Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Theresa May Meets With Anti-LGBT+ Church In Run Up To General Election



On Sunday Prime Minister Theresa May visited London's Jesus House church, a part of the Redeemed Christian Church of God movement, which has a long history of anti-LGBT+ conduct.

May, who has a record of voting against LGBT+ rights, described the visit as 'fantastic' and the church as 'one of the most lively growing churches in the UK'.

Jesus House has publicly expressed extremist views on sexuality, marriage equality and abortion rights, even going so far as to liking homosexuality and transgenderism to bestiality. Their website even included a section dedicated to anti-abortion propaganda.

The church has also been accused to have links to gay conversion therapy and and to have allegedly performed exorcisms on gay people.

Whilst this 'fantastic' visit itself is troubling when added to the news this week that a Tory candidate has stood by her choice to accept an intern from a Christian hate group that advocated gay conversion therapy it begins to paint a worrying picture of the Conservative Party less than two weeks before the election.


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Sunday, 28 May 2017

Legends of Tomorrow Season 3 Cast Confirmed



Following the events of the second season of Legends of Tomorrow it seemed pretty certain that most of the main cast would return for season 3. However, once the official synopsis was released it became clear that one particular character was not mentioned, resulting in fans speculating that they would no longer be part of the team.

'After the defeat of Eobard Thawne and his equally nefarious Legion of Doom, the Legends face a new threat created by their actions at the end of the last season. In revisiting a moment in time that they had already participated in, they had essentially fractured the timeline and created anachronisms - a scattering of people, animals, and objects all across time!

'Our team must find a way to return all of the anachronisms to their original timelines before the time stream falls apart. But before our Legends can jump back into action, Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) and his newly appointed Time Bureau call their methods into question. With the Time Bureau effectively the new sheriffs in town, the Legends disband - until Mick Rory (Dominic Purcell) discovers one of them in the middle of his well-deserved vacation in Aruba.

'Seeing this as am opportunity to continue their time travelling heroics, Sara (Caity Lotz) wastes no time in getting the Legends back together. We reunite with billionaire inventor Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh), the unconventional historian-turned-superhero Nick Heywood (Nick Zano), and Professor Martin Stein (Victor Garber) and Jefferson 'Jax' Jackson (Franz Drameh), who together form the meta-human Firestorm.

'Once reunited the Legends will challenge the Time Bureau's authority over the timeline and insist that however messy their methods may be, some problems are beyond the Bureau's capabilities. Some problems can only be fixed by Legends.'

Thanks to a tweet from Brandon Routh it's been revealed that the Amaya Jiwe version of Vixen from the Justice Society of America (played by Maisie Richardson-Sellers) will also be returning despite not being mentioned in the previous press release.

Legends of Tomorrow will return on the CW this autumn.


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Universal Reveals The Dark Universe



As the release of The Mummy from Universal Pictures fast approaches the studio has once again been discussing their plans for a shared monster universe, this time with a title, the next film in the series announced and an image of the current principal cast.

The series of films will be known as the Dark Universe, and The Bride of Frankenstein will follow as the next film in the franchise on February 14th 2019. The film will star Javier Badem as Frankenstein's monster, however, no casting has been announced regarding the titular bride.


Some of the other films in the series will include the already announced The Mummy, which stars Tom Cruise as Nick Morton, Russell Crowe as Doctor Jekyll/Mr Hyde and Sofia Boutella as Ahmanet; The Invisible Man starring Johnny Depp. No news regarding other classic Universal monsters such as Dracula, the Wolf-Man or the Creature from the Black Lagoon have yet been announced, however their inclusion does seem to be hinted at in the Dark Universe teaser.

The Mummy is set for release on June 9th.


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Woman Who Sued Her Transgender Daughter Loses Case



In November 2016 Annmarie Calgaro began legal proceedings to sue her daughter for transitioning from male to female. Along with her daughter Calgaro took legal action against two non-profit healthcare providers, the St Louis School Board, the principal at her daughter's school, Saint Louis County, and the director of the county's Health and Human services agency, This week a judge called the case 'meritless' and dismissed the lawsuit.

