Thursday, January 31, 2013

Kevin Keller's New Boyfriend Identified??

Back in October, we learned that Kevin Keller, Archie Comics' gay teen, was getting himself a boyfriend. I subsequently shared a few hopes for his future boyfriend, but otherwise haven't heard anything.

Until tonight. Comics Alliance shared this cool Sabrina the Teen-Age Witch-themed variant cover, but it also appears to have revealed the name of Kevin's new boyfriend:
KEVIN KELLER #9 -- "The TAG-ALONGS" - School is out and summer is in as the Kellers take off on a road trip. Mr. Keller is being honored for his service at a special ceremony – but half the fun is getting there so the family takes the scenic route! But how will Kevin do without Devon? And Veronica? And what about the new lifeguard job Kevin was supposed to start with Wendy and William? How do you decide between friends and family during the summer? It's easy: you don't! Sounds like more summer fun than one guy can handle!
It is possible that Devon is the creepy Tribble-guy. But I'm hopeful that he will be the much-needed bad boyfriend who will bring a little danger to our favorite son of Riverdale!

"I Give God 10%. Why Do You Get 18?" // Update: Reddit Waitress Fired & the Non-Tipping Pastor Has Been Outed!!

(Originally written on 01/30/13): There is an interesting story coming from Reddit that is going viral right now. A St. Louis-based pastor took a group of 19 friends out of supper. The customers were reportedly happy with their service, but were not happy when the bill came. Like many of restaurants, this one has a policy of an automatic 18% tip for dining parties over a certain number. The pastor wasn't happy with the 18% tip and tried to get around it by having the server split the check into 20 separate transactions. Unfortunately, that trick failed.

This was how he responded:

I doubt the waitress was seeking a 10% or 18% income tithe from her customers.

And I know from what she wrote on Reddit that she wasn't responsible for the 18% tithe. The restaurant's cash register automatically enters in that gratuity. But the pastor -- and, yes, we know he is a pastor because he identified himself as as pastor when he signed his credit card bill -- had to be a jerk and give the waitress absolutely nothing after taking care of him and his guests and even going to the extra work of trying to cut out a portion of his money by separately processing each diner's meal.

Since this story went viral, various amateur detectives have spent time seeking out the identity of this pastor in order to shame him.

One would hope, as word of this story spreads, that the pastor himself will experience a bit of guilt on his own and step forward to make amends with the server by belatedly giving her a tip. Or at the very least apologize for being so overtly unChrist-like.

Updated on 01/31/13: There were a couple updates related to this story released earlier today.

First, the waitress in this story got herself fired after the pastor complained for posting the customer's credit card slip. More interestingly, she claims that she wasn't the actual waitress in this situation, but instead the co-worker of the server who experienced this treatment:
“I originally posted the note as a lighthearted joke,” says Chelsea, who was dismissed from her job at Applebee’s on Wednesday, as the story began to spread across the Internet. “I thought the note was insulting, but it was also comical. I posted it to Reddit because I thought other users would find it entertaining...”

As posted originally on Reddit’s Atheist page, the image contained the customer’s full signature. Chelsea says she didn’t think to edit that out because she had assumed the name was illegible. But the Internet is a remarkably curious place, so sleuths began trying to identify the self-described “pastor” on the receipt. “All throughout the comment thread on the Reddit post, I withheld any identifying information,” Chelsea explains, adding that she provided an inaccurate physical description of the customer just to throw people off...

Some time on Wednesday, Chelsea says the customer who had left the receipt contacted her Applebee’s location, demanding that everyone be fired, from the servers involved to the managers...

“But because this person got embarrassed that their selfishness was made public, Applebee’s has made it clear that they would rather lose a dedicated employee than lose an angry customer. That’s a policy I can’t understand...”
Second, the pastor in question has also been outed. The Smoking Gun interviewed the non-tipping pastor, who has been identified as Rev. Alois Bell of Truth in the Word Deliverance Ministries church, who is reportedly quite embarrassed by this situation, but not embarrassed enough to get interviewed by the Smoking Gun:
In a TSG interview, Alois Bell said that the online firestorm created by the receipt has left her stunned. “My heart is really broken,” said the 37-year-old Bell. “I’ve brought embarrassment to my church and ministry...

The January 25 meal came after an evening service at the Truth in the Word Deliverance Ministries church, said Bell, who added that five adults and five children were in the group that dined at Applebee’s (a traditional post-service destination for church members). The subsequent bill was divided up amongst the parties.

Bell, seen above, said her notation on the receipt was a “lapse in judgment that has been blown out of proportion.” Despite scratching out the tip added to the bill, Bell claimed that she left a $6 tip in cash, adding that she subsequently discovered the 18 percent gratuity had been charged to her credit card.

Bell said she learned yesterday that a copy of the receipt was online when a friend called to say she was “all over Yahoo. You went viral!” In response, she called the Applebee’s to complain about the dissemination of her receipt, which includes her easy-to-read signature. In a follow-up conversation with an Applebee’s manager, Bell said she was told that the waitress was immediately terminated...

A mother of three, Bell heads a 15-member church that rents a storefront space. Bell said she has a separate full-time job--which she declined to describe--and tithes 10 percent of her earnings to the church.
It was unclear whether or not Rev. Bell regrets the server losing her job or if she's just embarrassed for bringing attention to her unChrist-like response to the original server and for potentially damaging her church's reputation.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Jim Nabors Marries Boyfriend After 38 Year Courtship

I learned late last night that actor/singer Jim Nabors married his longtime companion Stan Cadwallader earlier this month in Seattle, WA:
"I'm 82 and he's in his 60s and so we've been together for 38 years and I'm not ashamed of people knowing, it's just that it was such a personal thing, I didn't tell anybody," Nabors said. "I'm very happy that I've had a partner of 38 years and I feel very blessed. And, what can I tell you, I'm just very happy."

Nabors said he and Cadwallader traveled to Washington state, where gay marriages became legal in early December 2012. They were married at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel in Seattle.

A judge performed the marriage ceremony in the privacy of their hotel room with a couple of friends who live down the street from them near Diamond Head as witnesses, Nabors said.

Before they were married, Nabors said, "It's pretty obvious that we had no rights as a couple, yet when you've been together 38 years, I think something's got to happen there, you've got to solidify something. And at my age, it's probably the best thing to do."
Nabors' and Cadwallader's story is important to know. People are told too often that gay people -- and gay men in particular -- cannot commit to each other. Meanwhile, this couple has been together almost as long as I have been alive.

The couple has lived in Hawaii for years and it's unclear to me whether or not their marriage is legally recognized in their home state. Regardless, I wish them both well as they begin this new journey in their life together!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Nero at Daycare -- 01/29/13

I came home this evening with one of the boys and thought that the house seemed kind of quiet. Pretty quickly, I realized that I'd forgotten Nero at doggy daycare! Fortunately, he appeared to enjoy the extra fifteen minutes of play time -- even if he was damp from today's rain storms! Check it out:

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Horse Shooting in Johnson County, Iowa // Plus My Favorite Five Comic Book Horses!

