Friday, October 20, 2017

Orange City, Iowa, to Hold Community's First Gay Pride Festival this Weekend

Are you going to be anywhere near Orange City in the northwest corner of Iowa this weekend? If so, you should check out the community's first Pride event. It looks like it's a three-day event. It's being organized by four men, a married gay couples and a pair of straight allies:
The event was arranged by Cody Bauer, Steve Mahr, David Klennert and Mike Goll. Bauer and Mahr are straight married men who view themselves as LGBTQ allies while Klennert and Goll are newlyweds. "We've all wanted to do a pride in Orange City for a really long time," Bauer said.

Klennert proposed hosting the festival later in the year so it wouldn't detract from pride events across the country that are held in June, which is Pride Month. The response to the event has been largely positive, organizers said. They expect about 200 people to attend the event.
I went to the event's Facebook page and didn't see any parades, but I did see many other activities:
The schedule of events is listed below. Please check back often, as some locations and performers are in the process of being confirmed.

Friday 10/20:
6:00p Aubrey Weger will open pride weekend with acoustic folk music at Town Square Coffee House. You won't want to miss it.
8:00p-11:00p DJ Scruff turns Town Square Coffee House into a dance party.

Saturday 10/21:
1:00-3:00p information booths at Town Square Coffee House
3:00-5:00p Storytelling hosted by Orange City Leap at Town Square Coffee House
5:00-9:00p Food. We recommend Sfumato Pizzeria! Please call ahead! 712-737
8:00p public showing of "
To Wong Foo" location TBA
10:00p after party location TBA

Sunday 10/22:
11:00-2:00p brunch and showtunes at Town Square Coffee House

A group named Sioux County Conservatives is upset over this pride event and have highlighted the business sponsors -- but they've been clear that they aren't promoting a business boycott.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

"Riverdale" Season 2/Episode 2 Features New Street Drug Called Jingle Jangle -- Which Is the Name of a Classic Archies Song from the 70s!

Season #2/Episode #2 of "Riverdale" just aired and I will eventually write about the whole larger piece about all of the craziness that happened in that episode. But I really want to write tonight about one of the prominent Easter Eggs that keeps appearing in season 2.

Last week, there was a passing reference to "jingle jangle," which is some new street drug. Tonight's episode jumped in with both feet into the jingle jangle train.

It turns out that Reggie Mantle is a small-time drug dealer at Riverdale High -- specializing in jingle jangle. It apparently keeps you up all night -- in more ways than one.

Anyway, the drug's name harkens back to the old Archies song titled "Jingle Jangle," which used to play in the various "Archie" cartoons back in the 1960s and 70s. "Jingle Jangle" is my favorite Archies song -- dating back to when I first heard it on the now-defunct "Riverdale Podcast." None of the Archies songs are that great, but "Jingle Jangle" is so much better than the more popular "Sugar, Sugar." IMHO, as always!

Here are the lyrics to "Jingle Jangle:"
Sing me, sing me, sing me
Sing me, sing me baby
Ooooh ... ooooh

La da da da da da da (sing me, sing me, sing me)
La da da da da da da (sing the Jingle Jangle song)
La da da da da da da (sing me, sing me baby)
La da da da da da da

Ever since I met ya
I couldn't want ya better
I couldn't love you stronger if I tried
It's my true heart I'm showin'
Or my nose would be growin'
You know that it gets longer when I lie.

La da da da da da da (sing me, sing me, sing me)
La da da da da da da (sing the Jingle Jangle song)
La da da da da da da (sing me, sing me baby)
La da da da da da da

Bein' kinda pretty
And down here in the city
Find it isn't easy to be smart.
When tryin' to untangle
The Jingle from the Jangle
It's easy if you listen with your heart.

La da da da da da da (sing me, sing me, sing me)
La da da da da da da (sing the Jingle Jangle song)
La da da da da da da (sing me, sing me baby)
La da da da da da da

We'll make the winter springtime
And Jingle Jangle singtime
Right on through the summer and the fall
So darlin', don't be weepin'
And please don't you be sleepin'
When I come a-creepin' down the hall
To sing ya

La da da da da da da (sing me, sing me, sing me)
La da da da da da da (sing the Jingle Jangle song)
La da da da da da da (sing me, sing me baby)
La da da da da da da

Well, come on (well come on)
Baby get it together
Well, come on (well come on)
Ooooh, yeah yeah yeah, yeah
Well, come on (well come on)
Gotta get it together
Well, come on (well come on)
Come on, come on, come on, come on, come on!

La da da da da da da (sing me, sing me, sing me)
La da da da da da da (sing the Jingle Jangle song)
La da da da da da da (sing me, sing me baby)
La da da da da da da
You can watch the video and hear the original song at this link.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

B'wana Beast Makes His Televised Debut in "Legends of Tomorrow"

I'm a fan of The CW's "Legends of Tomorrow" television series and have enjoyed its return to television during the past couple of weeks -- though it's getting a bit hokey recently. The various characters -- White Canary, Firestorm, Atom, Vixen, Citizen Steel, and Heat-Wave -- have been overly incompetent in this season's first two adventures. I guess I'm just waiting for the characters to up their game again soon.

But I'm not actually here to write about the Legends. I'm here to write about tonight's adventure, which took place in 1870 Wisconsin. The team appeared at P.T. Barnum's circus/freak show to track down a minor anachronism -- a sabre-tooth tiger that Atom accidentally transformed into a giant sabre-tooth tiger. Fortunately, they captured the beast before it got into too much trouble.

But I was pretty excited to see B'wana Beast in the circus!! B'wana Beast is a hero from Africa who sports all sorts of animal-based powers. He can telepathically control animals. He has super-strength and speed. He has hightened senses. He's a great fighter. And he can fuse two animals into one mixed animal (i.e., merging a horse and a bird into a winged horse, for example).

I was hoping when I first saw B'wana Beast from the previews that he might make a cool sparring partner for Vixen. Instead, he ended up just being a powerless strongman in P.T. Barnum's circus. In fact, his brief encounter with Vixen ended up with B'wana Beast being tossed across the room like a ragdoll -- never to be seen again.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Revisiting Reptilicus from the New "MST3K: The Return" Netflix Series

I checked out Netflix last night after a particularly long workday and decided to check out one of the programs from "My List." I decided to check out the new "Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return" series, that was released on 04/14/17. A new guy named Jonah has been teamed with Tom Servo, Crow T. Robot, and Gypsy and forced to watch really bad movies!

The first episode was particularly notable. Not just because it introduced the new characters and settings, but because it featured "Reptilicus," a 1961 Danish-American giant monster movie.

