Green paint and the city

So I’m in NY for a bit.

My flight left Miami on time, actually a half hour late, which is incredible since it seems that thousands of flights have been delayed or canceled all over the U.S. this summer. The whole flight was uneventful, which is the best kind of flight.

I finally remembered to try out my new technique to getting to Manhattan from LaGuardia Airport. I always think of it when we’re on the way stuck in traffic.

What I did was, I got the Uber at the airport, but instead of the driver taking me all the way to the city, I had him drop me off at the Vernon-Jackson subway station in Long Island City. I’m very familiar with this site as it’s where my cousins usually pick me up when I’m going to their houses in Queens or we are heading out to the Hamptons or even if I am just going to Long Island City for anything.

The Vernon Jackson station is one stop from Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan.

This saves a lot of time and money as it shortens the trip by a lot. The driver was even appreciative. He was glad not to have to go all the way into the city and sit in tunnel traffic for a long time. Even on a Saturday, getting into the Midtown Tunnel and getting to the city is a project.

So I hopped on and off the train in no time and was in the city in no time flat. I even used the new OMNY system that I wrote about recently, it worked like a charm.

Some first world problems I had – my first Mr. Softee ice cream of the summer, actually of the year melted all over my hand so I threw it out. The prices keep going up, but they still give you one thin napkin to maneuver the melt.

I also managed to get green paint on me in the subway somewhere. Later on I had gone to Union Square, which is my usual thing and as I came up from down under, I must have touched the paint on the railing or something and for the rest of the day I looked like a slob as I walked around the city and also Hoboken, NJ.

The paint was fresh from the signs they were painting for the SCOTUS protest at Union Square.

All in all, it’s been an interesting start to summer. But it’s been hot and humid, very hot and humid.

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Is it real or is it Maxell?

Yesterday’s cartoon is an homage to an old Maxell ad. I came up with the idea of the guy sitting in his chair at home being bored due to economic issues of the day and the ad came to mind as I started drawing the cartoon.

One thing though – to get a photo as a reference, I googled “Memorex” and the photo came up – but the crazy part is that it’s an ad for Maxell! And I noticed people who commented on the cartoon mentioned Memorex, which is interesting because this iconic “Blown Away” ad is not serving its purpose – directing people to the correct product, it’s literally sending people to its competitor. But of course it’s one of the best photographs ever. It’s by photographer Steve Steigman.

Even the google search sends the Memorex reference to the Maxell ad. It’s sort of like those ads that we love but we don’t remember what the product is for.

This is the original advertisement, photo by Steve Steigman

Speaking of Memorex, I remember something from high school. We had a class called Rock Poetry and it was all based on current rock music. We studied the lyrics as poetry, which is what they were. We all had to bring in a record or cassette tape (yes, it was back then) and the teacher would pull out a random record or cassette and we would listen to a song and discuss it.

One time she reached into the box and pulled out a cassette and said, “Ok, the next one is Memorex.” And of course we all cracked up. We had to explain to her that Memorex was the cassette tape company, not the name of the recording or band.

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Wellness check

Today’s comic almost reminds me of something that happened some years back, maybe about 10 years ago.

I had taken a friend to the doctor’s office, which is at the hospital next door. I live next to a hospital. My friend had a cancer scare. Luckily everything worked out and he was totally fine, but this was a check up for something and we went to a cancer doctor, an oncologist.

I sat waiting in the waiting room and in walks the UPS guy and after him the FedEx guy with deliveries. Both of them knew me since they were my delivery guys, too.

Both of them separately had such a worried look on their faces. They asked me if I was ok, and I don’t think they believed me that I was there “for a friend.” But it was so nice to see their genuine concerns.

It’s weird that I would have the same delivery guys as the hospital which is a huge complex. Even though I am next door, I am in a neighborhood full of houses, you can’t see the hospital from the street, it’s on a lot of property and is sort of a campus, so you would think they had their own delivery thing going on.

