I wanna quit the newspaper

I got this crazy note from my newspaper carrier. No joke.

I only bring this up now because I see the FTC is trying to make it easier to cancel subscriptions to everything. Right now you have to jump through hoops to cancel any subscription and that’s what happened here.

I called the paper to cancel my subscription and rather than just canceling it, they questioned me as if I was on the stand. Why did I want to cancel? “Well,” I said, “I never really read it.

You don’t read it? “Well no, like today. I didn’t read it.”

Why didn’t you read it today? “Well, to be honest, it wasn’t delivered today and I didn’t even miss it.”

It wasn’t delivered? “Well, no, that happens a lot . . . “

And then on and on, I go . . . “A lot of time it’s left out front where people pick it up off the street, other times, it just doesn’t come. It’s late, it’s this it’s that,” and I go on and on.

At the end of the conversation, I asked them to please not use my name and don’t say anything to the carrier, but of course they did, and I got the above note.

After the subscription was finally stopped, I got non-stop calls from the paper asking me to re-subscribe.

One day I was standing out front, very early in the morning, it was still dark out, I was waiting for an Uber to pick me up to take me to the airport.

Up comes a car, I think it’s Uber. It comes right up to me on the front lawn – right up on the grass. It’s the delivery girl! She has her usual music blasting and she hands me the newspapers for the whole condo, says, “Good morning,” backs up into the street and is off.

Since then I’ve resubscribed, but only to the digital version, not the printed paper. But I forget to read the digital paper and occasionally use it to read the tv listings only. I once read up to seven newspapers a day (no really), now I read none. I can read the comics online, which I do, I can get all the news online from social media, where all the stories are posted and I hate to not support the local papers. So maybe I’ll go back to print, soon.

By the way, about showing this letter to her boss. I know her boss, he lives next door to one of my best friends. I have his number in my phone and if I really had a complaint, I most likely would text him, not go through the subscription service.

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Yes? No?

This cartoon ran the other day.

Followed by this one the next day. Which I thought was funny because she still had the streak in her hair, even though she dyed it.

There were two other versions I did, which you can see here. But I think I like the one above, with the streak. It’s sillier.

And they are all a play on this one with the lions manbun, which was published a couple of years ago.

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She was the tv monitor

I was at the doctor’s office, in the waiting area, alone and a local channel was on the tv, showing the news. I decided to try and change the channel to the Today Show on NBC. There was no remote, but I saw some buttons on the side of the tv and I reached up to change the channel. Only for some reason, they didn’t work.

As I was doing that, I hear a lady say, “Don’t change the channel.” I turned and looked at her. She was a fellow patient. She asked me of I worked there. I told her no. I then attempted to change the channel again, but it wouldn’t change.

Again, she said, “Don’t turn the channel. I’m watching that.”

I said, “You just arrived! How were you watching this? I just wanted to put on the Today Show.” She looked at me blankly. I said, “You know, it’s a talk show.” She was horrified! “And news,” I said.

She then made talking gestured with her hands, “Talk, talk, talk, I don’t like that,” she said.

Since I couldn’t get the channel to change, I walked away. But then she said, “Ok, change the channel if you want,” as if I needed her permission.

She then said, “The banks are failing!” I guess she was panicked and wanted to watch the news.

I explained to her the banks were not failing, it was a couple of tech company banks and Pres. Biden said there was nothing to worry about. She looked at me as if she didn’t comprehend. Also, the local news was on, they literally mentioned the bank issue for 20 seconds and then went to the weather and sports. Perhaps I was changing to a financial channel to follow the banking story, maybe I wanted to put on MSNBC or Bloomberg, but she didn’t think of that.

She then walked to the other side of the room and told me to put on what I wanted. But of course, I couldn’t change the channel, so I walked to another side of the room and we ignored each other the rest of the time. I let her dwell in her ignorance and fear. She was a control freak, a tv control freak.

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‘305 Day!’

Still lots of things going on this season. I missed the Lake Worth Chalk Festival last weekend and a few other art events, but managed to get to this past weekend’s Gifford Lane Art Stroll, which is a block party in our village. It’s a yearly thing – 25th year, this year and it brings out the whole village. It’s like a tv show where the full cast shows up for an event and they are all in one scene.

It was also “305 Day,” on Sunday, which is the area code for Miami and on March 5 (3/05).

The hit of the block party is cucumber punch which is delicious on a hot day, which always seems to be the case for this event each year – it’s been a cool winter, but Sunday was totally hot.

