Thursday, October 18, 2018

My Thoughts on "The Conners "

It's been a few days and I still haven't written about the premier of "The Conners" on ABC. This is the Roseanne-less spin-off of "Roseanne." It's not that I didn't like the show. I've just been busy. And tired. And then I had to watch "Riverdale" and "American Horror Story." But I'm here now.

I realized Tuesday night that I've been misspelling this show for weeks. I went through all of my old blog articles and fixed what I could find. But I really prefer "The Conners" with an "o" instead of an "e." Just putting that out there...

Roseanne Conner died shortly before the premier of the program. She died in her sleep, initially perceived to be the result of a severe heart attack. But we quickly learned that she died from an opioid overdose. Which we already knew because Roseanne Barr had already spilled this secret.

Lots of Roseanne's fans were pissed that she died from opioids. Including Roseanne Barr herself. She initially tweeted "I AIN'T DEAD, BITCHES!!!!" She later wrote that the "opioid overdose lent an unnecessary grim and morbid dimnesion to an otherwise happy family show."

As opposed to the time when "Roseanne" killed off Dan Conner with a heart attack shortly after Darlene's wedding. For that matter, "Roseanne" has always been an attempt to more realistically portray working class struggles in a sitcom format. Given that Barr created this show, it's a bit disconcerting for her to pretend that an opioid overdose is completely out of character for either "Roseanne" or "The Conners." She needs to remember that Roseanne Barr =/= Roseanne Conner. One is a real person and the other is a fictional character.

Beyond that, Roseanne Barr sold off the rights to "Roseanne" the show, along with all of the characters and the spin-offs. She didn't have to do that. She got paid handsomely to do this. She didn't have to do that. But she did. I've been told that she was pressured and pushed out of the show. Which makes Roseanne Barr into some sort of victim. And I just don't see her as a powerless victim.

Back to the opioid overdose... I understand that people are upset that Roseanne Conner was killed off. But it really wasn't out of the blue for her character to overdose of opioids. Roseanne Barr was involved with the program last season when it was revealed that she was severely abusing pain meds. This is an extension of a story line that she herself created.

Anyway, Jackie told the family that Roseanne's autopsy revealed that she'd died from opioid overdose. She continued to struggle with managing her pain after her knee surgery and managed to get some pain meds from one of her neighbors. The family -- Dan in particular -- were left reeling as they struggled to cope with this revelation.

Dan initially took his anger out on the neighbor. He placed a sign on his truck telling the world that his wife overdosed on drugs given to her by that woman. This made him feel better -- until he discovered more pain meds hidden around the house that Roseanne had secretly gotten from other people. He finally realized that Roseanne's death wasn't caused by that one neighbor. Her addiction had been bigger than any of them.

That realization helped him turn the corner a bit. He's still grieving his wife, obviously. He's just not blaming others for her death.

There was some developments in Tuesday's episode involving young Mark. He's gone from being Darlene's genderqueer kid to Darlene's genderqueer gay kid. He's starting to crush on other boys and turned to Dan for some advise on how to make a choice. It was an interesting shift in their relationship -- and one that I want to see more of!

I saw a lot of people on Twitter commenting about how heart-breaking it was to see the family grieve and cry and talk about their loss. Honestly, John Goodman's grief seemed the most realistic and touching to me. Jackie was a bit over-the-top (which I guess is in character) and the show's new matriarch Darlene has spent so many years being the sarcastic and gloomy character of the family  that crying just doesn't seem genuine to me.

Which isn't to say that I didn't like "The Conners." I actually did. Quite a lot. I like seeing the family again. I look forward to seeing Dan and Darlene partnering with Jackie to keep the family together. And I really want to see more of new generation of Conners. And will we ever get to meet Jerry, the Conner's long absent son??

Have no doubt. I will be watching "The Conners" as long as it remains. And I'll even watch "Roseanne" if the powers-that-be at ABC ever change their mind and decide that Roseanne Conner's death was a huge blunder and pull a "JR Ewing!" See you next Tuesday!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Two Men Shot in Downtown Iowa City; Female Suspect Being Sought // Updated: Suspect Has Been Arrested // Futher Update: Accused Accessory Arrested

(Originally written on 09/29/18): I was woken at around 2:00 AM last night by the following Hawk Alert:
HAWK ALERT Shooting with 2 victims in the area of Gilbert/Court st. suspect black female with dreads wearing blue.
The Iowa City Police Department sent out a subsequent press release about the shooting:
On September 29th at 1:55 a.m., the Iowa City Police Department received a report of shots being fired near the intersection of East Court and South Gilbert. Upon arrival, officers located a male victim suffering from an apparent gunshot wound. That victim was transported to the University of Iowa Hospitals where he received treatment for non-life-threatening injuries. 
A short time later, a second person with a gunshot wound was discovered approximately one block away from the original location. It appears that both shootings occurred at the same location listed above. The second male victim also was transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
I haven't seen anything yet that indicates if the victims were familiar with the shooter or if this was a random attack. To reiterate: The suspect is a black female with dreads. She was wearing blue last night.