Not too long ago, I learned from the KCJJ Facebook page some troubling news about a horse, specifically:
Scanner traffic indicates Johnson County sheriff's deputies are investigating the reported shooting of a horse; 1 other injured
Which got me thinking that this would be a really good article to write about if I knew more, which then got me thinking that I haven't posted a list of favorite comic book characters in a while. So until I get more information about our local horse shooting, I though it might be fun to list my Favorite Five Comic Book Horses!:

5. Horse: Horse is one of those characters that I know almost nothing about, but that I would absolutely love to see in comic books so that I could learn about him. Horse was a Chinese agent who once belonged China's now-former national super-hero team, China Force. After he left China Force, Horse and two other super-agents attempted to conquer Hong Kong, but ended up getting killed by an American agent named Rick Mason. Horse's powers were pretty basic. He could kick -- really hard. I would love for someone to resurrect this Chinese mutant and I'm not even for sure why. I like the simplicity of his powers, but I also kind of just like the way he looks. And sometimes that's enough to get onto my various lists of favorite comic book characters!

4. Brightwind: Long ago while lost in Asgard, Danielle Moonstar of the New Mutants rescued a winged horse from hunters. Because of her actions, Danielle ended up becoming a Valkyrie. Brightwind moved to the X-Mansion with the X-Men and New Mutants and then died and then got better, but she's always remained bonded to Danielle. In recent years, Danielle once again became a part-time Valkyrie. Unfortunately, we haven't seen enough of Brightwind for my preference. Danielle is slated to joined an all-female team of Defenders soon and that team is being modeled after the Valkyries, so I'm really keeping my fingers crossed that we'll get to see more of Brightwind soon!

3. Thunder: Several years ago, Marvel Comics relaunched a poorly conceived version of Alpha Flight, Canada's premier super-team. Sasquatch was gathering a new team of Alphans and recruited a local hero named Major Mapleleaf, who appears to have the powers of flight and super-strength and invincibility. Except that he didn't. His horse did. That's right. Major Mapleleaf's horse, Thunder, was a magical steed who kept his master safe from harm -- until the costumed mountie got himself killed by an out-of-control mutant named the Collective. Presumably Thunder is still galloping around Toronto -- which offers the possibility of future Pet Avengers membership. Not that I'm begging...

2. Comet: I have actually never read a comic book with this classic comic book character in it, but the pure creepiness of Supergirl's pet horse, Comet the Super-Horse, is enough to get him onto this list. Apparently, Comet the Super-Horse was once an ancient centaur who got transformed into a horse by a nasty witch. Supergirl eventually adopted him as her pet horse and he eventually fell in love with her. He eventually begins visiting her dreams every night and then learned how to become human when in our solar system so that he can romance Supergirl. When not making out with Supergirl, Comet could often be seen fighting crime with Krypto and the other Superman-themed animals in the Legion of Super-Pets.

1. Comet: You read the correctly. My first and second favorite comic book horses are both named Comet. This second Comet was introduced in a relaunched SUPERGIRL comic book back in the late 90s. Supergirl kept running into this really fast horse-like alien hero named Comet and found herself falling head-over-heels for the big lunk. There was an ongoing storyline where she struggled to figure out which of the guys in her life was Comet's alter ego. Then she found out that Comet wasn't a "he". He was a "she" named Andrea Martinez. Sort of. You see, Comet was an injured jockey who became a superhuman through an injection of equine DNA and Andrea Martinez was a suicidal lesbian who had just been rejected by her parents. Comet tried to save the suicidal Andrea and they both ended up getting killed by an avalanche. Fortunately, this sacrifice merged and resurrected the two into an Earth Angel of Love. (Yes, it's complicated, but they were still pretty cool.) Comet and Supergirl eventually broke up, which led to Comet hooking up with another Earth Angel named Blithe (a bisexual woman who loved both Comet and Andrea).

Comet was one of the first blatantly gay characters in comic books back in the late 90s. Before that, LGBT characters weren't unheard of, but they were often more hinted at than anything else. Andy was an out lesbian who was clearly attracted to both Supergirl and Blithe and that was pretty cool at the time. Unfortunately, both Comet and Blithe disappeared into comic book limbo when this particular SUPERGIRL series got canceled. Still, there's hope that one or both of them will revisit Supergirl at some point in the future. Maybe...

So those are my favorite comic book horses. Who are your favorites?

6th Person Shot at Gun Show Within Week of "Gun Appreciation Day" // This Latest Happened Here in Iowa!

Last Saturday was Gun Appreciation Day, a day when Americans were to assemble at the U.S. Capitol and at gun stores, ranges, and shows to show their support for gun ownership. It went pretty well except for five accidental shootings at three different gun shows.

Now we are learning about a sixth accidental gun show shooting within a week of Gun Appreciation day. This latest one occurred at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, IA. An Iowa gun dealer was showing off his merchandise when he apparently forgot that he'd loaded his pistol:
The 54-year-old St. Charles resident told police he was showing off a .25 caliber pistol he thought was unloaded when he slid the action of the gun causing it to fire. The bullet went through his left palm, according to a Polk County Sheriff’s report...

The man told police he was trying to dry fire, or fire the gun without a round in it. He said the gun was unloaded when he checked it earlier in the week and he didn’t know who would have loaded it. Police found another loaded gun on the man’s table and unloaded it, according to the report.

No charges were filed against the man. The gun was taken as evidence.
I'm not a huge fan of guns, but even I know that you should always assume a weapon is loaded before messing around with it.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Former Ames, IA, Sheriff Candidate Pleads Guilty to Threatening Homeless People

Last year, Michael R. Nootz of Ames, Iowa, ran a write-in campaign for the Story County Sheriff. The former candidate's main platform issue was pretty simple: "eradicating the area of a gang of hobos that illegally ride rail cars on trains that pass through Ames and live under Ames bridges":
Nootz, who has worked for Union Pacific and other railroads for 35 years, is telling people that members of the Freight Train Riders of America have been arrested in Boone County and were later dropped off at the Boone and Story County line by law enforcement, something that he would put an end to as sheriff. “They are criminals,” Nootz said of the travelers...

Nootz's campaign literature goes on to name six men who have been arrested for trespassing on the railroad's property since the summer of 2011 and a seventh man who was hitchhiking in Boone County.

Electronic court records show that the men have been charged with trespassing and a range of other crimes including stowing away in Boone County. The seventh man was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia after he was searched before being given a ride to the county line, according to Boone County Sheriff reports available online.

The Freight Train Riders of America gang isn't listed on the FBI's National Gang Threat Assessment, but it is listed in a research paper, “Problem of Gangs and Security Threat Groups (STG's) in American Prisons Today: A Special NGCRC Report” about prison gangs available from the National Criminal Justice Reference Center.
All of this is interesting, but it got even more interesting in November 2012 when Candidate Nootz got himself arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree harassment and two counts of assault while displaying a weapon after he allegedly pointed a gun a local vagrants and threatened to shoot their dogs if they didn't leave the area. Nootz denied the accusations, admitting that he spoke with the men, but didn't point his gun at them. According to Ames Patch, he believes that homeless people would stay out of Story and Boone County if police officers began killing their dogs.

