Wednesday, February 10, 2016

West Virginia: Deputy Clerk Yells at Lesbians Seeking Marriage License // Calls Them Abominations and Tells Them that God Will Judge Them

Yet another story of Christian public service workers who made sure to take pleasure in the tears of gay people went public today in a story coming out of Glenville, West Virginia. A lesbian couple went with their parents to the Gilmer County Courthouse last week to apply for marriage licenses. They received their marriage license, but they also got yelled at and called an abomination by the deputy clerk -- and the deputy clerk's boss and co-worker weren't terribly upset or embarrassed by the woman's behavior!:
Debbie Allen, the deputy clerk who processed their marriage license, and another deputy clerk who was there, Angela Moore, disputed some of the allegations from the couple and Brookover’s mother, Jill Goff, who also was there. They disagree on how loud Allen was and whether the word “abomination” was used, although Moore said she couldn’t hear everything. 

“I was working on what I was supposed to be doing and, honestly, I didn’t care to make eye contact with them,” Moore said. 

The clerks don’t dispute that Allen told the couple that what they were doing was wrong and that they would be judged, but they also stressed that they did not view the statement as an “attack.” 

“We did not attack them,” Allen said. “We did not yell at them. We were not aggressive with them. I felt I talked nicely to them.” 

Samantha Brookover and Amanda Abramovich, though, say Allen huffed, took their driver’s licenses, made copies, slammed down the copies and then, for two to three minutes, yelled that what they were doing was wrong in her eyes and in God’s eyes and that no one in Gilmer County would ever marry them. 

The couple had brought family members. They had the camera ready. It was supposed to be a happy day. Instead, in Brookover’s words, they were “flabbergasted and hurt and angry like you wouldn’t believe.” 

Allen said she briefly and calmly told the couple what they were doing was wrong and that God would judge them, and then continued assisting them as she would other couples. 

“I just told them my opinion,” she said. “I just felt led to do that. I believe God was standing with me and that’s just my religious belief.”
Let's pause here for a moment. What a bunch of passive-aggressive claptrap! Let's assume that she didn't yell or slam documents around and that she just calmly told the women that God would judge them and that they were an abomination. Why? What was the point other than to ruin their day and to insult some of the citizens who pay her salary?

Obviously, Allen knew that the women were upset by her words and actions. But really doesn't care:
Asked if her words could possibly have been perceived as an attack to someone of another sexual orientation, who has been belittled because of it, Allen said, “Oh, I’m sure.”

She wouldn’t say how she might treat any same-sex couples that arrive at the clerk’s office in the future.
Allen's boss is no better:
Goff had a phone conversation with Gilmer County Clerk Jean Butcher about the incident. Butcher said she told Goff that her religious beliefs are similar to Moore’s. 

“They were issued the license, and that was the main thing,” Butcher told the Gazette-Mail.
Which is true. The women received their marriage licenses.

But who'd have ever thought that a group of white, middle-aged public employees could treat taxpaying citizens so horribly and not be at all concerned?

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

O Face Co-Owner Matthew Overmyer (Featured on "Bar Rescue") Arrested & Charged with Sexual Assault

Remember the one time when Spike TV's "Bar Rescue" visited Iowa? Jon Taffer and his group went to the O Face Bar in Council Bluffs, IA, and -- for the first time in "Bar Rescue" history -- left the bar without rescuing it! (See here, here, here, here, and here for more info and related fallout). Two years later, O Face's owner is back in the news for something really, really bad!

Matthew Overmyer (age 35), owner of O Face Bar, was arrested late last week and charged with 2nd degree sexual abuse and assault with intent to commit sexual abuse:
The alleged abuse took place at a home in the 2300 block of Old Lincoln Highway in Crescent. Overmyer allegedly attacked an adult woman, who works at O Face Bar, at midnight Tuesday. According to the arrest affidavit, Overmyer reportedly used physical force, including choking, to have sex with the victim twice. The victim called several people after the alleged attack, and one source reportedly told Pottawattamie County criminal investigators that Overmyer tried to re-enter the room after the victim locked him out. The assault allegedly took place while Overmyer’s wife was out of town.
According to the Omaha World-Herald, Overmyer plans to plead not guilty to these charges and his attorney expects that the charges will eventually be dismissed.

If convicted, Overmyer faces up to 25 years in prison.

The Genesis of Dark Jem! OR Seven Great Reasons to Enjoy JEM AND THE HOLGRAMS #11!

