Wednesday, October 18, 2017

"Riverdale" Season 2/Episode 2 Features New Street Drug Called Jingle Jangle -- Which Is the Name of a Classic Archies Song from the 70s!

Season #2/Episode #2 of "Riverdale" just aired and I will eventually write about the whole larger piece about all of the craziness that happened in that episode. But I really want to write tonight about one of the prominent Easter Eggs that keeps appearing in season 2.

Last week, there was a passing reference to "jingle jangle," which is some new street drug. Tonight's episode jumped in with both feet into the jingle jangle train.

It turns out that Reggie Mantle is a small-time drug dealer at Riverdale High -- specializing in jingle jangle. It apparently keeps you up all night -- in more ways than one.

Anyway, the drug's name harkens back to the old Archies song titled "Jingle Jangle," which used to play in the various "Archie" cartoons back in the 1960s and 70s. "Jingle Jangle" is my favorite Archies song -- dating back to when I first heard it on the now-defunct "Riverdale Podcast." None of the Archies songs are that great, but "Jingle Jangle" is so much better than the more popular "Sugar, Sugar." IMHO, as always!

Here are the lyrics to "Jingle Jangle:"
Sing me, sing me, sing me
Sing me, sing me baby
Ooooh ... ooooh

La da da da da da da (sing me, sing me, sing me)
La da da da da da da (sing the Jingle Jangle song)
La da da da da da da (sing me, sing me baby)
La da da da da da da

Ever since I met ya
I couldn't want ya better
I couldn't love you stronger if I tried
It's my true heart I'm showin'
Or my nose would be growin'
You know that it gets longer when I lie.

La da da da da da da (sing me, sing me, sing me)
La da da da da da da (sing the Jingle Jangle song)
La da da da da da da (sing me, sing me baby)
La da da da da da da

Bein' kinda pretty
And down here in the city
Find it isn't easy to be smart.
When tryin' to untangle
The Jingle from the Jangle
It's easy if you listen with your heart.

La da da da da da da (sing me, sing me, sing me)
La da da da da da da (sing the Jingle Jangle song)
La da da da da da da (sing me, sing me baby)
La da da da da da da

We'll make the winter springtime
And Jingle Jangle singtime
Right on through the summer and the fall
So darlin', don't be weepin'
And please don't you be sleepin'
When I come a-creepin' down the hall
To sing ya

La da da da da da da (sing me, sing me, sing me)
La da da da da da da (sing the Jingle Jangle song)
La da da da da da da (sing me, sing me baby)
La da da da da da da

Well, come on (well come on)
Baby get it together
Well, come on (well come on)
Ooooh, yeah yeah yeah, yeah
Well, come on (well come on)
Gotta get it together
Well, come on (well come on)
Come on, come on, come on, come on, come on!

La da da da da da da (sing me, sing me, sing me)
La da da da da da da (sing the Jingle Jangle song)
La da da da da da da (sing me, sing me baby)
La da da da da da da
You can watch the video and hear the original song at this link.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

B'wana Beast Makes His Televised Debut in "Legends of Tomorrow"

I'm a fan of The CW's "Legends of Tomorrow" television series and have enjoyed its return to television during the past couple of weeks -- though it's getting a bit hokey recently. The various characters -- White Canary, Firestorm, Atom, Vixen, Citizen Steel, and Heat-Wave -- have been overly incompetent in this season's first two adventures. I guess I'm just waiting for the characters to up their game again soon.

But I'm not actually here to write about the Legends. I'm here to write about tonight's adventure, which took place in 1870 Wisconsin. The team appeared at P.T. Barnum's circus/freak show to track down a minor anachronism -- a sabre-tooth tiger that Atom accidentally transformed into a giant sabre-tooth tiger. Fortunately, they captured the beast before it got into too much trouble.

But I was pretty excited to see B'wana Beast in the circus!! B'wana Beast is a hero from Africa who sports all sorts of animal-based powers. He can telepathically control animals. He has super-strength and speed. He has hightened senses. He's a great fighter. And he can fuse two animals into one mixed animal (i.e., merging a horse and a bird into a winged horse, for example).

