007

Spiral Reverie First Year End Extravaganza

Time for another entry with a title to properly build up your excitement in anticipation of drama, free prizes, and penguins!

Unfortunately, this entry will contain neither of the three. Save your tears for a more worthy cause! Instead, you get to enjoy one of the no doubt millions of tired "Year in Review" entries that no doubt clog the "blogosphere's" arteries like much bacon grease right around this time.

Except instead of something well organized like you'd expect of such an entry, instead, you're going to get a bunch of jumbled ramblings and rantings from me. Everything you ever wanted that no one would give you for Xmas. Enough of your childhood hangups!

Speaking of children, let's start on a positive note! Congress tried repeatedly this fall to pass children's health insurance legislation to ensure that poor children could easily find healthcare. George W. Bush - who obviously loves children and couldn't be more concerned with the health of America's future - vetoed it both times. Why? It covers too many kids. Ya see, we want kids healthy, just not too many. It's called Darwinism, the rest of us need other kids to call 'Sicky' and make fun of on the playground, heheheh. They're not my kids! Of course, Michael Moore released a documentary earlier this year about the issue of what HMOs and the whole insurance system is doing to the American populace at large. But let's not take him seriously, oh no, he may be a political documentarian with a point to make, but because he's not conservative, he's just one of those evil communist types that we should all ignore - even if his message is one actually worth considering. We'd be a nation of the dirty reds if we dared to support the poor and made health care anything but a privilege! We'd have to hunt each other in submarines with Sean Connery if we ever hoped to see a bright tomorrow! (Okay, so I never saw that movie, nor read the book.) Corporate interests are America! Buy. Sell. Buy. Sell. Buy. Sell. Reaganomics!

Okay, I kind of scared myself with the turn that last paragraph took. That's definitely a state of mind to avoid there. Getting back to politics in general, the 2008 election season began earlier than ever - and who can blame those campaigning? Everybody wants to get past the Bush administration and their policies. (Except most of the Republican candidates, who support Bush and seem to effectively be basing their campaigns around being George W. Bush II: And You Thought He Was Bad!) On the Democrat side, we have Hillary Clinton, who seems to be the strong frontrunner and thus possibly the first woman president. She's pretty moderate, with a number of conservative tendencies - as the Democratic party's seen much of lately, as they've had to slide to the right from the left in order to get much attention at all these days - but the Republicans are trying to paint her as an evil socialist reformer for presenting a radical healthcare plan that would ultimately serve as a step towards socialized medicine - which despite its flaws, would certainly be far better than the current system if handled properly. Their efforts to paint her as that are failing, anyway, as their own candidates continue to flounder. (Yeah, everyone's going to rush out to vote for Mike "I believe there is duck hunting in heaven!" Huckabee.) Then there's Barack Obama, Illinois' golden boy senator, who used to be neck-in-neck with Hillary, potentially being our first black president. He's fairly moderate as well, and criticized largely for his lack of experience. (Though Hillary doesn't exactly have tons of it either, she's been hit with that criticism too.) He's a charismatic guy with a lot of good ideas, and as it looks likely to come down to one of those two, I'm prepared to vote for either Hillary or Obama, despite my reservations about both. John Edwards is a nice guy. I've actually met him, having watched him speak live at my high school - the same where his kids went, and his son died - on community service, selected by the local Food Bank for my work there in my senior year, rather than watching his talk on live TV broadcast around the building like the majority of the school. He has a lot of good ideas too. But after the 2004 election, he never really had a shot. (It's hard not to miss him in the senate. Elizabeth Dole and Richard Burr have never represented the real interests of North Carolinians. They've only been Bush administration enablers.) If only Dennis Kucinich had a chance. But on the note of candidates without a shot in hell, there's no not mentioning Ron Paul. He's a constitutionalist! What does that mean, you ask? It means getting rid of everything not in the constitution. Public education? See ya! Healthcare? Not for you! Any kind of central federal government vested interest in the people? Not anymore! Not in his ideal world, anyway. The free market will take care of everything! No it won't. But that's still what the nutty Ron Paul supporters on the internet would have you believe. The way these people foam at the mouth over him, you'd think he was some sort of religious figure. It's nutty enough when people actually convince themselves that the free market will take care of everybody, let alone anybody other than the already wealthy and connected. It's incredibly naive. And handing over power to the states over the federal government? You may as well dismantle the nation as we know it. Far as he's concerned, states can do whatever they want. Which would make it relatively easy for political extremists in each area to take over and act as virtual dictators. Want segregation back? It's possible! Don't you just hate women having abortion rights? It's finally easily done away with! Do you not only hate people supporting same sex marriage, but gay people themselves? There's hateful legislation for you too! Ain't no fed'ral guvunment gon' protect you now! If you ladies want suffrage, you can move to Massa-CHEWsetts! Of course, his ideal America is never going to happen. And his supporters make the rabid Reaganites almost look sane by comparison. Almost. Some people sadly just don't get that there's more to this world than establishing your individual economic value and competitiveness. If life and government came down to nothing but economic value, competitiveness, and property rights of individuals, we may as well all just kill ourselves. That's obsessive consumerism, capitalism, and materialism to the Nth degree. Stripping away everything that makes us what we are, and turning into a civilization of self-destructive greedy little pigs. But if a day comes when the majority of humanity thinks that way, we absolutely fucking deserve what we'd get for all that. The final emptying of what little soul we have left - and I'm not talking about soul in the religious sense here, but the very essence of our existence as complex three-dimensional creatures capable of bonding with others outside of ourselves and truly caring for one another. Not to mention, this Ron Paul guy? He's had no qualms with taking and keeping campaign contributions from white supremacists (In his ideal world, these people are A-OK, racism is just an opinion!), and he thinks Lincoln should have bought all the slaves, ignoring the rest of the reasons behind the Civil War. Good thing most people realize what a load of disgusting greed-aggrandizing bullshit Ayn Rand's writing and philosophies are. (Libertarians aside. Yeah, I really laid into them here. It's just too easy, and they're too irritating and self-important on the internet to ignore.)

