Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Freak Magnet Returns in THE FOX: FOX HUNT #1!

THE FOX: FOX HUNT #1 was published a couple weeks ago. This is a sequel series to the first mini-series featuring THE FOX. This is the second in Archie Comics' new Dark Circle line of comic books. It features Paul Patton, Jr. AKA the Fox. He's a husband, father, professional photographer, and reluctant superhero.

Both series have spotlighted Paul's desire to give up the tights and become a regular guy. The problem is that he's become a freak magnet. It doesn't matter what he does. He still manages to attract hostile villains of all sorts!

But first...

This blog entry contains spoilers. If you don't want to know what happens in THE FOX: FOX HUNT #1, then stop reading now. You have been warned.

Back to the show...

This series begins in Patton's hometown of Beaver Kill. The town has been bought out by a corporate CEO named Mister Smile. He plans destroy this deserted community and turn it into a river basin for nearby Impact City. Patton and his son Shinji have traveled to Beaver Kill to photograph what's left of the community before it's all literally washed away.

Remember when I told you that Patton is a freak magnet?

Patton discovers that his "Smilephone," which giggles each time one takes a picture, keeps capturing images of an otherwise invisible green-haired woman -- one with a mean punch! He figures out that this mystery woman hiding out in the old fortune parlor. He dons his Fox costume and -- promptly gets knocked unconscious by his mystery woman.

Soon enough, Patton discovers that his assailant is a Mighty Crusaders villain known as Dream-Demon. Dream-Demon is a witch who used to belong to a group called the Eliminators. We learn in this story that she was Patton's childhood girlfriend. A girl named Linda.

Like Patton, Linda is not happy that her hometown is about to be destroyed. Unlike Patton, she's not content to settle for memories. She plans on using her powerful magicks to spread a toxic black mold throughout the community, effectively destroying its ability to become a river basin for Impact City.

Fox does his best to convince Dream-Demon that Impact City needs the water. She needs to realize that these empty buildings are just memories and that it's time to move on and make new memories.

Unfortunately, his best isn't very good. He completely fails and the black mold plague is released upon Beaver Kills -- effectively killed Mister Smile's river basin plan.

Unfortunately for the Fox, Dream-Demon still loves him. Not only did she release the mold, but she left at least two patterns in his likeness -- apparently as some form of tribute towards his childhood sweetheart. Of course, she inadvertently implicated the Fox with her sabotage efforts.

Now Mister Smile has issued a $1 million reward to the super-villain who brings him the Fox's head!

It looks like FOX HUNT brings back all sorts of classic Mighty Crusaders villains, including Gasser, Brontosaurus, Owl, Gadgeteer, Dragonfly, Iron Fist, and Mighty Man -- plus a couple others whom I don't recognize! Either way, things aren't looking good for our resident freak magnet!

"The Situation" is written by Dean Haspiel & Mark Waid; with art by Dean Haspiel; lettering by John Workman; and colors by Allen Passalaqua.

Gallup: 780,000 Americans Are Gay-Married; 1,200,000 Are Civilly Unionized

Gallup did a phone survey to see how many Americans are gay married and came up with this:
Approximately 0.3% of adults in the U.S. are married to a same-sex spouse, and another 0.5% identify as being in a same-sex domestic partnership. In examining the total population of 243 million U.S. adults, these survey estimates suggest nearly 2 million adults are part of a same-sex couple, of whom 780,000 are married.

These data are based on 80,568 interviews conducted on Gallup Daily tracking from Jan. 28-April 19, 2015. Overall, approximately 0.3% of all respondents during this time period both identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) and said they were married, and in a follow-up question, they indicated that they were married to a same-sex spouse. An additional 0.5% of adults identified as LGBT and reported being in a same-sex domestic partnership...