In the movie, a group of miners dug up a chunk of frozen flesh from a giant reptile hidden deep underground. The tissue eventually thaws and begins the quick process of regenerating into a living, rampaging monster dubbed Reptilicus.

Reptilicus quickly escapes and attacks the people and city of Copperhagen. It's quickly realized that nothing hurts him. They finally defeat Reptilicus by firing a mega-dose of sedatives into its mouth using a bazooka.

However, we quickly realize that the menace of Reptilicus might not be ended. A portion of Reptilicus was blasted into the ocean -- and promises to regenerate into a new monster!!

Which is what happened in the REPTILICUS comic book series published by Charlton Comics back in 1961. The comic book series last two issues before Charlton Comics lost the publishing rights. The publisher then repackaged the character and published a new comic book title called REPTISAURUS THE TERRIBLE, which lased from issue #3-8.

"Not So Li'l" Jinx & the Little Miss Steps to Appear in THE ARCHIES #2!!

I wrote earlier this month about some real-life bands who will be appearing in THE ARCHIES (specifically CHVRCHES and the Monkees). It turns out that another band will be appearing in next month's issue of THE ARCHIES: Jinx and the Little Miss Steps!

Long-time fans of Archie Comics probably remember Li'l Jinx. She was a trouble-making girl who appeared in one- or two-page gags from the 1940s onward. She later got updated in a pair of graphic novels where she was now a high school freshman and struggling with all sorts of issues, such as surviving her parents' divorce and navigating a sporty tomboy identity at an age where most girls are urged to focus on boys and girly-girly stuff. 

Now it appears that Archie Comics has updated Jinx and her friends again in THE ARCHIES #2 and will meet up with our title characters on the first step of their road tour:
CBR: Alex, Joe, let’s talk about the reintroduction here of Li’l Jinx — well, actually just Jinx, as I think she’s older than the Archies. What can you say about the decision to bring the character into this series — and making her, and her supporting cast (Charley Hawse!), part of a Le Tigre-meets-Helium band? 
(Writer) Alex Segura: From a logistical standpoint, we knew going in that we weren’t going to have a guest band until #3, so it was a question of, “How do we make this issue meaningful to fans?” I think one of the coolest part of Mark Waid’s Archie run, and the “new” Archie books in general has been how they update and tweak pre-existing characters. We want The Archies to not only be a celebration of the core five and their interactions with real bands, but also a way to showcase the vast library of characters Archie has — like Bingo, Sam and the Bingos, and now, Jinx and the Little Miss Steps. It just seemed like a cool opportunity to reintroduce readers to a character that’s been a big part of Archie’s publishing history in a cool and memorable way. 
Going back to Jinx for a second, though, I loved the idea of making her this powerful, energetic and no-BS Kathleen Hanna type — it just clicked in my brain when we were trying to figure out how to bring her into the new Archie world. It’s my favorite part of the issue. 
CBR: Joe, what went into redesigning Jinx as a rock and roll frontwoman? 
(Artist) Joe Eisma: This is a pretty radical reinterpretation of her, and based on Alex and Matt’s description of her in the script, I saw her in the Shirley Manson and Siouxsie Sioux school of rock and roll frontwomen. She’s confident, she’s tough and she could probably mop the floor with the Archies.
This CBR interview also hints that we will be meeting up with other classic Archie Comics/MLJ characters in coming issues. I'm assuming that we'll eventually see the Madhouse Glads. But I'd really be excited to see an updated version of Pat the Brat in the near future? How about you?

Friday, October 13, 2017

Squirrel Girl Reveals New Power: Knuckle Spikes!

THE UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL #25 was just published this week. It wrapped up a three-part story where Doreen and her friend Nancy were chosen to be part of an international effort by computer programmers to repair the Savage Land's giant computer and thereby save the dinosaurs from a horribly cold death. We eventually found out that an Ultron Dinosaur was dismantling the alien computer for spare parts. We also learned that he plans to kill humanity. Overall, I didn't enjoy this story. It dragged on for way too long, in my opinion. But that's just me.

I wouldn't have written about this issue at all except that we learned about a never-before revealed Squirrel Girl power: knuckle spikes!

You heard that correctly. Squirrel Girl has knuckle spikes that pop out of her hands. Because... I mean, don't all squirrels have knuckle spikes??

Even Marvel Comics admits that this came out of nowhere with those little jokey statements under each page that I normally don't read because I'm old and have poor eyesight:

So Doreen Green (AKA Squirrel Girl) has knuckle spikes along with her other powers and uses them to stab opponents -- though she almost never uses them. Partially because she doesn't have a mutant healing factor and you never know what kinds of bloodborne diseases you might infect yourself with once you retract those spikes! But she's always had them and she's just been waiting for the right moment over the past 25 years to unveil them to her adoring fans!

THE UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL #25 features story by Ryan North, art by Erica Henderson, colors by Rico Renzi, and letters by Travis Lanham.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

"Riverdale" Season 2 Begins! Who Is the Black Hood and Why Is He Targeting Archie Andrews?

Season 2 of "Riverdale" premiered last night. And it was so good! Last season ended up with Fred Andrews being shot by a mysterious "black hood." It was unclear if he would survive the attack, but he got better by the end of this first episode. But he still has a lengthy recovery.

But Archie -- and the rest of us -- are wondering who is the Black Hood? And why is he is he targeting Fred Andrews?

Jughead Jones was also brought into the Southside Serpents at the end of Season 1, which seemed like a great opportunity to gain some street cred and to get access to his father's motorcycle. But he learned quickly that the Serpents aren't a bunch of gangster wannabes. They are a violent bunch of murderers and malcontents and him allying with them can't lead anywhere good! And Jughead isn't going to be allowed to separate himself from them. He is a Southside Serpent -- whether he likes it or not!

Mr. Lodge finally made his first appearance. Veronica is pushing back against her corrupt parents -- and they're not taking it. The tension is strong in their home and I really can't wait to see things explode!

But things really got interesting in the last moments of this episode. We found ourselves in neighboring Greendale, in the home of Ms. Grundy. She's teaching piano lessons to her latest boy toy student before being visited by the Black Hood himself! Things do not turn out well for the scandalous music teacher!

Which calls into question the Black Hood's motive. Was he after Pop Tate or Fred Andrews? Or is he going after Archie Andrews himself and trying to hurt him by hurting people who are important to Riverdale's favorite teen?

