Saturday, December 30, 2017

Anonymous Neighbor Shames Grieving Family for Not Putting Up Christmas Decorations Immediately After Their Mother Died

The people who live on Shady Glen Avenue in Vacaville, CA, are apparently required to decorate their homes with Christmas decorations. The neighborhood is temporarily renamed Lollipop Lane and visitors clog up the street in order to check out gaudy lights and blow-up spectacles.

One of the residents who lives on Lollipop Lane neglected to decorate their yard this year. She got their priorities out of whack and instead focused on caring for and grieving over her dying mother.

Because of this, she received a nasty letter from some anonymous neighbor:

To live on Lollipop Lane & Candy Cane Lane is an honor and a privilege.

The honor, privilege and the huge responsibility of decorating the houses is a decades old tradition that the residents of Candy Cane Lane and Lollipop Lanes take very seriously.

A tradition the entire city of Vacaville & surrounding communities love and have enjoyed for decades.

It is completely unacceptable to NOT decorate a house for Christmas if you live on Candy Cane Lane or Lollipop Lane.

Those that will not respect this long standing tradition to decorate their house on Candy Cane Lane and Lollipop Lane should not be living on these special streets.

It is extremely disrespectful, rude and selfish to not decorate a house on these two special and unique streets for the holidays. And tens of thousands of people wish all the Scrooges would not destroy our cities (sic) traditions for their own selfish reasons.
According to this article, the grieving family is already planning for next year's outdoor Christmas decorations.

Which is more than I would do. I already dislike decorating indoors for Christmas. It's a lot of work for a short amount of time. I'm busy. And I'm just going to have to box everything back up in a few weeks. So decorating outside is out of the picture!

I'm passive-aggressive enough that I would have gladly used that anonymous letter to justify my official lifelong retirement from outside decorating over the holidays!

Friday, December 29, 2017

"Fuller House" Season 3 Wraps Up on Netflix with a Trip to Tokyo & a Surrogacy Adventure!

The second half of the third season of "Fuller House." It dropped on Netflix last weekend, but I was too busy with Christmas family fun-time to watch any of the episodes until after Christmas.

The first episode took us to Tokyo for a very special wedding episode -- that included a Japanese boy band, a cat cafe, a culturally offensive Kabuki dance, and a ring-snatching CGI Koi fish. To top it all off, the wedding never happened and DJ Fuller became a single woman by the time she returned to America!

Much of the rest of the season focused on Stephanie's desire to become a mother via surrogate parent -- with Kimmy Gibbler as the chosen surrogate mom! Lots of bonding time between the two women along with questioning if the embryo implantation actually worked. Did I mention that the baby daddy will be Jimmy Gibbler, Kimmy's brother? Oh Mylanta!

The final two episodes celebrated the 30th anniversary of the "Full House"/"Fuller House" franchise, reuniting DJ, Steph, and Kimmy with Danny, Jesse, and Joey for their "Daddiversary" (i.e., the celebration of the day when Jesse and Joey joined the family and helped raise the girls -- along with long-absent sister Michelle. Everything wraps up with promises for easier access to the older members of the family as everyone decides to move back to San Francisco!

(Theme Song Playing on the Radio)
All in all, it was a fun half-season of predictable sitcom enjoyment with promises for more family fun when the series (presumably) returns for a fourth season!

"Riverdale" Renewed for Third Season!!

Great news for fans of The CW's "Riverdale" television series... It's been renewed for a third season!!

No clue what will happen in the new season. Hopefully we will see more of Josie, Kevin, and Reggie.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

UnityPoint in Cedar Falls, IA, to Open LGBTQ Health Clinic in January 2018

UnityPoint Clinic in Cedar Falls, IA, has announced the opening of an LGBTQ Clinic at its Prairie Parkway location beginning 01/03/18. The goal is to more effectively attend to the healthcare needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning people.

These are the service provided within this clinic:
• Primary care and routine exams
• Vaccinations
• Routine cancer screening
• Contraceptive management
• STI testing and treatment
• Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)
• Hormone therapy
• Post-surgical care following gender affirming procedures
UnityPoint Clinic LGBTQ opens effective January 3rd. It will be open on the first and third Wednesday of each month from 5-7 PM.

There is a similar LGBTQ Clinic operated in nearby Coralville through the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

How "Coronation Street" Broke Up their One Set of Same-Sex Parents on Christmas Day

I was away visiting family over Christmas and have just gotten back into town this evening. I've spent the evening catching up with the Christmas episodes of "Coronation Street" on BritBox -- and I'm feeling kind of let down. I've been watching "Coronation Street" regularly since October. One of the stories that's grabbed my attention is the adoption of young Summer by Todd and Billy. But that's pretty much over, partially due Bruno Langley (AKA Todd Grimshaw) pleading guilty to two counts of sexual assault and subsequent firing from the program.

