Saturday, April 29, 2017

Who Killed Jason Blossom? My Top Three Suspects Revealed!

Now that I'm caught up with episode reviews and summaries, I want to do something different. Fans of "Riverdale" learned that the identity of Jason Blossom's murder will be revealed next week, presumably during the first moments of Episode 12. I think it's safe to assume that neither Archie, Jughead, Betty, Veronica, nor Kevin Keller are guilty of Jason's murder.

At the end of Episode 11, FP Jones -- Jughead's father and leader of the Southside Serpents -- was arrested and charged with the murder of Jason Blossom. The police had searched his home and found a lock box with the murder weapon inside. Archie and Veronica know that FP is innocent because they had performed their own thorough search of the trailer home just hours before the police search. The weapon was planted in FP's home, which means that Jason Blossom's murderer is still on the loose in Riverdale!

I want to post my "Riverdale" suspect theories today in this blog. I might be wrong. I might be correct. I might be partially correct. But I have some theories!

First, let's share what we know about Jason Blossom. He's the son and heir of the Blossom Syrup Empire. He comes from a long line of red headed rich people with probable personality disorders. He has a twin sister named Cheryl. He was a star athlete. He was the captain of the football team and he was also on the water polo team. His tenure with the football team was ultimately marred by a notebook where team members slept with girls and then publicly slut-shamed them.

Last spring, he started a romance with Polly Cooper. This relationship was ultimately doomed due to a multi-generational feud between the Blossoms and the Coopers. Polly eventually learned that she was pregnant with Jason's twins and the two teens planned on escaping from Riverdale and eloping.

On July 4th, Cheryl and Jason got on a rowboat and traveled towards Greendale. The boat supposedly capsized and Jason was supposedly drowned. Cheryl later admitted that she was helping with his runaway plans, but denied knowing any other details about his escape. We later learned that he was shot in the head a week later and dumped in the lake. His body was later discovered.

We know that Jason had a ton of drugs hidden away in his escape vehicle and he was known to be a drug-dealer during his last months of life. Somebody stole the drugs and destroyed the car before the police were able to fully investigate.

So here are my suspects...

1. Cheryl Blossom: Cheryl Blossom is the easy suspect. She is the last known person to see Jason alive. She was the one who rowed away with him when he abandoned the family empire. She was the one who knew of his plan to runaway for parts unknown. She is the one who told the world that he was dead, but in a way that cast her as the grieving sister.

The police know that Cheryl helped him leave Riverdale, but who is to say that she was telling the whole truth?

Cheryl was devoted to her brother. Veronica never met Jason, but still managed to picked up on the twincesty vibes between this pair during the party scene in Episode 10. What if Cheryl and Jason had indeed been sexually and romantically involved? What if he broke things off with his sister because of his love for Polly Cooper? What if she grew to hate him because of this and either stashed him away for a week -- possibly in a last ditch effort to save their relationship -- or tracked him down after his absence? After all, we only have her word that she didn't know where he was going! Lastly, she wore a white outfit to his funeral. Shades of a wedding dress, possibly? And she stole Nana Blossom's heirloom ring -- the one that Jason intended to use as his wedding ring.

Cheryl Blossom might very well be the easy suspect, but there's a reason for that.

2. Hal Cooper: Back when Riverdale was younger, the Blossoms and the Coopers built a financial empire with maple syrup. Not content to split the financial rewards, Great-Grandpa Blossom killed Great-Grandpa Cooper! Nearly 80 years later, Hal Cooper and Cliff Blossom are still fighting that family feud!

Now imagine that he just learned that his oldest daughter is romancing the son of his biggest enemy -- the very family that denied him access to generational wealth and power. And then imagine that he just found out that she's pregnant and planning to run away with Jason! It's worth noting that Hal Cooper was not in the home when Polly was confronted and whisked away by the Sisters of Quiet Mercy. Maybe he was chasing after Jason...

And don't forget, somebody broke into Sheriff Keller's home and stole all of the evidence, pictures, and video interviews. We later found out that Hal Cooper was the thief. Why did he do that? Maybe he was trying to dig up information for the newspaper, but that's a huge risk for an ongoing murder investigation. Maybe he was trying to protect Alice or Polly Cooper, who were both presumably viewed as official suspects. I think that he was covering his tracks.

Lastly, we know that Hal and Alice Cooper have secrets of their own. Part of the sting with Polly's pregnancy is the insinuation that Alice was a teen mom, too. It's been implied that they gave up their first child for adoption, or had an abortion. In Episode 11, it was clear that FP knows their secret and threatened to dangle it for public display if Alice didn't leave him alone.

