Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Mason City, Iowa: Man Accused Of Killing Kitten by Throwing It Against the Wall

Jerrick Rinnels
A Mason City man decided to be a tough guy and threw a kitten against the wall, effectively killing the cat. Last Friday, 28-year-old Jerrick Rinnels was allegedly arguing with another person who was holding the cat. Rinnels is accused to taking the kitten from that person and slamming it against the wall. The kitten died before it could be taken to the veterinarian.

The police eventually arrested Rinnels the following day and charged him with one count of misdemeanor animal abuse.

Monday, May 30, 2016

AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE #9: The Gates of Hell Are Open Now...

Archie Comics finally released AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE #9 this past Wednesday, exactly one year since the previous issue was published. Once again, Archie Comics assures us that their best-selling comic book title will resume a regular publishing calendar and that the chronic delays will stop. Of course, they said that one year ago. So we shall see. But it's worth noting that I'm currently holding issue #9 of a "monthly" comic book series that made its debut way back in October 2013!

But before we get too far into this blog post...

This blog entry contains spoilers. If you don't want to know about what happens in AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE #9, then stop reading now. You have been warned. 

Back to the show...

Riverdale's only know survivors, Archie, Betty, Veronica, Reggie, Mr. Lodge, Smithers, Mrs. Andrews, Kevin, Dilton, Nancy, Chuck, Ginger, and Blaze (FKA Cheryl Blossom), have been on the run for months, just one step ahead of Zombie Hot Dog, Jughead, and the rest of the undead masses. Last issue, they took refuge for Christmas in a spooky old hotel. The issue ended with Archie proposing to Betty... and she said YES!!

Did I mention that we are two chapters into a storyline called "Betty: R.I.P.?"

But this issue is all about Reggie Mantle. He is the person who started this apocalypse. I mean, Sabrina resurrected Hot Dog and Jughead was the first person to get bit by the undead canine, but Reggie was the person who accidentally hit Hot Dog with his car and left the dog to die on a curbside.

We found out the rest of Reggie's deep shame: He didn't accidentally hit Hot Dog with his car. He deliberately swerved to run into Jughead's dog.

We spent a lot of time exploring Reggie's pre-apocalyptic life. Stemming from an online personality test, Reggie began fixating on the question about whether or not he is a sociopath. The only thing that prevented him from accepting that he is a sociopath is that he is in love with Midge Klump.

We learn that Reggie and Midge shared a messed up codependent romance. She would publicly date her longtime boyfriend Moose Mason and then privately hook up with Reggie when nobody else was around. And then she would sit back when Moose would strike out at Reggie for paying too much attention to Midge.

By the way, AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE #9 features the first depiction of masturbation in an Archie Comics comic book. In fact, this might be the first depiction of comic book masturbation that I've seen in any comic book! (Barring my "Dykes to Watch Out For" collection)

Remember when people were freaking out over the creating of Kevin Keller, Archie Comics' first gay comic book character? Or when they refused to let him kiss another boy for years? Or when Archie jumped in front of a bullet (at the end of LIFE WITH ARCHIE) to save Kevin's life? What do you want to bet that the anti-gay haters won't ever freak out about this panel? I'm just saying...

Back to AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE #1 and the flashbacks within AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE #9, we learned why Moose was beating up Reggie way back in issue #1 and why Reggie was so upset that he deliberately swerved to run into Hot Dog. Turns out that Midge was pregnant. Possibly by Moose, but probably by Reggie. And she wanted Reggie to give her $500 to get an abortion. Reggie ends up agreeing to give Midge the money for the abortion, but then gets beat up by Moose for spending time with his girlfriend.

Reggie ends up confessing to Kevin Keller that he went out of his way to kill Hot Dog and now the guilt of initiating the apocalypse is getting to him. He's convinced that the never-ending horde of zombies is following them because he killed Hot Dog.

So he tells Kevin that he is leaving the group to sacrifice himself to the Jughead and the rest of the zombies, including Hot Dog, King of the Dead!

Except that the zombies won't touch Reggie. Instead, he is contacted by Sabrina the Teenage Bride of Cthulhu. For his role in bringing about the apocalypse, Cthulhu considers Reggie to be a dark prince. Sabrina tells Reggie that he is to be rewarded with a gift: the return of his lover, Midge -- fully resurrected and recovered!

However, Midge will only be brought back if Reggie completes one final act of selfishness and destruction: Kill Betty Cooper! And sadly, Reggie agrees to Sabrina's demand!

Will Reggie successfully kill Betty? And will her death destroy the morale of Riverdale's survivors? We will need to wait until AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE #10, which should hopefully get published before 2017!!

"The Trouble With Reggie" is written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa with artwork by Francesco Francavilla. It's also lettered by Jack Morelli.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Squirrel Girl Encounters a "Super Hero Truther" in UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL #8!

I finally got my scanner hooked up to my computer! It really wasn't that big of a deal. It was just a busy week. But the scanner is working and I got caught up on some of my latest comic books, including... THE UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL #8!

This latest issue launches a new romance-oriented story. It seems that a threat is menacing New York City. Yet again. The New Avengers have stepped up to save humanity and Squirrel Girl has brought along her college friend -- and animal-powered super hero -- Chipmunk Hunk to join in the fun!

The threat is quickly neutralized -- due to Squirrel Girl's quick thinking and knowledge for trivia!

Flying high from their victory, she takes a chance and asks Chipmunk Hunk out on a date to Avengers Island -- only to discover the he already has a date.

Crushed, Doreen turns to her friends, Nancy Whitehead, Tippy Toe, and Koi Boi, to find a rebound boyfriend. And where else does a group of second year computer science students turn to look for a new boyfriend? Online, of course!

They quickly discover a big problem. Do they do a dating profile for Doreen Green or for Squirrel Girl? They compromise by creating separate profiles for each side of her personality. Which leads to a variety of poorly matched online dates!!