All in all, it was a really great episode! And it did really well in the ratings -- pretty much doubling the Season 1 premier and finale numbers!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Jazz Jennings & Tomi Lahren Debate Trans Rights

I was hopping around on YouTube and came across this clip featuring Jazz Jennings from TLC's "I Am Jazz" during a televised debate with Tomi Lahren from "The Blaze." Keep in mind that I'm only vaguely aware of whom Tomi Lahren is, but she apparently has strong opinions against trans rights and has expressed those opinions on her program more than a few times. Mainly, she argues against trans-inclusive rights by arguing that male rapists will take advantage of them to sexually assault women and children. Tomi apparently invited Jazz and Jessica Herthel, Jazz's co-writer on their I Am Jazz children's book, onto her program to debate the transgender experience.

The interview starts with Tomi asking Jazz what conservatives are getting wrong about the transgender experience. Jazz responds that too many conservatives are stuck on the idea that being trans is all about choice, like she woke up one day and decided to become a girl. She denied that this was true, asserting that she was communicating to everyone from her earliest years that she was a girl.

Tomi then asked her why Jazz and others like her need to surgically change their bodies. Jazz told her that surgery is a choice that she's making to bring her body further in line with her mental and emotional identity. Frankly, I don't see why it's any of Tomi's business (or anyone else's) if Jazz or other trans people have gender reassignment surgery -- or if they choose against that choice.

Tomi ultimately decides that she's okay with gender reassignment surgery -- as long as she doesn't have to pay for it. Which... whatever. I mean, does that mean that she doesn't want Medicaid to fund it? Private insurance? There are a lot of medical procedures and treatments that are funded by Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurance and we all technically pay for them to one extent or another through our taxes or premiums. How do you parse out the cost of one person's surgery from your group insurance policy?

Anyway, Jessica then shifted the conversation to the whole "bathroom bill" debate. Tomi is still worried about "sick individuals" who claim trans identities to assault women in public bathrooms. Jessica noted that there have been zero incidents of such assaults happening in the 17 states that have trans-inclusive bathroom laws. She also noted that Jazz herself and others like her are more at risk in laws that bar trans people from using the public restrooms that line up with their gender identity.

And that was pretty much the gist of Jazz's debate with Tomi Lahren. Basically, a rehash of similar debates between trans people and anti-trans people.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Australian Energy Healer to Star in New TLC Reality TV Show

If you've followed my blog over the past two or three years, you'll know that I've been increasingly fascinated with metaphysical expos and practitioners. I'm had my aura photographed. I'm had psychic readings. I've received Reiki and sound healing. And I've been told by more than one practitioner that I'm a healer -- whatever that means. I vacillate between believing and doubting and some aspects of the metaphysical community promote more doubt than others.

If you've followed my blog, you've also noticed that I enjoy reality TV programs -- particularly several of TLC's programs.

Anyway, I just learned that TLC will be debuting a new metaphysical-themed reality TV program called "The Healer," featuring an Australian energy healer named Charlie Goldsmith. According to the promo material that I've read, Goldsmith is able to focus energy on people, which helps them with pain management and overcoming infections and diseases:
“I call it a gift, but the gift isn’t for me, the gift is something I have to give as opposed to something I get to benefit from,” he continues. “Not one moment in my life do I wonder what my purpose is.”
"The Healer" will pair Goldsmith up with several celebrity clients like Kyle Richards and Jennifer Grey, once again primarily assisting them and others with receiving pain relief.

"The Healer" will debut on TLC at 9:00 PM (CST) on November 6th.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Bobby Drake Goes to his First Gay Bar & Has His First Gay Kiss in ICEMAN #6!

I just read through ICEMAN #6. ICEMAN is an interesting title. It's primarily dealt with his coming out process as an older gay man, both to himself and to his already distant parents. Plus, it's explored the evolution of his powers -- which isn't new. Every so often, Iceman realizes that his powers have made him pretty much godlike. He learns that he can evaporate or shatter and then gather his essence back in one piece. Or he's realize that he can completely freeze the planet. Or he learns that he can create dozens of ice-golems. And then he reverts back to the jokey background character for a while before going through another period of evolution with his powers.

But the gay thing is pretty new. He finally came out to his parents in ICEMAN #5 and they really didn't take it that well. Actually, his father did okay with that information in a "I'm already uncomfortable with my son's life choices and this can't embarrass me more than I already am" sort of way. So Bobby is coping with his parents' generally negative reaction.

Fortunately, SECRET EMPIRE just wrapped up. But not before Natasha Romanov (AKA Black Widow) got killed by Captain "I'm a Nazi" America. You might not remember it, but Iceman and Black Widow were once team-members way back in the day. The team was called the Champions and its adventures happened between 1975 and 1978. Iceman decided to gather his old teammates (Angel, Hercules, Ghost Rider, and Darkstar) and toast to Natasha's memory.

And if rushing to Los Angeles succeeded in getting him far, far away from his disapproving parents... Well, more the better.

The team gathered for a drink and puzzled over the fact that most of them couldn't remember the first time that they each met Black Widow. That never went anywhere, but it came up twice so I'm guessing that it will prove important later on.

Then Bobby spent several pages running around Los Angeles in his civilian clothes buying books and shoes and flirting with some new guy named Judah. It was actually a pretty weird conversation, where they referenced the "hanky code" and kinks.

Don't get me wrong. I'm all about gay history and the hanky code is this often forgotten portion of gay history. I'm just not sure if referencing the hanky code in a potentially family-friendly Marvel Comics comic book is a great idea. I mean, kids know how to google. I'm not sure if I want them to learn that they can advertise their interest in S&M by sticking a black handkerchief in their back pocket. Or advertise their interest in watersports (yellow hanky), or anal sex (dark blue hanky), or scat (brown hanky), etc...

Anyway, Bobby and Judah decide to go on a date at a gay bar in West Hollywood -- and the surviving Champions decide to act as his wingmen. So this book features Bobby Drake's first gay bar, first gay date, first gay dance, and first gay kiss. And he almost had his first gay hook-up before getting interrupted by a small army of Sentinel robots! Fortunately, Iceman and the Champions of L.A. are nearby so I'm not expecting that the Sentinels will remain standing for long in ICEMAN #7.

Let's get this out of the way. I like ICEMAN and I like that Bobby Drake continues to explore what it means to be a gay man. But he really needs to find a romantic partner who appears different enough from him so that I'm not constantly having to figure out which guy is which. Or we need to find out that Judah is actually Anole wearing an image inducer. Something that helps me readily recognize the two men when they're running around in their civvies!

BTW, Hercules had this great throwaway line from when Bobby texted him. It totally made my month!