The 780,000 American adults who are estimated to be married to a same-sex spouse translates into approximately 390,000 same-sex married couples in the U.S. Similarly, the estimated 1.2 million adults living in a same-sex domestic partnership translates into 600,000 domestic partnership couples. Thus, there is a total of almost a million same-sex couples in the country, of which nearly four in 10 (39%) are married.
At 990,000, Gallup's estimated number of same-sex married or domestic partner couples in the U.S. is significantly higher than past estimates derived from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS), which in 2013 put the number of same-sex couples at roughly 727,000. Of this group, more than 250,000 reported they were married. The Census Bureau, however, has cautioned that the ACS estimates of married same-sex couples may not be reliable as they have determined that a large portion of recorded married same-sex couples may actually be married heterosexual couples who miscoded the sex of one of the spouses.
In other words, social conservatives are freaking out over the existence of roughly 2,000,000 partnered gays and lesbians.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Open Letter to the Anti-Gay SSA Christian Who Disagrees with Gay Marriage Because of Bisexuality...

I was on Gay Christian Network the other day and folks were talking about the U.S. Supreme Court hearing a case that could legalize same-sex marriage through all 50 states and/or require that marriage inequality states recognize the marriages of same-sex couples who got legally married elsewhere. Most of the people were hopeful, though quibbled over one detail or another.

There is this one guy on GCN who has been there for years. He was married to a woman for a while. He experienced what he calls "same-sex attractions" from time to time, so he divorced his wife and proceeded to not date any guys. Because he believes that this would be sinful. But he cannot find any new women that he likes and he cannot find any guys who want to get into close, non-sexual relationships with him.

He's always been a bit of a gadfly. Usually I limit my interactions with him. But not today. Which was my mistake.

"Joe" observed in the thread that he believes that the U.S. Supreme Court will rule in favor of same-sex marriage, but that he disagrees with this. He believes that this case redefines marriage in a way that legitimizes heterosexuality and homosexuality, but discriminates on the basis of bisexuality.

He stated that a bisexual person can never be truly married to one man or one woman. And that's why the U.S. Supreme Court should rule against nationwide recognition of same-sex marriage. Because bisexuals will be unhappy with only one spouse.

Dear Joe...

I am not a bisexual. But I'm married to a bisexual man and we've been together nearly 21 years. And I know other bisexual people. So I have some understanding of this topic.

First, bisexuality just means that you are attracted to both sexes. It doesn't mean that you have to have people of both sexes sexually.

Second, most married people experience attractions and temptations to people besides their spouse. This is true for people of all sexual orientations. As married people, we have choices. We can cope with these temptations and remain faithful. We can compromise and act out accommodations to monogamy (with or without our spouse's knowledge). Or we can separate and/or divorce as a response to these temptations.

I understand that you have strong, conservative values that cause you to disagree with marriages that don't consist of one man and one woman. But there are marriages that branch out sexually from time to time. They might be into polyamory. Or they might have an open marriage. Or they might be into swinging as a way to keep things interesting. Or one spouse might just be into adultery.

Variations of these options have been exercised by married partners for generations. They might not be choices that you support, but they are choices that available to bisexual people who choose to marry one person, but sexually interested in someone else.

Lastly, not everyone has to get married. This is true for bisexuals, as well as heterosexuals and gay people. If someone doesn't want to commit to marriage, it's not required.

You later claimed, Joe, that you believe that you might be bisexual. You believe that the gay marriage movement discriminates against people like you who might need to marry one woman and one man. You claim that you have become more reluctant to support gay marriage because of this discrimination.

I pointed out that there are groups out there that are trying to overcome bigamy laws and to eventually legalize forms of polyamory and/or plural marriages. I suggested that you could reach out to those groups to support their efforts if you truly want to marry a man and a woman.

You then said that your Biblical beliefs prohibit you from working to further the cause of these plural marriage groups. You believe that they "don't go by the Bible" and don't want to create the right type of plural marriage, envisioned by you.

All this is to say that I'm sick of you fucking around with circular arguments that claim that gay marriage advocates promote discrimination to bisexual people for not addressing their need for multiple partners, while simultaneously dismissing plural marriage advocates for not being the right type of plural marriage advocates.

Husband Mark told me that you are just dicking around and trying to wind people up, but I wanted to give you the benefit of the doubt. I really hate it when Mark is proven correct.

But let me make one point clear. Your issues and this court case are not connected. The U.S. Supreme Court could rule for or against marriage equality. Either way, you will still struggle with attractions to other men, as well as women. You will need to resolve these attractions on a personal level regardless how they rule. You will need to figure out if you truly need to be with a man and a woman -- and to find partners who are willing to enter into such parallel relationships -- regardless how they rule.

