Saturday, April 29, 2017

Who Killed Jason Blossom? My Top Three Suspects Revealed!

Now that I'm caught up with episode reviews and summaries, I want to do something different. Fans of "Riverdale" learned that the identity of Jason Blossom's murder will be revealed next week, presumably during the first moments of Episode 12. I think it's safe to assume that neither Archie, Jughead, Betty, Veronica, nor Kevin Keller are guilty of Jason's murder.

At the end of Episode 11, FP Jones -- Jughead's father and leader of the Southside Serpents -- was arrested and charged with the murder of Jason Blossom. The police had searched his home and found a lock box with the murder weapon inside. Archie and Veronica know that FP is innocent because they had performed their own thorough search of the trailer home just hours before the police search. The weapon was planted in FP's home, which means that Jason Blossom's murderer is still on the loose in Riverdale!

I want to post my "Riverdale" suspect theories today in this blog. I might be wrong. I might be correct. I might be partially correct. But I have some theories!

First, let's share what we know about Jason Blossom. He's the son and heir of the Blossom Syrup Empire. He comes from a long line of red headed rich people with probable personality disorders. He has a twin sister named Cheryl. He was a star athlete. He was the captain of the football team and he was also on the water polo team. His tenure with the football team was ultimately marred by a notebook where team members slept with girls and then publicly slut-shamed them.

Last spring, he started a romance with Polly Cooper. This relationship was ultimately doomed due to a multi-generational feud between the Blossoms and the Coopers. Polly eventually learned that she was pregnant with Jason's twins and the two teens planned on escaping from Riverdale and eloping.

On July 4th, Cheryl and Jason got on a rowboat and traveled towards Greendale. The boat supposedly capsized and Jason was supposedly drowned. Cheryl later admitted that she was helping with his runaway plans, but denied knowing any other details about his escape. We later learned that he was shot in the head a week later and dumped in the lake. His body was later discovered.

We know that Jason had a ton of drugs hidden away in his escape vehicle and he was known to be a drug-dealer during his last months of life. Somebody stole the drugs and destroyed the car before the police were able to fully investigate.

So here are my suspects...

1. Cheryl Blossom: Cheryl Blossom is the easy suspect. She is the last known person to see Jason alive. She was the one who rowed away with him when he abandoned the family empire. She was the one who knew of his plan to runaway for parts unknown. She is the one who told the world that he was dead, but in a way that cast her as the grieving sister.

The police know that Cheryl helped him leave Riverdale, but who is to say that she was telling the whole truth?

Cheryl was devoted to her brother. Veronica never met Jason, but still managed to picked up on the twincesty vibes between this pair during the party scene in Episode 10. What if Cheryl and Jason had indeed been sexually and romantically involved? What if he broke things off with his sister because of his love for Polly Cooper? What if she grew to hate him because of this and either stashed him away for a week -- possibly in a last ditch effort to save their relationship -- or tracked him down after his absence? After all, we only have her word that she didn't know where he was going! Lastly, she wore a white outfit to his funeral. Shades of a wedding dress, possibly? And she stole Nana Blossom's heirloom ring -- the one that Jason intended to use as his wedding ring.

Cheryl Blossom might very well be the easy suspect, but there's a reason for that.

2. Hal Cooper: Back when Riverdale was younger, the Blossoms and the Coopers built a financial empire with maple syrup. Not content to split the financial rewards, Great-Grandpa Blossom killed Great-Grandpa Cooper! Nearly 80 years later, Hal Cooper and Cliff Blossom are still fighting that family feud!

Now imagine that he just learned that his oldest daughter is romancing the son of his biggest enemy -- the very family that denied him access to generational wealth and power. And then imagine that he just found out that she's pregnant and planning to run away with Jason! It's worth noting that Hal Cooper was not in the home when Polly was confronted and whisked away by the Sisters of Quiet Mercy. Maybe he was chasing after Jason...

And don't forget, somebody broke into Sheriff Keller's home and stole all of the evidence, pictures, and video interviews. We later found out that Hal Cooper was the thief. Why did he do that? Maybe he was trying to dig up information for the newspaper, but that's a huge risk for an ongoing murder investigation. Maybe he was trying to protect Alice or Polly Cooper, who were both presumably viewed as official suspects. I think that he was covering his tracks.

Lastly, we know that Hal and Alice Cooper have secrets of their own. Part of the sting with Polly's pregnancy is the insinuation that Alice was a teen mom, too. It's been implied that they gave up their first child for adoption, or had an abortion. In Episode 11, it was clear that FP knows their secret and threatened to dangle it for public display if Alice didn't leave him alone.

What if Hal Cooper -- being Jason Blossom's killer and possessor of the murder weapon -- planted the gun in FP's home and then called the police. FP is a rogue. The police are more than willing to lock him away forever. Easy way to deflect suspicion, right?

3. Hermione Lodge and/or Smithers: Hermione Lodge is the dark horse candidate. I mean, she was in New York when Jason disappeared. Right? But the Lodge family is the family that seems to benefit the most from Jason Blossom's murder.

We now know that the Blossom family was making sizable payments to the Lodge family for decades. We don't know why. Maybe it had to do with Great-Grandpa Cooper's murder? Who knows? But Clifford Blossom wanted the payments to stop and Hiram Lodge didn't care. So Cliff set something in motion that ultimately led to Hiram Lodge's arrest on embezzlement and to the leveling of the Lodges' large fortune and influence.

Here is my theory. Hiram Lodge's arrest took place on July 4th. Jason Blossom had just taken off and was unprotected by his family. Plus everyone was dragging the lake in their search for him. They weren't looking in Greendale or wherever Jason actually was. What if Smithers, at the behest of the Lodge family, swooped up Jason and stashed him away. He was eventually killed and his body was dumped in the lake. I'm pretty certain that Hermione would be the one to kill Jason and that Smithers would be the one to clean things up afterwards. That's how I see it in my mind's eye.

