Sunday, March 18, 2018

Actor Ryan Clayton (AKA Josh of "Coronation Street") Offers Insight Into His Character's Decision to Sexually Assault David Platt

I read an interesting interview with Ryan Clayton earlier today. He's the actor who plays Josh on "Coronation Street." Josh is the character who drugged and raped David Platt in Friday night's episode. He offered some really interesting information about what's been popping around in Josh's head recently.

It's been obvious that Josh and David have been bonding over the past couple of months and it's been obvious that Josh has been attracted to David even as all of the program's eligible women have been throwing themselves at him. Apparently, Josh made the decision to make his move on David during the previous episode.

Shona, David's girlfriend, made a joke about David being jealous of Josh and how he can't keep Josh all to himself. Josh overheard this comment and decided that he was going to arrange a date night for the two men. And that's how Josh apparently saw that evening, as a opportunity for the guys to hook up.

Not that he gave David the opportunity to make that choice on his own. Josh made sure that the guys had sex with each other. He got the GHB. He arranged for them to be alone. He made sure that David drank too much and took a large dose of the drug. And he got David all emotionally worked up.

It's unclear if Josh has roofied anyone before David -- but he's definitely thought things out pretty well so it wouldn't surprise me if he's done this before.

Incidentally, I saw some advanced images from this week's episodes. It's pretty clear that David knows that Josh raped him and that he doesn't know how to move forward because of embarrassment and shame. He will transfer his anger onto Shona and end up running off to see his father -- presumably with plans to emigrate with his father to New Zealand (some recent development that we learned of early last week).

How Times Have Changed: Westboro Baptist Church Protests High School Football Player for Being Gay & Triggers Counter-Protest of Hundreds

I was on Facebook today and learned that there is this high school football player named Jake Bain who came out to his classmates in St. Louis last year. Not only is he a high school football player, but he's a star running back and he's going to Indiana State University to play football.

Last week, members of Westboro Baptist Church decided that they were going to visit St. Louis and protest Jake Bain. That's right. They're going to protest a high school football player because he's gay.

Which says something about Westboro Baptist Church. It used to be that they would protest funerals of gay people. But that didn't grab enough attention for them, so they started protesting the funerals of military soldiers and officers. Which got the world pissed at them. They then began protesting the funerals of famous people like Mister Rogers and Bill Clinton's mother. And then they kind of fizzled out after Fred Phelps got kicked out of the church and died. Now they're protesting high school students.

When Jake Bain learned of the protest, he reached out to a local LGBT pride organization. Which resulted in a counter-protest of hundreds of local students, families, and activists.

Which is amazing when you think about it. Fred Phelps and his fellow Westboro Baptist Church members used to regularly protest gay funerals when I wasn't much older than Jake Bain. And most people didn't care. Now Westboro is resorting to protests of LGBT everyday people again and find themselves the targets of sizable counter-protests.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Josh Drugs & Sexually Assaults David in Latest Episode of "Coronation Street"

We knew it was coming and it finally happened. "Coronation Street" played out its male-on-male rape scene earlier this evening.

This new guy named Josh came to "Corrie" back in late January. Another character named Kevin had been murdered and Josh was hired to replace that man in the repair garage. Since he was introduced, Josh has been friendly and affable. He's easy on the eyes, which means most of the younger women have tried (unsuccessfully) to grab his attention.

Several of Kevin's friends wanted to do something to honor his memory and Josh came up with the idea of a neighborhood charity boxing event. He began training several of the men and women during his free time, including David Platt. Him and David became quite close, even after David's epilepsy barred him from boxing.

It finally came to a head on tonight's episodes when Josh invited David to a night on the town for some drinks and family sob stories. Eventually when David went to use the restroom, Josh spiked his beer with some GHB, which is a date rape drug that's principally used to treat narcolepsy.

I have no clue how easy or how legal it is to purchase GHB, but I found the packaging to be quite bright and obvious when Josh pulled it out of his pocket.

I found it interesting that Josh took a smaller dose of the drug himself. I looked it up and it appears that GHB also acts as an intoxicant, so he probably wanted a little chemical stimulation to keep himself in the mood.

Soon enough, David could barely stand. Josh took him home and plied him with one final drink before assisting him to the bedroom and tossing him on the bed and unzipping his pants.

Monday's episodes will deal with the aftermath. David will awaken undressed and with only a hazy recollection of what happened. But he'll know that something happened between the two of them and will deal with the shame of realizing that he was sexually assaulted by one of his friends.

Since the program has aired, ITV has been promoting several different resources to its UK viewers who have experienced sexual assault.