Fans of JEM AND THE HOLOGRAM's original artist, Sophie Campbell, were excited to see her return to this wonderful comic book series with issue #11. This is new storyline, titled "Dark Jem," prepares the readership for the upcoming Misfits/Holograms joint band tour. Of course, everything is topsy-turvy following Pizzazz's recent car accident and fractured larynx. We've been wondering for weeks whether or not the Misfits' leader can possibly recover in time for their upcoming concert.

We get a pretty good answer in JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS #11 -- and I don't think that Pizzazz will be terribly pleased with the answer!

Anyway, here are seven great reasons to enjoy JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS #11!

1. Environmental Awareness! The Misfits are torn over their desire to tour and their dedication to injured band leader, Pizzazz. But the Holograms are just biding time until the musical fun begins! How better to spend a hot January afternoon than a pool party? The big question is whether or not the girls will let Kimber invite her secret girlfriend, Stormer, to the festivities?

2. Breach of Contract: The Misfits pushed back against Five By Five's corporate plan to replace Pizzazz. Of course, that was before they were reminded that they would have been in violation of their contract! This puts Stormer, Roxy, and Jetta in the awkward position of interviewing Pizzazz's replacement! Ouch!!

3. Malfunction!! Techrat attempted to hack into the Holograms' sentient computer, Synergy, back in JEM AND THE HOLOGRAM #9 and made a startling discovery. Something is terribly wrong with the Holograms' computer network!!

There have been hints for several issues, but Synergy's major malfunction took center stage in this issue! It's unclear if she's truly aware of what she's doing or if she's truly malicious, but Synergy demonstrated some personality-altering sonic abilities in this issue -- and the first target of her new musical talents is Jerrica Benton AKA Jem!

4. Siblings Dating Siblings -- But Not in an Incesty Way!! We already knew that Kimber is dating Stormer and that Aja is dating Craig. But we learned in this story that Stormer and Craig are sister and brother!! (Which I should have realized since I was a fan of the 80s cartoon series and Craig made appearance as Stormer's brother and Aja's love-interest in a handful of episodes!!) And of course, Kimber and Aja are sisters!! So we have siblings dating siblings in JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS!!

(humor me...)

5. But If Craig's From the Cartoon, What About Cute Bartender Tony??: Once I realized that Craig used to be in the cartoon, I got to wondering about Shana's new bartender boyfriend, Tony. Cartoon Shana dated a guy named Anthony Julian. He bears no resemblance to Cute Bartender Tony, outside of being black, having the same first name (sort of), and an interest in Shana. Which is good enough for me!!

6. The New Face of the Misfits?? The Misfits sat through a lot of auditions for the Misfits' new lead singer. As Eric Raymond put it, "They're not great." But then Blaze bursts onto the stage and I cannot help wondering if we've met the Misfits' new lead?

7. Dark Jerrica?? Check out Jerrica's new look! This is the first obvious sign of where we're heading with "Dark Jem." I can only imagine what Synergy's music has done to her personality? And what's stopping our favorite sentient hologram from playing her song for the rest of the Holograms??

I noticed that we will be treated to a JEM AND THE HOLGRAMS VALENTINES DAY special tomorrow. I wonder if we'll be seeing Dark Jem and the Darker Holograms make their debut in this new special or if this new book with be a stand alone adventure? I guess we'll find out very soon!

"Dark Jem, Part One" is written by Kelly Thompson, with art by Sophie Campbell, story by Thompson & Campbell, colors by M. Victoria Robado, and lettering by Shawn Lee.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Marco Rubio Confronted by Married Gay Voter in New Hampshire

Senator Marco Rubio got confronted head-on by a married gay New Hampshire man today at the Puritan Backroom diner in Manchester, NH, over the issue of gay marriage. The man was eating lunch with his husband and mother when the Republican presidential candidate walked by:
The voter, who identified himself as Timothy Kierstead, was seated at a table with his mother and his husband when Mr. Rubio walked up behind him, according to pool reports of the encounter. During a brief conversation, Mr. Kierstead, 50, told Mr. Rubio that he was married but complained that the senator’s position amounted to him declaring that “we don’t matter.”
Mr. Rubio, who was standing with his youngest son, Dominick, 8, by his side, gently disagreed. “No, I just believe marriage is between one man and one woman.”
“Well,” replied Mr. Kierstead, “that’s your belief.”
Mr. Rubio continued: “I think that’s what the law should be. And if you don’t agree you should have the law changed by a legislature.”
Keep in mind that New Hampshire's legislature actually did change the law to legalize same-sex marriage.

