Friday, February 23, 2018

Gay Teen Storyline to be Featured on "Andi Mack" Season 2

(Originally written on 10/26/17): Are you a fan of Disney Channel's "Andi Mack" program? I've never hear of it before, but lots of people watch it and its second season will be premiering tomorrow evening at 7:00 PM CST. It turns out that one of the characters, a 13-year-old boy named Cyrus, will be coming out as a gay teen in this latest season -- at least, he'll be struggling with what it means to be a gay teen:
In this season’s premiere episode, Cyrus begins to realize something about himself. Andi is hoping for her parents Bex and Bowie... to get married, all while awkwardly sorting out her feelings for classmate Jonah. Meanwhile, a second storyline depicts one of Andi's two best friends, 13-year-old Cyrus, as he's beginning to realize that he too has feelings for Jonah. This realization begins an important part of his journey to self-discovery as a gay teen and ultimately, his self-acceptance. 

In the episode, Cyrus confides in Buffy. The scene, and what Buffy says to Cyrus, makes for positive role models both for kids and adult viewers. In subsequent episodes, Cyrus begins to understand himself, and can count on his supportive friends Buffy and Andi who, as teenagers, are also on a journey to self-discovery. He also grapples with how to tell his new girlfriend, Iris, about his new understanding of himself.
The One Million Moms group is already freaking out over this announcement. I'm going to make an effort to check out the program when I get home from work tomorrow evening.

Updated on 10/28/17: So I totally missed "Andi Mack" last night. I was working. And then I had to go to a fund-raising dinner with Husband Mark. And then we started watching an episode of "MYST3K: The Return," which ran into the rerun time for last night's episode of "Andi Mack." So I didn't see the show last night, but I just saw this clip where Cyrus confides to Buffy that he totally has the hots for Jonah.

Here is how it all goes down. Jonah belongs to some group called the Space Otters. I was only half-paying attention from some bootleg YouTube videos, but it's apparently a fun group. He invited everybody to some party and Cyrus ended up winning some award. His prize was a special Space Otters t-shirt and a hug from buddy Jonah. Afterwards, Jonah asks to speak with Andi alone -- and you can totally see that Cyrus is freaked out about this. He and Buffy then cyber-stalk Andi and Jonah somehow and watch as he gives Andi some special bracelet.


Later, Cyrus and Buffy meet up at the local diner and exchange pleasantries. Buffy quickly realizes that something is up with her friend:
Buffy: You're scaring me.

Cyrus: I'm scaring me, too.

Buffy: What is it?

Cyrus: Last night, when we were watching Andi and Jonah... You asked me, "Am I happy for Andi?"

Buffy: Yeah...?

Cyrus: And I say, "Yes, I'm happy for Andi." But I'm also not happy.

Buffy: How come? ... Are you jealous?

Cyrus: *Nods head*

Buffy: Cyrus... Do you like Andi?

Cyrus: *Shakes head*

Buffy: You like Jonah...

Cyrus: *Tears up. Something nods head* Buffy... I feel weird.... Different.

Buffy: Cyrus... *Takes his hands* You've always been weird. But you're no different.

Cyrus: I'm glad I told you.

Buffy: Me too.

Cyrus: But the thought of telling anyone else...

Buffy: You'll be okay... I promise...
The rest of the episode rotated around Cyrus wanting to tell his BFF about how they're both crushing on the same guy (but not), while over-compensating with his new girlfriend Iris so that he doesn't look gay -- especially when he's around Jonah. Oh and there was a bunch of other stuff about Andi adjusting to having a boyfriend and her trying to get her dad to propose to her mom.

Updated on 02/23/18: I was watching "Andi Mack" earlier this evening. It was an hour-long episode centered around Cyrus' bar mitzvah party. Which, incidentally, was huge! Absolutely huge! There was music and dancing, but there was also video games and karaoke and bungee equipment and a psychic and caricature artist. It was huge!

There were three big developments in this episode:

First, Andi and Jonah kind of officially broke up. They'd actually broken up last week, but Jonah hadn't realized it. He started pushing Andi away, telling her that he's not into labels like "boyfriend" and "girlfriend" and he rejected this bracelet gift that she made for him. He finally realized what he'd done, but it was too late to fix by that point. Looks like he's going to start chasing after her starting next week.

Second, Buffy learned from the psychic that she and her mother may be moving away. We'll see if the psychic's predictions hold any water.

Thirdly (and most importantly), Cyrus finally came out to Andi. He admitted to her that he's been crushing on her boyfriend for a while. It could have been a really bad thing, but it was helpful. Basically, he told her that he understood how difficult it was to be around someone who you like so much, but who obviously doesn't really care the same way about you.