Calgaro began the lawsuit after learning that her daughter was transgender and was undergoing treatment to transition. She learnt that members of her daughters school staff and other organisations had helped her daughter to begin this process, something that she claimed violated her rights as a parent.

Whilst Calgaro's daughter is considered a minor, she had been officially emancipated with help from a local aid group. Calgaro's daughter had moved away from her family home and was living alone, which the school argued allowed the teenager to make her own medical decisions.

The judge in the case, Paul Magnuson, concluded that teenager was not in fact emancipated as it 'did not act under color of state law' as Minnesota law does not allow a minor to become emancipated for their parents unless a state court makes the decision, which did not happen. Despite this, Calgaro's case was dismissed on Tuesday.

Calgaro's lawyer, Erick Kaardal of the Thomas More Society, has stated that she may consider appealing the decision.

'It was brought to my knowledge that my son began receiving hormone replacement treatment from Park Nicollet Health Services to transition from male to female, with medical assistance paying for this. I was not consulted or informed in any way,' Calgaro told journalists, claiming that her daughter's actions had violated her rights under the 14th Amendment.

The Thomas More Society is an anti-abortion law firm who are currently also in a legal case where they are representing a Texan activist who has attempted to frame Planned Parenthood for buying and selling organs.

Calgaro's daughter, who turns 18 in a few months time, has stated that those who helped her did not pressure her into transitioning or to exclude her mother from the process, but that both decisions were her own.

'My providers had no involvement in my decision not to involve my mother in my healthcare decisions,' she said in court documents. 'I was not pressured in any way by my providers to consent to this treatment.'

It is currently unknown if Annmarie Calgaro intends to appeal the ruling.


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Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Dragon Ball Super To Introduce First Female Super Saiyan



After sixteen years of Super Saiyans Dragon Ball Super will finally be introducing the Dragon Ball saga to the first ever female Super Saiyan.


The latest episode of Dragon Ball Super the Saiyan warrior from Universe 6, Caulifa, will transform into a Super Saiyan for the very first time in preparation for the Multiverse Tournament. The preview for the upcoming episode shows the transformation as she trains with Cabba, her fellow Universe 6 Saiyan.

As Caulifa transforms she's watched by yet another Universe 6 Saiyan, Kale, who we know from promotional images will soon be following Caulifa to become a Super Saiyan, though one who bears a striking resemblance to the Legendary Super Saiyan Brolly.



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Birmingham Pride To Go Ahead Following Manchester Bombing



Following the tragic nail-bomb attack on the Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena last night police and event organisers have assured the public that Birmingham Pride will go ahead this coming weekend.

Organisers are currently in talks with West Midlands Police to review the security of the event, but state that they will not allow the tragedy in Manchester to stop the event.

Assistant Chief Constable Alex Murray of the West Midlands Police told the press; 'Birmingham plays host to Pride this weekend, and we're expecting tens of thousands of visitors to the city. This is an annual event with a parade, music and festivities that are enjoyed by many.

'I appreciate that people planning to attend may feel a sense of nervousness - I would like to take this opportunity to give you some reassurance that a full policing operation is in place and subject to ongoing review.

'Tragic events like last night's explosion in Manchester remind us that attack can occur at any time or place without warning. Everyone needs to be vigilant - be alert not alarmed. As ever, we ask the public to be our eyes and ears. If something doesn't feel right, call us.


Headline acts at this years event include Charlotte Church, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Basement Jaxx and Gabrielle to name just a few.

You can visit Birmingham Pride's website below to learn more about the event.


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Monday, 22 May 2017

Image Comics Reveals Pride Month Variant Covers



Image Comics is celebrating it's 25th anniversary by making each month of the year themed for variant covers, and this June they're celebrating Pride.

June will see the release of elven variant covers that the company say are 'to celebrate the LGBTQ community and the progress made by the Gay Liberation Movement in promoting inclusivity and support for all'.