We already know that Smithers is aware of the Lodges' shadier elements. He procured money from previously unknown areas when Hermione most needed it. He's helped guide Veronica towards decisions that most benefit her father's agenda. And I'm pretty sure that he continues to feed Hiram information about his family and fallen empire from afar. I think that Smithers would do whatever the Lodge family needs him to do to protect them and their reputation. Including kidnapping and murder!

I think that the Lodges killed Jason off in order to weaken the Blossom family and their legacy. They needed the Twilight Drive-In property in order to rebuild their empire. The Blossoms also wanted that property, so this just sweetened the deal for Herimone.

We know that the Lodges have connections to the Southside Serpents. Where did Jason get all of those drugs? I'm guessing that he stole them from the Serpents. It would be in the Lodges' best interest for the Serpents to reacquire their missing drugs and then to destroy Jason's car along with any evidence of their involvement with those drugs.

As time progressed, the Serpents were becoming increasingly troublesome for Hermione. Why wouldn't she want to plant evidence on their leader, FP Jones, in order to get him out of the way and to weaken the gang?

It's a difficult, convoluted murder plan. Then again, this is the Lodge family.

What do you think? Who killed Jason Blossom? Shared your thoughts in the comments section below!

Catching Up on Episodes 10 & 11 of "Riverdale"

There have been two more episodes of "Riverdale" since my last blog post. And they have been pretty good episodes!

By the way... SPOILERS!!! Major spoilers!! Just warning you...

In Episode 10, Betty decided to throw Jughead a party for his 16th birthday. Keep in mind that Jughead hates birthday parties, but she did it anyway. It was originally intended to be a private party for Betty, Jughead, and their closest friends (Archie, Veronica, Kevin, Joaquin, FP Jones, and Ethel). But Cheryl and Chuck decided to get some petty revenge and ended up inviting the entire school and transforming the party into a drunken spectacle!

The end result is that everyone's secrets came out in this episode. Everyone now knows that the Lodges purchased the drive-in movie property. Everyone now knows that Archie had an affair with Ms. Grundy. Everyone knows that Betty seduced, drugged, and tortured a confession about the football "book of conquests" out of Chuck a few week's back.

Oh, and Molly Ringwald finally made her "Riverdale" debut as Archie's long-absent mother. Riverdale is so out of control -- what with murders, gangs, pregnant teens, and seductive teachers -- that she wants to take Archie to Chicago where he might -- just might!! -- survive into adulthood!!

Meanwhile in Episode 11, Polly continues to investigate the Blossom family for clues about Jason's murder. She is convinced that they know something about his death -- or that they are actually behind it. But she isn't very subtle about things. They know that she's sleuthing about. The most that she's discovered is that Mr. Blossom wears a wig!

But she does manage to find the missing heirloom ring that Nana Blossom secretly gave to Jason and Polly way back when she learned of their engagement. Mrs. Blossom tells Polly that Jason threw the ring at his parents last summer when he told them that he was running away. They then proceed to drug Polly and lock her away in her bedroom -- and Cheryl absconds with the missing ring!

Meanwhile, Archie and Veronica agree to investigate FP Jones' trailer home for Mrs. Cooper to see if Jughead's father might have been involved with Jason's murder. This is personal for Veronica. She already knows that her parents have been secretly conspiring with the Southside Serpents. She wants to know if her father -- who's slated for early release from prison -- had anything to do with Jason's murder. And Archie just wants to protect his best friend from being hurt by his father.

This leads to Riverdale High's annual Homecoming Dance, where Archie and Veronica entertain the audience with 80s cover songs. And while everyone is dancing, the police raid FP's trailer and find the gun that killed Jason Blossom!

Jughead is horrified to find out that his friends had been investigating his father. But he's completely shattered to learn that his father has been arrested for murder!!

Except that Archie and Veronica had just searched the trailer and found nothing. There was no gun! That means that FP Jones has been set up. By whom??

We don't know! But we'll probably know on Thursday, May 4th. That's the day that "Riverdale" fans will find out the identity of Jason Blossom's murderer! So tune in to The CW next Thursday night at 8:00 PM CST!

Mentor, OH: Psychic Sentenced to 8 Years in Prison for Stealing $1.4 Million from Clients

One of my psychic friends posted a link to this story yesterday. It involves a psychic from Mentor, OH, who was just sentenced to eight years in prison after pleading guilty to one count of aggravated theft with a forfeiture specification.

According to news reports, 42-year-old Gina Miller operated a business called Gina's Psychic Studio. She was accused of stealing $1.4 million from 12 clients over a 15-year period:
(Assistant Lake County Prosecutor Charles) Cichocki said Miller charged $50 to $75 a session to determine a person’s frailties through cold readings, quickly sizing up victims through high-probability guesses. She then charged victims a larger fee to get to the root cause of a problem — usually to get rid of a curse. 
“Many victims were seeking answers for problems that made them highly susceptible to her psychological tactics,” he said. “Once all their cash was gone, she tricked them into leasing vehicles for her or giving her Rolex watches.” 
Miller would tell her clients that they or a family member would be struck with tragedy, illness or death if they failed to let her help them get rid of the “darkness,” Cichocki added. 
She isolated victims from their family members, and warned clients her work would fail if they spoke to others about it... 
Cichocki played an audio tape in court of a victim wearing a wire for Mentor police. The victim had been leasing Miller a late-model Cadillac, and her credit was suffering because Miller had not been making the payments as promised. “What will happen if I don’t make the payments?” the victim asked Miller. “Your grandson would die,” Miller responded. Many of the victims were elderly. Some were worried for their children in the armed forces or prison. “One victim had diabetes. She told him not to take his medicine. He lost his leg to an amputation,” Cichocki said.
According to the news article, Miller was originally charged with 28 counts of aggravated theft. However, all of the counts were merged into one count for the purposes of sentencing. The forfeiture specification means that she will lose property connected to her crimes that had previously been seized by the police.