She eventually connects with a guy named Brad -- who she initially mistakes for Hawkeye due to his profile name "HawkJock." But this date starts going south after Doreen learns that Brad is a super hero truther. Seriously. That's apparently a thing in the Marvel Universe.

Of course, Doreen's truther date is interrupted by one of Marvel Comics' biggest menaces. I'm talking, of course, about Mole Man. He kidnaps her date and challenges her for reasons that have yet to be revealed.

Of course, Brad is convinced that this is all part of some sort of "super hero false flag operation." And maybe it is. In fact, it probably is. But we won't know for certain until next month!

UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL #8 features story by Ryan North, art by Erica Henderson, 1918 sequence art by Andy Hirsch, trading card art by Chris Schweizer, colors by Rico Renzi, and letters by Travis Lanham.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Utah Man Assaulted After Other Man Objected to Him Taking His 5-Year-Old Daughter into a Walmart Men's Restroom

Are you tired of the bathroom warriors yet?

A new story is making the rounds involving a Walmart in Clinton, UT. A man named Christopher Adams was shopping with his wife and two children (a 7-year-old son and a 5-year-old daughter). The kids needed to relieve themselves, so he took them both to the men's restroom at the back of the store.

Another man came in to use the restroom and began freaking out that Adams' daughter was in there. It started out with yelling, but quickly escalated to violence in from of the two young children:
“This guy walks in and goes to the bathroom, the urinal,” Adams recalled Tuesday. “Then he just, like, turns to me and starts freaking out, dropping the ‘F-bomb,’ and what he was freaking out about was that my daughter was in the men’s bathroom.” Adams said the man told him it was “inappropriate,” and soon began to push him after Adams gave him a terse response. The father said he tried to usher his kids away from the man. “When I turned back around, I got sucker-punched right here,” Adams said, pointing to his left eye, which still was bruised. From there, Adams said he was punched in the face and kicked in the knee multiple times during the struggle in which the dad ultimately defended himself, forcing the man out of the restroom. “I just slammed him on the ground and just held him until associates from Walmart could get there,” Adams said. 
The other man was charged with disorderly conduct. The city attorney is reviewing the case and may end up charging him with assault.

Sadly (but predictably), way too many comments following this article are criticizing Adams for taking his 5-year-old daughter into the men's restroom. He should have left her unsupervised in the store. Or found a random woman and charged her with taking the girl into the women's restroom. Or something...

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Shay from "My 600-lb Life" Comes Out as a Trans Woman

I'm a fan of TLC's "My 600-lb Life." I often watch it or portions of it when I work out in the evenings. Recently, TLC has been airing new episodes of the program, titled "My 600-lb Life: Where Are They Now?" The latest update has been featuring a younger person named Chay Guillroy.

Chay is 23-years-old and spent of his original appearance on the program going through a very slow process of working to overcome his cycle of emotional eating. It wasn't until late within his first year of treatment with Dr. Nowzaradan that he finally underwent weight loss surgery. And much of what assisted him with getting to the point where he could go through the surgery was the support of his aunt and uncle, as well as a therapist to work on his psychological blocks. He managed to lose 120 pounds by the end of his first appearance on the program, placing him at about 450 pounds by the end of his first year of treatment. He was feeling good about his progress.

I haven't seen his "Where Are They Now?" program, but have seen a couple different clips on YouTube and I'm intrigued. Now that Shay is beginning to lose more weight and to work seriously on issues with his therapist, he has come out to his family and friends as a male-to-female trans person.

Unfortunately, the aunt and uncle who had been such strong advocates with Shay's weight loss goals haven't been as supporting of her gender transition. It's been a few weeks since she came out, but Shay was particularly upset by a video that her aunt had posted on Facebook about trans people in the restrooms.

I'm really curious about how Shay and her family will move forward. I'm hoping that her family is just needing time to process and progress.

Anyway, the episode was tonight and I was busy so I totally missed it. But I should eventually catch the episode during the reruns.

You can watch the two clips here and here.

AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE #9: All Kneel Before Hot Dog, King of the Dead!

It's been just over a year since the previous issue was published, but I'm currently holding a fresh copy of AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE #9 in my hands! It's a great issue. I'm not sure that it's worth waiting a year between each issue, but it's still a great issue.

I have a new computer at my home. As a result, I haven't yet figured out how to get my printer to scan stuff and forward it to my new computer. As a result, I had to take a picture of one key page from AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE #9.

Here's the set-up... Reggie is on his own and being approached by a horde of the undead. The strange thing is that none of them will touch him.

They instead passed by him until he reaches "ground-zero of the contagion." Reggie assumes that the King of the Zombies is Jughead.

But Jughead steps aside and reveals...
The Dog of Doom.

I kneel before it... Hot Dog, now Anubis, the Jackal, the God of Death...
I was right. 26 months ago, I was right.

I predicted back in March 2014 that Zombie Hot Dog is the King of the Dead.

Hot Dog was the first of the infected. He is the one who spawned the apocalypse (not Juggie). The zombies all make strange, gurgling noises. Just like a growl. And we saw a scene where Zombie Fred Andrews tracked Archie and his mother through his sense of smell.

I was right. Zombie Hot Dog is the King of the Dead and I'm pretty excited about that moment of insight!

Marvel Comics to Fans: Didn't You Know that Captain America Is Totally Into Hydra??

So I was going to write last night about #GiveCaptainAmericaABoyfriend, a goofy Twitter campaign that urged Marvel Comics to hook Steve Rogers (AKA Captain America) with longtime chum, Bucky Barnes (AKA Winter Solider). After all, "you don't oppose 117 nations just for 'a childhood friend.'" Unless you're Captain America!

But then I got busy and the whole campaign seemed silly, so I got distracted and let it drop.

All silliness aside, that Twitter campaign -- which got the anti-gay trolls and traditionalists all in an uproar for a short time -- was nothing compared to what Marvel Comics appears to have done this morning in STEVE ROGERS: CAPTAIN AMERICA #1.

