Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Not sure if I'll have much time to do any other blogging tonight, but that doesn't mean that I can't show off the family a bit before it's time to trick and/or treat.

First up is Leslie dressed in his new Superman costume.  He was invited to a "costume mandatory" party this past weekend, but really wasn't in the mood to shop for an outfit.  I finally found this Superman outfit, which is both understated but cool enough to include a cape.  Now he loves the costume.  Les isn't going out tonight, but he's wearing his outfit again while giving out candies to the various visitors tonight:


Next on the agenda is D'Angelo.  It occurred to me that he kind of looks like a Black Nationalist, but he's really going for the Nerd look this evening (note the pocket protector and the taped eye glasses).  He decided that he's too cool to go out with me tonight and instead chose to go with a friend and his family.  I plan to raid his candy stash later this evening:


Here are the boys in a brief moment of brotherly bliss:


Lastly, Nero's daycare is doing a Facebook costume contest.  I'm still trying to figure out how to vote for it, but I thought it would be fun to show up his entry pic at the Headless Horseman's Horse:


Stay safe and don't eat all your candy at once tonight!

Updated Early on 11/01/11: Best Tweet of the night by me: "Don't know if I should be insulted or flattered. Trick-or-Treater @ door: "Look at that ugly dude... Hey, it's D's dad! How's it going???"  Needless to say, those boys both only received one piece of candy each.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

By the Numbers

7 -- Number of reasons why zombies are seriously taking over Iowa and the world.  This article talks about the various battles between zombies and people that have occurred since 2005 on Iowa campuses, as well as UNI classes about zombie literature, supposedly charitable zombie walks, zombie conventions, and underground zombie societies.  It's a scary time to be among the living...

10 -- List of the top ten best comic book live-action TV series of all time.  It was a no-brainer that AMC's The Walking Dead made the list.  I was glad to see Tales From the Crypt and The Incredible Hulk also made the list, though I'm kind of shocked that there was no mention of The Tick.

96 -- Percentage of U.S. counties that house children of same-sex couples.  According to information referenced in this blog article, gay couples living in the South are most likely to be raising children.  Mississippi has the largest percentage of gay couples raising kids.  Gay families are twice as likely to be living in poverty when compared to married heterosexual families with kids.  Our families are also more racially diverse than the general population.  Most importantly, our kids statistically turn out okay and well-adjusted.

5.4 Million -- Amount of money that Go the Distance Baseball LLC potentially paid to purchase Dyersville, Iowa's "Field of Dreams" property.  The property's owners asked for $5.4 million, but the actual purchase price has not yet been disclosed.  The original property owners have been searching for a while to find buyers who promise to honor the baseball field and keep it available to the public.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Thoughts on "Real Steel"

D' and a friend really wanted to see "Real Steel" this weekend.  I really wasn't interested, but eventually agreed to take them both.  The premise seemed interesting enough and we hadn't been to a movie in a really long time (for us).  Turns out that we were extremely fortunate the choose the movie that we did.

Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman) is a former boxer/current down-on-his-luck robot boxer who is limping from one fight to the next all the while running from one debtor or the other.  He eventually learns that he has an 11-year-old son (Dakota Goyo) whose mother recently passed away.  He agrees to sign his parental rights away fro $100,000 to the boy's aunt if he agrees to care for Max for three months.  Charlie and Max soon bond over an obsolete sparring robot named Atom, which possesses the uncanny ability to absorb a lot of damage and dish out Charlie's boxing moves.  Atom, Charlie, and Max quickly find themselves winning increasingly impressive fights and unprecedented attention for their unconventional fighting style.  It all culminates in one final "David VS. Goliath" battle against the unbeatable robot fighting champion, Zeus, before Max goes to live permanently with his aunt and uncle.

Real Steel does a great job of drawing you into this crazy premise of robot fighting and Rock'em Sock'em action, while also working to realistically redeem Kenton's loser image and patch his rocky relationship with his son.  The prodigal parent isn't perfect (not even at the end), but he ultimately gives his son what he needs -- in terms of his short-term emotional stability as well as his long-term stability.

Real Steel has been out for nearly a month, so it might not be around much longer at the theaters.  Check it out if you have the chance.  There is something for pretty much everyone in your family, especially if your kids are starting to outgrow cartoons, but still crave family-friendly action flicks.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Does Gay Marriage Desecrate the Eucharist?

That's what Representative Steve King of Iowa asserted at a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing on "The State of Religious Liberty in the United States" earlier this week.  Right Wing Watch posted the following clip a couple days ago where King observed:
If an individual or a group of individuals promoted the idea of desecrating the Eucharist, would that be a direct affront to the Church?.. When there is an active effort to desecrate a sacrament of the Church, that is a direct insult and affront to the Catholic Church.  And marriage, of course, is one of the seven sacraments.

I get his point. But following King's logic, any marriage that wasn't performed by a priest within the Roman Catholic Church is an affront to the Church. After all, he's talking about Catholic sacraments at this hearing and many people are not Catholic. The Roman Catholic Church requires that late-in-life converters have their marriages re-done by their priests regardless how long those married couples have been together because they technically aren't married -- despite having been legally married for months or years or even decades.

Of course, the Church isn't trying to outlaw the marriages or marriage rights of non-Catholic Christians or Hindus or Jews or Muslims or Atheists or any other religious or non-religious group that "desecrates" the Catholic sacrament of marriage by participating in non-Catholic marriage ceremonies.  No, the honor goes directly to gay and lesbian people.  Some of us have religious ceremonies and some of us don't, but most likely most (if not all) of us are definitely not getting married in the Catholic church and tainting their sacraments.  (And if we are getting hitched in the Catholic Churches, then that's a problem with Church discipline by priests and/or bishops who oppose Catholic Church doctrine.)

Rep. King and Bishop William Lori (who King is speaking to in the above clip) don't care that gays and lesbians are not seeking to desecrate the Catholic rite of marriage.  We are seeking the legal rights and protections that come with a marriage license.  Those marriage licenses are issues by County Recorders or Town Clerks, not priests.  So the whole "desecration" assertion is bogus.

Then again, that whole "The State of Religious Liberty in the United States" argument is always pretty bogus.  I have found that most people who seek to promote religious liberties could care less about the religious liberties of gay and lesbian people of faith or the religious institutions (like the Metropolitan Community Church or the United Church of Christ) that honor our marriages and our families.  But that's a whole other issue to vent about on another day...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Bully Attacks Classmate in Class//Video of Assault Posted Online: Time to Call 911

Imagine that you walk into your workplace and are immediately pounded to the ground and repeatedly punched over and over and over by somebody (a supervisor or a co-worker or a client or a customer or whomever). This incident results in a possible concussion and a chipped tooth. This person not only attacks you in an unprovoked manner, but he has somebody film the assault and post it on the Internet. What would you do? Would you turn to your employer to enforce some form of anti-violence code of conduct? Or would you call the police and file criminal charges against your attacker for assault?