"Champions Reunited" Part 1 features writing by Sina Grace, art by Robert Gill, coloring by Rachelle Rosenberg, and lettering by VC's Joe Sabino.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

"EastEnders" Fans Upset by Controversial Story Where Social Workers Removed Children from Character's Home

Have you ever watched BBC's "EastEnders" soap opera? I haven't. I'm not sure that it even plays anywhere here in the USA. I know that it's been around since the 1980s and that it features Wendy Richards from "Are You Being Served?" Beyond that, I don't know much about the program.

I learned today about a controversial storyline from last night's episode. It seems that there's this character named Stacey Fowler. She has a husband or partner and she has two young children. She has bipolar disorder, which she treats effectively with medications. And she has a meddling mother named Carmel.

Recently, Carmel was caring for the children and found the toddler covered with bruises. She sat down with the older sister and was told that Stacey caused the bruises. Carmel left an anonymous phone call with her local child protective services organization and, within moments, a social worker and two police officers arrived to remove the children from Stacey's home. Where they were promptly placed in foster care.

British-based social workers were quick to speak out on Twitter and Facebook, complaining that it's completely unrealistic that anyone would respond to the abuse report so quickly, much less remove the children from their mother without first interviewing the parents or assessing the bruising.

A lot of social workers are tired of being portrayed as government-sponsored kidnappers. Typically, they receive calls and come out within a certain time period to assess the situation and interview the people involved. Children might be removed, but social workers don't have the power to yank a child from a family's home without some sort of court order. It's generally police who have that type of authority and only in extreme circumstances.

The thing that bothers me is that everyone seems to be getting after Carmel for making the phone call. I don't have any history with Carmel. I don't know what type of drama that she's caused for Stacey or anyone else in the past. But I did see the clip where she discovered the baby's bruises and I did see part of the clip where she spoke to the baby's older sister and was point-blank told that their mother hurt the baby.

What else did people expect Carmel to do, if not reach out to the authorities for help?

Apparently "EastEnders" has a history of perpetuating "social workers as baby snatchers" storylines. From Wikipedia:
In October 2012, a storyline involving Lola Pearce, forced to hand over her baby Lexi Pearce, was criticised by the charity The Who Cares? Trust, who called the storyline an "unhelpful portrayal" and said it had already received calls from members of the public who were "distressed about the EastEnders scene where a social worker snatches a baby from its mother's arms". The scenes were also condemned by the British Association of Social Workers (BASW), calling the BBC "too lazy and arrogant" to correctly portray the child protection process, and saying that the baby was taken "without sufficient grounds to do so". Bridget Robb, acting chief of the BASW, said the storyline provoked "real anger among a profession well used to a less than accurate public and media perception of their jobs .. EastEnders' shabby portrayal of an entire profession has made a tough job even tougher."

Friday, October 6, 2017

AG Jeff Session Issues "Freedom to Discriminate" Directive Against LGBT Americans // Also, Forbids IRS from Punishing Churches & Non-Profits for Making Political Endorsements

It's been rumored for months, but the Trump Administration has signed off on a sweeping "license to discriminate" directive against LGBT Americans:
In an order that undercuts federal protections for LGBT people, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a sweeping directive to agencies Friday to do as much as possible to accommodate those who claim their religious freedoms are being violated.
The guidance, an attempt to deliver on President Donald Trump’s pledge to his evangelical supporters that he would protect religious liberties, effectively lifts a burden from religious objectors to prove that their beliefs about marriage or other topics are sincerely held.
Under the new policy, a claim of a violation of religious freedom would be enough to override many anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people, women and others. The guidelines are so sweeping that experts on religious liberty are calling them a legal powder-keg that could prompt wide-ranging lawsuits against the government...
The new document lays the groundwork for legal positions that the Trump administration intends to take in future religious freedom cases, envisioning sweeping protections for faith-based beliefs and practices in private workplaces, at government jobs and even in prisons.
In issuing the memo, Sessions is injecting the department into a thicket of highly charged legal questions that have repeatedly reached the U.S. Supreme Court, most notably in the 2014 Hobby Lobby case that said corporations with religious objections could opt out of a health law requirement to cover contraceptives for women.
The memo makes clear the Justice Department’s support of that opinion in noting that the primary religious freedom law — the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 — protects the rights not only of people to worship as they choose but also of corporations, companies and private firms...
The document also says the government improperly infringes on individuals’ religious liberty by banning an aspect of their practice or by forcing them to take an action that contradicts their faith. As an example, Justice Department lawyers say government efforts to require employers to provide contraceptives to their workers “substantially burdens their religious practice.” Separately Friday, the Health and Human Services Department allowed more employers with religious objections to opt out of the birth control coverage rule in the Affordable Care Act.
The Justice Department document also calls into question the Johnson Amendment, which bars churches and tax-exempt groups from endorsing political candidates. Trump in May signed an executive order aimed at weakening the enforcement of that law, which he has said penalizes people for protected religious belief, although the policy has only been enforced only rarely in the past.
The Justice Department, in the document, says the Internal Revenue Service may not enforce the Johnson Amendment “against a religious nonprofit organization under circumstances in which it would not enforce the amendment against a secular nonprofit organization.”
The Justice Department's civil rights division will not review all agency actions to make sure that there's no hint of religious liberty infringements. Whose religious liberties? Presumably those in power.

I'm going to be preaching at Faith UCC in Iowa City on 10/22/17. There's a local election coming up next month. I'm thinking that I might begin making some political endorsements during my sermon. More to come!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

City of Iowa City Declares October 9 as Indigenous Peoples' Day // Updated: Johnson County Board of Supervisors Also Proclaim October 9 as Indigenous Peoples Day

(Originally written on 10/04/17): Iowa City is the latest in a series of Iowa-based communities to sign a proclamation declaring October 9th as Indigenous Peoples' Day instead of Columbus Day.