Marvel Comics had Steve Rogers kill off fellow hero, Jack Flag, and reveal that he is a Hydra agent:
In recent months, Steve Rogers' body had been drained of the Super-Soldier Serum, leaving him old and weak. Now, he's back in action, young, and fit... and on the last page of today's issue, it's revealed that he's working with Hydra.

Through flashbacks, it's implied that Cap has been working with Hydra since he was a child and they helped protect his mother.
Fans don't believe it. I don't believe it. Husband Mark didn't believe it when I told him about it earlier today. Red Skull is currently telepathic and could easily have messed with Cap's brain, but Marvel Comics says otherwise:
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How long has this been in development? What inspired you to rethink such an iconic character in this way?...

WRITER NICK SPENCER: Rick Remender, who was the previous writer on Captain America, had been building towards this story of Hydra having infiltrated various institutions of government and various super teams. I thought that sounded like too big of a story. I drilled it down and thought, what if there’s just one very valuable Hydra plant? What if they’re looking for 100 people, but there’s just one? So I started asking, who’s the worst person it could possibly be? It was really obvious straight away that there’s nobody who could do more damage and nobody that could be a more valuable Hydra plant than Steve Rogers. That was really the genesis. It sprang pretty organically from story ideas that were already on the table.

Issue 1 lays the groundwork for the reveal with flashbacks to Steve’s childhood and his first contact with an operative of Hydra. Does this mean it’s been this way his whole life?... 

SPENCER: Issue 2 will lay a lot of our cards on the table in terms of what the new status quo is, but the one thing we can say unequivocally is: This is not a clone, not an imposter, not mind control, not someone else acting through Steve. This really is Steve Rogers, Captain America himself....

What kind of relationship will Cap have with this new generation of Hydra? 

SPENCER: It’s a big part of our story, what Steve’s beliefs are about what Hydra should be, where it should go, what it should focus on. To me, I always get really fascinated by this kind of thing. Any World War II history buff can talk your ear off about the internal power struggles of the Nazi Party. There were some fun parallels to play with here. There’s also a little bit of The Man in the High Castle here. It’s a difficult challenge to get people invested in Hydra characters because their ideology is so repugnant, but what The Man in the High Castle did so well was get you to pull for the lesser of the evils. You might be seeing some similar things here.
So there you go. Steve Rogers -- the man who fought Nazis since World War II as Captain America -- is now revealed after 75 years to be a Nazi and Hydra agent. I don't buy it at all.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

KKK Litters Alabama Neighborhoods with Anti-Trans Leaflets

Every so often, you hear reports of the Ku Klux Klan leaving fliers in neighborhoods (such as here or here or here). The fliers usually reach out to residents, suggesting that they will keep the neighborhood safe from unspecified threats.

Now residents of Dothan, Alabama, are reporting that KKK fliers have been left outside of roughly 75 house. Only difference is that the Klan moved from vague threats and named their targeted "threat": trans people:
Anti-transgender fliers claiming to be from a chapter of the Ku Klux Klan were distributed in at least one Dothan neighborhood.

"It is a free speech issue. There is no threat put in there, no call to arms. It looks like they are asking for donations and putting out a political agenda instead of a hate-based one," Dothan Police Capt. Will Benny said...

Police were notified of three fliers placed in an east Dothan neighborhood of about 75 houses...

Benny called the neighborhood in question quiet and "certainly not a hotbed for Klan activity..."

Dothan police said the dissemination of the fliers isn't necessarily illegal, but a resident could file a complaint for littering.
The flier reads:

Is an abomination according to the Kings James Bible

Deuteronomy 22:5
"A woman shall not wear that pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: For all that do are an abomination unto the Lord Thy God.

These freaks are jeopardizing the safety of bathrooms all across the nation for our women and children. This needs to STOP

There is no confusion
If you have a PENIS -- Use the MENS ROOM
If you have a VAGINA -- Use the LADES ROOM

If your confused and don't know what sex you are today


The Loyal White Knights of the KKK

According to the news article, a copy of this flier was sent by local police to the FBI.

Iowa City: Tate High School Evacuated Due to Bomb Threat

There were local news reports yesterday that schools in Altoona, Marion, and West Des Moines were evacuated due to bomb threats. It was reported that this also affected schools nationwide. We were told that it was an automated phone call threat. We were told that these calls affected high schools, junior high schools, and elementary schools.

For some reason, the local media failed to point out until earlier today that Tate High School of Iowa City was also evacuated yesterday due to a bomb threat. At least, Iowa City's bomb threat was buried among news reports.

According to the Press-Citizen...
Tate High School in Iowa City was evacuated after receiving a phone call about a bomb threat, Iowa City Police Sgt. Chris Akers and school staff confirmed...

A phone call of a bomb threat came to Tate Monday morning, Kristin Pedersen, the district's coordinator of community affairs, said via email. Iowa City police were notified, and students were sent home as the department assessed the threat, Pedersen said. The police department could not provide specific details. An email was sent to Tate parents at 12:30 p.m., Pedersen said.
My son isn't a student at Tate High School. But I usually receive email and phone alerts from the school when big things happen. Like a bomb threat that evacuated one of the district's high schools.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Phoenix Goddess Temple Leader Convicted of 22 Charges Connected to Running a Brothel // Sentenced to 4.5 Years of Prison

I've written a couple of times (here and here) about the Phoenix Goddess Temple, which was the subject of a 6-month undercover investigation for operating a secret brothel. Several male and female church practitioners were arrested and accused of performing sex acts in exchange for monetary donations. The Goddess Temple argued that their neo tantric healing therapists were not acts of prostitution, but instead religious acts.

I've vaguely followed this case since it went to trial. I don't know what happened to the various church practitioners, but I do know that Tracy Elise, the Phoenix Goddess Temple's leader, was found guilty last March of 22 criminal charges connected to running a brothel. Those charges include conspiracy to commit illegal enterprise, illegal control of an enterprise, operating or maintaining a house of prostitution, multiple counts of money laundering, and multiple counts of pandering.