Needless to say, Nootz did not win his election.

Instead, it turns out that he was involuntarily committed to a mental institution and ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation. He subsequently entered a reduced written guilty plea. Nootz plead guilty to two counts of second-degree harassment. Prosecutors are recommending that he be sentenced to one year in prison for each count, but that those sentences be suspended. They are also recommending that he receive ongoing mental health treatment and that he be prevented from possessing guns.

In related news, apparently there is a "National Hobo Convention" every August in Britt, IA. The next one is scheduled for August 8-11, 2013. People show up for a parade and for a 5K and a 10K walk/run. Not only that, but one can get crowned as Hobo King or Hobo Queen. Now that I know it exists, I'll be sure to write about the National Hobo Convention later this year.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Gay Marriage Updates This Week

Earlier this week, I wrote about marriage equality updates in Rhode Island and New Mexico. I thought I might share several other developments over the past week:

Rhode Island: On Tuesday, the Rhode Island House Judiciary Committee unanimously advanced a marriage equality bill. Two days later, a marriage equality successfully passed through the Rhode Island House with a margin of 51-49! Now it has to pass through the Rhode Island Senate, which will likely prove more challenging.

Colorado: On Wednesday, the Colorado Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill a civil union bill on a 3-2 party-line vote. The bill now will head to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Hawaii: On Thursday, marriage equality bills were introduced in both Hawaii's Senate and House.

Wyoming: Earlier today, three separate bills -- a marriage equality bills, a domestic partnership bill, and a non-discrimination bills -- were introduced in Wyoming, apparently in both the House and the Senate. The DP bill would provide rights and responsibilities to domestic partners within the state of Wyoming, including the right to make health care decisions for ailing partners and to make funeral decisions for deceased partners and the responsibility to provide financial support for children created within the partnerships.

Morning Funny: "World of Archie Double Digest" #25

Even though I purchase several of the digest comic books published by Archie Comics, I don't usually write about content -- mainly because I prefer to promote their original material over their reprint material. I wish they had more original content coming out each month.

But I thought I would share this gag featuring Jimmy Jupiter, some rarely seen character from the 50s or 60s. This one-page story just got reprinted in WORLD OF ARCHIE DOUBLE DIGEST #25. I read it to Husband Mark last night and managed to get a guffaw out our resident scientist with this gag strip:

The funny part of course is that you don't add tangents into equations as described in the above panel! Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Questions Raised Surrounding HIV Prosecution of Uncle Poodle's Boyfriend

I wrote last week about Lee "Uncle Poodle" Thompson coming out as being HIV-positive. Another aspect of the story involved Thompson's assertion that he pressed charges against his boyfriend -- who he blames for getting infected with the disease sometime in 2012 -- and the boyfriend's subsequent conviction and five year prison sentence.

At the time, I'd had a private conversation with Husband Mark about how quickly this all seemed to come about. Basically, the ex-boyfriend got arrested, convicted, and sentenced to five years of prison within six months. I haven't spent a lot of time in the court system, but I have enough experience because of work and adoptive experiences to know that it takes forever for cases to move through the court system. Husband Mark suggested that maybe the boyfriend pleaded guilty and that resulted in a speedy conviction. It still seemed fast to me, but then I thought maybe the courts move faster in Georgia than in Iowa.

Turns out I wasn't the only one who questioned the speediness of the court system in this case. A blogger from a website called Viral Apartheid also wondered about this and started his own investigation into this case:
I spent the last week calling district attorneys and law enforcement in Georgia and Alabama trying to find out where this prosecution happened. Not a single district attorney or law enforcement official I spoke with could find a case to match the facts presented by Thompson, nor could they find a case in which Thompson was the named defendant.

Does that mean Thompson lied? Not necessarily, but it does raise serious questions. First, Thompson lives in Alabama, where, according to Lambda Legal, transmission of HIV is a Class C Misdemeanor punishable by no more than 90 days in jail and/or a $500 fine. Lambda reports Georgia’s law is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. It is unclear where Thompson lived in May of 2012, so I inquired with law enforcement and district attorneys in both states and in every county I could identify as linked to the show and Thompson’s family. It is conceivable that Thompson’s case was adjudicated in another county in Georgia, but very, very unlikely that case was conducted in Alabama.
Viral Apartheid was confused about the reported rapidity of the investigation, arrest, conviction, and sentencing of Thompson's ex-boyfriend. He was also struck by how frequently Thompson was getting tested for HIV (the original article had him testing negative in March 2012 and positive in May 2012).

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Gay Marriage Updates in Rhode Island and New Mexico

Here are a couple marriage equality updates from earlier today:

Rhode IslandEarly this month, I wrote about how marriage equality bills had been introduced in Rhode Island's House and Senate. It was noted that passage was likely to occur in Rhode Island's House, but less likely in its Senate. Earlier today, the Rhode Island House Judiciary Committee unanimously advanced a marriage equality bill. The full House is expected to take up the bill in two days.

New Mexico: State Representative Brian Egolf (D) has introduced a resolution in New Mexico that would allow voters to vote on same-sex marriages:
House Joint Resolution 3 states: “The issuance of a marriage license shall not be denied on the basis that the sex of both applicants is the same. No church or religious institution shall be required to perform a marriage ceremony or recognize a marriage for religious purposes that conflicts with the church's or religious institution's beliefs.”
According to a Public Policy Polling survey, 67% of New Mexico voters support marriage or civil union rights for gay and lesbian couples and 45% of those same respondents believe that same-sex marriage should be equal. That particular poll occurred slightly over a year ago. However, support of marriage equality had increased by 8% from the previous six months so it's very possible that support continues to remain high for equal recognition of New Mexico's gay and lesbian families.

Fire at the West Liberty Gun Club in nearby West Liberty, IA // Updated on 01/22/13: More Details Plus Cause of Fire Suspected

(Originally written on 01/21/13): I learned earlier tonight via KCJJ's twitter feed that the West Liberty Gun Club in nearby West Liberty, IA, was engulfed in flames. The West Liberty, West Branch, and Atalissa Fire Departments were all attending to the fire. Check out this video of the scene, posted by the Muscatine Journal:

The Muscatine Journal describes the scene:
Firefighters from West Liberty, Atalissa and West Branch battled a fire at the West Liberty Gun Club along with the bitter cold Monday afternoon. The popping sound in the background is ammunition going off from inside the gun club.
From what I can tell, it's a pretty intense situation and the entire building structure is engulfed. I will post more information as I learn it.

