Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Archie Struggles to Windsail in ARCHIE #657!

I just got done reading ARCHIE #657. This summertime issue is set on the beach. Archie spends much of this issue trying to learn how to windsurf. There is this windsurfing contest and he wants to beat the reigning champion, Biff Logun. And he wants to win the contest because he is jealous of all the attention that Veronica is dumping on Mr. Logun!

There is a big problem with his scheme though. Archie isn't very good. Fortunately, he learns that Cheryl Blossom is a very good windsurfer. Will she help him learn how to windsurf good enough and quick enough to win this contest??

Meanwhile, check out our beefy Biff! He definitely has his eyes on Veronica. Or does he???

Lastly, I am a sucker for old-school Archie Comics and MLJ characters! This issue features the Madhouse Glads, plus several characters from the "Wilbur" and "That Wilkin Boy" comics books! I can't get enough of that!

Tom DeFalco has been hitting homers with his latest Archie Comics offerings (including last week's BETTY & VERONICA) and this one was no exception. It is definitely worth picking up, especially for the twist-ending involving Kevin Keller on the final page of this issue! "Windsurfing Woes" was written by Tom DeFalco, penciled by Pat & Tim Kennedy, and inked by Rich Koslowski.

"My Five Wives" Dad Files for Bankruptcy

Have you heard of the TLC reality TV show "My Five Wives"? This show follows the lives of Brady Williams, his five wives, and their 24 kids. They are all Mormons and they live near Salt Lake City, UT. I learned last night that Brady Williams has filed for bankruptcy, claiming about $23,000 in assets and $402,000 in debts.

People frequently claim that the slippery slope from gay marriage will be polygamy (forgetting that polygamy has been around for thousands of years). This is why I predict that we won't see plural marriages on every street even if polygamy does get legalized: it's expensive.

You will either need to be rich or else most of the spouses in the marriage will need to work in order to financially support a plural marriage. And, let's face it, a good chunk of those interested in plural marriages come from culturally- and religiously-conservative traditions that do not encourage moms to work outside of the home.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

When Team-Building Experiences Go Wrong

There is this interesting NPR article about corporate team-building exercises. I worked for the government, so team-building exercises for us usually consist of potluck baby showers and "Happy Birthday" signs. But these corporate groups apparently enjoy torturing each other with paintball guns...
Several years ago, things didn't go well for Peter Brooks when his former employer bused his division to a suburban Washington, D.C., field. They were divided into teams for a round of paintball.

"We were issued safety goggles and paintball guns, one of which immediately misfired. It hit a district manager in the crotch," Brooks says.

He remembers that the game quickly devolved into screaming, pleading and retaliatory rage — the paintballs left large welts.
"A lot of people pointed their guns right at their supervisors, me included," Brooks says. "I shot mine right in the middle of the back, and then when he spun around with revenge in his eyes, I surrendered."

The bus ride home, he says, was dead silent.

"I think we were all really unprepared at the impact, literally — emotionally and physically — the impact of shooting paintballs at each other," Brooks says. "People were very mad at each other. There were apologies. There were heartfelt apologies."
... as well as killer piñatas:
Several years ago Ben Johnson worked at a health foods store in Iowa. He remembers store management stringing up a donkey piñata to pump up the workers.

"Pinned to its chest was a name tag for a rival store," Johnson says. "They explained to everyone that this was, in fact, an effigy and that we were going to work together to figuratively, literally destroy the competition."

In lieu of candy, the piñata was filled with dollar coins. An overzealous middle manager with a baseball bat was first up, and he obliterated it.

"So when this thing explodes, dozens of the dollar gold Sacagawea coins fly through the air everywhere," Johnson says. "Someone in the front row takes one in the face and goes down. They ricochet off the walls. And when the coins finally stop, I emerge from underneath the table, there's just a stunned silence."

The coins are like blood money, and no one picks them up. Johnson thinks of the whole fiasco as an omen since the store eventually fell to the competition.
How about you? Do you have any interesting team-building experiences?

