Saturday, May 27, 2017

Ryan Buell of "Paranormal State" Out of Jail and In Rehab

Remember how Ryan Buell, formerly of A&E's "Paranormal State," was arrested recently and charged with simple assault against his boyfriend. This came month's after his arrest and felony charges for theft and receiving stolen property. But, more relevant to this blog post, days after this uncomfortable series of Facebook Live sessions featuring a messed up Ryan Buell.

I began reading reports that Buell had been left go from jail and sent to rehab last week. I didn't share this information at the time because the particular source seems a little flaky at times. But it appears that he had good info, as evidenced by this Facebook message that was posted earlier today:

Judge Millian Schools a Clueless Landlord on Yesterday's "The People's Court"

I listen to podcasts and play YouTube videos in the background sometimes when I'm doing paperwork. One program that works well for this type of passive viewing is "The People's Court." I rarely get to watch this show in person, so it's nice that others upload the program regularly.

Yesterday's program was a great episode. Not only did the defendant try claiming the cost of a pot-deal in his counter-suit(!!), but the best case happened in the middle of the show. This couple was moving out of their apartment and found that $1005.50 of their security deposit was withheld due to cleaning expenses. Basically, the landlord spent 64 hours cleaning the stove and the toilet and charged a rate of $20 per hour for the cleaning.

The plaintiffs disputed that their place was that dirty and provided an exit video as proof. The were gently chided for recording everything quickly so that the judge couldn't see much detail, but the place looked pretty good.

Meanwhile, the defendant didn't have any pictures, but he had 60 years of experience as a landlord and a checklist that his cleaner (AKA his girlfriend) completed while she cleaned the place. The defendant was incredulous that the Judge Millian brought up the fact that he didn't provide any proof (such as pictures) to back up his damage claims and that she didn't automatically trust his experience or his word. He also told her that it was inappropriate to ask if the cleaner is his girlfriend and disagreed that her credibility here might be more skewed if she was romantically attached to him instead of just professionally attached to him.

It came to a head when the cleaner/girlfriend was explaining the state of the apartment to Judge Millian. The defendant began chortling during one of Judge Millian's interjections. It went downhill from there:
Judge Millian: Are you mocking me?

Defendant: No. 

Judge Millian: It looked like you were. 

Defendant: I'm amazed at the questioning.

Judge Millian: Why? Why are you amazed? You think you're beyond having to prove your case in court? You're being sued? Why would you come in without a single picture? I don't mind that you didn't come in with a single picture. It's not good for you, but I don't mind that. 

Defendant: I'm a successful landlord and I've never...

Judge Millian: "I'm a success... I've been doing this 60 years..." And what? I'm an idiot? I'm the trier of fact here, pal. And you need to prove your case or you lose. That's how it works. It's so simple. What I am not used to... I'm used to litigants coming unprepared. I'm not used to litigants mocking me for asking you, "where's your evidence?" That I'm not used to. 

Defendant: Well, you repeated it several times, ma'am.

Judge Millian: I repeated what several times? 

Defendant: The pictures.

Judge Millian: Right. 

Defendant: *Shrug*

Judge Millian: That's right. 

Defendant: I don't think that's appropriate. 

Judge Millian: You don't. You know what I don't think is appropriate? I don't think it's appropriate for you to keep $1005.50 without proof, so I'm ordering you to return it to them.
You can watch the entire delicious court case here.

Muslim Man Sues Little Caesars for $10 Million Over Pizza Mislabeled as "Halal"

There is a news story circulating coming out of Detroit, MI, involving a Muslim man that filed suit against Little Caesars for $100 million for serving them pepperoni pizza containing pork. According to the complain, the man purchased some pizza on March 20th and requested halal pizza. The pizza box was labeled "halal" and he and his wife ended up eating most of the pizza before realizing that the pepperoni contained pork. (He knows that it's pork because he used to work in a pizza restaurant and knows all about the different types of pepperoni.) They filed a police report three days later. They then returned to the Little Caesars restaurant on May 24th and ordered more pizza. That pizza was also allegedly mislabeled as being halal.

His attorney then filed the lawsuit on the eve of Ramadan, with the intent to warn observant Muslims against accidentally ordering pork products from that restaurant. As noted above, they are suing for $10 million and are alleging breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation, unjust enrichment, and fraud. The lawsuit was filed against Little Caesars Pizza, Little Caesars Enterprises, and the employees in that particular restaurant. Lastly, they are seeking class-action status of this lawsuit.