Earlier this week, she was sentence to 4 1/2 years in prison for each of the 22 counts for which she was convicted. Seriously. Fortunately, the charges will be served concurrently. She will then be sentenced to four years of probation when she gets released from prison.

She will be given credit for the 305 days that she has been sitting in jail. Keep in mind that the trial began in November 2015. That means that she spent nearly a year in jail while waiting for her case to evolve.

She plans to appeal this verdict.

Let's set aside the question of religious liberty for a Pagan faith community that seems to have been trampled. Elise could have been sentenced to 99 years for prostitution. How sick is that?

Friday, May 20, 2016

Welcome to the Family, Chevy!!

You may remember that Ms. Lion, our pekepoo, died last September following a brief illness. We toyed with getting another dog, but decided to wait until after Christmas. Then we began looking at Iowa-based rescue groups for poodles and Pekingeses, but struggled to find any that seemed like good fits for our homes. So we took another break from our search. Then we noticed that Nero seemed droopy around the house and began thinking that he missed having another dog at home. So I put out a round of unsuccessful applications for dogs.

Then earlier this week, I noticed an image of a small poodle at a dog rescue called Second Chance Dog Rescue. I reached out and found that the dog was available for adoption. I submitted my application.

One day later, our application was approved. Then Husband Mark and I traveled to Prole, IA, earlier today and met our new family member: Chevy!

Chevy is 4-years-old and weighs about 9 pounds. He's shy, but increasingly curious about his new home and family. He must not have walked on a leash in the past, but he's getting pretty confident about walking with his new harness. Lastly, he and Nero have met and are cautiously getting to know each other. No fights yet!

Welcome to Iowa City, Chevy! We're excited to fold you into the family!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Washington DC: Security Guard Charged with Assault Following Bathroom Confrontation with Trans Woman

There is a report coming out of Washington DC involving a security guard who's in trouble with the police for roughing up a trans woman who needed to use the public restroom:
D.C. police have charged a security guard at a Giant grocery store with simple assault after a transgender woman said the guard forced her out of the women's restroom. 

Ebony Belcher, 32, said she went to the Giant in northeast D.C. with a friend to pick up a delivery from the Western Union. While at the Giant, she asked a store employee to point her to the restroom and passed a female security officer standing in the hallway. The officer came into the restroom and told her to get out, according to Belcher. "She opened the door and came in and started calling me derogatory names," Belcher said. She said the officer put her hand on her shoulder and arm, grabbed her and pushed her out of the store. 

Belcher said the guard told her, "You guys cannot keep coming in here and using our women's restroom. They did not pass the law yet." She said she called police and reported the incident after she left the store. According to a police report, officers arrested the guard at the Giant after the confrontation.
The security guard has been charged with assault.

Washington DC has a trans-inclusive anti-discrimination statute. And even if it didn't, the guard created a hostile response where none was warranted. Assuming that the story described above is accurate. I'm sure we will find out if it's not.

Carroll, IA: Naked Man Found Stuck in Chimney

Here's an odd story from the other side of Iowa. A 29-year-old man named Jordan Kajewski was discovered naked and covered with soot stuck in a chimney in Carroll, IA, earlier this week. He was naked and covered in soot.

According to witnesses, Kajewski claimed that he was playing a game of hide-and-seek with his cousin. He climbed from the roof of the Carroll Redemption Center and managed to get about 20 feet down into the chimney before getting stuck.

The Redemption Center's owner claimed that he'd been working late on the 17th when he heard a voice whisper "Get out of here." He apparently thought this was a ghost and left for home. His wife went to work the next day and heard somebody yell at her from within the chimney: "I’m in your chimney... I was playing hide-and-seek with my cousin. ... Don’t call the cops, I just need some help getting out."

The police and fire department were called to the Redemption Center that morning to help Kajewski out of the chimney. They tried pulling him out with a rope from the top, but ended up needed to smash a hole into the chimney to extract the naked man.

He was taken to jail and charged with trespass.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Trailer Released for Andrew Marin's Latest Book: "Us Versus Us"

It's been a while since I've written about Andrew Marin. He's been studying for a few years in Scotland and the Marin Foundation took a break last May due to some operational changes. I don't talk much these days with Andrew, though we see each other on Facebook pretty regularly. It was on Facebook earlier this week where I learned that Andrew has a new book out called "Us Versus Us."

This is what "Us Versus Us" is about:
For decades now, we have found ourselves caught up in a culture war; US VERSUS THEM. The good news: there is no them. Our culture war has been a civil war: US VERSUS US. This it the untold story of religion and the LGBT community. Thankfully, there is a path toward peace...
You can read about the book here or here. You can watch the official trailer here. And you can order the book here.

I ordered my book from Amazon yesterday. It arrived sometime today. I haven't read it yet, but it's on my summer reading list. I'll share my reactions once the book has been read!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Danbury, CT: Short-Haired Woman Mistaken for Trans Woman & Verbally Confronted by Culture Warrior in Walmart Bathroom

A young woman from Danbury, CT, recently posted a video on Facebook about an encounter with a hostile woman at Walmart. 22-year-old Aimee Toms was washing her hands in the public restroom when another woman approached her and told her "You're disgusting!" and "You don't belong here!"

Toms recently donated her hair to a charity that makes natural wigs for child cancer patients, so she has a short pixie cut. She was also wearing a baseball cap. Toms quickly realized that the stranger assumed that she is a trans woman for some reason -- though she's obviously a cisgender woman to me:
“I get it. The short hair. The baseball cap. I was wearing a plain blue T-shirt. She saw me from the back,” Toms said. But “... at the sake of sounding blunt, I’m not a flat-chested person. I have got something going on up here.”
Toms did not report the incident to Walmart's management. She didn't know exactly where the woman was and didn't know what they could do to remedy the situation in the first place.

But this is yet another example of people freaking out and accosting women who are obviously not transgender because they (the freakers) are reacting with transphobic fear responses instead of using their heads and assessing the situation.

And frankly, let's imagine that Aimee Toms was actually a trans woman. What exactly was she doing in the bathroom that was so disgusting? I mean, she was practicing good hygiene!

