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State of the Stallion

A moribund blog is not the product of a feeble mind. Or, that is to say, a feeble mind is not the only excuse for a moribund blog, nor should this blog in any way be used as evidence that my mind is not feeble. Capice?

Yes, it’s been over a month since I posted anything, and longer still since I posted anything without videos of pooping animals in them. My apologies. The fact is that any spare time devoted to writing has been directed toward my book, which is finally in the hands of an agent at the moment. It used to be in the hands of two agents, but one has turned it down via the following verbiage:

Thanks for giving us another shot at GODS, MONSTERS, AND JEFF DOWNEY. You’re certainly got a very original and intriguing premise here, and Jeff Downey is a likeable hero, but I’m afraid we weren’t feeling fully invested in his story overall. We’ll step aside, but thanks again for the look, and best of luck!

Hear that? They’ll “step aside.” They don’t want to stand in the way of the book’s greatness! At least, that’s how I’m trying to take this. The truth is that I think the book is now in strong enough shape to actually work, but I’m also so bone-tired of revising it that such weariness may now be showing in the latest drafts. If the other agent turns it down, I may sit on it for awhile before I can look at it with fresh eyes.

So now, for the first time in forever, I feel interested enough in writing something else that I’m taking a crack at blogging again. But what to blog about? I could inflict several stale pieces I’ve written that were rejected by the Deseret News, but they “stepped aside” from them because, frankly, they weren’t good. So I thought I’d start fresh and begin at the beginning.

And thus… THE STATE OF THE STALLION

Behold! I shall break my first annual, and perhaps last annual, State of the Unionesque pronouncements unto various categories, beginning from the broadest view and zooming in as we get closer to stuff.

THE STATE OF THE WORLD

Well, it’s kind of a mess. Isn’t that to be expected, though? From a religious perspective, we’re told that Christ will return to a wicked and debased world that has descended into utter chaos, so it’s not particularly surprising to see the descent in process. As I’ve considered this over the years, my temptation has been to be fatalistic – everything’s going to suck, so why fight it? Except that isn’t necessarily the case. The polarization between the world and God will mean that as the bad gets badder, the good will get gooder.

What this does mean, though, is that I find myself increasingly skeptical of political solutions that promise to stem the tide of suckiness. While I remain more conservative than liberal, I doubt the ability of any party or politician to stop or even slow the spiral into a world of utter crap. This doesn’t mean I’m nihilistic, but rather that God, not the state, is where I am placing my faith.

THE STATE OF THE NATION

Interesting stuff happening on the homefront, no? Frequently I have lamented the utter ineptitude and small-mindedness of the GOP, and the government shutdown debacle had me convinced that Republicans had essentially resigned themselves to permanent regional minority status.

And then Obamacare came out and sucked far beyond anyone’s expectations of possible suckitude.

I find this fascinating, only because it’s becoming clear to all but the most stubbornly partisan leftists that Obamacare doesn’t work, nor can it work. I’m not just talking about the website, which may, eventually, sort of work. I’m talking about a system that combines all the waste of government bureaucracy with the most egregious excesses of the free market to produce the worst of all possible worlds. Never mind the hundreds of policies already canceled – wait until tens of millions of employer plans go down the drain when the business mandate finally kicks in. If you like it, you can’t keep it – and you’ll pay through the nose for lousier coverage.

I don’t think America is going to stand for that.

That shifts the political landscape considerably. Prior to the Orwellianly-monikered Affordable Care Act’s splattering, the long-term forecast was Democrats with a slight chance of Commies. The Electoral College was so heavily skewed to growing Democratic demographics that the idea of a Republican in the White House again in my lifetime seemed like a pipe dream.

But then Obamacare blew out and left its skid marks all over the place.

It’s not insignificant that, for the first time, people see Obama as a liar. And by “people,” I mean “me.” I have always respected and liked the president personally, even as I watched his well-intentioned incompetence dig the nation deeper into debt, idleness, and despair. But his “you can keep your plan” lie was so egregious that even lefties can’t defend it, and it’s so clearly deliberate that it’s hard to fall back on the “gosh, he just didn’t know” excuse that has shielded from legitimate questions about the IRS, the NSA, Benghazi, etc. No longer can his defenders scream “racism!” when people point out that this guy’s doing a lousy job. And when the best defense against charges of dishonesty is that he’s just monumentally inept, you know he’s in trouble.