Updated on 01/22/13: More details are forthcoming about yesterday's fire at the West Liberty Gun Club. It looks like the fire began around 3:00 PM yesterday. It looks like embers from the building's wood-burning stove spread through the building, despite efforts to put out the originally small fire by the club's members:
Club president David Kelzenberg said two members stumbled upon the fire at about 3 p.m. on the rural property on the southwest edge of West Liberty. “When they opened the door, smoke started to billow out,” Kelzenberg said. “They were able to look inside the room and see at that time the fire was just burning in the corner where the wood stove is.”Kelzenberg said the club members attempted to douse the fire with water, but flames quickly engulfed much of the building. “They stayed at some distance to be on the safe side, but there was nothing that could be done to save the building at that point,” Kelzenberg said.
KCRG reports that the building structure sustained very little damage, but everything inside the building was destroyed.

Because of the fire, the West Liberty Gun Closed is closed to the public and to its members until it can safely re-open.

I also found some additional footage of the fire at the West Liberty Gun Club:

Monday, January 21, 2013

Great Outlook for Civil Unions in Colorado!

Back in November, I wrote about plans to introduce a civil union bill in Colorado in 2013. Earlier today, Box Turtle Bulletin explored why the passage of this type of legislation is pretty much guaranteed: 

*The sheer number of sponsors for this bill in both the Colorado House (38 sponsors out of 65 House seats) and Senate (20 sponsors out of 35 Senate seats) indicate strong support for this bill. Not only this, but there is bipartisan support for this bill.

*The Democratic Party is now in charge of both the Colorado House and Senate. Let's face it, there is still systemic resistance to marriage equality and civil unions in the GOP. It doesn't hurt to have a party in control that actually supports gay and lesbian families.

*Gov. John Hickenlooper, has already publicly expressed his support for a civil union bill in Colorado.

BTB noted that the current civil union bill does not contain language allowing religious adoption agencies to discriminate against civilly unionized couples. Catholic Charities of Colorado has already talked about ceasing operations if this bill passes, which sounds awful. That happened in Illinois last year after they passed a civil union law. Catholic Social Services of Southern Illinois ceased operations in January 2012 -- and re-opened the next day after re-branding itself at Christian Social Services of Illinois. That's right. Same office. Same staff. Same services. No connection to the Dioceses. In other words, that civil union consequence doesn't seem as stark with that extra bit of history.

BTB reports that Colorado's civil union bill is expected to pass and would allow gay and lesbian couples to civilly unionize as early at May 1, 2013.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

First Gun Appreciation Day Goes Off With a Bang

Yesterday was Gun Appreciation Day. According to its press release, its purpose was to urge "Americans nationwide to show their support for gun ownership by turning out en masse at gun stores, ranges, and shows from coast to coast." Gun enthusiasts rallied in Washington DC and pretty much anywhere else to fight back against any effort to restrict access to weapons:
Gun Appreciation Day member organizations are urging their supporters to line up “around the block” at gun stores, gun counters, gun shows, and gun ranges to protest the Obama administration’s post Sandy Hook assault on gun rights. The organizations expect to reach more than 50 million Americans over the next two weeks in support of the Gun Appreciation Day online, on air and in their members’ inboxes.
It makes sense that Gun Appreciation Day would occur days before the Inauguration. However, I think GAD chairman Larry Ward jumped the shark a bit when he commented on some critics' complaints that Gun Appreciation Day falls two days before Martin Luther King Jr. Day:
"I'd like to address the Martin Luther King Day charge," Ward replied. "I believe that Gun Appreciation Day honors the legacy of Dr. King."

He added: "The truth is, I think Martin Luther King would agree with me if he were alive today that if African Americans had been given the right to keep and bear arms from day one of the country's founding, perhaps slavery might not have been a chapter in our history. And I believe wholeheartedly that's essential to liberty."
Keep in mind that -- though he owned weapons to protect himself and his family because of constant death threats and because his home was bombed -- Dr. King promoted pacifism and non-violent means of protest. Plus, he was slain by a sniper's bullet. So using King's movement to promote gun rights kind of seems tacky.

In the spirit of Gun Appreciation Day, 22-year-old Joseph Kelley decided to take his unloaded assault rifle and a loaded Glock pistol to JC Penny in Riverdale, UT, to "protect children and other people from 'criminals, cartels, drug lords' and other 'evil men.'" Presumably, he planned to club any passing cartel members with his unloaded AR-15 after he'd discharged all of the bullets from the Glock 19C.

According to the Gun Appreciation Day website, hundreds of thousands of gun owners took to their communities to demonstrate their support for the Second Amendment. Unfortunately, five people were injured by accidental gunfire at three different gun shows. Otherwise, it appears that the event was successful for all who attended such events.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Crazy Tony Banned from "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo"

Early last month, news began spreading that "Crazy Tony" Lindsey -- who appeared on at least one episode of the first season of "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" -- was arrested for dressing up in a gorilla costume late at night and acting like he was going to jump onto the highway in front of traffic. Crazy Tony was noticed by a police officer and quickly arrested. In fact, his gorilla costume was confiscated by the police, which led to him demanding its immediate return to his custody one week later. (As far as I'm aware, he still doesn't have the gorilla costume back!)

A few days ago, TMZ reported that Crazy Tony has been effectively banned from the "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" program because of this gorilla costume stunt. However, it doesn't sound like TLC banned him from the show. TMZ has identified Mama June Shannon as the source of this decision:
The "HBB" matriarch tells TMZ ... as of now, she's not comfortable having Tony appear on the TLC mega hit in light of the stunt, saying "We love him as a friend ... but that was a crazy story."

She continues, "Not trying to be mean, but we want to keep it family oriented."

Mama also makes it clear ... despite people calling him "cousin" on the show ... Tony's not related to the family, saying "Crazy Tony's just a family friend ... who is just crazy."

We reached out to Crazy, who told us he's super bummed out by the news ... adding, "TV's changed that family."
I'd wondered if Crazy Tony would be returning to the program after the gorilla costume arrest. Both Crazy Tony and Uncle Poodle are often cited as ancillary members of the "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" cast, but so far we have only seen Uncle Poodle on the show. Not only that, but I often see Uncle Poodle with the family in their Facebook pics, but never hear anything about Crazy Tony. It is possible that we will see Crazy Tony again once Season Two begins in earnest and after we get past the holidays, but I'm beginning to believe that Crazy Tony won't be back on the show for quite some time.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Puppy Shot/Killed While Playing in Snow in Marne, IA // Update on 01/18/13: Trial Date Set

(Originally written on 12/27/12): Here's a Christmas story coming out of Iowa that's finally grabbing some headlines. 23-year-old Stacey Ernat of Denver from traveling to the Quad Cities to spend the holidays with family. She apparently decided to make a pit-stop (apparently on Monday) in Marne, IA, to visit some friends. She and her friends decided to let Ernat's one-year-old chocolate Labrador retriever Wrigley play in the snow in a nearby church yard with another dog.