Miller is also required to pay each of her victims back the money stolen. However, given the age of her victims -- mostly seniors -- and the length of her prison sentence, I imagine that most of her victims won't receive much back in the form of restitution.

The article also noted that Miller's $233,000 house is currently in foreclosure. She spent most of the money stolen from her victims on furniture, furs, vacations, and gambling.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Charlotte Rae from "The Facts of Life" Diagnosed with Bone Cancer at Age 91

Sad news today. Charlotte Rae -- Mrs. Edna Garrett from "Different Strokes" and "The Facts of Life" -- revealed to PEOPLE that she has been diagnosed with bone cancer. The 91-year-old actor revealed that she was diagnosed and successfully treated for pancreatic cancer seven years ago:
"About seven years ago, I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer -- which is a miracle that they found it because usually it's too late. My mother, sister and my uncle died of pancreatic cancer. After six months of chemotherapy, I was cancer-free. I lost my hair, but I had beautiful wigs. Nobody even knew."
Rae is now trying to decide whether or not to go through with treatment:
The Facts of Life star, who celebrated her 91st birthday on Saturday with family and friends, was supposed to start treatment on Thursday, but decided to cancel. "I wanted to think about it first," she says. "I think I'm going to go for it. The side effects were not too bad when I did it originally. I've had a great life, but I have so many wonderful things happening. I'd like to choose life. I'm grateful for the life I've already had."
Longtime readers of this blog know that I've been a huge fan of "The Facts of Life" for most of my life. This is very sad indeed.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

"Riverdale" Season Two Casts Its Hiram Lodge

It's been a few weeks since we received our first glimpse of Hiram Lodge from the "Riverdale" television series. Keep in mind, we got that glimpse in the RIVERDALE ONE-SHOT comic book and it was unclear if the Hiram Lodge that appeared in that comic book would look much like the Hiram Lodge who would eventually appear in the TV show.

We got our first real answer in the news yesterday:
Veronica’s dad might be getting out of jail sooner than we thought on Riverdale
Mark Consuelos has signed on to play the heretofore-unseen Hiram Lodge on The CW’s Archie reboot, TVLine has learned exclusively. He’ll make his debut in Season 2, and is set to join the cast as a series regular. 
Hiram Lodge, per the show’s official description, is “a ruthless, handsome, charismatic businessman who is coming back to Riverdale after weathering a financial scandal that almost destroyed him. He is there to reconnect with his wife Hermione and, especially, his daughter Veronica, who is the apple of his eye.” We haven’t seen Hiram on the show yet, since he’s been in jail awaiting trial for his involvement in a Bernie Madoff-esque embezzlement scheme. But it sounds like he beats the rap and comes home to make Veronica’s life even more complicated. 
There is a catch, though: Consuelos currently co-stars on Fox’s baseball drama Pitch as general manager Oscar Arguella, and his Riverdale casting is in second position to Pitch, so he’d have to drop the Riverdale role if Pitch is renewed for a second season. (Pitch is currently listed as “could go either way” on TVLine’s Renewal Scorecard.) He also recently signed on for a major recurring role on the upcoming fourth season of NBC’s The Night Shift, and he’s co-president of Milojo Productions, which has the Logo reality show Fire Island debuting this month.
In other words, Consuelos might be Hiram Lodge or he might have to give up the role of Hiram Lodge if his current TV gig gets renewed.

What do you think?

Monday, April 24, 2017

Ryan Buell of "Paranormal State" Arrested Again // Charged with Simple Assault Against his Boyfriend

Ryan Buell, formerly of A&E's "Paranormal State," is back in jail again. The 35-year-old former reality TV star/paranormal investigator was arrested Friday evening. The police were originally called to his home to respond to a drug overdose. However, police ended up arresting Buell following reports that he had been in a domestic assault against his boyfriend:
The man stated that when he arrived home, he and Buell had gotten into an argument, police said. As the argument escalated, Buell reportedly scratched the man’s face. When he pushed Buell back, police said, Buell bit his finger. Officers observed a “deep bite” on the man’s finger that penetrated the fingernail. He also left scratches on the left side of his boyfriend’s face and neck. When interviewed, Buell stated he and the man had an argument but didn’t remember any physical altercation, police said.
According to news reports, Buell was charged with a misdemeanor count of simple assault and s summary charge of harassment. His bail was set at $25,000. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Wednesday this week.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Gay Christian Singer Vicky Beeching Upset Over Online Bullying By Other Christians

It's been a few years since Christian singer Vicky Beeching came out as a lesbian. She solidified her fanbase with LGBT Christians, but fell from grace with the the vast majority of Christian fans.

I was reading an article from Christian Today about Beeching and the nonstop attacks by fellow Christians since coming out in 2004. The article makes quick reference to "'relentless' death threats,'", but focuses primarily on ongoing online bullying by Christians via social media and emails.

For example, Beeching was particularly upset by this meme that's been shared nearly 20,000 times. It says, "You may be gay or you may be a Christian, but you cannot be a gay Christian. Do not be deceived. Read 1 Corinthians 6:9." It wasn't the message particularly that upset her -- she, like most LGBT Christians, has heard that one a million times before. It was the sheer number of shares that upset her the most.

Beeching recently took a break from social media, but has promised to return after a bit of self-care.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Oregon: Youth Shelter In Hot Water After Rejecting Sizable Cash Donation from Gay Men's Chorus While Requesting More Funding from City

There is a story in the news right now about a youth shelter in Grants Pass, OR, -- the only youth shelter in Josephine and Jackson counties -- that was begging for $26,000 in extra funding from the city, while simultaneously rejecting a $3,000 donation from a charity concert by the Portland Gay Men's Chorus.