I would do the latter and I suspect that most people here would, too. Which is why I don't get it when kids are beat up in school and everyone focuses on the school to impose a punishment and yet nobody seems to call the cops.

It's one of the things I hate about "Glee".  The Gleeks routinely have slushy drinks thrown at them and poured on them by other students and nobody does anything about it.  Not them, not their parents, and not the teachers who witness and acknowledge this.  If my kid was getting doused by slushy drinks by other kids, I'd haul them into small claims court over and over and over to clean and/or replace damaged clothing until they stopped or until they went broke.  Either that or I'd take them in front of Judge Judy and have her shame them on national television.

I totally understand that schools have a responsibility to alleviate bullying and to keep their students safe from harm.  But they can only do so much.  If a student is physically assaulted, you need to contact the police and press charges.  We would do it for ourselves as adults.  Why would we do anything differently because the victim is a teen?


Updated on 10/28/11: According to a report on Towleroad.com, the sheriff's office in this community is investigating this assault and "evaluating whether to file an assault or felonious assault charge" against the 15-year-old suspect.

Will Candidate Randall Terry Upset President Barack Obama?

Anti-abortion activist Randall Terry has a new goal in life: unseat President Barack Obama as the Democratic presidential candidate for the 2012 presidential election:
“My goal is to use the primary process over the coming months to bludgeon President Obama politically,” Terry said. “I cannot defeat him in the Democratic party, but I can cause his defeat in the general election.”

Terry said his campaign platform of “Life, Liberty and Justice” looks to criminalize abortion from conception to birth, phase out the “rampant socialism” of Social Security, Medicaid and the federal income tax and adopt a U.S. foreign policy less focused on oil and more focused on human rights.
For whatever reason, Terry came to Iowa City, IA, and discussed his presidential candidacy at City Hall.  Terry really doesn't believe that he will become the Democratic candidate, but he thinks the following strategy will cause voters to flee from the President in 2012:
Terry... said he will be flooding Iowa television stations with graphic anti-abortion ads. “We caused a meltdown in the greater D.C. area, and we’re going to do it here in Iowa. We’re going to in New Hampshire and we’re going to do it state by state around the union,” he said.

Terry defended his choice to run TV spots sometimes considered controversial or inappropriate by saying that it is no different than showing photos of car accidents caused by drunken driving. “That’s how you win,” he said. “That’s how you provoke debate and the crisis of conflict and we’re going to do that in this election.”
Yup, that's how you win by airing "campaign advertisements" of bloody bits of aborted babies.

Ms. Lion and Nero Prepping for Halloween

Nero has a costume party and Ms. Lion has enjoyed Trick-or-Treating in past years, so it was up to me to track down some dog-appropriate costumes for my four-legged friends.  Unfortunately, this cute little lobster costume that I purchased for Ms. Lion has disappeared so I have to go with something else:


Ms. Lion is always up for an outfit, though she didn't appreciate me snapping a picture of her in her pink Snuggie.


Nero really does not like his Headless Horseman's Horse costume.  He especially hates the headpiece.  It was all I could do to keep him standing still for five seconds before he would try pulling the thing off his head.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mascot Alert: Herky Votes!

I mentioned this weekend that I'm really get off on Twitter pics of people with costumed animals recently.  I noted that I would like to make this Mascot posts a trend on this blog, at least for now.

Today's pic involves the University of Iowa's favorite feathered friend, Herky!  County Board Supervisor Janelle Rettig shared this post earlier today on Twitter: "If Herky can vote, shouldn't we all?", referencing the local Iowa City city council election and promoting early voting efforts.  She then links to local blogger John Deeth's blog.  Check it out!:

Does Gay Marriage Lead to Productions of "Zanna Don't"?

That's pretty much what Peter Wolfgang of The Family Institute of Connecticut asserts in response to a Hartford, CT, high school production of Zanna, Don't!.  It made headlines after two male characters kissed, which prompted several students to walk outZanna, Don't! tells the story of a world where homosexuality is the norm and heterosexual students are bullied and compelled to hide their sexual orientations.  The play's content was announced ahead of the performance and apparently some students chose to stay home instead of watching the play.  But several students and several parents showed up carrying Bibles and using the event to preach against homosexuality.

Since then, the religious right has been using the play to preach against marriage equality.  Peter Wolfgang told MSNBC viewers:
What people in the other 44 states that don’t have same-sex marriage need to know is that if you get same-sex marriage, this is coming to your state. You will not have the right to decide for yourself what your children will be taught about right or wrong.”
Which is B.S., of course.

1. This wasn't a play about "gay marriage".  It's about flipping the script and seeing what might happen if homosexuality was the norm and heterosexuality was viewed as socially wrong.  It shows the ostracization of teens in a school culture that encourages homosexuality, but not heterosexuality.  Kind of like real life in most of today's culture except in real life you need to replace the word "heterosexuality" wherever it says "homosexuality" and vice versa. 

2. Gay people did kiss before marriage equality came to Connecticut.  Taking away marriage equality from Connecticut won't prevent gay people from kissing.  Additionally, watching two guys kiss won't transform people into gay people.  If that was the case, there would be a lot fewer gay people on Broadway, given the preponderance of straight smooches on-stage.

3. Lastly, a male/male kiss is being used as evidence that marriage equality is this horrible problem.  It's a kiss.  A kiss isn't a sign of horribleness.  It's just a kiss.  I hate it when people try to use evidence of gay marriage as evidence that gay marriage is bad.  This fretting over a kiss is just as bad.

It's worth nothing that Zanna, Don't! came about in 2002 in New York, long before marriage equality was a reality in that state.  It has played in marriage equality states and it has played in marriage inequality states.  In other words, Mr. Wolfgang is spouting nonsense when he asserts that marriage equality spawns productions of this play.  But it makes for a good tag line when on cable news programs...

Homecoming Spirit Day or Homosexual Agenda Day?

I learned today of a story coming out of Florida where one high school's homecoming event has raised the shackles of some students' parents.  Like my own high school and college, Olympia High School in Windermere, FL, does a week long series of events to get students all psyched up for the big homecoming game.  One thing that schools do is ask students to dress up and Olympia High School is no different.  This year, its student council planned "Switch-A-Roo" day.  Here is how that is described:
A voicemail message from the school's principal left on the phones of all parents, said: 'girls dress like your favourite guy, and guys dress like your favourite girl.'
Predictably, now parents are complaining that their children are being forced into a homosexual lifestyle:
One mother told Fox News Orlando she had to replay the message, because she couldn't believe her ears. Lolita Kollore says she doesn't mind special days, but thinks organised cross-dressing 'sends out the wrong message' to students. Kollore, whose son is a sophomore, said: 'What I first thought, is 'Oh my God!... They're promoting gay and lesbianism through cross-dressing.' Kollore said her teenage son did not want to take part... Cross dressing encourages homosexuality and imposes an alternative lifestyle on all students, she said.
Keep in mind that students don't have to actually participate in these events and that this isn't really cross dressing, at least not really in either the fetish or the alternative lifestyle sense.  It's costuming.  Like dress up.  Plus, lots of gays and lesbians and bisexuals actually make it through their lives without cross dressing. 