For whatever reason, a neighbor who lived two houses away, 56-year-old Charles Collins Cutler, came out of his home with a shotgun and shot Wrigley from 40 feet away:
"My dog was playing with my friend's dog," Stacey Ernat said. "They're both young puppies and they were just tumbling around in the snow… and the guy who was two houses up came out his back door and shot my chocolate lab. I ran up there and I found her under a boat trailer that was lifted off the ground. She was curled up in a ball...really scared and confused why she was hurt so bad… so I picked her up and I held her and I told her it was gonna be OK."  
Ernat rushed Wrigley to a veterinarian in nearby Atlantic, IA, but the dog did not survive his gunshot injuries.

Cutler did not shoot the other dog. I have looked around, but I cannot find any evidence that he ever attempted to tell anyone to keep the dogs off of his yard or that he gave any warning. It could have happened, but I haven't seen it.

According to sources, Cutler reportedly told a Cass County Sheriff's Deputy that he believed it was in his rights to shoot Wrigley since he was on his property:
The Des Moines Register quoted Cass County Sheriff Darby McLaren as stating, “We’re not happy about this and were going to do everything we can to see justice is served and to dissuade people from doing this in the future... Occasionally someone in Cass County will shoot a vicious dog that appears threatening to people or animals, but the Labrador puppy reportedly posed no threats," said McLaren.
Culter was initially charged with reckless use of a firearm. He was subsequently charged with animal abuse. The first charge is a simple misdemeanor and the second charge is an aggravated misdemeanor.

Cutler has not issued any public statements, but reportedly forwarded an apology to Ernat via the police. If only he had considered her feelings before shooting at the non-vicious Lab.

Updated on 01/18/13: KJAN Radio reported yesterday that a trial date has been scheduled in this case. Charles Collins Cutler entered a plea of Not Guilty to the Reckless Use of a Firearm charge and a trial date related to that charge has been scheduled for the morning of 04/09/13 at the Cass County District Court. Another hearing related to the Animal Abuse charge was scheduled to happen yesterday. However, I don't yet know the results of that hearing.

Updated on 04/17/13: There has been a conviction in this case. Read here for more information.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Man Threatens to "Shoot Everyone" at Marion, IA, Library

What's up with too many folks these days deciding to settle personality disputes with gunfire? Earlier this week, police were called to the Marion Public Library in Marion, IA, after an upset patron yelled that he was going to come back and "shoot everyone":
Library Director Doug Raber said the man was using the computers around 3:15 p.m. Monday when he became upset by that a few junior high students nearby were being noisy. He said staff member heard the man swear and tell the kids to “shut up,” but didn’t immediately intervene.

One patron who was in the library that day said the man told a library employee to “Do you your (expletive) job.” As the man left the building, she said she heard another comment that startled her.

“It was scary,” said the woman, who asked not to be identified due to her safety concerns. “He was shouting, yelling and swearing. He said next time he’d come back and shoot everyone with a gun.”

The woman said the threat was not directed at anyone specific. A staff member assured her they would report the incident to police. But police said they did not learn about the incident until about four hours later when the woman who heard the threat called them. A short time later, Raber called police to make his own report.
The Gazette reports that despite initial concerns by staff, the Marion Library decided to review surveillance video and review the situation with its staff before contacting the police. Officers contact the unidentified man on Tuesday and he reportedly was apologetic for losing his temper and responding the way that he did.

The unidentified man is now banned from the Marion Public Library and has been officially warned about his behavior, but has not been charged with any crimes.

Oh My Godyssey!

Just last night, Husband Mark and I watched the first few minutes of a "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys" on some cable channel. I jokingly mused that it would be cool if someone came up with "Jesus: the Legendary Journeys". Same concept, but with Jesus instead of Hercules. Mark thought that the very concept was blasphemous because the show features powerful Greek gods. I pointed out that Jesus would be fighting against false gods. Emphasis on the word "false". He said it didn't matter. Potato. Po-tah-to. We finally called the whole thing off.

Roughly 24 hours later, I learned that somebody did indeed come up with the idea of "Jesus: The Legendary Journeys". At the very least, he came up with the concept. Comic book artist/writer Rob Liefeld  came up with a one-shot comic book called THE GODYSSEY. In it, Jesus Christ went hand-to-hand against Zeus and the Greek gods. The big news is that Liefeld's THE GODYSSEY is in development as a big-time Hollywood movie project.

This is how Variety describes the project:
Story centers on the gods of the grand pantheon, including Zeus, Buddha, Ra and Pangu, who must come together to fight a legion of fallen gods in an epic battle over mankind.
Spinoff Online notes:
That description does sound a bit different from the issue that opens with Zeus mocking Jesus on the cross, which leads into a fight.
THE GODYSSEY wasn't Liefeld's last effort at inserting Christianity and Biblical scenarios into his work. Back in late 2010, I shared a web-comic that he was creating that featured Lazarus' return from the dead and the zombie invasion of Jerusalem.

Nero at Daycare -- 01/17/13

Nero had another lovely day at doggy daycare today. Lots of romping and playing with his friends, which means that he has been napping all evening. Very cool. Check it out:

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Mars Hill Church Moves to Seattle Gayborhood // Ministers of People With AIDS // Still Won't Let Gay People Join the Church

Seattle's Mars Hill Church is a popular mega-church that is renowned for being hip and cool. It has stoked controversy in the past for its beliefs that women will be submissive to their husbands and for its strict discipline of church members -- including the shunning of people who have been cast out from the church for a variety of human failings. Now the church is in the local Seattle news for establishing a new location within that city's gayborhood so that it can, in part, minister to the gay people with AIDS:
The Mars Hill Church Downtown Seattle’s new home is blocks from Capitol Hill, which is known locally as the “gayborhood.” The church plans to use the new location as a base to minister to the city’s business people; the homeless; and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Being closer to Capitol Hill is a blessing as we are serving and ministering to those who are infected with AIDS on the hill,” said Tim Gaydos, lead pastor of Mars Hill Church’s Downtown Seattle branch said in a release to KOMO News.
Mars Hill Church will gladly welcome any LGBT person with AIDS to join them in worship, but what about those gays who are so touched that they decide to commit to the church?:
I asked Gaydos, “What about gay people and people of other faiths? Are you comfortable working with people like that?” 

“Absolutely,” said Gaydos. “We want to make this a great city where everyone flourishes and that means loving everyone of different backgrounds and beliefs. Actually, we have a lot of gay people coming to the church.”

To be clear, GLBT are welcome to attend and participate at Mars Hill Downtown. They are not able to become members of the church.
So we're good enough to come to the church and I'm sure they would even welcome our tithes, but any attempts towards membership will be rebuked. That's Mars Hill Church's right. But hopefully those LGBT folks who have sought a place at Mars Hill's table and instead found themselves sitting on the floor, hopefully somebody will inform them that there are gay-affirming worship options in the Seattle area that they should instead pursue.