On news impossible to make light of (Without being a total fuckwit, anyway.), popular politician, former Prime Minister, and leading opposition in Pakistan's upcoming generation election Benazir Bhutto was assassinated just days ago. Al-Qaeda is amongst the groups claiming responsibility for her death. There's no telling which is actually responsible, but regardless, this is a tremendous tragedy for both the Pakistani people and the world.

On a more irrelevant note, in pop culture, a bunch of movies came out. Some were good, a very few were great, and most were pretty terrible, as usual. We got a bit of a new TV season before the WGA strike started in early November, and now the late night talk show hosts are all coming back in the next few days. (As an update, David Letterman and Craig Ferguson are actually returning with their writing staffs. It's hard to know exactly what to make of that just yet.) Pushing Daisies is the best new show of the season, and you should all be watching it. And for some reason pop culture couldn't get enough of harping on that really effeminate gay guy's temper tantrum on Youtube about everybody making fun of Britney Spears, as she continues to fall from what popularity she used to have. I'd like to say that obviously there were a few neuron misfires in there - Britney Spears is a national treasure? Are you really sure about that? - but that guy was just further evidence of the truth in's motto - the internet really does make you stupid. Blogging is bad enough, given that most of it is empty, meaningless, irrelevant, self-important ranting and rambling. (Much like this blog, and even this entry!) None of it really means anything, and tends to just serve as an indication that sure, just about anybody can write, but that doesn't mean what you have to say is actually worth paying attention to. (Hence why I'm also working half to death to make sure my novels are vastly better than my ramblings here - even the stupider novel ideas I've had.) And sadly, since the networks've cracked down on Youtube to try to consistently kill any and all copyrighted content not uploaded by the copyright-holders, they've effectively reduced much of the site to garbage - like vlogs. It was the copyrighted content that made Youtube popular. Not Jimmy Schmuckleton and Sally Boringville staring into their webcams and rambling about nothing. You are not Jerry Seinfeld, dammit!

Kurt Vonnegut died back in April, which was a real loss to the literary world. No one will ever be able to fill his shoes, but he's left behind a hell of a memorable legacy in a large amount of worthwhile short stories, novels, and essays. My gut feeling is that there's probably plenty of aspiring novelists out there who want to fill the gap left by his death, but none of them will ever be able to. I know I won't, so I'm not even going to try to pretend that I could. If I can just get published and perhaps one day even be considered good by somebody, my work touching them in a meaningful manner, I'd be astonished by just that. I'm enough of an obsessed perfectionist with my novel work as is - especially with what I'm trying to say to someone with this first one, in which I am probably begging to crash and burn and end up plunging into a deep, lifelong depression. (Think of me as the Eviel Knievel of literature. Except a lot more likely to be killed by this first literary jump, at least giving people something to laugh at in the process. "Hey, look at this jackass! He actually thought he might have been able win a woman's heart! What a rube!") So it goes.

Here in North Carolina, our usual summer drought never ended, and so we're seeing it spilling over into the new year now, and likely to continue on into - and worsen vastly - this next summer. Hooray for a likely future declaration of a state of emergency. We're conserving our water as much as we can here in this household. But on the whole, people around here aren't really bothering. It's more important to have that perfect immaculate green lawn, free of trees, insects, or any sort of life. Covering your lawn with poison and obsessing over its color makes you a perfectly normal, healthy, well-adjusted human being, after all. You should never even consider doing the rest of humanity the favor of killing yourself, no way, no how.

Harry Potter finally came to an end back in midsummer. Though the phenomenon won't be over till the last book has been made into a movie and released on DVD. (Let's not bother pretending HD-DVD or Blu-Ray is replacing it anytime soon. Sorry, high-definition tech-obsessed people, most people don't care about whether the image on their TV is perfectly crystal clear. Most of us have more important things to spend our money on - like food, and paying bills so we can enjoy the things the economically privileged take for granted. Those TVs and disc formats are far more expensive than they're worth. The black and white TV to color analogy fails here. It's just not that important.) Pip pip, cheerio, chim chim chirroo, and other stereotypical cockney babbling, as it's important to mentally associate that sort of stereotypical thing with Harry Potter and the British. (What?)

And thus, that is 2007. Well, all that and all the other things I didn't think to mention, largely because it's early in the morning and I need to go get some sleep now. I hereby declare 2007 The Year of Wii. Just because the new Nintendo system rocks, and was one of my favorite parts of the year. Because I'm a huge nerd that needs to do more with his life. But hell, at least that's not all I spend my time on. Spiral Reverie's first year has officially come to a close. Hopefully I'll get Project 27 Days published in 2008, and hopefully you'll all give it a look. Thanks for sticking around, those of you that have, and I'd appreciate any and all who continue to in 2008. I'll no doubt write something else in here later this week. But I make no promises about it not being a stupid comedy piece to kick off the new year. You gotta take the bad with the good.

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