Hearts With A Mission normally receives $50,000 annually from the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety. They approached the city for an additional $26,000 to get through the fiscal year, citing unforeseen problems with the shelter. A member of the public questioned the request for additional city funds when the Hearts With A Mission had just turned down a $3,000 donation from the gay men's chorus last month. This led to scrutiny by members of the city council.

Hearts With A Mission's executive director, Kevin Lamson, continues to defend the decision to reject the donation from the gay men's chorus, saying that it had nothing to do with being anti-gay and more to do with maintaining the safety of the shelter's teen residents. 

Near as I can tell, they were afraid that members of the public would stop donating money to the shelter if they knew that the shelter accepted a one-time monetary donation from an LGBT organization.

This story began appearing in the media earlier this week and then began appearing on gay blogs yesterday. 

Hearts With A Mission issued an official statement yesterday, attempting to explain their decision and apologizing for rejecting money from the gay men's choir:
Official Statement from Hearts With A Mission 
RE: Turning Down of the Portland Gay Men's Chorus Contribution 
We regret the outcomes of turning down the funds from Portland Gay Men’s Chorus event. We recognize this situation should have been handled differently. Hearts With A Mission made this decision in an attempt to keep the focus on the youth services we provide and avoid undo controversy. We are very glad another local program serving homeless youth was the beneficiary of the funds. 
We did not mean to disrespect the Portland Gay Men’s Chorus or to the LGBTQ Community. Hearts With A Mission believes in helping all youth, regardless of sexual orientation, race, religion, or ethnicity. We meet every youth where they are at and welcome them into our shelters. This is how we started 8-years ago and it is how we will be 20 years from now. 
Our inclusive practices apply not only to the youth we serve, but also to our staff, board members, volunteers, and community partners. These are the values we live by. As a result, we have nondiscrimination policies and procedures in place we adhere to with the strictest of standards. We provide trainings annually to ensure our organization follows all policies and procedures.”
They plan to have an official press conference on Tuesday the 25th. Meanwhile, they are stressing that they don't turn away LGBTQ youth and I've seen statements from two gay youth stating that they were served well by the shelter.

Sadly, people are defending the rights of the shelter to reject money from the choir -- or anyone else, for that matter. I agree. But it looks bad when you're begging for public cash at the same time that you're turning away a large private donation. Meanwhile, someone actually suggested that the Portland Gay Men's Chorus raised money for Hearts With A Mission in a deliberate bid to stir up controversy.

Incidentally, the money originally raised for Hearts With A Mission was instead given to the Maslow Project, another organization that serves youth in that county. According to that group's director, there hasn't been any public outcry about that donation.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Major Character to Die in Upcoming Issue of ARCHIE // Updated Below...

(Originally written on 03/21/17): Comic book readers are encouraged to check out ARCHIE #20 and #21. The story line will feature a drag race between Archie and Reggie -- and one major Archie Comics character won't survive!:
“Up until now, Archie and his pals have led fairly untroubled, normal lives. Suddenly, in one horrifying instant, that all changes when one of the kids looks death in the eye — and death doesn’t blink,” Archie writer Mark Waid tells EW in a statement. “Who will it be? All we can tell you is that you’ll be shocked — and that no one is safe.”
The race on Dead Man's Curve will happen in ARCHIE #20. And the identity of the dead character will be revealed in ARCHIE #21. It's unlikely that Archie will die -- not unless they've decided to pull the plug on this series(!!). That leaves Reggie, as he's the other driver.

On the other hand, it's likely that some poor innocent will become the unexpected victim on a high-speed vehicle. That opens things up quite a lot: Moose... Midge... Dilton... Jason... Cheryl... Jellybean... Mr. Weatherbee... Ms. Grundy... Mr. or Mrs. Andrews... Or even *whimper* my beloved Kevin Keller!

Which Archie Comics character do you think will die in ARCHIE #20 and #21? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Updated on 04/21/17: CBR posted a new interview with writer Mark Waid and artist Pete Woods about the upcoming "Over The Edge" story line. Archie has also begun posting this promo pic (see new image in the top right corner of this article) on their social media accounts.

Honestly? I think that Reggie Mantle is going to end up in the hospital -- and I'm wondering if he's actually going to die. I mean, read the quote above and the language in the promo pic and then read this excerpt from the article:
Yikes! The solicitation for “Over the Edge” does tease ‘mortal danger’ and that “one of the kids looks death in the eye – and death doesn’t blink.” Is someone really going to die?
Waid:Now you’re asking me to reveal way too much. You’re just going to have to trust me. This story will fulfill your expectations.
I'm reminded of this recent story where people make certain assumptions and then realize that they're actually saying something else.

I'm wondering if this story instead results in some crippling injury for Reggie Mantle, which results in a new status quo for the character and an interesting chance at redefining the character.

What do you think?

Wapello, IA: Thousand of Turkey Killed in Fire

Terrible news out of southeast Iowa this morning following news of a horrible fire at a turkey farm near Wapello, IA. According to new reports, roughly 10,700 turkeys died in this fire. Several fire departments were called out to respond to the fire. However, high winds and sawdust begging fueled the flames.

The value of the damage is estimated at $300,00. It's not yet clear what caused the fire.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Ames, IA: Police Launch "Donut Disrespect" Campaign

The Ames Police Department and the Iowa State University Police launched their annual spring campaign with a video encouraging the people of Ames, IA, to respect each other.

You can watch a video of their "Donut Disrespect" campaign here. But the gist is that the two police departments will announce events on their social media account. If you show up at those events, they will give you free donuts.

From the video: "All we ask is that you donut disrespect, donut discriminate, donut harass, and donut hate." The cops say that they will give you a free donut if you're respectful and if you made good decisions.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Democratic Challenger to Rep. Steve King Revealed to Have Past as Online Psychic

The big political story tonight is that Kim Weaver, the Democratic candidate from Sheldon, IA, who hopes to unseat US Representative Steve King in 2018, once worked as a psychic.