NRA Questions Need for Armed Security for President, Vice-President, Their Families

The National Rifle Association put out the following advertisement yesterday:

The video asks:
Are the president’s kids more important than yours? Then why is he skeptical about putting armed security in our schools when his kids are protected by armed guards at their school? Mr. Obama demands the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes, but he’s just another elitist hypocrite when it comes to a fair share of security.
Meanwhile, gun enthusiasts are seeking to eliminate armed protection for the President, the Vice-President, and their families and instead surround them with "Gun Free Zones":

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Uncle Poodle: "My (HIV) Test Results Came Back Positive"

News is spreading today that Honey Boo Boo's Uncle Poodle, Lee Thompson, came out as being HIV-positive, according to Fenuxe.

I'd read last year that he'd moved closer to rural Milledgeville, GA, with his husband and to be closer to family. Then in late 2012, I read a Facebook post that Thompson was now single. Now I'm reading that Thompson was infected by his boyfriend -- presumably the same man as his husband -- in mid-2012. Not only that, but the now-ex-boyfriend had known he was HIV-positive, reportedly didn't treat his health condition, and didn't reveal his HIV status to Thompson. At the advise of others, Thompson pressed charges and now the ex-boyfriend is serving five years in prison:
I was adamant about getting my HIV status checked on a regular basis. On March 16, 2012, I tested negative. Then, in May of 2012 my test results came back positive. I knew it had been my boyfriend who infected me. I later learned he had been HIV positive and was not taking medication and had not bothered to tell me about it. I was advised that I should press charges and, hesitantly, I did. It was the right thing to do...

(My ex) is serving a 5-year sentence. I would have been cool with his HIV status if he had been honest. I don’t have an issue with the disease. I would have known how to protect myself.
The moral of this story is to assume that your sex partner is positive for HIV, AIDS, and pretty much any other sexual transmitted disease until you know for a fact otherwise. And even then, protect yourself from possible infection by using barriers like condoms and refraining from higher-risk sexual practices and scenarios.

The article goes into Uncle Poodle coming out story -- which was fairly positive -- and about his plans to continue contributing to anti-bullying education campaigns.

Uncle Poodle notes that he wants to get his own television show and to highlight what it is like to be gay in the south. "I think I have a good story to tell." I had heard rumors that one or two of Honey Boo Boo's older sisters were being considered for their own reality TV show. I don't know if I'd watch that show, but I'd love to watch an "Uncle Poodle" program!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Marvel Comics Does Chick-Fil-A Parody in "Cable & X-Force" #3

Remember 2012 when the Chick-Fil-A fast-food chain became synonymous for anti-gay bigotry because the company's president Dan Cathy and the corporation's charitable wing kept giving money to anti-marriage equality organizations and ex-gay groups? (here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here) Church groups were lining down the street so that they could order a chicken sandwich and support the right to oppose gay families. Eventually it died down. Those same groups may still frequent Chick-Fil-A, but no longer as a collective and gay families like my own were reminded over and over in no uncertain terms that the business really didn't want our business.

Earlier this week, Marvel Comics released CABLE AND X-FORCE #3. Cable is the time-displaced son of X-Men's Cyclops and X-Force is a bunch of mutant heroes who woke up on the wrong-side of the public-trust. Cable recently learned that he has a brain tumor and is now experiencing a pretty common side-effect: He has visions of the future. His latest vision is what reminded me of Chick-Fil-A. Check this out:

That's right. People who eat at Chick-Fil-A... I mean, Eat-More will turn into giant homicidal creatures before eventually keeling over and dying. We also learned in this issue that Eat-More's president and CEO hates mutants like Cable and the X-Men and publicly supports organizations that work to limit the rights of mutants in our society.

The big question at the end of this story is whether X-Force's efforts will prevent Cable's futuristic visions -- or fulfill them. Either way, grab yourself a chicken sandwich with waffle-fries and curl up to enjoy the latest issue of CABLE & X-FORCE.

Deaf Man Stabbed // Suspect Allegedly Thought Victim was Making Gang Signs

(Robert Jarell Neal)
A 22-year-old from Burlington, NC, has been arrested and charged with felony assault on a handicapped person and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury. Earlier this month, Robert Jarell Neal apparently saw a 45-year-old deaf man communicating to another man using sign language. Police allege that Neal saw the two men communicating with each other and thought they were flashing gang symbols at each other. So he allegedly did what anyone else in that situation would do. He stabbed one of the deaf men numerous times with a kitchen knife:
Police say responders found Terrance Ervin Daniels, 45, in the grass at the intersection suffering from multiple stab wounds. The victim had been involved in an altercation that occurred on East Morehead Street before he walked to the intersection where he was found, police said.

Burlington Police Captain Steve Smith says they are investigating indications that the victim’s use of sign language may have confused or upset the attacker. “We are looking into whether or not the suspect thought the sign language was gang signs being displayed.” Cpt. Smith specified it was a working theory, not a confirmed motive.

Police were were planning to interview the victim at the hospital as soon as possible. Daniels was initially taken to Alamance Regional Medical Center for treatment, but he was transferred to UNC Chapel Hill Hospital. He had surgery and is in stable condition as of 3 p.m. Thursday, according to Burlington Police Cpl. Kevin King.

Several people who live near Maple Street say they saw Daniels attacked. “My voice is gone from me screaming, ‘Stop, stop, leave that man alone,” said Candace Gerrington through tears Thursday. She said Daniels was trying to defend himself, “Throwing his hands up like this. Next thing I saw was somebody stabbing and grinding him,” recalled Gerringon. Gerrington also knows the suspect, and says she saw Neal with a knife moments before the stabbing.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

New Crusaders Takes Off With Issue #5

I have been interested in NEW CRUSADERS for several months, but for a variety of reasons haven't yet written anything about this title on my blog. The New Crusaders are the children of the Mighty Crusaders, Archie Comics' super-heroes who've been published under a variety of brands -- currently Red Circle. The concept is pretty simple. The Mighty Crusaders seemingly vanquished all of their villains. They settled down and had kids. And then they got killed when one of the baddest villains, the Brain Emperor, returned from nowhere. 

One of the cool things about NEW CRUSADERS is that it was originally published by Red Circle as a digital comic book. Unfortunately, until recently I didn't have the technology to read those digital titles. Months later, Red Circle began re-publishing NEW CRUSADERS as a print title so I've finally gotten to read the comic book -- even if I'm months behind the digital readers. In late 2012, Archie Comics and Red Circle announced that they were going to sync the digital and print copies of NEW CRUSADERS in mid-2013 so there shouldn't be a lag for us old fogies who still prefer print copies. Anyway, this digital first concept has been cool -- but it's also prevented me from giving any loving to the book on this blog.

The other issue is that the series has kind of dragged. I cannot complain too much about the characters or the stories, but it took four issues for the main characters to go from ignorant kids to committed New Crusaders. Truthfully, it should have only taken 1-2 issues. That's a problem with comics books as a whole. Why have the Avengers fight the Masters of Evil in one book when you can stretch out the conflict and eventually sell those five issues as a trade paperback. Archie Comics is usually pretty good about plowing through a story concept. 

