Wednesday, November 25, 2020

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

 

Here's wishing all of my bloggy thing readers a happy and safe Thanksgiving. New bloggy things are just around the corner.

Tony Isabella

Monday, November 9, 2020

ALEX TREBEK


Alex Trebek [July 22, 1940–November 8, 2020], host of Jeopardy for 36 years, has passed. It wasn’t unexpected. He was 80 years old and had been fighting stage four pancreatic cancer for two years.  That it wasn’t unexpected made it no less crushing.

Jeopardy is my favorite game show, much of that is due to Trebek. He was smart and dignified, but never stuffy. You could tell that he loved the game and its contestants. The love came through to me.

Saintly Wife Barb and I lead busy and often complicated lives. She is a health care professional in these pandemic times. I continue to be a struggling writer. But, more often than not, we would make time to watch Jeopardy together.

We loved playing what I thought of as the “home version” of the game, trying to shout out the answers before the contestants did. We were pretty good at it, surprising ourselves with knowledge we didn’t know we had. Of course, we both figured we would suck at the game if we were contestants. For one thing, we rarely remembered to answer in the form of a question.

I took special delight in comics-related categories. Sure, we have blockbuster movies based on comic books, but seeing our characters and concepts on Jeopardy, that was big-time classy. You can imagine how tickled I was when Black Lightning was the answer to one of the questions.

                                                                                 



Over the years, I’ve discovered that several of my Facebook friends have been contestants on Jeopardy. They always had good things to say about Trebek and their experiences. I believe Trebek was precisely the decent and friendly fellow we watched on our TV screen. I wish I'd had met him in person.

Trebek’s last episode will air on December 25, 2020. Christmas. On the one hand, that’s a day we’re supposed to receive presents, not lose something so precious as this fine man. On the other hand, I can accept his decades hosting Jeopardy as one of the most magnificent gifts his fans could have asked for.

My condolences to the Trebek family, his friends and his impossible to count fans. He was one of the great ones.

© 2020 Tony Isabella

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

THINGS THAT MADE ME HAPPY IN OCTOBER


I’m writing this two days before Election Day, which, even though I hope Joe Biden wins the Presidency and the Democrats keep control of the House of Representatives and take control of the Senate, has me equal parts hopeful and terrified. If that weren’t enough, we’re still in the midst of a growing pandemic, which is growing because too many Americans are morons. If that weren’t enough, wildfire and other results of climate change are killing people and destroying great big hunks of land. If that weren’t enough, police are still killing innocent people, Trumpers are going Mad Max on highways to harass Trump’s opponents. If that weren’t enough, Trump has twice left people freezing and stranded at the end of his super-spreader rallies. If that weren’t enough, the entertainment industry that I am kind of sort of part of is struggling.

More than ever, I need joy in my life. Here are things that made me happy in October...

October 1: Miss Sherlock. After one episode of this quirky version of Holmes, I’m hooked. Available on HBO Max and Hulu, the series is in Japanese with English subtitles. Check it out.

[NOTE: The same day I posted this, I learned of the passing of Y√Ľko Takeuchi, the brilliant actress who played Sherlock. It appears her death was a suicide, making it all the more tragic. I am grateful for the outstanding ten episodes of this series that were filmed, sorry that there will likely be no more.]

October 2: DC's Wanted: The World's Most Dangerous Super-Villains. This 256-page hardcover of the 9-issue series from the early 1970s is fun stuff and a reminder of just how good E. Nelson Bridwell was at mining the DC archives for great reprints.

October 3: Cleveland Magazine [October 2020] had a great article on Carol and John’s Comic Book Shop, the best comics shop in Northeast Ohio. Kudos to Carol, John, their staff and their customers.

October 4: Taking a step back from a project that’s not working out as originally anticipated, figuring out how to get it back on track and realizing my energy and enthusiasm for the project is now even  greater than it had been.
                                                                              



October 5: Be Gay, Do Comics! It’s a fun and informative softcover collection presenting dozens of comics about LGBTQIA+ experiences. The School Library Journal deems it suitable for grades 8 and up. I agree with that assessment.
                                                                                  

October 6: Island of Terror. This 1966 British horror movie, which I saw for the first time on Svengoolie, is intelligent and scary as all get out. The heroes do smart stuff as they battle bone-sucking creatures. Good choices can make good stories.

October 7: Camm, Golian and Kudla. Because of the pandemic, today was my first dentist visit in almost a year. I was very impressed by how well the dedicated staff keeps themselves and their patients safe.

