Thursday, December 14, 2017

Christian Group Sues University of Iowa Over Its Inability to Reject Gay Student Leaders

An organization called Business Leaders in Christ (or BLinC) has filed a lawsuit against the University of Iowa, claiming that the university violated their religious liberties last month when they revoked the group's registration as an on-campus organization. And, of course, it's all about BLinC's ability to reject gay members who date from leadership positions.

According to the lawsuit, a former member of the group filed a complaint with the University of Iowa in February 2017 claiming that he'd been denied a leadership position within the BLinC back in 2016 because he is openly gay. He also filed a similar complaint against 24:7, another Christian student group.

BLinC's president at the time Hannah Thompson admitted to denying the gay student's leadership role, but also said that he wasn't rejected as a "leader" for being gay, but for his "desire to pursue a homosexual... relationship." Long story short, BLinC was kicked off-campus. That decision has hindered its ability to function because of its ineligibility to participate in on-campus recruitment fairs, use campus facilities, or receive university funding.

BLinC has not only sued the University of Iowa, but also Dean of Students Lyn Redington, Assistant Dean of Students Thomas Baker, and IMU Executive Director William Nelson. They are seeking the reinstatement of the group's official recognition and some damages. They are represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.

Personally, I don't care if Business Leaders for Christ can reject LGBTQ members or leaders. I find it sad that they're ecumenical enough to be led by a female president -- which would get them blackballed from most Christian traditions and denominations --, but not ecumenical enough to accept LGBTQ "leaders" (whatever that means).

And yes, I recognize that they are open to LGBTQ leaders who are celibate. Given that I've belonged to a denomination that's long supported full inclusion of LGBTQ members and leaders and that's supported full same-sex marriage rites and rights, BLinC's enlightened distinction seems terribly old-fashioned and unappealing to me.

I do find it ironic that the group is called Business Leaders in Christ. So you can be a Leader, but not a leader of the Leaders.

Anyway, check out these legal briefs when you have an hour or two. I am curious to see how this lawsuit unfolds.

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.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Archie Comics to Publish New DICK TRACY Comic Book Series in 2018

Here is the comic book news that I didn't expect to read today: Archie Comics plans to publish a DICK TRACY ongoing comic book series starting in April 2018. DICK TRACY will feature writing by Alex Segura & Michael Moreci and artwork by Thomas Pitilli.

Dick Tracy is a tough police detective who was created back in 1931. He was featured in a long-running comic strip for decades. He's also appeared in radio dramas and comic books, not to mention a really great movie from 1990 starring Warren Beatty and Madonna.

Alex Segura -- who not only writes, but does a day job as Archie Comics' co-president -- apparently inquired about the possibility of obtaining the publishing rights to the Dick Tracy character several months back and Tribune said that they wanted to get the character back out into comic book adventures again. One thing led to another and here we are!

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!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

The Parody That Needs to be Made: "What If Arthur Was an Edgy Teen Drama?"

There is this great parody trailer of a live action "Arthur" television series. It's titled "If Arthur Was an Edgy Teen Drama."

This exciting urban drama imagines a scenario where Arthur finds himself charged with tracking down Muffy's murderer! Among the suspects are Buster, Francine, Binky, the Brain, and DW -- not to mention clues placed by Muffy prior to her death via Snapchat and other social media platforms.

You owe it to yourself to watch this 1:33 minute parody trailer at this link.

Friday, December 1, 2017

"Sabrina" Television Series Jumps from The CW to Netflix

Remember back in September when Archie Comics and The CW announced that they were going to launch a new live-action "Sabrina" television series? Well, the show is still on. However, it's skipped from The CW to Netflix with an exclusive series commitment:
The streaming giant has handed out a sizable two-season, 20-episode straight-to-series order for an untitled Sabrina drama based on the Archie Comics graphic novel The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, picking up the intended Riverdale companion series from The CW.

Sabrina was put in development at younger-skewing broadcaster The CW in September. A casting search to play the reimagined teenage witch began almost immediately. Sources note that The CW and producers Warner Bros. Television had a list of actresses they eyed for the role. That is being revisited given the large commitment and move to Netflix.

