The price of gas; and coffee

This cartoon from Friday really hit a nerve with people. It got so many shares, likes and comments, more than any other I think.

A lot of people were saying they didn’t like it because it made no sense – how can you compare one cup of coffee to gallons of gasoline? But the point of the cartoon is that if a guy buys a $5.00 cup of coffee, most likely he is doing it daily and most likely, he is doing it more than once a day, so for him to complain about the price of gas is disingenuous. Plus, anyone who buys $5.00 coffee really has no right to complain about the price of gas. It’s just a big metaphor. That’s all. Sort of like Elon Musk complaining about the price of a space rocket.

And yes, I know gas is more than $3.00. I was surprised to see some of the comments from Norway and other far away places where gas is $7.00 a gallon! But it was cleaner to read making it $3.00 a gallon rather than $3.79 a gallon or $3.99 a gallon or even $4.00 a gallon, since $4.00 was too close to the $5.00 amount of the coffee.

I was driving around my county the last few weeks and saw that gas in less populated areas is much less than popular and more upscale neighborhoods. Some differences as much as 50 cents a gallon and these places are harder to get to than popular neighborhoods and areas. So none of it makes sense other than supply and demand I guess.

And might I add that Shell gas stations are always more than any other station on any give day at any time of the year. I gave up buying Shell gas years ago. For spite I think they are higher in price. If one station is $1.99 a gallon, Shell, across the street is $2.29 a gallon. If gas is $3.79 at one station, at Shell across the street, it is $4.15 a gallon. I think they do it to see how many people are too lazy to drive across the street for the cheaper gas – and it’s not cheaper brands, it’s name brand gas that is cheaper than Shell. Always.

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They like me, they really like me

I never pay attention to Google Alerts about myself. In fact, I took myself off of Google Alerts years ago because most things written about me where not nice.

When I was doing the daily news, I would get written about and mocked for things I wrote on almost a daily basis, so I just removed myself from the alerts – ignorance is bliss.

But I put myself on the alerts again once I started my Tomversation cartoon but I never look at them when they arrive in email (the alerts, not my cartoons), this morning I looked because there is a guy with a blog called Tomversations – with an “s” and I thought to myself, “Let me see what he’s up to.” But it was me that was in the alert – and it was all featured items of my cartoons.

There are a lot of sites that seem to be copying each other, I think the Bored Panda thing that was done a few months back and then other sites all seemed to have gone through my comics and picked out their favorites and featured them.

I don’t mind because I’m given the credit and it’s free publicity.

Here is a google list of recent ones – you can see I’ve been featured on places from Bored Panda to Newsbreak to Savage Humans and even YouTube!

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We went to the Beaux Arts Festival

A couple of us went to the Beaux Arts Festival in Coral Gables yesterday. It’s the 71st edition.

It was smaller this year, I guess due to covid, and they moved the location south a bit – it’s still on the University of Miami grounds, just not in the grassy, shady, lake area, near the Lowe Art Museum – it was more in a parking lot.

There wasn’t much food. A friend of mine, who fell off his bike, for like the 5th time, asked me to bring him his favorites from the festival, since he is still laid up – conch fritters and gyros. Only they didn’t have them. I think there were just a few food booths and nothing great. So I stopped by empty handed to visit him afterwards.

At the festival I saw a lot of friends, many of them are artists, who had booths set-up and were showing and selling their work.

It’s one of those things that comes around year after year at the same time – repetitive, but we look forward to it.

The weather was perfect, bright, sunny and cool – in the 60s. Today a cold front is coming through so it will be rainy and windy most of the day.

But that’s the beginning of a bunch of our art shows for the year. 2022 has started.

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Crabgrass

Courtesy GoComics.com

I did my first interview for the new 10 With Tom site. I had the chance to interview Tauhid Bondia who is the cartoonist of one of my favorite comic strips called Crabgrass. I had written about them in 2020 here.

The comic is about two young friends in the 1980s. I felt it relevant now because Crabgrass is starting newspaper syndication on March 28. It will continue to be online as well.

If you would like to read the 10 With Tom interview, it’s here.



Lines, lines, everywhere there’s lines

I’ve been all over the county this past month and every once in awhile as I’m traveling around by car, I come upon lines. They are out in the traffic lanes, usually spilling out into the right lane and they are endless. That’s where I got the idea for today’s cartoon.

I am assuming they are covid testing lines, or possibly they are vaccine lines or are they food giveaway lines? If we lived in a snowy area, I might assume they are snow delay lines, like what happened last week on I-95 in Virginia.

After Hurricane Andrew in 1992, our county – Miami-Dade, was devastated. There was nothing. No place to eat, no place to shop, no place to do anything. Devastation.

Every once in awhile as you drove around, you would see a line. And we would just get in the line. We didn’t know what the line was for, but we knew it was something we needed, because we had nothing left! So we would park the car and stand at the end of the line. Waiting, to see what was up front.

One time I was driving by Eckard Drugs with a friend, and we stopped. We got in line and when we reached the front, it was for batteries they were giving out. Another day, it was at another location and it was food, another time it was ice.

When I drive by these long car lines these days, it reminds me of that time so many years ago.

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10 With Tom


I started a website for my 10 With Tom columns.