You can watch Toms' video here.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Vote Lodge in ARCHIE #8!

I picked up my copy of ARCHIE #8 today, which was a lot of fun! We finally found out why the Lodge family relocated to Riverdale USA: Hiram Lodge wants a community that's small enough for him to take over. He wants to become Riverdale's new mayor, and plans to use this achievement as a stepping stone towards bigger and better political schemes!

And Veronica is pissed!

She hates Riverdale. She hates Riverdale High School. She hates the other teens and students. She hates the lack of sophisticated culture.

But she likes Archie.

Unfortunately, Mr. Lodge hates Archie Andrews! So he hatched an underhanded scheme to get Archie away from Veronica: He offered Mr. Andrews -- Mr. "cash-strapped-barely-paying-the-bills" Andrews -- a high-paying job in Singapore!

Archie is in a pickle! He wants to stay in Riverdale with Veronica and Jughead and Betty and the others, but he can't tell his father the truth. He can't tell his father that his dream-job was only offered to him in order to separate the lovebird teens! How can he fight back without hurting his father?

Find out in ARCHIE #8, which features words by Mark Waid, art by Veronica Fish, coloring by Andre Szymanowicz & Jen Vaughn, and lettering by Jack Morelli.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Cosplayers Appear on "Justice for All with Judge Cristina Perez"

I was home from work yesterday. After returning from the gym, I came home, turned on the television, and stumbled across the last few minutes of "Justice for All with Judge Cristina Perez."

I was shocked to see the plaintiffs and defendants wearing costumes. I'm still not sure why they were in costumes -- or why Judge Perez allowed this.

I'm not 100% certain, but I'm pretty sure that the defendant was suing the plaintiff for damages that occurred during a fight.

The plaintiff was counter-suing for $2.50 for a slice of pizza that was dropped on the floor during the fight.

The defendant lost his case. But the plaintiff won his counter-suit.

I was completely unimpressed.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Girl Attacked by Man in Chicago-Based Public Restroom // Culture Warriors Blame Trans-Inclusive Restroom Policies

There's a news story trending right now on Facebook about an 8-year-old girl who was attacked in the public restroom of a Chicago deli by a man.

Here's the gist: a man named Reese Hartstirn allegedly attacked the girl earlier this week, strangling her into unconsciousness. Her screams alerted her mother, who rushed into the bathroom and found the man dragging the unconscious girl into a toilet stall.

The girl was rescued and the man was arrested. He was charged with felony counts of aggravated kidnapping and aggravated battery of a child. He also faces a misdemeanor charge of battery and aggravated assault of a peace officer for allegedly trying to punch the booking officer. He was denied bond and remains in jail.

I made the mistake of checking out several of the Facebook posts connected to this story. Almost all of them are connecting this attack to trans-inclusive ordinances.

Keep in mind that this man was not in drag. He was not wearing women's clothing. As far as I can ascertain, he has not identified as a trans woman, nor has he used that excuse to attempt to justify his presence in the women's restroom.

And even if he was a trans woman and/or a predator who claimed to be a trans woman so that he could get access to young girls in the public restroom, he still managed to get arrested for doing bad deeds in the public restroom.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Possible Gay Character in "Zootopia"

I haven't seen "Zootopia," but it's on my list. I just learned of one more reason to give this cartoon a chance. It seems that there was a gay-married pair in the movie. Or presumed gay-married pair in the movie. There are no visible wedding rings, but they argue like a married couple and they have the same hyphenated last name (according to the credits).

It's possible that they're brothers, but someone on Reddit pointed out that they aren't the same species, so unless there was an adoption that's unlikely:
They're two different species. One is an Oryx and one is a Kudu. That makes it unlikely they're biologically related.
It seems like there's another likely gay character in "Zootopia" named Clawhauser. He's a police dispatcher and "is portrayed as camp and effeminate."

Waterloo, IA: Graffiti on Synagogue Being Investigated as Hate Crime

Police are investigating a possible hate crime at a synagogue in Waterloo, IA. This happened at Sons of Jacob Synagogue sometime Tuesday evening. Somebody painted "Jesus Saves" and two crosses on the side of the building:
Leaders in the Jewish community are understandably upset by what they call a clear disrespect of their beliefs. "Jesus saves" is a phrase that, in many cases, wouldn't offend most people, but it becomes offensive when the phrase is spray painted on a Jewish Synagogue.

"It is interesting. People are upset. They are very upset. At the same time, as Jews, we know it could have been so much worse. They could have painted swastikas on our building; they didn't," said Sons of Jacob Synagogue Leader Erin Maidan. 

Although not vicious, Police say the graffiti does classify as a hate crime.
Police also found a purple crossed spray-painted on the back of a nearby stop sign.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

North Carolina School Board Passes Rule Changes that Allow Students to Carry Mace On-Campus, Citing Trans People in Public Bathrooms // Now Backpedaling Following Public Outcry

So this happened while I was busy working today. A story broke involving the Rowan-Salisbury School Board of Education from Salisbury, NC. The RSS board was worried that their students were unsafe on school property, so passed a policy that allows students to carry pepper spray and mace on the school campuses. It seems that they were concerned that students would forget to leave their mace in their vehicles and get in trouble. Which implies that the schools in Salisbury, NC, are unsafe to their students.

They also voted to allow students to bring shaving razors on school grounds. Because you never know when you'll need to shave between classes.

But the story made national news because RSS board member Chuck Hughes implied that students could use mace on any trans students:
Board member Chuck Hughes was in favor of the sprays on campuses, saying that in his mind, they were purely defensive. He also referenced HB2, saying that the sprays might be useful

“Depending on how the courts rule on the bathroom issues, it may be a pretty valuable tool to have on the female students if they go to the bathroom, not knowing who may come in,” he said.
Hughs quickly backtracked, claiming that he was thinking that female students would use their mace on misbehaving cis-gendered teen boys and "perverts:"
“The LGBT issue has never been a problem to my knowledge,” Hughes said. “People have a different sexual identity, they go about their business. You don’t even know that a transgender is in your bathroom. They’re not there to create havoc. But perverts are.” 