Sabrina reimagines the origin and adventures of Sabrina the Teenage Witch as a dark coming-of-age tale that traffics in horror, the occult and witchcraft. It's described as in the vein of Rosemary's Baby and The Exorcist and finds Sabrina wrestling to reconcile her dual nature as a half-witch, half-mortal while fighting the evil forces that threaten her, her family and the daylight world humans inhabit.
Each season will be ten episodes long. Season One will film from February to June 2018 and Season Two will film from June to October 2018.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Former "Coronation Street" Actor Blames Stress of Playing Gay Character for Sexually Molesting Four Different Women

One of my favorite "Coronation Street" actors since getting hooked on the show last month has been Bruno Langley. Langley plays bad boy attorney Todd Grimshaw, who's apparently the soap's first gay character (written about recently in this post). As I was first getting into the program, Langly was running into real life legal problems.

He was at a Manchester music venue last month and got really drunk. He then groped four different women, though he only got charged with sexually assaulting two of the women. He approached one woman (who was out with her husband) and grabbed her forcibly by the vagina. He then grabbed another woman by the breasts and buttocks. They pressed charges and he was arrested.

On Tuesday, 11/28/17, Langley pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual assault in order to avoid jail time. He has been sentenced to 12 months of community service, including 40 days of rehabilitative activity. She will be placed under an electronically-monitored curfew for 12 weeks and must register as a sex offer for five years. He also must pay 250 pounds in compensation to both of his victims.

Langley has also been fired from Coronation Street.

His attorney isn't doing Langley any favors right now following tabloid reports that stress of playing Coronation Street's first gay character contributed to his sexual assaults:
Ex-Coronation Street star Bruno Langley has blamed the stress of playing the soap's first gay character for the sex attacks he committed on a drunken night out. The actor molested four women at a Manchester music venue last month, but was only charged with sexually assaulting two of them. Langley - who played gay character Todd Grimshaw in the soap - wept in the dock yesterday as he avoided jail after admitting both offences.
His lawyer told the hearing: 'Something happened that night, most possibly in relation to the character he was playing.' It is understood his comments refer to the stress Langley felt being a straight man playing a gay character.
Of course, this story is beginning to circulate across gay media. Which means, that people who've never heard of Langley, Coronation Street, or his character are now learning of the actor -- and not for good reasons!

SECRET WARRIORS Sends the Team to Des Moines in the Latest Issue -- And Why It Doesn't Quite Work!

I really enjoy Marvel Comics' SECRET WARRIORS comic book title. It's my favorite of the Inhumans-themed titles. Heck, it's one of the only Inhumans-themed title that I purchase these days (besides MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR).

The Secret Warriors are a team of mismatched Inhumans who gathered together for support recently when Captain America went all Nazi and conquered the USA. The team consisted of former SHIELD agent Quake, Ms. Marvel, Moon Girl (with Devil Dinosaur, of course), Karnak, and Inferno. Recently, Magik from the X-Men began hanging with the team. I'm not sure if this is a permanent team-up, but she brings the added benefit of a long-range teleporter to the book so I'm okay with her addition!

Now that America is Nazi-free again, the Secret Warriors were in the process of breaking up when Mister Sinister and Dark Beast began capturing young latent children and experimenting on/torturing them in an effort to manifest their latent Inhuman abilities without needing to be exposed to Terrigan Mist.

We found out in this issue that Karnak had actually hired Mister Sinister to explore new options for terrigenesis and broke off their relationship when the torturing began. Frankly, Karnak should have known better from the beginning!

Anyway, the team found a bunch of the Inhuman kids imprisoned in one of Mister Sinister's secret lairs and spent most of SECRET WARRIORS #9 returning those kids to their homes all over America... which brings me to one of my biggest peeves.

I was interested when I learned that one of these "NuHuman" kids was from Des Moines, Iowa (not Idaho). I even rolled my eye at the joke, because it's actually pretty common that Iowa is mistaken by others for Idaho... or Ohio. I thought, at least writer Matthew Rosenberg gets it!

But then they took "Kid" (they never did name the kid) back home to Des Moines -- which is apparently an isolated house in the middle of nowhere. And that's where their ignorance shows. Des Moines is a sprawling city that is surrounded by deadlocked Interstate traffic and that melds with surrounding communities and suburbs. There's no way that Kid lives in Des Moines, IA, judging from the artwork.

They would have been better off creating a fake small-town community in Iowa and sending Kid there. Or dropping a pin random on the southwest corner of the state if they wanted to place him in the middle of some farm community. Just a tip for future writers and artist who decide to send their characters to the American Midwest.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Nebraska State Patrol Reports Bigfoot Sighting on I-80 Near North Platte

Have you been to North Platte, NE? I haven't been there in many, many years. It's about 3.5 hours west of Lincoln. Chances are that you might have seen Bigfoot this past Saturday had you been traveling by.