So far Image have revealed six of the covers, the proceeds of which will go towards the Human Rights Campaign.


Image Comics Publisher Eric Stephenson released a statement saying, 'We are so thankful to support the LGBTQ community during Pride Month later this year by partnering once again with the Human Rights Campaign.'

'It's never been a secret that Image Comics is supportive of creative freedom, but it's important that we also make it clear that we stand for inclusivity, diversity and equality, now more than ever. We hope these variants will serve as a positive display of that ongoing commitment.'

The first of the Pride Month variant covers will go on sale on 7th June.


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Sunday, 21 May 2017

First Trailer For CW's Black Lightning Arrives



The first trailer for the CW's latest addition to their DC television universe, Black Lightning, has been released following months of speculation.



The series will follow Jefferson Pierce, the retired superhero known as Black Lightning who quit crime fighting for his family. Since then Jefferson has gone on to become a high school principal and fights to help his students in a different way.

When Jeffersons daughter Jennifer is recruited by a local gang, however, Black Lightning comes out of retirement to clean up the streets once again.

Black Lightning is scheduled to air as CW's midseason show this coming winter.


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An Apology



If you're a regular reader of this blog then you'll know that I haven't been writing nearly as many articles as I have in the past. Last year I managed to produce just shy of 300 pieces, now five months into this year and I've made barely more than a dozen.

I want to apologise for this lack f dedication to this site, and to those who have supported me so much over the years.

Part of the reason for this change has been an increase in the amount I've been working in my day to day job, and the launch of my podcast, but it's also because I've not been well.

I've been suffering from a currently undiagnosed medical condition in my leg, one that's been gradually getting worse and more painful. The result of this is a great deal of pain and fatigue, and I've found myself lacking motivation for most of my ordinary tasks, let alone writing articles.

I've been selfish and for that I want to say sorry. I'm going to be trying to do more on this site again, and hope that I can get things back to the way that they were before.

I hope that you'll be as kind and understanding as you've always been, and I hope that you'll bear with me during these ups and downs. Thank you.


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Six Of The Best - Children's Shows


The first of my contributions to the Smorgasbored websites Six Of The Best articles, here's six of my favourite children's shows.



Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Whilst the prequel trilogy of Star Wars films were not the best received this new era of the franchise did give birth to one of the best parts of the whole Star Wars saga, The Clone Wars. The films glossed over the Clone War conflict, something that was first mentioned way back in A New Hope, but the series was able to explore this so far untold story.

The series showed us why Anakin Skywalker was considered a great warrior, why he was respected by many. It showed us how awesome a fighter and tactician Obi-Wan was. Most importantly, however, it gave us some of the best characters in the franchise.

The Clone Wars introduced Ahsoka Tano, Anakin's apprentice who would go on to be not only an incredibly important character in the Clone Wars itself, but to be one of the most popular new characters in the Star Wars universe. Along with Ahsoka we we given Captain Rex, one of the coolest clone troopers around, and Asaaj Ventress, the deadly sith assassin.

The show had some dull moments yes, three episode stories following C-3PO and R2-D2 could often become quite dull, but when you had epic lightsaber duels between Obi-Wan and General Grievous, hordes of battle droids fighting clones, and even the surprise return of Darth Maul the high points definitely outweighed them.

The Clone Wars is a must watch for any Star Wars fan, especially if you want Revenge of The Sith to feel like a better film, because this show will make you actually care about what happens in it.



Dragon Ball Z

Dragon Ball Z rocks. That's pretty much the main argument for why this is on my list.

Dragon Ball began the franchise as a whacky adventure series that was loosely based off the Legend of the Monkey King, as was a great show. But when the series evolved into Dragon Ball Z things went from good to amazing.

The action ramped up to such a degree that it bordered on the ridiculous (the third season DVD set is a whole season for one fight!), but even at it's most ridiculous there were moments that kept you glued to the screen and made your draw drop with awe.