According to the Des Moines Register, Weaver used the named Kimberanne AKA the Spirit Weaver about ten years ago. She offered psychic readings online and by phone. She also appeared on various Internet radio programs. She did hypnotherapy and used tarot cards.

Which is pretty cool to me, but definitely will not help her current political aspirations.

Weaver denied in a recent interview with the Register that she actually has clairvoyant abilities. She said that her previous efforts at a psychic were more a form of life coaching and mainly for entertainment purposes. She also stated in the article that she did not make any money as Kimberanne.

According to the article, Weaver took down her "The Spirit Weaver" website back in 2012. That said, I'm pretty sure that I've reviewed those pages. But I didn't get into paranormal and metaphysical services until 2014. I'll need to ponder that.

"Classic Archie" Looks Returns With a Twist in New YOUR PAL, ARCHIE Comic Book

The latest news out of Archie Comics is that Dan Parent is bringing back the Classic Archie look -- with a twist. This new comic book, titled YOUR PAL, ARCHIE, will be published in both print and digital formats in late July 2017.

YOUR PAL, ARCHIE will featuring writing and inks by Ty Templeton and pencils by Dan Parent:
Parent will be slightly altering his classic artistic approach to Archie, Betty, Veronica and the rest of the Riverdale gang. He turned to the new Archie-inspired CW hit television show “Riverdale” for inspiration.
“The influence from [“Riverdale”] is more of a fashion makeover for me. I’ve changed the hairstyles a bit, and the clothes. And the faces are a little more detailed, but the line work is still the simple classic lines I’ve always used,” Parent said. “I hate over-rendering and too many lines, so I won’t go there. Less is more.”
Archie will also be hitting the weights a bit and have a slightly more buff frame, like his “Riverdale” television counterpart, actor K.J. Apa.
It's not spelled out in the article, but I assume that we will continue getting regular installments of the revamped ARCHIE and JUGHEAD books. And I resume that we will eventually get the next issue of BETTY & VERONICA someday.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Archie Comics: Next Issue of CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA Finally Coming in July 2017 // No Word on Next Issue of AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE

Archie Comics recently issued its annual "we-haven't-forgotten-about-Archie-Horror" news story (previous example here and here) this week. CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA #6 was published back in July 2016 and AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE #9 was published back in August 2016. Since then, it's been quiet from the publisher even though these are two of the publisher's hottest book.

That said, we learned that CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA #7 is finally scheduled for publication in July 2017. It's been so long since the last issue saw print that I don't really remember what happened with issue #6, but I learned from CBR that issue #7 will focus on the origin of Edward Spellman -- Sabrina's father -- and will help launch a new story arc titled "Witch War":
“This issue ended up being our biggest one yet — a double issue — and really, it’s a pitch-black origin story,” Aguirre-Sacasa said in a statement to CBR. “Edward Spellman, Sabrina’s father, is a major player in our universe and in the ‘Witch War’ storyline — I mean, he had control of Harvey’s body! — and Robert [Hack] and I sort of realized that… we didn’t really know who Edward was. We’d gotten glimpses of him here and there, but nothing in depth. How did he join the Church of Night? Why did he become a conjuror? How did he end up banished to hell — who sent him there? All of this was unchartered territory. So we gave ourselves the room to really peel back the layers in — what I think — is our most gruesome and horrific issue yet; it’s a true horror story. And, by the way, it’s a great jumping on place for new readers — a perfect primer. And hey, it allowed Robert to draw lots and lots of different demons, which is also a bonus!..” 
“I’m so excited for folks to finally see the craziness we’ve been cooking up,” Hack said. “It’s disturbingly awesome in the best ways possible. And personally, I think that ‘Sabrina’ #7 (and #8, which we are working on now) has some of my best work on the series so far — and certainly has some of my favorite WTF moments.”
The CBR article indicated that Aguirre-Sacasa and Hack are working hard right now on issues #8 and #9, so there should be such a huge gap between issues. I've heard that story before.

Meanwhile, there's no mention of AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE #10, which is in the middle of a multi-issue story line already. I just want to know what happens to Betty in that book before my son graduates from high school. That's my life goal right now.

Friday, April 14, 2017

The Story I Missed: Jon Gosselin of "Jon & Kate Plus 8" Became a Stripper -- Plus the Reveal that It Was an April Fools Day Joke!

I was online tonight and noticed a news article from late March reporting that Jon Gosselin, formerly of TLC's "Jon & Kate Plus 8" reality TV fame, was going to be performing as a stripper in a New Jersey club.

The news broke when he posted this "Jon Gosselin Untamed" poster on his Instagram page. He later confirmed that he would be performing as a male entertainer in Atlanta City, NJ, on 04/01/17.

According to ET:
It's true. After rumors began swirling that the former Jon & Kate Plus 8 star was going to perform as a male entertainer in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Gosselin, 39, confirmed the news to ET on Saturday. 
"I work at Dusk Nightclub in Atlantic City, New Jersey. I'm a member of the Senate DJ group and I also help with Promotion," he explained. "I DJ at the club sometimes, but I find promotion is more rewarding both financially and emotionally. I like taking care of people and making others feel welcome." 
Gosselin also revealed he's performing in the nightclub's Men Untamed Revue Show, exclusively telling ET his first night is April 1st. "I'm an integral part of the show," he added. "Being part of something is a blessing. Since I joined Senate DJ I've felt like I belong to something and I'm not just out there on my own -- I feel as if I'm part of a fraternity or brotherhood." 
But when asked if stripping was something he ever imagined himself doing, he responded, "No way!"
This immediately grabbed my attention. I thought that Jon was hot back in his reality TV days (so homo) and I felt a little bent out of shape for missing this story when it first broke. Knowing that his performance happened earlier this month, I began googling "Jon Gosselin stripper" and was disappointed when I found these pics on TMZ.