The Nebraska State Patrol reported it, so it must be true:
The Grand Island Independent reports a Colorado woman driving along I-80 spotted what she believed to be Bigfoot at around 9 p.m. The woman describes the creature as being approximately 8 feet tall and “really heavy and stocky.” 
Facebook members commenting on the Nebraska State Patrol’s post had some fun speculating as to why Bigfoot or similar creatures would be spotted now. Nicole Galliano surmised that “migration and climate change is forcing them into new areas, please drive carefully!”
According to one of the witnesses, there have been previous Nebraska Bigfoot sightings in Grand Island, Bellevue, Lincoln, and Macy.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Small-Town Iowa Movie Theater Won't Show "Star Wars: The Last Jedi"

"Star Wars: The Last Jedi" will be debuting in theaters in a few short weeks. But the people of Elkader, IA, will need to travel out of town if they want to watch the latest chapter of this movie franchise.

When I first learned that Elkader Cinema wouldn't be showing "Last Jedi," I assumed that there was some crazy culture war reason behind their decision. But I couldn't be further from the truth. Turns out that the northeast Iowa theater has decided against showing the blockbuster for purely economic reasons:
"The biggest reason that I'm not going to show it is the four-week minimum play time," owner Lee Akin told the Des Moines Register. "My little town cannot afford to play any movie for that long of a time." Elkader's population is about 1,200. Akin's theater in town is a single-screen auditorium that shows films at 7 p.m. on weeknights and in the afternoon on weekends. Ticket prices range from $4 to $9.25.
In addition to requiring theaters to screen "Last Jedi" for at least four weeks, Walt Disney Co. is also demanding 65% of the ticket revenue from theaters.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Remembering "The Norm Show"

I was recently reminded of "The Norm Show," an ABC sitcom that aired from 1999 through 2001. It starred Norm Macdonald and Laurie Metcalf, among other people. The concept was pretty stupid. Norm Henderson was a former NHL hockey player who got in trouble for gambling and tax evasion. In order to avoid serving time in prison, he was court-ordered to work full-time as a professional social worker. 

Because anyone can work as a social worker.

I just re-watched the first episode on YouTube. It starts with Norm providing counseling services to a foster kid who'd been caught shoplifting. Because why not?

Later on, he was sent out to follow-up on a former client of his whom taken a job at an adult massage parlor. He was told to get her away from the massage parlor or else he would be sent to jail by his boss. For some reason, he wasn't allowed to tell anyone at the massage parlor that he was Taylor's social worker. And she really didn't want to stop prostituting herself.

Now I'm pretty sure that Taylor was a high school student. Which makes me wonder why she was allowed to remain in a business of prostitution at all once Norm's boss learned that she was selling herself for money. I mean, why not report the business to the police for sex trafficking instead of sending Norm to get her out?

Then again, it's possible that Taylor was an adult. If so, then she has the right to make bad decisions. Norm could try offering her work opportunities elsewhere, but Taylor ultimately had the right to remain employed at the massage parlor and take the risk that she'd eventually be arrested for prostitution.

Norm ultimately convinced Taylor into leaving the life of prostitution by telling her that "You're a huge whore." And apparently, she became an employee at the social work office and dated Norm and at least one other social worker over the course of the show. Because you don't learn anything about social work ethics or boundaries when you're forced to be a professional social worker via court order.

I vaguely recall that real life social workers spoke out against "The Norm Show" when it first aired, though I struggled to find evidence of this when I searched online. Which makes sense, I guess. It was 20 years ago. And I'm pretty sure that I wouldn't have gotten it back then, even though it makes complete sense to me now. 

"The Norm Show" was a completely cynical program about an often cynical profession. Despite the faulty premise, I'm hopeful that they actually portrayed some of those sad cynicisms about the profession before the show ended, such as the tendency of social workers to become consumed with their work and to become overwhelmed by stress. As it is, I remember the show but I don't remember watching the show when it first aired. It might be worth checking out a few more episodes to see how things evolved.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Betty and Veronica Become Bikers Chicks in B&V: VIXENS #1!

I finally read through my weekly comic book haul, including B&V: VIXENS #1. I'm still trying to decide if I like this new title. It was promised that Betty and Veronica would be a pair of "badass biker chicks in charge of the meanest gang in town" in this title. Maybe we'll get to that eventually.

There are hints of it at the beginning of the book when the Vixens circle the Southside Serpents HQ a bit on a their bikes and then imply that they would be beating up some passing stranger. I'm told that the Vixens are a bunch of badass biker chicks. The problem is that I'm just not feeling it yet.

