Agent of Change

A Blog by Cory!! Strode, who really should write something interesting here.

Archive for the month “May, 2022”

They’re coming to get you, Barbara

I was mostly out of it yesterday due to some meds I had to take, but I was up and kind of alert around 8pm and looked around for something to watch. I am a fan of Joe Bob Briggs, and I haven’t had time to watch any episodes from this season, so I fired up the first one for the year.

The special guest was Svengoolie, who is probably the most famous horror host after doing it for decades and having a show on MeTV. The movie was: Night of the Living Dead.

I don’t know if I am a horror film fan (I like them, but I’m not a Fangoria reading, tons of DVDs of horror film, going to horror convention guy), but the Romero movies are my favorites. I loved old movies and after I got over my period of being scared of EVERYTHING as a kid, I would stay up to watch Pywacket Presents after the late movie on Saturday Nights on Channel 8. Pywacket Presents was the horror movie, and while I don’t know when it ended (I am thinking around 1981 – 1982) it started sometime before 1975, because I would watch it after Saturday Night Live.

If I could stay away until the late movie on Channel 8 ended, at least.

Most nights it was a Corman monster movie. Once in a while, they would have a Universal Horror or a recent Godzilla movie, but it was most 50’s black and white monster movies. I saw a LOT of my low budget loves there like Robot Monster, Plan 9 From Outer Space, The Crawling Terror, and the like.

By the time I was 12 or so, my parents would go out on Saturday nights, my sisters would be taken to a grandparent’s house, and I could stay home alone. We lived in the middle of nowhere, 3 – 4 miles outside a town of 350 people. I’d watch Saturday Night Live, read comics and watch the Monster movie.

However, one night, it was Night of the Living Dead. On Joe Bob, they said that they scene where the zombies eat the couple who were killed in the truck explosion was edited from the TV version, but it wasn’t edited out of this one. I watched this story of zombies surrounding people barricaded in a house in the middle of nowhere…in a house in the middle of nowhere. It affected me more than any movie I have seen before or since. Not the horror, not the gore. The nihilism. The starkness of it. The look at a civilization falling apart in a couple of days.

I was a kid who grew up in the shadow of the Vietnam war, the Cold War, the mounting fears of nuclear annihilation, the fading embers of the Civil Rights movement as the South and Right Wing realized how to use the levers of power to keep white supremacy in place by going subtle with it, and Watergate. This movie, and the books from the time helped me understand that things were not OK, and they never would be OK.

When Joe Bob Briggs showed it this year, he asked us to watch it like we had never seen it before. I have to admit, I have seen the movie more times than almost any movie in my life, and I even own the Criterion Blu Ray.

But this low budget horror movie, thrown together in bits and pieces, with improved dialogue, and now having the weight of so many interpretations from people layered on top of it, still packs a hell of a punch. I forgot all of the different essays and criticisms and studies and discussions and watched it with fresh eyes.

Tt is still one of the most powerful films ever made, and the characters can stand in for any group of people in conflict.
When Johnny says “They’re coming to get you, Barbara…” he’s not wrong.


What I am thinking about today: 5/24

-I did 13 and a half hours at the group home job Sunday, over half of it was alone. Everyone was quiet and happy to watch TV, snooze, or having me read to them (A chapter of a Travis McGee story, since they don’t quite grasp the story, just like the attention and time). I even made green beans that people wanted to eat, which is a feat in and of itself. I got home and just zoned out until I went to bed due to being spent.

-I have not seen the new George Carlin documentary yet, but anyone who knows stand up knows he was amazing. He constantly reinvented himself, never relied on old material once he had a new set., and invented a number of comedic styles. The only time I saw a bad set from him was his last HBO special where his anger and cynicism overtook the comedy, and for a long time comedian, that’s a great track record. A few “smart” comedians I used to like became angry old men, yelling at kids, or disappeared up their won ass as they moved into the later years of their career.

-I don’t think I have ever been as disappointed as when I saw Dennis Miller in 1998. Mitch Hedberg opened for him, and he was shook by how good Hedberg was, mentioning it as he started his set…and he did what a lot of comedian do when they get shook, fell back on tried and true material. The problem was that Miller’s act was based on current events, so he was making jokes about events from 3 to 8 years before, and he rushed through the set as if he was double parked. He must have done that a LOT, since he fell out of the Theater tours.

-One of his writers said he looked at his options as his gigs quit selling out, and the most lucrative one was the casino route, but he would have to appeal to the over 60 crowd, so he turned hard right with his humor. It cost him his HBO series, but he got a radio talk show and a Fox News gig, so less touring and he could let go of his writers to save money.

-And if you didn’t know stand ups have writers, boy, have you got a lot to learn. I even did some ghost writing for comedians in the 90’s. My NDAs mean I can’t say who, but you wouldn’t know them anyway.

-How many of you folks remember the Weekly News Update parody email I did from 1996 – 2006? Yeah, that’s where they bought the jokes from.

