The Little Shop of Horrors art


A friend and I were driving through Coral Gables the other day and we came upon this. Far be it from me to criticize another’s art, but come on, this is art? We had a tropical system passing through the area and I almost thought this was something that fell from a building or was destroyed in the storm, only one thing – the storm hadn’t arrived yet!

Then I found out that the City of Coral Gables paid almost $1 million for this piece that looks like it’s out of Little Shop of Horrors, we were afraid to get to close fearing that it would start singing, “Feed Me,” and eat us alive.

Coral Gables chose an artist from New York, Alice Aycock to create the commissioned piece. I don’t think I’ve seen anything this ugly even in New York. Is she punking us? She was chosen out of 181 other artists, I shudder to think what they came up with if this was the winning piece. There are actually two of them, a big one and a little one. At first I thought they were multiplying, but there are only the two.

In all fairness, Alice does a wonderful job with sculptures, you can see her work at her website here: But are these flowers a good example of her work and are they worth $1 million?

They are sort of in a back area of the Gables, off Biltmore Way and Coral Way, near the traffic circle on Segovia, where the business area meets the residential area, near the Grenada Golf Course. Check it out if you get a chance, don’t get too close, and let me know what you think.

There’s a petition to get rid of them, so not sure how long they will last. It may just end up being expensive scrap metal.

Am I bored by high culture?

I was asked today to be a judge at a local Film Festival. I turned them down. I can’t sit through all those movies in one day, it would drive me insane. I’ve also turned down judging arts events, as they take a day or two of looking at non-stop art and then making decisions on who and who wouldn’t be part of arts festivals and shows. Guess I just don’t have the patience.

But Breaking Bad, Real Housewives, Naked and Afraid. I’m in. I’ll sit for hours on end watching these shows and their marathons. Not sure what it says about me but the high culture events bore me. TV doesn’t.

The queen of reality tv

10 With Tom
10 questions in 10 minutes

Glenda Hersh 1Glenda Hersh shown here, is an Emmy award winning producer and co-president and CEO of True Entertainment and Original Media, two leading producers of reality tv. True was taken over by Endemol which makes me laugh because I had a friend who worked for Endemol in Miami and he would always tell me to come and pitch some of my reality show ideas that I had. I never did, but it’s almost coming full circle with Glenda doing 10 With Tom today.

TOM: You produce the Real Housewives of Atlanta and Real Housewives of Potomac, but not the others (NY, NJ, OC, Beverly Hills, Melbourne, etc.). How do they have that same flavor and look if they are done by different production companies?
GLENDA: What makes the franchise so great is that each location has its own distinctive personality, but they all share a similar grammar and feel.

TOM: Of all the housewife shows, which would you like to be a part of if you had to, not including your own?
GLENDA: I would love to be a part of my own [RHOA and RHOP], because I am so proud of them. However, if I had to choose another location it would Beverly Hills because the weather is better.

TOM: What would be your housewife opening tagline?
GLENDA: “You can sleep when you’re dead.”

TOM: You also produce Don’t Be Tardy, Vanity Fair Confidential, Hack My Life, A Baby Story and Trauma: Life in the ER, and Mystery Diagnosis. Original Media’s series include renowned Ink Master and spin-off Ink Master: Redemption, Swamp People, Dual Survival, Comic Book Men, and I Love You…But I Lied. That is some lineup, when do you sleep and what do you do for relaxation?
GLENDA: I am also married with a 7-year-old son, so sleep is not a huge part of my life. But I do run off to my lake house for relaxation when I can.

TOM: Ink Master is back for its 8th season on August 23 on Spike TV. Do you have any tattoos yourself?
GLENDA: I don’t have any tattoos personally, but I am a huge fan of the art.

TOM: Last show you binge-watched?
GLENDA: House of Cards

TOM: Breaking Bad or Better Call Saul?
GLENDA: Breaking Bad

TOM: Favorite city you have lived in?
GLENDA: New York City

TOM: Last song you listened to?
GLENDA: “I Took a Pill in Ibiza,” by Mike Posner.

TOM: Glenda, interesting name. Were you named after someone?
GLENDA: I don’t know what my mother was thinking. I can’t say that it was easy as a kid, but as an adult I love it. I rarely have to use my last name; how many Glendas do you know?

Thanks Glenda! Check out some of Glenda’s work when Ink Master returns to Spike TV with a new season on Tuesday, August 23 at 10 pm eastern time.

Remembering Smokey Stover

I bought an old book the other day called, “Great Comics.” It has comic strips from the New York Daily News and the Chicago Tribune. So many I remember well from the Daily News years ago. There is Dick Tracy, Dondie, Little Orphan Annie and Smokey Stover, to name a few.

I always loved Smokey Stover. I never understood it, but loved it and my mother did, too. She liked the crazy words thrown out throughout the strip like “Notary Sojac” and “Foo.” Smokey, created by cartoonist Bill Holman, was a fireman and the strip was about his crazy life. He and his boss Chief Cash U Nutt drove to fires in the Foo Mobile.

The Smokey Stover comic strip started running in March 1935 and ended in 1937 when Bill retired it. I guess I remember it from the early ’70s, possibly, late ’60s.

After seeing it in the “Great Comics,” book I looked for more Smokey strips online and was pleased to find a whole site dedicated to Smokey and gang with hundreds of comics from the 1930s through the 1970s. That’s here:

Check it out if you get a chance. It’s really good stuff.