Here is how the show is handling things. Over the past few months, "Corrie" had it revealed that Billy (the local vicar) was involved in a robbery and hit & run accident years before. He wasn't the driver, but didn't report the accident and a former regular (Sarah Barlow) was killed off. Mind you, this was years ago and Sarah wasn't killed by a hit & run driver at the time. But needs must, I guess.

Anyway, Billy turned his life around and became a vicar and then settled down in the same neighborhood where he had previously committed criminal acts. His life has become intricately involved with the various members of the Barlow family and he recently realized that he'd been involved with Sarah's death. He's spent the past month trying to make amends for her death with the Barlow family in different ways, but -- only through Todd's intervention -- had refrained from confessing to his involvement with her death.

Until last week... He ended up getting involved in a random near-death incident last week and confessed to his involvement in Sarah's death to her twin brother, Peter Barlow. Instead of going to the police, Peter decided to enact a revenge plan. He contacted Summer's biological grandmother and gave her enough information to demonstrate that Billy is an unfit parent. This led to a shadowy approximation of Todd swooping away with Summer for parts unknown -- hence their departure from the program and from Billy's life.

Peter then locked Billy in the trunk of his cab and hid him away out in the wilderness. His original plan was to scare Billy and ruin his life. He was going to leave Billy out in the wilderness. However... Billy stumbled and fell off a cliff on Christmas Day!!

And that's when we learned that Billy is immortal! Not really, but he somehow survived this remarkable fall -- and now he's stuck in the hospital with lots of broken bones and no clue about Todd's whereabouts.

Peter has confessed to the rest of the Barlow family so everyone -- including Adam Barlow (AKA Sarah's son, AKA Todd's law partner) -- and they have pulled ranks. Ken Barlow, the family patriarch, struck an uneasy deal with Billy in the hospital in order to protect Peter from a likely prison sentence. Billy is to tell everyone that he simply fell off the cliff and they will keep his secret about Sarah. Nobody is happy with the deal, but what's the alternative?

Of course, this secret will come out eventually. Adam is already secretly plotting revenge against Billy and Billy will be stupid enough to remain on Coronation Street instead of running as far as possible.

And that is how "Coronation Street" broke up their one set of same-sex parents on Christmas Day.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

The Vixens Stand Revealed in B&V: VIXENS #2 // Plus, Bubbles McBounce Makes Her Riveting Return to Archie Comics!!

I sat down this morning to read my weekly comic book purchases, including BETTY & VERONICA: VIXENS #2. I'm still warming to this title, but one obscure character from the world of Little Archie has completely sold me on this title. I'm talking about Bubbles McBounce!!

Bubbles was a fat little girl who was frequently teased about her weight -- but don't feel too sorry for this young girl. Bubble McBounce gave as good she got!

If you listened to this episode of "Riverdale Podcast," you'll know that Bubbles McBounce is the one Archie Comics character that I would really like to see revisited as part of the Relaunched Archieverse! This doesn't quite fulfill that wish, but it's close!

We finally learned the identities of the Vixen gang from left to right: Ethel Muggs, Toni Topaz, Betty Cooper, Veronica Lodge, Midge Klump, and (another blast from the past) Evelyn Evernever!

I'm less familiar with Evelyn, but she was a peripheral character from Little Archie's characters.

This issue of the book walks us through the Vixens' creation and why each member was recruited. It also established a base of operations for our newby biker gang: The Motor Motel, which exists on the outskirts of Riverdale.

B&V: VIXENS #2 features writing by Jamie Lee Rotante, art by Eva Cabrera, coloring by Elaina Unger, and lettering by Rachel Deering.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Muscatine, IA: Santa Claus Gives Present to Embattled Mayor & Coal to City Council Members

I've written quite a lot over the past year about the conflict between the city leaders over in Muscatine, IA. The City Council impeached Mayor Diana Broderson using seemingly trumped up charges, only to have the mayor's impeachment overturned in court and then win re-election in November.

Mayor Broderson swore in the new city councilors and thanked the outgoing council members at last night's City Council Meeting. It was then time for public comment and the public comments were pretty mundane

And that's when the fun began...