Kollore wants the school's principal to cancel "Switch-A-Roo" day.  If not, she will keep her son home from school that day.  Which is just as well for the rest of the students.  It's just supposed to be fun.  It's not supposed to have an agenda.  No more than the "dress like their favorite animal" day isn't supposed to promote bestiality.  Sometimes people are just looking for a reason to complain and ruin others' fun.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Nero at Daycare -- 10/24/11

Looks like Nero is looking at buying property these days.  Either that or he's having another fun afternoon of fun and play at doggy daycare.  Check it out:

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Walking Dead Rage Through West Des Moines

Don't say I didn't warn you back on Friday.  I was catching up on the news this evening and learned that a neighbor within West Des Moines was invaded by hordes of the undead.  West Des Moines Patch reports that the streets were filled with "briskly shuffling" zombies.  Listen to this horrifying firsthand report from one of the survivors:
In Iowa State Fair style, I grabbed my camera to snap some photos while my husband, Dan, leaned on our fence and cordially nodded to the growling, moaning, disfigured masses as they shuffled past our front door. I fended off an attack by a baby zombie in a stroller -- mom showed some mercy -- and managed not to rile the West Des Moines Police Department's canine, who voiced his displeasure at the crowd with the loudest growls of all.
According to this report, there were several dozen of the walking dead swarming West Des Moines.  Apparently, the raging ghouls descended on the Val Air Ballroom and transformed a neighborhood dance into what's become known as a "zombie prom".  I'm not sure how this particular invasion was halted.  However, it's frightening to consider how many undead incursions I've reported on over the past year.  It's only a matter of time before we can no longer repel these invaders.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Weekend Remarks

I know I posted a couple items earlier today, but there were a few other shorter items that I thought I would share before the end of the day:

*Alpha Flight Canceled!: This really blows.  Nearly two months ago, Marvel Comics announced that their Alpha Flight series was doing so great that it was being transformed from an eight-issue limited series to an ongoing comic book series.  Now yesterday, they announced via January solicitations and a few articles that Canada's greatest super team is getting canceled with its eighth issue.  Why did they even bother with the upgrade.  Everyone, myself included, who has loved this series would feel so much better about the series ending if Marvel had just gone with its original plan to end it as an 8 issue mini.  Now the whole thing just feels dirty and us fans feel used and deceived.

*Love Is an Orientation DVD: Practical Ways to Build Bridges with the Gay Community Now Available for Pre-Ordering: I learned yesterday through Twitter that the Marin Foundation's and Andrew Marin's upcoming DVD resource program is now available for pre-order on Amazon.com.  This is the product description for the DVD program:
Much of today's culture defines bridge-building and reconciliation as a one-way street that leads to full theological, political and social agreement. Yet Christ demonstrated a different path of religious and cultural engagement to establish his kingdom here on earth. In light of such countercultural principles, the Christian community needs a new view on the issues that divide conservative believers and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities. Using the practical applications Andrew Marin has learned over the last decade of living and working in the LGBT neighborhood of Chicago called Boystown, as well as his international speaking and consulting ministry, this six-session, video-based study offers a variety of practical teachings, insights and life lessons. Rather than avoiding the topic of homosexuality, Love Is an Orientation aims to equip the Christian community to bridge the gap between LGBT and religious communities. This is not a group study about 'fixing' gay people. It's about getting to know them, engaging them, and loving them like Jesus does. After this study, you, your small group and your church will know what it means to peacefully and productively build bridges with the LGBT community.
Back in May, I shared that I had the pleasure to step out of my comfort zone and participate in the creation of this LIAO DVD curriculum.  I was nervous that I stumbled with my words too much and did too many body ticks while being filmed.  However, I've seen the rough edit of my segment and I did much better than I feared.  I watched the filming of other segments of the program and am really excited to see how everything comes together.  More on this later!

*Herman Cain Poses with Cy the Cardinal: I'm not a huge fan of GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain, but I don't have a lot against him either.  I will say that I absolutely love this pic that he tweeted earlier today, apparently from Ames, IA.  His message: "Team HC ~ OK. Maybe it's just us but we think these smiles seem similar."  Check out this pic.  It is absolutely great!  Last week, I found a pic of Andrew with a giant chicken and now this weekend Herman Cain is posing with Cy the Cardinal.  I'm really hoping that this becomes a trend every weekend, because these pics never fail to make my day and I love to share them!

Did Animal Liberators Release the Exotic Animals in Zanesville, OH?

That is what's being claimed by animal communicator Laura Stinchfield, both on her blog and on her latest podcast.

Hopefully, you've heard this awful story.  Dozens of wild animals -- including bears, lions, mountain lions, wolves and 18 endangered Bengal tiger -- were released from their private zoo earlier this week and most of them were killed by local police officers.  Their owner, Terry Thompson, committed suicide that day.  It's been assumed that he released the animals before killing himself.  Thompson had been convicted in the past of animal cruelty.  There is also evidenced that the exotic animals have been victims of neglect while in his care:
The director of animal management from a wildlife preserve in Ohio said the bottoms of fences weren't secured and gates meant for dog kennels were used in pens housing the big cats. He also noted that a cage housing two lions should have had a much higher fence. "There was also a tree in this cage area, and there was nothing to prevent the animal from climbing the tree and escaping," a report said.

Animal pens were scattered on the patio and driveway of the Thompsons' home on the property, and there were several others inside the garage and basement. They had a black leopard in the basement and two tigers and two lion cubs in the garage. On a patio next to the Thompsons' pool, two lion cubs and one black bear cub were in the same pen.

A veterinarian from Columbus Zoo saw that a tiger was missing its tail and thought it had been ripped or bitten off by another animal in an adjoining cage. Two tigers were in a cage filled with standing water, rotting carcasses and lots of bones. The zoo officials also expressed concerns about malnutrition and the sizes of the pens.