Rubio patted Kierstead on the shoulder after saying "I respect your view."

You can watch the brief exchange here.

This is the type of interaction that really annoys me. People like Senator Rubio think that this is just a difference of opinion. People like Timothy Kierstead recognize that this is actually about his family.

Animal Massage Therapist & Reiki Healer Featured in the Cedar Rapids Media

I wrote late last month of my time at the "Coexist" event at Illuminations Healing Arts Center in nearby Cedar Rapids, IA. One of the services that I noticed while I was there -- though I realize that I didn't write about it in my blog article -- was small animal massage and Reiki. I told one of the Illuminations' employees that I wished I had known about that service a year ago when Ms. Lion was still alive. I've believed for a long time that she would have benefited from massage, but I could never find a nearby animal practitioner. Three months after her death, I found one!

I was looking at The Gazette this afternoon and noticed an article about animal massage and Reiki, focusing on one of the women from Illuminations!:
Gina Hamilton, a licensed massage therapist and spiritual healer, has a special bond with animals. She is able to communicate with animals by “merging” with their “universal energy,” she believes. When she connects with their energy, she “sees the world through their eyes,” and uses the visions to help her determine where to concentrate healing energy because “so much is non-verbal,” she explained.

“They can’t tell you what’s wrong,” she said. “I find where they’re hurting and ask to help.”

She uses a Japanese healing technique called reiki. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, reiki is a complementary health approach that involves practitioners placing their hands on or above a person — or animal in this case — to transfer healing energy to treat pain, anxiety, fatigue and depression, among other issues...

Hamilton earned her certification in small-animal massage from the Blue Sky School of Professional Massage in Wisconsin in 2008. Since then, she’s been performing massage and reiki on humans and animals, including dogs, cats, rabbits, goats and chickens.

She’s worked in veterinary clinics but currently practices at the Illuminations Healing Arts Center in the Cherry Building in the New Bohemia District. She also travels to homes in the area, seeing five to six animals each month.
Hamilton facilitated a "Coexist" speaker event called "A Pagan Circle." In the middle of her presentation, the backdoor opened and an aged dog entered the room, slowly shuffling to the front of the room and settling at Hamilton's feet. She had a very calm and centered disposition. I can easily sense her devotion of animal healing.

"Ask Amy" Receives Question: "Our Gay Neighbors Have Greatly Improved Our Neighborhood. How Dare They Kiss In Public??"

"Ask Amy" writer Amy Dickinson published a best-of column today while she works on her book. This one featured two questions about the difficulty that readers had with accepting the homosexuality of others. The first letter is an interesting (if sad) letter from a mother about her gay son. But I was more interested in the second letter, which was from a Colorado woman about her gay neighbors:
DEAR AMY: My husband and I have lived in our quiet suburban Denver neighborhood for six years. About two years ago, two young gay men moved in across the street. They’ve taken the ugliest, most run-down property in the neighborhood and remodeled and transformed it into the pride of the street. When it snows, they shovel out my car and are friendly, yet they mostly keep to themselves.

Last month, I went out to retrieve my newspaper and watched them kiss each other goodbye and embrace as they each left for work.

I was appalled that they would do something like that in plain view of everyone. I was so disturbed that I spoke to my pastor. He encouraged me to draft a letter telling them how much we appreciate their help, but asking them to refrain from that behavior in our neighborhood. I did so and asked a few of our neighbors to sign it.

Since I delivered it, I’ve not been able to get them to even engage me in conversation. I offer greetings, but they’ve chosen to ignore me. They have made it so uncomfortable for the other neighbors and me by not even acknowledging our presence.

How would you suggest we open communications with them and explain to them that we value their contributions to the neighborhood, but will not tolerate watching unnatural and disturbing behavior? — Wondering
Amy offered some advice that made me chuckled. She told "Wondering" that she should be glad that she's only being ignored. The guys could have began throwing Pride-themed BBQ parties in their front yard and really making a show for everyone!

But here is the gist of Amy's advice:
In your original petition to these men, you basically stated that while you value them when they are raising the standard on your street and shoveling your driveway, you loathe them for being who they are. The only way to open communication with your neighbors would be to start by apologizing to them for engaging your other neighbors in your campaign. Because you don’t sound likely to apologize, you are just going to have to tolerate being ignored.
What do you think of Amy's advice?

Sunday, February 7, 2016

What Is the Simian Supreme Court? And Who Are the All-American Victory Legion?