Twitter went all *squee* after he came out, which was followed by a bunch of anti-gay Andi Mack trolls. But mostly everyone was excited that the story of Cyrus' coming out crawl finally began inching forward again!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Who Will Win in the Battle of ARCHIE SUPERTEENS VS. CRUSADERS?

CBR announced earlier today that Archie Comics plans on publishing a two-issue comic book series titled ARCHIE SUPERTEENS VS. CRUSADERS. The title will teen Pureheart the Powerful and the rest of the Superteens with Black Hood and the rest of the Mighty Crusaders.

The series will be feature wriing by Ian Flynn, David Williams, & Gary Martin and artwork by Kelsey Shannon, David Williams, Gary Martin, and Jack Morelli.

Here is how ARCHIE SUPERTEENS VS. CRUSADERS #1 is described in the solicits:
Riverdale High’s new substitute teacher is very odd. Snubbed by the scientific community, he plans his revenge—on the students of Riverdale High! It’s going to take a team of people with some mighty powers to stop him. Archie Comics’ two most renowned superhero teams are going to meet up for the first time ever in this special mini-series! Features cover 1 of 2 special connecting main covers!
Issue #1 is scheduled for publication on 06/20/18.


Incidentally, I learned indirectly that MIGHTY CRUSADERS will be ending next month with Issue #4. Maybe this is what Archie Comics should do more often: 1-3 issue mini-series that start and end quickly and concisely.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Orange City, IA: Culture Warriors Fight to Limit Access to Books with LGBTQ Content from Library

Orange City Public Library Board of Trustees
There has been contention in Orange City, IA, recently after somebody filed a complaint with the Orange City Public Library about a book featuring LGBTQ content. The complaint gained a lot of disagreeable attention, which led to that person rescinding the complaint. However, the complaint prompted the Orange City Public Library Board of Trustees to review policies involving LGBTQ content at yesterday's board meeting.

The Sioux County Conservatives group began promoting the meeting and encouraging people to speak out against books featuring LGBTQ content. Nearly 300 people signed their petition to severely limit access to LGBTQ materials from library patrons.

From the petition:
We urge the staff, board members, and council members to: (1) approve the labeling and separate shelving of materials* that deal primarily LGBTQ issues to patrons and parents can be fully informed and exercise discretion when selecting library materials to check out for themselves or their family, (2) provide on each computer terminal and online interface book rating services... so each patron can make a conscious and informed decision about the materials to be checked out, and (3) halt new acquisition of any additional materials that primarily deal with LGBTQ materials before a public discussion can be held about the acquisition so valuable feedback can be given by important stakeholders such as parents, teachers, and faith communities. (*Includes 168 print, audiovisual, or online sources as of December 2017)
It was noted during the board meeting, that the 168 titles referenced in the petition were compiled in such a way that it includes both pro- and anti-LGBTQ content in that number.

The board meeting went on for about 45 minutes. People were given about a minute each to express their opinion on this topic. Basically, people were concerned that gay sexuality and trans gender identity are sinful topics. They were concerned that parents' rights were being overruled by the presence of these books. Or they were glad to have access to such content.

The board meeting ended the meeting with a promise to consider and discuss the comments made by the public and with an invitation to the 100-plus residents to come to future meetings.

It's worth remembering that Orange City, IA, held the community's first gay pride festival in October 2017, shortly before this controversy erupted. Culture warrior payback, possibly?

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Disney Developing New "Marvel's Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur" Cartoon Series

Deadline reported earlier today that Disney Channels Worldwide is devloping a new animated series with a working title of "Marvel's Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur." It's unclear if the program will air on Disney Channel, Disney XD, or Disney Junior -- or if it will even move beyond the development phase.

Like the Marvel comic by the same name, "Marvel's Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur" features nine-year-old Lunella Lafayette (AKA Moon Girl), the smartest girl on Earth who secretly holds the Inhuman ability to mentally switch places with her prehistoric partner, Devil Dinosaur.

Grandparents Awarded Custody of Trans Teen Over the Religious Objections of His Parents

I received an article earlier today sending me to this article from the Conservative Free Press about a set of parents who've lost custody of their 17-year-old daughter to the State of Ohio. Apparently, they opposed their daughter's gender transition process, which includes hormone therapy. The state, according to the article, stepped into the situation and placed the teen with her grandparents, who have said that they will support the teen's gender transition. The story seemed over the top, so I began digging and discovered more about this situation from a less biased news source.

It turns out that the FTM teen has been struggling with severe mental health symptoms for a while. He was hospitalized back in 2016 due to suicidal risk. He was diagnosed with depression, anxiety disorder, and gender dysphoria. In November 2016, the teen contacted a crisis chat service and reported that he felt unsafe in his family home. He reported that his "father told him to kill himself, because he was 'going to hell anyway.'" The parents reportedly withdrew him from his mental health services and enrolled him with Christian therapy instead. He was also reportedly forced to sit in a room and listen to Bible readings for hours at a time.