So then I went on Twitter to see if I could find some really shocking private pics, but nothing nudie showed up. But I did find this article, titled "Everyone Thought Jon Gosselin Was Going To Be a Stripper -- Now He's Getting the Last Laugh."

Turns out that the whole thing was an elaborate joke on the media to celebrate Jon's 40th birthday with his friends and family. He pointed out that the media ran with the story of him being a stripper without really examining the "Jon Gosselin Untamed" poster. Some of the things that they missed in the poster: It never announced that he was going to strip. They just assumed. They also failed to notice that the party was planned for April Fools Day.

Jon noted in a follow-up video that he was pleased about punking the media, which has been collectively dogging him over the past decade. He did perform for his audience, but he certainly didn't strip. He made some money and contributed quite a bit of that money to St. Jude's.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Season 10 of "Storage Wars" Debuts -- And So Does Its New Auctioneer From Iowa!

I watched "Stakes, Buys and Video Games," the first episode of season ten's "Storage Wars" on A&E. I don't usually watch this show, but wanted to check it out since Iowa is getting some representation in the name of Emily Wears. She's an auctioneer from nearby Solon, IA.

As I noted above, I don't usually watch "Storage Wars." I usually reserve the show for moments when I'm traveling with family and we're looking for something that everyone can generally watch without conflict. But the format is pretty similar from episode to episode. Treasure hunters make bids on abandoned storage lockers and then sort through them after each sale to determine how much they made off of their acquisitions -- or how much they lost!

Iowa's Auctioneer, Emily Wears
One thing that I don't remember from previous shows: the focus on the auctioneer! The first several minutes of the show focused on introducing Emily as the new auctioneer. And then each of the auction bidders -- Ivy Calvin, Rene Nezhoda, Mary Padian, and Darrell Sheets -- spent quite a bit of time speculating on the identity of the new auctioneer and then trying to figure out how they could manipulate the newbee auctioneer.

Fortunately, Emily wasn't putting up with their antics. She walked in with confidence, laid down the rules, and then began the auction. Once again, keep in mind that I don't usually watch this show that closely. But everyone seemed shocked with Emily kicked off the sale with a rapid-fire auction chant. I thought that this is pretty typical for an auction, but apparently not in California. Emily led the show's regulars on three sales and then left about midway through the program so that they could tally their winnings.

So, how well did Emily represent Iowa? Pretty well. I mean, they didn't actually say in the show that she's from Iowa. But "Storage Wars'" producers didn't make her wear corn-shaped earrings. And they didn't play banjo music in the background when she showed up. That's a win in my mind!

More importantly, Emily had a lot of fun back-and-forth bantering with the show's regulars and she seemed very comfortable in her role as "Storage Wars'" new auctioneer. Good job!

Ryan Buell Hosts Meandering Facebook Live Session

I was Facebook last night and received a notice that Ryan Buell, formerly of "Paranormal State," was going to be hosting a Facebook Live session. Which intrigued me. He has been in the news during the past year because of arrests related to various felony and misdemeanor theft. He's been plagued by rumors of drug abuse. And he continues to be dogged by angry fans who spent money on various appearances, only to have him no-show. He's been pretty quiet since getting out of jail, though has participated in a webinar program and made an appearance at a recent convention in New York. (though he showed up one day late.)

I showed up a few minutes late to the Facebook Live session and found a very tired looking Ryan Buell trying to justify to his fans why he wasn't planning on addressing any of his legal or personal problems. It went on and on and on for an uncomfortable amount of time before he attempted to seek out new questions from his fans.

Except that he just sat there for an extended period of time staring at the string of comments and questions in teary-eyed silence. I asked him to tell us about his new book, which he kind of started talking about before shifting back into uncomfortable discussions about his personal challenges without actually talking about his personal challenges.

In other words, I didn't learn much about his new book.

The Facebook Live session cut out after a period of silence. I left Facebook and found out that she returned with one or two additional sessions. Those didn't last very long -- but at least he answered some interesting questions, such as how to help "gifted kids" or would you ever consider doing animated voice work. And he talked a bit about being an addict in the process of recovery.

I left the Facebook Live session worried about Ryan and whichever one of his friends and/or advisers who thought that it would be a good idea for him to do one of these Q&A events. You can watch the three videos here, here, and here.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Alabama: Bill Allowing Church to Establish Its Own Police Force Moving through the Legislature // Updated Below...

(Originally written on 02/18/17): I just learned that there is a bill moving through the Alabama legislature that would allow a church to establish its own police force. The church in question is Briarwood Presbyterian Church and it's in Vestavia Hills, AL. The bill has passed through the House Public Safety Committee and will now move to the full House for consideration.

According to this article, Republican legislators are open to other churches who want to establish their own internal police departments. Why?:
“They will conduct their own investigations,” explained (Rep. Connie) Rowe. “They will conduct their own security. They will make their own arrests and instead of calling on the local law enforcement agency to take over the particular situation they're trying to control, they will do that themselves. All they will utilize from their other law enforcement agencies is their lock up facilities.”
The church police will be directly answerable to church leadership.

It makes you wonder how safe an individual church is that they actually feel the need to call on the police for security or internal investigations. I understand that stuff happens. There were two church-based arrests in Iowa last month involving mentally disturbed individuals who were out of control. But those incidents are actually very rare. I cannot imagine why any church would need its own police force.

Updated on 04/12/17: The Alabama Senate voted yesterday to allow Briarwood Presbyterian Church to have its own police force by a vote of 24 to 4. The vote still needs to be debated and voted on by the Alabama House.

Monday, April 10, 2017

X-Men Gold Team Amazed that Kitty Pryde Can Phase a Skyscraper // Conveniently Forgot the Time She Phased a Giant Planet-Killing Bullet // Also Forgot the Time She Became a Space-God Who Can Phase Entire Planets!

