December was another crazy month in the United States of America, not to mention the world, and got crazier nearer the end of 2021. Although my family and some friends celebrated my 70th birthday and Christmas in grand-for-these-pandemic-times style, my own personal warranty expired on the day after my birthday.
My right knee became unexpectedly inflamed for no damn reason that I could suss. I was walking down the driveway to get the mail and it just started hurting. Really bad hurting. I slowly made my way back into the house and tried to relax the knee, but, by later that afternoon, it was so painful Saintly Wife Barb had to drive me to the emergency room.
I was quite happy with the care I received from the nurses tending to me. They were compassionate and even gave me something for the pain. I was very unhappy with the physician’s assistant who saw me. He was dismissive of my pain, complaining I wasn’t able to bend my knee enough for his concept of a proper examination. He released me with no prescription for the pain, Ace-type bandages, and a gel to apply to the knee.
I saw my primary doctor a few days later. He prescribed me a couple of better medications. However, they had the side effect of raising my blood sugar levels to a scary degree. I’m a Type 2 diabetic, so that was a real concern. The elevated levels sapped my strength and that, in turn, made me unable to do much writing and that, in turn, made me terribly depressed. This was my unhappy condition for most of last month.
There’s a good ending to this story. Eventually, my knee improved to the point where I could stop taking the medications that caused my elevated blood sugar levels. I still use the gel a couple times a day, but that’s not been a problem.
I’ve been working on getting those blood sugar levels to a normal level for me. It’s slow going, but I’m almost there. My energy has returned and I’m writing again. In fact, the last week of January was my most productive week in years.
One more January note before I move on to the things that made me happy last month. I began setting aside an hour in the morning and a half-hour or so in the afternoon to relax. Just relax. This has had a wonderful calming effect on my state of mind. I’m feeling a lot more optimistic about achieving my goals for 2022.
As we all move forward into this challenging new year, here are the things that made me happy in January...
January 1: A new year. As the late great Andrew Vachss might say, it’s another chance to get it right. It’s hope even as we face so many challenges. Don’t stop believing and fighting.
January 2: Godzilla: Gangsters and Goliaths by John Layman with art by Alberto Ponticelli. From 2011, human drama and monster action as a framed detective tries to use kaiju to bring down the maniacal crime lord who killed his partner. Big love for this five-issue series.
January 3: Betty White. What a gift to have had her as long as we did. She was one of the best comedic actress of our times and she just got better and funnier as she got older. Off the screen, she was a model of kindness. We love her and we miss her.
January 4: The Cleaning Lady. Seeking gene therapy for her son, a Cambodian doctor in the US with an expired visa becomes a cleaner for a crime gang. Engaging, human and suspenseful with brilliant acting by lead Élodie Yung.
January 5: RetroFan #17. Another spiffy issue from editor Michael Eury and TwoMorrows. I especially loved the pieces on the jobs of TV fathers, Mad Monster Party and theme song lyrics.
January 6: Watching old favorites with Saintly Wife Barb. Lately, we’ve been watching Bones and Castle.
January 7: Comic Book Workers United, the union of Image Comics workers, is the first union in comics. Image did not voluntarily recognize the union and shame on them for that. I hope CBWU is the first of many comics unions.
January 8: Justice. Two of the murderers of Ahmaud Arbery have been sentenced to life in prison without parole. The third was sentenced to life in prison.
January 9: John Ross Bowie appears to have ascended into recurring character status on The United States of Al. He’s delightful as the struggling to stay out of HR trouble Professor Brett Williams who has just started dating Lizzie. More please.
January 10: I activated a new phone because my old one goes kaput in March. I have no clue how to work the new phone. I’m trying to convince myself I love a challenge. Am I happy or delusional? You decide!
January 11: Vermont Country Store pajamas. While the cotton-knit, elastic-cuff pants are pricey (up to $40 plus shipping), they are incredibly comfortable. Since my usual work attire is a t-shirt and pajamas, they’re well worth the cost to me.
January 12: I enjoyed the premiere of Naomi on the CW. I was over the moon pleased that comics creators Brian Michael Bendis, Jamal Campbell and David F. Walker were listed in the opening credits. That should be standard for the comics industry.
