How to publish Hal & High Water

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Here is Hal from my new comic strip “Hal & High Water.”

I would like to start publishing in January or February of 2018. I sent in the strip to the five major syndicates and received two rejections.

To be honest, I don’t really feel I need the syndicates to get Hal up and running. I don’t want to be confined to editors or a newspaper schedule and I notice that even on the syndicates’ websites, features don’t always have a large following. So the way to go is to self publish.

And while I intend to publish on social media, mostly Facebook and Instagram,  I need a comic-based website to publish to daily. I’m debating on which one and how to go about it. I’m totally confused at this point.

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Art Miami is at an historic site this year

My love of newspapers ironically  brought me to The Miami Herald, but not the current location of The Miami Herald and not because I went to visit the newspaper. It so happens that this year, some of the satellite fairs associated with Art Basel Miami are taking place in huge tents on the former Miami Herald site, right on Biscayne Bay.

The Herald moved out to a western suburb of Miami a few years ago and the old site was sold to a casino company, only we don’t have legal casino gambling in Miami, so the site just sits there – prime waterfront property. This year, the owners set up a deal for Art Miami and Context 2017, two of the satellite art fairs to take place on the empty lot.

Cement slabs were placed down and tents went up and it felt nice to visit the old site where I had visited The Miami Herald so many times over the years.

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I want to be Ben Bradlee

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Ben Bradlee flanked by Bernstein and Woodward.

I watched an excellent documentary on Ben Bradlee on HBO the other night called “The Newspaperman: The Life and Times of Ben Bradlee.” You can stream it here.

Bradlee was the executive editor of The Washington Post from 1968 to 1991 and he is responsible for the Watergate take down of President Richard Nixon, along with reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.

The documenary shows how The Washington Post was the only newspapers covering the story and how he and his reporters were accused of false news back then. But the main gist that I took away was how glamorous his life was. He lived a long and charmed life, he passed away at age 93 in 2014.

He was born in Boston and lived that elegant New England lifestyle, later transported to his life in Long Island. He owned Grey Gardens for god’s sake. He lived a charmed life.

He was best friends with JFK and was a fixture at the White House back then.

The documentary shows his whole life in about an hour and a half and throughout the whole thing, you want to be Ben Bradlee.

The only way to fly

flyingSo here is one of those instances where you sort of will something because you think about it and talk about it often.

I was coming home to Miami from New York and I got to the airport very early, one reason was that all over the news they were talking about hold ups at LaGuardia Airport due to the renovations going on, so I left for the airport five hours before my flight! And then when I got to the airport, the flight was bumped back an hour, so my 11:30 flight was bumped to 12:30 pm. This would not due, that would make my whole day a wasted day of flying.

I got to the gates about 7:30 am and I asked an attendant if I could get onto an earlier flight, he said there was an 8 am flight to Miami and he got me on. It was two gates over, so I walked over and they were already boarding. So get this – I got my ticket at 7:30 and was literally sitting on the plane at 7:45 am – 15 minutes later! And we were taking off at 8 am. I got home sooner than my original flight was to take off. But the amazing part was getting the ticket and getting on board in 15 minutes.

This is where the willing comes in – I am always saying, “In this day and age, why can’t we just go to the airport and hop on a plane, why is there such a project involved?” Well, it happened. No fuss, no muss. On the plane and off!

It may never happen again, but at least it did this once. And the funny part was that for a day or two before I sort of lost sleep thinking of the traffic to the airport (there was none) and getting home late because I had so much work to do (I got home hours early). As they say, 90% of what we worry about never comes to pass.

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A delightful train ride

On Thanksgiving week, I took a four hour train trip from Boston to New York. Sitting behind me were two older ladies. They didn’t know each other and they just ended up sitting together and they talked and talked for that four hours. I know their whole stories, I know their names, I know about their kids and I loved every minute of it. I almost wish I had taped it.

One lady is 82 and one is 83. One is from Manchester, England one is from Rhode Island, they both had lived in New Jersey at one time and both were on their way back to New Jersey to be with family for Thanksgiving.