In other words, you need to work out your personal demons instead of coming up with convoluted reasons to oppose others' marriages.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

First Case of Dog Flu Reported in Iowa

I learned yesterday about fears that H3N2 (AKA "dog flu") might eventually make its way to Iowa. It had shown up already in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Wisconsin and it was believed that it was only a matter of time before it showed up here in Iowa.

And now it has.

KGAN reported today that a case of dog flu has been confirmed in Sioux City, IA:
Dr. Kyoung-Jin Yoon with the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at Iowa State University says samples from a sick dog treated at the Perry Creek Animal Hospital are believed to be the latest strain of canine flu, H3N2. He says the specific strain hasn't yet been confirmed. 
Iowa's sick dog was first treated on April 20, 2015, at a veterinary clinic in Sioux City. His health is reportedly improving.

KGAN also reported that "about half of animal clinics in the (Sioux City) area have reported dogs with flu-like symptoms, including fever, nasal discharge and a dry cough." According to the news report, more than 1,000 dogs have become ill from this virus between the months of January and March 2015. Only five dogs have died from the disease.

Monday, April 27, 2015

BETTY & VERONICA #275: The Girls Swap Roles at "Farewell Riverdale" Continues in India

Runty -- Front & Center!
BETTY & VERONICA #275 was published a couple weeks ago. We're several issues into the "Farewell Riverdale" storyline, where Betty and Veronica have escaped from their ordinary day-to-day existences by way of a foreign exchange trip to the England and India -- and supposedly Japan, France, and Korea.

Last issue, the girls found themselves living their same lives as they always do. Betty was always home studying and Veronica was always out partying. The only difference is that they were in London instead of Riverdale. On the eve of their trip to India, the girls decided to dye their hair and switch their clothes.

That's right! Once they got to Mumbai, Betty would be "Veronica" and Veronica would be "Betty." Not only that, but each girl promised to push herself into living her life just like the other would. It took a while, but soon enough, "Veronica" found herself learning about India by experiencing it through its party scene and "Betty" was learning all about this country by throwing herself into its museums and cultural centers. And interestingly enough, both girls found themselves really getting into their new roles!

And, of course, each girl found her "study" time enhanced by international romance!

Meanwhile, Riverdale is struggling to adjust to its two new foreign exchange students: Banni from India and Violette from France. The boys of Riverdale quickly flock to the new girls, anxious to teach them all about America. Who am I kidding? Each boy wants to date these pretty ladies!

But these girls aren't perfect replacements for Betty & Veronica. Violette is used to the cosmopolitan streets of Paris. Her sophisticated tastes quickly chase away Archie and Reggie and the others. And most of the girls think that she's a snob. Fortunately for Violette, Kevin is willing to be her gay sidekick. And Big Ethel reaches out to provide a bit of female solidarity:

Meanwhile, everyone assumes that Banni is a naive girl with poor English skills and few brains. To her credit, Banni has little time for the boys' flirting behavior. In fact, it's clear that she thinks the boys are pretty much her intellectual inferiors! That wins her points with the girls and even benefits the one boy who's intellectually gifted enough to date our Indian newcomer: Dilton!

Towards the end of this story, we learn that one of Riverdale's two newest female students is very unhappy and wants to return home. Is it Violette? Or is it Banni? We shall have to wait to months to find out for certain!

One last point. Archie isn't adjusting well to Betty & Veronica's absence. Now that he has all of this free time, he has thrown himself into all sorts of odd jobs: raking, lawn-mowing, dog-walking, etc. You'd think he was saving up for a new car or something. But he's got another goal: He's planning to flying overseas to hang out with Betty and Veronica! Do you think he'll make it?

As noted above, I'm pretty sure that the girls will be moving on from India soon. I'm not sure if they are going to be continuing their mutual masquerades once they leave India. It's an interesting concept of switching roles and one that would be fun to explore more -- especially if Archie actually manages to board a plane and see them!

"Caught In Their Own Trap" was written by Michael Uslan, penciled by Dan Parent, inked by Bob Smith, lettered by Jack Morelli, and colored by Glenn Whitmore.