January 13: Props for Black Lightning in Justice League vs. Legion of Super-Heroes #1 by Brian Michael Bendis. Leave it to a Cleveland creator to understand the importance of my creation.
January 14: Four years and a day ago, my son Ed and I attended the world premiere of Black Lightning in Washington, D.C. Still one of the best days of my lives.
January 15: Peacemaker. I’ll just quote Bob Ingersoll, “Oh my god, Peacemaker is at least 17 kinds of inappropriate. And a complete hoot.”
January 16: Robert Patrick. I have long been a fan of this actor’s extensive work, but his performance as Peacemaker’s dad (and white supremacist) is an amazing combination of dark humor and downright scary malice.
January 17: Back Issue #131 [October 2021} was “The Kirby Legacy at DC” issue, covering Jack’s post-New Gods work before he returned to Marvel. Passionate terrific articles on the Demon, Kamandi, Omac, Sandman and more. Great reading.
January 18: My neighborhood. Barb came home from work and started snow blowing a neighbor’s driveway. She was joined by his next-door neighbor, who then did our sidewalk and others.
January 19: Cupid’s Arrows by Thom Zahler. The first stories of the WEBTOON series about cupids working to bring love into the modern world despite the seeming disappearance of Cupid himself. Charming, intriguing warm-hearted comedy.
January 20: In the January 17 episode of Bob Hearts Abishola, Olu (Shola Adewusi) and Tunde (Barry Shabaka Henley) championing a gay niece against their church and putting family above the too-common bigotry of religion.
January 21: The Complete Chi’s Sweet Home by Konami Kanata. I was on the edge of my seat while finishing the fourth and final volume. Wonderful kitten humor with an emotional core that gave me feels.
I highly recommend this series.
January 22: Leverage Redemption. Resuming watching with “The Bucket Job,” a Christmas episode guest-starring LeVar Burton. There were heartwarming and revealing character moments with the regulars and some dire foreshadowing. I love this series.
January 23: Bootsie’s War Years, which collects Ollie Harrington’s work from Black newspapers of the 1940s. These cartoons are funny, informative and often depict the systemic racism Republicans deny exists. From About Comics and highly recommended.
January 24: A Leverage Redemption cookie. Reference to a “Steranko” safe a character cracked. I assume this was a nod to the comics creator and escape artist. Have there been others? Is this a good excuse for me to rewatch all the previous episodes?
January 25: A good day. No more knee pain, so I could stop taking the meds elevating my blood sugar levels. I wrote a bunch of Last Kiss gags. I had a terrific dinner with Barb and Eddie. I have hope for another good day tomorrow.
January 26: Cleveland Magazine’s 2022 Most Interesting People. Even before I made the list in 2017, I loved this annual issue. The new inductees include a Gold Medal Olympics athlete, a new mayor, a gay fantasy novelist and Jeopardy champ Matt Amodio.
January 27: Alter Ego #173. I have to share my love for my friend Barry Pearl’s “Black Heroes - Silver Pages.” It’s a great overview of Black characters from the late 1950s through the 1970s. I think it should be expanded into a book.
January 28: Yesterday’s Late Night with Stephen Colbert monologue included the host lambasting the vile Senator Ron Johnson for his anti-child care stance by making it a Johnson campaign song. It was brilliant and brutal and I loved it!
January 29: Two in a row for Late Night with Stephen Colbert. Last night’s interview with actress Marlee Matlin was fun, informative and sheer wonderfulness.
January 30: Yesterday was National Puzzle Day. Barb, Ed, Kelly and myself assembled the White Mountain 1000-piece Pop Culture puzzle. Comic-book stuff included issues of Star Trek, Mad and Archie’s Mad House. Great fun was had by all.
January 31: Saturday Night Live’s January 30 episode was terrific! Willem DaFoe, Katy Perry and the unexpected comedic excellence of Peyton Manning. He was truly amazing, proving not all retired NFL quarterbacks are dicks.
I hope this month is filled with joy for all of my bloggy readers. I’ll be back soon with more stuff.
© 2022 Tony Isabella