Here is the gist. There have been rumors of criminal activity outside of Riverdale by the infamous Southside Serpents. Betty and Veronica discover that Reggie and Archie have started their own biker gang to push back against the Serpents. It's not the Red Circle, but they've instead called themselves the Battlin' Boys. Keep in mind that Reggie and Archie appear to be the only Battlin' Boys. And neither of them seem overly serious about their gang.

Betty talks Archie into taking her for a ride on his motorcycle. Unfortunately, they experience some problems with his bike outside of this random bar -- which turns out to the the Southside Serpents' HQ!! Archie races away to safety, but not before knocking over all of the Serpents' bikes!

Unfortunately, they leave behind evidence that they came from Riverdale and the Serpents plan to retaliate for Archie's blunder during the upcoming school dance!

Betty and Veronica realize that Riverdale is at risk so they decide to recruit the local girls to start up their own biker gang to protect Riverdale and take down the Serpents!

I'm hopeful that B&V: VIXENS will toughen up during subsequent issues. As it is now, I'm thinking the artwork is a bit too Manga-influenced to carry off the tone that I was expecting with this title. I'm hopeful that this will become remedied with subsequent issues.

B&V: VIXENS #1 features writing by Jamie Lee Rotante, art by Eva Cabrera, coloring by Elaina Unger, and lettering by Rachel Deering.

Friday, November 24, 2017

MassResistance Hold "Teens2Truth" Conference in Dallas // Tell Audience that Teens Think They Get Free Stuff for Coming Out & Complain about Younger People Learning That There's More to Gay Relationships than Sexual Behavior

Sorry that I haven't been blogging much over the past week. I went through a short period last weekend where I really struggled to find much to blog about. It happens and I usually work my way out of those moments -- for better or for worse. Then Husband Mark hosted a big dinner party on Tuesday. And then I spent Wednesday over in Jones County with Les visiting his family. And then I spent the day yesterday watching the new "Thor" movie and binge-watching the final season of "Longmire" on Netflix. And generally I've been exhausted during the past few days. That said, I hope that everybody had a good Thanksgiving Day yesterday!

So it seems that MassResistance held a "Teens2Truth" conference in Dallas last weekend. MassResistance is an anti-gay organization that originated over in Massachusetts, but it's apparently spread beyond that state and now has a Texas chapter. And it's run by an anti-gay writer/activist named Robert Oscar Lopez, who's made his name in anti-gay circles because his mother was a lesbian who briefly raised him with her girlfriend shortly before her death and because he identifies as a bisexual man. Anyway, Teens2Truth was a conference aimed at teens and their parents and teaching them the "truth" about the gay lifestyle.

There's this video circulating from the conference in which Lopez speaks with some guy named Derek Paul (Jon's Note: I've no clue who he is, but I assume that he's an ex-gay guy). According to Lopez and Paul, young people want to identify as gay -- even if they don't even have LGBTQ thoughts or feelings -- because they believe that they'll receive all sorts of stuff in they come out:
So many people are exposed to some idealized version of the gay community. I can picture tons of people thinking, "Oh wow, this is like, everyone has such a great body and they have such great clothes and they all seem to be fun and everybody loves them, so let me become part of it, but I don’t actually want to do anything." It's kind of weird because we are also in a situation where being gay... There's an incentive to it. I mean, you get things for being gay and I don't think it was like that when I was growing up or when you grew up because you're still old enough to remember that you don't get extra point for being gay.
I'm old enough to admit that I'm out of it, but (outside of the old "lesbian toaster oven" joke) I have no idea what Lopez is talking about he says that you "get things for being gay." Maybe things have changed. I know that there are some LGBT-specific scholarships out there. Then again, there are scholarships for all sorts of things -- and many more out there for belonging to various churches or espousing various religious beliefs. So please share examples of the stuff that kids get for being LGBTQ. (Jon's Note: This is a very sincere request. I'd like to check into these incentives, if they actually exist.)

If you continue watching this video, you will see Lopez talking about some effort that his group was protesting that would provide LGBT-inclusive curriculum to the school district in Austin, TX. They scoffed at the notion that LGBT-inclusive curriculum is all about sex. In fact, they thought that it was worse if it didn't include graphic sexual content to young people because it then purposely misled young people about what the LGBT people is really about.

In my mind, I think that it's actually really important that we teach all young people -- whether they're LGBTQ or if they're heterosexual -- about dating and about boundaries and about being able to put off sexual activity until they're are older. I hear this complaint in the adult gay community that it's close to impossible to find men who want to wait for sex instead of finding men who are looking for hook-ups.