700 Club's Pat Robertson: Forgive Your Husband for Cheating With Another Man, But Send Your Lesbian Daughter to Christian Boot Camp!

Viewers of CBN’s “700 Club” were treated to a recent “Bring It On” segment, where Pat Robertson was asked a question by a viewer named Caroline about her cheating husband: “My husband and I are Christians and have been together for 11 years. Recently I found out he cheated on me with a male Christian friend in our Church. He says it was a mistake, that it just happened while they were drunk, and he wants me to forgive him. I don’t know if I can. What should I do?"

This was the advice:
Pat Robertson: They’ve been married for 11 years. This guy got drunk. 

Co-Host: But with a male friend from church. That’s kind of strange. 

Pat Robertson: He didn’t know what he was dealing with. She says, ‘should I forgive?’ Of course, you should. If he were this way all the time, if he’s a habitual drunk, if he’s a habitual homosexual, a habitual philanderer and all the rest of it, then by all means take a hike. But one time… Eleven years… Don’t throw all that away. 
His patience for homosexual experimentation didn’t last. A woman named Lillian asked: "I’ve been having issues with my daughter lately. She’s always been a good Christian and regularly attended church and gone on mission trips with her youth group, but recently she “came out of the closet” and introduced me to her “girlfriend.” I’ve tried to talk her out of it, but she simply refuses to give up the LGBT lifestyle. What should I do?"

 His advice?:
Pat Robertson: I tell you you ought to pray very hard. Just tell her that you don’t approve of it. Let her know that she’s not following the commands of the Lord. And pray that God will straighten her out. It may be a phase that she’s going through. I mean, a little teenage girl doesn’t know what dress she’s supposed to wear, much less what sex she’s supposed to be. 

 Co-Host: Plus there’s so much in our culture today. 

Pat Robertson: There’s so much pressure. There’s so much lesbian stuff! Lesbian this, and lesbians the other. So much homosexual… The media is pushing this as hard as they can possibly push it. But you might… I don’t know what to do except maybe get her into a camp… a Christian camp where they’re really on fire for the Lord and she’ll straighten things out
So expose Caroline to potential STIs and HIV infection? Check! Encourage Lillian to send her daughter to Christian boot camp for having a girlfriend? Check! Good viewing!

You can watch the whole thing here.

Georgia Graphics Franchise Refuses to Print Invitations for Lesbian Brides

Yet another anti-gay business is in the news this week for turning away customers because they are a lesbian couple. This time around, the vendor is Alpha Graphics, a franchise based out of Suwanee, GA:
A Suwanee company has refused to print wedding invitations for a gay couple bringing a national debate to metro Atlanta's backyard. The owner of the local Alpha Graphics franchise, Alan Akins says he declined the job because of his religious beliefs.

Paige Beckwith says throughout her wedding planning process she has been open with vendors that there would be two brides on the wedding day. She says none of the vendors seemed to care, but him.

Beckwith says she contacted the company after being referred by a friend. They were trying to go with a train theme. Their engagement photos... were on railroad tracks. Their reception would be at an old train depot in Lawrenceville. They wanted the invitations to look like a train ticket, so she needed a company that could design and print them.

"The owner called me back and let me know that he's not going to print our invitations because he does not support same sex marriage," said Beckwith.

"I kept asking him how, why, how he could do this? He just basically stood on his religious beliefs, referenced the Bible, called it a sin, and I was basically in tears saying how could you treat me this way?," she recalled.
Aktins has confirmed that he turned away the lesbian couple based off his religious beliefs, which is his legal right under Georgia law.

The couple complained to Alpha Graphics' corporate office, who apologized and offered to design and print their invitations free of charge.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

"Survivors" 40th Anniversary: Episode 4 ("Corn Dolly")

This is the fourth in a series of blog posts dedicated to the 40th anniversary of BBC's "Survivors" television series. Survivors followed a core group of characters who managed to survived a devastating viral outbreak -- one which managed to kill off somewhere between 95-99% of humanity. Society has crumbled and now those who remain must relearn the old way if they have any hope of surviving much longer.

