Sunday, February 18, 2018

Sketchy & Skeezy Make Out in "Z Nation" Season 4!

It's been a while since I've watched "Z Nation." I wrote about the program back in 2016 when I first discovered the show on Netflix, but "Z Nation" is actually a Syfy original program... which I never remember to watch when it first airs! The 4th season dropped on Netflix on Friday and I just finished binge-watching the season about an hour ago.

I'm still digesting this latest season. Something happened at the very beginning of the season to Red and Sun Mei that left me scratching my head. Apparently, at least Sun Mei will return for Season 5 later this year so we should figure it out. But it was a weird way to start the season -- and a weird plot development to forget about for the rest of the season! Also, the character Addy shows up pretty prominently on all of the Season 4 promotional artwork for somebody who only appeared in two episodes.

Here was the Season 4 focus: Robert woke up from a coma in the protected country of Zona. Given that it's the Apocalypse, she and Murphy are quickly forced to evacuate. But he begins having these horrific fiery visions pulling her (and her friends) eastward to save mankind from the Black Rainbow. Of course, nothing turns out as it should at the end of the season, but that's pretty much how things always turn out on "Z Nation!"

But I'm actually hear to write about Sketchy and Skeezy tonight! They are a pair of opportunistic weapons dealers and hucksters who have periodically appeared on the program since the show first began.

They appeared again in a Season 4 episode titled "Frenemies." Doc and Murphy find themselves overwhelmed by some sort of toxic foam in Chicago and end up seeking cover within a working barbershop. Sketchy and Skeezy were both there and they were doing their best to discourage our friends from sticking around. And it definitely ended up being some sort of trap -- which should have been obvious from the start given that they were in a working barbershop in the middle of the Apocalypse and given that Sketchy and Skeezy are complete trouble-magnets!

True to form, Sketchy and Skeezy were trying to pull a con on the proprietors of barbershop. Sketchy makes it appear that Skeezy got bit by a zombie and sets it up so that Skeezy gets tossed from the business. But first, Sketchy needs to pass a key on to his partner. So before Skeezy gets tossed out into the foam...

Yes, Sketchy secretly passed a key to his buddy during their kiss. Of course, Skeezy is now completely smitten.

Of course, their con almost got ruined because of a past con...

By the end of the episode, all of the incidental villains were dead, our main characters were traveling further eastward, and Skeezy and Sketchy were finally able to live out their lifelong dream of running a barbershop!

However, ever since the kiss, the guys seem to be living at cross-purposes within their relationship:

I really want to see what happens next for this pair. I definitely don't see their lives as hucksters over, but I really hope that they take the next step forward together as a romantic couple. Sadly, I don't see that happening. If nothing else, I'm sure that Skeezy will moon over his buddy while Sketchy continues chasing after the ladies. But a guy can hope, right?

Saturday, February 17, 2018

How Many Things Annoyed Me on "Mama June: From Not to Hot" This Weekend?

Longtime readers know that I have an odd fascination with Alana Thompson and the rest of the "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" gang. Last year, WE tv began airing a new reality TV show featuring several members of the Honey Boo Boo family called "Mama June: From Not to Hot." 

I haven't written about it for a variety of reasons. Basically, the family seems much more tightly scripted than in previous programs. I know that they were pressed into story lines by TLC, but it seemed much more natural back then. Particularly now with the family interviews. And we have POV camera shots coming directly from June's perspective after she woke up blind in the last episode (see below). Are we supposed to believe that she has little video cameras in her eyeballs? Or how about the time that the camera crew quietly watched as 11-year-old Alana snuck away from the house in an Uber car? Like that's gonna happen...

June's Blind Eye Cam
Here are the two season summaries:  In Season One, Sugar Bear decided to get married to a nasty woman named Jennifer who really hated June. To be fair, the feeling was mutual. June decided that she had one year (give or take a month) to lose roughly 300 pounds. So she hired the best coaches, bariatric surgeons, and plastic surgeons and managed to go from "not" to "hot" just in time for Sugar Bear's and Jennifer's backyard wedding -- which she totally ruined by getting into a fight with Jennifer.