People are encouraged to contact the Iowa City Area Crimestoppers at 319-358-8477 with any information about this crime. They are offering a reward of up to $1000 for information that leads to the arrest of the suspect.

I will post more as I learn more.

Updated on 10/03/18: The Iowa City Police Department notified the public that there has been an arrest. 24-year-old Arielle Grier has been arrested and charged with two counts of attempted murder and one charge of reckless use of a firearm:
Police say Grier shot two men after a confrontation between she and her brother and three other men early Saturday morning. Police learned through their investigation an argument took place a little before 2 a.m. but the three men began to walk away. However, police say surveillance video shows Grier and her brother chasing the men down in the 300 block of East Court Street. 
They then attacked the men, with police saying Grier pulled a .40 caliber handgun from her waistband and fired six shots, one of which hit a man from the other group and two of which accidentally struck her brother. Police say both men later told them they thought they were going to die. 
Grier then allegedly fled back to her residence, with officers receiving help from witnesses in tracking her down. A search of her apartment turned up a .40 caliber handgun and ammunition.
Grier faces up to 60 years, if convicted.

Updated on 10/04/18: Another day, another arrest... There was another arrest connected to this weekend's shooting. 24-year-old Lindsay Beyer was arrested yesterday and charged with accessory to a felony. Grier and Beyer are girlfriends and live together. If convicted, Beyer faces up to two years in jail.

Updated on 10/17/18: More information about Beyer's charge of accessory to a felony. Police report that Beyer lied to them about Grief being in their apartment at the time of the shooting. If she's convicted, she faces up to two years in jail.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Shelter House Identifies Location for the Temporary Homeless Shelter in Iowa City During the 2018/19 Winter Months

Over the past four winters, Iowa City's Shelter House has operated a temporary homeless shelter that was capable of housing 30 people per night during the winter months. These temporary shelters were created to alleviate some of the overcrowding that happens each winter at the Shelter House. They were also used as a form of "wet shelter" (i.e., allowing individuals to access the shelter who had been drinking alcohol). Those individuals are typically turned away from the Shelter House. It was set up in the old Aldi's building in 2014, at the old TMone building in 2015, at the former Unitarian Universalist Society Church building in 2016, and then the old Carquest building last year.

It was announced this week that the Low Barrier Winter Emergency Shelter will be located this year at 821 S Clinton Street in Iowa City -- the old Carquest building, same as last year.

The temporary winter shelter will presumably open in December and last through February or March.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

"The Conners" to Premier Tuesday Night on ABC // Right Wing Fans Are Threatening to Boycott this Roseanne-Less Spin-Off of "Roseanne"

"The Conners" will make it's premier on ABC on Tuesday. This is the Roseanne-less spin-off of "Roseanne."

You probably remember that "Roseanne" got canceled back in May after Roseanne Barr resumed making bizarre and racist rants on Twitter. Which wasn't anything new. She'd been doing that for years. But ABC reacted and the show got canceled. Barr immediately expressed remorse for making her fellow actors and production crew jobless and agreed in principle to walk away from the show so that the others could work. She let ABC buy her out of the program that she helped to created.

But now she's bitter about it. So now her fans are boycotting "The Conners." And some at ABC are "horrified" that they acted rashly by firing Barr and are fearful that nobody will watching the spin-off. Of course, this is coming from Breitbart. So while there's likely truth to this concern, it's also likely exaggerated.

For the record, I will be watching "The Conners." Just like I watched "Roseanne" when it came back despite Barr's baggage. From what I've heard, the first two episodes are excellent. I liked Roseanne Conner and I'm worried about how the show will look without her. But I also like Jackie and Dan and Darlene and Becky and DJ and the rest and I want to keep watching their lives unfold.

"The Conners" will premier on ABC on Tuesday, October 16th, at 7:00 PM.

Orange City, Iowa, to Hold Community's Second Gay Pride Festival Next Weekend!

Remember OC Pride last October? It was the first time that the conservative town of Orange City held any Pride activities. There was culture warrior push-back as the community's churches successfully sought to segregate materials with LGBTQ content to a special section of the library (here and here for more info). But otherwise it was a great success and a wonderful chance for LGBTQ people to congregate!