Our last episode ended with our core group of "survivors" (Abby Grant, Jenny Richards, and Greg Preston) getting chased from their first settlement by a team of armed "government" thugs. This episode -- titled "Corn Dolly" -- starts with them driving to Abby's burnt out home in hopes of finding her long-missing son Peter. They end up running out of petrol along the way and find themselves tramping into a nearby village for a refill. The petrol tank in Gilton is broken so Abby goes below to figure out a way of extracting what's left. It's there that she finds notice of a new settlement: "Help -- Advice -- Information --> Settlement at Maredell. Keep to 'B' Roads. Avoid Towns and Houses. Boil Water." Our group begins debating whether or not to check out Maredell while Greg uses his engineering know-how to create a portable petrol syphon.

Skipping elsewhere geographically, we meet up with the pair who are putting up the notices: Charles Vaughan (played by Denis Lill) and Loraine. They are scouting the area, searching for survivors, and creating an inventory of what's left. They run into a 12-year-old boy named Mick, who has been on his own since the Sickness killed off everyone. Mick agrees to come with them to the settlement.

Charles Vaughan
As things turn out, our two groups run across each other. They learn that Charles was an architect before the Sickness. He and his family had run a small farm in Maredell. They had raised their own hens and pigs. They had made their own bread, made their own wine, and had bottled their own fruit. His settlement now had twelve people, including four children. They had expanded to a neighboring farm and planned to become as self-sufficient as possible. He figured that he could maintain up to 30 people on his settlement. After that, they would assist additional members with creating their own settlements.

This settlement seems exactly like what Abby, Jenny, and Greg were hoping to create on their own. They agree to come to Charles' farm and see how things are working out.

It turns out that things aren't turning out so well. They return to find one member of Charles' group still standing -- a woman named Isla. It seems that they went fishing nearby and caught some catfish. Something was wrong with the fish and now everyone was deathly ill. The only reason why Isla wasn't sick is because she doesn't like fish.

Take note of Tessa, the woman in bed next to Abby. Outside of the Chinese scientist who appears at the beginning of each episode, she is the only non-Caucasian person who appears in this series -- at least in Season One. Sadly, Tessa dies shortly after this scene. In fact, Charles has determined that there is no way for them to save those who hadn't yet died from the tainted fish. So he talks Abby into helping him administer heavy doses of Morphine into them in order to hasten their deaths as painlessly as possible.

Meanwhile, Jenny, Greg, Mick, and Isla spend some time together harvesting corn for flour. It's there that the first seeds of romance are revealed between Greg and Jenny:

The group later settles down for supper and song that night. Sadly, the last of Charles' fish-eating friends passes away during the night, under the watchful eye of Nurse Jenny.

Charles pulls Abby aside and asks her to return once she returns to her home to check on Peter. She's still indecisive. He then pulls out the long-term survival plea -- which falls fairly flat as far as Abby is concerned. He wants her to have his baby:

Abby had already told Jenny earlier in this episode that those who had survived would have to begin having babies in order to make up for the generation of babies who had just died off. I am fairly confident that Abby would have returned to Charles' settlement after returning to her home. I am fairly confident that she probably would have begun "repopulating" soon enough -- with or without Charles. But he came on too fast, too strong. And instantly pushed Abby away permanently.

Loraine witnessed this whole exchange and made a point of telling Abby that she was carrying Charles' baby already. Abby reveals that poor Tessa had also been carrying Charles' baby. Then we learn that Isla is also pregnant. And we learn later that another of the dead women was also pregnant with his unborn baby. Charles was very serious about sowing his oats!

The next morning, Jenny reveals that she plans to leave with Abby. And, of course, Greg plans to leave with Abby because Jenny plans to leave with Abby. Charles begs Jenny to stay behind and, calling upon the symbolism of the Corn Dolly, a local fertility object. He asks her to get pregnant as soon as possible. She could even choose to breed with Greg instead of him, if she wants. He's pretty generous that way.

Once again, too much, too quickly. The episode ends with our group of survivors driving off towards their next adventure.

Earlier in this episode, Charles shared his belief that roughly 10,000 people are still living in the British Isles. Assuming that his estimates are correct, that means that the Sickness killed much more that 1-5% of humanity. But that's assuming that Charles' estimate was correct. I do not remember exactly where I received the higher percentage number. It might have been from the 2008 "Survivors" series. But assuming that 1% of humanity survived, that would have left the British Isles with closer to 558,900 survivors.