At last night's City of Iowa City Council Meeting, Mayor Jim Throgmorton signed off on the following proclamation:
City of Iowa City

Whereas, the City of Iowa City recognizes that the Indigenous Peoples of the lands that would later become known as the Americas have occupied these lands since time immemorial; and

Whereas, the City recognizes the fact that Iowa City is built upon the homelands and villages of the Indigenous Peoples of this region; and

Whereas, the City is dedicated to opposing systemic racism towards Indigenous people, which perpetuates high rates of poverty and income inequality, exacerbating disproportionate health, education, and social crises; and

Whereas, Indigenous Poeples' Day was first proposed in 1977 by a delegation of Native Nations to the United Nations sponsored International Conference on Discrimination against Indigenous Populations in the Americas; and

Whereas, the City strongly supports the preposition that Indigenous People's Day shall be an opportunity to celebrate the thriving cultures and values of the Indigenous Peoples of the region; and

Whereas, the City strongly encourages schools to include the teaching of Indigenous Peoples' history in its curriculum and encourages other businesses, organizations, and institutions to recognize Indigenous Peoples' Day;

Now, Therefore, I, Janes A. Throgmorton, Mayor of Iowa City, do hereby declare October 9, as Indigenous People's Day in Iowa City.
Updated on 10/05/17: Earlier today, the Johnson County Board of Supervisors unanimous voted to proclaim October 9, 2017, at Indigenous Peoples Day:
Proclamation: Indigenous Peoples Day
October 9, 2017

Whereas, Johnson County recognizes that the Indigenous Peoples of the lands that would later become known as the Americas have occupied these lands since time immemorial; and 

Whereas, Johnson County recognizes the genocide and opposes the systemic racism practiced toward Indigenous Peoples in the United States, which perpetuates high rates of poverty and income inequality, exacerbates disproportionate negative health and education outcomes, and weakens social stabililty; and

Whereas, Indigenous Poeples' Day was first proposed in 1977 at the United Nations-sponsored International Conference on Discrimination Against Indigenous Populations in the Americas; and

Whereas, the United States endorsed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples on December 16, 2010, and the Declaration recognizes that "indigenous peoples have suffered from historic injustices as a result of... their colonization and dispossession of their lands, territories and resources"; and

Whereas, Johnson County recognizes the value of many contributions made to our community through Indigenous Peoples' knowledge, labor, spirituality, technology, science, philosophy, arts and the deep cultural contribution that shaped this country's character.

Now, Therefore, be it resolved that we, the Johnson County Board of Supervisors, do hereby proclaim October 9, 2017, to be: Indigenous Peoples Day in Johnson County, Iowa, and urge all citizens to reflect upon the ongoing struggles of Indigenous Peoples and to celebrate the thriving culture and value that Indigenous Peoples founded on this land long before the creation of this state and the United States of America.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Muscatine City Council Begins Impeachment Effort Against City's Mayor // Updated Report: $100,000 in City Legal Fees May Be Used to Justify Impeachment Effort // More Updates... // Updated on 05/11/17: Muscatine Mayor Diana Broderson Has Been Removed from Office by Unanimous Vote of her Accusers, the Muscatine City Council // Updated on 06/16/17: Court Reinstates Diana Broderson as Mayor

(Originally written on 01/13/17): This is interesting. Last night, the mostly Republican City Council in Muscatine, IA, unanimously approved impeachment proceedings against the city's Democratic mayor, accusing her of unspecified incidents of misconduct and neglect, as well as making disparaging comments towards city employees.

I've been reading the sordid conflict between Mayor Diana Broderson and the Muscatine City Council with interest. She unexpectedly won an election against the incumbent mayor back in 2015 and has since struggled for achieve any of her limited mayoral duties, which pretty much consist of making appointments to city commissions, as well as appointing the Police and Fire Chief. In fact, the City Council voted last summer on an ordinance that stripped the mayor of those duties. Mayor Broderson challenged this new ordinance and received a decision from the state Attorney General's Office back in October 2016 indicating that the City Council lacked the authority to make these changes and that it was potentially criminal. However, the Muscatine County Attorney declined to act on the state Attorney General's opinion last month.

Which leads us to this week. The Muscatine City Council announced that it would vote on a request to impeach the city's mayor at its 01/12/17 city council meeting. According to the Muscatine Journal, none of the Council members wouldn't offer any explanation for this move and instead referred the reporter to the city attorney, who conveniently couldn't be reached for comment.

Last night, Councilman Michael Rehwaldt read the following motion:
An elected City official may be removed from office for, among other reasons, misconduct or maladministration in office, and willful or habitual neglect or refusal to perform the duties of the office; and

Willful misconduct or maladministration in office and include, but is not limited to, conduct such as repeated public criticism of the City or staff; repeatedly engaging in defamatory attacks against the City, staff or public; breach of fiduciary duties; or other conduct which tends to erode public confidence in the City or staff.

Habitual neglect or refusal to perform the duties of office an include, but is not limited to, such conduct as repeated breaches of the public official's fiduciary duties and/or repeated failure to follow established city ordinances or policies;

It appears the Mayor may have engaged in some of the foregoing conduct to the detriment of the City and in contravention of her established duties and, as such, written charges for removal should be filed to determine if the Mayor should be removed from office as a result of such conduct.

Therefore, the City Council of the City of Muscatine, Iowa, hereby motions to instruct the City Attorney to draft and file written charges for the removal of the Mayor as provided for by Iowa Code Chapter 66 and City Code section 1-7-6.
The Council members continued to avoid any specific accusations. Hopefully, they have evidence of willful misconduct or maladministration. Certainly something more substantial than vague suggestions that she "may have engaged" in detrimental conduct.

About 60 citizens attended the meeting and all appeared to denounce this impeachment effort.

I'm not a citizen of Muscatine, but this really doesn't pass the smell test. The Muscatine City Council better watch out or they might engage the citizens enough to vote out its incumbents -- particularly those like Councilmen Rehwaldt, Bynum, and Natvig -- all of whom are up for re-election later this year.

Updated on 01/19/17: We're beginning to get an idea about what the Muscatine City Council plans to use to support their impeachment effort against Mayor Diana Broderson:
The Muscatine city attorney said in an email to City Administrator Gregg Mandsager Wednesday that the city has incurred more than $100,000 in unbudgeted expenses in fighting what he says are "unproven claims and allegations" made by Mayor Broderson...

City officials said the official charges could be released as early as Friday.

City Attorney Matthew Brick detailed the 2016 attorney fees in an email to Mandsager. That email was in response to an inquiry Mandsager received from Broderson requesting more information about costs and attorney fees. Brick's email stated that complaints filed by Broderson against city officials, staff, contractors, and citizens resulted in about $64,000 in unbudgeted legal fees and $43,600 in staff time during the 2016 calendar year.

Mandsager had forwarded the email to the mayor and city council members early Wednesday morning. The email was also forwarded to the Muscatine Journal and Quad City Times.

As to the allegations that she caused funds to be spent by filing complaints, Broderson said she was just doing as the citizens asked...

Her reaction to the amount of costs paid to the city attorney was to wonder how much had been spent changing the city's appointment process. The council passed an amendment earlier in 2016 that created a nominating committee made up of the mayor, the city administrator or his appointee, and two council members to review candidates for city appointments.

"My take would be most of the money has been spent trying to reduce the office of mayor," she said.
By the way, I was listening to this Muscatine-based podcast earlier tonight and was shocked to learn that City Administrator Gregg Mandsager has apparently banned the city's employees from speaking or interacting with Mayor Broderson, outside of basic greetings. It's apparently been this way since shortly after Broderson's election in 2015.