She sculpts Lucy

I’m sure you’ve seen the news lately about the Scary Lucy statue in Celoron, NY. You’ll remember that a sculptor made a sculpture to honor Lucille Ball, which was placed Lucille Ball Memorial Park, in her hometown, only the sculpture was scary and ugly. Lucy fans were upset, there was even a Facebook page created to push the cause of replacing the statue with  new one with Lucy’s actual likeness.

Finally, “New Lucy” was unveiled earlier this month on Lucy’s 105th birthday.
New Jersey sculptor Carolyn Palmer was chosen by the town to make a “better” version of Lucy and the rest is history. I kept seeing Carolyn in the news regarding the statue and it was all about the statue and Lucy and I thought, “Let’s learn more about Carolyn,” so I asked here my 10 With Tom questions. Here they are: (that’s Carolyn with Lucy below)



TOM: Did you watch I Love Lucy or any of the Lucy shows before you decided to create the statue?

CAROLYN: Yes, I grew up watching, “I love Lucy.” After winning the competition, I immediately subscribed to “CBS – All Access” for reruns and watched countless episodes. She was fun to sculpt because I never laughed so much while creating a piece of art. I actually had to turn off the sound at one point so I could just focus on the visuals. When I found poses or expressions of Lucy’s spirit that I liked, I’d screen capture the images, enlarging them onto big computer screens. I also hired 5’7″ models that were Lucy’s actual height and enlarged “head to toe” reference photos for my studio walls.

TOM: Do you know Lucy Ricardo’s address in Manhattan without looking?
CAROLYN: No, I don’t and that’s a great trivia question. I can’t recall a time when their address was mentioned on the show.

TOM:  Gotcha!- it’s 623 E. 68 St., NYC.

TOM: Where was Ricky from?
CAROLYN: Ricky was from Cuba. Speaking of Ricky, fans have contacted me wondering if I was going to make a sculpture of him too. They feel Ricky was a part of Lucy’s success and should be honored as well.

TOM: I agree, a Ricky statue would be great next to Lucy!

TOM: Name 3 things in nature you find most beautiful.
CAROLYN: It’s so difficult to choose just three because nature is filled with abounding beauty. For one, I love gazing at starlit skies and watching the phases of the moon as it waxes and wanes. Another joy is witnessing how the play of light changes with the seasons and influences all the warm and cool colors dancing around the landscapes. And my third choice is watching animals in their natural habitat. Right now we have a surplus of deer around our property. They are so gentle and graceful in how they interact. I wish all humans were that way.

TOM: Starry Night, Mona Lisa or Les Demoiselles d’Avignon by Picasso?
CAROLYN: Les Demoiselles d’Avignon is a powerful painting by Picasso; one of my favorites at the Moma.

TOM: What do you usually order at Starbucks?
CAROLYN: My daily addiction: Venti Mocha Frappuccino Light with only one shot of frap roast (instead of 4)

TOM: Which tv show would you like to crawl into and spend the day ?
CAROLYN: Downton Abbey – I love the era but only for a day. I’ve grown to enjoy the vast information available today by computer and social media.

TOM: What scares you the most, and why?
CAROLYN: The current crisis with the human condition. History reports that evil always existed and probably always will but our weapons are no longer just bows and arrows or rifles. Today we have advanced machine guns, chemical warfare and other methods of mass destruction. There are now ways to destroy the entire planet ….and all of this frightens me.

TOM: Where would you like to live?
CAROLYN: I love living near NYC but would like to be bi-coastal and have a home in California too.

TOM: What talent would you most like to have?
CAROLYN: I’d like the talent to be a playwright because not a week goes by that I don’t think of writing a play. It’s like background noise in everything I do. I’m always thinking, Wow, that person would be the perfect character or this scenario would convey a powerful message, or the lighting over there would highlight a dramatic backdrop. These kind of thoughts haunt me. So, if my hands ever give out from sculpting, I just may take a try at it!

Thanks, Carolyn!

Check out my other 10 With Tom interviews here.

And you can subscribe to Tomversation here free so you don’t miss the next one!

Hillary Looks


Found this great page on Instagram called HillaryLooks where they post various photos of Hillary Clinton from throughout the years. It’s a sort of look book for Hillary’s fashions. One image is better than the other. They have Hillary from her younger days to present and along and with well-known figures. These are a couple of my favorites, but check out the page yourself to see which ones you like:



Someone commented: “Basically, my parents on vacation.” That’s so true.

Pay as you go news stories

blendleThere’s a website called Blendle which started up two years ago. It’s a site where you can pick and choose stories from various newspapers and magazines – The New York Times, Time magazine, Barron’s, Newsweek, etc. And they have a paywall for each article you read, where you pay something like 25 cents per article and if you don’t like the article, you can ask for a refund on the spot!

They do ask you why you didn’t like the article first before giving the refund, but I’m not sure why you wouldn’t like an article other than boredom. I mean if you disagreed with what the writer was saying, would that be a reason not to like it? If it has bad grammar, is that a reason? I don’t know, but I don’t see myself asking for a refund if I didn’t like an article. Unless it was something bad about me, of course.

Blendle has 1 million members already. You sign up with your email and then pay as you go.

The New York Times calls it, “The iTunes of Journalism.”

It turns out that people don’t like paying for actual news stories, as you can get them anywhere, but they are willing to pay for more in depth stories and articles. Stories they can’t get elsewhere.

This might be a good model for comics – pay as you go for each comic you like. 25 cents for Peanuts or $1.00 for any six comics, or whatever, although you can read them free at GoComics or Comics Kingdom, so maybe not.