-I watched part of a USFL game this weekend and they didn’t have fans in the stands, but they did pipe in crowd sounds. Even the AAF and XFL had fans in the stands. However, unlike both of those spring football leagues, this one looks like it will finish its first season. The next version of the XFL just announced a huge deal with Fox, and with The Rock behind it, I have a feeling that it will do OK, since he’s smart enough to find smart people to run things.

-I read an article about how, since the pandemic, offices have stopped doing the “mandatory fun” stuff like happy hours, team building exercises, and the like. As an introvert, I couldn’t be happier. I just want to show up, do my job, and go home. And, with working from home, I LOVE that I don’t have to take part in group activities. My personal life is my personal life. ANY time I have forgotten that and allowed myself to blur the lines between work life and personal life, it’s not been pleasant. I work to pay for my personal life.

Be kind, be courageous, and be cool. Much love to friends old and new.


What I am thinking about today 5/16/2022

-I got called in for a sleeping overnight Saturday night at the group home. Then, since I had to be at another house at 7 am, I left at 6 am, and when I got to the other house I was called back to the first house due to a staff now showing. Then, I worked until 6 pm instead of 3 pm due to staff not showing. So, 21 hours in three houses overall. I was home less than 5 minutes before I was called and asked if I could come back. I turned it down because I was pretty much exhausted.

-Reports are the Marvel is losing the Conan license for new books (but will keep doing reprints) and the current rights holder wants to create the comics. While I have loved the work Marvel has done on Conan, the sames haven’t been great. The books, which used to be a must stock in book stores, seem to have faded as well. Even the books by modern authors faded by the mid 90’s. Much like Tarzan, IMHO.

-Many of these long running characters have moved to niche products with small press books and the like. In many ways I don’t think “Why aren’t they more popular” so much as “I’m happy we get anything at all.” Even the 70’s Men’s Adventure” pulps like The Executioner, Blade (the book series), The Death Merchant, Able Team, and the like have faded to the point where nothing new is coming out with them.

-Most of my wrestling friends have talked about Tammy Sytch, the former Sunny, and her ongoing legal issues and criminal charges. She’s been putting people in danger with her drunk driving for years and finally caused the death of a man in a crash. Hopefully, this finally locks her up so everyone around her is safe. She’s been given endless chances and times in rehab, and none of it has worked. And, when she is finally locked up, I hope never to hear about her again because we only hear about her when she’s done something illegal.

-I read a DEEP dive in to Republican Madison Cawthorn on Politico, and it just made me shake my head. He was never qualified for office, has been a weasel for as far back as there are records about him, the Republican party is firing at him with everything they can find and he’s still leading in the polls. I swear if you have an R by your name in some places, they’d elect you from jail.


Stay Classy, Indiana.

-One this I miss about the height of the COVID lockdown was not hearing about a new mass shooting every day. I wonder if most people in the US know that other countries now don’t recommend their citizens come here for tourism due to the prevalence of mass shootings and police brutality.

-Kind of a downer today. I’m tired and a bit down myself and should have avoided the news like the plague this weekend. I also lost most of the time I set aside for taking care of things in the house, so I feel like I didn’t get a real break over the weekend.

Be kind, be courageous, and be cool. Much love to friends old and new.


George Perez has left us

George Perez passed away on Friday after a period on hospice care. If you are a comic book fan from the last 40 years, you know his work. He started in comics back in the mid 70’s and quickly showed he was one of the best super-hero artists of all time. If you have friends who are comics artists of professionals, they have been posting tributes to him all weekend, sharing their favorite stories drawn by him, and stories of his kindness.

He was a joyful presence at conventions, loving the interactions with fans, making each signing and meeting memorable for the person on the other side of the table because he just loved comics and the culture around it.

One of the things coming out about him the last few months is how many people he gave a helping hand to in the industry. Recommending people for jobs, hiring people when he could, giving time and art to the Hero Initiative, which is a charity for comics creators who have fallen on hard times, and so much more. He was happy to meet his fans, generous with his time and had a personality that filled the biggest convention hall.

Some of my first comics were his first art on the series that made him a star. I was given Avengers 140 by a babysitter’s sister, which was his first job on that book. The first issue of the Fantastic Four that was not a reprint I bought was 171, where he was the new artist. I followed him from book to book and then over to DC (I was a kid who only bought Marvel until Roy Thomas jumped companies).

His artist was bright, each character looked different, and the stories had action and quiet moments. In fact, when reading an interview with Marv Wolfman about their collaboration and he said that many of the quiet, personal moments in the series were added by George.

The only good thing about this is the George and his family let us know he was entering hospice, and wanted to spend his time telling the people in his life how much they meant to him, and allowed us to all let him know how much he was loved. He was loved for his art, his personality, his kindness, and the joy he gave all of us.

Krayz Joe Rider and I did a podcast back when the announcement was made to talk about our love for his work. His passing leaves behind a body of work that will be impossible for anyone to match, lives who were touched by him, and a sadness that’s hard to put into words.