The teen's parents have denied these accusation, but have objected to medical treatment that supports the teen's need for gender transition, particularly hormone therapy. They've refused to call him by his new name or by male pronouns, and they enrolled him in Catholic school where he was made to wear dresses. The parents also support their teen not returning home because they believe he would "warp" his siblings. They just don't want him to continue with gender transitioning, at least not until he turn 18 -- which would be in a few months, so I really don't get the big deal. If he's going to do it and if he's suicidal when forced to live as a girl, why quibble over a few months??

Somehow, presumably because of his unmet mental health needs, the teen was placed in the temporary legal custody of the Hamilton County Job and Family Services. He now lives with his maternal grandparents, who want custody and who support the teens gender identity and transition. they plan to support the teen's ongoing gender transition, including hormone therapy and his legal name change and gender recognition.

So once again, everyone wants the 17-year-old teen to continue living with the maternal grandparents. Nobody wants him to move back home with his parents and siblings. The only difference is that the parents are fighting for custody so that they can legally prevent their teen from continuing the gender transition process for a few more months until he becomes 18.

The judge ultimately awarded full custody of the teen to his maternal grandparents. He can now be placed on their health insurance plan and move forward with his gender transition. Meanwhile, the teen will maintain a visitation schedule with his parents in hopes that they can rebuild their relationship.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Sketchy & Skeezy Make Out in "Z Nation" Season 4!

It's been a while since I've watched "Z Nation." I wrote about the program back in 2016 when I first discovered the show on Netflix, but "Z Nation" is actually a Syfy original program... which I never remember to watch when it first airs! The 4th season dropped on Netflix on Friday and I just finished binge-watching the season about an hour ago.

I'm still digesting this latest season. Something happened at the very beginning of the season to Red and Sun Mei that left me scratching my head. Apparently, at least Sun Mei will return for Season 5 later this year so we should figure it out. But it was a weird way to start the season -- and a weird plot development to forget about for the rest of the season! Also, the character Addy shows up pretty prominently on all of the Season 4 promotional artwork for somebody who only appeared in two episodes.

Here was the Season 4 focus: Robert woke up from a coma in the protected country of Zona. Given that it's the Apocalypse, she and Murphy are quickly forced to evacuate. But he begins having these horrific fiery visions pulling her (and her friends) eastward to save mankind from the Black Rainbow. Of course, nothing turns out as it should at the end of the season, but that's pretty much how things always turn out on "Z Nation!"


But I'm actually hear to write about Sketchy and Skeezy tonight! They are a pair of opportunistic weapons dealers and hucksters who have periodically appeared on the program since the show first began.

They appeared again in a Season 4 episode titled "Frenemies." Doc and Murphy find themselves overwhelmed by some sort of toxic foam in Chicago and end up seeking cover within a working barbershop. Sketchy and Skeezy were both there and they were doing their best to discourage our friends from sticking around. And it definitely ended up being some sort of trap -- which should have been obvious from the start given that they were in a working barbershop in the middle of the Apocalypse and given that Sketchy and Skeezy are complete trouble-magnets!

True to form, Sketchy and Skeezy were trying to pull a con on the proprietors of barbershop. Sketchy makes it appear that Skeezy got bit by a zombie and sets it up so that Skeezy gets tossed from the business. But first, Sketchy needs to pass a key on to his partner. So before Skeezy gets tossed out into the foam...


Yes, Sketchy secretly passed a key to his buddy during their kiss. Of course, Skeezy is now completely smitten.

Of course, their con almost got ruined because of a past con...


By the end of the episode, all of the incidental villains were dead, our main characters were traveling further eastward, and Skeezy and Sketchy were finally able to live out their lifelong dream of running a barbershop!

However, ever since the kiss, the guys seem to be living at cross-purposes within their relationship:


I really want to see what happens next for this pair. I definitely don't see their lives as hucksters over, but I really hope that they take the next step forward together as a romantic couple. Sadly, I don't see that happening. If nothing else, I'm sure that Skeezy will moon over his buddy while Sketchy continues chasing after the ladies. But a guy can hope, right?

Saturday, February 17, 2018

How Many Things Annoyed Me on "Mama June: From Not to Hot" This Weekend?

Longtime readers know that I have an odd fascination with Alana Thompson and the rest of the "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" gang. Last year, WE tv began airing a new reality TV show featuring several members of the Honey Boo Boo family called "Mama June: From Not to Hot." 