I was hoping when I first saw B'wana Beast from the previews that he might make a cool sparring partner for Vixen. Instead, he ended up just being a powerless strongman in P.T. Barnum's circus. In fact, his brief encounter with Vixen ended up with B'wana Beast being tossed across the room like a ragdoll -- never to be seen again.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Revisiting Reptilicus from the New "MST3K: The Return" Netflix Series

I checked out Netflix last night after a particularly long workday and decided to check out one of the programs from "My List." I decided to check out the new "Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return" series, that was released on 04/14/17. A new guy named Jonah has been teamed with Tom Servo, Crow T. Robot, and Gypsy and forced to watch really bad movies!

The first episode was particularly notable. Not just because it introduced the new characters and settings, but because it featured "Reptilicus," a 1961 Danish-American giant monster movie.

In the movie, a group of miners dug up a chunk of frozen flesh from a giant reptile hidden deep underground. The tissue eventually thaws and begins the quick process of regenerating into a living, rampaging monster dubbed Reptilicus.

Reptilicus quickly escapes and attacks the people and city of Copperhagen. It's quickly realized that nothing hurts him. They finally defeat Reptilicus by firing a mega-dose of sedatives into its mouth using a bazooka.

However, we quickly realize that the menace of Reptilicus might not be ended. A portion of Reptilicus was blasted into the ocean -- and promises to regenerate into a new monster!!

Which is what happened in the REPTILICUS comic book series published by Charlton Comics back in 1961. The comic book series last two issues before Charlton Comics lost the publishing rights. The publisher then repackaged the character and published a new comic book title called REPTISAURUS THE TERRIBLE, which lased from issue #3-8.

"Not So Li'l" Jinx & the Little Miss Steps to Appear in THE ARCHIES #2!!

I wrote earlier this month about some real-life bands who will be appearing in THE ARCHIES (specifically CHVRCHES and the Monkees). It turns out that another band will be appearing in next month's issue of THE ARCHIES: Jinx and the Little Miss Steps!

Long-time fans of Archie Comics probably remember Li'l Jinx. She was a trouble-making girl who appeared in one- or two-page gags from the 1940s onward. She later got updated in a pair of graphic novels where she was now a high school freshman and struggling with all sorts of issues, such as surviving her parents' divorce and navigating a sporty tomboy identity at an age where most girls are urged to focus on boys and girly-girly stuff. 

Now it appears that Archie Comics has updated Jinx and her friends again in THE ARCHIES #2 and will meet up with our title characters on the first step of their road tour:
CBR: Alex, Joe, let’s talk about the reintroduction here of Li’l Jinx — well, actually just Jinx, as I think she’s older than the Archies. What can you say about the decision to bring the character into this series — and making her, and her supporting cast (Charley Hawse!), part of a Le Tigre-meets-Helium band? 
(Writer) Alex Segura: From a logistical standpoint, we knew going in that we weren’t going to have a guest band until #3, so it was a question of, “How do we make this issue meaningful to fans?” I think one of the coolest part of Mark Waid’s Archie run, and the “new” Archie books in general has been how they update and tweak pre-existing characters. We want The Archies to not only be a celebration of the core five and their interactions with real bands, but also a way to showcase the vast library of characters Archie has — like Bingo, Sam and the Bingos, and now, Jinx and the Little Miss Steps. It just seemed like a cool opportunity to reintroduce readers to a character that’s been a big part of Archie’s publishing history in a cool and memorable way. 
Going back to Jinx for a second, though, I loved the idea of making her this powerful, energetic and no-BS Kathleen Hanna type — it just clicked in my brain when we were trying to figure out how to bring her into the new Archie world. It’s my favorite part of the issue. 
CBR: Joe, what went into redesigning Jinx as a rock and roll frontwoman? 
(Artist) Joe Eisma: This is a pretty radical reinterpretation of her, and based on Alex and Matt’s description of her in the script, I saw her in the Shirley Manson and Siouxsie Sioux school of rock and roll frontwomen. She’s confident, she’s tough and she could probably mop the floor with the Archies.
This CBR interview also hints that we will be meeting up with other classic Archie Comics/MLJ characters in coming issues. I'm assuming that we'll eventually see the Madhouse Glads. But I'd really be excited to see an updated version of Pat the Brat in the near future? How about you?

