Thursday, June 30, 2016

New "Lost in Space" Series Coming to Netflix in 2018!

Very exciting news today!!

We learned that Netflix -- one of my favorite sources of televison watching these days -- has ordered one season of a new "Lost in Space" series!!:
The new incarnation of Irwin Allen’s ’60s sci-fi drama will be piloted by Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless (Dracula Untold) and Prison Break’s Zack Estrin will serve as showrunner. This version once again follows the Robinson family, who are stranded light years from where they are supposed to be headed, and they find themselves battling a strange new alien environment and also their own personal demons.

“The original series so deftly captured both drama and comedy, and that made it very appealing to a broad audience. The current creative team’s reimagining of the series for Netflix is sure to appeal to both fans who fondly remember the original and to create a new generation of enthusiasts around the world,” Cindy Holland, Netflix’s vice president of original content, said in a statement...

 The 10-episode first season will begin streaming in 2018.
I'm too young to have watched "Lost in Space" when it first broadcast, but binged on this program in syndication long before binge-watching was a recognized past-time! As you can tell, I'm very excited about this show!

Trans Woman Settles Discrimination Complaint Against West Des Moines Hotel

Remember Meagan Taylor? She is a trans woman from Illinois who stopped at a hotel in West Des Moines, IA, last July while traveling to a funeral for a friend. Almost immediately, the hotel staff at the Drury Inn called the police to report Taylor and her friend because they were "men dressed like women." So they must be prostitutes.

Taylor was arrested and charged with possessing medicine without a prescription (i.e., her hormone treatment) and malicious prosecution. She spent the next eight days in solitary confinement (i.e., the jail's medical unit) until others were able to raise money to pay for bail, as well as an outstanding fine connected to an unrelated credit card fraud case. The charges that led to Taylor's arrest were eventually dropped by Polk County prosecutors.


Meagan Taylor -- with the assistance of the Iowa ACLU -- filed a complaint with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission against the Drury Inn on 11/09/15. We learned yesterday and Taylor and her attorneys successfully settled this case.

From the Des Moines Register:
“The ACLU of Iowa is pleased to report we have successfully settled Meagan Taylor’s case to the satisfaction of the parties involved,” the post read.

The ACLU declined to comment on the details of the settlement or whether or not the parties are bound by a confidentially agreement.“We can’t provide any more information or greater detail,” said Veronica Fowler, spokeswoman for the ACLU of Iowa.
From the ACLU of Iowa website:
When Meagan Taylor and her best friend — both young, Black, trans women — stopped at a hotel in Des Moines on the way to a funeral, they expected to check-in, spend the night, and be on their way. 

What happened instead should be a chilling reminder of the deadly intersection of racism and transphobia that so many Black transgender people are forced to navigate... 

There was no evidence of prostitution — just two Black trans women sleeping in a hotel room the morning before a funeral. Meagan was arrested for possessing hormone therapy pills without a copy of the prescription and spent eight days in the local jail before she was bailed out. All charges were eventually dropped, but the experience has left its mark on Meagan. 

Like so many transgender people, Meagan has not had access to the medical and financial resources necessary to update the name and gender marker on her state identification. This meant that when she checked into the Drury Inn, even though she is a woman, the Illinois state identification that she presented listed her as male and under her birth name. The lack of congruent identification immediately outed Meagan as transgender to complete — and hateful — strangers... 

Meagan was arrested not because there was any evidence that she was engaging in sex work but because she had hormone pills in her possession without a prescription. 
You can read the rest of their statement here.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Team-Up with Alpha Flight in CIVIL WAR II: CHOOSING SIDES #5

It's been a while since I've written about Alpha Flight. I'm a fan of the team, but not a fan of their current incarnation over in CAPTAIN MARVEL. They have gone from Canada's primary superhero team to Earth's space-based defenders. Plus, they got rid of most of my favorite members. So I'm curious, but not reading them.

There is a news story trending right now about Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. It appears that he will be appearing in a short story within CIVIL WAR II: CHOOSING SIDES #5. This is the comic event that pits Captain Marvel and her friends against Iron Man and his friends over a new Inhuman named Ulysses. Ulysses can predict the future. Captain Marvel and her friends want to use Ulysses' powers to profile future crimes before they occur. Iron Man and her friends believe that it's really not fair to punish people for crimes that they haven't committed yet.

(Of course, Iron Man didn't have a problem with this concept back in the mid-90s when Marvel Comics published FORCE WORKS. Just saying...)

Anyway, Alpha Flight has sided with Captain Marvel. But they want to consult with the new Prime Minister about this situation and this consultation will take place in CIVIL WAR II: CHOOSING SIDES #5:
Alpha Flight — formally the Canadian peacekeeping force — is supportive of using Ulysses to stop disasters and capture people, but there are also ethical conflicts within the group, (writer Chip) Zdarsky noted. Despite being part of an international agency, the team feels they're "Canadian first" and seek out Trudeau for advice, he added.

"I didn't want this to just be like a walk-on ... rescued by superheroes and he thanks them and that's the end of the story," Zdarsky said. "I think a lot of these real-life appearances in comics tend to go that way. I liked the idea of him actually engaging them in an ethical debate.

"It's a little tricky just because once you start to put words in the prime minister's mouth, we acknowledge that this is basically Trudeau fan fiction," he added.

"I had to kind of think about where he would stand on something like that and how he would handle it. Hopefully, I did a good job. Maybe I'll get a call from him saying: 'How could you have me saying that to ... Iron Man?'"
CIVIL WAR II: CHOOSING SIDES #5 is scheduled to be published in late August 2016.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Pat Robertson: It's Just a Matter of Time Before the Supreme Court Strikes Down All Anti-Polygamy Laws!

I had the opportunity to check out the Bring It On segment on today's episode of CBN's "The 700 Club."

A viewer named Sam posed the following question about adultery and polygamy, which prompted Pat Robertson to predict that it's just a matter of time before polygamy is legalized here in the USA: "In Exodus, God gave Moses the Ten Commandments. The seventh commandment is 'Thou shall not commit adultery' but men continued to have more than one wife until the end of the Old Testament. My question is: Would that still technically be adultery?"

Here is Pat's answer:
It wasn't. They were marrying these women. And they had multiple wives. The kings did and others did. David had several wives. So that was certainly after Moses and that wasn't considered adultery. 

Which means one of these days -- trust me -- the laws concerning polygamy are going to be taken out because the only reason they have laws against polygamy is because it is said it is unbiblical and it is not Christian and therefore they shouldn't do it. And so if you can have all of the other things that the Supreme Court has ruled on, believe me they're going to say it's unconstitutional to forbid polygamy. 

We look at the New Testament. It says "Man should have one wife and be content with one wife rather than multiple wives." It's in the New Testament. But it wasn't adultery! Because they were married! They got married! The man looked after the wives. They were his wives. He had a covenant relationship with all of them. That's in the Book!
Check out the bolded section of Pat's words. Are those truly the only reasons that we do not allow polygamy in this country? Truly?? If so, then I agree with him that there's really no basis for banning plural marriages in this country.

Of course, it's not that simple. There are many other reasons why we don't allow polygamy in this country. Much of it is based off the federal government's disdain for the Mormon polygamists. But there are also issues of polygamist cults that do plural marriages in the cloak of secrecy and who abuse young girls. And there are also legal nightmares centering around issues of consent and inheritance when it comes to plural marital partners.

That said, even if laws banning plural marriages get struck down someday, I really don't see this becoming a common type of relationship outside of conservative religious communities and poly groups. Beyond that, I really don't see too many people agreeing to opening their marriage up into plural marriages.

You can watch the whole segment here.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Faux Pastor Jon's Shared Ministry Worship Service: Looking Back at Rev. Bill Johnson's Ordination // First Openly Gay Man Ordained as Minister within a Mainline Christian Denomination

I've been having one of those weeks where blogging is pretty much impossible to do. Not enough time for anything but work, errands, and special projects. One of the special projects that I worked on this week was worship service at Faith United Church of Christ in Iowa City. I've been a member of Faith UCC for nearly 20 years. At Faith UCC, we do something called "shared ministry." In part, it's a reminder that we are to minister to each other in all areas of the Church.

However, shared ministry also takes on a unique function at Faith UCC. Once every month, our pastor takes the week off and a member or a group of members plans and organizes Sunday worship. This Sunday was my shared ministry Sunday.

I had a much different plan originally for worship, but then last week I shifted gears and decided to do a special viewing of "A Position of Faith" (here and here) and talk a bit about Rev. William Johnson. Johnson was the first openly gay man to be ordained as a minister within a mainline Christian denomination. This was back in 1972 within the United Church of Christ. You can read more about Rev. Bill Johnson here.

My church has been an Open & Affirming Church for roughly 25 years. We welcome and affirm all members, regardless of sexual orientation. We have had LGBT members and leaders. LGBT members are allowed to join Council, to lead worship, to teach Sunday School, to do pretty much anything. We've had both gay and lesbian pastors in the past. The church performs wedding ceremonies for both opposite-sex and same-sex couples. The issue of LGBT inclusion is pretty much a non-issue for us.

But it was good for our church community to look back and see where we've come and to learn about our church heritage. And it was well-received by those in worship.

You can watch "A Position of Faith" here and here.




Saturday, June 25, 2016

Check Out Riverdale Podcast's First Bookclub Episode: Featuring ARCHIE Volume 1!

Longtime readers know that I'm a fan of the Riverdale Podcast. This is the best (and the only!!) fan podcast for Archie Comics. Jonathan Merrifield has been producing this podcast week after week for the past four years -- and I've had the good fortune to appear as a guest on the Riverdale Podcast several times over the past (including last March when I co-hosted Jonathan's anniversary AMA episode).

I had the pleasure of appearing on the latest episode of the Riverdale Podcast. I'm talking about Riverdale Podcast Episode #225!

Episode #225 was the very first Bookclub episode, featuring Jonathan and Barbara Ann and myself. We spent an hour dissecting and talking about ARCHIE Vol. 1 -- which was a lot of fun! You owe it to yourself to listen to this program and hear us talking about Archie's new outlook, Mark Waid, Fiona Staples, Annie Wu, Veronica Fish... and "Degrassi!" You owe it to yourself to download this episode of the podcast!

By the way, the three of us are planning to do one or two more before the summer is finished! So keep your eyes peeled for on the Riverdale Podcast website!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Mount Union, IA: City Government Votes to Disincorporate

I read a new story about the community of Mount Union, IA, that voted this past Tuesday evening to disincorporate. This is a community of 107 people.

News reports indicate that this decision follows "failed lawsuits filed by the city against an organization that built and operates the city's sewer system." I found a clearer explanation on Facebook about how we got to this point:
It wasn't just sewers. DNR says residents must bring old septic tanks up to date or else face thousands of $ in fines. To the rescue comes RUSS,rural utilities,sewer system or some big name. Put in new sewers, replace house lines,low hook up fees,,,but now monthly payment averaging $100 month or so. Residents are mostly elderly with limited income.before long city is in default for not collecting fees...RUSS sues ,city is broke, can't fix roads,mow ditches,remove snow, pay its own bills. Has no choice but to dissolve. Sadly after liquidation of a dump truck,tractor,city building,,,the sewer bill will still have to be paid.
This decision can be reversed if enough residents sign a petition requesting a special election. Otherwise, state officials will need to work with the government of Henry County to resolve Mount Union's debts and sell of the city's assets.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Gay Marriage in the USA -- 06/22/16

Marriage equality went national last summer. Not surprisingly, we've now seen a 33% increase in same-sex marriages since June 2015:
The latest estimates from Gallup released Wednesday show there are about 981,000 adults who are in gay or lesbian marriages, up from 734,000 a year ago. That translates into nearly a half million such marriages — an increase of 123,000 since June 2015.

Nearly one in 10 LGBT adults are married to a member of the same sex, up from 8% last year. That includes 10.5% of gay men and 8.8% of lesbians.

And nearly half of all LGBT couples who live together are married today, up from 38% a year ago. The increase has been slightly greater in states that did not have same-sex marriage until the Supreme Court ruled.
It seems that most of those thirty-three percenters got married within months of the Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court decision.

Check Out Kevin Keller's Latest Misadventures in LIFE WITH KEVIN #1!

The day has come. LIFE WITH KEVIN #1 -- featuring the adventures of twentysomething Kevin Keller -- has finally made its debut. LIFE WITH KEVIN isn't your typical comic book. You cannot find it at your local comic book store. You cannot find it at the book store. You can only purchase this title digitally.

I have my own problems with digital-only comic books. I don't mind digitally produced comic books. I just believe that they take away some of the spontaneity of getting a new comic book. It assumes that you like and enjoy Kevin Keller. There is little opportunity for me to discover this character as a new fan.

But I guess that this story will eventually be compiled in a print trade paperback. So that should allow for more tradition comic book readers.

LIFE WITH KEVIN features Kevin Keller on the evening before his first job. He's done with high school and he's graduated from college. He has his own vermin-infested apartment in New York City. And he's about to start his new production assistant/copy editor job at NYC-TV! Basically, he's a glorified gofer!


His first day goes about as well as you can expect for an Archie comic book! Kevin oversleeps. He gets doused with water. He rips his clothing while biking to work. He finds himself running the errands that nobody else wants to do. And he ends up making a fool of himself on national TV!

Meanwhile, we meet his new neighbor Chris -- a handsome young man who may or may not be interested in Kevin. He learn about an ex-boyfriend named Michael who will surely create drama for our star. And Kevin finds himself with a new roommate -- a newly poor Veronica Lodge, whose daddy cut her off financially. And why wouldn't you move to New York City when you have zero pennies to your name?

LIFE WITH KEVIN is "classic Archie." Artistically, it's clear that this is a continuation of Archie Comics' old line of comics. So this is a great opportunity for those who prefer to the "classic Archie" style to show the publisher that there is still an interest in their non-relaunch titles.

Also, this is the first of four issues. This is not an ongoing title. But it's a fun mini-series with promise for more adult adventures featuring Kevin Keller. Don't get me wrong. This isn't "Looking" or "Queer As Folk." But it's easier for Archie Comics to get behind romantic misadventures of their most famous gay character now that he's in his 20s than when he was in his teens!

"You're Gonna Make It After All! (Maybe)" features script, pencils, and colors by Dan Parent plus inks by J. Bone and letters by Jack Morelli.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Muscatine, IA: Sheriff's Office Report Mysterious "Men in Black" Along County Highways

The Muscatine County Sheriff's Office reported that they have received numerous reports of mysterious "Men in Black" near Muscatine, IA, in the recent past:
We have had several reports of "men dressed in black" entering the roadway in rural Muscatine County. We don't have any new information about these people, but we have also seen several posts on Facebook about the same type of activity. It would be extremely helpful to the Sheriff's Office, if you witness this type of activity, that you call 911 immediately. Your help is greatly appreciated.
Weeding through Facebook comments, this appears to be about people "wearing black with hoodies and jumping out of the ditches" on Highway 22. Other reports say "They are on foot jumping out of ditches as you are driving past them and then they have more people up the road waiting and they'll jump out as you drive by and watch you." Other people report that these men in black have appeared in people's yards and driveways.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

"Star Trek" Actor Anton Yelchin Killed in Accidental Car Collision at Age 27

Sad news tonight for fans of the rebooted "Star Trek" movie series. 27-year-old actor Anton Yelchin, known for his role as Chekov, was killed in a car accident earlier today:
His publicist Jennifer Allen confirmed the news in a statement: "Actor Anton Yelchin was killed in a fatal traffic collision early this morning. His family requests you respect their privacy at this time."

Yelchin was pinned by his own car as he left his home in Studio City for a rehearsal, said Los Angeles Police Department spokeswoman Jenny Houser.

"A fatal traffic collision occurred," Houser said. "It was the result of the victim's own car rolling backward down his steep driveway, pinning him against a brick mailbox pillar and security fence.
Paramount Pictures issued a statement regarding Yelchin's death:
All of us at Paramount join the world in mourning the untimely passing of Anton Yelchin. As a member of the Star Trek family, he was beloved by so many and he will missed by all. We share our deepest condolences with his mother, father and family.

Iowa City: Faith UCC at Iowa City Pride

Against my better judgement, I found myself organizing a booth at the Iowa City Pride Festival for my church, Faith United Church of Christ, yesterday. Church members prepared snacks and volunteered time at our booth. I was in charge of coordinating the volunteers, setting up the table, and bringing the water.

Of course, I didn't realize until yesterday morning that the church's banner was tucked away in some secret pocket. But Sherry (next to me in this pic) and I improvised and a makeshift church banner was drafted for our table!

With the exception of an hour and a half break in the middle of the afternoon, I sat at the booth with various members of our church (not to mention Husband Mark and little Chevy). Normally we just assure people that the food and water are both free and that we're not fishing for donations. We still got some of that.

But we fielded a lot of questions this year from people who were curious about our church. What do we believe? How would we describe our church? Is it trans-friendly? Is the membership mostly along the LGBT continuum? How do we respond to people traumatized by other church communities?

We gave out a lot of brochures and related materials. Hopefully some of these folks will check us out soon. Or they will find another church that meets their spiritual needs.

All in all, it was a great day and the time went quickly. Plus, we had plenty of shade for most of the afternoon. Bonus!!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Iowa City: Johnson County Board of Supervisors Passes Unanimous Resolution of Sympathy to the Victims of the Orlando Mass Shooting

It's Pride Day here in Iowa City!

In response to last weekend's mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, FL, the Johnson County Board of Supervisors issued a resolution of sympathy for the victims of shooting this past Thursday, June 16, 2016:
Resolution Expressing Sympathy to All Victims of the Orlando Shooting and Solidarity with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer/Questioning Individuals and the Communities that Support Them

Whereas, in the early morning hours of Sunday, June 12th, a gunman took the lives of 49 patrons and injured dozens more at Pulse, an Orlando nightclub that was known as a safe place for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning individuals as well as a community hub for HIV prevention, breast-cancer awareness and immigrant rights, among other causes; and

Whereas, the lives lost were innocent individuals whose futures were cut short and who leave loved ones to mourn; and

Whereas, we are shocked, saddened and angered by this senseless attack on individuals who are already too often the targets of hate, intolerance and bullying; and

Whereas, we stand with our Muslim neighbors and allies in denouncing these senseless acts of violence and oppose any efforts to attach blame to a particular faith or people.

Now, Therefore, be it resolved that we, the Johnson County Board of Supervisors, convey our deepest sympathy to the families and loved ones of the deceased and injured, that we further stand in solidarity with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning community in the aftermath of this tragedy, and we urge all people to reject violence, hatred and discrimination toward anyone on the basis of race, gender, disability, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or national origin.
The resolution was unanimously signed on 06/16/16 by each of the Johnson County Board of Supervisors: Rod Sullivan, Chairperson; Janelle Rettig, Mike Carberry, Lisa Green-Douglas, and Pat Harney.

Friday, June 17, 2016

"Wicked" Movie Coming in 2019!!

I'm a huge fan of Gregory Maguire's novel "Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West" and associated spin-offs and I really enjoy listening to the soundtrack to the Broadway musical, "Wicked," that was inspired by this novel. Unfortunately, I've never had the pleasure of watching the program. Now I'll get my chance!

Universal has announced plans for a "Wicked" movie adaptation!!

Unfortunately, we'll need to wait until late 2019 to see the movie.

Iowa City's LGBT Community Gathers for All Ages LGBTQ Prom & Health Care!

Speaking of prom, Husband Mark and I attended last night's LGBTQ Prom & Health Fair -- though I didn't dance and I had to leave in the middle of things to do some work-related tasks!

This was an all ages prom -- with special invitation to those aged 50 and older! One of my online friends asked if it was truly "all ages." I told her that not all ages were represented, but that I saw people in their teens and twenties all the way up into their sixties and even one in his seventies and one in her nineties!

A reporter from KCRG was present and they managed to get an article posted by 10:00 PM last night. They focused a lot on the mass shooting in Orlando on the newscast, but I didn't hear anyone discuss Orlando during my time at the dance.

Here is what the LGBTQ Prom was really about:
The Iowa City/Johnson County Senior Center, University of Iowa School of Social Work, Aging Studies Program and Just Living: A Social Justice Theme Semester hosted an LGBTQ Senior Prom on Thursday night. It was an event filled with dancing, lights, and music. 

The dance served as... a chance for older members of the LGBTQ community to experience something they may have missed when they were younger, according to organizer Jefri Palermo. 

"At least when I was coming up, if you were gay, you were closeted or you didn't go to prom," Palermo told us. "You weren't allowed to unless you were closeted or went with a straight person."
Husband Mark estimated that about 70 ended up attending the event.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Come to the LGBTQ Prom & Health Fair at 6:30 PM on Thursday, June 16, 2016, at the Center in Iowa City!

It's Pride Month! Iowa City has so many fun events happening this month, but the one that I'm going to is the LGBTQ Prom & Health Fair! It's scheduled to begin at 6:30 PM on Thursday, June 16, 2016. It will happen at The Center (28 S. Linn Street) in Iowa City. And it's FREE!!!


The LGBTQ Prom & Health Fair is especially aimed at those who are over the age of 50, but truly this dance is open to all!

Pat Robertson: Liberals Can't Decide Whether to Embrace Gays or Muslims!

Right Wing Watch captured this rant by Pat Robertson in response to the mass shooting at an Orlando, FL, gay club over the past weekend. As usual, Robertson's compassion towards the victims of this shooting (by and large, LGBT men and women) falls flat:
The Back story that I think you need to focus on today ladies and gentlemen is the dilemma of the liberals -- the so-called progressives -- because they have two favored groups. One, Muslims. Number two, the homosexuals. And suddenly they are finding that the Muslims in ten Muslim nations, there is a death penalty for practicing homosexuality. And as I believe reading the column by Hirsi Ali, there are about 40 pro-Muslim countries where homosexuality is somehow against the law. 

So we're looking at a favored group by the left, the homosexuals, and that in Islam is punishable by death or imprisonment or some sanction, so what are the left going to do? How are they going to describe it? And they don’t know quite what to do now. The fact that this Islamic gentleman opens fire in a gay nightclub and kills almost 50 homosexuals, that says something and it tells the fact that Islam is against homosexuality, so the liberals are going to be scrambling to find some rationale. I think they’re going to have a hard time doing it. 

In the meantime, Donald Trump is riding high because he said we should screen these people and he’s absolutely right. We should screen them. So the left is saying, ‘Oh you’re anti-Muslim, you’re racist’ and all this. Suddenly, that part of the narrative doesn’t play too well and they’re stuck as to what to do. But Trump is enjoying a victory.
Robertson then goes off on an attack on President Obama and then highlights that the Koran calls for death against gay people.

Of course, Pat Robertson fails to mention that he has repeatedly and recently called for the criminalization of homosexuality. He points out that the Koran calls for death to gays, but we are repeatedly reminded that a literal translation of the Bible also calls for death to gay people.

Robertson also fails to note that Donald Trump's plan to "screen these people" (i.e., Muslims) would not have kept this guy out of the United States because he was a natural born American citizen. And -- though it doesn't surprise me -- Robertson's ongoing concerns about religious liberties apparently only stretch from his own church's altar to their front door.

You can listen to the whole rant here.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Two Arrested After Numerous Pipe Bombs Were Found at Boone County Home

Authorities found explosives on a property outside Madrid, IA, earlier today.

It all started with a traffic stop in Boone County. The driver, Leanna Haidsiak, consented to a search of her vehicle and the sheriff deputy found 3 or 4 potential explosives. Deputies obtained a warred for Haidsiak's home and ended up finding several pipe bombs at her home, as well as materials needed to produce more pipe bombs.

Haidsiak was arrested, along with Tjaden Mallory -- who also lives in another building on this property. Charges are pending while the Boone County Sheriff Department investigate this case with the assistance of the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms. Meanwhile, officials with the State Fire Marshall's Office are detonating each of the pipe bombs.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Checking Out MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR #7

I have been interested in one of Marvel Comics' newest comic books, MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR, for a while. I've resisted the urge to pick it up because I buy a lot of other comic books. But I've begun pruning my pull-list recently. So I decided to check out the latest issue, MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR #7, this weekend while at my local comic book shop.

MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR involves an extremely smart girl named Lunella Lafayette who figured out that she carries a dormant Inhuman gene. Terrified about the uncertainty of terrigenesis, she grabbed a piece of Kree technology called the Omni-Wave Projector and planned to use it to keep her protected from the Terrigen Mists.

Unfortunately, the Omni-Wave Projector accidentally opened a time-portal that brought several prehistoric Killer Folk to the present -- along with our old friend Devil Dinosaur! Lunella (AKA Moon Girl, because her mind is always in the clouds) and Devil Dinosaur team up to defeat the Killer Folk and end up developing a bond with each other.

Which proves helpful for Lunella when she finds herself surrounded by a cloud of Terrigen Mists and ends up alone and vulnerable inside an Inhuman cocoon!

Which brings us to MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR #7! This issue begins two days later when Lunella's cocoon cracks open and our young hero emerges -- only to find that she's the same as before! No mutations. No powers. No nothing! Except for a pair of angry parents who have no clue where their daughter has been hiding for the past 48 hours!

(Of course, you would think that at least one of her parents is a potential Inhuman since her condition is an inherited condition...)

But life goes on. Lunella resumes her home routines. She gets back into school. And she begins fighting crime with her new dinosaur buddy and her various gadgets!

But everything comes to a head when she is confronted by a new Kree hero, Captain Kree, in his civilian identity! Captain Kree is a young Kree kid named Mel-Varr who has decided to prove some point by capturing an Inhuman. But since he's a kid, he's decided to focus on an easy target -- namely a newbie Inhuman named Lunella LaFayette who apparently has no actual powers!

Captain Kree infiltrates Lunella's classroom and manages to infuriate our young hero. Which results in the first manifestation of Moon Girl's powers! It seems that she can mentally switch places with Devil Dinosaur! Which seems cool, except that angry dinosaurs don't exhibit appropriate body basics in classrooms!


Meanwhile, Lunella finds herself trapped in Devil's body way down in their secret HQ!


How will she get things back to normal? Can she only do this with Devil Dinosaur or can Moon Girl switch bodies with anyone? And is this mind-switch only triggered by emotional surges or will she eventually gain the ability to swap bodies whenever she wants?

I don't know, but I'm really looking forward to picking up Issue #8 to get some of these questions answered!

"Cosmic Cuties: Growing Up Is Hard" is written by Brandon Montclare & Amy Reeder, with art by Marco Failla, colors by Tamra Bonvillain, and letters by VC's Travis Lanham.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Actress Lea Thompson to appear in HOWARD THE DUCK #9!

Did you ever watch the "Howard the Duck" movie back in the 80s? I did and I loved it. Seriously. I'm one of those people. I even got my older boy hooked on it for a while.

So I was excited to hear that Howard the Duck is teaming up with actress Lea Thompson (AKA Beverly Switzler in the movie) in his comic book. She showed up in the final page of HOWARD THE DUCK #8, but will be appearing throughout Issue #9.

The reason? Lea Thompson's hired Howard to help her find... herself!

Writer Chip Zdarsky had to get permission to get Thompson involved with the book (much like Dan Parent had to get everything approved with George Takei a few years back in KEVIN KELLER).

Here is some of what Zdarsky had to say about this upcoming issue:
What's the story that brings these two characters together all about? The fact that she's hiring him for a missing persons case suggests a possible meta aspect. 

Oh, it definitely gets meta, but in a way that works within the Marvel Universe and its continuity. Her appearance is actually so integral to the overall storyline of the past couple of years that I'm not sure what I would have done if she said, "No!" 

I don't want to give away too much, but Howard has had a rough go of it during our run and Ms. Thompson is the key that unlocks the reasons behind his streak of bad luck. She also gets to beat up some aliens.
You can read the entire interview here.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Hundreds of Witches Collectively Cast Hex on Stanford Rapist

I'm sure that you've heard the case of convicted rapist Brock Turner. He was an athlete at Stanford University who was discovered raping an unconscious woman. He was sentenced to six months in jail after his conviction, despite the recommendation for much stiffer sentencing by the prosecution and the victim, and could potentially be out of jail within three months.
The public, for the most part, was understandably upset with the weak sentence.

Lots of people complained. One group of witches decided to do something about it. Led by Melanie Hexen of Wilton, IA, hundreds of witches gathered online Tuesday evening to cast a mass hex on the Stanford rapist:
Led by Meanie Elizabeth Hexen, from Iowa, the witches performed their hexing ceremony... asking for Turner to be made impotent and suffer continuous pain. Dozen of the group even posted pictures of the pagan shrines used in their rituals online, including ceremonial daggers, statuettes and even a candle 'dipped in menstrual blood.'
This originally started out as a ritual for Hexen and her twelve coven sisters, but interest gradually spread to hundreds of other witches worldwide.

An event page was created by Hexen on Facebook, which included instructions on how to perform the hexing ceremony:
Followers were told to get a black candle, piece of string, and a representation of Brock Turner, nothing that the candle could be anointed with 'urine, menstrual blood or hexing oil.' Next, the hexers were told to draw a circle of power around themselves for protection -- with salt being recommended as a good material -- before marking 13 crosses on the candle and lighting it. After raising power by 'running, screaming, clapping or meditating,' the witches were told to wrap the icon of Brock with the string and say: 

'In the most holy name of Hecate, the Goddess of Life and Death, She who holds the key to the underworld, let this rapist meet justice. Let him be destroyed. Brock Allen Turner we hex you. You will be impotent. You will know constant pain of pine needles in your guts. Food will bring you no sustenance. In water, your lungs will fail you. Sleep with only bring nightmares. Shame will be your mantle. You will meet justice. My witchcraft is strong. Our witchcraft is powerful. The spell will work. So Mote it be.'
The witches also targeted Turner's father (for publicly speaking out against Brock's conviction and sentence) and Turner's judge (who sentenced him to six months in jail and minimized his crime).

Women's Restroom in Evanston, IL, Bombed // Suspect Identified & Taken into Custody

The culture warriors have been protesting Target stores for weeks because of the company's trans-inclusive bathroom policies. Mostly, this has been limited to protesters screaming in the stores and insulting employees and customers. It's now escalated to a bombing situation in one of their women's restrooms.

A small bomb exploded in the women's restroom at a Target in Evanston, IL:
Commander Joe Dugan says no one was inside the bathroom when the small explosion happened a little after 4 o'clock. It caused minor damage and no one was injured. Early indications are that a plastic bottle was used but no projectiles like nails or tacks were inside it. Investigators are gathering evidence including examining store security camera video.
A 44-year-old woman was subsequently identified as a "person of interest" and taken into custody. Police are still gathering information and no charges have yet been filed.

Evanston Police have pretty much dismissed the idea that this bombing is connected to Target's trans-inclusive bathroom policies or the subsequent protests: "there is no indication that the incident is related to any policies that the Target store has in place."

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

New JOSIE & THE PUSSYCATS Comic Book Series Coming Out in September 2016!!

OMG! Archie Comics announced today that they are launching a new JOSIE & THE PUSSYCATS comic book series!! It's scheduled to be published on 09/28/16:
The new series will feature Josie uniting the band to take their big shot at musical stardom, only to contend with the machinations of Alexandra Cabot, the ever-Machiavellian daughter of the Pussycats’ manager. 
The series will be written by Marguerite Bennett and Cameron DeOrdio and will feature art by Audrey Mok. Of course, there will be several variant covers -- including this great one by Francesco Francavilla.

I don't usually get into variant covers, but I really want that cover!!

National Enquirer: Richard Simmons is Now a Woman // Simmons' Publicist: "That's Crap!"

The tabloids -- most notably the National Enquirer -- are reporting that Richard Simmons has gone through a sex change surgery and is now going by the name Fiona:
After nearly 1,000 days in hiding and a sudden hospitalization, The National ENQUIRER can now reveal the bombshell reason why Richard Simmons is no longer the man his fans used to know: He’s changed into a woman! 

In an explosive world exclusive, The ENQUIRER can now reveal jaw-dropping never-before-seen photos of Simmons draped in furs and lingerie, living as a woman behind the walls of his Hollywood Hills mansion! 

Insisted a friend, “[This is] not just Richard Simmons in drag. This is Richard dressed as a softly spoken woman named Fiona!” 

Two years of secret surgeries have brought him to this point, said the source. From breast implants to hormones and more, he’s sparing no expense to make the transformation complete!
Simmons' publicist is flat-out denying these reports: "This is crap, but thanks!"

According to reports, the 67-year-old fitness guru was hospitalized last week to be treated for severe dehydration. There are pictures at the linked report of Simmons with a beard.

O Face Co-Owner Matthew Overmyer (Featured on "Bar Rescue") Arrested & Charged with Sexual Assault // UPDATED Below

(Originally written on 02/09/16): Remember the one time when Spike TV's "Bar Rescue" visited Iowa? Jon Taffer and his group went to the O Face Bar in Council Bluffs, IA, and -- for the first time in "Bar Rescue" history -- left the bar without rescuing it! (See here, here, here, here, and here for more info and related fallout). Two years later, O Face's owner is back in the news for something really, really bad!

Matthew Overmyer (age 35), owner of O Face Bar, was arrested late last week and charged with 2nd degree sexual abuse and assault with intent to commit sexual abuse:
The alleged abuse took place at a home in the 2300 block of Old Lincoln Highway in Crescent. Overmyer allegedly attacked an adult woman, who works at O Face Bar, at midnight Tuesday. According to the arrest affidavit, Overmyer reportedly used physical force, including choking, to have sex with the victim twice. The victim called several people after the alleged attack, and one source reportedly told Pottawattamie County criminal investigators that Overmyer tried to re-enter the room after the victim locked him out. The assault allegedly took place while Overmyer’s wife was out of town.
According to the Omaha World-Herald, Overmyer plans to plead not guilty to these charges and his attorney expects that the charges will eventually be dismissed.

If convicted, Overmyer faces up to 25 years in prison.

Updated on 06/08/16: It's June 2016 while I'm writing this update. Someone in the comments section asked for an update. I dig some digging and this is what I found.

Back in late March, the Omaha World-Herald New Service reported that his attorney filed court documents on 03/18/16 saying that Overmyer planned to rely on a "defense of intoxication." It was also reported that his trial date had been scheduled for May 10th.

I then checked Iowa Courts Online and that May trial date has ultimately been pushed back to the morning of July 26, 2016. It also looks like this will be a jury trial.

Beyond that, not much more has been reported. I will do my best to keep updated with this case.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Laura Day Celebration 2016 -- June 24-26, 2016! Check Out This Year's Schedule!

There are some really great things that happen here in Iowa during the summertime. One of those great events is the Laura Day Celebration in Burr Oak, IA.

The Laura Day Celebration is an annual community event that remembers Laura Ingalls Wilder. She and her family spent time living and working in Burr Oak. And if you ever pass through northeast Iowa, you owe it to yourself to check out the Laura Ingalls Wilder Park & Museum. It's open all summer and it's a wonderful piece of history.

But the weekend of June 24-26, 2016 (AKA Laura Day Celebration) is a special community event that combines the Burr Oak of yesterday with the Burr Oak of today with a whole bunch of fun!

Check out this year's schedule:

Friday, June 24, 2016
6:30 PM -- Wilder 5K Run

8:00 PM - 12:00 AM -- Entertainment by DJ Front Line

Saturday, June 25, 2016
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM -- Tours of the Masters Hotel every half hour

10:00 AM - 11:00 AM -- Children's Pioneer Games, Craft Demonstrations, Activities
                  (Tug of War; Sack Races; Corn Cob Dolls; Three-Legged Races; Stilts; Etc...)

11:15 AM -- Story Time Under the Trees

11:30 AM -- Checkers Tournament

12:00 PM -- Parade

12:30 PM -- Horse Rides

1:00 PM -- Story Time Under the Trees

1:15 PM -- Announcements & Recognitions:
                  2016 Little Miss Laura and Young Almanzo
                  Volunteer of the Year; Coloring Contest Winner

1:30 PM -- Pie Auction

1:45 PM -- Stage Show -- "A Portrayal of Laura Ingalls Wilder" by Jessica Michna

2:45 PM -- Raffle Drawing

2:45 PM -- Greased Pig Contest

3:00 PM -- Bean Bag Tournament

8:00 PM - 12:00 AM -- Entertainment by Country Cousins

Sunday, June 26, 2016
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM -- Ecumenical Pioneer Worship

11:00 AM -- Settler's Picnic

12:00 PM - 4:00 PM -- Museum Tours and Gift Shop

Personally, the 1:45 PM stage show featuring Jessica Michna in her portrayal of Laura Ingalls Wilder sounds really interesting to me. But the other activities sound fun too!

Check out the Facebook page for the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum for more information about the Laura Day Celebration and the museum.

Monday, June 6, 2016

My 2016 British Fest Experience!

I just got back from the latest British Fest. British Fest is a convention for people who enjoy British television, movies, games, and book. I have attended British Fest twice before (written about here and here) and have enjoyed these cons so much that I decided to return for a third time -- and also to prepare two different panels.

Husband Mark and I both actually managed to spend the entire weekend at British Fest this summer. Our son didn't think that he would enjoy the event so decided to spend time with Grandma Trouten instead, so it was nice to have some alone time without children or pets or work to serve at distractions.

British Fest 2016 started out on a somber note. Bill Breuer was to be a featured guest this summer. He had attended both previous British Fests, dressed as the 2nd Doctor Who. Bill's appearance was uncannily similar to Patrick Troughton and he was a really nice man. Unfortunately, he suffered a severe stroke last weekend and passed away early last week.


As a result of Bill's death, the schedule was shuffled around a bit at the last minute and the show moved on!

First thing Friday afternoon, I watched "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Death Star," which was a musical retelling of the "Star Wars" trilogy using costumes and puppets. It was pretty humorous and a great way to kick things off.

I then rushed over to the small panel room to get ready for my first panel: "Survivors 101." You know that I love "Survivors" if you've read this blog for long and I thought that British Fest would be a great opportunity to highlight this great post-apocalyptic science fiction series. It was a small group that attended this panel (and one of those attendees is married to me!!), but it was a great opportunity to highlight the 1975 series, the 2008 series, and the more recent audio dramas currently being produced by Big Finish.


I then attended a panel featuring Michael Henbury, British Fest 2016's main guest. Mr. Henbury is Britain's smallest man. He has also been featured in a variety of popular films, including "Return of the Jedi," "Willow," "Labyrinth," "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 2," and "The Chronicles of Narnia" television series. This particular panel was a Q&A event. I asked him a question about whether or not he got to read much of the "Return of the Jedi" script outside of his particular scenes (Answer: No). I also asked him if he has much of a history with the UK's version of the Little Persons of America (Answer: Yes, but mostly when he was younger) and if he was familiar with the "Little People, Big World" reality TV series (Answer: Yes, but not sure how "real" it is).


We then took off to grab some grub before returning for a very good panel about "The British Side of Stargate." It's been so long since I'd watched these programs and I'd forgotten how good they were!!

We then decided to head to our room for some rest.

Saturday ended up being a really fun day! I attended a panel called "Golden Age of British Kaiju." Basically, monster movies produced in the UK! Keep in mind that there were really only two British Kaiju monster movies: "Gorgo" and "Konga!" Both of these movies have connections to Charlton Comics. I haven't seen either movie, but I've read the entire KONGA comic book series. I was assured that "Konga" the movie was wonderfully awful! Which doesn't surprise me. But "Gorgo" is supposedly very good as monster movies go. I definitely need to check out these movies! The guy who created this panel said that he was nervous, but really did a great job at creating a fairly original panel and demonstrated a lot of great knowledge.


Mark and I then took a break so that we could grab some lunch, check out the vendors tables, and watch an old episode of "Doctor Who" (from the Troughton period).

I then introduced Mark to the "Timey Wimey Puppet Show." This is a puppet show that performs comedy sketches featuring various "Doctor Who" characters. Check out this puppet show if you ever get the chance. You won't regret it!

I then attended the "Countdown Game Show" panel. Audience members where selected to compete in a series of letter and number quizzes for a British teapot -- including me! I was one of the four attendees selected to compete! I won the first competition, but bombed during the final event! Basically, my brain fizzled when it came to the final math quizzes. It was embarrassing, but fun!

Next, I watched the "Bad Wolf Belly Dancers" perform a variety of "Doctor Who"-inspired dances. They were all so good! I was terribly impressed!

After supper and a bit of a rest, I sat through a recording of the "Honey and the Nerd Podcast," which is a paranormal-themed podcast. Among the topics that we discussed included whether or not paranormal investigation groups should be bonded, which reality TV shows featuring ghost hunters are actually "real," and whether or not there is a government conspiracy involving UFOs. I liked this group and would enjoy listening to their podcast more in the future. However, I cannot find it. I've been told that they broadcast on YouTube, but I cannot find it. So if you have a link to their YouTube channel, please post a link to it in the comments section!

Mark and I then wrapped up the evening with a fun panel devoted to "Are You Being Served?" This is a great classic Britcom. If you've never seen "AYBS," then you are missing out on something very wonderful! This panel consisted of a variety of great 'AYBS" clips. It was nonstop laughing for the better part of an hour!

Mark and I then attended one final panel first thing Sunday morning. This was my second panel titled "Midsomer Murders." Roughly one dozen people attended this panel, including some "Midsomer" fans as well as people who weren't terribly familiar with the program. I started with a montage from "The Killings at Badger's Drift" at the beginning of the panel using screen-grads from that particular episode to highlight why people love this program. We then reviewed the characters and the communities where "Midsomer Murders" is typically filmed. We then reviewed my list of top 10 murders from "Midsomer Murders."


People were really interactive during this particular panel and I had so much fun putting it together and then presenting to this bunch! It was a great way to end my British Fest 2016 experience!

Unfortunately, we needed to leave after my 10 AM Sunday panel because we had to travel to the far corner of the state in order to pick up our son! But I would gladly have stayed for the rest of British Fest if I'd had the chance!

We will most likely attend British Fest 2017. I have a few more panel ideas, which I have stored away in my iPad so that I don't forget! Also, I keep saying that I'm going to cosplay. I really need to invest some time and money into creating one or two costumes for next summer.

As always, I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who planned and organized this summer's British Fest. It takes a lot of time, energy, and commitment to pull things together -- and they did a good job of responding to some unexpected developments. Thanks again from Iowa City!

Alexander Kozak Guilty of 1st Degree Murder in 2015 Mall Shooting // Updated 06/06/16: Kozak Sentenced to Life in Prison without Parole

(Originally written on 04/25/16): There was a fatal mall shooting in nearby Coralville, IA. At 7:30 PM on 06/12/15, 22-year-old Alexander Kozak shot and killed 20-year-old Andrea Farrington in the Coral Ridge Mall. Kozak was arrested later that evening. He was charged with first-degree murder in connection to her death.

Both Kozak and Farrington had been employees at Coralridge Mall. The two had been friends for a while and shared a flirtatious relationship for a while. However, Farrington later felt unsafe within this relationship and began filing complaints of harassment and threats to their employer. Kozak was eventually fired on the evening of 06/12/15. He went home and returned with the weapon that he used to killed Farrington.

Kozak's trial was relocated to Story County, IA. The trial went from April 14th and lasted through today. There was no question about whether or not Kozak killed Farrington. He admitted as much. His defense team tried to mitigate the level of his responsibility by pointing out his diagnosis of intermittent explosive disorder and borderline personality disorder. (Jon's Note: I know way too many people with borderline personality disorder. This is a personality disorder that does not take away your ability to understand your actions. But the other diagnosis is an interesting defense, IMHO.)

His legal defense wasn't enough to protect Kozak from conviction. He was convicted of one count of first-degree murder earlier this afternoon. This carries a mandatory life sentence here in Iowa.

Updated on 06/06/16: Sentencing occurred today for convicted murderer Alexander Kozak. It was no surprise that Kozak was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole earlier today. Additionally, he will have to pay $150,000 in restitution to his victim's estate, as well as other costs incurred during the trial.

Given that he will be in prison for the rest of his life, I have no clue how Kozak will manage to pay off his restitution fees.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Trek Fest 2016: "Fifty Years of Star Trek" -- June 24-25, 2016! Check Out This Year's Schedule!

The Riverside Area Community Club has announced the full itinerary of this month's Trek Fest XXXII, over in nearby Riverside, IA. Trek Fest is an annual celebration of the official future birthplace of Captain James T. Kirk. In past years, they have pulled in actors from the original Star Trek television series, but most years it's an excuse to have a lot of fun with a bit of a small town science fiction flavor.

This year's TrekFest schedule is pretty similar to last year's events.

Saturday's parade will feature three Grand Marshalls: Robert Schneider Sr. (Riverside's Mayor during the first Trek Fest), Robert Schneider Jr. (Riverside Councilman), and Allen Schneider (Riverside's current Mayor) -- AKA "Three Generations of Service to Riverside!"

Here are the highlights:

Friday, June 24, 2016
5:00 PM -- Food Booth & Beer Gardens!

5:00 PM -- Carnival Rides!

6:30 PM -- Kids Parade! (Registration starts at 6:15 PM)

7:00 PM -- Pet Show! Big & Small Pets Welcome!

7:00 PM -- Trek Trivia Contest!! at the Railroad Park Pavilion

8:30 PM -- Movie in the Park! "Big Hero 6" at Hall Park

9:00 PM -- Sky-Watching with the Cedar Amateur Astronomers, Inc.

Saturday, June 25, 2016
8:00 AM -- 5 K Race!

8:00 AM -- 1 Mile Fun Run!

9:00 AM -- Volleyball Tournament!

10:00 AM -- Parade with the theme "Fifty Years of Star Trek"!

11:00 AM -- Sci-Fi Swap Meet!

11:00 AM -- Business Exhibition Booths!

11:00 AM -- Carnival Rides!

11:00 AM -- Kid's Face Painting!

12:00 PM -- Tom and the Tribbles! (Folk, Old Time, Bluegrass, Patriotic, & Pop Music)

12:00 PM -- Scholarship Awards!

12:00 PM -- Enterprise Mission! (Star Trek Scavenger Hunt)

12:00 PM -- Federation Games!

12:00 PM -- Videothon!

1:00 PM -- Costume Contest!

1:00 PM -- Skip Slaughter Weight Lifting Contest!

1:00 PM -- Bingo!

2:30 PM -- Kids Tractor Pull!

2:30 PM Bill Riley Talent Show!

3:00 PM -- Golf Cart Rodeo!

5:00 PM -- Demolition Derby! It's $10 for Adults to attend; $5 for children aged 6-12; and free for kids who are 5 & under.

8:00 PM -- Rider Company Band!

10:00 PM -- Stumptown Shooters Fireworks!

I found this year's schedule on the Riverside Area Community Club's Facebook page, as well as the 2016 Trek Fest Facebook event page. Their webpage has not yet been updated to include their schedule.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Christian Singer Trey Pearson of Everyday Sunday Comes Out as Gay Man (Which Tempted Me into an Online Facebook Fight over the Story of Sodom!!)

A story was released yesterday that Trey Pearson, the lead singer of a Christian rock band called Everyday Sunday, came out to his fans as a gay man. I don't know anything about Trey Pearson or Everyday Sunday. The group is apparently a big thing. They have sold roughly a quarter of a million albums since 2001. I'm sure that they are good musicians. My hunch (give what usually happens when Christian singers come out as gay or lesbian) is that the Christian music industry will drop him from circulation.