The first year I went, 20 years back, I didn’t know the cucumber punch had gin in it, and I really had my fill, I was feeling no pain. Now that I know the ingredients, I take it easy.

They used to serve the gin at a friend’s house where everyone lined up outside his green door and he and his wife and friends would serve it up to thousands. I guess after 23 years they felt enough was enough with the non-stop traffic through their house, so they have it out in someone else’s driveway now. So last year, I went to the driveway for the first time and got some punch and people started talking to me. But the homeowner was not having it, she started yelling, “Tom, you have your punch, now get out of here!” I couldn’t argue with her, because she is 97 years old! She’s a spry 97, but still.

This year while it was outside her house, she wasn’t around. She’s an avid bike rider at her age, so maybe she was out bike riding!

Anyway, it was a great day, I think I saw everyone I know there which is always nice. There’s a lot of food, live music and kibitzing. A perfect day for a small village.

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How not to sell a house (or condo)

I went to see what I thought was this amazing condo the other day, I wrote a little about it here.

I lived in the building years ago and loved that area and that building and I had a dream about it just out of the blue. And the next day I googled the address and a listing came up on Zillow. It was for this nice, large penthouse. And even though I lived in that building for 9 years, I didn’t realized this two story penthouse was there!

There are four penthouses and two are very large double-floor units, according to Zillow. I had been in the two smaller ones, which were the size of the rest of the units in the building, which were quite large, too.

Anyway, this unit that was for sale looked huge and was two floors and had a big kitchen, which I loved, even tough I don’t cook, and it had a huge terrace and had unobstructed views of east and south – downtown Miami and Coral Gables and I could keep going on and on. And the neighborhood is very quiet and quite convenient. It had everything going for it.

The price was a fraction of my current home, the monthly HOA/maintenance fees were much lower than my current ones and the city taxes were the same as I am paying now. it was a win, win, win.

So I excitedly went to see the place and for some reason I didn’t like it. For one thing – the photos on Zillow were exaggerated and made the place look huge, but in reality it had low ceilings and cramped walls and spaces. But thinking about it days later, I realized the reason I was not into it was that it had to much of the current owner in it and too much stuff. What I mean is I have seen enough real estate tv shows that say remove all personal things from the place, which was not the case here, and it made a difference, a negative one.

There was one of those stair lift seats which was a turn off for me and I noticed a walker in the corner, which was used by the owners late husband it was overloaded with furniture. There literally were two dining room tables just feet from each other, one in the kitchen and one in the dining room, but they were just about 10 feet apart, which really made the place seem cramped. The rest of the furniture was oversized and made the place look crowded.

There were photos of family all over the place and the dressers in the bedrooms reeked of old lady – full of so many things from a lifetime of living.

The kitchen was full of stuff all of the counters (it would have been best to put them away in the cabinets or draws) and there were two dishwashers which I guess are good for chefs, but seemed useless to me. They were different styles and were mismatched and old. And they were not near each other, they were separated. The dark wood in the low ceiling kitchen didn’t make it seem bright and open even though there was one full wall of windows.

There was a very large storage room that was part of the unit, a huge plus, which would have been best left empty to show all the space it had, but it was so crowded and full that you barely could walk inside to look around.

Things lay around on the big terrace outside, an unrolled up hose and other things just making it look messy. And so much more.

So this dream place ended up turning me off and probably others since on paper it looks like a steal and a palace, but in reality it turns you off once you enter; it’s been on the market for six months or more for that reason.

What could have been snapped up on the first week is just sitting there unsold due to the mess that they are trying to show to buyers. And even though I know all these things I mentioned above, I still can’t see myself living there, even though I know it would be a different animal if it was shown empty. It would show so much better with a couple of pieces of furniture and nothing else in the place and then I think people could picture themselves living there.

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There’s no personal service anymore

There’s a lot of talk about AI (artificial intelligence) and things like that lately. And it all seems interesting. I’ve always been pro-technology. I build websites, I draw digitally, rather than with pen and paper, for 15 years I published our local news online, and I’ve run an online business for years, so I’m all up for that, but lately, a couple of things have bothered me.

I had a doctor’s appointment recently and it was all done digitally, except for the doctor’s appointment, which now that I think about it, could have been through Zoom. But what I mean is I had to make the appointment online, then they texted me things and emailed me forms. I had to fill out forms online before showing up for the appointment, then I had to fill in insurance forms online and and answer questions, personal things, including what religion I am.