Hughes said he was not homophobic and that the LGBT community had rights to be protected. “They’re not the ones to look out for,” he said. “My statement was misinterpreted and when I hear other people talking about it, I can see how it was misinterpreted.” 

He said he could see teenage boys pretending that their gender identity was female to enter bathrooms “as a joke.”
The RSS board has indicated that they have listened to negative public feedback about this policy change and will re-think it. Basically, they realized that there will be major liability issues if they allow students to run around campus carrying mace and pepper spray.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Pat Robertson Lumps Homosexuality with Murder and Then Says "Rampant Homosexuality" Destroys Nations

It's been a while since I've watched one of CBN's "Bring It On" segments on "The 700 Club." Co-host Terry Meeuwsen posed the following vague question to Pat Robertson and he ended up getting a dig out there against gay people: "Dear Pat, my husband did a terrible thing years ago that I didn't know about until two days ago. Somebody else discovered it and, for that reason, I want to separate. We have 2 teenage girls who are close to him. Should I tell them the truth or not? I am afraid it is going to destroy them for life because they believe in him. He has been a good father and has always been there for them. Please help me."

Here is Pat's answer:
Pat Robertson: I don't know what he did. You won't tell me. Did he kill somebody? Was it homosexual? Did he cause an abortion? What did he do that was so terrible? Whatever it is, God forgives! God'll forgive him. And you need to forgive him. It looks like something from way in the past. Why would you rip your family up on account of something that took place 20 years ago? That doesn't make any sense at all. So the thing it is, you say, "Look, God forgave you and I'll forgive you. Let's get on with our life!"

Terry Meeuwsen: Because it would rip up her children's lives. 

Pat Robertson: It would be insane! I mean, why would you bring up something that took place years and year and year ago? It's done!
Notice that homosexual offenses line up in the same category as murder and abortion for Pat Robertson. Because it's so wicked. I mean, check out this recent transcript where he went on a rant against LGBT people in our society:
The truth is, from what we understand in history, there hasn’t been one nation in the history of the world that has openly embraced homosexual lifestyle and begun to practice the homosexual lifestyle that has endured. Every one of them has gone down. Every single one of them. Once rampant homosexuality takes place, then people don’t take care of their children, they aren’t concerned about the next generation, they’re concerned about physical pleasure and the activities surrounding this lifestyle, they aren’t planning for the future and the country goes to pot

Right now it it’s kind of in the balance, it’s kind of interesting, but the fact that the European Union and the U.S. is trying to impose this lifestyle on a little country like Georgia that wants to stay orthodox is incredible. 

You look at the Book of Revelation and it says, ‘Mystery Mother of Harlots, you have made the world drunk with the wine of your fornication.’ And you say, who is that ‘mystery woman?’ Well, more and more, this great nation of ours, the U.S. of A, is becoming — to take on that role. I don’t know if we intend to but that’s what’s happening. We’re making the nations drunk with the wine of our fornication and God brings judgment on a country that does that.
You read that correctly. Gay people don't take care of our kids. We go out of our way to adopt them or create them via IVF treatment or whatever and then we ignore them so that we can focus on the carnal pleasures of work or chores and paying the bills and walking the dogs, etc. It's horrible!

And frankly, how many nations through history have experienced "rampant homosexuality?" Can you say "hyperbole?"

Pat Robertson and his ilk are obsessed with LGBT people and families and will stop at nothing to defame and de-legitimize us.

You can watch that rant here.

Nero at Daycare -- 05/10/16

Nero had a good time today at doggy daycare. He ended up playing with another poodle named Dylan, who looks quite similar to my favorite poodle! Can you tell them apart? (Hint: Nero's the more handsome of the pair!)

Check it out:

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Oxford, Alabama Rescinds Recently Passed Anti-Trans Ordinance

Remember last month when the City of Oxford, Al, passed an ordinance that rebuked Target for having a trans-inclusive bathroom policy, while also making it illegal for trans people to use the public restroom that corresponds with their gender identities? Offenders would face $500 fines or six months in jail.

Oxford received a lot of negative attention. Plus, the City Attorney opined that the ordinance as written might violate federal Title IX provisions. So they just voted to get rid of their anti-trans ordinance:
The Oxford City Council today voted 3-2 to rescind its controversial public restroom ordinance, a little more than a week after it was passed. Council members Charlotte Hubbard, Phil Gardner and Mike Henderson voted to rescind the ordinance, while Council President Steven Waits and Councilman Chris Spurlin voted to keep it. The council was able to reconsider the ordinance, Hubbard said, because it had not yet been signed by Mayor Leon Smith, who is ill.
Keep in mind that city counselors are already talking about passing a new ordinance that's even more anti-trans, according to this article.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Flight Delayed After Math Problems Were Mistaken for Terrorist Writings

Here is an example of how Americans have allowed fear and uncertainty to cloud their ability to evaluate their environments rationally. A flight was delayed and a passenger opted to go onto a later flight after she mistook the math equations of an economics professor for some sort of terrorist writings:
An Ivy League professor says his flight was delayed when a fellow passenger mistook his scribbling on a math problem as a sign he might be a terrorist. American Airlines confirms that a woman expressed suspicions about University of Pennsylvania economics professor Guido Menzio. 

He was flying from Philadelphia to Syracuse on Thursday to give a talk at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada. He was working on a differential equation, but said he was told the woman thought he might be a terrorist because of what he was writing. 

Casey Norton, a spokesman for the air carrier, said the women’s allegations about Menzio were deemed not credible.
I will give this woman some credit. At least she chose to transfer to a different plane instead of forcing Menzio to leave the flight.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Welcome to the Archie --> Amisha --> Raj Patel Love Triangle in BETTY AND VERONICA COMICS DOUBLE DIGEST #243!