I was reading the new X-MEN GOLD comic book from Marvel Comics this weekend and I'm not here to talk about the big controversy over signs of anti-Semitic/anti-Christian coding by penciler Ardian Syaf (you can read about that over here). I'm here to write about Kitty Pryde, who recently left the Guardians of the Galaxy so that she could take over the leadership reigns for the X-Men.

X-MEN GOLD #1 begins with this new incarnation of X-Men (Kitty Pryde, Storm, Old Man Logan, Colossus, Nightcrawler, and Prestige AKA Rachel Grey FKA Rachel Summers FKA Marvel Girl FKA Phoenix) saving New York City from an attack by Terrax the Terrible. Most of the X-Men battle and defeat Terrax (spoilers...), but Kitty has a unique role in this fight.

You see, Terrax has control over the ground. In this battle, he uses his powers to knock over a skyscraper. Within seconds, this building will collapse to the ground and kills hundreds of people within. Not to mention the people on the streets and the people in the surrounding buildings!

Luckily, Kitty has the building to turn intangible. She also has the ability to make other things turn intangible by touching them. So she manages to phase out the collapsing skyscraper long enough for Nightcrawler and others to rescue the people within. Nice save, eh?

Nightcrawler and Colossus seem incredulous that she has this much power. Which makes sense, I guess. She is one person after all. This is pretty heavy-duty work, right?

Except that Kitty once single-handedly saved Planet Earth by phasing a giant bullet. That bullet was big enough to destroy the planet and dense enough to repel defensive weapons.

And since then, Kitty Pryde became a frickin' space god with the ability to turn into a giant space ghost. She even phased an entire planet during that story line!

So have a little faith in your new leader, X-Men! And bone up on your mutant history before your next mission!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Catching Up on Episodes 8 & 9 of "Riverdale"

It's been a few weeks since I've written about the "Riverdale" series. I've still been watching the program, but the combined effects of the show's hiatus plus last week's mini-vacation ended up breaking up my writing momentum! Then when I showed up last Thursday night to watch the program, the sound was out on my local CW station! Fortunately, I also download "Riverdale" from iTunes, so I was finally able to watch the program last night.

There's been some really great developments on the program, such as...

Veronica and Betty hosted a baby shower for teen mom Polly Cooper! Everyone was invited, including the feuding Cooper and Blossom grandmothers. The party ended predictably and explosively, but Mrs. Cooper finally came to terms with her daughter being pregnant and with her keeping the baby. She even left her husband over this decision! Unfortunately, Polly decided to move into the Blossoms' home and has cut off all contact with her family. Did I mention that Polly is pregnant with twins?

Meanwhile, Fred Andrews continues to work alongside Hermione Lodge -- the secret owner of the building project that will hopefully save Fred's construction business. Unfortunately, Mr. Blossom is determined to sabotage the project and manages to get Fred's crew to quit. When Archie and the rest of the football team (plus Jughead and Kevin) step up and take over construction duties, a group of secret saboteurs (who may or may not be Southside Serpents at the behest of Hiram Lodge, who's upset over Fred and Hermione's recent romance) attack the teens and destroy some of Fred's equipment. Hermione eventually reveals to Fred that the Lodges are the secret owners of this property, he gets pissed. He agrees to continue working there, but insists on more money and breaks off all romantic ties of her.

Speaking of the Blossom family, their syrup empire is threatened over Jason's death. Their corporate board is concerned about the future of Blossom Syrup now that Jason is gone and they do not believe that Cheryl is capable of inheriting the family business. So they recruit Archie -- using gifts and promises of rewards -- to escort Cheryl to a corporate powwow and build up her image. Archie goes along with it for a while, but finally decides that he cannot continue with this charade any longer.

Unfortunately, Archie's girlfriend Valerie grew tired of Archie's time with the Blossom family. Plus she grew tired about everything in their relationship being about him and not about her. She she dumped him.

Ethel Muggs made her "Riverdale" return. Veronica recognized that Ethel was in a deep depression and reached out to her. She learned that Ethel's parents are fighting over money and that they will most likely be forced to sell their family home. About this time, Veronica learned that the Muggs family is in this predicament directly because of her father's criminal actions. Things come to a head when Mr. Muggs attempts suicide (but he survived!!). His suicide attempt shakes Veronica, who rips off her pearls in a fit a guilty tears. Fortunately, Ethel recognizes that Veronica isn't responsible for her father's actions. Plus she recognizes that Veronica was the only person who reached out to her when she was writing insanely dark poetry during English class. So they're still friends.

But back to Polly... Even though Polly isn't communicating with her family anymore, she finally told Archie during his time with the Blossom Family that she is convinced that Jason's family had something to do with his murder and she's using this opportunity to find out the truth. She needs to earn their trust and she can only do that if she cuts off ties with the family. It seems like a good plan, but Cheryl is nuts! Polly really needs to watch her back or she might find herself floating in the lake with a bullet in her head!

There's lots of other smaller stuff, such as discovering that Kevin's boyfriend -- Joaquin from the Southside Serpents -- is using him to keep tabs on Sheriff Keller's murder investigation. Or learning that Veronica Lodge's best friend in NYC is named Katy. Katy Keene, maybe? And then there is just the awesomeness that is Jughead Jones, as portrayed by actor Cole Sprouse!

Anyway, next week looks like an intense episode, with a psychedelic birthday bash for Jughead. Plus, Molly Ringwald will make her "Riverdale" debut as Mary Cooper, Archie's estranged mother. Tune in! I'll be there! (Unless the sound's off again...)

Saturday, April 8, 2017

First Appearance of Little Kevin Keller in LITTLE ARCHIE AND HIS PALS One-Shot Comic?

