REMEMBERING STAN LEE (1922-2018)

Stan Lee, who died yesterday at the age of 95, was more than just a writer, editor, and publisher — he was a visionary who helped to change the comic book industry for the better.  True, Lee co-created some of the greatest and most iconic comic book super-heroes of all time — the Fantastic Four, the Hulk, Spider-Man, to cite a few examples — but what he did with them was truly groundbreaking.

Until the late-1950’s and early-1960’s, most comic book super-heroes were portrayed as one-dimensional characters — brave and powerful, to be sure, but certainly not awe-inspiring.  When Lee and artist Jack Kirby first created the Fantastic Four in 1961, they started to portray super-heroes as all-too human, sharing the many foibles that all of us in the real world possess — including Ben Grimm, aka the Thing, who was totally uncomfortable with being an orange-brick skinned monster, even though he was stronger and powerful than many ordinary people.  The Marvel super-heroes showed several generations of comic book fans — and more — that their lives and careers were no bed of roses, and that they were subject to both suspicion and criticism, making them outsiders — just like the X-Men, the super-hero team dedicated to the cause of justice, but not ignoring the prejudices that’ve existed in our society for centuries.  Lee’s approach to comic book super-heroes forever altered its very concept — and made them more realistic and believable to not only comic book fans, but also everyone else who’s never really read and collected comic books.

Much has changed since Stan Lee became a major game-changer in the comic book industry over a half-century ago — which explains why super-heroes remain popular today, and not just those from Marvel.  With Lee’s death, an important link between the past and today is gone — making the world a bit more poorer.  But his legacy and influence still persists — mostly because what he accomplished during most of his lifetime had a power all its own, and which I hope won’t ever fade away, even in today’s unpredictable and ever-changing world.

jll-videoinfo-6

Posted in Books, Entertainment | Leave a comment

A FEW WORDS FROM YOURS TRULY – 9-27-18

The following YouTube video below this very paragraph should be self-explanatory (or, at least I hope it’ll be):

I’ve already started to work on Trio — in point of fact, I’ve already completed one of the stories that’ll be part of it, which it goes on sale in November.  More news on the book’s progress in the next few weeks.

And speaking of some of my other literary efforts, please check out the videos promoting them via my Chameleons, Inc. and Beyond The Unknown channels on YouTube (all the more reason for you to actually buy ’em):

Speaking of Beyond The Unknown, the plans for a comic book version of it are very much alive — which you can help make possible, via a crowd-sharing project on Patreon‘s website, which I plan to start outlining and displaying soon.  Please check out not only my blog page, but also yours truly all across the Internet (including the official BTU website) for more.

So, until my next blog article — keep on web surfin’!  (And support us independent writers and artists, okay?)

jll-videoinfo-2.jpg

Posted in Books, Entertainment | Leave a comment

HOW THE POPULAR HAVE FALLEN

   There have always been many who’ve thought always that their favorite personalities could do no wrong – that they saw them as perfect and infalliable, much like the gods of past history.  But that conception has never been perfect for several reasons – including the hard fact that nobody’s perfect, including those celebrities whom we’ve long idolized, and which some still refuse to acknowledge.

   I’ve always been a fan of Bill Cosby and his tremendous talent – I even own most of his comedy albums that he recorded throughout much of his career.  However, after what’s happened to Cosby in the past few years, and its end result, which he learned yesterday – a three-to-ten-year prison sentence for sexually assaulting a woman – it’s more than likely that Cosby will be remembered for his bad behavior that does nobody any good than for his career accomplishments, which is both sad and ironic.  Or the world might totally forget him and consign him to permanent oblivion – which would be even more tragic.  It’s happened before with other celebrities who’ve gotten intro trouble – and sadly, it’ll probably happen again.

   It’s true that absuing women is totally wrong – that fact was important then, as it is now in the #MeToo era.  It’s difficult to enter both the heart and mind of a celebrity like Bill Cosby, and try to find one or more clues to the personal demons which dictated his actions, yet hid them from the outside world.  Yet, as those who are more sensible and realistic have long known, the celebrities that many have loved and worshipped aren’t 100% perfect – and sooner or later, we end up learning than we’re no better than our favorite celebrities, as far as character flaws are concerned.

   In the past few years, I haven’t listened to any of Bill Cosby’s comedy albums – but not because of what he’s had to endure.  I don’t know if I’ll listen to them again any time soon – just like I don’t know how the future’ll judge Cosby fifty to a hundred years from now.  I can only hope that Cosby thinks long and hard about his actions during his prison sentence – and how it’ll shape the eventual legacy that he’ll leave behind, far different from the legacy connected to his show business career.  And perhaps someday, all of us will realize that those we idolize are just like the rest of us – human beings who know and accept the fact that they’re not perfect.

jll-videoinfo-5

Posted in Entertainment, News and politics | Leave a comment

REMEMBERING 9/11 — 17 YEARS LATER

jll-videoinfo-4

Posted in News and politics, Personal | Leave a comment

THE TRUMP QUAGMIRE (AND WHY HE WON’T GET RE-ELECTED)

   Considering what’s been happening to U.S. President Donald Trump so far this year (not to mention last year) – and it’s definitely all bad – many Americans who voted him into the Presidency in late-2016 are no doubt silently asking them: “That’s the man who promised to make America great?”  “That’s the leader of the free world?”  And, most important: “What have we done?”  Any Americans who didn’t vote for Trump could easily answer those – and other related questions, though it’s more than likely that die-hard Trump supporters like Newt Gingrich and Sean Hannity wouldn’t appreciate them. (But then, Gingrich and Hannity are among those who’ve already worn out their welcome in the spotlight – yet aren’t willing to bow out gracefully.)