Then weeks before the appointment, they either emailed me, texted me or called me daily. And I mean one of those three options daily! When I have a doctor’s appointment, I like to not think about it until the day of the appointment, not be reminded about it every day until the day of the appointment.

When I showed up for the appointment, I had to check in myself on a computer. And then a wrist band came out of the machine which I had to wear, you know the type you would get if you were in a hospital? And it was all mechanized and I felt like a number from there on.

The other day I saw a condo online that I am interested in. It’s in a building I lived in some years back. I rented back then and now I have the opportunity to purchase. I love the area and love the building and I decided to make an appointment to see the unit, I think it’s to mostly get it out of my system, rather than possibly buy it, but who knows. I have a friend who is my realtor, but since I don’t want to waste his time, I thought meeting with the listing agent for the first time would be best.

But I can’t get a live listing agent on the phone, so . . . .

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Not sure if I’ve ever eaten a parsnip; have you?

This cartoon was published Friday. I wasn’t sure if I should use it or not. Originally it was a simple one, where the snowman with the broken carrot nose says, “Carl is in a mood today.” And that was that. But I changed it to the parsnip not being orange enough and I wanted to see it people would get it. I don’t think most did. I don’t want to say it flopped, but it wasn’t as popular as others.

I don’t even know if I’ve ever had a parsnip and I think I only know what a parsnip is because I watch cooking and food shows, even though I don’t cook. But as I’ve said in the past, I find cooking shows very relaxing, so I watch a lot of them, yet I am never struck with the idea of actually cooking something other than in the microwave or air fryer.


Parsnips look like white carrots, and possibly when ordering in or eating out, they might have come as a side dish along with carrots and other veggies, so possibly I’ve tasted one, but I don’t think so. I might have thought they were overcooked carrots that turned white, the way broccoli does when it’s overcooked.

Roasted carrots and parsnips.

I try everything, so it’s not liked I deliberately turned down parsnips when I had the chance to taste them. I’ve had bison burgers and ostrich burgers and liked them. I’ve had duck and goat and liked them. I’ve had Korean food and all sorts of Asian food from Thai to Indian and being in Miami I’ve had Haitian food. I just don’t think I’ve ever had parsnips.

Once I was in NYC with a friend and we were looking for a place for lunch. As we walked through the city he would suggest places. My friend is a snob and as we looked at places, mostly exotic types, and he would suggest places, I would say “no, not that one,” and we would keep walking and then he finally said, “What does your sensitive American tastes want, a hamburger?”

I had to explain to my snobby friend, who was from out of town and didn’t get it, that I was turning down places that were empty at lunch time – they didn’t have one customer eating there which is not a good sign, and the rating on the front had a “C” not an “A” which is what you look for in NYC and other cities that have ratings on restaurants. My friend wasn’t wise enough to realize that, he thought I was being an ugly American, when I was trying to be a wise/safe eater.

We ended up at a wonderful Korean BBQ restaurant somewhere in Midtown Manhattan, you know, one of those places where you cook your own food at a fire or possibly it was a stone, in the center of the table. Not sure if they use parsnips. Probably not. But one day I’ll try one and report back.

UPDATE: I just tried a parsnip! A few hours after writing this blog post I was at Whole Foods. I went to the hot bar to get lunch and there were carrots and parsnips. Only the dish was called “Carrots with turmeric,” and if I hadn’t written this post, I would have thought the white carrots were just discolored from the turmeric! But I realized they were parsnips and I bought some and know what – they taste like carrots. White carrots. And since I don’t really like carrots, I probably won’t be eating them again anytime soon. 🙂

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An art-filled weekend

Lots of art shows and boat shows and all sorts of things on President’s Day Weekend. I spent a lot of time out and about with family and friends. First day was hot and humid, second day not as bad and on the second day, I seemed to know every other person that walked by, it was nice.

I parked my car far away from the festival, most of us do, so that when we leave, we aren’t stuck in all that traffic which is on top of the events. When I walked back to my car Saturday, I was dying. I was telling people it reminded me of the final day of Naked and Afraid where people are trying to make it to the extraction point and barely making it. I have a habit of not drinking, or eating, and it catches up with me.

