Roll Up Allstate commercial

This is my new favorite commercial. Every time it comes on I stop and watch. The song is “Lovely Day” by Bill Withers, released in 1977, I remember liking the song as a kid. You can hear the whole song here.

It’s more than just the song, I just like watching the girl roll up in the comforters and roll down the street. It makes me smile.

Friends in my head

Bridget and Julia on the set.

I was talking about how much I love Life Below Zero, but I would never consider living like that on the frozen Tundra. I watch these shows over and over again and enjoy them so much, I feel as if some of the people are friends in my head.

Another thing I love is cooking shows. Mostly on weekends I have taken to watching them all. And yet, I don’t even like to boil water. Yet, like Life Below Zero, I find them very relaxing.

I know what roux is and I know how to caramelize onions. I just don’t do that. I love eating it all, but I don’t care to prepare it. I know what stone fruit is and I love all of it, I just don’t bake. I know where capers come from and how to make chicken in a Moroccan tagine; and I know not to turn fish on the grill, it will release itself when ready.

Dan and friends in the kitchen

I know what Sara Moulton is up to and what recipes Jacques Pepin‘s mother used to make. I know how Bridget and Julia like to brown a turkey and how Dan Souza prepares his Indonesian-Style Fried Rice, and when Martha Bakes, watch out!

I know what size oysters should be before they are harvested and how to kill a caribou and ptarmigan in the Arctic. I don’t put any of it to use, but it’s all in my head!

Life below zero; it’s brutal

Jesse Holmes

I’ve been watching so much Life Below Zero lately, it seems to be on tv non-stop. I’ve seen so many of the episodes three or four times, but for some reason, it comforts me. I guess it’s the people, my favorites are Jesse and Sue. Season 12 started recently.

I don’t understand how they live like they do. It’s not like they are living in a city. So many of them go to Fairbanks or some other place and they get the cold sweats, they can’t take all the people and the “traffic.”

But I laugh when I think of their lifestyles. It’s like they say, “I want to be away from everyone. Far away in northern Alaska. I don’t want running water, tv, cable or electricity. I don’t want a store within 300 miles of me and I want it to be dark for 22 hours a day in winter and I like 40 degree below zero weather. And I want to have to hunt and fish daily to survive.

Sue Aikens

I just don’t get that. But that’s how they live. I often wonder why they just don’t move to the mountains in Colorado or North Carolina or some place remote but not brutal. But apparently these people, friends in my head, like it that way.

I’m not doing my 10 With Tom column these days, but I would interview them with probably more than 10 questions if I did write the column.

Comics I don’t understand

Yea! We made it at Comics I Don’t Understand, right here (at the bottom of their post). I checked the site like I do every day and there I was along with some other funny stuff!

If you’re not familiar with the site, it was started by Bill Bickel, who recently passed away. It’s one of my favorite sites.

It’s quite clever, not my cartoon, Bill’s site, who has been taken over by fans of the site, thanks to the generosity of Bill’s family. What I like about it is that I like comics that are hard to understand. I don’t like when it’s a daily thing for a comic panel or strip, but once in awhile I enjoy trying to figure out what a certain comic means, almost as if it’s a puzzle.

I know some people didn’t understand my contactless ordering comic at the time, luckily most did, as you don’t want everyone to question your work. But I feel when most do and some don’t it’s almost an insider’s club for thos who get it.

But I had to laugh when I saw it at Comics I Don’t Understand today. It’s almost like a wall of shame, where people are posted when they do something embarrassing in public, like fall or trip or something. It’s something you can enjoy and laugh about. You have to laugh at yourself, that’s what it’s all about!

Being creative

I may have a collaborator on a few future comics. Maybe more than a few!

My nephew sent me a bunch of comic ideas yesterday and most are excellent! He called me to tell me he was thinking or dreaming or something like that and he thought of so funny cartoon ideas, he told me a few on the phone and they seemed funny, but when he sent me the long list in writing later, they were really funny.

He’s an engineer, he owns a very successful factory and doesn’t seem like the type to even bother with comics, but it’s so nice knowing that he does think about comics.

So many friends and relatives read my work and it comes out in conversation or they may comment on a comic or blog post online or in person and it’s nice to know that I am entertaining friends and family, along with thousands of other people out there.

I saw a video or read something not to long ago where a cartoonist said, “Don’t write for the fans, write for yourself.” And that did make sense. All those years when I was publishing the daily news, I don’t think I ever thought of a person or people when I was writing, especially columns, where are personal. I just wrote and people read what they wanted when it was published.

I think if I had certain people in mind every time I wrote something that would have driven me mad. That’s not to say that at times I wondered if I was making certain people proud or whatever, but I never wrote or phrased things in order to please any one person. It just came out, sort of like this, which I’m writing now.

Same with the comics, once I started writing for myself, I felt less pressure. I know there have been a few lately that maybe everyone doesn’t get. But that’s alright. For those that get the gag, it’s an inside joke.

It’s NOT the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!

So in the scheme of things, this Charlie Brown news is not important, but then again, in the scheme of things, the way this whole year has been, it is important. Even Sally is upset!

Charlie Brown specials are moving to AppleTV+. That means It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown won’t be seen on regular tv this year and possibly in the future. And also the other Charlie Brown specials probably will follow suit. Why? Money, I guess.

