Thursday, October 30, 2014

Archie & Jughead Meet Their Mummies in ARCHIE JUMBO COMICS DIGEST #255

I am catching up with my comic book digests and just finished ARCHIE JUMBO COMICS DIGEST #255, which features a brand-new lead story featuring Archie, Jughead, and their pack of Adventure Scouts.

It seems that the group has been given permission to camp out at the Riverdale Museum -- which gives them the unique opportunity to tour the facility, check out the exhibits, -- and witness the surprise delivery of two mystery sarcophaguses -- or is it sarcophagi??

Jughead is a little freaked by the mystery mummies and by a giant fossilized dinosaur, but otherwise the night is going well, except...

It turns out that the museum has a crooked security guard! Those sarcophaguses... er, sarcophagi... Those mummy boxes actually contain a couple crooks who plan to loot the museum's famous Odessa Stone! But now they have to figure out how to get rid of the Adventure Scouts so that they can steal their artifact.

Looks like they stole a move from "Scooby-Doo!!" But these guys most likely will make this work. After all, the boys left the dogs at home and they don't do a lot of amateur sleuthing!! And what hope do the kids have of making it out unscathed if their teen chaperones can't keep their cool??

I'll leave it up to you to see how this story resolves itself. But you should definitely check it out. "Mummy Mayhem" is written by Bill Golliher, penciled by Fernando Ruiz, inked by Rich Koslowski, lettered by Jack Morelli, and colored by Barry Grossman. This story was a lot of fun and this artistic team was definitely having a lot of fun when they crafted this tale!

Check out ARCHIE JUMBO COMICS DIGEST #255 to read this story plus numerous other fun reprints from Archie Comics' past.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Honey Boo Boo's Family Continues to Implode // Anna Upset With Mother // Sugar Bear Wants Custody

(It's actually "Cardwell," not Hardwell)
This whole "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" story just went from sad to tragic. It's not just Uncle Poodle who is questioning Mama June Shannon's story these days. ET posted a preview of an upcoming interview with Shannon's oldest daughter Anna "Chickadee" Cardwell.

In this tear-filled interview, 20-year-old Cardwell confirms that she was Mark McDaniel's victim back when she was about 8-years-old. She also hinted that he perped against at least one other girl. She claimed that her mother never really believed her accusations and that Shannon is being irresponsible towards her other daughters by continuing to date McDaniel.

I've seen another article indicating that Mike "Sugar Bear" Thompson is furious about this situation and seeking full custody of at least Alana "Honey Boo Boo" Thompson. However, he is receiving no money from the show and is basically supporting himself financially through the kindness of his friends.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Netta Begood Captures My Imagination in ARCHIE'S FUNHOUSE #9!

I was reading through the rest of ARCHIE'S FUNHOUSE #9 during my lunch hour today and read part of an old favorite storyline that originally appeared in ARCHIE & FRIENDS #126-129 featuring Chuck Clayton. The story -- "The Cartoon Life of Chuck Clayton" -- had Chuck volunteering at a grade-school classroom teaching the kids how to create comic books. It was written by Alex Simmons and drawn by Fernando Ruiz. Make sure that you read that story every month when you pick up your copy of ARCHIE'S FUNHOUSE!

The reason I'm writing about this story -- and I do have a reason -- is because I love these made-up Golden Age comic book characters:

One of the things that I loved about "The Cartoon Life of Chuck Clayton" was the abundance of really cool made-up comic book characters -- most of whom only appeared in one or two panels. But I can't help wishing that I could see some adventures featuring Ollie the Ostrich or Netta Begood!

I think it would be pretty great if Archie Comics began publishing an anthology filled with new stories featuring familiar folks like the Riverdale Gang -- but also some new folks like Netta! I want to see this!!

Uncle Poodle Responds to "Honey Boo Boo" Scandal // Mama June Accuses Him of Selling Story to the Tabloids

(Originally written on 10/27/14): You all know that I'm a fan of "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo," but I'm also a big fan of Alana's gay redneck relative Lee "Uncle Poodle" Thompson. So far, he has done a good job of staying out of this mess outside of posting the following comment on Facebook:

Then earlier this afternoon, everything turned a bit nasty when members of Alana's family began accusing Uncle Poodle of selling this story to the tabloids. Here is one example:

This didn't go over well with Uncle Poodle, who has begun sharing more reactions with his Facebook fans:

And then this:
Once again, I find this entire situation to be very, very sad...

Updated on 10/28/14: Uncle Poodle continued to vent about this situation last night. I captured this image before going to sleep last night:

It's possible/likely that more was said, but he apparently scrubbed his Facebook page late last night. This is his latest message:

Monday, October 27, 2014

Archie Shows Off his Robot Slave in ARCHIE'S FUNHOUSE #9

I've been pretty excited about the latest batch of comic book digests that have been coming out of Archie Comics these days -- though I've been struggling to get my hands on them through my local comic book shop as well as Barnes & Noble! Regardless, they're slowly trickling into my hands.