It's not that it wasn't interesting to watch the kids grieve and doubt themselves for four issues and I'm not sure what I would cut out if I were editor supreme, but I'm left wondering how many potential readers dropped the book because they'd sought out Comet, Jaguar, and Web and instead got nothing but Greg, Ivette, and Wyatt.

With all that in mind, NEW CRUSADERS #5 was a great issue and by far my favorite. The New Crusaders finally got to throw on their costumes and fight bad guys. The Brain Emperor had infiltrated a prison and freed everyone -- which initiated a prison riot. The New Crusaders' leader/mentor, the Shield, decided that it was a good opportunity for the kids to get some street credit. Meanwhile, the Brain Emperor freed several big-time super-villains and began signalling the beginning of some future chaos!

Not only that, we readers learned that three of the Mighty Crusaders had landed themselves in prison for some of their more hardcore actions as now-former super heroes. They too were released during the prison-break, so it looks like the Black Hood, Hangman, and Deadly Force (who I'd only known before as Doc Reeves) will either be helping the New Crusaders in their efforts to round up the prison rioters and/or fight back against the Brain Emperor and his team of super villains -- or maybe enough time has passed to turn these former heroes against their old Mighty Crusader allies.

We recently learned that one of the New Crusaders won't survive his or her first mission -- and, judging from future covers, it's pretty easy to figure out who is going to bite the proverbial bullet. But we also learned that the current NEW CRUSADERS series will be wrapping up in the early spring and re-launching as NEW CRUSADERS: DARK TOMORROW. I guess that's how they're going to sync the digital and print versions of the book. If we get to see even half as much action in this new series as we did in this one issue, it should be one heck of an exciting time!

Gay Marriage Won't Force the Resurrected Christ to Marry Another Man

Linda Harvey is the founder of Mission: America, a Columbus, OH-based Christian group that follows and talks about cultural trends from from crazy religious perspective via its website. Harvey herself hosts a Ohio-based radio program, has a regular column with WorldNetDaily, and has written at least one book that I'm aware of. Neither Linda Harvey nor Mission: America are friends of the LGBT communities. In fact, Mission: America has been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center because of its extreme anti-gay views and statement.

Last month, Linda Harvey was upset over the 2012 elections -- particularly the votes in Washington state and other states that affirmed the ability of gay and lesbian couples to get legally married and the subsequent decision by that state to revise its form to allow marriage license applicants to check off "spouse" in additional to "bride" and "groom". She used this situation to rant about how heterosexuals are being impacted negatively by gay marriage -- even though they can still check off "bride" and "groom" should they prefer.

Speaking of brides and grooms, there's another Christian concept that illustrates the unchanging standard of man and woman as the model for marriage: in the New Testament, Jesus is referred to several times as the "bridegroom." And when he returns, he will return as a bridegroom seeking his bride: the church, which is the body of all believers, also called the Bride of Christ. It's a beautiful analogy.

What happens to such a concept in a same-sex marriage? Does Jesus as bridegroom seek another groom? No, that would be a twisted and frankly offensive spin on a profound and marvelous concept.

As Christians, we must never accept the idea of same-sex marriage. It certainly doesn't work as sound Christian doctrine and it will be shown before long not to work as revolutionary secular law either.
Keep in mind that Jesus never married a woman when he was on Earth the first time around (unless you count the revisionist idea that he was married to Mary Magdalene -- or that his beloved was one of my male Disciples -- both ideas are surely discarded by Linda Harvey as well as most others with a passing familiarity of the Bible).

Jesus Christ was capable of all sorts of miracles. He fed hundreds with very little. He cured the blind and the ill. He walked through doors. He resurrected the dead. He resurrection Himself. Something tells me that he can figure out the way to marry the woman of his choice in a world where heterosexuals and homosexuals both possess equal rights, responsibilities, and protections.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Poodle-Mix Mistaken for Lion in Virginia // Prompts Numerous 911 Calls!!

Daniel Painter of Norfolk, VA, is a fan of Old Dominion University so much that he decided to have his Labrador/poodle mix -- Charles the Monarch -- groomed to look like the college's lion mascot. And it's a pretty good likeness, as you can tell from his pic. People in his community recently began calling the police about a small lion loose in the community after a recent grooming:
A coiffed pooch mistaken for a lion’s cub is causing quite an uproar in Virginia. Charles the dog was frolicking down the streets in Norfolk, minding his own business, when panicked passers-by started calling 911.

“I’d like to report a lion sighting,” a caller says. 

“Say that again?” a dispatcher responds.

A few minutes later, another call came in. “I just saw an animal that looked like a small lion,” a man says. “Had the mane and everything … I don’t know if it got away from the zoo, or what.”

And the flurry continued, including one resident who tells the dispatcher that the “baby lion” is the size of a Labrador retriever.
According to this report, the police received enough calls that they decided to check in with the local zoo to make sure that no lions were missing.

I'm pretty sure I would noticed that Charles is a dog and not a lion if I were to see him on the streets, but I'm also pretty sure that I would need to do a double-take to make certain!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Kansas Forces Sperm Donor to Pay Child Support // NOM Adviser Recommends Prison for Lesbians Who Seek Sperm Donation

Early this month, a story out of Topeka, KS, was making the rounds. It's a long complicated story about a lesbian couple who fell in love, sought a sperm donor via an advertisement on Craigslist, parented a child together, and then split up. The birth mother sought public assistance following the couple's relationship and now the state of Kansas is seeking roughly $6,000 in child support from the sperm donor to offset the money they are paying for the now 3-year-old girl.

Keep in mind that the sperm donor signed an agreement waiving all of his parental rights and responsibilities when he volunteered his sperm to the couple. However, Kansas law specifically waives parental responsibility for sperm donors ONLY when the artificial insemination is done through a licensed physician.

This is a messy case and I've heard other messy cases like it throughout my life. These types of cases are partly why I chose adoptive parenting over surrogacy and why I would never go out of my way to donate sperm to anyone. I understand the desire of the women to informally seek sperm. But the ramification of doing it on their own really backfired on all four people involved in this situation.

In a related story, an interview began circulating yesterday involving Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse of the National Organization for Marriage's Ruth Institute about this case. (She's the one who once argued that Christians need to take back the rainbow from LGBT people -- even though nobody really owns the rainbow.) In this interview, Dr. Morse was upset about the commoditization of sperm and outright argued that lesbian couples who seek out sperm donors or who buy sperm from the Internet (and presumably from a medical officer, though she didn't say this) should be imprisoned:
And what we’re doing now, Todd, as a result of the sexual revolution and all its fruits, is that we are in full-on retreat from human relationship between a man and a woman in order to create that child. So going online to buy sperm from a stranger is about as far as you can possibly get from the participation in divine love and divine creation. The fact that these two women want to have sex with each other has no bearing whatsoever on whether this should be permitted or not. You know, buying sperm on Craigslist should be abolished. Buying sperm at all should be abolished. And furthermore, these people should be in jail, I’m afraid.

