Wanna feel old?

I went to one of my favorite museums, the Museum of the City of New York. I’m not sure why it’s a favorite, I think it’s the neighborhood I like, Spanish Harlem, as for the museum, it’s the same old exhibits, and once in awhile they change out one room. And their app to buy tickets sucks. Other than that, I did like one exhibit they had today.

But it made me feel ancient. It literally had these things under glass: a dial phone, a pay phone, a newspaper, printed classified ads, film cameras, typewriters, and so much more.

I did enjoy watching a video on the old way newspapers were made and they had a huge old linotype machine and all sorts of old newspaper equipment. That was cool.

But to see these other things behind glass was really freaky.

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A wedding, a funeral and Comic Con

NY Comic Con, October 2018

I have some traveling to do in the next week and beyond. But it’s a crazy schedule.

I’m going to NY for a few days for a wedding, coming home to Miami for three days for a funeral, and then going back to NY for 10 days for Comic Con, along with pumpkin and apple picking and the usual fall stuff.

I’ll take you along for Comic Con and Pumpkin and apple picking, the other stuff, probably not.

NY Comic Con, October 2018
Pumpkin Picking, Hudson Valley, NY, October 2021

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Keep your mouth shut!

I laughed when I saw this on Facebook. It reminded me of something that happened to me a few years back, maybe 10 years ago.

I was at a meeting, covering the news for our village like I did. And at the beginning of the meeting, this guy, Joel, stands up from the dais and yells out to me in the back row, “Tom, you can stay if you keep your mouth shut and don’t say anything!”

I was dumbfounded because I never spoke at meetings, even at important City Hall meetings, I would just take notes for the news story I was writing. I didn’t speak because I didn’t want to be part of the story. I quoted everyone else, I didn’t want to quote myself.

I said, “Joel, when have I ever said one word at any meetings?” He just sat down and proceeded with the meeting. Our village was like the Gilmore Girls, you know, everyone showed up for meetings, the whole town would be there in one scene.

I don’t hold grudges, even though that was a stupid and rude thing to do and we are still friendly to this day, but I hadn’t thought of that in years until I saw this quote on Facebook.

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Nasty comments

I don’t do political cartoons, mostly because it’s not expected by the readers, so I don’t want to throw them a loop. But some things I post might be a bit political, but they aren’t meant to be.

Other times, a cartoon has nothing political about it, yet there are people who turn it into that and they leave nasty comments.

I posted this cartoon with Joe Biden and Joe Cool (Snoopy), when Biden became president. A friend suggested it and I drew it up and used it. Boy – did the nasty comments come in about Joe Biden, most of them lies and made up stuff.

Yesterday, this Special Master cartoon was published. I just thought it was funny and it was on my mind I guess since it’s in the news daily.

Of course, the nasty comments started coming in – against President Biden – not Trump! Go figure.

What I did was turn off comments on social media sites where the cartoon was published, just to avoid fights, ugliness and me banning readers from the pages permanently.

I met a professional cartoonist at NY Comic Con years ago, he was signing autographs at the GoComics booth. He has comments blocked on his cartoon all the time – every day. It’s not a political cartoon, but I told him I understood why he did that. I guess he has a thin skin like I do.

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Angels

I posted this as an Instagram story on my Instagram site recently, you might have seen it.

What if all animals, or just dogs, are angels? They can’t talk, or if they can, they don’t, but they are in our lives, they are observant and they might do angelic things without us knowing it’s them. What if when they pass away after their short lives, they have gone after doing their work here on earth?

Ever feel the presence of an angel? Well it might be a dog. Perhaps they can understand all languages and can perform miracles, but we don’t know it.

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It’s all about the color

This is one of those cartoons that kept bothering me. It wasn’t hitting the mark, I kept looking at it and after it was published, I changed one color and that made all the difference.

If you look at both images above (slide from one image to the other), you can see that they are two lifeguards and it makes it funnier, because you can imagine the one guy asking his buddy, “What happened, where have you been?”

The blue bathing suit guy originally was just a nosey guy walking up the beach or pool area – someone for the lifeguard to explain his situation to. But I think it works better with the guy being another lifeguard and friend.

And all it took was changing the swimming trunks to red from blue and adding a whistle!

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Buying time to travel and do other things

Stephan Pastis at NY Comic Con a few years ago.

In my interview with Stephan Pastis the other day, he mentions that  he draws 14 Pearls Before Swine comic strips every week, which buys him 26 free weeks a year to write other books and travel. He needs 7 strips a week, six dailies and one Sunday and in one week he gets double that done – 14 (12 dailies and two Sundays).

I find that fascinating because one big complaint with daily cartoonists have is that they don’t have a life. Most say they work non-stop, full time and never have time to travel or do many family things, but Stephen seems to have it all figured out, which I love. 26 weeks of free time to do other things is fantastic, especially the travel part.