I know there are DVD’s (I have them) and there are free days on AppleTV+ where you can see it (Oct. 30, 31 and Nov. 1), but it’s not the same. It breaks with tradition. It was always a CBS show and I was not thrilled when it moved to ABC (I know, I need a life), but now it’s not on regular tv at all.

The last few years, ABC has been showing it twice. Same with the Christmas episode and it is just part of life. And this year we need traditions! We may not even have Halloween in many places this year, so this tradition is important.

There is something about everyone watching it at the same time, enjoying it together. I like watching things “live,” I like to see shows when they are on.

I guess it all boils down to money. Doesn’t everything?

Too close for comfort

Great minds? On September 1, I published this cartoon. And then a month an a half later, on October 15, two other cartoonists published these below. Interesting that they both published on the same day, what are the odds?

I hate when this happens. Too much similarities in comics, but I guess there are only so many subjects. Right?

I love how we all draw the Frankenstein monster, similar, but not.

This is the Argyle Sweater
This is Off the Mark

Accidental fan art

Yesterday’s cartoon could almost be fan art of one my favorite strips right now, which is “Crabgrass” by Tauhid Bondia. I didn’t do it on purpose, but thought it looked like fan art afterwards.

Crabgrass is about two friends, Kevin and Miles, in the 1980s. I find it hilarious and enjoy following their adventures daily. It’s interesting to follow the kids who don’t have cellphones and all the electronics we have today. Like we did when we were kids, they spend most of their time and adventures outdoors.

You can read Crabgrass on GoComics daily here:

Here are a few samples:

Under water!

I had a hairy six weeks. Not a good time. I’m not sure how I got through. I think I kept being grateful that we weren’t being hit by those constant hurricanes hitting the Gulf and we weren’t being burned out by fires like on the west coast. That kept me going, but I did have problems here.

For three weeks, I had no a/c. And that’s fine, the issue was having so many a/c guys in and out trying to fix the problem, then trying to install the new system on the roof and other things, but as that was winding down and I got my new a/c system installed, I discovered a leak. I am three floors down from the roof, so I assumed it was my toilet or something. It originated in one of the bathrooms and leaked under the floor into one of the bedrooms. The one saving grace was that it was a bathroom and bedroom I don’t use. A spare room and a spare bathroom!

Well, the leak was coming from my neighbor above, but he had the leak too, coming from above him – from the penthouse.

So in these past three weeks, the water flowed – non stop. We had dozens of “experts” here and spent thousands of dollars to find the source of the leak. Leak detectors, insurance people, plumbers, air conditioning people – in and out for three weeks, revolving door here.

One source was thought to be our messy, wet roof. Another were the a/c lines condensating down from the roof. We were up on the roof, up in the penthouse, breaking walls here and there. And all that while the water flowed! I barely left the house. I met with the non-stop flow of experts and was afraid to leave the non-stop flow of water.

I literally dumped 30 to 40 gallons a day. I vacuumed it up with a wet/dry vac and counted each time I dumped the five gallon tank. It was never ending. For three weeks, I slept an hour, got up, vacuumed up the water and went to bed – I got up after two hours and did the same and so on and so on. Talk about stress!

This went on for three weeks. As people came and went and opined on what the source was, handed us with big bills, no one seemed to do a thing. And I vacuumed up water 24/7 – literally. I didn’t have a life. I threw out so many things that were ruined. And it got so bad that my big lighting fixture and mirror fell off the bathroom wall. The walls were so saturated that everything just sort of melted!

The water then started seeping into my bedroom wall, where the tv is hanging. I kept waiting for the whole 55 inch tv to fall off the wall. Thankfully that didn’t happen.

In the end, after dozens of visitors (experts?), dozens of sleepless nights, and hundreds of gallons of water, we had an a/c guy come and he found the leak – about 50 feet away from where we thought it was – under the toilet in the penthouse bathroom. There are about four bathrooms and this one is never used, as it emanated from their spare room, just like it ended up in my spare room!

The problem was fixed – hopefully – so far so good – this morning I woke up to a dry floor. No water flowing out. Nothing. So far so good. I am feeling thrilled now. Like I could fly. Like I could live!

I literally slept through the night last night, without having to wake up every hour or two to vacuum up the constant flow of water! Now it’s about restoration, but I can breathe now!

It’s all about tofu

I saw a great episode of tasteMAKERS this weekend – about tofu, which I never liked, but after seeing this episode it looks pretty good.

There was a time when my mother tried sneaking tofu into things. She is a gourmet cook and has recipes that she’s used all our lives – mostly Italian stuff, like meatballs, lasagna, etc. So when we started seeing strange things in the meatballs, we threw a fit. “What is this?” I asked, “You’ve been making these all your life and you’re known for your meatballs and now you’re changing the recipe?”

She said she was trying to hide the tofu in the meatballs, it was a funny scene.

Anyway, this lady, Jenny Yang bought a tofu store/factory in Chicago after the owners closed it down. Jenny depended on their products and the only way to keep getting them was to buy the business. While doing that, she ended up supporting so many other local businesses.

It’s a great story and as I said, the tofu looks pretty good, too, in it’s many incarnations.

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