Then the jingle-bells began clanging followed by a "Ho! Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas!" from off-camera. Someone dressed as Santa Claus entered the room carrying a huge bag. Santa pulled out a present for Mayor Broderson and offered the following commentary:
I'd like to give the Mayor some candy kisses for all the grief and aggravation that you've had to do this year. The way that you handled everything and way that you've done it with grace and beauty. I wish you a Merry Christmas
Mayor Broderson thanked Santa and any other elf would have taken this cue to leave the Council Chamber. But Santa persisted...

He then pulled out a Milky Way candy bar for Alderman Bob Bynum, who wasn't at last night's meeting, and then began passing out lumps of coal to the rest of City Council members and to the City Administrator.

People began objecting once the coal came out and Santa was escorted from the meeting.  City Administrator Gregg Mandsager then announced that Santa has now been banned from City Hall for six months.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Zach Wahls Announces Campaign for Iowa State Senate District 37

Remember Zach Wahls? He's the young man who became famous back in 2011 for his impassioned testimony against a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in front of the Iowa legislature. That evening, he spoke glowingly about being the son of two mothers. You can (and should) watch his speech here.

He announced earlier today that he is launching a campaign for Iowa State Senate District 37. The incumbant, Democratic Senator Bob Dvorsky, announced recently that he will not be running for re-election in 2018. Wahls plans to seek Dvorsky's seat, running on a campaign focused on healthcare, education, and workers' rights.

Here is his announcement from Twitter:
Remember that young man from Iowa who spoke to the Iowa legislature a few years ago about growing up with two moms? Hi. That was me — and today, I'm announcing my campaign to join the Iowa legislature. I hope you'll support our campaign. I am running for Iowa Senate District 37, which is my home. It is where I grew up, where I went to high school, where I got my first job, and where I started my first business. I'm running for a simple reason: our state is at a crossroads that will define the future of our state for generations to come...

No state in the country had a bigger swing from Obama in 2012 to Trump in 2016 than Iowa did. Iowa Republicans took over our state legislature and immediately began to dismantle our state's social foundation.

On health care: our state is experiencing a mental health crisis, and Iowa ranks dead last in the county — 51st! — in terms of public psychiatric beds per capita. Suicide rates are spiking in our rural communities, and Republicans are shutting down mental health facilities. Medicaid privatization has been a disaster that is costing our state hundreds of millions of dollars. It is hurting tens of thousands of people, including right here in our district.

On Education — instead of making college *more* affordable for Iowans, Republicans are going in exactly the opposite direction, slashing $55M from higher education. I was fortunate enough to graduate debt-free from the University of Iowa, for which I am incredibly grateful. We need *more* people graduating with *less* debt — Iowa Republicans are pushing the exact opposite. Further, Iowa Republicans dramatically restricted the growth of K12 spending which hurts both students and teachers. On *top* of that, Iowa GOP gutted collective bargaining for public employees, including public school teachers. We have to restore the growth in K12 spending, we have to protect everybody's right to form a union, and we have to recommit ourselves to building a strong social foundation for all Iowans.
You can endorse Zach Wahls' campaign and contribute financially towards its success here.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Milwaukee Priest Makes Headlines for Coming Out as Gay

A Milwaukee priest came out as gay earlier this week. Fr. Gregory Greiten came out to his congregation at St. Bernadette Parish this past weekend on 12/17/17 before publishing his coming out announcement in the National Catholic Reporter:
Today, I break the silence and emerge free from the shackles of shame placed upon me at a young age. There is so much to speak about, to repair and to heal — much beyond the limits of these words in print. I am gay.
He's still celibate. He still disagrees with same-sex marriages and relationships. He still supports an institution that's hostile towards gay families. But he wants to move the Catholic Church leadership away from a culture where gay priests are forced to live in silence about their own same-sex attractions.

In his essay, Father Greiten apologized to LGBT people for harm caused by the Church and its leaders. And he invites us to worship in his church.

(Jon's Note: Or you you check out a church community where LGBT inclusion and leadership has been a given for years.)

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Disney World Adds Robotic Trump to Its "Hall of Presidents"

Walt Disney World has reopened its "Hall of Presidents," featuring an Animatronic version of President Donald Trump.

I've been to the Magic Kingdom Park before, but don't remember the Hall of Presidents. As with every sitting president has done since the early 1990s, this Robo Trump gives a little speech to visitors.

I was reading this article and learned that the Hall of Presidents has been closed for renovations since January. There was some speculation that Disney World had shut down the exhibit in order to avoid including President Trump.

Additionally, a petition was created earlier this year calling on Disney World to not have the Robo Trump speak, given his ongoing offensive comments during his candidacy and presidency. More than 15,000 people signed that petition.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Bingo Wilkin (AKA That Wilkin Boy) Makes His Archie Horror Debut in JUGHEAD: THE HUNGER #2!