Assuming that the accusations are correct, the company appears to be in the wrong if they served these pizzas while labeling them as halal. But I question whether it's worth a lawsuit, much less a $10 million class action lawsuit. It's definitely worth a refund, or a replacement pizza plus a little extra to make things right. Beyond that, maybe a few hundred or a couple thousand in punitive damages. But ten million bucks?

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Speed Demons Across Iowa!

Iowa was full of speed demons this morning. If by "full," one means three drivers drove really fast on our highways this week!

First is Mason City, somebody was clocked at 117 MPH. He or she was reportedly late for work yesterday and got pulled over by the Iowa State Patrol.

The officer took a moment from issuing a speeding ticket to post the moment on Facebook and remind "drivers to obey all posted speed limits." This person face

And then today, the Iowa State Patrol reported via Facebook that they pulled over a driver near Denison, IA, who was traveling at 124 MPH. It seems that the driver was running late this weekend for a graduation party and ended up receiving a $424.50 speeding citation.

But the prize goes to this person over near Stockton, IA, where this driver got caught driving last week at 144 MPH (!!) on Interstate 80 in the middle of the night. According to the media, this driver should have received a $559.50 speeding citation and a possible licenses suspension.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Women at the Well

I haven't been to the blog much this week. I've been extremely busy recently due to work, plus I've been working on a new powerpoint for an upcoming convention panel on "Midsomer Murders."

Then this past Thursday, I got joined a group of people from my church and took a road trip to Mitchellville, IA. More specifically, we went to the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women to participate in a worship services as part of a ministry called Women at the Well. Women at the Well is the church community at the Mitchellville prison that worships every Thursday evening. It's a United Methodist congregation, but remains open to people outside of that denomination.

Which doesn't explain why I was at the prison. Women at the Well actively invites visitors from other churches and organizations to fellowship with the women who worship there every week:
Jesus tells us that sometimes the greatest gift we can give to another person is simply to be present. As a visitor to Women at the Well, your presence is your gift. It reminds every woman incarcerated at ICIW that someone cares, that those outside the razor wire have not forgotten them. It reminds all of us that, through us, Christ is a very real presence in our world.
Worship visitors go through a screening process and are given a list of strict rules before we visit. We are reminded that we aren't allowed to touch the residents and we need to be careful about what personal information we share. I have had some not-so-pleasant experiences with prison employees as a visitor in the past, so I was a bit leery about what to expect this past Thursday. But the prison staff were respectful and the ministers and volunteers were all warm and inviting.

Frankly, I'm still processing my experience with the Women at the Well. The members of my church were encouraged to spread out in the congregation and resist the urge to clump together. There were probably 75 people in the room. Maybe more or less. It was a contemporary worship service, mostly with praise music. But the sermon was meaty and the women were definitely feeling the Spirit. And their choir was amazing!

Part of the service was a presentation by the director of Youth & Shelter Services, Inc. and Teens Against Human Trafficking. Get this. The women raised money over the past two weeks to benefit YSS and managed to raise roughly $93. Keep in mind that they earn roughly twenty-five cents per hour for the work that they do in the prison. That's digging in deep!

In the end, it was humbling to be included in the residents' worship service and to witness their ministry. I anticipate that members from my church will look into ways to maintaining ties to this ministry in the future.

Friday, May 19, 2017

ARCHIE #20: Which Major Character Went Over the Edge: Betty or Reggie?? // UPDATED Below

(Originally written on 05/19/17): It's been a pretty busy week because of work and some extra stuff that I'll probably write about later this weekend. I've got the day off from work and need to run to the gym, but I wanted to write about ARCHIE #20, which kicks off the three-part "Over The Edge" story line. This is the story that's going to kill off -- or at least permanently change -- one of Archie Comics' core five characters

Here are the basics. Archie and Veronica are struggling right now with their relationship and Archie doesn't want anything to shake things up too much. Reggie threatens to share some info that might make Veronica think less of Archie. In exchange for his silence, Archie agrees to drag race on Serpent Hill. Keep in mind that Archie is also racing for continued ownership of his 1969 Mach 1 Cobra Jet. (That's a car.)

Without getting too much into the details, the race began. A third car got in the way of the drag racers. An oil slick happened. And all three cars got crumpled.

Archie Comics wants you to know that Archie himself is safe. They're not killing off their star character again! Also, Veronica and Jughead are safe. They weren't at the race. Heck, Jughead was hardly in the book!

So it comes down to Betty and Reggie. I honestly don't see Archie Comics killing off Betty Cooper. After all, she's the co-star of at least two comic book digests and of a comic book that sometimes gets published! Meanwhile, Reggie is the bad boy that everyone includes in their list of core five characters and yet he's completely on the outskirts of life in Rivedale.