Nero at Daycare -- 07/08/14

Nero had an enjoyable time at doggy daycare today. The temperature was hot, but not quite as oppressive as yesterday. A lot of the dogs spent their day lying around, but Nero kept active by schmoozing with the others and strutting his stuff!

Check it out:

Monday, July 7, 2014

Armed Bank Robbery Today in Cedar Rapids, IA // Photo of Suspect Released

There was an armed bank robbery earlier today in nearby Cedar Rapids, IA. The suspect had a weapon when he robbed Guaranty Bank. This is the second bank robbery at this specific bank in just a few weeks

I've attached a pic of the suspect, pulled from media accounts. He is being described as "either a dark-skinned white man or light-skinned black man wearing a blue polo shirt with white pinstripes, blue jeans and a black cap." People with knowledge about this guy's identity are being asked to contact the Cedar Rapids Police Department at 319-286-5491 or Linn County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-CS-CRIME.

Personally, I think the suspect totally looks like he's wearing blackface! I could be wrong. What do you think?

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Jon Goes Off!: Gay Parenting, Mother Figures, and "Mother Shaped Holes"

I went off on somebody today. It was over at the Gay Christian Network website. Part of me feels like I was too rough on the woman, but another part of me gets sick of defending gay parenting... to other gay people.

Check this out:
So you know how they say children need to grow up with father figures and mother figures for that father shaped hole or that mother shaped hole? I have been thinking, what about gay couples with children? Does that interfere with those shaped holes? Is it okay for the child to have same sex parents?
My initial gut response was pretty strong. So I sat back for a while and did something else. I then returned to this new discussion thread and finally wrote a response. I actually did intend to respond less severely, but sometimes the words get away from you. This is how I responded:
I’m sorry, but you really need to drop the whole “father shaped hole” and “mother shaped hole” terminology. I’m sure that it’s my own warped mind, but those phrases scream child sex abuse.

Beyond that, I’m not sure how to respond outside of stating that our kids do just fine. Some are great. Some are bottom-feeders. Some struggle. Some over-achieve. And most find themselves in the middle of the bell-curve along with everyone else.

We’ve been having a discussion about foster care and foster/adopt in another thread. I know a few lesbians who became moms through IVF, but most gay parents I know became parents through foster care and foster-to-adoption. In other words, these families are starting out with barriers that most other families never need to overcome.

I often get asked if Mark & I are depriving our sons because they don’t have a mom...

Nobody ever questions what their “mother figures” and their birth “father figures” failed to provide for our sons and why they no longer live there. But despite over a decade of love, guidance, supervision, stability, discipline, and financial stability, we still get questioned about whether or not we are okay dads because we lack a “mother shaped hole."
Okay. I admit I had a trigger moment. And to be fair, there was actually a bit more to my response that I've clipped from this blog post.

Was I too rough? Not rough enough? Should I pull my initial response? Or should I leave it alone? What do you think?

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Meet the New Archies! -- Artwork by Stuffed Animal

You know about my friend Stuffed Animal and his original Archie Comics-inspired cartoons. He has been expanding his personal brand to include the Archies while moving beyond the Archies, if you get what I mean.

It seems like Bree Spellman has grown beyond her "teenage witch" years and has created Witch Queen Recording Studios. Among Witch Queen's major projects was the soundtrack to "Say Goodbye to Riverdale."

Did I mention "Say Goodbye to Riverdale"? It turns out that a movie musical about the Archies was written based on Betty's own biography! You need to check out the movie poster and the movie casting:

Reviews were mixed about the script itself, but the music was well received.

That prompted Bree Spellman to reach out to Alexander Cabot to initiate a nationwide search for the New Archies! Can you imagine Bree, Salem the Cat, and Nero doing their best imitations of Simon Cowell?? You have got to check this out:

Hard choices were made and eventually the New Archies were picked: Garcy Briseño on guitar!  Donna Dante on bass!  Frankie Fujiyama on drums!  Mal Hypster on tambourine!  Toby Maxx on sax!  Rikki Ninja on keyboards!  Lead vocals by Donna, Garcy and Mal!  Managed by Alexander Cabot!  Produced by Sabrina at Witch Queen Recording Studios!