I have no clue what's going to happen with Josh. Here's the deal: I really like Josh. I've known what he was going to do to David since he first appeared on "Corrie," so I tried to keep myself from liking the guy. But I enjoyed his scenes and his character and I've really grown attached to him. Now it's going to be impossible to redeem the guy, which is a pity.

I do know that David's estranged father is going to return to the program -- if only for a while. My understanding is that David will eventually turn to his father for support and that his father will end up being a strong source of support for him. Which is a good thing.

Scooby & the Gang Set Up Stakes in an Abandoned Mall -- Along with Two Armies of Cannibalistic Warrior Monsters!

It's been a while since I've written about SCOOBY APOCALYPSE, which is part of DC Comics' ongoing effort to re-imagine the various Hanna-Barbera properties (previously written about here, here, and here).

Apparently, I missed SCOOBY APOCALYPSE #20. It seems that the Scooby Gang somehow learned in that issue that there is no way to reverse the nanite infection that caused most of humanity to transform into horrible, cannibalistic monsters!

Which brings us to SCOOBY APOCALYPSE #21-23. Velma comes up with a plan to take control of a shopping mall in Albany, NY, where they can pitch their tents and organize humanity's few remaining non-mutated people into a fighting defense force.

Of course, they might have thought better of this idea if they'd ever watched either of the "Dawn of the Dead" movies!

While investigating the Henry Hudson Mall, the Scooby Gang discovers that the mall is infested with monsters. About twice daily, monsters rush from Mears and CJ Nickel and slice and dice at each other. In fact, the main shopping area is littered with the bloodied bodies of dozens of monsters.

Velma discovers that the "consumerists" only come out to fight twice daily and she quickly discovers  the pattern behind their attacks so that she and the others can hide while they battle.

I guess I don't understand why they don't look for another mall. Velma actually gave a reason for this. The ongoing war between Mears and CJ Nickel is brutal enough to deter the outside monsters from trying to enter the mall. And it's helpful that the shopping war has a predictable pattern to it.

But there are other malls out there that can be safely fortified that don't have hundreds of monsters raging against each other everyday. And who know how long things will remain safe for the Scooby Gang with all of these monsters. Plus, how sanitary can the mall be with rotting creatures littering the mall?

Somebody needs to tell Velma that it's time for them to find another mall for them to call home!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Jennifer Lien (AKA Kes of "Star Trek: Voyager") Arrested & Charged with Driving with a Revoked License -- Twice in One Week!

It's been a while since I've written about Jennifer Lien, the former actress who played Kes on "Star Trek: Voyager." Kes was one of my favorite characters on that series and I was always disappointed that they wrote her out of the program.

But Lien has struggled over the past twenty years. She was arrested for domestic assault in 2012. Then in April 2015, she was arrested and charged with evading arrest, resisting arrest, reckless endangerment, and aggravated assault in relation to a speeding offense. Then back in September 2015, she got arrested and charged with two counts of indecent exposure to a child under the age of 13. Those final charges were eventually dismissed after she paid restitution.

TMZ now reports that Jennifer Lien has been arrested and charged with driving with a revoked license -- twice (!!) in the recent past. The first time was on 02/27/18 and the most recent arrest was on 03/02/18. Her most recent arrest came about after police noticed her driving without any visible tags. She lost her license because of a previous DUI.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Mind, Body, Soul: Social Work Is My Superpower!

It's Social Work Month. I thought I would take advantage of this special occasion to unveil one of my new social work-themed memes.

A few years ago, a social worker named Anna Scheyett did a TED talk describing the commonality between social workers and superheroes. Members of both groups help others and they both work to make the world a better place. We both inspire others and we nurture their strengths. The message, "I'm a social worker. What's your superpower?" began circulating. Eventually, that message condensed down to "Social Work Is My Superpower."

Which inspired this new meme. Obviously, it's not completely original. But I began looking at my favorite Marvel Comics superheroes and reminded myself that some of these heroes also work as social workers!

Here is what I came up with: Mind, Body, Soul: Social Work Is My Superpower!

Captain America/Falcon: Sam Wilson started out as a social worker. He worked with inner-city youth before becoming the Falcon. When he eventually became Captain America a few years back, Wilson used his abilities to stand up for the downtrodden, including people of color and undocumented residents within the US, many of whom were being victimized yet frightened to seek help from more traditional defenders.

John Jameson/Man-Wolf: John Jameson is a former astronaut and long-time friend of Peter Parker (AKA Spider-Man). He worked for a time in security for a mental institution that treated mentally unstable superpowered villains. Later he became a social worker. Granted, he eventually returned to his more adventurous ways, but he's still a pretty cool guy with a history in social work!