The implosion of Obamacare, then, has a huge silver lining. It’s the newest of America’s bloated entitlements, but it’s also the first to fall. Possibly, this may spur people on both sides of the aisle to prevent the slo-mo train wreck that is Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, and then maybe – gasp! – fix these programs before the country collapses. Because, remember, if they don’t fix them, the country will collapse.

A month or two ago, I thought such a collapse inevitable. Now I’m cautiously less dismal.

THE STATE OF UTAH

John Swallow, Utah’s corrupt attorney general has resigned. He did so claiming that his resignation had nothing to do with the impending criminal charges being brought to bear against him, and the fact that he postponed his resignation until the day when he would be eligible for a state pension never seems to have crossed his mind.

This guy is so extraordinarily dirty.

For the better part of a year, Utahns have been inundated with stories about Swallow’s shadowy meetings with seedy characters, the gifts and vacations he accepted from people with business before the Attorney General’s office, his incomplete and inaccurate financial disclosures, and, most recently, the massive amount of electronic data pertinent to the state’s investigation that has mysteriously disappeared.  When John Swallow asked Jeremy Johnson if there was a “paper trail” connecting him to the personal use of Johnson’s million-dollar houseboat for a family vacation, Swallow acknowledged that what he had done was wrong, even if it may have been legal.  But at his press conference, he insisted he was not only legally above board, but also “100% ethical,” which assumes “ethical” now means “really, really not ethical.”

Nice to have him gone.

THE STATE OF THE CULTURE

I’ve seen a bunch of movies since I last wrote about any of them. I generally write my reviews for the Deseret News, so I feel less motivated to spew much of them here. To sum up,  I liked-but-didn’t-love “Ender’s Game,” I thought “Catching Fire” was exponentially better than “The Hunger Games,” and I thought “Thor: The Dark World” was pointless, although not as pointless as “Marvel’s Agents of Shield,” which now has half a dozen or so unwatched episodes cluttering up my DVR.

“Agents of Shield” has really disappointed me. Every time I try to give that show another chance – and I so wanted it to be adequate – I end up turning it off after about fifteen minutes. It feels episodic in a 1970s sort of way, and that’s not a good thing. Nothing that happens in one week seems to impact what happens the next, and there’s no need to watch the thing in order to know what’s going on. Which means, of course, that there’s nothing that’s going on to hold your attention from week to week.

I binge-watched “Breaking Bad” and wrote a nasty column about it, a column that I hereby disavow, as the series, in total, addresses every one of my concerns, and you sure as crap aren’t rooting for Walter White by the end of the thing. It’s amazing how well thought out and executed that series was, and it only got better as the seasons rolled on. How many other shows can make that claim? By my count, none, really.

THE STATE OF THE MOIST BOARD

It seems dead. I can’t restore the database. If anyone knows how to kickstart a dead database, I’m happy to get it up and running again. I’ve run out of options.

THE STATE OF ME

I weight thirty-five to forty pounds less than I did before I started the Somae plan. I fluctuate about five pounds here or there, but I’ve more or less kept off the lard for the past six months. That’s a good thing, right?

I’ve been cast in “A Few Good Men” at Pioneer Theatre in Salt Lake City, and I’m pretty excited. Pioneer Theatre is the only year-round professional theatre in Utah, and I auditioned without any expectations that I’d actually get a role. But I’m going to be playing a guy named Whittaker who I know nothing about. He has a couple of decent scenes. It will be fun to stick my toe back in the theatrical waters.

My family is doing well; we’re happy and healthy, and we’re going on a Caribbean cruise at the end of this month. So, you know, there is too much in my life that doesn’t suck.

There. Does this count as a real blog entry? Can we all be friends again?

Music to Soothe the Savage Horse
Why is it okay to mock the Mormons?