There have been a number of follow-ups to Z, with Dragon Ball GT having now been erased from continuity to make room for Dragon Ball Super, but none have managed to capture the fanbase in the way that Dragon Ball Z did.

Despite having finished airing in 1996 the show has remained on the air since in reruns, with video games based on the series released every year, and enough merchandise to fill a museum there's no sign of the series popularity fading any time soon.



Gravity Falls

Gravity Falls is the show on this list that I've discovered most recently, and it's one that I fell in love with almost instantly. The show follows twins Mabel and Dipper as they spend their summer staying with their great uncle Stan at his mystery shack in the town of Gravity Falls when they discover that the town may hold the secret to many supernatural and bizarre mysteries.

The best way to describe Gravity Falls would be by mixing Twin Peaks, the X-Files, Stephen King and Doctor Who all together into a blender and animating the results. It's got a great mystery that plays out slowly over the two seasons, but leaves enough hints and clues at the early stages that avid viewers are still finding easter eggs and connections.

The show might be a cartoon aimed at kids but it's easily a masterclass in how to balance character development and plot, humour and horror, and to create a mythology that at times feels wacky and random but makes complete sense.

Out of all the shows on this list Gravity Falls is the one that I will recommend every time someone asks for a good show to watch, even if they don't watch cartoons.



Star Wars: Rebels

Okay, so yes there is a second Star Wars series on this list, but it is my list and I think Rebels is worthy of a place on it. Star Wars Rebels covers four years in the expanse between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope and follows a misfit group of freedom fighters who eventually become a part in the creation of the Rebel Alliance as we see them in the later films.

Rebels takes a lot of design queues from the original concept art for the first film and as such has a look and style very much its own yet in keeping with the feel of the larger Star Wars saga. The series also uses its position as a middle stage in the saga to continue on the stories of several prequel/Clone Wars characters whilst also putting into place things that we see play out in Rogue One, A New Hope and even further beyond.

The series has just completed its third season and will soon be beginning its third and final year, so now's a great time to catch up.

Whilst the series is made for kids any adult fan of Star Wars is going to get a whole lot out of it too, and with the final season looking like it's going to end very dark and with probably more than one death (remember, there were no Jedi other than Luke in the rebellion come Episode IV) its sure to offer a satisfying and impactful ending.



Pokemon

With video games like Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty dominating a great deal of shelf space in stores and being the franchises of choice for 'hardcore' gamer it may be easy for people to overlook how much of a force the Pokemon franchise is, it's the third biggest selling game series of all time behind Super Mario and Sonic.

A part of the success of Pokemon is down to the animated series, which began in 19197 and hasn't been out of production since. With close to 1000 episodes (it's going to be 962 as of 18th May) there's a lot to this series, and with no sign of this monster franchise going anywhere anytime soon there may be another 1000 by the time you get up to date with where the show is now.

I'm a long, long, long way from being up to date with this series, but it holds a very special place in my heart, as I'm sure it does for a lot of people who were the target age when the show started. Whether it's the amazing original theme tune, the bumbling misadventures of Team Rocket or what is still the fantastic Pokemon The First Movie this is a series that is sure to have something for everyone.



Doctor Who

It might be easy for people to forget but Doctor Who started as a show principally designed to appeal to children, albeit one that adults could also watch. The show might not have as many episodes as Pokemon, only 832 so far, but its reach is just a huge.

One of the longest running genre shows of all time the series has been on the air for over 50 year, though with a few decades gap in the middle. It might not be to everyone's tastes, some episodes are very silly and childish, some are very dark and have some high concept sci-fi, but of all the shows on this list it's probably the one with the broadest appeal.

The current series is seeing the final year from both the current show-runner Steven Moffatt and current Doctor Peter Capaldi, so now may be the time to give the series a go if you've not watched it before or if you've not watched the show in a while.


If you enjoyed this article and want to read more like it you can always head over to the Smorgasbored website for loads more! : www.smorgasboredpod.wordpress.com


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