I mean, you know, honestly, I just can’t even imagine where people think this is going to lead. You know, because the child is no longer a gift from God and a fruit of human love participating in God’s love. The child is now a product, manufactured by adults, and therefore the child cannot be fully the equal of its parent. The object cannot be the equal of its producer or its maker, you know. And so the further we go down this path, the further away we are going from the true ideal of equality before God, of equality before one another, of treating one another with dignity. And the child becomes a kind of chattel. So the legal complications and the sort of ick factor of all of this, it’s important to sort all that out and look at it, but let’s not take our eye off that ball, which is that we have defaced the creator’s plan and intention here by this behavior.
This isn't a heterosexual versus homosexual issue. I mean, it is to Dr. Morse and the rest of NOM. But Dr. Morse's words -- carried to their logical extreme -- addresses anyone who didn't create their family through plain old penile/vaginal sexual intercourse. Think Progress rightly observes that Dr. Morse is minimizing and insulting families who haven't been raised by biological parents -- including families brought together through adoption, foster care, surrogacy, sperm donation, or fertility treatments.

There are lots of great families who have come together and rallied together in all sorts of ways. The problem with Dr. Morse and with NOM is that they are so busy rallying around a principle that they refuse to consider the people that their words affect. How will the three-year-old daughter in this family be positively impacted by the imprisonment of her mothers? How will society benefit from the imprisonment of these women?

You can listen to Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse's interview here:

Nero at Daycare -- 01/10/13

Nero was itching to get out of the house and among his four-legged friends this morning when it was time for doggy daycare. Once again, it was a satisfying time for roughhousing and jumping and barking and chasing. Check it out:

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Initial Thoughts on "Honey Boo Boo" Season 2

Somehow over the past month or so, I managed to really talk up Honey Boo Boo, her family, and her reality TV program to my work supervisor and the various members of my team -- only one of whom had seen "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" before this past Sunday night. Because of me, most of my team decided to watch the first episode of Season Two last weekend. Keep in mind that I was at PBS watching "Downton Abbey" when "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" premiered so I had no context for their reactions Monday afternoon and no opportunity to create a filter for my favorite group of rednecks.

"OMG. That show was awful."

"That girl needs to go to her room. I can't believe how disrespectful she was!"

"My husband kept saying that he just wanted to punch the mom in the face."

"She's fat. What kind of pageant contestant is fat?"

"Have you seen her talk with her belly scrunched up like that? How horrible!"

Keep in mind that these people are fans of stuff like "Duck Dynasty" and "My Strange Addiction". I thought they'd like the antics of Honey Boo Boo, Mama, Sugar Bear, and the rest. But my current favorite reality TV show was roundly panned.

In an attempted to deflect, I pointed out that Mary and Matthew finally got married and Mrs. Hughs has breast cancer. But that didn't work. None of them had ever watched "Downton Abbey" either.

I finally told them that "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" is one of those shows that you really love or you really hate and then I secretly prayed that I would still love the show when I eventually caught it in the reruns.

That happened tonight -- at least the first half-hour. I was at the gym and was delighted to catch the first half of the latest episode. I was a Halloween-themed show. In fact, this entire season is a series of holiday-themed episodes. Next week will be Thanksgiving. Then comes a clip show. Then Christmas will rear its head. We might even see Veterans Day, though I'm not holding my breath.

The family spent the episode gearing up for Halloween, including pulling an assortment of pranks on each other, picking out pumpkins, carving Jack O'Lanterns, and going through a huge corn maze. Sugar Bear was still laid up from his recent ATV accident, so was stuck in a wheelchair for much of the episode. Mama died her hair blond with the help of the girls. And we learned that she has a real fear of mayonnaise. We also got to hear the family argue whether or not vegetarians eat mayonnaise.

My favorite part of the show was when the family carved up their pumpkins. They ended up getting into a pumpkin-gut fight and smearing those nasty seeds all over each others' faces and clothes. Things wrapped up with Uncle Poodle deciding to be clever and stick his head inside one of the pumpkins. It was a cute image until he realized his head was stuck inside the 50-pound pumpkin and everyone left him outside to figure out how to save himself.

This is the same family that enjoys goofing off together and being gross together. I'm looking forward to watching the rest of the first episode when I get a chance, as well as the rest of this season of holiday specials... but maybe I'll be less vocal about my joy in watching this show -- especially when at work. It can remain one of my guilty secrets.

Iowa Robocaller Annoying People in Illinois

I ran across this blog post today about a familiar scenario -- but with a little bit of a twist to this Iowa blogger. Check it out:
I was at work this morning when I got a call from Iowa. (515) 724-7047. It was a robocall screeching about the upcoming end of civilization that would surely occur if traditional marriage were sullied by attempts at allowing same-sex couples to marry. This was a call from Iowa, about legislation in Illinois. I live in neither state (though have lived in both in the past). Who Called US lists this number as a source of previous right-wing robocalls...

It was pretty irritating to get a call like this on this particular phone number during work. My job is such that I absolutely have to answer phone calls, and I get them from many different area codes. Whoever gave them my number didn't do a very good job screening, as I can't imagine anything that would suggest I'd be receptive to a homophobic robo-rant.
The blogger was so annoyed that s/he went ahead and donated money to Lambda Legal.

The twist for me is that usually it's out-of-state people from Illinois (or New Jersey or Colorado or... ) who bother my Iowa home with robocalls about the evils of gay marriage or progressive politicians or gun rights or whatever.

The irony for me is that the 515 robocaller is calling from Iowa -- where marriage equality has existed for 3.5 years. Meanwhile, civilization is still rolling along. Just like civilization will continue to roll along if/when marriage equality gets passed in Illinois in 2013.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Iowa City Motorist Arrested for Hitting Bicyclist

I read a couple different news articles today about an Iowa City man who was arrested yesterday and charged with allegedly and purposely turned his car into the path of a bicyclist:
According to Iowa City Police criminal complaints, Bobby Ellsworth Siberts, 62, is charged with assault with a dangerous weapon (vehicle), an aggravated misdemeanor, and attempting to leave the scene of an accident, a serious misdemeanor, for the collision that happened at 300 South Madison Street at 2:02 p.m. on Oct. 26.

Police say that Siberts intentionally turned his vehicle into the path of a bicyclist, causing the bicyclist to collide with the passenger side of his vehicle, throwing the cyclist from his bike onto the concrete. Siberts then reportedly got out of his car and verbally threatened the downed rider before getting back into his car and attempting to drive away, according to the complaint.

Siberts was stopped by a nearby witness who told him that the police had been called and he should stay on the scene, according to the complaint. The cyclist suffered minor injuries, including a cut on the knuckle of his left index finger.
Several commenters in the Iowa City Patch article are complaining about the weak charges that Siberts is facing. They are questioning why he isn't facing attempted murder charges.

Personally, I'm wondering why it has taken so long for Siberts to get charged. It's possible that the police have been searching for him all this time, but more likely they've been investigating the incident and trying to figure out if he swerved around the bicyclist accidentally and then got out and yelled at him or if he swerved around the bicyclist on purpose and then yelled at him.