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11 Comments

  1. I don’t mind Agents of Shield—I find it wholly adequate. I’m not wild about Phil Coulson’s acting chops–he’s incredibly monotonous. But Skye has some great classic Joss Whedon one liners, and while last week’s episode blew huge chunks of suckitude, it was the first time I thought, “Whoa. So much suckage.” There’s some mysteries building–Skye’s parents, Melinda May’s “cavalry” nickname, Coulson’s trip to “Tahiti” that he has nightmares about (unless that’s not a mystery, but rather some unknown-to-me nod to comic book lore). So don’t count it out quite yet.

  2. But his “you can keep your plan” lie was so egregious that even lefties can’t defend it

    They sure as heck are. Or at least they’re trying.

    I think it was Time Magazine that called it an, “incorrect promise.” One prominent lefty, the name escapes me at the moment, said that people’s interpretation of Obama’s promise was too “expansive.”

    Some other pundits are saying that Obama didn’t have a choice, he HAD to lie. It was the only way to get people to vote for their own economic interests. Because you know, leftist ideas are so good that people have to be fooled into accepting them, after which they have to be mandated at gunpoint.

    The drones in the Collective have been assigned their talking point on the matter; that you really just had a crap plan anyway, so Obama is doing you a favor by forcing you to buy a good plan from the website, which can’t be accessed.

    Some are trying to blame Republicans for the ObamaCare disaster. They’re reciting things like, “if they weren’t so gosh darned obstructionist” or “investing in failure” or some other preposterously adolescent phraseology along those lines. They’ve even got some DCCC Facebook site with a timeline that blames the Republicans for their dastardly obstructionism, which mysteriously leaves out all of the closed door meetings that Republicans were left out of.

    Then of course there are those using this opportunity to say, “See, Single Payer is the way we should have gone!” Because since a small amount of government control has proved to be such a great success, complete government control would be so much gooder. Although, collapse is what many of these fringe Leftists have been pining for since the 60s, ala Cloward-Piven.

    I’m honestly surprised that it has taken this long for people to see Obama as a liar, since it’s pretty much all he does, and has ever done. I don’t say that lightly, or as a matter of hyperbole. The man is a prolific liar. It’s plainly obvious to anyone with an honest intellect. I can’t think of a single honest statement that the man has made. Not one.

    What’s more alarming that his routine lies however, is the general lawlessness of this administration, and their ability to rewrite legislation on fiat.

    But now that his RCP poll average has just sunk below 40, perhaps the left side of the population is finally waking up and smelling the afternoon coffee.

    As for the rest, Agents of Sheild sucks so bad, I couldn’t get past 3 episodes. I like Agent Coulson, but I’m not impressed with his team of interns.

  3. John Swallow. Ah, John Swallow. For a decade, his only claim to fame was “the Republican who couldn’t get himself elected in Utah.” Then he finally gets elected, and promptly poops in his own dog dish.

    • I could do that, but I think people want access to the old content, too. It still exists – I have the database backup – and I still want to get it back up and running.

  4. “While I remain more conservative than liberal, I doubt the ability of any party or politician to stop or even slow the spiral into a world of utter crap.”

    It would require force, thus destroying the very thing it seeks to preserve: Liberty.

    The basic requirement of Liberty is truth and consensus. “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” Well, yes, but only if most people know the truth and most people want to be free. Unfortunately, free necessarily includes free-to-fail as otherwise there’s an intervention and the moment you have intervention you have corrupted freedom — maybe just a little, but rinse and repeat, freedom is eventually lost.

    In a situation where rapidly approaching “most people” aren’t interested in being free, don’t even know what it is, have no truth and mistake truth for lies and vice versa, liberty cannot exist. The paths forward are some form of totalitarianism — possibly benevolent but sooner or later “Snowball” (your particular hero of the moment) is replaced by the pigs (the ones that want power). Reference is to George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” which eloquently tells the story of this particular repeating cycle.

    • Brilliant.

      Unfortunately with the current poor state of academia, it’s doubtful that “most people” will ever learn what freedom is.