I finally got a copy of ARCHIE'S FUNHOUSE COMICS DIGEST #9, which technically includes a new lead story. But let's face it. The writer has been dead for a year and a half. The lead story in this digest might technically be "new," but it's been lying around in somebody's inventory drawer for quite some time!

I'm so used to Archie Comics coming out with all sorts of stories and gimmicks aimed at grabbing your attention. So this new story seems a bit stale compared to some of the other stories that I've enjoyed from Archie Comics lately.

This short story is set in the year 2037 A.D. It appears that the people of Riverdale have created a race of robotic servants called "Robs." Archie describes all sorts of ways that his own Rob -- named Carrot-Top -- makes his life easier. Such as...

This story is pretty much filled with tutorial gags such as this one. It wasn't great. It wasn't horrible. It was mostly a forgettable short story with a mildly familiar hook. "The Robot Millennium" was written by George Gladir, penciled by Jeff Shultz, inked by Jim Amash, and lettered by Jack Morelli.

More Details Emerge from "Honey Boo Boo" Scandal

I wrote late last week about cancellation of "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" following accusations that Mama June Shannon was dating a convicted sex offender who had perped against one of her own family members. She denied it, but TLC pulled the plug on the program quickly after the story broke. My heart continues to break as more and more bombshells explode from this story.

Here is what I'm learning:

1. It's looking more and more likely that Shannon is indeed dating Mark McDaniel -- or else they briefly dated upon his release from prison. This seems to be the real reason that Mama June and Mike "Sugar Bear" Thompson broke up. Which makes this next tidbit more tragic..

2. McDaniel was convicted of sexually abusing 20-year-old Anna Shannon Cardwell -- Mama June's oldest daughter -- when she was 8-years-old. He apparently forced her to perform an oral sex act on him.

3. Lastly, this could theoretically cause Mama June to lose custody of her three minor daughters. Truthfully, I'm not so sure about the older two. But 9-year-old Alana?

Once again, it really grieves me to watch this family implode...

Jon's Spine: 10/25/14

I mentioned that I spent most of Saturday at the 2014 Iowa City Metaphysical Expo and received an electronic spinal scan while I was there from a local chiropractor. He sent me the scans, so I thought you all might enjoy seeing the results.


Sunday, October 26, 2014

My Day at the 2014 Iowa City Metaphysical Expo

I spent most of yesterday at the Johnson County Fairgrounds attending the Iowa City Metaphysical Expo. I learned of it a month or so ago and was intrigued enough to check it out. I'm not sure how you would describe me. I guess I'm a hopeful skeptic. It seems like a lot of garbage when I ponder everything, but then I totally find myself drawn to real life psychics, ghosts, and mediums. Not enough to consult with psychics, but enough that I totally would if I didn't feel embarrassed about spending that money!

Despite all this, I decided to check out the expo. The price was totally affordable ($5) and it was just a ten minute drive from my home with plenty of free parking. Plus -- even though there were several psychics and ghost hunters coming to the expo -- there was more to the expo besides psychics and ghost hunters. There were a few local shops that specialize in oils, crystals, and other spiritually-themed merchandise, there was one chiropractor (more on him later), and two or three Reiki healers.

I went to the expo with the goal of receiving one Reiki session and then stick around as long as I found something to interest me. I ended up NOT getting a Reiki session, but I ended up staying at the expo for most of the day!

Iowa City Metaphysical Expo had a very good mix of speakers. I always judge an event by how well they juggle the speakers/panels and how difficult you find it to choose between speakers while you are there. There wasn't a huge gap between panels at yesterday's expo (10-15 minutes) and there were two times where I found himself struggling to choose between one speaker or the other. Which is pretty good for a one-day event.

I started the day at a panel called Shamanic Healing: The Joyful Journey by Steve and Angel Lyle. I don't know a lot about shamans, but have always been curious. The Lyles have been practicing shamanic practitioners since the mid-00s. They shared some of the concepts behind their beliefs and told about their time studying in Peru amongst other shamans. I still struggle to define their work -- but I really felt drawn to them. I got on their emailing-list so who knows where this might lead someday.

The next event I attended was Paranormal Investigation with Unknown Darkness. Unknown Darkness is a team of paranormal investigators (AKA ghost hunters) from nearby Cedar Rapids, IA. They are also the official team connected with Edinburgh Manor in nearby Jones County, IA. They told about their group and shared a few pet theories behind ghost manifestations. My only complaint is that they ran into problems connecting their computer to the projector and that there wasn't much time. This panel was only scheduled for 30 minutes. It was one of the more popular panels and I could easily see them filling up another 30 minutes without much difficulty.