I was reading the LITTLE ARCHIE AND HIS PALS one-shot comic book that was just published by Archie Comics. It's a cute book that Husband Mark picked up for me. It features art by Baltazar and writing by Franco & Baltazar. If you like funny gags in your Archie Comics comic books, then this is a good book to pick up.

A good chunk of the book features the magical effects that Salem the Cat has on Little Archie -- basically he generates static electricity, which he then passes over to Archie, which causes all sorts of bad things for Archie. Like the time that an electric charge destroyed his homework!

Anyway, there's this one point in the comic book where Salem rubs up against Little Archie and leaves our hero with enough static electricity to zap a bunch of his friends -- including Little Kevin Keller!

Which got me wondering: Is this the first time that we readers have ever seen Little Kevin? I don't remember ever seeing him before.

One time on Twitter, I asked Archie Comics when we would get to see Little Kevin Keller. They told me that they too were curious about Little Kevin's adventures -- but that they wouldn't include Little Archie & His Pals because Kevin didn't come to Riverdale until his teen years. A few years later, the Archie Comics Twitter Account has been proven wrong!

Which just reinforces my primary theory when it comes to Archie Comics: Continuity is important to Archie Comics, except when it's not!

Friday, April 7, 2017

Fat??!? Is Squirrel Girl a Fat Acceptance SJW?

I was over on the Archie Comics Fan Forum earlier this week celebrating the news that Freeform will be airing a live-action "New Warriors" TV series featuring Squirrel Girl. One of the other forum members reactively negatively to this news, stating that this news "sounds like pure cancer, Squirrel Girl isn't even a New Warriors character, I'm really getting sick of Marvel hamfisting chosen characters no one likes into everything, they're worse than Vince McMahon."

I responded with a quick "She's not a New Warrior... yet!"

Which prompted an observation that Squirrel Girl was a running gag character (which is true) who was made into a "Tumblr fat acceptance character" by artist Erica Henderson and Marvel Comics (which was news to me). This forum member then noted "While New Warriors may be second tier Marvel, they aren't a jokey gag comic and have plenty of solid characters to compose their team. Just shows Marvel is more concerned with pushing characters no one wants to buy to meme them into success (won't work) than respecting the legacy of their IP."

Keep in mind that the New Warriors have been around for over 25 years and it's true that they have several great members such as Firestar, Speedball, Nova, and Justice. But they also have had several forgettable incarnations such as their reality TV days (where they were joined by members Microbe and Debrii) and their ex-mutant day (where they were joined by such ex-mutants as Beak and Stacy X). Plus they've had other forgettable members such as Hindsight Lad, Redneck, and Aegis. So adding a dynamic character such as Squirrel Girl really shouldn't be a huge deal -- especially since she has a romantic history with Speedball, who's a long-term New Warrior and who hopefully will be appearing on the TV show himself!

But I'm going back to the "Squirrel Girl as a fat acceptance character" idea. Is this true? I rarely go onto Tumblr, so have no clue about what happens there. But I've been a regular reader of UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL since it debuted back in 2015. I've never perceived her as a fat acceptance character, though she certainly an accepting character. That's part of her charm.

But the objecting forum member assured me that "Erica Henderson made her into a fat acceptance character by changing her from her sexier appearance into a fat and ugly character (mimicking herself)." I was then told "she wasn't a fat character, and then she made her into one."

So I'm confused. Because I don't think that Squirrel Girl is fat. Not in the least. The image up above is the most "fat" that I've seen her -- and that's because she has a human-sized squirrel tail tucked into her pants.

Here are some Squirrel Girl images from my blog -- not exhaustive, but a sample collection:

Maybe it's just me. Maybe I'm a closet "fat acceptance sjw." (I mean, it's not a stretch to image that I'm at least a low level social justice warrior, right?) What do you think? Is Squirrel Girl fat? Because I'm not seeing it.

Share your thoughts in the comments section below...

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Iowa Auctioneer to Debut on A&E's "Storage Wars" Next Wednesday

Another Iowan is heading to the world of reality TV show next week. Emily Wears of nearby Solon, IA, will make her television debut next Wednesday the 12th when she debuts as a new auctioneer on A&E's "Storage Wars!"

Wears works as an auction caller for Wears Auctioneering Inc, but that didn't stop her from auditioning for the popular reality TV show.

Wears will appear on nine episodes of "Storage Wars." The show features auction bidders who bid on abandoned storage lockers and then sort through them after each sale to determine whether or not they made or lost money on their acquisitions.

I don't watch the show often -- usually only when I'm traveling and stuck in a hotel room with family members. But I'm definitely interested in seeing how Iowa get represented on "Storage Wars" next week. I'll even post about it!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Single Case of Leprosy Diagnosed in Northwest Iowa

There is news of a single diagnosed case of leprosy in Woodbury County -- way over in northewest Iowa. According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, there were nine cases of leprosy in Iowa between 1994 and 2015. That presumably does not include this case, since it's currently 2017.

Details surrounding this case are being kept confidential -- which is only legal and right. 

Leprosy is a bacterial infection. It causes red skin sores, hand and foot paralysis, and blindness if left untreated. It's contageous, but not highly contageous. In other words, you have to be in really close contact with someone who is infected and it appears to be transmitted through nasal droplets. And apparently armadillos are good at infecting people with leprosy.

Social media hasn't been kind about this story. I've seen several people suggest that the infected individual must be a refugee or an illegal immigrant. But I've seen nothing to suggest that this is true.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

"Defenders" Season One Date Revealed: 08/18/17!

So this dropped earlier today.

It's a very brief clips -- 16 seconds brief(!!) -- featuring a masked Matt Murdock (AKA Daredevil), Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Danny Rand (AKA Iron Fist) entering an elevator. They seem a bit agitated, which -- considering that Matt is masked -- implies that they are escaping from someone.

Anyway, Season 1 of "Defenders" appears to be debuting on Netflix on 08/18/17, if this clip is to be believed. Can't wait!!

You can watch the clip here.