Over the years, I had these published in the Huffington Post, my own blog, Medium and other publications. I’ve interviewed, cartoonists and featured cartoons and comics and artists, comic strip creators including Jason Chatfield, Rina Piccolo and Scott Adams, among so many others. . But I’ve also interviewed authors, designers like Betsey Johnson and even Ryan Holt from Naked and Afraid.

I was was planning on doing more interviews for the Huffington Post, but I thought these columns should have a home of their own, rather than be at other websites. They live on forever and are always being seen and read.

Some of these stories have hundreds of thousands of readers, The Stephan Pastis article has over 1 million views! So why not have people read them on my own site, rather than other places? I wouldn’t mind 1 million hits! Huffington Post, Medium, and various newspapers didn’t promote the stories, people found them by doing searches, so why not have readers find the articles on my own site, right?

I now have 10 With Tom here, where you can find some of the past interviews and where I’ll add new ones shortly.

You can subscribe to 10 With Tom, and you’ll only receive 10 With Tom interviews (not this Tomversation blog, that’s a separate subscription), but I’m not sure if all the past stories I added will come up as one big email for your first email that you receive after subscribing. So if that happens, forgive me. You’ll usually just receive one interview after it is published.

It won’t be a daily thing, I’ll publish randomly.

I have to get out more

I drove 30 miles south from home and while down in Homestead (a city south of Miami), I stopped to get gas. My credit card was declined three times at two different gas stations.

Then later in the day, I got a call from Citibank, claiming my card was being used fraudulently. I had to confirm it was me using the card so they would unlock it. They said it was “out of my buying pattern.”

I guess I never really leave my neighborhood and I only buy gas around home, so when they saw the attempts to charge 30 miles away, they freaked out.

I’ve been thinking of taking a road trip. That’s going to be some experience every time I attempt to buy gas along the way.

I remember when I used to go from one end of the county to the next – all in one day, for work – the county is larger than the states of Rhode Island and Delaware combined. And there was a period where I drove 100 miles a day, just to hang out with friends, night and day. Now I usually drive about three miles a day. But the weird thing about this incident is that I was using the card in my own home county, still considered to be part of Miami. I am glad to see they are trying to stay on top of fraud though.

I remember some years ago, I got a call from American Express. They said their was fraud on my card. I asked how they know, they said someone was trying to buy motorcycle parts, and they knew that wasn’t me. About a month later, I got a call from Visa – they said something about fraud, too. Their reasoning was that someone was trying to by Avon, and they knew it wasn’t me. So I fall somewhere in between motorcycle parts and Avon!

I have protected the cards all these years – I use those protective sleeves and so far, so good. I had seen some people, try to skim my card, but luckily they didn’t get through the protective shield around the cards.

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West Side Cowboys

This cowboy is William Connolly on 11th Avenue on December 18, 1932. One of the last West Side Cowboys.

Have you been to The Highline in NYC? I came upon these pictures online, which preceded The Highline and the Elevatated tracks that are The Highline now. But these pictures depict an interesting time in NYC.

The trains used to go right up 11th Avenue, they literally were on tracks, sort of like trolleys. They started in 1846 for industrial reasons – bringing goods and services to that area, which became the Meat Packing District among other things.

So freight trains shared the streets with horses and buggies and eventurally cars and trolleys. But here is the amazing part – people would get hit by the trains at times. I don’t know how you don’t hear a freight train coming down the street, even at slow speeds, but people would acutally get hit.

So the City Council hired men to ride horseback in front of the trains and they would yell out to warm pedstrians. They became known as West Side Cowboys. In the early 1930s the Cowboys days ended because the trains were taken off the streets and became elevated (Els) and eventually went underground as subways.

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Getting rid of the tree

Today’s cartoon is based on reality.

These last few years I’ve had an artificial tree. It’s easier to deal with. But in the past, I would throw the real Christmas tree off the balcony at the end of the season.

I started doing it to avoid all those needles getting all over the elevator.

I would have someone stand below and throw it over, minus the ornaments. Then I would go down and drag the tree to the street. It worked out well. I’m on the 5th floor – so it didn’t have long to go and of course as I said, I had someone below to be sure no one was under it when it fell.

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Italian-style Christmas?

Me with Laura (not Marsha or Jan)

We had a great Christmas despite the fact that we lost a lot of people this year – mainly my mother, my aunt (a second mother to me) and a cousin. We didn’t do Christmas last year due to the pandemic, so it was nice to get together. I have a large family and a few were missing due to illness and one niece was pregnant so she and her husband couldn’t travel – they had the baby last night btw.

Anyway, on Christmas Eve, we were at one of my brothers’ houses. One niece (let’s call her Marsha) and my nephew’s wife (let’s call her Jan) got into an argument. It got heated. I joked that it seemed like a Thanksgiving thing to do.

The next day, Christmas Day, we were all at said nephew’s wife’s house (with my nephew of course). I was the first one there. She (Jan) came up to me and said, “I’m concerned about Marsha. Do you think she’ll show up today?”

I said, of course, she traveled here for the holidays, she’ll come with her parents.

Jan then said, “That’s what I love about your family – it’s so Italian. There’s a huge blow out and it’s over in five minutes. If that was my family no one would speak to each other for months.”

I laughed and didn’t realize we were like that. I don’t really remember arguments, but we do talk loud and maybe that seems like arguments to her, who knows.

I do have a friend whose family don’t speak to each other for long periods of time over stupid things. They’re Italian, so maybe they are the exceptions who prove the rule.

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