Firebird: Lastly, we have Bonita Juarez AKA Firebird! Firebird has been an Avenger and a Ranger. She doesn't get a lot of time in print, but she's pretty powerful with her fire-based powers. Plus, she's a devout Catholic with an altruistic desire to help humanity!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Racist & Anti-Semitic Images Stomped in Snow at Luther College in Decorah, IA

I earned my degree at Luther College. I'm pretty sure that I've shared that here, though it's been a while. Luther is pretty close to my home community. Any time that I drive home to see my mother, I drive past Luther. I continue to give money to the college and I occasionally visit. My youngest son is (too) quickly approaching his college years and we literally just scheduled his first campus visit at Luther College (scheduled for next month).

So I was saddened when I woke to the following message from Luther College's president earlier today:

I'm glad that the president said something about this before it was allowed to fester. I'm glad that she condemned the sentiment behind these images. And I'm glad that they are organizing an event to help the campus pull together.

But it's maddening that this is even a thing at Luther College.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Iowa Gets a Shout-Out in Latest "Jessica Jones" Series

I've spent much of the afternoon watching the second season of "Jessica Jones" on Netflix. I'm four episodes into the program so far. I need to coordinate my schedule with Husband Mark for this program, so it will stretch out longer than most usually binge-watches take me.

In this series, Jessica's BFF Trish Walker has a new squeaky-clean boyfriend named Griffin. Since she's a private investigator, Jessica has already checked him out online and he checked out okay. (Jon's Note: Not really. There's something sketchy about him. We just don't know what exactly is wrong with him yet at this point in the series).

We get a little shout-out to Iowa in the middle of the third episode.

Trish shares with Jessica that she's falling in love with Griffin. "I love him, you know. Probably means he has a pornography addiction or a secret family in Iowa."

Jessica crooks an eyebrow. "Iowa?"

"Yeah, secret families are always stashed in flyover states."

And that's the passing reference to Iowa in "Jessica Jones." It's possible that there will be additional references to Iowa in the season series. But I doubt it.

Friday, March 9, 2018

21 Applications Have Been Filed to Become Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in Iowa -- Including One in Iowa City

I totally missed this last year. Last spring, Iowa passed a law that expanded access to cannabis oil to include patients diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, cancer, multiple sclerosis, seizures, AIDS or HIV, Crohn's disease, and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, as well as most terminal illnesses that result in a life expectancy of less than one year and otherwise untreatable pain:
The new law marks a seismic shift in the state’s position on marijuana, allowing the plant — which remains illegal under federal law — to be grown within the state and processed into cannabis oil that has a tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, content of up to 3 percent. THC is the main psychoactive component of cannabis that makes recreational users high.  
It creates a framework for marijuana growing, manufacturing and distributing companies to submit proposals to the state, and allows the Department of Public Health to approve up to two manufacturers and up to five distributors for operation. 
The AP reported Friday that in-state dispensaries could be established by December 2018, and that the state is working out an arrangement with Minnesota to make cannabis oil available to Iowans in the interim. 
A new Medical Cannabidiol Advisory Board will be established within the Department of Public Health to oversee the program. The board could recommend adding or removing conditions eligible for treatment with cannabis oil and offer recommendations to the Legislature to raise the 3-percent cap on the THC limits.
It looks like seven companies have filed a total of 21 applications with the Iowa Department of Public Health to open marijuana dispensaries throughout Iowa, though only five licenses are expected to be awarded. Four applications were filed in both Sioux City and Davenport; three were filed in both Des Moines and Council Bluffs, and single applications were filed in Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids, Coralville, Iowa City, Urbandale, Waterloo, and Windsor Heights.

According to this article, these dispensaries will not be permitted to sell any products that can be smoked or eaten. Products also cannot contain more than 3% THC.

Only 305 Iowans have obtained cards that allow them to possess marijuana products for medical purposes.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Iowa: "Field of Dreams" Attraction to Rent Farmhouse at $2,000 Per Night

I still haven't seen "Field of Dreams." That was the 1989 classic film about an Iowa corn farmer, played by Kevin Cosner, who heard voices that commanded him to build a baseball diamond in his field.

The movie was filmed in Dyersville, IA, and the baseball field is still there. It attracts all sorts of people who come to check out the diamond. Now they have the chance to stay in the family farmhouse that also rests on this land -- for $2,000 a night(!!).

Frankly, I don't see it. That seems like a lot of money for a nearly 30-year-old attraction in rural Iowa. Then again, I haven't seen the movie.