Updated on 01/25/17: I'm not even sure that the Muscatine City Council actually has a clue about Mayor Diana Broderson's impeachable offense. Check this out:
Muscatine City Attorney Matthew Brick says charges for removal of Mayor Diana Broderson may not be filed for weeks, and the nature of the charges has yet to be determined. Brick said he will continue to investigate, and "slow equals fair. I want to make sure if there are relevant issues that they get looked at," he said. 
The Muscatine City Council two weeks ago voted to take the first steps toward ousting the mayor. Councilman Michael Rehwaldt cited "habitual neglect" and "willful misconduct or maladministration in office" as two possible reasons. State law says elected officials can be removed by two-thirds vote of the council. 
"It would be nice for not only me but for the people of Muscatine to know sooner rather than later so both sides could work to prepare," Broderson said. 
If evidence for removing the mayor under state law is not found, Brick said at the end of the investigation he would report back to council.
It sounds to me like the City Council members are just biding their time until after the next election cycle. Pretty shady, Muscatine...

Updated on 02/17/17: Muscatine City Attorney Matthew Brick filed a list of complaints early this morning, which are being used as the basis for Mayor Diana Broderson's impeachment:
Broderson is accused of ignoring Brick's legal advice when he told her that she was stepping outside of the boundaries of her power as mayor, listed in the document as "willful misconduct or maladministration … habitual neglect or refusal to perform the duties of her office..."

In the document, Broderson is accused of "making baseless complaints” that cost the city as much as $100,000 in legal fees and staff time to investigate, including asking for an investigation into whether she had been discriminated against on the basis of her gender and requesting investigation into actions of the city that were later determined to be unfounded.

Also outlined is an alleged breach of fiduciary duties, failure to comply with city code, defamation and/or false allegations and misuse of power and/or abuse of discretion.
These charges have been filed with the city and could appear on the agenda for the next Muscatine City Countil meeting. That is scheduled for 03/01/17.

Updated on 03/10/17: The Muscatine City Council scheduled the date for Mayor Diana Broderson's impeachment hearing at their council meeting last night. The hearing will begin at 8:00 AM on Thursday, March 23rd.

According to news reports, residents approached the Council and expressed disappointment with this whole process. One particular resident suggested that they should have waited until the next election when Mayor Broderson's term expired and just run a better candidate against her instead of going through the time, money, and embarrassment of impeaching her mid-term:
Although advised by City Administrator Gregg Mandsager to answer “no comment” to residents’ questions, Councilman Santos Saucedo responded to Nathan Baker, of Muscatine, after Baker said the recent actions of the council were making Muscatine a statewide laughing stock. Baker said that the mayor would not have retained her seat through the next election in November, and the council should have waited instead of trying to impeach her. "I wouldn’t vote for her again except for that you guys have created this problem," he said. "The right thing would be to let her finish her term, and for you guys just to do your thing." 
Saucedo was visibly upset after Baker’s remarks. Saucedo said he was doing what he felt was right and promised that the reasons behind the charges filed for the mayor’s removal would be revealed at the March 23 hearing. "All the information is going to come out," Saucedo said.
The problem is that the Muscatine City Council has been so cagey about why they are impeaching her that there is little else for residents to do except assume that there's something under-handed, political, and nasty about this whole affair.

Updated on 03/21/17: The impeachment hearing begins first thing Thursday morning. Here are some new details. The hearing is scheduled to begin at 8:00 AM in the council chambers in Muscatine. The hearing will be open to the public, but they will not allow any public comments at the meeting. They will not broadcast the hearing on their local government channel, so you won't have any televised footage for use during future campaign commercials (unless someone in the audience records something on Facebook Live).

Muscatine has brought a retired judge and mediator in to act as special counsel for the city and to act as prosecutor. Mayor Broderson will be represented by her own attorney, presumably at her own expense. Council members will hear the arguments for and against Mayor Broderson's impeachment. Two-thirds of the Council will need to vote for her impeachment. It's unclear if they will actually vote on Thursday or not.

The Muscatine City Council is walking on fragile ice here. This is the first case of a mayoral impeachment in Iowa history. There is an election in a few months and three of the seven Council members are up for reelection. There are already efforts to vote out all three Council members this fall.

Updated on 03/23/17: Mayor Broderson's impeachment hearing dragged on for eleven hours today. You can follow the #musmayor hashtag on Twitter, but it's not clear to follow most of the testimony because there's very little video or written coverage (outside of some tweets and 2-minute clips). Eventually, the hearing was postponed until 9:00 AM on Saturday, 04/01/17.

Updated on 03/24/17: Hear are some details on the testimony, courtesy of the Muscatine Journal. It offers more substantial reasons for the impeachment hearing:

Gender Bias Complaint: Mayor Broderson had initiated a gender bias investigation against the City Council and City Administrator Gregg Mandsager. It was later determined that there was no basis for her allegations:
When he was called as a witness, City Administrator Gregg Mandsager said he may have been negatively impacted by the investigation during a recent job search, because he was required to say he had been the subject of an investigation into gender bias. He also said his health had been negatively impacted by the investigation and allegations made against him and council members during her term.
Misuse of Campaign Funds: Mayor Broderson has been accused to spending $500 of her campaign funds to pay for her attorney. She is also alleged to have spent $1200 in campaign funds to send letters to residents that attack the character of Council members. For example, she referred to the Council members as "good old boys."

Complaints Against City Staff: Mayor Broderson allegedly claimed that two staff members violated Muscatine's Code of Ethics for negative comments made on Facebook about her during their free time. For example, she was called an "asshat" by a city accountant. She also questioned the employment status of a retired city engineer who was hired as a temporary independent contractor while also drawing from his IPERS pension.

Mayor Broderson still hasn't testified on her own behalf. She will presumably have the chance defend herself on April 1st.

Updated on 04/02/17: Testimony resumed and concluded yesterday in Musatine. I was traveling this weekend, but monitored the impeachment hearing as much as I could on Twitter. Testimony was split between City Attorney Matthew Brick and Mayor Diana Broderson.

We learned more of the complaints against Mayor Broderson:

Coffee with the Mayor: Mayor Broderson is accused of violating city code by forming an ad hoc committee, i.e., her monthly Coffee with the Mayor chats. These informal events were characterized by the city as a committee or task force.

Contacting City Staff: Mayor Broderson was accused of contacting city staff without permission by the city administrator. Broderson claimed that she was permitted to contact city staff by email as long as she cc'ed City Administrator Greg Mandsager. She noted that other city counselors were not required to cc the administrator on emails.