The lady from Rhode Island talked like Cyndi Lauper. Exactly. The lady from Manchester had that refined English accent and you can imagine these two accents going back and forth sharing their lives with each other. Cyndi Lauper was nosy and nervy, she asked a lot of personal questions, and Manchester calmly answered them.

Manchester has two children, one in Washington DC and one in New Jersey, I think she said she lives in Boston now. Cyndi Lauper has five children and nine grandchildren, they live all over and I don’t remember where she lives now.

They spoke about their husbands who have both passed, Manchester’s husband passed 10 years ago, Cyndi Lauper’s husband passed nine years ago to the exact day we were on the train. Cyndi Lauper was very into her husband’s life, it was more about him than her, and it seemed to be a man’s world according to her questions. She asked Manchester what her husband did for a living, rather than asking Manchester what she did. Manchester’s husband did many things, including real estate, to which Cyndi Lauper said, “Oh you must have made a lot of money!” to which Manchester calmly said, “No, just enough to live on.”

Cyndi Lauper’s husband was a highly regarded college professor. It was a hectic life being a professor’s wife, according to Cyndi Lauper.

They spoke of World War II and of all of the places they have been and lived. They spoke of the Royal Family. Neither of them like Camila, Cyndi Lauper doesn’t like Charles, but Manchester says he is not a bad sort.

Manchester came to the US in the 1960s. She said that period of time was a “brain drain” where all the good minds from England moved to the states. She eventually became a citizen with her husband in Elizabeth, New Jersey, they lived in that county at the time and that was the county seat and the location for the citizenship ceremony

The conversation was fascinating. And the thought of these two older grandmas traveling alone together was nice. When they first met, Cyndi Lauper told Manchester that she was nervous about traveling alone, getting on the wrong train and all but Manchester said, “We’ll you’re on the train now and the only thing to do is get off when it’s time. That’s it.”

Cyndi Lauper had her son picking her up at the train station and Manchester had her daughter-in-law picking her up at the train station. Manchester said the first thing she wanted to do once she was settled at her son’s and daughter-in-law’s house was to have a hot cup of tea. She said, “When she asks if I want anything [meaning her daughter-in-law], I will say ‘yes,’ a hot cup of tea!”

I did not look back at them the whole time, I didn’t want to spoil the image I had in my head of them. But when my stop came, NYC, I had to get up and leave, so I looked back and there they were, sitting and staring at me. I just stared back, I didn’t want to be rude but I wanted to take them in. Neither was what I had pictured in my head and I almost wish I had not looked.

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Visiting The Muppets

One of my favorite places to visit when I’m in New York is the Museum of the Moving Image which is Astoria, Queens. It’s chock full of memories with items from tv and movies and also video games. Currently, the featured exhibit is The Jim Henson Exhibition which of course features the Muppets. This may now be a permanent part of the museum according to the museum’s website.

Big Bird, Miss Piggy, Kermit the Frog, they are all there.

The Jim Henson exhibit features so much related to the Muppets, including actual Muppets, but also scripts, drawing concepts of how they were created, videos of original programming and so much more.

It was really sweet to see people’s reactions as they related with the characters. Everyone has a special memory regarding the Muppets and periods of their lives.

The museum of course has lots of memories regarding tv and movies, with props, scrips, collectibles, old movie and tv cameras, etc.

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Visiting the NY Daily News

As you know, I love newspapers – printed newspapers, a dying breed.

Here is the New York Daily News building in midtown Manhattan. The newspaper was founded in 1919 and this building has been here since 1930, on 42nd Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues. The building is historic and still houses Channel 11, WPIX, but the Daily News is in an office building downtown now, next to the Staten Island Ferry. It has offices in the building shared by many other offices.

The 42nd Street building is a beautiful art deco structure, you may recognize it from the Christopher Reeves Superman movies, where it “played” the Daily Planet. It still says Daily News out front and has an historical plaque. It also has the famous big round globe in the lobby.

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