Plus, check out this image from the upcoming ARCHIES one-shot:

In other words, it's not looking too good for Reggie Mantle...

ARCHIE #20 is written by Mark Waid, with art by Pete Woods, and lettering by Jack Morelli.

Updated later on 05/19/17: I thought that the bass player in the above pic is Chuck Clayton, given the skin coloring. It's been pointed out by more than one person that I was stupid for looking at that pic and seeing Chuck. So there you go.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Christian Blogger Publicly Excommunicates Her Gay Son on His Wedding Day // Complains About Her Grieving Process

I learned today about a Christian preschool blogger named who decided to take a break from her traditional blog topics to write about how she and her husband surrendered their son to the Devil:
It has been said that in marriage, the pain and stress of divorce is greater than even the pain of losing a spouse to death. I believe the same can be said of breaking ties with your child. Unless one has experienced this kind of loss and grief, they cannot fully understand the depth of pain experienced by a parent.
Someone may ask, “Why would anyone break ties with her own child?” The answer is, “loyalty to Jesus.” Being a disciple of Jesus demands our relationship to him be greater than our relationship to our own family, even our own children (Matthew 10:37).
It seems that their wonderful son -- her son with an infectious laugh who sang beautifully and spent time bonding over cooking projects and home schooling activities -- succumbed to some unspecified sin. What's the sin? It doesn't matter, according to Blogger-Mom. Sin is sin. Her beloved son gave in to sin and that's enough to cut him off. Meanwhile, she wants the world to know that she is grieving for the son that exiled.

Here's the deal though. It turns out that the world actually knows about her son's secret sin. He's a gay man. In fact, her son just got gay-married. And Blogger-Mom wrote her article about surrendering her son to Satan on his wedding day.

I'm piecing together stories, but I'm learning that Blogger-Mom kicked her son out of the family home when he was a teen. According to one source, he ended up being raised by a friend's family. According to Blogger-Mom's new son-in-law, they maintain an open-door invitation to the son's family. But they have no real relationship with Blogger-Mom or the rest of the family.

I was recently on GCN and read a question about LGBT people and allies boycotting events at anti-gay churches. For example, refusing to go to a child's baptism when invited because it is taking place at an anti-gay church. On the face of it, it seems rude for LGBT people and allies to refuse these types of invitations.

On the other hand, it's actually pretty rare that gay-affirming people "boycott" non-affirming events. Much more often, it's the other way around. For example, at least two relatives did not attend my own wedding because of religious disagreement. I wasn't happy about it, but was told to suck it up. Which I have, but it's still one of those festering irritants for me.

It's actually pretty common -- though not quite as much, fortunately -- for people to "boycott" gay weddings because of religious disagreement. I'm aware of funerals where people have "boycotted" or where venues have canceled because they learned of a gay spouse, or because the person had AIDS, or because the person was a trans person. I'm aware of churches that refuse to baptize our kids. I'm aware of religious schools that expel our kids because they have gay kids.

LGBT people routinely get "boycotted." And while it's largely okay to do, we need to do more to remind people that it's really not *okay* to do. It's rude. It's hurtful. It's shameful. And you shouldn't get patted on the back because you're upset over your gay son's wedding ceremony.

Here is some advice, Blogger-Mom: Time is short. You have cut your son out of your life. You have missed his wedding. You are missing out on developing a relationship with her new step-daughter. You are missing out on every future milestone and achievement in his life. You can blame him for your decision to cut him out, but the end result is that he is gay and he is married. And even though things didn't turn out the way you envisioned, this is the reality of his life. And no amount of public pouting and public shaming will force him to come crawling back into your life.

You should seriously take stock of your own life-choices and beg your son for forgiveness.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Sabrina's Life Continues to Implode on "Return to Amish" -- Fortunately, Her Gay Best Friend Matt Is There to Support Her!

I've really gotten sucked into the latest season of "Return to Amish" on TLC this month. Most of the season has circled around Abe, Rebecca, Jeremiah, Carmela, and Mary. Kate -- arguably the most stable and successful of the original "Breaking Amish"/"Return to Amish" bunch -- finally left the franchise this season.

And then there is Sabrina all by herself.

The others are raising their families and building houses and teaching each other to drive. Meanwhile, Sabrina is back in Pennsylvania fighting the state to retain her parental rights over her young daughter and her unborn baby. Sabrina is barely an afterthought to most of the rest of the cast -- except for Mary. Otherwise, she's pretty much on her own.

Fortunately, TLC decided to re-introduce Matthew to the "Return to Amish" franchise. Matthew was a cast member for one season during the "Breaking Amish: LA" spin-off series. He was conveniently invited to Mary's tupperwear party last week and reunited with childhood friend and fellow fallen Mennonite, Sabrina. He finally came out as a gay man after years of struggle.