Misspending Campaign Funds: Mayor Broderson is accused of using her campaign funds to fund letters to Muscatine residents, which violates the city's code of ethics.

Lastly, it's been reported that Mayor Broderson stated that there is some sort of political deal in the works. If true, it would dismiss the impeachment charges -- with some strings attached:
Broderson dropped that bomb Saturday at the very tail end of another marathon hearing of her impeachment trial. "I don't understand this, since you'll give me back my appointment power if I agree not to run again in November," Broderson responded when acting City Council Chairman Bob Bynum asked if she had "anything else to say."

Broderson's power to appoint Muscatine residents to its various commissions and committees is at the heart of the legal and political battle that, for the past year, has fractured the city of 23,000. Last spring, just months into her tenure, the City Council stripped her of unilateral appointment power. It set off an all out war, with Broderson alleging all kinds of malfeasance on the part of City Administrator Gregg Mandsager and City Council members.
It's worth reading this article so that you can visualize the shocked responses from those in the room -- including Broderson's own attorney.

Updated Again on 04/02/17: Someone who was watching Saturday's impeachment hearing in person noted a slight difference in Mayor Broderson's final comments:
As I heard it (and heard again thanks to the Muscatine Profile recording), she says it this way: "It surprises me that the Council is acting like this is such a big travesty, some of the things that I've done, yet they were willing to make this all go away and give me back my appointment powers if I would just agree not to run again in November. And I think that that is such a terrible thing for the people—"
This latter quote rings more true to me.

Updated on 05/11/17: It took three minutes. The Muscatine City Council voted unanimously to impeach Mayor Diana Broderson. There was no discussion. No input from the various citizens in the room.

Four months ago, the Muscatine City Council moved forward with plans to impeach the city's mayor, citing unspecified charges of misconduct. Eventually, we learned that the mayor held informal gatherings with constituents. We also learned that she spoke to city staff without getting permission first from the city manager. We learned that she made some unwise decisions as mayor, but we also learned that she was pretty much cut off from the rest of the city staff. Which means that nobody pulled her aside to help her through her growing pains.

The Muscatine City Council accused her of misconduct. The Muscatine City Council acted as judges and jury. The Muscatine City Council then voted her out of office. And now they get to appoint anyone they want as the city's new mayor. Mayor Broderson might have been a mediocre mayor, but the optics on this look bad.

There is an election later. Three of the council member are up for reelection and they've managed to piss off and energize a sizable chunk of the voters. I can't wait to see the results of this election.

Updated on 05/13/17: Muscatine has a new Mayor Pro Temp: Alderman Bob Bynum. Bynum will act as mayor for Muscatine until the City Council makes a decision about how to replace impeached Mayor Diana Broderson. Bynum is one of three City Council members who is up for reelection later this year.

Updated on 06/16/17: Oh my! Diana Broderson has been reappointed as Mayor of Muscatine, IA, while her impeachment appeal moves on.

Last month, Broderson filed an appeal in court, arguing that the impeachment process was improper and that it was a conflict of interest for Muscatine's City Council to preside over her impeachment, given that they were her accusers. And, it appeared from news report of the initial court hearing that Judge Mark Smith agreed with her attorney:
"I counted 17 allegations in the decision where Mayor Broderson was accused directly affecting the city council, can you tell me why that isn`t a conflict of interest," said Judge Mark Smith. Judge Smith didn't hand down a decision in court and didn't say when he will. He did leave the door open that the former mayor may return to office, "The likelihood of success is pretty good on this case in terms of the plaintiff, in terms of being successful."
Judge Smith issued an order this morning that reinstated Broderson as mayor, pending final hearing on this case:
The judge said there were "inherent conflicts of interest" throughout the council's removal of the mayor, and to ensure a fair trial, "no man is permitted to try cases where he has an interest in the outcome."
Of course, that means that Mayor Pro Temp Bob Bynum is no longer Muscatine's mayor.

It's been reported that the City of Muscatine has spent more than $107,500 in their effort to remove Mayor Broderson from office. Ironically, one of their complaints about her was bad decisions that cost the taxpayers a lot of money.

Updated on 06/26/17: The political drama continues to unfold down in Muscatine, IA. Earlier this month, Judge Mark Smith returned Mayor Diana Broderson to office, pending a July 17th hearing. But don't assume that the City of Muscatine is sitting back and letting her run over them. And why would you?

Muscatine's city manager, Amy Reasner, filed a motion last week asking Judge Smith to reconsider his order. She argued that the City Council has the full authority to accuse, try, and sentence its mayors when it comes to impeachment. In fact, she actually challenged the court and questioned its own ability to interrupt the execution of their impeachment conviction.

Meanwhile, Mayor Broderson has resumed her "Holding the Coffee with the Mayor" chats last weekend -- much to the chagrin of the City Council! Roughly 50 people showed up to cheer her on and to share local concerns. During the event, Mayor Broderson indicated that she plans to run for re-election.

Updated on 07/02/17: There was a court hearing late last week, where the City Council tried to get Judge Mark Smith to change his mind and uphold their impeachment decision. Judge Smith reviewed the cases and then sent everyone home, with Mayor Diana Broderson still the mayor of Muscatine.

It's not looking good for the Muscatine City Council:
In the judge's ruling, Smith wrote there is a probability the council's impeachment proceedings will be found to be unconstitutional and in violation of the 14th Amendment. 
It's ironic that the City Council and City Manager argued that Mayor Broderson wasted the city's money. Meanwhile, they've seemingly pissed away $107,500 (and probably more by this point) over the past six months in their effort to kick her out of office!

A final hearing is schedule with Judge Smith on July 17th.

Updated on 08/15/17: The court hearing to determine the legality of Mayor Diana Broderson's impeachment continues to drag on. We learned this week that Judge Mark Cleve (Jon's Note: I thought it was Judge Mark Smith??) has ruled that transcripts from several closed session meetings held by the Muscatine City Council will be used as evidence in court. The city had been fighting to keep these transcripts inadmissible as evidence:
In the ruling, Cleve decided the recordings of the closed meetings are necessary in determining whether the council violated Broderson's right to due process when removing her from office. Broderson argued the council violated her 14th Amendment right by acting as investigator, prosecutor, judge and jury... 
The judge said the city also waived attorney-client privilege by allowing third parties to be present during the meetings, as the mayor was allowed to attend the initial meetings and Mandsager also was present, despite threatening litigation against Broderson. 

The transcripts, Cleve said, could also show if the council had "personal animus or bias" toward Broderson, which would result in a due process violation.
The transcripts are to be submitted to the court by Friday. The judge will then issue his final ruling.