I've written several times about Charlton Neo, which is a resurrection of the classic Charlton Comics lines; as well as Pix-C Web Comics, which features public domain characters from Charlton Comics as well as a few other original characters. Pix-C Web Comics features strips from a variety of genres, including superhero, horror, action, and humor romance. But Pix-C Web Comics recently launched several new strips for 2016, including a superhero-themed strip called the ALL-AMERICAN VICTORY LEGION!

The All-American Victory Legion is a World War II era team of superheroes. They are lead by Amazing Man and feature heroes such as Magno, Lightning, Blue Lady, Mystic Arrow, and Dark Spider. The team is the creation of the late Alan Kupperberg -- brother of Paul Kupperberg. Their initial story, titled "Monkey Trial" features story and art by Alan Kupperberg.

I know that I should be writing about the All-American Victory Legion and I'm a hug fan of Golden Age superheroics -- but I'm all about the apes with this Pix-C Web Comics strip!

I mentioned earlier that this story is set during World War II. Adolph Hitler has teamed up with the Green Gorilla and some Nazi super-scientists and plucked some super-powered simian soldiers from throughout the timeline and commanded them to attack New York City and kidnap Mayor Fiorello La Guardia!

We readers don't yet know a lot about this Simian Supreme Court. I actually don't even know that they go by that name, except that they used that collective name on the story's cover. But I like that name! As noted above, they are led by the Green Gorilla. Other members include Mighty Monkey, Kongster, Kingorilla, and Simia the Ultra-Ape.

The Simians surprise and overwhelm the Victory Legion, successfully managing to kidnap the Mayor. Our heroes figure out three separate energy trails left behind after the Simians' attack. This allows them to conveniently split into three teams of two members to track down our apes!

At this point in the story, we have met two of the Simians up-close so far. Blue Lady and Dark Spider go up against Simia the Ultra-Ape, who pulls a classic move out of "King Kong," way up at the top of the Golden Banana Company Building!

Lightning and Magno go up against Kongster, learning that this gorilla has more in common with these humans than they originally believed possible! Kongster manages to materialize two additional apes into the story line: Detective Philip Fullbrow and Chim Pan-Genius, Primate Investigator!

Can these two detectives figure out how to defeat the Nazis? Or will we find out that they are actually Nazi sympathizers by the end of this tale??

I have no clue where this is heading, but I can't wait for the next installment of this story when it gets posted next Sunday! You too can read the Simian Supreme Court's latest adventure (as well as the All-American Victory Legion!!) -- not to mention Yang, No Name, Tuffy Turtle, N.E.O., Kid Montana, Skyman, The Knightingales, Deathwatch, The Spookman, Sadistik, Ms. Molecule, and several other great characters, by becoming a patron of Pix-C Web Comics. Those who become patrons (for as little as $1 per month) gain access to several weekly online comic strips. The more you pledge, the more perks you qualify for. I've been contributing $30 per month towards this venture. I encourage to you to become a patron too!

Incidentally,  you can now read older Pix-C Web Comics on this Free website. Becoming a Pix-C Web Comics patron will give you advanced access to new Pix-C stories that are not readily available to those who access the Free website, so definitely make your pledge today!

Riverdale Podcast Returns to Fan Podcast Status!

I've been a fan of The Riverdale Podcast for a long time -- and even appeared on it from time to time. Jonathan's podcast became the Official Archie Comics Podcast back in November 2014, which was pretty cool!

I became aware of some gossip last week from Jonathan himself that he officially announced this weekend: The Riverdale Podcast is back to being a fan podcast and is not officially connected to Archie Comics anymore.

There are reasons for this switch back to how things began. But switching back to fan podcast status ultimately gives him more freedom about how to run his podcast.

It's easier to justify discussions of comic books from past decades instead of new releases. He can more critically discuss news events involving Archie Comics. He can more easily justify interviews with creators who are no longer associated with the company. And it will be easier to invite fans onto the podcast as guests.

Jonathan has created a Patreon account for fans to contribute money towards the program:
My name is Jonathan. I host and produce The Riverdale Podcast, a weekly audio show devoted to Archie Comics. For the last four years I've released a new episode every week and I plan to continue that for the foreseeable future. What I'm looking for from patrons is your support in keeping the show rolling. Your pledges do two important things; first they help me to prioritize the show. Money coming in for the podcast means that I'll spend less time chasing money elsewhere and more time making the show! Second, it makes me accountable to you. Your investment in the show means that you believe in what I'm doing and that encourages me to continue to make the best show every week. 
Three patrons have already pledged to the campaign and assisted him with meeting his first Milestone Goal ($30 per month) towards Hosting Fees.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Too Much to Digest! Mega-Review of Multiple Archie Comic Book Digests!