I'm all about teaching younger people that they can make the decision to wait until adulthood (or even until marriage) to have sex -- even if they are members of the LGBTQ communities. And if that seems wrong to people like Robert Oscar Lopez and Derek Paul, then that's one more reason to disagree with MassReisistance's agenda.

Incidentally, you can watch their interview on this video (provided by Right Wing Watch). And then watch this video of Derek Paul doing some interesting "rainbow flag interpretive dance" routine for the Teens2Truth audience, provided by Media Matters.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Thanksgiving Dinner in a Can!

This image has been making the rounds on Facebook this week and there's no doubt that it looks pretty gross. But after I had my initial LOL and after I shared this on my FB feed, it occurred to me that this might actually be a great idea for Thanksgiving Day dinner!

Think about it. The average person consumers 4,500 calories during Thanksgiving Day -- and that's just dinner! Thanksgiving Dinner in a can might look gross when it's glopped out of a can, but I'd wager that it contains less than 500 calories -- if that!

Plus, meal prep would be reduced from hours -- if not days -- to a mere minutes. Just plop it in a pan and warm it up and Thanksgiving Day dinner is ready to be served!

Sadly, I don't think that Craig's Thanksgiving Dinner is an actual product for sale. But I would totally buy it -- if only to bring a can as a potluck item!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Coming in April 2018: "Rampage"

Remember the "Rampage" video game from the 1980s? Looks like it's being made into a move, sent to be released in April 2018.

It stars Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as some guy who really gets on well with wild animals -- especially gorillas. And then some corporation or rogue governmental agency drops some cannisters into his jungle, which releases mutagenic gas that transforms one of his favorite apes -- plus a wolf and a crocodile -- into a giant monster. Those monsters are then dropped in the middle of Chicago and we have one building-dropping motion picture!

You can watch the official trailer video here.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Who Is the Sugar Man and What Is His Connection to "Riverdale"? // Updated on 11/18/17: The Sugar Man's Identity Revealed!

(Originally written on 08/16/17): Remember when I shared my list of fantasy Archie Horror titles for Archie Comics to publish each month? Looks like I should have waited a few days for Archie Comics CCO/"Riverdale" creator Roberto Aguirre Sacasa's recent tweet featuring the Sugar Man!

The haunting character looks like something out of Elm Street as opposed to Riverdale, but he sure does look scary!

It appears that he has a dark connection to the Blossom twins' childhood. And it makes sense that a creepy monster named Sugar Man would haunt the dreams of Riverdale's maple syrup heirs.

Presumably, we will be learning more about Sugar Man in "Riverdale" Season 2. But I think it would be really cool if he showed up in one of Archie Comics' Archie Horror titles.

And wouldn't it be cool if the Blossom Twins got their own ongoing comic book title again after all of these years???

Updated on 11/18/17: I will admit it. I've been horrible in recent weeks about doing my weekly "Riverdale" check-ins. There are reasons for that, but none that need to be written about here.

Regardless, I got to thinking about this post from August earlier today. It's where we first learned about the Sugar Man. We finally met the Sugar Man in this week's episode of "Riverdale."

The Black Hood (or somebody pretending to be the Black Hood) has been reaching out to Betty Cooper by phone over the past two episodes, taunting her and placing responsibility for his string of terror on her shoulders.

In this week's episode, the Black Hood charged Betty with discovering the identity of the Sugar Man. He's apparently the chief dealer of drugs in Riverdale and the Black Hood wants him dead. He worked for Clifford Blossom and Penelope Blossom turned him into a boogeyman of sorts in order to frighten the Blossom Twins into staying away from him.

Betty manages to learn the Sugar Man's identity by the end of the episode, but finally takes charge of her twisted relationship with the Black Hood and passes that identity on to Sheriff Keller. She then publishes the Sugar Man's identity in the school newspaper instead of revealing this to the Black Hood.

It turns out that the Sugar Man is... Robert Phillips, Jughead's teacher at Southside High. He was also the adviser for Southside High's student newspaper. It turns out that he's been dealing jingle jangle and other drugs out of Southside High with help from the Southside Serpents' rival gang, the Ghoulies.

Mr. Phillips was arrested and jailed. Unfortunately, he was visited in his jail cell at the very end of this episode by the Black Hood himself. The episode ended with the Black Hood pointing a gun at Sugar Man. It's unclear if he killed Mr. Phillips or not... but I'm sure we'll find out in two weeks when new episodes of "Riverdale" return to the CW!

Incidentally, as far as I can tell there is no Archie Comics equivalent character to either Sugar Man or Robert Phillips.