Then again, our characters spent so much time traveling the countryside without ever seeing anyone else. Maybe Charles' estimates were much closer to the truth!

Next week, we will look at Episode #5 ("Gone To The Angels").

Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Black Hood Hunts for Pittsburgh's Kingpin in Issue #3!

THE BLACK HOOD #3 came out earlier this week. This comic book features Officer Gregory Hettinger, a Pittsburgh cop who interrupted a fight between the previous Black Hood and a bunch of thugs. Officer Hettinger managed to kill the Black Hood, but not before getting shot in the face by one of the thugs. He then began a descent into depression and prescription drug addiction. Things eventually escalated to the point where he was brutally beating criminals on the streets and stealing their drugs -- often while wearing the Black Hood's bloodied mask.

Last issue, he finally caused enough trouble that a local kingpin began pulling strings with his own street connections, as well as his connection on the Pittsburgh police force, and planted a large batch of drugs in Hettinger's apartment. This led to a very public arrest.

Hettinger is quickly released from jail and placed on desk duties within the station. He vows to hunt down the man who framed him. Which he does, dressed as the Black Hood. He spends much of this issue hunting down leads and asking one simple question before beating the shit out of them: "Who is above you?"

It's kind of hard to feel too sorry for Hettinger's public arrest. After all, just last issue he was beating up pushers and blowing the brains out of street criminals in order to feed his high.

It's hard to argue that his arrest really did him a service. He's weening himself off of most of his meds. He's exercising again and getting out of the house. He's even reconnected with his speech therapist, Jessie Dupree, after nearly two weeks of avoiding their sessions.

Meanwhile, the new Black Hood allows his obsessive hunt through Pittsburgh's drug culture to get detoured from time-to-time to push back against various other crimes, starting with a gay bashing incident that just happens to occur one night while he is near. This was followed by other "off-mission" crimes such as a carjacking and a home invasion. It's a hopeful sign that Black Hood's fight can be more than about himself.

Pittsburgh's secret kingpin isn't happy about the Black Hood's return and wants information about him. Which leads to a graveside confrontation between two of his key men and Hettinger/Black Hood over the grave of the last Black Hood.

"The Bullet's Kiss Part Three" is written by Duane Swierczynski, penciled/inked by Michael Gaydos, lettered by Rachel Deering, and colored by Kelly Fitzpatrick.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Pumpkin & Mama June of "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" Both Come Out as Bisexual

I learned late this afternoon that Lauryn "Pumpkin" Thompson and "Mama June" Shannon, formerly of  TLC's "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo," both came out as bisexual during an interview on today's "Inside Edition:"
With her mother by her side, Pumpkin used the forum to tell the world that she is bisexual, telling us, "I'm attracted to females, and I’m attracted to males. You cannot hide who you truly are.”

While Mama June was there to support her daughter, the focus quickly turned to her, as Pumpkin suddenly blurted out, "She is gay, too! June is gay, too!”

Smiling at her daughter, and not at all shocked, Mama June chimed in to clarify, “Bisexual.” June then elaborated with the comment, “I'm not going to lie, I played in the minors but never went pro.”

Pumpkin wouldn’t let that statement go untouched, as she added, “Yeah, you did go pro.”

So what does the baseball metaphor mean? Mama June claims she has fooled around with women but has never had a real relationship with one.
15-year-old Pumpkin hopes to offer support to other teens who are dealing with coming out as LGBT. And, of course, June wants nothing more than to provide support to her daughter.

I learned of this story on Lee "Uncle Poodle" Thompson's Facebook page. He and June were probably the most gracious towards each other as I've seen during the past six months. He came out in full support of Pumpkin and June.

They noted that Pumpkin originally planned to come out as bi in an episode of the final-but-scuttled season of "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo."

X-Men/Guardians of the Galaxy: Star-Lord Proposes to a Space-Goddesss

Marvel Comics just ended "Black Vortex," a cosmic storyline featuring members of the Guardians of the Galaxy and the X-Men, as well as Nova. It featured a battle between the forces of good and evil over a celestial object called the Black Vortex, which offered mortals the gift -- and curse -- of godhood. Several of our heroes accepted the gift, though most gave back their gift at the end of the story -- except for Guardian's Gamora and X-Men's Angel. Oh, and Kitty Pryde, whose godhood transformation seemed to be the most cosmic.