What if Hal Cooper -- being Jason Blossom's killer and possessor of the murder weapon -- planted the gun in FP's home and then called the police. FP is a rogue. The police are more than willing to lock him away forever. Easy way to deflect suspicion, right?

3. Hermione Lodge and/or Smithers: Hermione Lodge is the dark horse candidate. I mean, she was in New York when Jason disappeared. Right? But the Lodge family is the family that seems to benefit the most from Jason Blossom's murder.

We now know that the Blossom family was making sizable payments to the Lodge family for decades. We don't know why. Maybe it had to do with Great-Grandpa Cooper's murder? Who knows? But Clifford Blossom wanted the payments to stop and Hiram Lodge didn't care. So Cliff set something in motion that ultimately led to Hiram Lodge's arrest on embezzlement and to the leveling of the Lodges' large fortune and influence.

Here is my theory. Hiram Lodge's arrest took place on July 4th. Jason Blossom had just taken off and was unprotected by his family. Plus everyone was dragging the lake in their search for him. They weren't looking in Greendale or wherever Jason actually was. What if Smithers, at the behest of the Lodge family, swooped up Jason and stashed him away. He was eventually killed and his body was dumped in the lake. I'm pretty certain that Hermione would be the one to kill Jason and that Smithers would be the one to clean things up afterwards. That's how I see it in my mind's eye.

We already know that Smithers is aware of the Lodges' shadier elements. He procured money from previously unknown areas when Hermione most needed it. He's helped guide Veronica towards decisions that most benefit her father's agenda. And I'm pretty sure that he continues to feed Hiram information about his family and fallen empire from afar. I think that Smithers would do whatever the Lodge family needs him to do to protect them and their reputation. Including kidnapping and murder!

I think that the Lodges killed Jason off in order to weaken the Blossom family and their legacy. They needed the Twilight Drive-In property in order to rebuild their empire. The Blossoms also wanted that property, so this just sweetened the deal for Herimone.

We know that the Lodges have connections to the Southside Serpents. Where did Jason get all of those drugs? I'm guessing that he stole them from the Serpents. It would be in the Lodges' best interest for the Serpents to reacquire their missing drugs and then to destroy Jason's car along with any evidence of their involvement with those drugs.

As time progressed, the Serpents were becoming increasingly troublesome for Hermione. Why wouldn't she want to plant evidence on their leader, FP Jones, in order to get him out of the way and to weaken the gang?

It's a difficult, convoluted murder plan. Then again, this is the Lodge family.

What do you think? Who killed Jason Blossom? Shared your thoughts in the comments section below!

Catching Up on Episodes 10 & 11 of "Riverdale"

There have been two more episodes of "Riverdale" since my last blog post. And they have been pretty good episodes!

By the way... SPOILERS!!! Major spoilers!! Just warning you...

In Episode 10, Betty decided to throw Jughead a party for his 16th birthday. Keep in mind that Jughead hates birthday parties, but she did it anyway. It was originally intended to be a private party for Betty, Jughead, and their closest friends (Archie, Veronica, Kevin, Joaquin, FP Jones, and Ethel). But Cheryl and Chuck decided to get some petty revenge and ended up inviting the entire school and transforming the party into a drunken spectacle!

The end result is that everyone's secrets came out in this episode. Everyone now knows that the Lodges purchased the drive-in movie property. Everyone now knows that Archie had an affair with Ms. Grundy. Everyone knows that Betty seduced, drugged, and tortured a confession about the football "book of conquests" out of Chuck a few week's back.

Oh, and Molly Ringwald finally made her "Riverdale" debut as Archie's long-absent mother. Riverdale is so out of control -- what with murders, gangs, pregnant teens, and seductive teachers -- that she wants to take Archie to Chicago where he might -- just might!! -- survive into adulthood!!

Meanwhile in Episode 11, Polly continues to investigate the Blossom family for clues about Jason's murder. She is convinced that they know something about his death -- or that they are actually behind it. But she isn't very subtle about things. They know that she's sleuthing about. The most that she's discovered is that Mr. Blossom wears a wig!

But she does manage to find the missing heirloom ring that Nana Blossom secretly gave to Jason and Polly way back when she learned of their engagement. Mrs. Blossom tells Polly that Jason threw the ring at his parents last summer when he told them that he was running away. They then proceed to drug Polly and lock her away in her bedroom -- and Cheryl absconds with the missing ring!

Meanwhile, Archie and Veronica agree to investigate FP Jones' trailer home for Mrs. Cooper to see if Jughead's father might have been involved with Jason's murder. This is personal for Veronica. She already knows that her parents have been secretly conspiring with the Southside Serpents. She wants to know if her father -- who's slated for early release from prison -- had anything to do with Jason's murder. And Archie just wants to protect his best friend from being hurt by his father.

This leads to Riverdale High's annual Homecoming Dance, where Archie and Veronica entertain the audience with 80s cover songs. And while everyone is dancing, the police raid FP's trailer and find the gun that killed Jason Blossom!

Jughead is horrified to find out that his friends had been investigating his father. But he's completely shattered to learn that his father has been arrested for murder!!

Except that Archie and Veronica had just searched the trailer and found nothing. There was no gun! That means that FP Jones has been set up. By whom??

We don't know! But we'll probably know on Thursday, May 4th. That's the day that "Riverdale" fans will find out the identity of Jason Blossom's murderer! So tune in to The CW next Thursday night at 8:00 PM CST!

Mentor, OH: Psychic Sentenced to 8 Years in Prison for Stealing $1.4 Million from Clients

One of my psychic friends posted a link to this story yesterday. It involves a psychic from Mentor, OH, who was just sentenced to eight years in prison after pleading guilty to one count of aggravated theft with a forfeiture specification.

According to news reports, 42-year-old Gina Miller operated a business called Gina's Psychic Studio. She was accused of stealing $1.4 million from 12 clients over a 15-year period:
(Assistant Lake County Prosecutor Charles) Cichocki said Miller charged $50 to $75 a session to determine a person’s frailties through cold readings, quickly sizing up victims through high-probability guesses. She then charged victims a larger fee to get to the root cause of a problem — usually to get rid of a curse. 
“Many victims were seeking answers for problems that made them highly susceptible to her psychological tactics,” he said. “Once all their cash was gone, she tricked them into leasing vehicles for her or giving her Rolex watches.” 
Miller would tell her clients that they or a family member would be struck with tragedy, illness or death if they failed to let her help them get rid of the “darkness,” Cichocki added. 
She isolated victims from their family members, and warned clients her work would fail if they spoke to others about it... 
Cichocki played an audio tape in court of a victim wearing a wire for Mentor police. The victim had been leasing Miller a late-model Cadillac, and her credit was suffering because Miller had not been making the payments as promised. “What will happen if I don’t make the payments?” the victim asked Miller. “Your grandson would die,” Miller responded. Many of the victims were elderly. Some were worried for their children in the armed forces or prison. “One victim had diabetes. She told him not to take his medicine. He lost his leg to an amputation,” Cichocki said.
According to the news article, Miller was originally charged with 28 counts of aggravated theft. However, all of the counts were merged into one count for the purposes of sentencing. The forfeiture specification means that she will lose property connected to her crimes that had previously been seized by the police.

Miller is also required to pay each of her victims back the money stolen. However, given the age of her victims -- mostly seniors -- and the length of her prison sentence, I imagine that most of her victims won't receive much back in the form of restitution.

The article also noted that Miller's $233,000 house is currently in foreclosure. She spent most of the money stolen from her victims on furniture, furs, vacations, and gambling.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Charlotte Rae from "The Facts of Life" Diagnosed with Bone Cancer at Age 91

Sad news today. Charlotte Rae -- Mrs. Edna Garrett from "Different Strokes" and "The Facts of Life" -- revealed to PEOPLE that she has been diagnosed with bone cancer. The 91-year-old actor revealed that she was diagnosed and successfully treated for pancreatic cancer seven years ago:
"About seven years ago, I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer -- which is a miracle that they found it because usually it's too late. My mother, sister and my uncle died of pancreatic cancer. After six months of chemotherapy, I was cancer-free. I lost my hair, but I had beautiful wigs. Nobody even knew."
Rae is now trying to decide whether or not to go through with treatment:
The Facts of Life star, who celebrated her 91st birthday on Saturday with family and friends, was supposed to start treatment on Thursday, but decided to cancel. "I wanted to think about it first," she says. "I think I'm going to go for it. The side effects were not too bad when I did it originally. I've had a great life, but I have so many wonderful things happening. I'd like to choose life. I'm grateful for the life I've already had."
Longtime readers of this blog know that I've been a huge fan of "The Facts of Life" for most of my life. This is very sad indeed.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Giant Rabbit Died While In Transit from London to New Home in Iowa

You might have heard about United Airlines' latest public blunder. United Airlines has egg on its face again after news broke that a rabbit -- a 3-foot giant rabbit named Simon flying from London to Chicago -- ended up dying while in their custody.

You might not have known that this story has an Iowa connection. Simon was purchased by an Iowan for about $530 and they paid roughly $1800 to fly the giant rabbit to America. The giant rabbit was going to settle into a luxury pen in Norwalk, IA, which is right near Des Moines in south-central Iowa.

Simon was successfully flown from London to Chicago, but then died while at a pet holding facility at the airport. United Airlines has reportedly offered compensation to the rabbit's breeder, but apparently not the new owners.

Simon was the son of the largest rabbit in the world. He came to America where his new owners planned to exhibit him at the Iowa State Fair later this summer.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Ross Butler (AKA Reggie Mantle) Being Recast on "Riverdale" in Season Two

Fans learned that Ross Butler, known for his portrayal of Reggie Mantle in "Riverdale," will not be returning to the program when the program returns for its second season:
TVLine has learned exclusively that producers of The CW’s rookie teen drama have decided to recast the role of Archie’s foe Reggie ahead of Season 2 as a result of scheduling issues with the character’s portrayer Ross Butler. 
“We love what Ross did with the role of Reggie [this season], but because of his commitments to other projects, we couldn’t use him nearly as much as we would have liked,” series creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa said in a statement to TVLine. “[Next season], we want more Reggie on our show — he’s Archie’s rival! — and because Ross is unavailable to come back to Riverdale, we’re looking for a new Reggie. Those are big shoes to fill, but we’re confident we can find an actor who is as funny and sexy as Ross. And of course we all wish Ross the best.”
Ross Butler has seen a lot of success this year in Netflix's "13 Reasons Why," which will most likely be picked up for a second season. He's been the one character with the most potential who's barely seen any screen time on "Riverdale." Hopefully his successor will become a much more active character on the program.

"Riverdale" Season Two Casts Its Hiram Lodge

It's been a few weeks since we received our first glimpse of Hiram Lodge from the "Riverdale" television series. Keep in mind, we got that glimpse in the RIVERDALE ONE-SHOT comic book and it was unclear if the Hiram Lodge that appeared in that comic book would look much like the Hiram Lodge who would eventually appear in the TV show.

We got our first real answer in the news yesterday:
Veronica’s dad might be getting out of jail sooner than we thought on Riverdale
Mark Consuelos has signed on to play the heretofore-unseen Hiram Lodge on The CW’s Archie reboot, TVLine has learned exclusively. He’ll make his debut in Season 2, and is set to join the cast as a series regular. 
Hiram Lodge, per the show’s official description, is “a ruthless, handsome, charismatic businessman who is coming back to Riverdale after weathering a financial scandal that almost destroyed him. He is there to reconnect with his wife Hermione and, especially, his daughter Veronica, who is the apple of his eye.” We haven’t seen Hiram on the show yet, since he’s been in jail awaiting trial for his involvement in a Bernie Madoff-esque embezzlement scheme. But it sounds like he beats the rap and comes home to make Veronica’s life even more complicated. 
There is a catch, though: Consuelos currently co-stars on Fox’s baseball drama Pitch as general manager Oscar Arguella, and his Riverdale casting is in second position to Pitch, so he’d have to drop the Riverdale role if Pitch is renewed for a second season. (Pitch is currently listed as “could go either way” on TVLine’s Renewal Scorecard.) He also recently signed on for a major recurring role on the upcoming fourth season of NBC’s The Night Shift, and he’s co-president of Milojo Productions, which has the Logo reality show Fire Island debuting this month.
In other words, Consuelos might be Hiram Lodge or he might have to give up the role of Hiram Lodge if his current TV gig gets renewed.

What do you think?