October 8: Despite my age (68), type 2 diabetes and weight, I’ve so far managed to dodge the COVID-19 bullet. However, since living in Trump’s America is like a horror movie, I’ve probably just doomed myself by saying that.

October 9: I voted this morning, putting my absentee ballot in the drop box at the Medina County Board of Elections. Doing my part to rid my country of Trump and the Republicans.

October 10: The second season finale of The Boys was notable for a whole bunch of stuff I didn’t see coming. I’m very excited for the third season and where the series goes from here.
                                                                                  


October 11: Class Action Park. This sometimes hilarious, sometimes shocking and sometimes terribly tragic documentary on the amusement park Action Park (Vernon Township, New Jersey) is riveting. Greed over human life and those who enabled it remains a timeless story, especially in 2020.

October 12: Ran five errands in just under ninety minutes with very little actual contact. Life’s little victories in these pandemic, troubled times.
                                                                                    
October 13: My new Godzilla face masks. I stand with the Kaiju as they battle the Trump Virus.

October 14: My new Godzilla polo shirt. I’m proud to show the world that I’m a member of Team Godzilla.
                                                                                  


October 15: X-Men The Art and Making of the Animated Series by Eric Lewald and Julia Lewald. What a big, beautiful book on the series still loved by millions.

October 16: Frank Robbins’ Johnny Hazard Volume 5: The Newspaper Dailies 1951-1952. I love the fast pace of these exciting stories. Hazard’s having a woman in every port might be a little sexist, but what women! Fearless, gorgeous and smart! One of the best adventure strips of all time!
                                                                                
October 17: Uncaged. This 2016 Dutch horror film about a man-eating lion on the prowl in Amsterdam is terrific! Wonderful characters, chilling suspense, a action-packed resolution. Highly recommended!
                                                                              

                             
October 18: It’s arrived! My Breast Cancer Awareness Harley Quinn Funko figure! She joins Batman in supporting this important cause. I’m still waiting on Superman and Wonder Woman.

October 19: I’ve made my largest ever political donation to Biden and Harris. It means cutting back on other things, but the future of my country is at stake.

October 20: Sweets and Geeks. Medina’s new nostalgic candy and soda pop store. It also has pop culture stuff, puzzles, RPGs and more. It’s located at 342 E Smith Rd.
                                                                          


October 21: Guantanamo Voices: An Anthology: True Accounts from the World's Most Infamous Prison is a chilling comics anthology about one of my country’s greatest sins. “Happy” is not precise in this case. “Necessary” most certainly is.

October 22: Jessica Jones: Purple Daughter by Kelly Thompson with art by Mattia De Iulis. A gripping story which goes to the heart of Jessica and her family. Emotional and exciting.
                                                                                 


October 23: Tremors: Shrieker Island. Unfairly panned by critics, it’s still great fun. I’ve always been entertained by the Tremors films and the TV series.

October 24: Voting Is Your Super Power! Edited by Craig Yoe, it’s a fascinating collection of public service messages in comic-book form. It’s got an introduction by Julie Newmar and a great cover by Sanford Greene.
                                                                               


October 25: Freaks: You're One of Us. This 2020 German movie being streamed on Netflix was interesting. While it’s not groundbreaking or award-winning, it’s worth watching just to see American super-hero pop culture from a foreign viewpoint.

October 26: My health care provider has opened up a Medina clinic. It’s a five-minute drive from my house. I went there this morning to get lab work done. The whole thing, the drive and lab work, took less than a half-hour.

October 27: Talking with comics great Larry Lieber. Yesterday was his birthday. He just finished writing his first novel and started on his second. His friendship means a lot to me. Pandemic willing, I’ll get to see him in person in 2021.

October 28: My latest lab results were excellent. It seems I have my type 2 diabetes largely under control. However, I still haven’t been accepted into the super-soldier trials.
                                                                                


October 29: Hubie Halloween. Big-time goofy fun with all sorts of great performers, including Black Lightning’s China Anne McClain. It also establishes (shudder) that there is an Adam Sandler-verse.

October 30: The look of surprise when I told the cashier at Staples I was 69, rounded up to my 12/22 birthday. We were discussing scams on senior citizens; she couldn’t believe I was one. Though the mask probably helps.  

October 31: Celebrating my Marvelversary. My first day was October 31, 1972. I figure I’ll meet another Marvel hero, fight, then team up against the actual villain. Excelsior!

As much as humanly possible, I’m going to concentrate on my various work and relegate the election, the pandemic and the rest of that stuff to the back of my mind. That includes trying (again) to post this bloggy thing of mine more frequently.

I’ll be back soon with more stuff.

© 2020 Tony Isabella