   I’m a registered Republican – and yet, I didn’t vote for Trump in 2016, which was why I voted for Hillary Clinton.  (I would have liked it better if Bernie Sanders was voted the Democratic Party nominee for U.S. President in 2016 instead of Clinton.)  Almost two years after Trump was voted into office, the American public’s already paying the price for letting Trump sway most of them – that’s what happens when a terrible and poorly-conceived TV series like The Apprentice increases Trump’s already-inflated ego, and makes him believe that he can’t do anything wrong.  (Not unlike many Fox News Channel hosts and commentators.)

   Trump, a business and financial giant, is a terrible U.S. President in much the same way that his Russian counterpart Vladmir Putin isn’t a great political leader – both believe that they’re above both God and Man’s laws, and that they can do what they please.  But then, you could say the same thing about past leaders like Caesar, Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin – the list is definitely endless – simply because they stood for everything that the best of humanity’s against.  The flaws that define both Trump and Putin are the same ones that they refuse to acknowledge, partly out of trusting their own egos more than what knowledge and wisdom they’ve accumlated throughout their own lives – which, in the long run, isn’t good for the entire world (with many global political leaders’ greatest doubts and fears about Trump becoming all too true).

   As for those Americans who’ve stood behind Trump and have blamed the Democrats for most, if not all, of his present woes – they’re still blind to the fact that Trump, however a business and financial leader he is, totally lacks the experience needed to be a great politician.  Some skeptics said the same thing about Dwight Eisenhower when he first ran for U.S. President in 1952 – but Eisenhower had the advantage of being aware of the global situation before, during, and after World War II, as well as soothing ruffled feather as Supreme Allied Commander during WWII.  If Trump were in Eisenhower’s shoes, he wouldn’t have lasted even five seconds. Our country’s present Republicans and Democrats politicians should remember why the public voted them into public office – to make things better, and not just for the American public, something that Trump’s been ignoring as U.S. President (and while he ran for office two years ago).  It’s one reason why Trump won’t get re-elected in 2020 – it’s also one reason why Trump might not finish even his first term.  Already, Trump’s past and actions are catching up to him in much the same way that Richard Nixon’s political and personal greviances forced him to resign as U.S. President almost thirty-five years ago – and as was the case with Nixon, Trump’s worst enemy will no doubt be himself.  No doubt those like Stormy Daniels are looking forward to Trump’s fall from grace.

   If anything good comes out of Trump’s present troubles and his eventual fall – aside from his Presidency coming to a screeching halt – it’ll be that we’ll finally realize that Trump shouldn’t have been elected as U.S. President almost two years ago, and that the Republican Party shouldn’t have nominated him in the first thing.  Not to mention an important fact that all of us should truly heed: Reality TV, in the long run, does nobody any good – and should be permanently consigned to obscurity. (At least we won’t have to put up with Survivor, Big Brother, etc. – which should be cancelled, and probably will be if there’s any justice left in the world.)

jll-videoinfo-5

Posted in News and politics | Leave a comment

A FEW WORDS FROM YOURS TRULY – 8-17-18

This is definitely the first video coming from my all-new Pictures Shop channel on YouTube, which I uploaded yesterday.  Part of the reason why I did this was — what else — to attract potential customers to my Pictures Shop website (after all, isn’t that the purpose of ads and commercials promoting any and all businesses — at least those that aren’t illegal?).  And I definitely plan on adding more video ads to my Pictures Shop channel within the next few days — with more still to come.

But my Pictures Shop channel on YouTube is only one of three that I’ve already added to my account — and the rest won’t be long in coming, which I’ll explain further in future posts (which, I also hope, won’t be long in coming).  Meanwhile, I hope that the YouTube videos above those two paragraphs will encourage you to visit my Pictures Shop website, and (hopefully) purchase one or more of my artistic wares.

But that’s not all — I’m currently considering upgrading my Weebly website subscription that’s connected to my five websites, partly for improving their overall quality, as well as drawing attention to them.  More news concerning that coming soon — maybe even sooner than both you and I realize.

In the meantime — I hope you visit my Pictures Shop website (and possibly become regular customers).  Until then — ciao.

jll-videoinfo-5

Posted in Computers and Internet | Leave a comment

REMEMBERING ARETHA FRANKLIN (1942-2018)

Aretha Franklin Tribute

And to further remind all of us how great and far-reaching Aretha Franklin was as an entertainer — and why she’ll be deeply missed — here’s one of her greatest and most iconic songs:

jll-videoinfo-1 - Copy

Posted in Entertainment | Leave a comment