Monday, April 24, 2017

Ryan Buell of "Paranormal State" Arrested Again // Charged with Simple Assault Against his Boyfriend

Ryan Buell, former of A&E's "Paranormal State," is back in jail again. The 35-year-old former reality TV star/paranormal investigator was arrested Friday evening. The police were originally called to his home to respond to a drug overdose. However, police ended up arresting Buell following reports that he had been in a domestic assault against his boyfriend:
The man stated that when he arrived home, he and Buell had gotten into an argument, police said. As the argument escalated, Buell reportedly scratched the man’s face. When he pushed Buell back, police said, Buell bit his finger. Officers observed a “deep bite” on the man’s finger that penetrated the fingernail. He also left scratches on the left side of his boyfriend’s face and neck. When interviewed, Buell stated he and the man had an argument but didn’t remember any physical altercation, police said.
According to news reports, Buell was charged with a misdemeanor count of simple assault and s summary charge of harassment. His bail was set at $25,000. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Wednesday this week.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Gay Christian Singer Vicky Beeching Upset Over Online Bullying By Other Christians

It's been a few years since Christian singer Vicky Beeching came out as a lesbian. She solidified her fanbase with LGBT Christians, but fell from grace with the the vast majority of Christian fans.

I was reading an article from Christian Today about Beeching and the nonstop attacks by fellow Christians since coming out in 2004. The article makes quick reference to "'relentless' death threats,'", but focuses primarily on ongoing online bullying by Christians via social media and emails.

For example, Beeching was particularly upset by this meme that's been shared nearly 20,000 times. It says, "You may be gay or you may be a Christian, but you cannot be a gay Christian. Do not be deceived. Read 1 Corinthians 6:9." It wasn't the message particularly that upset her -- she, like most LGBT Christians, has heard that one a million times before. It was the sheer number of shares that upset her the most.

Beeching recently took a break from social media, but has promised to return after a bit of self-care.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Oregon: Youth Shelter In Hot Water After Rejecting Sizable Cash Donation from Gay Men's Chorus While Requesting More Funding from City

There is a story in the news right now about a youth shelter in Grants Pass, OR, -- the only youth shelter in Josephine and Jackson counties -- that was begging for $26,000 in extra funding from the city, while simultaneously rejecting a $3,000 donation from a charity concert by the Portland Gay Men's Chorus.

Hearts With A Mission normally receives $50,000 annually from the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety. They approached the city for an additional $26,000 to get through the fiscal year, citing unforeseen problems with the shelter. A member of the public questioned the request for additional city funds when the Hearts With A Mission had just turned down a $3,000 donation from the gay men's chorus last month. This led to scrutiny by members of the city council.

Hearts With A Mission's executive director, Kevin Lamson, continues to defend the decision to reject the donation from the gay men's chorus, saying that it had nothing to do with being anti-gay and more to do with maintaining the safety of the shelter's teen residents. 

Near as I can tell, they were afraid that members of the public would stop donating money to the shelter if they knew that the shelter accepted a one-time monetary donation from an LGBT organization.

This story began appearing in the media earlier this week and then began appearing on gay blogs yesterday. 

Hearts With A Mission issued an official statement yesterday, attempting to explain their decision and apologizing for rejecting money from the gay men's choir:
Official Statement from Hearts With A Mission 
RE: Turning Down of the Portland Gay Men's Chorus Contribution 
We regret the outcomes of turning down the funds from Portland Gay Men’s Chorus event. We recognize this situation should have been handled differently. Hearts With A Mission made this decision in an attempt to keep the focus on the youth services we provide and avoid undo controversy. We are very glad another local program serving homeless youth was the beneficiary of the funds. 
We did not mean to disrespect the Portland Gay Men’s Chorus or to the LGBTQ Community. Hearts With A Mission believes in helping all youth, regardless of sexual orientation, race, religion, or ethnicity. We meet every youth where they are at and welcome them into our shelters. This is how we started 8-years ago and it is how we will be 20 years from now. 
Our inclusive practices apply not only to the youth we serve, but also to our staff, board members, volunteers, and community partners. These are the values we live by. As a result, we have nondiscrimination policies and procedures in place we adhere to with the strictest of standards. We provide trainings annually to ensure our organization follows all policies and procedures.”
They plan to have an official press conference on Tuesday the 25th. Meanwhile, they are stressing that they don't turn away LGBTQ youth and I've seen statements from two gay youth stating that they were served well by the shelter.

Sadly, people are defending the rights of the shelter to reject money from the choir -- or anyone else, for that matter. I agree. But it looks bad when you're begging for public cash at the same time that you're turning away a large private donation. Meanwhile, someone actually suggested that the Portland Gay Men's Chorus raised money for Hearts With A Mission in a deliberate bid to stir up controversy.

Incidentally, the money originally raised for Hearts With A Mission was instead given to the Maslow Project, another organization that serves youth in that county. According to that group's director, there hasn't been any public outcry about that donation.