What I am thinking about today: 5/6/2022

It’s perfectly ok to be angry. We are told by people all the time that anger is a negative emotion. Emotions, on their own, as neutral. It’s how we react and what we do with them that makes the negative or positive. Anger can be a catalyst for change is channeled properly.

We have a person we support at the group home with Covid. She’s young, vaccinated and boosted. She doesn’t understand why she’s sick or why she’s restricted to her room, but is sick enough she doesn’t want to pace and wander like she normally does. The staff at that house are back in full PPE, but it looks like she will make a full recovery.

We do have a person I support on hospice care in the house I work at most often. He has been on hospice care since late last year, and a lot of his medications were removed, which in many ways improved how he was reacting to the world around him. Hospice changes how people are cared for in that everything moves from recovery to comfort. This was a hard mindset for me to get into when I started in group homes for DD adults. It’s still not an easy mindset, but I do try to do all I can to let the person do and have things they enjoy.

I am taking the weekend off from the group home for Free Comic Book day and still making sure I still have a complete day for relaxing and doing things around the house. I even have tonight off from the group home and I literally can’t remember my last Friday Night off.

I am almost done with the second Terry Brooks book in the Prequel trilogy for the Shanarra books, and a few things have struck me. First, his prose is easy to read. It’s simple, descriptive and moves the story along. None of the pretentiousness that puts me off fantasy novels. Second, after the first book being filled with lore, world building, and subplots, this one is focused on a single plot and it is a vast improvement. Third, the “mystery” is painfully obvious. Fourth, we have a lead character who has magic and never uses it. The author tries to handwave away why it isn’t being used, but the truth is that if she used it, the story would be 20 pages long. If it’s hard to put your powerful character in danger, MAYBE DON’T MAKE THEM POWERFUL.

“Cory!!, why are you so hard on novels that are clearly meant to be light entertainment?” Because when I am editing my own work, I am ruthless at attacking plot holes. Anything that can throw the reader out of the story and feels like writing is a pet peeve of mine.

Two episodes left for me to watch in this season’s Star Trek Discovery, and I have generally enjoyed the season. The bridge crew still is under developed, the seasons are too short and too focused on the overarching story (I’d like a few episodes of exploration) but overall I like New Trek. I know some people don’t. Plus ca change Plus c’est la meme chose.

Be kind, be courageous, and be cool.


What I am thinking about today: 5/2/2022

The interview I posted with Nyla Rose was the first one I have done where I had to deal with publicists, approvals, having them send me the audio and the like, and it was also time limited. I thought it was neat that they said if I needed to do any pickups or re-records to let them know, since I am used to just taking what I have and editing it into an episode. The ending that they felt was clumsy sounds good to me, and I send them to audio last week (before it was posted) so show I am a good media partner. I keep moving up with a combination of hard work, hustle, and pure curiosity. I hope you listen to it and like it, since Nyla is a fascinating person.

By the way, I had to take three days to write the last paragraph because it sounds like bragging, which I have been in Minnesota too long to feel comfortable with. NONE of this would be possible if you folks didn’t download the podcast, listen to it and tell your friends to do so. So thank you for letting me play at being a radio host on the internet.I am re-reading some older comics I enjoyed in the past or got incredibly far behind on.

This week I read the first 20 issues of Hellblazer (the original run) and it took a while for the book to find it’s footing. It started with a series of one shot horror stories that led to a “big revelation about John Constantine’s past” with the 12th issue. The art was hard to follow, the coloring didn’t help in any way, and the stories themselves were fairly hit or miss and could have been ANY horror comic. After the 12th issue, they changed art styles, went for more traditional coloring, and focused more on Constantine than the plot, making the stories feel more like he had a part in them. Back then, comics could get away with taking some time to find their groove. Now, if you aren’t a hit out of the gate, you’re done. I wonder how many comics of the last decade could have become great over time if given some time to settle into a groove.

The second series I am revisiting is the Garth Ennis Punisher MAX series. Let’s face it, Ennis figured out how to write the Punisher because he had written Judge Dredd. Dredd is a British character that has been in weekly comics since 1977, and he does not change. It’s all about making the villains and the plots interesting, and Dredd is a force of nature. Same for the Punisher. He can’t “change and grow” because if you do that, he’s not the Punisher any more. His run is incredibly violent, disturbing, and the kind of book Marvel doesn’t do any more since the MAX line is dead. It’s an amped up version of the 70’s “Men’s action novel”.

I feel like the only wrestling fan who doesn’t own a belt. I don’t WANT to own a belt. The Championship Belt is something should be earned, not purchased. And yes, I know that the outcomes are pre-determined, but the person who si a champion has earned the belt by their work ethic, causing fan reactions, and showing they can be trusted by the company to be in that role. It’s like buying an Oscar or a Grammy. But that’s just MY way of thinking. I’ll stick with t-shirts and the like.

Be kind, be courageous, and be cool.

Much love to friends old and new.


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