Thompson also kept a monkey in a cage too small for it to stand up in, kept a wolf in an old car and had a zebra in a horse trailer, said a Muskingum County resident familiar with Thompson who saw the conditions and spoke with the AP on condition of anonymity for fear of repercussions over the comments.
The reports of neglect and malnutrition were being reported that morning by Stinchfield on her blog.  She received that information directly from the animals themselves when she reached out and asked them, "What happened?".  However, the animals didn't just talk about hunger and neglect and the subsequent feelings of confusion and chaos following their escape and hunt, but they animals also reported that they were freed by a woman who appears to be some sort of animal liberator:
Bengal tiger: I have been shot and wounded on my leg and am in the woods up high hiding. They are coming after us with dogs. I saw my mother fight and kill a larger African Lion that was always spraying our cage. He was in the cage next to us and my mother never liked him.

The smaller cats are in the trees also. Many of them will not be found. They are good at camouflage and the dogs do not know how to smell them different than a bob cat. This is my opinion.

I am too large and my leg is dripping. I know I will die because I can feel them closer.

The gun shots have made us run farther away than we would normally run. One cat has killed a baby deer and another a small dog. I have seen it from this tree. We have always wanted to hunt. There have been men that have been hunting us that have walked under some cats and even a cat with a kill with them in the tree.

We all know that we will die and we are ok with it. I speak for only some of us. I can feel all there feelings like a mass wave.

Our freedom finally has come with more fear and smell of death than we could imagine but we do not want to feel the hunger in our bellies anymore.

We were dying and the woman who set us free did it out of love. She knew there was no other way to end our suffering. She did not think that that we would live. She did not want to see us caged anymore. She let snakes free too. This compound had so many animals free. There is a giraffe as well – In a dark barn. There are other animals shaking with in fear.

I may come down soon and let them shoot me.
Stinchfield spoke with a bear that day, who also told about being freed by a woman and her friend.  On Thursday, Stinchfield talked briefly with the spirit of Terry Thompson on her podcast, who through her admitted to not caring for the animals, but denied setting his animals free.  She also communicated briefly with one of the surviving leopards, who talked about being scared when all of the bigger cats were fighting each other and when the police officers were shooting all of the animals.

I am really curious to find out if they eventually reveal evidence that Thompson himself didn't free the animals, but instead someone else did.  Such information will either create more support for pet psychics like Stinchfield, or much more doubt about their abilities.

Rambling UI Homecoming 2011 Parade Thoughts

It's Homecoming weekend for the University of Iowa here in Iowa City.  The game starts at 11 AM, but my family will stay away from the craziness of downtown today.  We're not against the game.  It just gets a little too much for us.  Which isn't to say that we completely refrain from the fun of Homecoming.  As is tradition for our family, we went to last night's Homecoming Parade, which was a lot of fun.  This year was a little different for two different reasons. 

First, D'Angelo began learning how to play the trombone this fall with visions of joining the high school marching band in the not distant enough future.  It was fun to watch his new found interest in the various marching bands.  It's one thing for a young kid to enjoy clapping to the Iowa Fight Song.  It's quite another thing for him to envision a time when he'll be out there contributing to the enjoyment.

Secondly, Leslie actually got to march in the parade last night with the various local Best Buddies clubs (University of Iowa Chapter, City High Chapter, and Iowa City West Chapter).  They were supposed to show up wearing black & gold and ready to pass out candy.  It took a bit of convincing, but Leslie finally agreed to marching with his friends.  Unfortunately, they almost walked past me before I realized they were there (they kind of blended in with the previous group).  Fortunately, I saw Les in time and managed to snap off the accompanying pic (even if it's not the greatest).  He had fun and enjoyed checking out the sorority girls, so it worked out okay.

Otherwise, the parade was pretty routine, for the most part.  Apparently, some kid got hit by a vehicle last year while running after some stray candy.  As a result, they parade organizers started out pretty hardcore.  They lined the parade routes with volunteers who held super-long strips of plastic and then some guy would yell at you with a bull-horn if you got on the wrong side of the plastic strip.  At least initially.  Later on, people were shooting under the barrier strips and running across the streets during lulls in the parade and nobody said anything.

Also, we ended up standing beside a family whose mom was extremely... pro-conservative.  She booed anytime a Democratic politician/campaign went by and she refused to let her kid take any candy from those marchers.  She was also a big fan of the Campus Crusade for Christ and cheered on the College Republicans float.  I don't mind the cheering.  I just don't like it when people jeer marchers at a parade.  I scowled at her a few times and she finally got the message.  Either that or there just wasn't anyone left to jeer. 

Soon enough, we made the long journey back to our car and drove back home.  Later that evening, I began hearing the sound of music from what I assumed was a nearby house party.  After a while, I figured out that it wasn't a house party, but 80s rock ban Survivor playing on the UI Pentacrest.  Nero was a little disturbed by the sound, but it was kind of fun listening to "Eye of the Tiger" live from my bedroom at 11:00 PM.

Update: Btw, here is an edited pic of the one above that shows off Les a little better:

Friday, October 21, 2011

Zombies Invade Cedar Falls

Earlier this week, the undead invaded downtown Cedar Falls, IA.  From the description of this article, it appears that it wasn't just limited to zombified people.  According to The Northern Iowan, there was at least one ghoulish pet:
"I don't know most of these people very well, but we have something in common – we're zombies...," Dave Deibler said on Saturday. Deibler..., along with numerous other "zombified" students, participated in the first College Hill Zombie Walk on Oct. 15 at 5 p.m. in front of Mohair Pear. The walk looped around the College Hill area and ended at the Other Place restaurant. When the "undead" reached the OP, a best zombie contest took place... A zombified dog accompanied the group...

During the walk, the undead crew moved and acted en masse. When a city bus was stopped at a stop sign, the entire mob swarmed the bus, taunting those inside with grunts, screams and demands for brains. When a couple was filling up their tires with air at Kwik Star, the crew got close enough to touch them. All of this was done cooperatively with no one leading and no one following, as if they had lost their sense of humanity.

Three zombie teens —Jordyn Good, Claire Philips, and Jennifer Dannini, all sophomores at Waterloo West High School — participated in the walk. Their favorite part was attacking the bus...

Although there were many zombies that participated in the zombie walk, there were a few zombie hunters as well. Nate Lawrence-Richards and Ben Ahlschwede were part of that faction. They were first-time hunters and came up with the idea the night before, inspired by the thought of actually having to pack up for a real zombie apocalypse. "I would grab (weapons), sleeping bags, tent, load everything in a golf bag and go Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on everybody," said Ahlschwede...
This horrifying assault on Cedar Falls clearly demonstrates the ever-present danger that Iowa faces each and every time the undead swarm up from whatever hell they call home.  Can you imagine the pure horror experienced by those innocently riding home on the city bus only to face the reality of rotting fiends?  I can only assume that the number of causalities were limited and the invasion itself halted at the Other Place restaurant due to the hard work and dedication of zombie hunters like Lawrence-Richards and Ahlschwede.