I continue to enjoy Archie Comics' new JUGHEAD: THE HUNGER comic book series. Issue #2 follows up where we left off in the previous issue. That issue ended with Jughead seemingly waking from a lycathropic romp next to the bloodied body of some carny.

Now everyone is after Jughead... Betty the Werewolf Hunter, Archie, Betty's cousin Bo, all of the carnies, and all of the local police... And I'm not even sure that Jughead is the killer at this point!

In this issue, Jughead was nearly captured by some local cops when another werewolf with Wolverine-like claws showed up to save the day! The werewolf in question? Bingo Wilkin!

That's right! Reports that That Wilkin Boy had been killed by the Riverdale Ripper were extremely exaggerated back in the series' one-shot pilot issue.

I'll be glad to see Bingo Wilkin on a regularly basis in this book. That Wilkin Boy was a great character in a great comic book and really doesn't deserve to languish in comic book limbo. Surely, his prospects for showing up in a future "Riverdale" story line or (perish the thought!!) his own "That Wilkin Boy" sister series increases each time he shows up in one of the comic books!

"Run Like a Wolf" Part 2 features storytelling by Frank Tieri, artwork by Pat & Tim Kennedy and Joe Eisma, inks by Bob Smith, coloring by Matt Herms, and lettering by Jack Morelli.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Blondie to Appear in THE ARCHIES #6 in March 2018!

Archie Comics announced yesterday its latest real life celebrity guest star to appear in THE ARCHIES: Debbie Harry! This music icon will be appearing in the sixth issue of this comic book series:
“Blondie have always been one of the best looking and best sounding bands in rock music,” says Joe Eisma. “I’m very excited for them to appear in The Archies—I can’t think of anything cooler than pairing Debbie Harry with Betty and Veronica!” Blondie’s cool factor has stayed strong for decades, and Alex Segura echoes his collaborator’s sentiments about the band appearing in their series. “What’s cooler than Blondie? Their music was formative for me in college, and no lead singer had the distant, smooth calm of Debbie Harry - with a ton of verve and a killer, unique voice. Getting the chance to write them, and showcase a band that’s still relevant and kicking butt is going to be a lot of fun, and a perfect way to close out the first year on the book.”
Debbie Harry will meet up with the Archies in March 2018!

The Black Hood's Identity Finally Revealed in This Week's "Riverdale"

Hopefully you watched "Riverdale" this past Wednesday. It was the mid-season finale episode and a Christmas-themed episode at that.

Since Fred Andrews was shot at the end of Season One, people have been curious about the identity of the Black Hood.

I was convinced until recently that Sheriff Keller would turn out to be the Black Hood. And we learned in this week's episode that I was completely wrong!

So who was the Black Hood? It was no other than Joseph Svenson (FKA Joseph Conway)! That's right! The masked vigilante who shot Fred Andrews and killed Ms. Grundy and then shot Moose Mason and then killed the Sugar Man was none other than Riverdale High's beloved janitor!

Do you remember when we learned about the Riverdale Reaper? He was a mysterious man who killed a family of four -- the Conways -- in their home many years back. It turns out that one of the Conway children -- young Joseph Conway -- hid under the bed and watched as his family was murdered. He later escaped and pointed out the killer to several of the townsfolk, who ended up burying the Reaper alive.

Years later, Joseph -- who'd been renamed Joseph Svenson -- revealed to his caretakers that he might have identified the wrong man. In other words, it's possible that the real Riverdale Reaper is still out there. But more importantly, an innocent man may have been horribly murdered because of information that Joseph had given those people!

A lot of people are still waiting for some sort of fake-out. Mr. Svenson appeared in only three episodes and it seems like the Black Hood should have been someone more integral to the overall series.  But the show's creators have told us that Mr. Svenson was indeed the Black Hood.

Did you guess the Black Hood's identity? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

"New Warriors" Live Actions TV Series Coming to Freeform Channel in 2018 -- Featuring Squirrel Girl!! // Updated Below: Full New Warriors Roster Revealed!!

(Originally written on 04/05/17): I just heard some very good news! Marvel Comics will be getting a new live action television series featuring the New Warriors! And while I generally like the New Warriors, I'm even more excited to learn that this version of the New Warriors will feature one of my favorite Marvel Comics superheroes: Squirrel Girl!!

"New Warriors" will be a half-hour live action comedy series. It will launch in 2018. So far, Squirrel Girl is the only character who has been revealed for the team. But I'm already sold!!

Updated on 04/19/17: The full roster for Freeform's "New Warriors" comedy series has been released and it's a surprising mix of classic Warriors, former Warriors, and never-before Warriors!

In addition to Squirrel Girl and Tippy Toe, this team of New Warriors will include Night Thrasher (celebrity YouTube hero/entrepeneur), Speedball (hero wannabe who has the ability to toss out kinetic balls of energy -- unsure if this version can bounce like the comic book version), Debrii (telekinetic lesbian who tells it like it is), Microbe (shy hypochondriac with the ability to telepathically talk with germs), and Mister Immortal (the man who cannot die).

"New Warriors" will make its debut on Freeform alongside another new show, "Cloak and Dagger."

Updated on 12/13/17: There is a great picture circulating that features the cast of the new "New Warriors" television series:

I'm really excited about this new show!

Anonymous Mother Complains that Religious Bakery Refused to Make Rainbow-Layered Cake For Her Daughter's 17th Birthday // Bought Peach Cake Instead

I really haven't been following the story of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, CO. I'm aware of the basics: a gay couple sought a wedding cake from the business and they were turned away based off the owner's religious beliefs against homosexuality. The couple filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission who found that the business clearly and admittedly discriminated against the couple on the basis of sexual orientation, which is a protected class in the state of Colorado. The business appealed this decision and it was recently heard by the US Supreme Court -- and most likely LGBT protections will be dealt a severe blow because of this case.

Anyway, I just read a news story of a mother from Littleton, CO, who appears to be doing her best to grab a bit of the rainbow -- albeit anonymously. Anony-Mom reached out to ABC Denver-7 to report that she once tried to purchase a rainbow-themed designer birthday cake from Masterpiece Cakeshop for her daughter's 17th birthday, but her cake order was refused:
In February, the woman said she called Masterpiece Cakeshop to order a 17-layer birthday cake with rainbow frosting, only to be told the owner doesn't make rainbow cakes. "She's not gay, or anything, but she is an artist and she's really good at what she does and she uses every color and she wanted a rainbow birthday cake and he wouldn't do it," the woman said.
Masterpiece Cakeshop's owner told the television station that the business doesn't mind decorating the outside of a cake with rainbow colors. They just draw the line at rainbow-layered cakes.

Anony-Mom later realized that the Masterpiece Cakeshop was the same bakery that went before the US Supreme Court earlier this month -- and she's fuming. And she made sure that ABC Denver-7 knew all about it!

Anony-Mom now refuses to return to Masterpiece Cakeshop and so do all of her family and friends. Despite all of their collective rage, she did go ahead and get a cake last February for her daughter's 17th birthday:
Instead, the woman ordered a peach cake after she said the bakery also refused to make her a plain white one.
Seriously, why would you spend your money on a cake that's so much trouble to design? I can understand that a rainbow-layered cake might be too much trouble for Masterpiece Cakeshow to design, but no white cakes? How morally compromising is a plain white cake?? And why settle for a peach cake, of all things?

Anyway, very silly news article. Colorado deserves better.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Archie Comics Launches a New Generation of Mighty Crusaders!

Have you picked up MIGHTY CRUSADERS #1 yet? The first issue of this new comic book series by Archie Comics was published last Wednesday -- and I really like it! It's features an interesting mix of Red Circle Mighty Crusaders, New Crusaders, and Dark Circle heroes -- and they mesh together well.

"Heroes for Today" features storytelling by Ian Flynn, artwork by Kelsey Shannon, lettering by Jack Morelli, and coloring by Matt Herms.

So who are the Mighty Crusaders? There's Joe Higgins (AKA Broken Shield, FKA the original Shield), the team's founder and administrator. There's Victoria Adams (AKA the current Shield), fresh off her recent mini-series, "Daughter of the Revolution." There is Jack Sterling (AKA the original Steel Sterling, who looks remarkably healthy for a WWII hero who was killed off way back in NEW CRUSADERS #1). And then there are the surviving New Crusaders: Greg Reeves (AKA Comet), Kelly Brand (AKA Firefly), Wyatt Raymond (AKA the Web), and Ivette Velez (AKA Jaguar). And then there's the newest member of the bunch: Darkling (AKA ???). She seems to be the dark horse of the bunch -- in more ways than one!

The story starts out in the middle of a battle against a new villain named Dino Rex that does a great job of highlighting the team dynamics, as well as their various powers. We then learn that Joe Higgins is the leader of M.L.J. and the administrative head of the Mighty Crusaders. Higgins and the current Shield then help us understand a little better how the New Crusaders morphed into the current batch of Mighty Crusaders. Victoria then does her bit to welcome the Web onto the team -- and hopefully starts the process of gelling a bit better with the former members of the New Cru!

But don't feel like you need to know a lot about the Mighty Crusaders or their long and convoluted history. It's pretty easy to pick up this comic book and move comfortably forward with this new team.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Remembering Lukewarm, the "Outlandishly Camp" Character from BBC's "Porridge"

I've been binge-watching "Porridge" on Britbox over the past few weeks. This is the sitcom from 1973-1977, not the more recent sequel series (which I may write about in coming weeks). "Porridge" tells the story of Fletcher, a career criminal serving a 5-year sentence and his never-ending efforts to pull one over on the prison officials.

I bring up "Porridge" tonight because I was searching online for information about one of the characters, a gay character named Lukewarm. He was played by an actor named Christopher Biggins.

I looked up the character and discovered this article from 2007 where some fan of the program complained about a "politically correct" decision by the BBC to edit out a joke involving Lukewarm:
Fans of the sitcom, which regularly pulled in more than 10 million viewers, have accused the BBC of "giving in to the politically correct brigade" after a phrase was removed from the programme on Saturday. They claim the comment "that sort do, don't they", referring to Lukewarm's ability to keep his cell clean, was taken out because it could be offensive to homosexuals. While the BBC denies the allegation, fans say the change is akin to removing a line from a Shakespeare play.
Unless things are done much differently in the UK than they are done here in the US, the joke was likely edited out to make allowances for longer commercial breaks compared to the 1970s. It's pretty common to notice missing portions of favorite American sitcoms. And that particular line in that particular episode is edit-free on Britbox. For what it's worth.

Anyways, that's not why I was writing tonight. I'm actually responding to this particular description of Lukewarm from that article:
Ronnie Barker's character Fletcher was always ribbing his fellow inmates, not least Lukewarm, the outlandishly camp chef played by Christopher Biggins.
Now maybe I'm too immersed in the LGBT communities. And maybe I've watched too many episodes of "Are You Being Served?" with Mr. Humphries, not to mention half of the British television programs that included any portrayals of gay or trans men from the 1970s to the present. But Lukewarm isn't any more "outlandishly camp" than any of the other characters in "Porridge." I mean, it's clear that he's gay. And he often knits. But he doesn't mince, and he doesn't lace his conversations with sexual inuendos, and he doesn't do anything with his clothing or appearance to stand too far out of the norm. So I don't get where they get off on calling him "outlandishly camp." I just don't see it.

Anyway, Lukewarm returned in a 2003 follow-up movie (which I've only see this portion of) called "Life Beyond the Box: Norman Stanley Fletcher." His full name is revealed for the first time (I believe) in this story: Timothy "Lukewarm" Underwood. It's revealed that he's living in Denmark with his husband Trevor, who's a motivational speaker. We met Trevor once before in the final episode of the first season of "Porridge."

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Archie Horror to Publish New VAMPIRONICA Title in March 2018!

Remember back in July 2015 when Archie Comics hinted at a new horror title starring a vampiric version of Veronica Lodge? Earlier today, Archie Comics announced that they will finally be publishing a new ongoing comic book title under its Archie Horror line of comics titled VAMPIRONICA.

VAMPIRONICA will feature writing by Greg & Megan Smallwood, artwork by Greg Smallwood, and lettering by Jack Morelli. The concept is about as simple as JUGHEAD: THE HUNGER, except that instead of Jughead being a murderous werewolf, Veronica will be a murderous vampire.

VAMPIRONICA will be published in March 2018.

Incidentally, this promo article really annoyed me with its initial paragraph:
Between Afterlife with Archie, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, and the recent addition of Jughead: The Hunger, Archie Comics’ horror imprint is flying higher than Sabrina’s broomstick ever thought possible. But there’s already another series coming to Archie Horror, and it’s got a bit of a bite to it.
Both AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE and CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA have suffered from chronic and extensive publishing delays. It really aggravates me when Archie Comics promotes these otherwise wonderful comics when they as a company cannot get it together enough to publish these titles on a regular basis.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Is Mary Hurting her Grandson on "Coronation Street" -- Or Does He Just Have an Allergy to Bananas?

(Originally written on 12/04/17): Early last month on "Coronation Street," Mary called the police and reported that her daughter-in-law was drunk driving with her grandson. Baby George was sick and Mary had seen Angie at the local pub with a glass of wine in front of her. Leading up to this interaction, Mary had found a brochure about alcoholism in Angie's jacket. And Angie's mood had just been off. It turns out that Angie had barely drank any wine and she was definitely not drunk. And she isn't an alcoholic, but has been suffering from post-partum depression. Needless to say, Mary got in a lot of trouble for this and her son Jude told her to stay away from the entire family.

Then earlier this week, Mary defended Angie was a busy-body and apologized for her earlier shameful behavior. Jude and Angie approached her later that day and told her that they would allow Mary access to Baby George again. She was allowed to babysit her grandson. Of course, Mary was given no notice so she took George with her to work, at the local florist shop. 

She spent the morning covering the baby with flowers and taking pictures of him. Despite Mary's best efforts, George was increasingly fussy at the store. In fact, he ended up getting sick again and his parents ended up rushing him to the hospital for the third time in a month or so. When asked about George's health, he told Mary to stay away. Which was upsetting. 

But as upset as she was and despite being a little strange, Mary had the common sense to recognize a possible sign of Baby George's illness. Could he be having some sort of allergic reaction to the flowers in the store? 

Jude wasn't taking Mary's calls, so she said that she would text the theory to her son. I can't help wondering if Jude had blocked her messages because I haven't heard anything from him or Angie or the doctors about allergies to plants or to flowers or to related scents.

But Mary learned that other people were being allowed to visit Baby George so she took it upon herself to visit her grandson in his room -- and he had another reaction shortly after her arrival!

This was enough for Angie to decide that Mary was purposely making Baby George sick. Somehow. So, the hospital hooked Angie and Jude up with the hospital social worker and they immediately filed a complaint against Mary!

And just to clarify a point, they made this decision to contact social services before Mary ever visited Baby George at the hospital. That medical setback was just the final slice of cake.

I understand that there are some people who purposely harm children in order to gain sympathy and attention. And I understand that hospitals sometimes report people to social services in those instances. But my experience is that they don't just into "report mode" this quickly unless they have some pretty convincing evidence. Which they really don't have here.

I mean, what exactly is Mary supposed to be doing to purposely make Baby George ill? How is she making him feverish? Or causing breathing spells? It really makes no sense to me.

Worse yet, social services took the report seriously and called in the police, who promptly visited Mary at her home. They asked her a bunch of vague questions and then told her to stay away from Baby George and his parents.

I always hear about Britain's stressed economy. And I understand that this is happening in a fictional world. But I can't help but wonder if social services is truly contacted regularly for this type of thing -- and wonder if this type of knee-jerk reporting process helps contribute to the UK's overwhelmed social services network

Anyway, George's parents and the hospital would probably be more effective with tracking down the source of his illness -- if they truly believe that Mary is the source of it -- by actually talking to her and working with her to track her movements than they have been by simply reporting her to social services!

Updated on 12/06/17: I was watching tonight's episode of "Coronation Street." Angie and Jude were on the way to South Africa when all of Mary's friends began interfering in an effort to stall their effort and to get them to speak with Mary.

Things came to a head when Baby George got sick again while Jude and talking with Mary and while George was far away from Mary and never touched by Mary. In other words, Mary is innocent.

It's looking like Baby George is allergic to bananas. And possibly other fruits. But definitely bananas.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

6-Year-Old Non-Verbal Muslim Boy with Down Syndrome Accused by Substitute Teacher of Being a Terrorist

A news story out of Texas is making the rounds today. A substitute teacher at CJ Harris Elementary School in Pearland, TX, called the police on one of her students last month. The student in question is a boy named Mohammad Suleiman.

Mohammad was accused to making terroristic threats in the classroom. According to his father, Mohammad reportedly said stuff like "Allah" and "boom."

Keep in mind that Mohammad is 6-years-old. He's also diagnosed with Down Syndrome and experiences pretty significant intellectual challenges. For example, he's non-verbal.

Of course, the school officials told both the police and the child's father that Mohammad speaks full sentences. Which he doesn't.

The police had to interview Mohammad and his family. They eventually realized that there was no need to continue investigating the child. Child protective services also got involved with the family. The CPS investigating is still ongoing as of last week.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Former Child Actor Alexander Polinsky Reaches Out to Scott Baio via Twitter // Alleges Chronic Abuse Towards Him & Other Child Actors on Set of "Charles in Charge"

I was a fan of "Charles in Charge" back in the mid/late 80s. It featured actors Scott Baio and Willie Aames. Baio was a live-in nanny for two different families over the course of the program. The program originally aired on CBS from 1984-85, but eventually switched to syndication from seasons 2-5 (1987-90) when Charles began working for Ellen Powell, her cranky father-in-law, and her three children. It was pretty good as sitcoms go.

I really hadn't thought of "Charles in Charge" in years. And then late last night, I found myself struggling to sleep so I decided to hop onto Twitter. For some reason, I was encouraged to check out Alexander Polinsky's Twitter feed (AKA Adam Powell AKA the young boy actor from seasons 2-5) and discovered this revelation.

Polinsky spent most of yesterday talking about years of physical, mental, verbal, and sexual abuse that he and other child actors experienced during his time on "Charles in Charge." And though he hasn't identified anyone in particular, he really wants to talk to Scott Baio about these abuse allegations. A lot.

He spent tweet after tweet reaching out to Baio about these abuse allegations. And there was a part of me that really wanted to discount Polinsky's tweets. And then I saw fellow co-star/former child actor Nicole Eggert (AKA Jamie Powell AKA later went on to star in "Baywatch") sign off on Polinsky's allegations by retweeting Polinsky's posts and encouraging fans to reach out to Baio.

Now I'm not saying that Polinsky is accusing Scott Baio of abusing him and other child actors. Maybe he sees Baio as a powerful ally against an equally powerful abuser. Maybe. But I'm really glad that Eggert stepped up alongside Polinsky. It certainly added credibility to his claims.

I look forward to learning more.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Latest "Riverdale": Who Is the Riverdale Reaper? Is He the Black Hood? And Can Chuck Clayton be Redeemed?

Because of a household guest, we weren't able to watch the latest episode of "Riverdale" until yesterday. And now doubt, Episode Seven (AKA "Tales from the Darkside") was a great episode. It told three separate short stories featuring various "Riverdale" characters -- Archie & Jughead; Josie & Cheryl; and Betty & Veronica (and to a lesser extend Kevin). All of the stories intertwined with each other and then eventually ended at the same place.

First up, we meet up again with Penny Peabody, the Southside Serpent "snake-charmer," again in this episode. She blackmails Jughead and Archie into becoming drug runners for the Serpents. Due to some bad luck, Jughead finds himself hitchhiking from Riverdale to Greendale with a character named Farmer McGinty -- played by actor Tony Todd from "Candyman."

Along the way, Farmer McGinty tells Jughead that he believes the the Black Hood is really the Riverdale Reaper. That's right... Apparently, somebody nicknamed the Riverdale Reaper killed a family in their home. Depending on who you talk to, the Reaper was either killed by a lynch mob, or he escaped for California to become a Satanist, or he's still hanging out in Riverdale. One things for certain, both the Riverdale Reaper and the Black Hood are out to punish sinners.

Meanwhile, remember the Sugar Man from Episode 6? He turned out to be a Southside High School teacher who made some money on the side dealing jingle jangle. He was shot to death in his jail cell at the end of last episode, which got Betty Cooper wondering: How does a masked vigilante shoot a drug dealer from inside the jail?

This leads Betty and Veronica into questioning if Kevin's father is really the Black Hood? Frankly, I've been wondering that myself for a while. The comic book Black Hood is a bad cop who kills criminals and steals their street drugs. Who's to say that the television Black Hood also isn't a dirty cop?

That said, we learned Sheriff Keller's dirty secret in this episode and it has nothing to do with the Black Hood. Of course, that doesn't mean that he's not the Black Hood. But that's not why he's been sneaking around at night these days! (Jon's Note: I won't reveal this particular secret here. You should be able to find out for yourself on The CW's streaming website!)

But I really enjoyed the Josie story line. And that's something that I don't get to write often. I don't think that "Riverdale" has done that much to make Josie and the Pussycats as integrated into the show as they could. They always seem like marginal characters. A couple of episodes ago, Veronica and the Pussycats stopped a creep from raping a roofied Cheryl. Cheryl has thrown her appreciation behind Josie and wants to become her new BFF.

Of course, Cheryl Blossom is nuts. She's secretly driven a wedge between Josie and the other Pussycats and she's begun sending death threats to Mayor McCoy. And then after Chuck Clayton asked Josie out on a date, Cheryl planted evidence that makes it appear that he was the source of the death threats. In other works, Josie is completely isolated and only has Cheryl to turn to for support.

Did I mention Chuck Clayton? His character was destroyed last season after it was revealed that he and the other football players were shame-booking many of the girls at Riverdale High -- including Veronica and Ethel. He was eventually revealed and expelled from the team. Now he's claiming that he's changing. He's going to church and trying to become a better man. At least, that's what he claims. But Pop Tate has vouched for Chuck, so maybe there's hope after all for Archie Comics' first black male character!

"Tales from the Darkside" ends on an ominous note. Pop Tate received a phone message from the Black Hood. He revealed that the people of Riverdale continue to fail his purity test. As a result, he plans to unleash a "reckoning" on the community. Which sounds scary!

Who will be the Black Hood's next target? Tune in on Wednesday to find out!