I decided to take a break at this point from the speakers and checked out the exhibition hall. It was there that I stumbled onto the booth for Total Health Chiropractic in neighboring Coralville, IA. They were offering free 10-minute massages and Spinal EMG Scans. I really wanted a massage (my back from killing me!!) and so I did the spinal scan while I waited. Dr. Hammes noted what I already knew: I have a screwed up back. Over the course of our conversation, he learned that I have plantar fasciitis in my left heel right now. I've been struggling with it for about four months and have tried everything to overcome it except for cortisone shots. He told me that he's used chiropractic treatment to successfully treat plantar fasciitis in others and gave me his card. I already see a different chiropractor and don't anticipate leaving him, but I do think I'll be call Dr. Hammes about my foot this week. *fingers crossed!!*

I then decided to splurge and spent $25 to attend a two-hour event with the keynote speaker, Diana Palm. She is a "medium, paranormal investigator, afterlife researcher and author of Setting Spirits Free." She shared her background and how her gifts led to her interest in helping people communicate with deceased loved ones and healing from spiritual harm. She investigates haunted areas and works to help trapped ghosts cross over into the other side. She also shared several EVP recordings and ghostly photographs that she has captured over the years. My biggest take-away: We all have angelic guardians. We all choose (on some spiritual level) when we are to die. And once we die, we have up to nine days to cross over. If we miss that window, then we're pretty much earthbound as unhealed ghosts and need help from others to cross over -- though this window may re-open after a few centuries.

I then sat through a Gallery Reading with a married couple from northern Minnesota called 2GuysInTheKnow. They offer paired psychic readings to their customers. They shared how their own abilities manifested and also why they decided to create their unique dual readings. The rest of the hour was spent with them offering mini readings to random expo attendees. I never know what to ask psychics -- especially in a public setting. But it was interesting to watch Eric and Bert banter back and forth answering questions ranging from "My friend struggling emotionally in life. Has she finally found peace in death?" to "Who is Judith to me?" to "Who is my spiritual guide?" My biggest take-away: We all have angelic guardians and spiritual guides. They nudge us where we need to be; though we resist those nudges and need to work harder to identify those nudges. Also, our angels are there to help us. If you need something, ask them for help. And be specific about what you are asking for. A generic request for more money might result in finding a quarter on the street if you're not specific enough.

It was after 4 PM by this point and I really needed to head home. So I thanked the organizers and took off. They have already planned the 3rd annual Iowa City Metaphysical Expo for late October 2015 and I'm sure I will be there. The one thing that I would like to see next year that I didn't see yesterday is an animal communicator or pet psychic. I know of at least one local pet psychic and I would really like to learn more about this specialized psychic gift.

Friday, October 24, 2014

City of Coeur d'Arlene, ID: Hitching Post Wedding Chapel is Free to Discriminate Against Gay Couples

Here is the case that's really gotten under my skin this week. I got into a huge back-and-forth over on GCN about whether or not LGBT people are worthy of being protected from discrimination because of this case. More on that later.

Anyway, earlier this week, the Hitching Post Lakeside Chapel filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Coeur d'Arlene, ID, with the help of Alliance Defending Freedom. The for-profit commercial wedding chapel is suing over a local public nondiscrimination ordinance that bars local businesses from discriminating against customers on the basis of sexual orientation -- as well as race, gender, religion, etc. The chapel's owners claimed that they were being persecuted by the city and facing thousands of dollars in fines and time in jail because of this ordinance and because of anti-Christian gay activists who wanted them to violate their faith.

Keep in mind that nobody filed a complaint against the chapel -- at least not until late this week after lots and lots of publicity. They weren't being threatened though the owners and their attorneys have been in contact with city officials for months trying to find out if they were affected or not by this ordinance. They scrubbed their website to eliminate evidence that they had previously been open to non-Christian and non-religious weddings. They also began the process of updating their business model so that they are actually exempt from the ordinance by becoming a non-profit and/or religious organization. And then they filed the federal lawsuit.

Guess what? The city of Coeur d'Arlene has determined that they are exempt from the city's nondiscrimination law -- making this whole lawsuit pointless:
The city of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, says the Hitching Post, a for-profit wedding chapel owned by two ministers, doesn't have to perform same-sex marriages. The city has been embroiled in controversy ever since the owners of the Hitching Post sued the city. They say a city anti-discrimination law threatened to force them to marry same-sex couples now that gay marriage is legal in Idaho...

Initially, the city said its anti-discrimination law did apply to the Hitching Post, since it is a commercial business. Earlier this week, Coeur d'Alene city attorney Mike Gridley sent a letter to the Knapps’ attorneys at the Alliance Defending Freedom saying the Hitching Post would have to become a not-for-profit to be exempt. But Gridley said after further review, he determined the ordinance doesn’t specify non-profit or for-profit.