Once again, the people of Iowa need to wake up and fight the undead.  Even today, I've learned of two planned attacks by zombies: one in West Des Moines and one right here in Iowa City just last night at a planned "zombie masquerade ball".  Not only that, but apparently downtown Iowa City has been invaded by what some are calling the "Muscatine River Monster".  Supposedly, it brings good luck to communities where it appears.  Of course, first it needs to eat its weight in hapless souls.  Iowa is a scary place these days.  First came the zombies and then the monsters.  I cannot imagine what form of monstrosity we will be descended upon by next.

Adoptions by Gay Couples Tripled Over the Past Decade

I was just reading about a study that indicates that the number of gays and lesbians adopting children has nearly tripled over the past decade:
About 21,740 same-sex couples had adopted children in 2009, up from 6,477 in 2000, according to the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law. About 32,571 adopted children were living with same-sex couples in 2009, up from 8,310 in 2000. The figures are an analysis of newly released Census Bureau estimates.

The New York-based Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute released a report Thursday culminating a four-year project surveying 158 gay and lesbian parents and their experience with the adoption process. Their researchers found the highest number of homosexuals adopted children from Massachusetts, California, New York and Texas...

In the past, adoption was often an option only for wealthy gay families who could afford to adopt internationally or to pay a surrogate. Allowing gay couples to adopt from foster care, where health care and college is paid for, opens it up to more people, experts said. The study estimates about 50% of adoptive gay families adopt children from foster care...

According to the Adoption Institute, at least 60% of U.S. adoption agencies surveyed accept applications from non-heterosexual parents. Nearly 40% of agencies have knowingly placed children with gay families. About half the agencies surveyed reported a desire for staff training to work with such clients...

About a third of the adoptions by lesbians and gay men were "open," and the birth families' initial reactions regarding sexual orientation were very positive, according to the study.

At California's Independent Adoption Center, executive director Ann Wrixon has seen an increase in gay couples adopting. In the last five years, gay families have consistently made up about a third of the 200 adoptions a year.

While the number of gay couples adopting is increasing, the overall number of same-sex couples raising kids is actually declining, said Gary Gates, demographer at the Williams Institute. "The bulk of parenting among gay people is still people who had children at a young age with a different sex partner before they were out," Gates said.
That last paragraph is interesting.  Essentially, more gay and lesbian individuals and couples are adopting children, but fewer gay and lesbian people are creating children through heterosexual relationships earlier in life.  I assume that this is a result of gay and lesbian people from my generation and younger not experimenting heterosexually or getting into mixed-orientation marriages, hence fewer kids who are being creating by such relationships.

Mark and I have been foster parents/adoptive parents for slightly over a decade and have met many gay and lesbian parents during our journey.  In person, I've met many more gay and lesbian parents who have either adopted and become parents through IVF versus become parents through heterosexual relationships by probably a 5:1 ratio (totally non-scientific margin, by the way).  Online, it's been a bit more mixed.  I know some who have adopted as couples and others who've adopted as single parents.  But it's been an exciting time for all of us and I've met a lot of really great families during the past decade plus.

Hopefully, we will continue to see an increase in the numbers of gay and lesbian adoptive families as more couples learn about the potential for them becoming foster and adoptive parents and as more gay and lesbian couples get married and then pursue the next logical step: parenting.

Nero at Daycare -- 10/20/11

Nero was pretty worn out when he came home from doggy daycare yesterday, which means he got a lot of playtime with the other dogs.  Check it out:

Thursday, October 20, 2011

NOM & The FAMiLY Leader Attempting to Use Gay Marriage to Influence Votes in Cedar Rapids

I know.  Big surprise, eh?

Republican candidate Cindy Golding might be focusing on jobs, the state budget, and reducing government regulation with her state Senate bid over the northeast in Cedar Rapids, but the National Organization for Marriage and The FAMiLY Leader are working hard to tell Iowa Senate District 18 voters that a vote for Golding is a vote against gay and lesbian families.  NOM released the following press release earlier today:
The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) today announced it is launching an Independent Expenditure campaign along with The Family Leader in the 18th Senate District race to support Cindy Golding. Golding, a strong traditional marriage advocate, is running against Democrat Liz Mathis, a vocal supporter of same-sex marriage. NOM was a major player last year in the successful effort to remove three Supreme Court justices from office after they redefined marriage in Iowa.

“This is a pivotal election contest in our battle to allowing the people of Iowa the opportunity to vote to restore marriage,” said Brian Brown, president of NOM. “A proposed constitutional amendment on defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman enjoys broad-based, bi-partisan legislative and voter support, but is being prevented from coming to the floor of the Senate by Majority Leader Mike Gronstol [sic]. If Ms. Golding is successful in her election, we are hopeful that Senators will finally have the opportunity to vote on the marriage amendment, and we expect it to pass handily.”

NOM will be supporting Golding with a series of mailers and other activities in in the 18th District. The first dropped today.

NOM also notes that they are tentatively planning to inflict their "Values Bus" on Cedar Rapids on November 6th, which is two days before the special election.  I have never understood their fascination with the various Values Buses/Judge Buses/etc.  Almost nobody ever shows up for those events.  I suspect that the real purpose behind the bus rides are less about giving speeches to the few people who manage to show up and more about back-door meetings with local operatives.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Chicken Dancing

Despite the fears, nearby Cedar Rapids' experiment with urban chickens hasn't fowled up the community.  In its first year of chicken lawfulness, 28 households have sought permits to raise chickens within the city.  Since then, 9 households let their permits lapse and an additional two new permits have been taken out this year.  Additionally, there have been only two chicken-related complaints since the urban chicken law went into effect and both of those complaints came from the same address:
Diane Webber, the manager of the city’s Animal Care and Control Division, told the council committee that her office has received one call about a “stray” chicken and one call which turned up a household with 40 chickens being kept in a garage. The owner reduced the number to six, she said.
There has been more recent complaints about a rooster somewhere in the city.  After "two solid months" of early-morning rooster crowing in Cedar Rapids' west side, things have finally settled.  It should be noted that it is not permitted for urban chicken owners to raise roosters within city limits.

There were concerns early on that allowing chickens in Iowa City would cause chaos and mayhem.  People -- including me! -- worried that chickens would be running rampant, that the city would reek of chicken feces, that loose dogs would raid chicken coops, that urban chicken farmers would prove to be neglectful, etc., etc...  So far, the urban chicken farmers are showing the rest of us that our fears were largely exaggerated.

Speaking of urban chickens, Iowa City had its primary election a couple weeks back for the two available at-large city council seats.  One of the four who made it through the primary was small business owner and urban chicken proponent, Jerrett Mitchell:
Downtown coffee shop owner Mitchell, 33, took the fourth spot with 14 percent of the vote, just 17 votes ahead of McCallum. Mitchell said he’ll continue to discuss the issues important to him, like urban chickens and promoting a bicycle-friendly community, but he acknowledged the top finishers in the primary typically get elected to council.