We spent a lot of time at the children’s area, both days, where I still have Baby Shark playing in my head, but one area I liked is where there were easels set up and small kids painted. Some of the work was amazing. One eight year old girl did this fish painting that reminded me of Matisse or something similar. Amazing to see how the children created things. I noticed one interesting thing – the kids draw a lot of trees and water, which is what we are surrounded by and interestingly enough, the trees are palm trees! We are in Miami, so they paint what they see, what they know.

I would have taken pictures of the art, but parents don’t like strange men taking pictures of their kids’ art and especially their kids.

The paintings take forever to dry and they don’t offer to frame them which would be a great little business in itself, so after waiting a long time for the things to dry, they just sadly end up in the trash. All that beautiful work just thrown away. Not a good finish to all that creativity.

We had our usual hot tea and scones at the English tea room which is always part of the event, and listened to fantastic music by local bands. One great band had five or six members and I personally knew three of them, which was cool.

I may pop over again today for day three. I usually go all three days only because it’s hard to get back into the neighborhood once you leave due to all the traffic. So we’re sort of stuck here until the circus leaves town.

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Making cartoons out of everyday sayings

People always ask me where I get my ideas from. I don’t know really, they just pop into my head. But many come from actual events or sentences or sayings.

For instance these three cartoons are actual things that I heard. Normal things that I just put with a funny image.

If you live in Florida, you know it’s a common thing to see alligators all over the place – many times on golf courses. And this or something close to this is something you would hear someone say.

This “resting my eyes” we’ve probably heard many times when someone is lying down and rather than say they are sleeping, they say they are resting their eyes. I heard someone on tv say they were resting their eyes, and this came to mind. So in this case, it was just a matter of making it the Frankenstein Monster and his wife. I made her have Lily Munster’s hair rather than the usual big hair with the shock of white. This could have easily been Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head, too, by the way.

This one always makes me crack up because I have a mole on my head. You know, a sunspot type thing. And I called the dermatologist’s office one day and made an appointment to have it looked at. When the receptionist on the phone asked what I was coming in for, I said, “I have a mole on my head,” and we both burst out laughing, and of course this cartoon came from that.

Just a few instances when everyday life turned into cartoons.

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I’m being used for clickbait!

I find it amazing at how many people don’t mind stealing others’ intellectual property and think nothing about it.

When this cartoon was published earlier today, people started commenting on social media. Some said due to Netflix’s new policy of no account sharing, they would be dropping their account. It’s sort of cutting off their nose to spite their face. But they don’t think it’s a good idea to support the streaming service they like.

This reminds me of some of these sites that are clickbait. I’m on on a few now. Not deliberately. And it’s happened before. The sites shall remain nameless here.

A guy reached out to me last week and asked if I would answer a few questions for an article, which I’ve done so many times before. Next thing you know, they placed 60 – not 6 – 60 of my cartoons on their site and sort of placed the answers to my questions in between.

When I complained, they sent me this long spiel about how this is their method of publication – basically that’s how they do it – they take your work and make it theirs. They didn’t say it that way, they said that’s how they “showcase” it. One bad part is that they are then copied around the internet and others do the same thing – they take a bunch of my cartoons and make clickbait out of it. The only difference is that they go on my site and pick and choose so the cartoons are different.

I’ve interviewed artists for many years and I’ve asked permission to use a few of their pieces to show off their work which was part of the articles. I also had them send me images when possible, so that they were in control of what was shown. But the text was the majority of the work, and a few of their works complimented it, along with a photo of themselves. Here are some on my 10 With Tom site – interviews I have done without stealing anyone’s work.

I’m fuming over this plagiarism by these other websites and I find it amazing that they have a link on them for “removal” of articles. When I brought that up to one of the sites, they said that is for people who post their own stories on the site and want it then removed, which I find to be B.S.

I sell some Tomversation items on Etsy. I saw my actual stuff picked up and being sold in Asia somewhere, they just snapped up the images and cartoons and are using them.

Many years ago, before I was an editor or writer or anything, I was taking photos at an arts festival and one of the artists yelled at me. He didn’t like me taking pictures of his work right out there on the street where it was being shown. I learned a lesson back then and I never again took people’s work for granted or took photos of it without asking their permission.

Yes, I’m guilty of taking Starry Night and other images whenever I’m in museums. I’m not sure where they falls into this. And my cousin goes to museums and draws the work. Not to sell, but to just practice his art. So I’m not really sure where to draw the line (draw the line, no pun intended).

I guess I should be happy that they like my work and they are keeping the copyright and my website part of the images intact, which is a good thing. I guess.

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