After we've looked at this some more, we have come to the conclusion they would be exempt from our ordinance because they are a religious corporation,” Gridley explained. 

Court filings show the Hitching Post reorganized earlier this month as a “religious corporation.” In the paperwork, the owners describe their deeply held beliefs that marriage should be between one man and one woman... Filings with the Idaho Secretary of State show the Hitching Post became a limited liability company on September 12

Court documents in the Knapps’ federal lawsuit show they signed a business operating agreement on October 6 that lists the following as the purpose of their LLC: “The Hitching Post is a religious corporation owned solely by ordained ministers of the Christian religion who operate this entity as an extension of their sincerely held religious beliefs and in accordance with their vows taken as Christian ministers. The purpose of the Hitching Post is to help people create, celebrate, and build lifetime, monogamous, one-man-one-woman marriages as defined by the Holy Bible.”
Local human rights groups encouraged the city to give the Hitching Post free range to discriminate against same-sex couples.

Here are some questions for you:

How did these Foursquare ministers (whose religious liberties are completely dashed at the theoretical possibility of serving gay customers on some hypothetical day) run his for-profit ministry when they served people of other faiths? Or no faiths? Because up until recently, they advertised a willingness to accommodate non-Christian weddings.

Here's a thought -- assuming that any gay or lesbian couple actually ever contacts them for a wedding and they don't have the wits about them to fib and tell the couple that they're already booked that day. What's to stop them from renting the for-profit chapel to a same-sex couple on their wedding day but having the couple bring their own officiate?

Why is it such a huge barrier for a Christian business owner to bend a bit to figure out how to remain a public accommodation and serve the public? Why could they figure out how to serve people of other faith but not gay people?

Instead, they file a federal lawsuit based off NO INCIDENT claiming FALSELY that they have been harmed. And "we" feel bad for them and wish that the people of those communities hadn't pushed existing public accommodation laws be expanded to included LGBT people -- presumably because we're not worth being protected from discrimination.

Let's say they're ordained Muslim clerics running a for-profit chapel business and a couple comes in to get married and one is blind. He has a seeing eye dog. That dog is viewed as "unclean." Discrimination based on disability is illegal under this same ordinance (not to mention the ADA). Should the cleric be allowed to discriminate against this couple because of the dog? It's a valid religious objection. Should the disabled couple move on without a formal process in place to file a complaint against this Muslim's chapel?

And if we think that the business owner should have the right to discriminate against any customer for any reason at their for-profit public business -- then why the heck do we have anti-discrimination laws in the first place? Every man or woman for themselves, right?

But this is all moot anyway. Because this ordinance had already come up with a plan to allow religious groups to legally discriminate against LGBT people and this business had already become a government-recognized religious organization.

"Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" Canceled After Accusations that Mama June is Dating a Sex Offender // Jon's Blog Mourns...

TMZ reported yesterday that Mana Jane Shannon from TLC's "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" has been secretly dating a convicted sex offender named Mark McDaniel. 53-year-old McDaniel was convicted of molested an 8-year-old relative of Shannon and just got done serving a ten year prison sentence. TMZ posted a picture of the two together.

TLC, according to TMZ, was not pleased about these revelations and issued the following reaction:
TLC is not currently in production on HERE COMES HONEY BOO BOO.  We are very concerned about this new information and are reassessing the future of the series.
I read an article on Radar that interviewed one of the Shannon's daughter, who outright denied that her mother was is contact at all with McDaniel. Apparently, his son has also denied that there was a relationship of any sort between the two. She also claimed that the TMZ picture was photo-shopped. Having seen the pic, I'm not sure that I believe that.

Then I learned the bad news earlier today: TLC has canceled "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo."

The cancellation story is all over the place right now, but I learned of it via Facebook from Shannon herself in this video:

In the video, Shannon announced that she just got off the phone with executives at TLC and confirms that the reality TV show has been canceled. She outright denies these latest accusations. She confirms that she and Sugar Bear are no longer together, but says that they remain friends despite the break-up.

I don't know what to think. I obviously like this program and I like the family enough that I follow along with them via social media. But I cannot imagine that TMZ would fabricate this story out of nothing. The truthiness of their article might be stretched, but I don't believe it's coming from nothing. I'm sure we will find out eventually.

It's probably just as well that they cancel the program outright instead of trying to create a new season of the program post-break-up. That made for horrible TV watching with the "Jon & Kate Plus 8" program and I'm sure it wasn't good for the kids. I mean, most of the kids in this program are nearly grown up. Still, it's not fun watching a family implode upon itself.

May I make a suggestion for a spin-off TV show though? How about "Here Comes Uncle Poodle -- featuring Alan and Honey Boo Boo?" I think it would be a lot of fun, TLC!!