“I kind of feel like that’s probably going to happen, but we’ll keep plugging away,” he said.
Speaking of Jarrett Mitchell, local blogger John Deeth recently reported the following campaign strategy for Mitchell:
In an unusual move, Jarrett Mitchell, the distant fourth place finisher in last week's primary, is openly campaigning for what we in local parlance call "bullet votes" in the city election.

"VOTE ONLY FOR JARRETT MITCHELL ON NOVEMBER 8TH" reads the footer below a YouTube video claiming that the famous Black Angel tombstone is supporting Mitchell.

While the dead are only allowed to vote in Chicago, Iowa voters in an election where you can vote for more than one candidate are indeed free to vote for just one. But campaigns that encourage the tactic usually do it subtly and below the radar. Voters who choose the tactic, in order to "be sure" their first choice wins, run the risk of seeing their second choice lose to their last choice.
Speaking of urban chickens and Chicago, my friend Andrew Marin was apparently visiting the 2011 Memphis Gay Pride event this past weekend and spreading his "I'm Sorry" message to the participants.  I followed his activities from time to time over the weekend via Twitter, but my favorite part of his Memphis trip was a picture of him and a more unique form of urban chicken: a rainbow-dressed gay chicken.

Andrew: "Me & the gay chicken on Beale St at Memphis Pride".

Me: "@Andrew_Marin Gay chicken????"

Andrew: "@JonTrouten I don't know? The chicken has a rainbow sash on :)"

That chicken costume made my weekend and sometimes you just have to love the little stuff.

Nero at Daycare -- 10/18/11

Looks like Nero's having a blast sniffing other dogs' butts at doggy daycare today.  Even better, that's the pic of him that made Lucky Pawz' blog today.  Ugghh...  ;)

Check it out:


Monday, October 17, 2011

Half of Iowans Want to Outlaw My Family

Public Policy Polling does all sort of polls here in Iowa.  One of their latest polls indicated that an even 50% of my fellow Iowans would vote for a constitutional amendment to ban gay and lesbian people from marrying.  People over 65 really hate gay families.  62% of them would vote for a constitutional ban on our families, which sucks 'cuz Iowa has a high percentage of old people in it.  53% of Independents would vote to constitutionally outlaw the marriages of gay and lesbian people vs. 24% of Democratic votes.  Only 18% of Republican voters would vote against a constitutional ban on gay and lesbian marriages.

To add a little salt to the would, 48% of Iowans think that my marriage should be "illegal" versus 41% who think that it should remain legal.  67% of voters support "some form of legal recognition for gay and lesbian couples.  30% of those people think we should be happy with civil unions without really considering that the constitutional amendment that the state GOP is trying to pass would also outlaw civil unions and domestic partnerships.  29% of Iowans think that gay and lesbian couples should remain complete legal strangers.

I'm always left wishing that pollsters would ask people what we should do with the marriages that already exist between gay and lesbian couples here in Iowa.  Do my neighbors want my family involuntarily neutered?  After all, many of them believe that it's a farce.  Should existing gay marriages get grandfathered in to a post-constitutionally banned Iowa?

Part of the reason I write about my family is to show people that gay families do indeed exist here in Iowa and we're mostly pretty normal (except when we're writing about reality TV and zombies and urban chickens and real life super heroes).  Granted, I don't always write about my family as much as I could and maybe I should.  I just don't know that it does any good.  Sometimes I just feel like I'm treading water and waiting for the sharks to separate us from each other.

Iowa has been a marriage equality state for nearly three years.  Gay and lesbian couples have been getting married here throughout that time.  We live here.  We work here.  We worship here.  We raise our families here.  We play here.  And still half of the state wants to wipe out our families.  Help me find the silver lining.  Please.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Hey Big Spender!

My church does this monthly thing where we give the pastor the week off and somebody from the church membership either plans and provides the morning's worship or that somebody brings somebody from outside of the church to provide the morning's worship.  Today was one of those shared ministry weekends and Mark & I were the ones assigned to plan the morning's worship.

This week was also the kick-off of the Stewardship Campaign, so much of Mark's sermon had to do with responsibilities.  Responsibilities to ourselves, to our families, to our jobs, to our church, and even to our government.  Much of the scriptural background surrounded Moses.

My job was to come up with the annual Stewardship Skit.  Basically, something to spark discussion about pledging money for the coming year and discussing why we need to pledge money for the coming year (i.e., Council needs to know the pledged income so that we can draft a budget to pay the bills).  D'Angelo and I enacted a skit where he was a director auditioning for a "Fall Follies" and I was all excited to get my chance to show off some talent.  There was, of course, discussion about pledging and why we pledge; but the skit itself featured my singing talents (or lack thereof).

Have you ever heard "Big Spender" from Sweet Charity?  Imagine it re-worked as a stewardship song.  I did and this is the results:
Hey Big Spender (stewardship skit)

The minute I walked in this joint
I could see this was a church of distinction.
this Faith U C C,
Good lookin’, and refined
Now wouldn’t you like to know
what’s going on in my mind

So let me get right to the point.
I don’t write a check to every church I see.
Hey big spender,
Pledge a little tithe with me.

Wouldn’t you like to have fun, fun, fun?
Wouldn’t you like to help out, out, out?
I can show you the pledge card!
Hey big spender,
hey big spender,
hey big spender
Pledge a little tithe with me!
It was fun and everyone seemed to laugh, though I don't think I'll be getting any professional singing gigs out of my performance.  Hopefully, the Stewardship Campaign will turn out well this year.

Anyway, check out the clip below for a more traditional take on "Big Spender".  Needless to say (though maybe I should say it), I wasn't wearing any outfits like in this clip and I came up with my own choreography:

Friday, October 14, 2011

Pastor Fired for Linking to a DADT-Repeal Article (or why GLBT people believe that Christians hate them)

I learned of a story on John Shore's blog about a pastor who recently got fired.  An anonymous pastor told the story of the week he got fired from an anonymous church (anonymous so that he doesn't lose his anonymous severance package).  Pastor X made the mistake four weeks ago of responding on his personal Facebook account about the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell.  Actually, he didn't respond so much as...  Well, let him tell his own story for a bit:
Four weeks ago the discriminatory law of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” was finally abolished. Even though no one in my church community was aware of my views on homosexuality (I have been intentionally tight-lipped about it, knowing how divisive that issue is), and I’ve never talked about it, I felt like it was good to celebrate the end of discrimination. So I posted a link to an article about the end of DADT on my Facebook page. I made no commentary on the article–which was not about the “issue” of homosexuality at all. [He shared the article to which he linked: written by a leading politician, it simply could not be more innocuous.--J.]

