The tragedy of college these days

When I went to college, I took so many different courses, based on what interested me. Besides my political science major, I took courses in sociology, philosophy, history, astronomy, music, film, literature, and even a course in puppetry. I think I became a better educated, well-rounded person because of it.

But college didn’t cost much in those days. I even went a 5th year (partially because I was working part time to pay for it and didn’t take 16 credits each semester) but that allowed me to expand past the required courses a lot more.

Now, with college being so expensive, people see it as an investment toward a job instead of being “getting an education.” It’s work training.

And that’s quite sad.

Biden’s best lines from the Correspondence Dinner

I believe in the First Amendment — not just because my good friend Jimmy Madison wrote it.

I get that age is a completely reasonable issue. It’s on everybody’s mind. And by “everyone” I mean the New York Times.  Headline: “Biden’s advanced age is a big issue. Trump’s, however, is not.”

I want everybody to have fun tonight, but please be safe. If you find yourself disoriented or confused, it’s either you’re drunk or Marjorie Taylor Greene.  

I love NPR — because they whisper into the mic like I do. But not everybody loves NPR.  Elon Musk tweeted that it should be defunded. The best way to make NPR go away is for Elon Musk to buy it.

We really have a record to be proud of.

We added 12 million jobs, and that’s just counting the lawyers who defended Trump.

I had a lot of Ron DeSantis jokes ready, but Mickey Mouse beat the hell out of me and got there first.   

It’s great the cable news networks are here tonight. MSNBC, owned by NBC Universal. Fox News, owned by Dominion Voting Systems. 

Last year, your favorite Fox News reporters were able to attend because they were fully vaccinated and boosted. This year, with that $787 million settlement, they’re here because they couldn’t say no to a free meal.  


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%)


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

Trump: “Make me dictator”

Here’s a former President of the United States claiming that there was massive fraud (there wasn’t, and interviews have shown that he knows that) claiming we should terminate “all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution” in order to chuck democracy and name him dictator.

Trumpies don’t care about the laws or our Constitution (except the 2nd Amendment, which they constantly misinterpret). They’re perfectly fine with having a dictator in charge, as long as it’s their dictator.

Can you imagine how Republicans would scream if a Democrat suggested suspending the Constitution in order to have them named President after they lost an election?

What a sad state our country has become, where a large percentage of our population claims to be patriotic while supporting the most unpatriotic thoughts imaginable.

Thank you, Republicans!

I’d like to just take a minute to thank Republicans.

Without your nomination of radical crazies, without your Supreme Court taking away rights, without your treasonous MAGA candidates threatening to steal any election they don’t like, we never would have kept the Senate, won more governors and state houses, and prevented you from winning dozens of seats in the House.

Keep it up! Good work!

Democracy is bleeding out

by guest blogger Adam-Troy Castro

Trump plans to challenge the 2022 elections.

So this is what we have now. Cries of “fake” and “conspiracy”, and violent invasions of government buildings, are now the default, the things we can expect to happen.


I keep hearing people say that this election coming up is our last chance to hold on to our democracy.

I have to tell you, I think the democracy is gone; the body just hasn’t stopped twitching yet.

Democracy depends, at bare minimum, on the understanding by all participants that the results matter, that we grimace when somebody we despise wins and then accept the results. This is something that, among others, John McCain understood. When he spoke to his followers on election night — the same night Sarah Palin wanted to go on campaigning — they booed the name of Barack Obama, and he stopped them. He said, “No,” and John McCain was not always a towering beacon of character, but in this, he did the bare minimum, and today that looks like greatness, because we have fallen so far.

To have democracy, we need the uniform agreement on the part of everybody that elections matter.

Today the Republican default is that when you lose you start yelling, you start marching with your guns, you threaten violence and you turn the volume up to eleven and you hope that the other side backs down. It doesn’t matter if you’re one percent behind and it doesn’t matter if you’re five percent behind. You lay the groundwork for your own victory being the only possible legitimate result and then you stop at nothing.

You openly do this before the election and you count on nobody stopping you.

This is the new normal and it is here for the duration.

You know, once before, one side refused to accept the results of the election. (Twice before, if you include the Business plot against FDR.) It happens to have been the same side. (Yeah, I know Abraham Lincoln was a “Republican” and the side he opposed, essentially Democrats — but back when Abraham Lincoln was elected those words meant different things, and we had yet to experience over a century of half of shifting alliances and demographic shifts. Lincoln was, among other things, a liberal socialist.)

It was the same side, and this continent ran red with blood.

I am telling you that the situation is WORSE now, but the factions are not as neatly defined by regions.

Half the country does not believe in Democracy, rejects the very word in an inane belief that the very word favors the Democrats. You cannot have Democracy if half the country rejects the principle, if a quarter consider their guy infallible and inviolate.

Worse is coming. Far worse.

Democracy is still twitching. But it is bleeding out, and I do not see a return to sanity any time soon.

This is from a Facebook post and is reprinted with permission. Adam-Troy Castro has written 26 books to date including among others four Spider-Man novels, 3 novels about his profoundly damaged far-future murder investigator Andrea Cort, and 6 middle-grade novels about the dimension-spanning adventures of that very strange but very heroic young boy Gustav Gloom. Adam’s works have won the Philip K. Dick Award and the Seiun (Japan), and have been nominated for eight Nebulas, three Stokers, two Hugos, and, internationally, the Ignotus (Spain), the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire (France), and the Kurd-Laßwitz Preis (Germany). You can also read a recent story of his in my latest anthology, Three Time Travelers Walk Into…

Thoughts and apologies

As if I didn’t have enough to worry about in my life (see this post), I finally got covid after years of avoiding it, getting vaccinated and boostered. So I haven’t updated this blog in quite a while. Please forgive me, especially since there is so much to discuss these days.

So here’s some random thoughts I’ve posted recently on Facebook and Twitter.

The FBI director was appointed by Trump, and the search warrant was approved by a judge appointed by Trump and was based on a law signed by Trump.

Yep, it’s all a vast left-wing conspiracy.

All I know is that when I have perfectly innocent documents that do not incriminate me in the slightest, I rip them up and try to flush them down the toilet.

“Support the police! Unless they’re trying to stop us from hanging the Vice President or carrying out search warrants against us.” — Republicans

“If I’m leaving a job and I steal office supplies that don’t belong to me, I can get arrested, right?”

“Of course.”

“What if I steal nuclear documents that could jeopardize national security?”

“Oh, that’s perfectly fine, no problem!”

(Republican logic)


I am absolutely convinced that no evidence will be enough to change the minds of the cultists. As Trump once said, he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and his people would still love him.

One of human history’s main problems is that the people who tend to be the leaders in politics and business are usually sociopathic — they don’t care who they hurt as they gain power for themselves, and that’s how they can climb so fast, over the backs of those they abuse on their way up.

And those are the worst people to put in charge of things.

Fictional changes to fictional characters

“We’re going to update this Shakespeare play to modern times!”

“Good, artistic license allows for re-interpretations of previously done work.”

“We’re taking the story of Alexander Hamilton and reinterpreting it by using people of color as the main characters.”

“Sounds interesting, and certainly within the rights of the artist.”

“We’re redoing the fantasy make-believe story of ‘The Little Mermaid’, changing nothing to the plotline, and we’ve cast this black girl as the main character.”

“WHAT? Look, I’m no racist, but there is no need whatsoever for your politically correct bullshit. I protest strongly!”