She basically has the ability to spread out and become one with the cosmos. Which is convenient if you're teaching young mutants on Earth while simultaneously dating an international freedom fighter.

Anyway, "Black Vortex" ended with the successful defeat of the bad guys. Which isn't much of a spoiler. I mean, it would be more of a shocker if the bad guys won the day.

But the other big development is that Peter Quill of the Guardians proposed to Kosmic Kitty of the X-Men following this big battle:

Which means that we will soon see the wedding between a Star-Lord and a Space-God within the pages of Marvel Comics. Assuming they don't break up or die.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Squirrel Girl Save the World from Galactus in THE UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL #4!

THE UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL #4 was released this week, featuring the moon-shattering fight-to-the-death between Squirrel Girl and Galactus the Planet-Eater.

Well, there was a resolution and Planet Earth survived. (Was there any doubt?) But there wasn't any fight to death.

The thing I enjoy about Squirrel Girl and this comic book is that, more often than not, our heroine finds effective ways to resolve conflicts with villains where she's way out of her league.

Like when she convinced Kraven the Hunter that he needs to stop obsessing over Spider-Man (and her squirrels!!) and instead head off to Monster Island and chase down some real prey!

This time around, she came out on top by bonding with Galactus:

And then hacking into his super-computer and figuring out the perfect alternate choice of planetary meals!

Later on, Squirrel Girl (dressed as civilian Doreen Green) learns that her roommate Nancy Whitehead has figured out her secret identity and, in the process, gained a great confidant!

THE UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL #4 is written by Ryan North, penciled and inked by Erica Henderson, colored by Rico Renzi, and lettered by VC's Clayton Cowles; with special Trading Card art by Chris Giarrusso.

Rep. Steve King Launches "Restrain the Judges on Marriage Act" in effort to Limit Federal Court's Ability to Rule on Gay Marriage Cases

U.S. Rep. Steve King (sadly from Iowa) introduced a bill in Congress that would ban federal judges from ruling on lawsuits aimed at overturning state bans on same-sex marriage. His "Restrain the Judges on Marriage Act of 2015" would leave the issue of same-sex marriage to the states:
“For too long, federal courts have overstepped their constitutionally limited duty to interpret the Constitution.” King said in a news release. “Rather, federal courts have perverted the Constitution to make law and create constitutional rights to things such as privacy, birth control, and abortion. These Unenumerated, so-called constitutionally-protected rights were not envisioned by our Founding Fathers.”
This would also prohibit the use of federal funds from being used for any litigation or enforcement of any order related to this issue.

Rep. King has been a Congressman for Iowa throughout its six years of marriage equality and he is still fighting against this group of Iowa families.

TrekFest 2015: "A Fistful of Datas" 06/26/15-06/27/15

I've written before about TrekFest. It is an annual event in nearby Riverside, IA, that celebrates the future birthplace of Star Trek's Captain James T. Kirk.

I glanced today at the TrekFest website and discovered this year's date and theme! TrekFest 31 is scheduled to happen during the weekend of June 26-27, 2015. The theme? "A Fistful of Datas!"

I don't yet have the schedule of events, nor do I have a list of any specific guests. Judging from past years, there will be a parade, a trivia contest, a series of bands, a demolition derby, etc. All of which are lots of fun!

As always, I will post more as I learn more...

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Popeyes Fires Pregnant Mother of Three Following Armed Robbery

A pregnant mother of three children was recently fired from her managerial position at Popeyes in Channelview, TX. It seems that she was working a busy shift on March 31st when the fast-food restaurant got robbed:
Surveillance video shows a man run into the restaurant with a beanie over his face while waving a gun. He forced all employees to the floor, then turned his attention to (Marissa) Holcomb. "By the back of my shirt, he pulled me up and he pushed me to the front," she said. "He told me to give him everything out of my safe." But the only thing she could open were the registers.
The robber ended up getting away with nearly $400 in cash.

Later, she was given an ultimatum: Repay the stolen money or get fired. She got fired. They said that it was because she kept too much cash in her registers, which was easy to do mid-shift on a busy day.