Over the next few hours, several people from my church started commenting on my wall: “How can a Christian be pro-homosexuality?” “Why is a pastor actively promoting the gay-lifestyle?” and so on. Even more people were calling/texting/emailing our lead pastor and the chair of our elder board.

What resulted over the next six days was not fun. The chair of the elder board called for an emergency board meeting to deal with me. I was summoned to the board meeting, where I was forced to give my stance on homosexuality (even though the church has no official stance on the matter, and has never before talked about the issue). And even though I reminded them that we all agree on our church’s statement of faith, ultimately, when they learned that I don’t view homosexuality as a sin, and that I would be in favor of two gay people being allowed to get married, they came to the conclusion that I was unfit to be a pastor at [Name of Church]. And within a week of posting the article on FB page, I was fired from a church I’d served faithfully and helped to build for five years.
To clarify. Pastor X linked to a non-editorial news article about DADT's repeal without comment and found himself fired for promoting homosexuality within one week of the incident.  Pastor X had a five year professional and personal relationship with this church's staff and was directly involved with the phenomenal membership growth at this church.  According to Shore, who has watched videos of this pastor in action, he's quite the charismatic and talented uber-preacher.  But he linked to an article, which brought him in front of the elder board and the pastoral staff, which led to an extended examination of his beliefs about the place of GLBT people.  And then they fired him.

This firing obviously affects Pastor X and his family and I truly wish them well.  But it also highlights why GLBT don't believe it when evangelical and other conservative Christian church leaders and members say they love and welcome all people, including GLBT people (such as the recent hubbub with Bill Hybels and Starbucks or Jim Wallis and Sojourners refusing to allow an online advertisement encouraging churches to reach out to all people, including GLBT people). 

The truth is that the Church lies when it says that it opens its door to all.  It doesn't.  If it did, a married heterosexual pastor could link without comment to an article about gay and lesbian service members no longer getting fired from the military to his personal Facebook account without getting fired from the church.  If a married heterosexual pastor cannot link without comment an article about DADT's repeal on her personal FB account without getting booted from the church, what is the likelihood that a GLBT person (or the family member or friend of a GLBT person) would -- or should -- ever seriously believe that they could ever have a place in the church?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A-List: NY Reflections // A-List: Dallas Update

I promise that I'll stop writing about Logo's "The A-List" franchise for a while after this post.  At least, I will try. 

Over the past week, I've written a couple different times about A-List: Dallas personality Taylor Garrett and the alleged act of vandalism that occurred at his home.  He tweeted that someone had thrown a rock through his window -- presumably angered by his involvement with anti-gay conservative GOProud Advisory Board honorary chair Ann Coulter.  Pretty quickly, there were criticisms that he hadn't reported the incident to the police.  Instead of responding directly to those concerns, he and several people associated with The A-List: Dallas clammed up and yanked their rock-oriented tweets. 

Taylor Garrett finally broke his silence a couple days ago and spoke with the Huffington Post about the vandalism.  He reports that the police were indeed contacted last Friday.  However, it was reported by his building manager.  Since he hadn't made that report, his name wasn't associated with the report.  He eventually filed his own police report on Monday.  Garrett could've deflated this mess nearly a week ago if he'd explained about the building manager's police report.  Then again, he and Logo couldn't have milked this controversy for 5-6 days if he had.

Moving on, I finally watched the last episode of The A-List: New York's second season.  This is what got under my skin this season:

*I don't get Nyasha's role on the show.  I mean, I guess I do.  She's a loud, self-centered diva who heats up without any provocation.  And she added lots of drama to the show.  But surely Logo could find a lesbian (or at least a bi-girl) to fit that role.

*Nyasha managed to accomplish (with Derek's and Ryan's assistance, of course) the unthinkable.  They made me feel bad for bad-boy Austin.  Almost from minute one, she inserted herself into the boys' tiffs and then flipped out about Austin "hitting" her.  Yes, Austin tried striking Rodiney at the club and yes, he grazed Nyasha's hand.  But he did not hit her and her never-forgiving flip-out was totally unwarranted, IMHO.  To make matters worse, every time he tried apologizing to her, she flipped out even more.

*Derek was a huge whiner this season.  First, Derek dumped Austin as a friend for not disinviting a guy he'd dated a couple times from one of his parties.  Then he became besties with Nyasha in order to further distance himself from Austin.  Then he ignored Austin's repeated efforts to make up.  Then he made up with Austin long enough to dump him once again at the end of the season because Austin (wisely) chose to avoid a social gathering after he'd learned that Nyasha would be there.  After all, every single time they'd been together things had exploded.  He was trying to minimize drama from Derek by staying away from Nyasha.  Then he spread rumors to the guys about Austin and his husband Jake...  *ughh...* Enough....

*The guys all pulled dick moves for skipping out on Austin's and Jake's bachelor party weekend.  They were all in Atlantic City for two competing events (the bachelor party and Nyasha's singing gig).  They all felt morally opposed to Austin's marriage because of cheating rumors being spread by Derek and Rodiney.  Reichen and Ryan eventually "confronted" Austin the night of his party.  They had been gossiping and fretting over this flawed relationship for days, but couldn't actually ask him about it until the night of the event when he's already two sheets to the wind?  Total. Dick. Move.

*I don't get Mike's roll in this show.  His involvement usually involves one of three things: 1. Photo-shoots of celebrities; 2. Hanging out with his hot boyfriend and cool dad; or 3. Telling the boys to mind their own business.  He hardly ever appears with any of the other A-Listers anymore.  Fortunately, for his integrity, he's leaving the show after this season.

*Where was TJ?  He was there, but he didn't get enough coverage.  Now that Mike is leaving the show, TJ needs to move up for some full-credit inclusion on this reality show.

*Lastly, I'm am sick of hearing about Austin being fat.  He is not fat.  He is no where close to being fat.  Enough with the "Austin is fat" meme.

Thus ends my venting about The A-List; New York... at least until next season.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Chaplain Group: Post-DADT Gay Wedding Rule Not At All Troubling

Early this month, I wrote about a new guidelines issued by the Pentagon that allows military chaplain to perform wedding ceremonies for gay and lesbian service members.  No chaplain is required to officiate at any wedding ceremony -- gay or het.  These gay weddings can be held either on or off of Defense Department property.  And these wedding ceremonies can only occur in states or communities where marriage equality is legal, such as Iowa, Massachusetts, or Washington D.C. 

I then followed up with a blog-post about statements made by the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty and the Catholic Archdiocese for Military Services who want the Department of Defense and the rest of the world to know that they absolutely will not allow any of their chaplains to perform any wedding ceremonies for gay or lesbian service members.