It was such a success that OC Pride has decided to do it again! Next weekend, they have planned a "bigger and gayer" Pride event in Orange City. There still won't be a parade, but there are an assortment of other activities spread out from Friday the 19th through Sunday the 21st:
Friday 10/19:
5:30-7:30 PM Kid Show featuring Story Time, Dancing with Queen & Kings, and MORE! at Prairie Winds Event Center
8:00-10:30 PM Headliner Drag Performances from the Shakers Family & Music from Des Moines Gay Men's Chorus at Prairie Winds Event Center

Saturday 10/20:
8:00-9:00 AM Yoga at City Hall
12:00-2:30 PM Information/Resource Fair, Crafts/Activities for all age, at City Hall
3:00-5:00 PM "Buried Seeds" Storytelling event, sponsored by L.E.A.P. at City Hall
6:00-7:00 PM Happy Hour Music at Town Square
8:00-11:00 PM "Stilettos and Broken Bottles" Dance at Town Square 
Sunday 10/21:
11:00 AM-2:00 PM Brunch & Show Tunes at Town Square Coffee House
The Sioux County Conservatives are predictably upset over the event, particularly the inclusion of family-friendly activities for those as young as three. They repeat the "as young as three" over and over and over. They want you to know that they aren't calling for OC Pride to end. They are calling on Orange City's Christian leaders and people to rise up and decide if it should end.

Incidentally, it kind of happened accidentally. But I became Facebook friends earlier this year with OC Pride organizer Mike Goll. He and his husband are really sweet guys. OC Pride couldn't have better representatives.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Marvel Comics Relaunching GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY in 2019 // Updated: Who Will Join the New Guardians?

(Originally written on 10/10/18): Marvel Comics announced last month that it will be relaunching GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY with a new team of space-based heroes. It will featuring writing by Donny Cates and artwork by Geoff Shaw. That announced was joined by a two-page spread featuring over 35 of Marvel's cosmic characters (see below) that included many current and former Guardians -- but also several cosmic characters who've never been Guardians.

I totally missed it, but Marvel Comics announced last week that Cosmic Ghost Rider (AKA the Punisher) will be a member of this new group of Guardians!

Earlier today, Marvel Comics revealed three other members of this new group of Guardians: Moondragon, Gladiator, and Beta Ray Bill!

Which makes for a very powerful group of heroes and anti-heroes! I really like the Guardians of the Galaxy. But their core membership hasn't been the most diverse in recently years, in terms of power. We had Peter Quill (AKA Star-Lord) with his space guns, Gamora with her fighting skills, Drax with his superhuman strength, Rocket Raccoon with his space guns, and Groot with his plant-like abilities.

This new team already boasts a cosmic-powered Spirit of Vengeance, a powerful telepath, an alien juggernaut with flight, strength, and laser-vision, and an alien an Asgardian hammer! And it looks like there are possibly ten more members of this team, judging from the blacked out shadows!!

I've been looking at the black-out images and think I have a few ideas about others who might get revealed as members of this new team of Guardians. I'm sure that I'll be proven incorrect about some of these, but these are my hunches:  Nova! Groot! Starfox! Silver Surfer! Darkhawk! Phyla-Vell!

Otherwise, there is a tall person with a roundish head who confuses me. I'm also betting that we'll have a non-traditional Rocket-type character like Cosmo or Howard the Duck.

Who do you think will be in the new Guardians of the Galaxy? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

Updated on 10/11/18: Marvel Comics unveiled three additional members of the new Guardians of the Galaxy! They are: Darkhawk! Phyla-Vell! And Nova!

Updated on 10/12/18: Marvel Comics unveiled the final group of heroes in the promo pic from the new GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY title! They are: Star-Lord! Silver Surfer! Groot! and Adam Warlock! However... It was also revealed that only six of these space-based heroes with be actually joining the team when it returns.

I am going with the assumption that Star-Lord and Groot are definite members of the new team. But I really have no clue about the others. One would hope that there would be at least one female team-member, so hopefully Phyla-Vell and Moondragon will be around. I really like Gladiator. And Nova is always cool. Honestly, I just hope that it's not Cosmic Ghost Rider. I haven't quite warmed up to him.

Which six heroes do you think will join the new Guardians of the Galaxy? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

DC to Publish WONDER TWINS Series in 2019!

It's been a really long time since I've read any DC comic books (barring SCOOBY APOCALYPSE). But that might change soon following news that DC will be publishing a WONDER TWINS series early next year!

WONDER TWINS will featuring writing by Mark Russell and artwork by Stephen Bynre. It will feature Zan and Jayna, those alien teens whose abilities to transform into water and animals are triggered by touching each other. It looks like they'll also be joined by the pet monkey Gleek!

I read EXTREME JUSTICE back in the 1990s solely because it featured "extreme" versions of Zan and Jayna. It really wasn't that good. But the artwork in this promo pic implies that this new WONDER TWINS series will capture the spirit of their original "Super Friends" appearance back during the 1970s!

Now if we could only get BLACK VULCAN and APACHE CHIEF comic book titles!

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