I haven't written about it for a variety of reasons. Basically, the family seems much more tightly scripted than in previous programs. I know that they were pressed into story lines by TLC, but it seemed much more natural back then. Particularly now with the family interviews. And we have POV camera shots coming directly from June's perspective after she woke up blind in the last episode (see below). Are we supposed to believe that she has little video cameras in her eyeballs? Or how about the time that the camera crew quietly watched as 11-year-old Alana snuck away from the house in an Uber car? Like that's gonna happen...

June's Blind Eye Cam
Here are the two season summaries:  In Season One, Sugar Bear decided to get married to a nasty woman named Jennifer who really hated June. To be fair, the feeling was mutual. June decided that she had one year (give or take a month) to lose roughly 300 pounds. So she hired the best coaches, bariatric surgeons, and plastic surgeons and managed to go from "not" to "hot" just in time for Sugar Bear's and Jennifer's backyard wedding -- which she totally ruined by getting into a fight with Jennifer.

In Season Two, June decided for some reason (I didn't start watching right away) that she wanted to become a pageant contestant. So she began working with Alana and a pageant coach to learn how to compete in beauty pageants. That's the theme, but it really seems to be about fighting with teen mom Pumpkin, trying not to go blind, and fighting with Sugar Bear and Jennifer.

Speaking of which, how stupid was it that Jennifer got it in her head that Alana isn't Sugar Bear's daughter. She secretly gathered DNA for testing and is trying to find out if she can sever his bond with Honey Boo Boo herself. Like that won't blow up in her face either way. But I digress...

One of the stupidest subplots has to do with this fight between June and her pregnant 17-year-old daughter Pumpkin and Pumpkin's live-in boyfriend Josh. Pumpkin moved Josh into the family home without asking. She then had John put up all sorts of racy pictures in the living room. A fight ensued, resulting in Pumpkin storming from the house and moving into a cheap motel with her baby daddy.

They spent half of last night's episode exploring potential rental apartments for under $700 per month with help from a little help and supervision from their camera crew. It became clear that they could only afford cheap apartments with bugs and no privacy. Which was pretty much what they lived in during their "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" days, but I guess Pumpkin has moved on from her days of low-income housing and expects bigger and better things from life now that she's been on a few TV shows.

Interjected with their tour was a series of production interviews with Pumpkin and Josh that essentially went like: "You know where we can have a fridge? At your mom's house!" "NO!" "You know where there isn't a washer/dryer hook-up in the living room? At your mom's house!" "NO!" "You know where we can sleep without bedbugs? At your mom's house!" "NO!"

Finally, Pumpkin and Josh were complaining at the hotel and Josh once again asks something like, "Ready to go back to your mother's house yet?" And Pumpkin screams "No!" at him again. And I turned to Husband Mark and noted, "You realize that they are currently in Mama June's house right now. They are literally debating about moving back to her house from inside of her house. They could change the locks from inside the house right this second."


Long story made short, everyone made up and moved back into the house just in time for June to return to pageant training and for Jennifer to receive the DNA testing results in the mail -- conveniently on the morning that the production crew was at her home and waiting with her mic'd up son outside of the mailbox. Of course, she spent just enough time moralizing over the decision to read the results so that the show ended and we have to wait until next week to learn the results.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Chickasaw County Sheriffs Arrest Man for Driving 121 MPH in a 65 MPH Speed Zone

A Iowa City man was arrested and charged with speeding, reckless driving, eluding, and having an expired registration after he was clocked at 121 MPH in a 65 MPH zone earlier this week.

Late Tuesday afternoon, the Chickasaw County Sheriff's Office reports that they received a complaint about a person driving a black Ford Mustang at high speeds north from Bremer County on Highway 63.

Sheriff deputies deputies pulled over the 22-year-old driver and subsequently arrested him for speeding. He jailed and hold on a $2000 cash bond.

He faces a $443 fine if convicted of the speeding offense.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

#SnowWave

I kept hearing about the "Snow Wave" earlier today, but didn't have time to do much investigation until earlier this evening.

During the last Hawkeye football season, a new tradition was created called "The Wave." At some point during each home game, everyone in Kinnick Stadium would wave to the children inside the University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital. It was very touching and a fun way of adding some joy to the lives of the sick kids inside.

A group of people recently began contemplating ways of keeping "The Wave" tradition going all year round. Their first inspiration came after our recent snowfall: The Snow Wave! Earlier today, a large group of volunteers shoveled a giant hand along with the words "#FTK (For the Kids) #SnowWave."

You can watch video of the Snow Wave's creation here.

Nero at Daycare -- 02/15/18

It's been a while since I featured any pics of Nero from doggy daycare. My favorite standard poodle continues to go to daycare regularly. However, he tends to hang with the older dogs these days. Check it out: