Whatever it is … I’m against it

Santos in drag

“How can you support these drag queens teaching our children books while criticizing George Santos for dressing in drag?” ask clueless conservatives.

The issue isn’t George Santos dressing in drag. The issue is the Republican party screaming about something while secretly participating in that same exact thing.

I mean, how many have claimed to be in favor of “family values” while cheating on their wives? How many preach against gay rights while being in the closet themselves? How many talk about how terrible voter fraud is while they themselves are doing it?

It’s the hypocrisy that allows us to criticize Santos.

We’re not criticizing him for dressing in drag.

We’re not the hypocrites.

The difference

Something about religion is just a mystery to me

The biggest mystery in life to me is still why otherwise intelligent people believe in a god.

I’m not talking about just believing in a creator, or in being “spiritual,” but in all the religious stuff: heaven and hell, angels, demons, formalities, rituals, rules that he will punish you forever with… All the kinds of cliches you see in fantasy novels.

They have no problem believing in evolution and the earth being older than 4000 years and an expanding universe, but they still believe their god made this gigantically huge universe, stuck the earth in some corner of some minor galaxy, had dinosaurs running the place for 165 million years or so, and then finally decided to have humans evolve in the last half a million years or so.

They will laugh at people who believe in the healing power of crystals or Bigfoot or aliens decorating fields with crop circles, but have no problem believing in a human-like creator who performed many miracles a few thousand years ago, but only in this one small part of the planet.

They will find ways to explain away every inconsistency to themselves that convinces them, yet will laugh at any other religion’s inconsistencies.

I honestly just don’t get it. How can you be a logical, intelligent person who believes in evidence and proof and still be religious?

I know, I know — some people are angry that I implied that belief in religion isn’t “intelligent.” What I mean by that is this:

When I asked this on Facebook, I got hundreds of replies, with most of them saying that it was about “faith” which is different. I agree it’s different. But no scientific advancement was ever made by having faith. Faith isn’t evidence. Faith isn’t factual.

I’m just trying to understand how people who are logical and demand evidence for everything else can make an exception for their religious beliefs. “I make an exception because I want to” is what it sounds like to me.

Some said the universe is just too beautiful and there are things that can’t be explained, and therefore that’s why they believe. But to me, that’s such a jump. “I can’t understand how the universe could be this beautiful. Therefore it HAD to be designed and created that way.”

That’s no different to me from ancient Greeks saying “Lighting is so mysterious. Therefore it HAS to be Zeus shooting lightning bolts from a tall mountain.”

There’s nothing wrong with saying “I don’t know. Maybe some day we will figure it out.”

Some say that religion provides them comfort. I’m not willing to believe impossible things just because they make me comfortable.

My point isn’t addressed to those people who believe in Adam and Eve and a young earth and who deny evolution.

It’s addressed at friends who are otherwise intelligent, logical, and rational who still believe despite lack of any evidence to support that belief.

They deny Nessie and Bigfoot and the Tooth Fairy for lack of evidence but have no problem believing in a god.

That just mystifies me.


Republicans break the 11th Commandment

The Republican god Ronald Reagan first announced the 11th Commandment: “Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.”

And politically, that’s good advice for any party. If there’s one thing the opposing party doesn’t need to see, it’s infighting among your own party.

Which is why today is so much fun for we Democrats.

Kevin McCarthy wants to be Speaker of the House. Wants is so desperately that he will say whatever he has to in order to get it. He spoke against Trump after January 6th, only to change his words once he realized it would hurt him politically, so at least he is consistent with his fellow Republicans for not standing for anything except their own power.

But he’s not getting any power today.

As I write this, he lost the first vote for Speaker. They’re currently arguing and making backroom deals. Even if eventually he will get it, he will be a weak leader without the clear support of his party.

The more moderate Republicans are unhappy with McCarthy and blame him for their lack of a “red wave” in the last election, and the right-wing crazy Republicans are just crazy. Trying to figure logic out with these people is an impossible task.

The Speaker of the House is elected by the House every two years, and it basically goes to the leader of whichever party is in the majority. However, that only works if all the members of the party vote in unison.

Republicans have a very slim 10 vote margin (out of 435 House members). All the Democrats voted for their leader, Hakim Jeffries, of course, but the GOP is split. Some even abstained.

What makes this especially interesting is that if enough of them abstain, Jeffries could get elected Speaker even though the Democrats are the minority party! That’s not likely but it also isn’t impossible.

In any event, I’m enjoying watching the party fall apart.


Best and worst animated films of 2022

In the 80s, I started a magazine called “Animato!” that later grew quite large and popular. I got to meet and interview great animators like Chuck Jones and Ralph Bakshi but later sold the magazine, and it went on to even bigger successes until the internet killed all magazines.

So I’m still an animation fan, but it’s basically impossible to see all the films and all the animated TV shows these days unless you’re a full-time animator or animation historian, I guess.

These days, with so much CGI, we can debate what an “animated film” even is, but generally the accepted definition is that the main characters must be animated — not just the monsters or effects. (And “motion capture” doesn’t count.)

So here’s my annual end-of-the-year list of best and worst animated films (based on their Rotten Tomatoes score).  I used to only include films that were released to theaters, but thanks to the pandemic, that no longer applies. Ties are broken by number of reviews, and you have to have at least 10 reviews to make my list.

  1. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (97%)
  2. Beavis and Butthead Do The Universe (97%)
  3. Turning Red (95%)
  4. Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (95%)
  5. The Sea Beast (94%)
  6. Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood (91%)
  7. The Bad Guys (88%)
  8. The Bob’s Burgers Movie (88%)
  9. My Father’s Dragon (88%) 
  10. Wendell and Wild (81%)
  11. Chip and Dale: Rescue Rangers (80%)
  12. Night at the Museum: Kahmunrah Rises Again (77%)
  13. Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (77%)
  14. Lightyear (74%)
  15. Strange World (73%)
  16. DA League of Super Pets (73%) 
  17. Lyle Lyle Crocodile (72%)
  18. Minions: The Rise of Gru (70%)
  19. Sonic The Hedgehog 2 (69%)
  20. Paws of Fury:  The Legend of Hank (68%)
  21. Hotel Transylvania: Transformania (49%)
  22. Luck (47%)
  23. Scrooge: A Christmas Carol (38%)
  24. The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild (17%)
  25. Marmaduke (0%)


Burning desires

Senator Sinema remains true to her first love: Senator Sinema

Senator Sinema just announced she would quit the Democrats to become an independent Senator.

She knew Democrats would run someone against her in the next primary. Switching to independent was a smart move politically — it allows her to drain votes from both parties and have a real chance of getting re-elected. She could win with just 34% of the vote. (On the other hand, she’ll now be attacked by both parties.)

This won’t really change much in the Senate, though.

If she caucuses with the Democrats (which she should do if she wants to keep her committee assignments), we’ll have 51 – 49, which allows for more stuff to get passed and moved out of committees at least.

If she caucuses with the Republicans, then we’re still 50 – 50.

If she joins neither, then we have 50 Democrats, 49 Republican, and one Sinema, and that’s just as good as if we had 51.

So it won’t really change things too much.

In the long run, she’ll probably not run for re-election and instead become a lobbyist.

Oh great, now I’m imaging a Sinema singing “Let’s go out to the lobby” at the cinema