Now ABC News is reporting that many chaplains don't really believe that this policy will affect them one way or the other:
However, military chaplains contacted by ABC News say whatever decisions they make about performing such unions will depend less on the political arena and more on religious principles and personal conscience. “The Pentagon can issue a policy change concerning the performance of same-gender ceremonies by chaplains. However, the Pentagon doesn’t generate religion as such,” says Gary Pollitt, a spokesman for the Military Chaplains Association, which represents 1,600 current and retired military chaplains. In an e-mail statement he adds, “A military chaplain conducts religious ceremonies and rites in keeping with the canons [or beliefs, doctrine, policies] of the religious faith group that endorses that chaplain. Each faith group defines the parameters for religious rites and the clergyperson’s individual discretion [if any] with those rites.
The article goes on to point out that chaplains associated with the United Church of Christ, the Episcopal Church are both fine with allowing its chaplains the option of officiating at gay and lesbian wedding.  The National UCC denomination officially supports and affirms marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples, while the Episcopal Church of the USA doesn't officially recognize our marriages but they will bless them (How convoluted is that?):
The United Churches of Christ is one of the few Christian denominations that allows its ministers to perform same-sex marriages or blessings of same-sex unions in the states that allow them. Rev. Stephen Boyd, the Minister of Government and Professional Chaplaincies for the United Churches of Christ, says the 55 to 60 military chaplains from his denomination will use their personal conscience to help them decide whether to perform a sex-same marriage for a service member. However, Boyd says any service member who wishes to have a military chaplain perform a same-sex marriage will bear the responsibility for finding a military chaplain willing to preside over such a ceremony. “They have the responsibility to find those chaplains,” Boyd says. “They can’t expect every chaplain to do this carte blanche... but those chaplains are there,” says Boyd.
Predictably, the Catholic church is bleating about religious liberty and the violation of DOMA, while ignoring the religious liberties of UCCers and gay and lesbian service members who are fortunate enough to connect with a willing gay-affirming chaplain.  Additionally, at least on Republican lawmaker is so opposed to gay and lesbian families that he has pledged to oppose the passage of the annual defense authorization bill unless all chaplains are refused the option of performing wedding ceremonies for gay and lesbian couples.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Nero at Daycare -- 10/11/11

Nero's having another fun time at doggie daycare today. Check out the fun:

Gay GOP Fund-Raiser/"A-List" Star Finally Files a Police Report

This past weekend, I wrote about “The A-List: Dallas” personality Taylor Garrett who reported via Twitter this past Friday that somebody – presumably a left-wing GLBT activist – threw a rock through his window with the nasty note complaining about his Republican affiliation. This came after reports that he will be having lunch on an episode of the reality show with anti-gay conservative speaker/GOProud Advisory Board chair, Ann Coulter. Not everyone believed the story (as evidenced by the lack of a police report) and then Saturday afternoon the rock posts were deleted from Garrett’s Twitter feed.

It might have taken four days, but Taylor Garrett finally reported the incident to the police yesterday morning. It was filed as a category 31, which apparently stands for “criminal mischief”:


Personally, if someone threw a rock through my window, I would call the police within moments of encountering the incident. I might eventually Tweet about it or write about it. Then again, maybe we roll differently in Iowa City compared to Dallas. Either way, it makes the story ring a little truer when one contacts the police and then promotes the incident (and the reality show) instead of the other way around.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Real Life Super Hero Arrested in Seattle

I have no idea how this has been going on for at least one year and I have not heard of this before tonight.  Real life super hero Phoenix Jones was arrested this weekend after allegedly pepper spraying a group of nighclubbers.  Did you catch that?  Real life super hero Phoenix Jones...  How cool is that?

Apparently, Seattle is filled with real life costumed crime fighters.  It's not just Phoenix Jones.  According to Seattle Police, there are at least a half dozen other super heroes patrolling the streets, including Thorn, Buster Doe, Green Reaper, Gemini, No Name, and Thunder 88.  Check this out:
SPD had a run in with Jones earlier this month when a concerned citizen called police and reported a potential robbery after they spotted two masked men pull their Kia Forte in to a Capitol Hill gas station with its headlights off in the middle of the night.

The masked men were gone by the time officers arrived, but robbery detectives tracked Jones to his secret lair outside of Seattle and spoke with Jones’ Godmother, who told police he “dresses up like a superhero and goes out with his friends at night and does good deeds,” according to an internal police document.

Police later contacted the masked avenger, who told police “there are some nuts out there engaged in this same type of behavior” and “wanted to make it clear that they were not part of his group.” Jones then agreed to come down to police headquarters and be photographed in-costume...

Jones -- who’s in his early 20s -- tells me how he got into the crimefighting game. About a year ago, he read a quote from one of the Guardian Angels in a comic book which, along with a lifetime of reading comics—especially those of his favorite heroes, Nightwing and Green Lantern—apparently inspired him to take up a life of crimefighting. “People don’t take care of people,” he says, as we walk past a crowded bus stop on the Ave.

Jones’ get-up looks quite a bit like Batman’s costume and, just like the Dark Knight, he’s a trained, title-winning amateur martial artist, and carries a utility belt stocked with a hefty-looking cattle prod-like stun gun and pepper spray, but never a gun.
According to this article, Phoenix Jones has successfully intervened in at least 30 different Seattle-based crimes, including breaking up knife-fights, chasing down purse snatchers, and breaking up bar fights.  Eleven months later, Jones has been arrested after Seattle Police alleged that he unlawfully pepper sprayed a small group of people leaving a night club.  The clubbers claim that they were "dancing and having a good time" when Jones snuck up and pepper sprayed them for no reason.  Jones claims that he broke up a fight.  Jones himself was arrested and released from custody seven hours later.

Jones' spokesman (yes, he has his own spokesman) claims that photographic evidence will clear up Phoenix Jones' tarnished reputation:
(Peter) Tangen says Jones had heard about a large fight where “somebody had just been body-slammed onto the concrete” and was rushing to help. Jones apparently deployed his pepper spray to break up the fight.

Tangen—who claims police “seemed to have disregarded” a hit and run at the same scene, and failed to interview a cameraman and journalist who were with Jones, and had witnessed the fight—could not immediately provide PubliCola with a copy of the video. “It’ll be interesting what [police] have to say when the video comes out,” Tangen said. “I’m very sure it’s going to show a different story than what police are saying.”
A subsequent interview with Jones communicates his belief that his arresting officer has a "vendetta" against him, but that he remains committed to his goal of crime-fighting (though he and his family have gone into hiding following numerous online threats -- further proof that super heroes should always maintain their secret identities).

I'm really curious how this story will unfolding.  More importantly, when will the Iowa City/Cedar Rapids Corridor area witness the genesis of our own league of real life super heroes?  I will keep you all updated as I learn more.