Friday, October 13, 2017

Squirrel Girl Reveals New Power: Knuckle Spikes!

THE UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL #25 was just published this week. It wrapped up a three-part story where Doreen and her friend Nancy were chosen to be part of an international effort by computer programmers to repair the Savage Land's giant computer and thereby save the dinosaurs from a horribly cold death. We eventually found out that an Ultron Dinosaur was dismantling the alien computer for spare parts. We also learned that he plans to kill humanity. Overall, I didn't enjoy this story. It dragged on for way too long, in my opinion. But that's just me.

I wouldn't have written about this issue at all except that we learned about a never-before revealed Squirrel Girl power: knuckle spikes!

You heard that correctly. Squirrel Girl has knuckle spikes that pop out of her hands. Because... I mean, don't all squirrels have knuckle spikes??

Even Marvel Comics admits that this came out of nowhere with those little jokey statements under each page that I normally don't read because I'm old and have poor eyesight:

So Doreen Green (AKA Squirrel Girl) has knuckle spikes along with her other powers and uses them to stab opponents -- though she almost never uses them. Partially because she doesn't have a mutant healing factor and you never know what kinds of bloodborne diseases you might infect yourself with once you retract those spikes! But she's always had them and she's just been waiting for the right moment over the past 25 years to unveil them to her adoring fans!

THE UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL #25 features story by Ryan North, art by Erica Henderson, colors by Rico Renzi, and letters by Travis Lanham.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

"Riverdale" Season 2 Begins! Who Is the Black Hood and Why Is He Targeting Archie Andrews?

Season 2 of "Riverdale" premiered last night. And it was so good! Last season ended up with Fred Andrews being shot by a mysterious "black hood." It was unclear if he would survive the attack, but he got better by the end of this first episode. But he still has a lengthy recovery.

But Archie -- and the rest of us -- are wondering who is the Black Hood? And why is he is he targeting Fred Andrews?

Jughead Jones was also brought into the Southside Serpents at the end of Season 1, which seemed like a great opportunity to gain some street cred and to get access to his father's motorcycle. But he learned quickly that the Serpents aren't a bunch of gangster wannabes. They are a violent bunch of murderers and malcontents and him allying with them can't lead anywhere good! And Jughead isn't going to be allowed to separate himself from them. He is a Southside Serpent -- whether he likes it or not!

Mr. Lodge finally made his first appearance. Veronica is pushing back against her corrupt parents -- and they're not taking it. The tension is strong in their home and I really can't wait to see things explode!

But things really got interesting in the last moments of this episode. We found ourselves in neighboring Greendale, in the home of Ms. Grundy. She's teaching piano lessons to her latest boy toy student before being visited by the Black Hood himself! Things do not turn out well for the scandalous music teacher!

Which calls into question the Black Hood's motive. Was he after Pop Tate or Fred Andrews? Or is he going after Archie Andrews himself and trying to hurt him by hurting people who are important to Riverdale's favorite teen?

All in all, it was a really great episode! And it did really well in the ratings -- pretty much doubling the Season 1 premier and finale numbers!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Jazz Jennings & Tomi Lahren Debate Trans Rights

I was hopping around on YouTube and came across this clip featuring Jazz Jennings from TLC's "I Am Jazz" during a televised debate with Tomi Lahren from "The Blaze." Keep in mind that I'm only vaguely aware of whom Tomi Lahren is, but she apparently has strong opinions against trans rights and has expressed those opinions on her program more than a few times. Mainly, she argues against trans-inclusive rights by arguing that male rapists will take advantage of them to sexually assault women and children. Tomi apparently invited Jazz and Jessica Herthel, Jazz's co-writer on their I Am Jazz children's book, onto her program to debate the transgender experience.

The interview starts with Tomi asking Jazz what conservatives are getting wrong about the transgender experience. Jazz responds that too many conservatives are stuck on the idea that being trans is all about choice, like she woke up one day and decided to become a girl. She denied that this was true, asserting that she was communicating to everyone from her earliest years that she was a girl.

Tomi then asked her why Jazz and others like her need to surgically change their bodies. Jazz told her that surgery is a choice that she's making to bring her body further in line with her mental and emotional identity. Frankly, I don't see why it's any of Tomi's business (or anyone else's) if Jazz or other trans people have gender reassignment surgery -- or if they choose against that choice.

Tomi ultimately decides that she's okay with gender reassignment surgery -- as long as she doesn't have to pay for it. Which... whatever. I mean, does that mean that she doesn't want Medicaid to fund it? Private insurance? There are a lot of medical procedures and treatments that are funded by Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurance and we all technically pay for them to one extent or another through our taxes or premiums. How do you parse out the cost of one person's surgery from your group insurance policy?

Anyway, Jessica then shifted the conversation to the whole "bathroom bill" debate. Tomi is still worried about "sick individuals" who claim trans identities to assault women in public bathrooms. Jessica noted that there have been zero incidents of such assaults happening in the 17 states that have trans-inclusive bathroom laws. She also noted that Jazz herself and others like her are more at risk in laws that bar trans people from using the public restrooms that line up with their gender identity.

And that was pretty much the gist of Jazz's debate with Tomi Lahren. Basically, a rehash of similar debates between trans people and anti-trans people.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Australian Energy Healer to Star in New TLC Reality TV Show

If you've followed my blog over the past two or three years, you'll know that I've been increasingly fascinated with metaphysical expos and practitioners. I'm had my aura photographed. I'm had psychic readings. I've received Reiki and sound healing. And I've been told by more than one practitioner that I'm a healer -- whatever that means. I vacillate between believing and doubting and some aspects of the metaphysical community promote more doubt than others.

If you've followed my blog, you've also noticed that I enjoy reality TV programs -- particularly several of TLC's programs.

Anyway, I just learned that TLC will be debuting a new metaphysical-themed reality TV program called "The Healer," featuring an Australian energy healer named Charlie Goldsmith. According to the promo material that I've read, Goldsmith is able to focus energy on people, which helps them with pain management and overcoming infections and diseases:
“I call it a gift, but the gift isn’t for me, the gift is something I have to give as opposed to something I get to benefit from,” he continues. “Not one moment in my life do I wonder what my purpose is.”
"The Healer" will pair Goldsmith up with several celebrity clients like Kyle Richards and Jennifer Grey, once again primarily assisting them and others with receiving pain relief.

"The Healer" will debut on TLC at 9:00 PM (CST) on November 6th.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Bobby Drake Goes to his First Gay Bar & Has His First Gay Kiss in ICEMAN #6!

I just read through ICEMAN #6. ICEMAN is an interesting title. It's primarily dealt with his coming out process as an older gay man, both to himself and to his already distant parents. Plus, it's explored the evolution of his powers -- which isn't new. Every so often, Iceman realizes that his powers have made him pretty much godlike. He learns that he can evaporate or shatter and then gather his essence back in one piece. Or he's realize that he can completely freeze the planet. Or he learns that he can create dozens of ice-golems. And then he reverts back to the jokey background character for a while before going through another period of evolution with his powers.

But the gay thing is pretty new. He finally came out to his parents in ICEMAN #5 and they really didn't take it that well. Actually, his father did okay with that information in a "I'm already uncomfortable with my son's life choices and this can't embarrass me more than I already am" sort of way. So Bobby is coping with his parents' generally negative reaction.

Fortunately, SECRET EMPIRE just wrapped up. But not before Natasha Romanov (AKA Black Widow) got killed by Captain "I'm a Nazi" America. You might not remember it, but Iceman and Black Widow were once team-members way back in the day. The team was called the Champions and its adventures happened between 1975 and 1978. Iceman decided to gather his old teammates (Angel, Hercules, Ghost Rider, and Darkstar) and toast to Natasha's memory.

And if rushing to Los Angeles succeeded in getting him far, far away from his disapproving parents... Well, more the better.

The team gathered for a drink and puzzled over the fact that most of them couldn't remember the first time that they each met Black Widow. That never went anywhere, but it came up twice so I'm guessing that it will prove important later on.

Then Bobby spent several pages running around Los Angeles in his civilian clothes buying books and shoes and flirting with some new guy named Judah. It was actually a pretty weird conversation, where they referenced the "hanky code" and kinks.

Don't get me wrong. I'm all about gay history and the hanky code is this often forgotten portion of gay history. I'm just not sure if referencing the hanky code in a potentially family-friendly Marvel Comics comic book is a great idea. I mean, kids know how to google. I'm not sure if I want them to learn that they can advertise their interest in S&M by sticking a black handkerchief in their back pocket. Or advertise their interest in watersports (yellow hanky), or anal sex (dark blue hanky), or scat (brown hanky), etc...

Anyway, Bobby and Judah decide to go on a date at a gay bar in West Hollywood -- and the surviving Champions decide to act as his wingmen. So this book features Bobby Drake's first gay bar, first gay date, first gay dance, and first gay kiss. And he almost had his first gay hook-up before getting interrupted by a small army of Sentinel robots! Fortunately, Iceman and the Champions of L.A. are nearby so I'm not expecting that the Sentinels will remain standing for long in ICEMAN #7.

Let's get this out of the way. I like ICEMAN and I like that Bobby Drake continues to explore what it means to be a gay man. But he really needs to find a romantic partner who appears different enough from him so that I'm not constantly having to figure out which guy is which. Or we need to find out that Judah is actually Anole wearing an image inducer. Something that helps me readily recognize the two men when they're running around in their civvies!

BTW, Hercules had this great throwaway line from when Bobby texted him. It totally made my month!

"Champions Reunited" Part 1 features writing by Sina Grace, art by Robert Gill, coloring by Rachelle Rosenberg, and lettering by VC's Joe Sabino.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

"EastEnders" Fans Upset by Controversial Story Where Social Workers Removed Children from Character's Home

Have you ever watched BBC's "EastEnders" soap opera? I haven't. I'm not sure that it even plays anywhere here in the USA. I know that it's been around since the 1980s and that it features Wendy Richards from "Are You Being Served?" Beyond that, I don't know much about the program.

I learned today about a controversial storyline from last night's episode. It seems that there's this character named Stacey Fowler. She has a husband or partner and she has two young children. She has bipolar disorder, which she treats effectively with medications. And she has a meddling mother named Carmel.

Recently, Carmel was caring for the children and found the toddler covered with bruises. She sat down with the older sister and was told that Stacey caused the bruises. Carmel left an anonymous phone call with her local child protective services organization and, within moments, a social worker and two police officers arrived to remove the children from Stacey's home. Where they were promptly placed in foster care.

British-based social workers were quick to speak out on Twitter and Facebook, complaining that it's completely unrealistic that anyone would respond to the abuse report so quickly, much less remove the children from their mother without first interviewing the parents or assessing the bruising.

A lot of social workers are tired of being portrayed as government-sponsored kidnappers. Typically, they receive calls and come out within a certain time period to assess the situation and interview the people involved. Children might be removed, but social workers don't have the power to yank a child from a family's home without some sort of court order. It's generally police who have that type of authority and only in extreme circumstances.

The thing that bothers me is that everyone seems to be getting after Carmel for making the phone call. I don't have any history with Carmel. I don't know what type of drama that she's caused for Stacey or anyone else in the past. But I did see the clip where she discovered the baby's bruises and I did see part of the clip where she spoke to the baby's older sister and was point-blank told that their mother hurt the baby.

What else did people expect Carmel to do, if not reach out to the authorities for help?

Apparently "EastEnders" has a history of perpetuating "social workers as baby snatchers" storylines. From Wikipedia:
In October 2012, a storyline involving Lola Pearce, forced to hand over her baby Lexi Pearce, was criticised by the charity The Who Cares? Trust, who called the storyline an "unhelpful portrayal" and said it had already received calls from members of the public who were "distressed about the EastEnders scene where a social worker snatches a baby from its mother's arms". The scenes were also condemned by the British Association of Social Workers (BASW), calling the BBC "too lazy and arrogant" to correctly portray the child protection process, and saying that the baby was taken "without sufficient grounds to do so". Bridget Robb, acting chief of the BASW, said the storyline provoked "real anger among a profession well used to a less than accurate public and media perception of their jobs .. EastEnders' shabby portrayal of an entire profession has made a tough job even tougher."