I read this article and then an updated edition of the "That God Show" podcast downloaded onto my iPad, which included an interview with Pearson. This is what I've learned about Pearson over the past 24 hours. He's 35. He became a born again Christian when he was really young. He recognized that he wasn't quite straight when he was young, but thought -- due to propaganda from his church community -- that marrying a woman would straighten him out. He didn't even kiss a girl until he got married. He continued to struggle internally. He and his wife had kids. He and his wife struggled with their mixed-orientation marriage. He eventually came out. Now they are separating and in the process of getting divorced.

Trey came out to his fans with the following letter:
To my fans and friends:

Most of us reach at least one pivotal moment in our lives that better defines who we are.

These last several months have been the hardest – but have also ended up being the most freeing months — of my life.

To make an extremely long story short, I have come to be able to admit to myself, and to my family, that I am gay.

I grew up in a very conservative Christian home where I was taught that my sexual orientation was a matter of choice, and had put all my faith into that. I had never before admitted to myself that I was gay, let alone to anyone else. I never wanted to be gay. I was scared of what God would think and what all of these people I loved would think about me; so it never was an option for me. I have been suppressing these attractions and feelings since adolescence.  I’ve tried my whole life to be straight. I married a girl, and I even have two beautiful little kids. My daughter, Liv, is six and my son, Beckham, is two.

I had always romanticized the idea of falling in love with a woman; and having a family had always been my dream. In many ways, that dream has come true. But I have also come to realize a lot of time has passed in my life pushing away, blocking out and not dealing with real feelings going on inside of me. I have tried not to be gay for more than 20 years of my life. I found so much comfort as a teen in 1 Samuel 18-20 and the intimacy of Jonathan and David. I thought and hoped that such male intimacy could fulfill that void I felt in my desire for male companionship. I always thought if I could find these intimate friendships, then that would be enough.

Then I thought everything would come naturally on my wedding night. I honestly had never even made out with a girl before I got married. Of course, it felt anything but natural for me. Trying not to be gay, has only led to a desire for intimacy in friendships which pushed friends away, and it has resulted in a marriage where I couldn’t love or satisfy my wife in a way that she needed. Still, I tried to convince myself that this was what God wanted and that this would work. I thought all of those other feelings would stay away if I could just do this right.

When Lauren and I got married, I committed to loving her to the best of my ability, and I had the full intention of spending the rest of my life with her. Despite our best efforts, however, I have come to accept that there is nothing that is going to change who I am.

I have intensely mixed feelings about the changes that have resulted in my life. While I regret the way I was taught to handle this growing up, how much it has hurt me and the unintentional pain I have brought Lauren, I wouldn’t have the friendship I now have with her, and we wouldn’t have our two amazing, beautiful children. But if I keep trying to push this down it will end up hurting her even more.

I am never going to be able to change how I am, and no matter how healthy our relationship becomes, it’s never going to change what I know deep down: that I am gay. Lauren has been the most supportive, understanding, loving and gracious person I could ever ask for, as I have come to face this. And now I am trying to figure out how to co-parent while being her friend, and how to raise our children.

I have progressed so much in my faith over these last several years. I think I needed to be able to affirm other gay people before I could ever accept it for myself. Likewise, I couldn’t expect others to accept me how I am until I could come to terms with it first.

I know I have a long way to go. But if this honesty with myself about who I am, and who I was made by God to be, doesn’t constitute as the peace that passes all understanding, then I don’t know what does. It is like this weight I have been carrying my whole life has been lifted from me, and I have never felt such freedom.

In sharing this publicly I’m taking another step into health and wholeness by accepting myself, and every part of me. It’s not only an idea for me that I’m gay; It’s my life. This is me being authentic and real with myself and other people. This is a part of who I am.

I hope people will hear my heart, and that I will still be loved. I’m still the same guy, with the same heart, who wants to love God and love people with everything I have. This is a part of me I have come to be able to accept, and now it is a part of me that you know as well. I trust God to help love do the rest.
So there's that.

By the way, did I mention that I discovered this story on the Gay Christian Network's Facebook page? Naturally, the FB post attracted a lot of comments from LGBT Christians and supporters. But it also attracted a group of anti-gay Christian trolls. Because they have nothing better to do than try chipping away at the faith of other Christians.

One particular troll went off on this rant about how God hates homosexuality and you can know because "he destroyed Sodom and Gohmorrah (sp) on account it." As she said, "homosexuality is the one and only reason God destroyed it (Sodom)."

So I commented with "Ezekiel 16:49: Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy."

This troll then told me that I need to read the rest of the chapter. "It has nothing to do with feeding the poor."

So I posted a link to the entire Ezekiel 16, which had nothing to do with homosexuality. Though there were references to prostitution.

She then yelled at me: "Jon Trouten , YOU WILL FIND LOTS OF LIES OUT THERE TO SUPPORT YOUR SIN...BUT IT'S ABOUT Killing The Sin SON."

Which prompted me to shake my head and comment: "Whatever. Meanwhile, people like Trey Pearson on continuously pressured into believing that God will transform them into heterosexuals if they just try hard enough. And then they make heterosexual spouses part of their change effort and then they get kids and the change never happens and neither spouse is equally yoked or content within these marriages. It's nice for people like you to pile on against us. But we see the results of your lies. We've seen the lives and the families and their collective faith that's been poisoned because of your lies." I then remarked that she did a good job of telling us that Sodom is only concerned about Sodom and then ignoring scripture that directly contradicts her statement.

That went over like a lead balloon. "Jon Trouten , since you are so "BENT" on your sin of homosexuality, you just go ahead and live for your father Satan, he will make sure you are good and comfortable living in that sin, but like I said brother, I fear for your soul, may you decide to repent Before Jesus Christ before Satan drags you into hell."

I suggested that she fear for her own soul and then reminded her of 1 Timothy 2:12. That's the sexist verse that instructs women to remain silent and to certain not instruct men about Biblical matters. It was a low blow and I normally disagree with that instruction. But I was feeling feisty. Seriously. I'm terribly sorry...

Anyway, another troll joined in and told me that I need to read the King James Version of the Bible because there is so much meaning that I'm missing out on compared to the other liberal versions of the Bible. So I linked to the KJV of the Bible for Ezekiel chapter 16. Still no mentions of homosexuality.

The anti-gay troll then told me that I have no Biblical discernment, because if I did, "you would know that God sent in a messenger to warn that unless they (the homosexuals) repented of their sins, that he was going to destoy Sodom and Gohmorrah and they (just like you) would not listen, so he destroyed it."

Which made me scratch my head. "Your own discernment is shaky. An entire community was gay (except for the guy who got drunk and had sex with his daughters after his wife went all salty on him)? It seems to me that you are just trying to make it all about homosexuality based off that attempted gang rape scene right before everything went up in smoke so that you don't need to look inward at how you treat the poor and the needy in your circle of the world."

She then began citing John 7:7, but quoting from Romans 1. Repeatedly. Which made me laugh. But then made me remember that I'm dealing with someone who thinks that Christianity is all about kicking down the gays and less about connecting with Christ.

And that's how I wasted a portion of my evening yesterday. 

Happy Coming Out Day, Trey Pearson!