I do five cartoons a week, he does seven, so with me, that would be 10 strips a week, rather than 14. And mine are single panel, rather than actual multi-panel strips. Not that I have a problem getting them done, for some reason five strips a week, rather six or seven, seems to work perfectly for me and it’s worked out for my travel schedule. I also work fast, which to one cartoon editor was a negative, while I see it as a positive.

I have another 10 With Tom interview with another cartoonist this week and he says he spends six hours on dailies and up to 18 hours on a Sunday strip. I have to work fast, I can’t imagine spending all that time on one single strip. It’s just not part of my constitution.

I have thought about working while I traveling, but I’m not in my element, my office, I can’t get comfortable doing that, so it’s easy to see that if doubling up on weeks, it buys all that extra time.

I do get ideas when am traveling, so while that is work, it’s not actual drawing, it’s just thinking and jotting ideas down, which is great, because them I have an arsenal of them when I return home and am ready to work.

Another thing Stephan said, which I found interesting is that he gets more eyes on his comic strip when posts it on social media because of all the shares. “Those reader numbers may exceed newspapers,” he said, which shows that more people read the comics online and through social media than in print these days.

I like that fact because after all these years, I prefer online publication, rather than print for so many reasons – there is the sharing aspect of course and the main reason is that the deadlines are short, if there even are deadlines. With newspaper comics, the deadlines are sometimes four to six weeks. Online it can be minutes, literally minutes. The cartoon can be drawn and be posted right then and there.

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My idea for a tv sitcom

I saw this in the Edge City comics trip the other day and it reminded me of a similar idea I have for a tv sitcom. I’ve had the idea for a few years now. Maybe I shouldn’t share it here, but then again, I have proof of the idea here, posting it Sept. 1, 2022.

It all began one night when it was storming outside. The wind was howling, there was driving rain and it woke me up. That always freaks me out, once I’m up, that’s it for the rest of the night until the storm passes. I went to the bathroom.

In the bathroom, it was dead quiet. I couldn’t hear any of the storm outside and I stayed there for a bit. It was maybe 2:00 in the morning. My mind started wandering, what if I lived in the safe bathroom. It’s large enough. I use the shower, but never use the oversized soaking tub. There’s a closet, the toilet and shower are in a separate area with a private door. There’s a large counter where the sink is which I could use as a desk and eating area and the large tub is where I could sleep and watch tv.

And best of all, there is an exit out to the street. I could literally enter and exit the bathroom using my own entrance without going through the main house. And there is where my sitcom idea starts.

Ands so the sitcom pitch goes like this: I’m struggling to pay the mortgage. The place is large – 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and all the rest of the house. What if to save the place from being foreclosed, I move into the bathroom and rent out the rest of the house which pays the mortgage? The renters can use the other two bathrooms and of course the whole house; everything other than my bathroom and I’ll give them reduced rent to allow me to live in the one bathroom and there is the sitcom premise. I just typed “shitcom” before I corrected it to sitcom, so maybe the Universe is trying to tell me something about my idea.

Anyway, so the family is living in the main house and I’m living in the bathroom. And hilarity ensues. One time they come home and I’m lying in their bed watching tv while I’m on the phone. Another time they arrive home and I’m in the kitchen at the table eating cereal and so on. I am a part of their family, but I’m not. It sounds sort of like Kramer on Seinfeld in a way. Almost as if Kramer had his own spinoff.

I never have come up with a title, but it could be something clever, related to the bathroom being the apartment.

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Nobody on the road; nobody on the beach

I’ve taken up running and walking again – a combination of the two.

For so many years I did this daily, I was very active. For most of my life I was at one beach or another on a daily basis. Sometimes alone, sometimes with friends. I remember at one point I would meet my friend jak about 4:30 pm and we would run the boardwalk on Miami Beach – almost daily – and then we would hit happy hour and hang out at one of the few dive bars in Miami Beach at the time – this was before it was “South Beach.”

I went to Key Biscayne a lot too, where it was mostly empty weekdays, and I wrote once about what it was like hanging out on Miami Beach at an abandoned area by the St. Moritz Hotel. And I would go to neighborhood beaches where just the neighbors would since they were not in touristy areas.

Oddly enough, I had a friend in town recently, visiting from New York. We overlapped at one point and I went to New York while he was still here in Miami. Since I wasn’t here to take him, he took an Uber to one of the neighborhood beaches. I told him, “You must be the only person ever to take an Uber or cab to this beach, it’s just a local beach, a neighborhood thing. He said, “I know, the Uber driver found it very odd when he saw where he was taking me.”

Anyway, most weekdays the beaches were empty, as they are now, especially now that school has started.

For many years I printed school newspapers as well as other school-related stuff and needless to say, there was no business all summer. No money would come in and I would have to budget for that. So every year, on the first day of school, I would go to the beach to celebrate the start of the new school year which for me was the start up of business for the year. And being the first day of school, no one was there, and I mean no one. I had miles of beach all to myself.

I ran, I swam, I got lunch and I did it all alone, it was my special day.

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