BETTY AND VERONICA COMICS DOUBLE DIGEST #243 was just released. This comic book digest featured the final chapter of the "Many Loves of Archie Andrews." This was an ambitious 10-part series of short stories that's been appearing at the beginning of each of the BETTY AND VERONICA DOUBLE DIGEST comic books for the past several months. Each chapter features a story involving Archie Andrews and some romantic misadventure. Stories so far have included Betty & Veronica, Noelle Claus, Valerie Smith, Cheryl Blossom, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and Ginger Lopez.

This final story focused on one of my favorite minor characters: Amisha Mehta! She was introduced back in ARCHIE #650 during the world tour storyline. Amisha was an Indian music star with fame and riches who gave it all up to transfer to Riverdale High. Presumably so that she could chase after Archie.

Amisha's chapter of "Many Loves of Archie Andrews" is called "Hooray for Bollywood" and it features story & pencils by Dan Parent, inks by Rick Koslowski, letters by Jack Morelli, and colors by Glenn Whitmore. And I loved it so very much!

Archie and Amisha are helping Raj Patel out with a Bollywood-themed video project, which has Betty and Veronica seeing green because she's obviously falling in love with Archie.

Except that she's not. Much to Archie's dismay, Amisha only has eyes for Raj! Which makes me so very happy! It's about time that some girl realizes that there's more that there's more to Riverdale than Archie Andrews!! Plus, I really like Raj! And why shouldn't he get the girl from time to time?

Of course, Raj is used to every girl falling for Archie and he's totally oblivious to Amisha's advances! What will it take to give Raj a clue? (Hint: Veronica Lodge and her bulldozer approach to dating!)

I just love that the "Many Loves of Archie Andrews" ends with a girl who's really long-past over Archie Andrews and ready to move on!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Salvation Army Promotes Trans-Inclusive Homeless Outreach Program

I've written a bit about the Salvation Army in the past along with its conflicting history with the LGBT communities. I was on YouTube tonight and noticed a more recent video on Salvation Army USA's page featuring a trans woman named Dooley who has struggled with family abuse and abandonment, homelessness, prostitution, and rape. "I've been through Hell. Terrible Hell."

She eventually learned of a unique Salvation Army program in Las Vegas that has a fairly unique program for transgender people, including a safety dorm that protects them from other participants who might victimize them. She eventually transitioned to a transitional apartment unit for up to one year while they helped her work towards the goal of obtaining long-term affordable housing.

I'm still wary about the Salvation Army and its reputation, but I'm heartened by their very public outreach to LGBT people in need. I hope that this outreach continues.

You can watch the entire video here.

Oskaloosa, IA: Cat Taped in Plastic Box and Left for Dead in City Dump

The Stephen Memorial Animal Shelter in Oskaloosa, IA, reported that they were called out yesterday to rescue a cat that had been taped inside a plastic tote and left at the city's dump.

From their Facebook page:
HELP US FIND CECILIA'S ABUSER! Last night our Animal Control Officer responded to an after hours emergency call to the city brush dump. When he arrived, he found a plastic tote box, taped shut on all sides with a couple of small holes poked in the sides. Inside the tote was this sweet girl, who we named Cecilia. It was clear that poor Cecilia had been in the tote for a while, as she was sitting in about 1/2 inch of her own urine and feces that had accumulated in the tote. Cecilia was filthy, and terrified. Fortunately, a good samaritan noticed the tote at the dump, investigated, and contacted the police department, who then contacted us. Considering that Cecelia was left at the brush dump, and the tote she was in was so tightly taped shut, it's very clear that whoever dumped her intended for her to die in that tote. They didn't even give her a chance. It's very hard to come up with the right words to describe how saddened and angry we are that somebody here in our own community could be so blatantly cruel towards a living creature. Whoever did this should be ashamed of themselves. What this person did was a crime, and should be held accountable. We did get one clue as to who may have done this to Cecilia: the tape that was used to tape the tote shut is called StegoTape, and is used in construction to seal gaps and prevent water from penetrating a given surface. While this clue doesn't do much to help us figure out who did this on it's own, it does narrow down the suspect pool a little bit and we are hoping that someone out there might have some additional pieces to the puzzle to help bring this cruel individual to justice. If you think you have information that might help us please let us know!!!
They are asking for assitsnace to find the person who left Cecilia to die. People can contact the Oskaloosa Police Department at 641-672-2557 or the Stephen Memorial Animal Shelter at 641-673-3991.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Team-Members Revealed for Upcoming "New Mutants" Film?

There are plans for a "New Mutants" movie. Director Josh Boone began posting comic book images of various New Muties on his Instagram page, implying that these were his team members.

If his Instagram images are to be believed, the movie will feature Mirage, Cannonball, Magik, Sunspot, Wolfsbane, and Warlock! Which would be a pretty wicked team!

What do you think of this team-up?

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Iowa Selected Its First Transgender Presidential Elector!

Humanity continues to freak out over trans people using public restrooms. In fact, it's hard to go online these days without reading a story about trans people and bathrooms. So here's a good one coming from Iowa:

A Des Moines-based trans man just became the first openly transgender presidential elector from Iowa. It's even possible that he's the first openly transgender presidential elector in the USA. His name is Jack Schuler and he's a high school teacher and he got selected as an elector this past weekend during the 3rd District Democratic Convention in Creston, IA:
“There were a few people who wanted to be elector, and we each got a minute to speak,” Schuler said during a break from class Monday. “I spoke from the heart. I mentioned that I was trans and that it is only because people are committed to the democratic process that I can exist openly in this country.”

An elector is different than national delegates, who were also selected at all four of Iowa's Democratic district conventions. A delegate attends the nominating convention and casts a vote to determine the party’s nominee. As an elector, Schuler will cast a vote in the Electoral College to determine the president.

The Democratic Party has had transgender delegates previously. "In 2012, we had a record number of transgender delegates (14)," (DNC spokesman TJ) Helmstetter said in a statement.