Updated on 08/16/17: We learned earlier this evening that City Administrator Gregg Mandsager is fighting the court order that would make public five recent closed session Muscatine City Council transcripts, arguing that his personal performance information as a public employee would be revealed if the transcripts were released.

Updated on 09/12/17: Yesterday, the Iowa Supreme Court granted a stay on last month's district court ruling that ordered the public release of five recent closed session Muscatine City Council transcripts. Now we will have to wait for the Iowa Supreme Court to make a final decision on this matter. In the meantime, Diana Broderson will continue to serve as mayor of Muscatine until the court case is decided or until her term ends in November. Which means that this entire year of political turmoil has most likely been a huge waste of time and public resources.

Updated on 09/28/17: The Iowa Supreme Court denied the City of Muscatine's appeal to a district court ruling that they turn over five transcripts to five closed session meetings. The city's administrator was concerned that the release of these tapes would damage his professional reputation. Interestingly, the district court judge had already prohibited the transcripts from being released to the public.

Because of today's Supreme Court ruling, this case has returned to the district court level and we can hopefully find out once and for all if Mayor Broderson's impeachment was constitutional or not -- just in time for November's election!

Updated on 10/04/17: It was reported earlier this month that the Muscatine City Council finally turned over the minutes to five of their closed session meetings to Mayor Diana Broderson and her attorney. They were fighting this order for two months but finally ran out of options for withholding the material from the impeached-yet-reinstated mayor.

Everyone will return to district court again on 10/20/17 to (hopefully) resolve this case.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

THE ARCHIES #1 Debuts Tomorrow! // Look Forward to Team-Ups with Chvrches & the Monkees!

Archie Comics newest ongoing comic book title, THE ARCHIES, will make its debut tomorrow!! This new title, by Alex Segura, Matthew Rosenberg, and Joe Eisman, reunites Archie, Jughead, Betty, Veronica, and Reggie and takes them out on a musical adventure.

We've been promised that the Archies will encounter real-life bands. And we've been learning about these bands in recent weeks. For example, CHVRCHES will appear in THE ARCHIES #2 & 3 next month and in December. Keep in mind that I have no idea who CHVRCHES is, but Husband Mark is familiar with them and says that they're pretty good stuff so there's that. CHVRCHES' appearance in issue #2 will only be a cameo, but we can expect a lot out of the band when they get upgraded to guest stars status in issue #3.

It looks like the band will be experiencing some growing pains during the first stage of their tour, so maybe CHVRCHES will rally the Archies and get them back on the straight and narrow!

But I was a little surprised to learn the identity of the second real-life band to appear in THE ARCHIES -- none other than 60's sugar band, the Monkees! That's right, the Riverdale Gang will meet up with Peter, Mickey, Michael, and Davy in THE ARCHIES #4 in January 2018, apparently the results of some time travel craziness!

Here's how the solicits read:
Still soaring from last issue’s sage advice from Chvrches, Archie is eager to take his friends to the next level musically on their first-ever tour. But an unexpected turn of events finds them in the swingin' sixties — face to face with rock/pop icons The Monkees
I'm not sure how I feel about the Monkees' appearance. But I really like Alex Seguara's writing and he did an excellent job with ARCHIES MEETS RAMONES, which also seemed like an oddball team-up. So I'm willing to give this match up a chance!

"Fuller House" Creator Has Stopped Courting Mary Kate & Ashley Olsen

I've written before (here and here) about my love for "Fuller House." I'm still a bit surprised by my obsession with this program. I wasn't a fan of "Full House," either when it first came out or more recently in reruns. But I can't get enough of this program!

Season Three recently dropped on Netflix. I was pulling in some extra shifts with my part-time job and was running around doing some errands for my older boy, but still managed to binge-watch this latest season in less than 36 hours!

One of the fun things about "Fuller House" is that pretty much everyone from the original program has made at least one appearance on the new program -- except for Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, who played youngest Tanner sister Michelle. The two twins have begged off efforts to bring them back into the fold, arguing that they have a fashion-designing business to focus their attention on.

The "Fuller House" characters usually made passing jokes about Michelle's absence from the family during the program's first two seasons. However, I don't remember a single joke about Michelle during this latest season. And it appears that "Fuller House" creator Jeff Franklin has finally stopped chasing after the missing Tanner twins:
"I’ve stopped asking, really I kind of gave up," he told Us at the show's Paleyfest panel in Beverly Hills. "But when somebody rings a doorbell, the girls yell, 'It’s always open!' on the show so that’s kind of how we feel about the Olsen twins. The door is open... But I think we’ve gotten enough no's," he continued. "We’re kind of done asking. But who knows? You never know in life. Who thought this whole thing would happen?"
Frankly, it would seem weird to see Michelle burst onto the program again. And the chemistry is great between DJ, Stephanie, and Kimmy. But it is kind of weird that their younger sister has completely abandoned the family. There could be a really great story behind that! But it doesn't look like we'll get to watch that story any time soon...

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Moon Boy Returns to the Living in Marvel Comics' MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR #23!!

It's been nearly two years since MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR made its debut at Marvel Comics. I started out as a tentative fan who read the comic book off of the shelf, but didn't start buying the book until about midway through its first year of publication. One of the things that initially turned me off of the book was the killing off of Devil Dinosaur's long-time partner, Moon Boy. I eventually got over that as I got to know and like Lunella Lafayette (AKA Moon Girl).

Earlier this week, I picked up MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR #23. This wraps up a fun space-based story involving Ego the Living Planet's daughter, Illa the Girl-Moon! Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur travel back to Earth, but (for reasons that I really don't need to go into here on the blog) end up in the distant past just before the Killer-Folk killed Moon Boy and before Devil Dinosaur traveled to modern-day New York City!

This offers Devil Dinosaur the opportunity to jump in and save Moon Boy from the Killer-Folk! Which means that Moon Boy isn't dead anymore!!

This offers Lunella the unique opportunity to give Devil back his home and former best friend.

Which I'm sure is a mixed blessing for Moon Girl. She's the world's smartest person and she's been shackled with the responsibility of caring for a T-Rex in one of America's biggest cities. And despite her protests, Lunella really loves Devil Dinosaur. And the feeling is mutual. So this is a major sacrifice for our young hero.

Of course, there's the fact that Lunella is a young Inhuman whose power is to mentally switch places with Devil Dinosaur. What does their separation mean for her powers? Will they continue to mind-swap across time? Will their separation cause harm to the two of them?

Somehow I don't think we've seen the end of Devil Dinosaur from this comic book -- though I'm glad to count Moon Boy back among the living!