I guess Nero was totally behind Donna Dante and insisted on her inclusion within the band. Who knew that my poodle has so much power??

I look forward to learning more about the New Archies! Thanks Stuffed Animal!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Betty & Veronica Model Friendship in BETTY & VERONICA #271!

Have you read BETTY & VERONICA #271 yet? You really should!

This story reunites Hermione Lodge with her childhood best friend Beatrice Witterstone (AKA Batty). Batty and Hermy were frequent rival back in their teen years, ostensibly over a boy. They lost track of each other since Veronica has never heard of her before this issue. But Batty is hosting a fashion show and has invited her old chum Hermy to watch. Apparently hoping to model childhood grudge-keeping, Hermione dragged along Ronnie and Betty to enjoy the fireworks!

That said, there is a completely different set of fireworks going off at Batty's fashion show. The show seems to be jinxed! Water pipes are exploding. The runway has collapsed. Wardrobes are malfunctioning. It's a mess! It's a big enough mess that all of the models except Katy Keene have abandoned the show due to safety concerns!

Batty is on the verge of ruin unless she receives a lot of recruiting help from Betty & Veronica -- not to mention some secret jinx-busting by Sabrina the Teenage Witch (sans zombies)! What follows is a delightful binge-fest of familiar and not-so-familiar Archie Comics/MLJ girls, including Josie & the Pussycats, Midge, Cricket O'Dell, Ginger Lopez, Nancy, Tomoko, Shrill & the other New Kids, Ginger Snapp, Suzie, Marcy, Samantha Smythe from "That Wilkin Boy," Laurie & Linda from "Wilbur," and many, many more -- though surprisingly no Toni Topaz!

I will leave it up to you to determine if the fashion show -- as well as Hermy & Batty's friendship -- survived this issue!

Here are a couple highlights from BETTY & VERONICA #271:

Check out these flashback outfits from Hermy & Batty's teen years. I guess they inspired the wardrobes from The New Archies!

Alexandra Cabot and her cat Sebastian play significant roles in this issue. It isn't often that we fans are reminded of their magical heritage and powers. Fortunately, Sabrina didn't forget!

"Fashion Fantabulous!" is easily the most fun issue that I have read since I began regularly reading BETTY & VERONICA two years ago. The story is both engaging and vibrant and the artwork is wonderful. It was written by Tom DeFalco, penciled by Fernando Ruiz, and inked by Bob Smith.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Nero at Daycare -- 07/03/14

Nero really enjoyed doggy daycare today. He and his friends hopped in the pool and chilled in the summer heat. Check it out:

Iowa City Plans to Eliminate Downtown Donation Meters

Four years ago, the Iowa City City Council created an alternative to downtown panhandling. They placed recycled parking meters through the Iowa City Pedestrian Mall and invited people to plug their coins into the meters instead of giving directly to panhandlers. The money raised from these meters were to be donated to local agencies that assist the poor and homeless in this community, including Shelter House, the Salvation Army, and the Free Lunch Program. This idea was patterned after a similar program in Denver, CO. That particular meter program has been responsible for raising nearly $100,000 in direct and indirect donations to involved social service agencies.

Unfortunately, Iowa City's nine "donation stations" have failed to achieve that lofty monetary goal. In fact, the meters have only raised $2,811 during the past four years! Because of this, the City of Iowa City plans to decommission their parking meter donation stations:
“Simply stated, the community costs and efforts to maintain the donation meters is not worth the small amount of revenue that is collected,” (Assistant Iowa City Manager Geoff) Fruin wrote in the memo. Fruin wrote that he will hold off on removing the meters until the Iowa City Council reviews the recommended action during its next meeting on July 15.

(Iowa City Manager Tom) Markus said the city wants to continue supporting social service agencies but would like to find more effective programs that make a more meaningful impact. “I think the parking meter program was well-intentioned, but there might be a more efficient way to raise money for these agencies,” he said.
T?he Iowa City Police Department, the Iowa City Downtown District, and the Johnson County Local Homeless Coordinating Board have all back this recommendation.