The story went viral and now Popeyes is realizing that they probably handled this situation badly:
(Z & H Foods owner Amin) Dhanani refused to talk on camera Wednesday, but his company released a statement that reads: "We deeply regret the way this matter was handled. We are committed to continuing to work with Ms. Holcomb, and we apologize to her, our employees, the public and other franchise operators of the Popeyes system. We have let them down and are committed to do better."

We also contacted the Popeyes corporate office in Georgia. They initially referred us back to the local franchisee, but the CEO Cheryl Bachelder released the following statement Wednesday evening. "We recently became aware of a story in Houston involving a Popeyes restaurant and employee. The restaurant is operated by an independent franchisee of the Popeyes brand. We have spoken to the local franchise owner of the restaurant, and he has taken immediate action to reach out to the employee to apologize and rectify the situation. While the facts are gathered, we will closely monitor this until it is appropriately resolved. We deeply regret the distress this situation has caused."
Holcomb has been offered her old job back, plus $2,000 in back pay. Not surprisingly, she is hesitant to return to the job that screwed her over so royally.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

All New X-Men's Iceman Comes Out as Gay

A few years ago, the original teen X-Men (Cyclops, Beast, Jean Grey, Iceman, and Angel) traveled to the present to stop a mutant civil war. And then they got stuck here in the present. They gradually joined up with Kitty Pryde (AKA "Professor K") and X-23 (AKA Wolverine's female clone) and have all sorts of fun as the All New X-Men. Which is kind of ironic since most of them are technically the "All Old X-Men." But I digress...

I haven't read their latest issue yet (ALL NEW X-MEN #40, which gets released tomorrow), but it seems that one of these young X-Men comes out as gay. I'm talking about young Bobby Drake (AKA Iceman).

He's been laying it on a bit too thick with the girls, so Jean (our resident telepath) pulls him aside. She tells him to knock it off, because... well, you know. She finally spells out what's been bouncing through his head. He's gay.

He's confused, because the older Iceman isn't gay.

Which is interesting. The older Iceman lived for years with Charles Xavier. Do you suppose he mentally manipulated that Iceman to be heterosexual? It's an interesting thought.

Monday, April 20, 2015

High School Students Intimidate LGBT Students on "Anti-Gay Day"

High school students held an "Anti-Gay Day" as a way of sticking up for anti-gay bullying. Because of anti-gay harassment apparently honors Jesus Christ:
Students at a Pennsylvania high school held an “Anti-Gay Day” protest on Thursday, wearing coordinated flannel shirts, writing “anti-gay” on their hands, and sticking Bible verses on LGBT students’ lockers.

“We came in to school on Thursday and found a lot of people wearing flannel and we couldn’t figure out why,” Zoe Johnson, a 16-year-old bisexual student at McGuffey High School in Claysville, told BuzzFeed News. “People started getting pushed and notes were left on people’s lockers.”

The anti-gay protest occurred a day after students with the school’s Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) held a “Day of Silence,” an event aimed at drawing attention to anti-gay bullying.

I got called a dyke, a faggot,” Johnson said. “They were calling us every horrible name you can think of...”

“The instigators, the bullies, seemed to be very proud of their efforts, and posted many smiling pictures online,” Cameron said.

Johnson said some of the students uploaded Bible verses to Instagram and tagged out gay classmates. She also said some students began circulating a “lynch list” of students who had participated in the Day of Silence and that a noose was tied to a flag in one teacher’s classroom.

“This is a troubling turn of events,” wrote Sue Kerr, editor-in-chief of Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents, in a blog post. “These kids didn’t just spontaneously pull a homophobic move. They have a plan. They have coordinated outfits.”
The school is investigating these allegations, but says that they haven't found evidence of the "lynch list," nor have they found witnesses to any of the reported physical harassment. It makes you wonder why they don't check out some of these Instagram accounts for verification. But what do I know?

Personally, I don't like the "Day of Silence" events. I think that it distracts kids from actually doing classwork. But this type of backlash -- if only half-correct -- is totally unacceptable. It makes you wonder if any of the teachers offered any negative feedback to these anti-gay students who were making an effort of intimidating other students throughout this school day?