But then again, I would see the delivery guys in the center of the village, about a mile away in the other direction, so I guess they covered the whole zip code or something. Many times I would be walking by in the downtown area and they would give me my packages as I walked by, saving them a trip to my house later in the day. It was more of a convenience – they would do this early in the day and their schedule would have them coming to me later in the day, sometimes 6 or 7 pm. So it was nice of them to give me the packages at 10 am as I walked by, rather than have me wait till the end of the day.

Anyway, this cartoon reminded me of that. I didn’t get the idea for the cartoon from those situations, but after I drew it, it reminded me of those situations.

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Land crabs and tourists

Land crabs looked like this after it rained a few decades ago.

I’ve noticed something – but maybe it’s nothing.

When I was a kid, come winter, every other car on the road was a foreign plate – you know, from a different state. It seemed that everyone drove down to Florida.

Over the years, that disappeared, I didn’t notice it until the last couple of years when the foreign plates showed up again. In droves (no pun intended).

I am guessing that maybe it had to do with the pandemic, and maybe people felt safer driving their own cars than being crammed up together in an airplane and I noticed it even more during the period when flights were being delayed or canceled by the thousands, I guess people felt they could depend on their own cars rather than the airlines. Also, I know it was very hard finding a rental, I tried, so I guess bringing your own car along was the thing to do.

Now I notice the cars with the out of state plates are gone. But the airlines are starting to cancel flights again, so who knows. But then again, it’s summer, so there really aren’t tourists here in summer.

Another thing I noticed when I was driving today was a large sign that warned people about land crabs. I don’t know if it was warning them not to drive over them or not to pick them up.

When I was a kid, that was an issue. After it rained, the streets were full of land crabs who were flooded out of their holes/homes. You had to be careful not to drive over them or they might puncture a tire. These crabs were all over – by the hundreds – they even appeared in back yard pools. They would break the screening around the pool areas and just end up in the water.

I have not seen that for years because of all the over-development. I thought the crabs disappeared due to that, so it was interesting seeing the sign today, warning people of the crabs. The sign might be left over from the big rains/tropical storm thing we had a couple of weeks ago. But again, I didn’t even know there were any land crabs to be warned about, I haven’t seen any in decades.

So far, as of today, I haven’t seen any tourists or land crabs. Things a good thing.

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Unheralded

So I unsubscribed to the paper again – the Miami Herald. I did it for a couple of reasons – they keep raising the price and I don’t like the delivery person.

I’ve supported newspapers my whole life, I often wished I lived in the days when newspapers ruled the media, but then I’d probably be old or dead by now, so maybe not.

I went to pick up a copy the other day at a store and the daily newspaper was $3.00 plus tax. $3.00 for the daily paper, what’s the Sunday paper cost?

The newspapers are struggling to survive. What if they gave each issue away for free, like most weekly papers do, and they can maybe raise the ad rates to compensate for the extra readers that would bring them?

I remember when I was a newspaper delivery boy so many moons ago – the daily newspaper was 5 cents and the Sunday, I don’t remember, but probably 35 cents. I remember one time the price went up a nickel a week for subscribers and one guy complained that he didn’t know and was upset about the extra nickel.

Anyway, I don’t really read the daily paper these days. I only subscribed to support them and I think the only thing I read was the tv listings. The Sunday paper used to take half a day to read, now it takes 10 minutes.

I read the comics and news online and therein lies the rub with the news and featured stories – they are all put online way before the paper is printed. And I don’t go to their website to read these stories – they are all over social media, they just come up in my feeds. I think it should be the other way around. I think they should print the stories first and then put them online, so if people want fresh news, they have to get the daily newspaper, rather than the other way around.

So many times my father would say to me, “Did you see such and such article in the paper today?” And I would say, “I read that a few days ago online.”

So basically, people are buying the daily newspaper to read days old news.

Now, this boy had it hard.

As for the delivery girl, she is obnoxious and incompetent. When I complained one time she sent me a long letter saying I was lucky she was delivering the paper at all and I should be thankful. Then she went on to complain about how hard her job is.