In Season Two, June decided for some reason (I didn't start watching right away) that she wanted to become a pageant contestant. So she began working with Alana and a pageant coach to learn how to compete in beauty pageants. That's the theme, but it really seems to be about fighting with teen mom Pumpkin, trying not to go blind, and fighting with Sugar Bear and Jennifer.

Speaking of which, how stupid was it that Jennifer got it in her head that Alana isn't Sugar Bear's daughter. She secretly gathered DNA for testing and is trying to find out if she can sever his bond with Honey Boo Boo herself. Like that won't blow up in her face either way. But I digress...

One of the stupidest subplots has to do with this fight between June and her pregnant 17-year-old daughter Pumpkin and Pumpkin's live-in boyfriend Josh. Pumpkin moved Josh into the family home without asking. She then had John put up all sorts of racy pictures in the living room. A fight ensued, resulting in Pumpkin storming from the house and moving into a cheap motel with her baby daddy.

They spent half of last night's episode exploring potential rental apartments for under $700 per month with help from a little help and supervision from their camera crew. It became clear that they could only afford cheap apartments with bugs and no privacy. Which was pretty much what they lived in during their "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" days, but I guess Pumpkin has moved on from her days of low-income housing and expects bigger and better things from life now that she's been on a few TV shows.

Interjected with their tour was a series of production interviews with Pumpkin and Josh that essentially went like: "You know where we can have a fridge? At your mom's house!" "NO!" "You know where there isn't a washer/dryer hook-up in the living room? At your mom's house!" "NO!" "You know where we can sleep without bedbugs? At your mom's house!" "NO!"

Finally, Pumpkin and Josh were complaining at the hotel and Josh once again asks something like, "Ready to go back to your mother's house yet?" And Pumpkin screams "No!" at him again. And I turned to Husband Mark and noted, "You realize that they are currently in Mama June's house right now. They are literally debating about moving back to her house from inside of her house. They could change the locks from inside the house right this second."

Long story made short, everyone made up and moved back into the house just in time for June to return to pageant training and for Jennifer to receive the DNA testing results in the mail -- conveniently on the morning that the production crew was at her home and waiting with her mic'd up son outside of the mailbox. Of course, she spent just enough time moralizing over the decision to read the results so that the show ended and we have to wait until next week to learn the results.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Chickasaw County Sheriffs Arrest Man for Driving 121 MPH in a 65 MPH Speed Zone

A Iowa City man was arrested and charged with speeding, reckless driving, eluding, and having an expired registration after he was clocked at 121 MPH in a 65 MPH zone earlier this week.

Late Tuesday afternoon, the Chickasaw County Sheriff's Office reports that they received a complaint about a person driving a black Ford Mustang at high speeds north from Bremer County on Highway 63.

Sheriff deputies deputies pulled over the 22-year-old driver and subsequently arrested him for speeding. He jailed and hold on a $2000 cash bond.

He faces a $443 fine if convicted of the speeding offense.

Thursday, February 15, 2018


I kept hearing about the "Snow Wave" earlier today, but didn't have time to do much investigation until earlier this evening.

During the last Hawkeye football season, a new tradition was created called "The Wave." At some point during each home game, everyone in Kinnick Stadium would wave to the children inside the University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital. It was very touching and a fun way of adding some joy to the lives of the sick kids inside.

A group of people recently began contemplating ways of keeping "The Wave" tradition going all year round. Their first inspiration came after our recent snowfall: The Snow Wave! Earlier today, a large group of volunteers shoveled a giant hand along with the words "#FTK (For the Kids) #SnowWave."

You can watch video of the Snow Wave's creation here.

Nero at Daycare -- 02/15/18

It's been a while since I featured any pics of Nero from doggy daycare. My favorite standard poodle continues to go to daycare regularly. However, he tends to hang with the older dogs these days. Check it out:

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

"My Big Fat Fabulous Life:" Whitney & Todd Dance Together as Egg & Sperm

I seem to be on a kick with reality TV shows lately! I watched TLC's "My Big Fat Fabulous Life" last week, which spent a lot of time on the blessing ceremony for Ashley's unborn baby. It was very new agey, but everyone seemed to bond over the welcoming of her new baby.

One of the subplots this season has been this feud between Whitney and Todd over control of their dance studio. I won't go into it here, but it's been pretty divisive.

That's why it was so cool to watch the two of them put aside their friction and come together to perform an interpretive dance at the party. In the dance, Whitney appears to represent the Egg and Todd appears to represent the Sperm. It was a very good performance and well received.

You can watch the dance here.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Jazz Jennings of "I Am Jazz" Get Advice from Her Brothers on How to Attract Girls

I've been watching TLC's "I Am Jazz" reality TV program most of the season. This latest season has focused on Jazz Jennings' preparation for "bottom surgery" -- along with the complication that's arisen due to her binge-eating and recent weight gain. I actually feel pretty bad for Jazz right now. Not only does she get to have her depression aired on international TV and not only does everyone get to listen to repeated conversations about how her surgeons plan to craft a vagina for her, but now everyone know that she's 30 pounds overweight and that she needs to lose that weight before she can undergo "bottom surgery."

But that's not what I'm writing about tonight...

I'm actually writing about this clip that popped up over the weekend on YouTube. It's a clip from about two weeks ago. Basically, one of Jazz's friends decided that she would set her friend up on a blind date. Not only did she come up with the perfect match, but that perfect match is a girl!

It turns out that Jazz hadn't really put much thought into dating girls, but she's recently come out as pansexual, which essentially means that she falls in love with the spirit or personality of a personality and isn't as interested in the gender of potential dates. At least in theory. I mean, Jazz really doesn't have much of a dating history at this point. But she's open to dating this girl and we viewers eventually get to watch them on their first few dates.

But first Jazz turned to her brothers, Griffen and Sander, seeking advice on dating girls. Honestly, these are the last two guys that I would ask for dating advice from -- especially if I were a trans girl. But they quickly roll with the idea that Jazz is pansexual and open to dating girls without too much fuss: "It's not a question I would expect you to ask, but I support if your'e interested in dating girl. For sure." Followed with a, "So now she says she's pansexual? She's pansexual!"

Their advice on attracting girls? Tell them that they're pretty. "Well, girls don't liek when you're that clingy, but... you got to call them pretty... Once you tell them they're beautiful and they're like 'Oh my God! Thank you so much!' You'd be like, 'No need to thank me for pointing out the obvious.'"

To her credit, Jazz rolled her eyes at that bit of advice.

Fortunately, Sander rallies and comes up with some better advice for his little sister:
My best dating advice to you would be... Be yourself. I feel like, with you, you need to find a girl that you have a real connection with and you might just be friends. And you might never get out of the friendzone, but you never know when one day it clicks and you break that barrier. And those are the best relationships, especially for someone like you.
Not only did Jazz come out as pansexual to her brothers, but she got a little bit of sage dating advice from these guys. What do you think of their advice? Pass or Fail? Feel free to offer your own advice to Jazz for attracting the ladies down in the comments section!

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Meet JoJo the Shape-Changing Space Dog in COSMO #2!

Archie Comics published COSMO #2 earlier this week. Last month, our ragtag crew of Martian adventurers (plus one human) found themselves on responding to a distress call on an abandoned amusement park located on Earth's Moon. On the Moon, Cosmo and his friends found a single Lunite (not Moonling, as previously noted) named Oog Gullywhumpus. Unfortunately, they also discovered a moon full of vicious "Lunatiks" -- crazed Lunites hellbent on ripping our heroes apart!

So now Cosmo, Max, Astra, and the rest must figure out how to safely regroup and solve the mystery behind the Lunatiks' deadly transformation. Which they eventually do. They even meet up with a powerful Venusian Battle Princess.

I continue to enjoy this series. The artwork is solid and the story-telling is sound. Plus, it's great to read an all-ages adventure comic book from Archie Comics again.

But the real reason that I'm writing this blog article has to do with Cosmo's canine friend: JoJo! The original JoJo was a dog-like companion. He was cute and furry, but was otherwise insignificant.

But we learned in COSMO #2 that this new JoJo is much different than his predecessor -- and much more handy to have around during emergencies. Things weren't looking good for our four-legged friend when he and his friends were escaping from the Lunatiks. They swarmed him -- and pretty much overwhelmed the poor guy!

But then we learned that JoJo has a special gift all of his own. He's a powerful shape-changer!

The odd part is that his team all seemed pretty oblivious to his abilities. Which makes me wonder about JoJo's origins. Surely he cannot be native to Mars if none of them were aware of his ability to transform himself into other things. So where did he come from? And when did he teamed up with Cosmo & Friends?

Regardless of those answers, the new JoJo is a great crew member of Cosmo and his UFO crew!

Friday, February 9, 2018

Jazz Jennings: How to Support Your Transgender Friends

Jazz Jennings of TLC's "I Am Jazz" posted a video earlier today with advice on supporting your transgender friends.

Here are her tips, in a nutshell:
1. Stand by your friend: "Embrace, don't encourage." Her biggest concern with "encouraging" trans friends is that they might not ready to make certain progressions and you as the friend should resist the urge to push your trans friend too far outside of their comfort zone. Your trans friend will decide how to best move forward. You can be a good friend by backing their choices.

2. Don't make a big deal about your friend being transgender: Don't be the type of person who cannot stop talking about your friend being transgender. Don't make it seem like they are only special because they are transgender. Don't make a huge deal out of it. Treat your trans friend like you would any other friend. Focus on their inner being; not their label.
You can watch the entire video here.

What do you think of Jazz's advice? Do you agree or disagree? Any other suggestions? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section!

College Student Flushes Emotional Support Hamster Down Toilet After Being Denied Access to Plane

There is this horrible story circulating right now involving a 21-year-old college student, Spirit Airlines, an emotional support hamster named Pebbles, and a toilet. A young woman named Belen Aldecosea needed to fly home from college last November "to deal with a medical issue."

She reportedly called the airlines -- twice -- to make sure that she could bring the hamster onto her flight and she was reportedly told that she could. However, when she arrived for her flight, Spirit Airlines staff refused to allow her to bring the animal with her flight.

Aldecosea didn't know what to do. She was re-booked for a flight nine hours after her original flight, but she still had Pebbles with her. She apparently couldn't rent a car and it would take too long to ride a bus home.

She had a lot of options. She could have re-booked her flight for the following day and left Pebbles with one of her friends. She could have ridden the bus. She could have called a rescue volunteer to come pick up her hamster. She could have given the animal to a passing stranger. She could have done a lot of things. Instead, she chose to flush the poor creature down the toilet:
“(Pebbles) was scared. I was scared. It was horrifying trying to put her in the toilet,” Aldecosea said. “I was emotional. I was crying. I sat there for a good 10 minutes crying in the stall.”
Now she and her attorney are seeking national sympathy and placing blame for her senseless decision by claiming that an airline employee told her to flush Pebbles down the toilet. And she's threatening to sue the airlines for her horrid choice.

I know that people are rolling their eyes at the concept of emotional support animals. I'm not one of those people. I recognize the benefit that these animals can provide to people who experience severe anxiety and/or depression. But I also recognize that emotional support animals are not the same as trained service animals and that they are not protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act. In other words, I fully support people who seek support from emotional support dogs, cats, hamsters, rabbits, peacocks, whatever. But these folks need to learn the law with regards to their animals and know what they can or cannot do with them.

News reports have attempted to direct a bemused sympathy towards Aldecosea and her plight. But most people that I know are horrified by her callous and cruel disposal of the pet that provided her with the emotional support that she so badly needed.

But fear not! Pebbles might have suffered a panicked death at the hands of her owner, but Belen Aldecosea's attorney wants you to know that it is A-OK because she has gotten a new emotional support hamster to comfort her -- at least until her next flight.