At the time, I thought that it would be nice if Matthew was brought into the fold full-time. Or at least regularly. And it looks like someone else had the same idea. Matt spent some time again with Sabrina this week, making her some special Mennonite spaghetti and listening to her tales of woe. And woe is me! Sabrina's life is heart-breaking right now!

Sadly, Sabrina learned that her parental rights over daughter Oakley were officially terminated. She made some really bad choices early in Oakley's life, which led to her daughter being placed in foster care. She stabilized enough to regain custody of her daughter, but then made some no-so-bad choices while caring for Oakley. Unfortunately, her choices were being overly scrutinized by this point in their lives and Oakley was returned to foster care. She struggled to regain custody of her daughter, but it was too late.

Now Sabrina is pregnant and doing her best to prevent DCFS from taking her unborn baby from her as soon as the child is born. Her original place was to do a home birth, but the pregnancy was too high risk to risk delivering outside of a hospital. Now there is a strong chance that the hospital will notify DCFS social workers of the baby as soon as Sabrina gives birth and the child will be removed from her care and parental rights immediately terminated.

Matthew did a good job of listening to Sabrina's struggle and offering support -- even though it was clear that he was struggling with what to say. But he did okay. Sometimes you just gotta say something like, "I don't know how to respond, but I just appreciate you trusting me enough to share," y'know?

He did encourage Sabrina to keep fighting for her unborn child and even offered to rally behind her along with her other friends. But Sabrina's main goal right now is to get her parents to agree to adopting to the baby. She would rather the baby be raised in the stability of the Mennonite community as opposed to the instability of the English world.

That was the interesting thing. Both Sabrina and Matt gushed about life as Mennonites, but they both rejected that life for themselves and neither is allowed to return. Sabrina because she got divorced and Matt because he's gay. But they both say that they prefer that life to the English world.

Sabrina said that life has been a mess since leaving the Mennonites to become English. And it's true that she's led a horrible life: Drug addiction, homelessness, loss of her children. disrupted marriage. But that spun out of a series of bad decisions that Sabrina made when she was in her early 20s. It's too bad that she blames the world for her own choices.

Anyway, Matthew took off after the spaghetti was made and hasn't been seen since. It looks like Mary will be hosting a baby shower next week and it looks like some of the other "Return to Amish" folks will be attending. Maybe Matt will get introduced to the group to further cement his presence on the show?

One can only hope!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Casey Cott -- Kevin Keller on "Riverdale" -- Promoted to Series Regular for Season Two!

One of my favorite characters from The CW's "Riverdale" series is Casey Cott, who portrays gay teen Kevin Keller. Kevin always has the perfect quip for every occasion. And his romance with Joaquin -- the undercover Southside Serpent gang-member -- was one of the hottest hook-ups of the season!

But for all his prominence on the program, Kevin Keller has remained a "recurring character" throughout Season One. But not anymore!

We learned this week that Casey Cott has been promoted to series regular just in time for Season Two!! It's a well-overdue promotion and I can't wait to see more of my favorite "Riverdale" actor!!

Ross Butler (AKA Reggie Mantle) Being Recast on "Riverdale" in Season Two

(Originally written on 04/25/17): Fans learned that Ross Butler, known for his portrayal of Reggie Mantle in "Riverdale," will not be returning to the program when the program returns for its second season:
TVLine has learned exclusively that producers of The CW’s rookie teen drama have decided to recast the role of Archie’s foe Reggie ahead of Season 2 as a result of scheduling issues with the character’s portrayer Ross Butler. 
“We love what Ross did with the role of Reggie [this season], but because of his commitments to other projects, we couldn’t use him nearly as much as we would have liked,” series creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa said in a statement to TVLine. “[Next season], we want more Reggie on our show — he’s Archie’s rival! — and because Ross is unavailable to come back to Riverdale, we’re looking for a new Reggie. Those are big shoes to fill, but we’re confident we can find an actor who is as funny and sexy as Ross. And of course we all wish Ross the best.”
Charles Melton
Ross Butler has seen a lot of success this year in Netflix's "13 Reasons Why," which will most likely be picked up for a second season. He's been the one character with the most potential who's barely seen any screen time on "Riverdale." Hopefully his successor will become a much more active character on the program.

Updated on 05/13/17: "Riverdale" has its new Reggie!! Charles Melton has been cast to play the role of Reggie when "Riverdale" returns for Season Two. Melton's previous experience includes roles in "American Horror Story: Hotel" and "Glee."