I remember being 12 years old and delivering the papers in all sorts of weather, by foot or on my bike and dragging them on a sled when it snowed. This 35 year old woman delivering my paper by car has it hard I guess. So I was glad to unsubscribe to lighten her load a bit – one less paper to lug in her back seat.

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Bringing Up Father

I’ve been reading a lot of old Bringing Up Father comic strips on Facebook, they pop up daily. If you click on these, they will open larger.

What gets me is the detail. I can’t understand how George McManus, the cartoonist, drew the same characters day after day, multiple times in each strip with such precise detail. His linework is amazing.

Brining Up Father featured Maggie and Jiggs, the two main characters. It ran in newspapers for 87 yeras, from 1913 to 2000.

Jiggs is an immigrant from Ireland who comes to the U.S. and wins $1 million in a sweepstakes. So now he is up in the world but prefers his working class life. His favorite food is Corned Beef and Cabbage, which he gets often at his friend Dinty Moore’s restaurant.

The art has an Art Nouveau/Art Deco design, which makes it stand out. When McManus passed away in 1954, other artists took over the strip until its ending in 2000.

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Things are getting back to normal; unfortunately

I’ve been seeing a lot of trash in the ocean and bay lately. Not too long ago, at the beginning of the pandemic, I had written about how the planet was healing itself and nature was reclaiming itself. The water and air were so clean. Now it seems to be getting back to normal, although I don’t remember seeing so much trash in the water as I do now.

What I mean is, I live on the bay, so daily I look out at the water and for all these years I really didn’t see anything floating around in the water. Now I do on a daily basis. It’s trash – paper and plastic. I’m not sure why there is more these days than in days past, but it’s out there.

The cartoon above is not really funny, it’s sad, it’s a commentary on how our wildlife is being treated.

Ironically, I’m not seeing as many people out in the water as during the pandemic. Back then, there were people in boats, paddle boarding, kayaking and I used to see one couple floating around on a large inner tube for hours – on a daily basis. They would lazily go from one end of our little inlet to the other. And with all of these “quiet,” “gentle” forms of water activities, there was no pollution or trash. Now that we’re back to motors and boat tours, ships and tourists and the lot, it’s showing.

I got the cartoon idea below, which ran at the beginning of the pandemic, by what I would see daily – lots of water sports activities.

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The OMNY card for the NYC Subway system

I joined OMNY – the click and pay method on the NY Subway system. They’ve had it for a few years now, but I’ve always bought a weekly pass which allows you unlimited rides for a set fee, rather than paying for each trip, which is $2.75. I think the weekly pass is $33.00 now, but it adds up fast, $33.00 is 12 trips, which do go fast. Round trip is two trips right there!

The advantage to the weekly pass is that you don’t have to always think, “Is this trip necessary?” I think that’s a saying from World War II days, but with the weekly pass you can travel to your heart’s content.

Another plus is that people “swipe” for people. Like you are leaving a station and someone says, “Hey man, can you swipe for me?” And you swipe for them to let them in, and you’re not wasting any trips that way.

The good part about the OMNY system now is that you swipe for each individual trip, but once you reach the $33.00 limit within 7 days, you automatically get unlimited rides for that week. Clever. So now everyone gets a weekly pass as long as they end up paying for it. It’s called the “Weekly Fare Cap.”

I remember the days of tokens, all those coins in your pocket, and then I remember when the MetroCard started, now they will phase the MetroCard out by 2024 and it will all be tap and pay.

You don’t have to sign up for the OMNY card, you can tap your credit card at turnstiles if the card has a chip and you can also use Apple Pay. But if you want the unlimited ride thing, you need to sign up for the OMNY card, which is actually just signing up a credit card and every time you tape that card – Visa, AmEx, etc., it registers the trips on your OMNY account.

So you can have an actual OMNY card if you wish, or just use the actual credit card that is activated and linked to the system.

All the OMNY info is here.

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