"We are committed as a party to welcoming transgender Americans at all levels of participation," he said.
For the record, he appears to be a Sanders Clinton supporter.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Paramount & CBS Suing Trek Fan-Filmers // Claiming Copyright Ownership of the Klingon Language

Late last year, Paramount and CBS filed a lawsuit against the makers of a "Star Trek"-themed fan-film called "Axanar." Axanar's creators raised over $1 million in crowdfund money for their movie and Paramount -- normally quite permissive when it comes to encouraging fans -- decided that enough was enough:
Paramount and CBS, represented by attorneys at Loeb & Loeb, are now demanding an injunction as well as damages for direct, contributory and vicarious copyright infringement. Although the plaintiffs have allowed ample cosplaying over the years and even permitted other derivatives like amateur Star Trek shows to circulate, the lawsuit illustrates that there is a place where no man has gone before, where the entertainment studios are not willing to let be occupied: crowdfunded, professional-quality films that use copyrighted "elements" like Vulcans and Klingons, Federation starships, phasers and stuff like the "look and feel of the planet, the characters’ costumes, their pointy ears and their distinctive hairstyle."
Here is one of the more interesting elements of the lawsuit: Paramount and CBS are claiming copyright ownership of the Klingon language:
Paramount and CBS listed many, but what drew most attention was claimed entitlement to the Klingon language. The defendant then reached back to a 19th century Supreme Court opinion for the proposition that Klingon is not copyrightable as a useful system.

On April 11, that drew an entertaining response from the flummoxed plaintiffs.

"This argument is absurd since a language is only useful if it can be used to communicate with people, and there are no Klingons with whom to communicate," stated a plaintiffs' brief authored by David Grossman at Loeb & Loeb. "The Klingon language is wholly fictitious, original and copyrightable, and Defendants' incorporation of that language in their works will be part of the Court's eventual substantial similarity analysis. Defendants' use of the Klingon language in their works is simply further evidence of their infringement of Plaintiffs' characters, since speaking this fictitious language is an aspect of their characters."
Axanar's creators are pushing back:
Before U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner gets a chance to rule on a motion to dismiss, he's now being asked permission to review a friend-of-the-court brief from the Language Creation Society.
The brief, authored by Marc Randazza, begins by noting that the Klingon language was invented in 1984 by Marc Okrand for Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.

"Before that, when actors played Klingons in Star Trek television programs or movies, they simply uttered guttural sounds or spoke in English (Federation Standard)," writes Randazza. "Given that Paramount Pictures commissioned the creation of some of the language, it is understandable that Paramount might feel some sense of ownership over the creation. But, feeling ownership and having ownership are not the same thing. The language has taken on a life of its own. Thousands of people began studying it, building upon it, and using it to communicate among themselves."
The article notes that 250,000 copies of a Klingon dictionary have been sold, there are Klingon language certification programs, and there are English-to-Klingon translation programs. There was even a couple who wrote their wedding vows in the Klingon language!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

This Weekend's Riverdale Podcast: Who Are Your Top 5 Character Picks??

You all know that I'm a fan of "The Riverdale Podcast." This is a weekly fan podcast by Jonathan Merrifield that dedicates each episode to Archie Comics. I've been listening for years and have had the pleasure of appearing on the program on a few occasions. Last week, Jonathan asked his listeners to share their top 5 favorite Archie Comics characters outside of the core five characters. He posted this request on the Archie Comics Fan Forum and then shared the results over everyone's top 5 list on this week's program.

For the record, here is Jonathan's top 5 list:

1. Li'l Jinx
2. Sheila Wu
3. Josie
4. Pepper
5. Ethel

All great choices, by the way. And I agree 1000% with his assessment of Sheila Wu, particularly how she's being portrayed in the "New Riverdale" relaunch!

Here is my list:

1. Kevin Keller -- Hands down. He is my favorite character. I know that it's cliche for the gay fan to love Archie Comics' gay character. But I'll own it. I love it when he appears in a comic book and I really can't wait to read the upcoming KEVIN IN THE CITY digital series this summer!

2. Cosmo the Merry Martian -- I've had the joy of reading his entire comic book run from the 1950s. I actually didn't like the guy visually when I first discovered him. But then I read the stories -- which featured his explorations of the Solar System -- and acquired a deep appreciation for this classic character!

3. Dotty & Ditto: Keep in mind that I love reading old comic books online from MLJ, Archie, Charlton and a few other Golden Age publishers. If I were to write up my top 5 list today, I don't know that Dotty & Ditto would make it there. But they were on my mind, so they made it to my list. Dotty is a young cowgirl who goes on adventures with her pet parrot, Ditto.

Incidentally, I have a story in my head (what fan doesn't?) featuring Dotty, Super Duck, Wilbur, Archie, the Twiddles, and a few other characters! If you're from Archie Comics and reading this, send me a note and I'll pitch it to you!

4. Jinx -- I'm talking about the teen version of this character, as opposed to the Li'l Jinx version of the character. Back when I first got back into Archie Comics (about five years ago), the company revamped Li'l Jinx as a high school freshman. There were two graphic novels featuring the character and her friends. These were great comics. Really great comics. I'm assuming that they didn't sell very well because we haven't seen any other books in this series of titles. But if you haven't read it and you're looking for something good to read from Archie Comics' vault, you owe it to yourself to snag these books!

5. Sam Hill -- Here is another classic character who recently went through an uneventful return! Sam Hill is a private detective with an eye for the ladies and a taste for whole milk! He had his own comic book back in the early 1950s and then disappeared until 2013 when he was hired by Mr. Lodge in LIFE WITH ARCHIE to locate a missing person and to save Riverdale! Sam Hill later had a graphic novel of his own, but it languished in the solicits until Archie Comics finally published it as a digital exclusive on their app. I'm very slowly reading through it, but it's pretty good stuff!

So those are my top 5 Archie Comics characters. There are three other characters who are jumping around in my head right now who could easily knock one of these five folks off of my list, but I'm sticking with this for now!

Who are your top 5 picks for secondary Archie Comics characters? Share your choices in the comments section below!