It's been a busy quarter with lots of new projects. All of this means that it's easy for me to fall behind with my comic book reading! Horrible priorities, I know! But it happens... But I found myself with a day at home and decided to use that time to catch of with my pile of comic book digests!

Instead of working on individual posts for each of these titles, my plan is to do a marathon post highlighting a bit from each book. So -- starting alphabetically --, here we go!!!

ARCHIE WINTER ANNUAL #265: This comic book digest will hopefully get you all excited for Valentine's Day. Which I just realized is one week away!!

The first story in this digest is titled "Love At First Fight." It's an original short story and it features writing by Angelo Decesare, pencils by Fernando Ruiz, inks by Rich Koslowsi, letters by Jack Morelli, and colors by  Glenn Whitmore.

It's days before Valentine's Day and Veronica has plans for a fabulous date. She just hasn't figured out yet if Reggie or Archie will be going out with her yet! And neither have they!

Veronica is so offended by their fighting that she storms off to find another guy.

(Pitifully, Betty is such a sad sack in this story that she instantly pleads for a date with the guy who was just fighting over the right to date another girl!)

Ronnie begins planting hints for the guys that she has found the perfect Valentine's Day date. Can Archie and Reggie figure out the identity of Veronica's new boyfriend? And what will they do to him once they find him??

ARCHIE'S FUNHOUSE COMICS DOUBLE DIGEST #18: Our next story is "Too Pooped Pop." This short story features a script by Bill Golliner, pencils by Fernando Ruiz, inks by Bob Smith, letters by Jack Morelli, and colors by Glenn Whitmore.

Pop Tate is barely functioning. He hasn't had a vacation in months. Possibly even years! The Riverdale Gang offers to run the restaurant for one weekend so that he can take off for a brief vacation. To highlight how burned out he is? He actually agreed to this idea, even after knowing these kids for the past 75 years!!

To my surprise, things actually go over fabulously. The kids are exhausted by huge crews of visitors, but they actually manage to make it through the weekend without burning things down!

My favorite customers? The folks from the Magician's Convention! Our Gang is treated to nonstop magical tricks while filling orders for these folks! How fun!!!

JUGHEAD AND ARCHIE WINTER ANNUAL #18: This story features Archie and Juggie in a story of pranks. It's titled "Snowstruck" and it features writing by Craig Boldman, pencils by Pat & Tim Kennedy, inks by Jim Amash, letters by Jack Morelli, and colors by Glenn Whitmore.

Jughead pulls a snowman-themed prank on Archie. He texted Archie to arrive in a particular spot at a particular time. Archie arrives and is then promptly attacked by Juggie the Snowman! Archie is so impressed that he pinpoints the next perfect target for this prank: Veronica!

Personally, I think he should have picked Betty...

WORLD OF ARCHIE WINTER ANNUAL #56: Our final story is "Keep It Clean." This one is written and penciled by Fernando Ruiz, inked by Bob Smith, colored by Glenn Whitmore, and lettered by Jack Morelli.

It's Class Picture Day and both Archie and Jughead look stunning in their dapper suits! Curiously, Mrs. Jones is in tears! Jughead looks so good in his pictures, but she knows that he'll never keep himself clean and presentable long enough for his picture to be taken. Archie volunteers to do his best to keep Juggie "squeaky clean." Wanna bet how long this will last?

The boys come up with a substitution scheme to get them to the camera without any more damage. My only advise to Archie? Next time? Go first!!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Phoenix City Council Nixes Public Prayers Before Meetings to Avoid Satanist Prayer

This is rich! The Phoenix City Council has insisted on having public prayers kick off each of its meetings for years. Recently, a Satanist group requested the right to offer their own prayer before the City Council. And the Phoenix City Council couldn't say no. Because they've permitted this practice forever and they're technically not allowed to favor one faith over another.

So now this tradition of public prayer has been nixed in order to prevent the public inclusion of a non-preferred religion:
The Phoenix City Council has voted to replace a long-standing tradition of praying before its meetings with a moment of silence. The move prevents a Satanist group from offering a prayer at the Council's meeting in a couple weeks. 
This reminds me of conservative Christians who fought for years to protect the institution of marriage from same-sex couples. And now that gay couples can get legally married, they want to get rid of marriage licenses altogether!