Mariah broke another record by having this be the number one Christmas song for another year! It plays on the radio, on tv, in stores, in elevators, in doctor’s offices, in dentist’s offices, in auto repair shops, blaring out of cars next to you at stop lights, in Grand Central. I’m not sure how some people have never heard the song. It’s almost impossible not to hear it.
So she is exhausted from working non-stop all month, actually all season (through the song playing non-stop) and she’s passing the baton to the ground hog and Easter Bunny, the next two holidays or days of note.
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I got the idea about the snowballed kids really fast. I had a morning show on, I think the Today Show, and a guy was talking about how his social media post took off. He said it started slow and then snowballed.
And the word “snowballed’ just hit me. I heard the expression all my life, but in that moment, it struck me as something I could use for a comic. I thought of the snow people right away and I drew up the cartoon right then and there.
One of my neighbors and his wife go walking around the neighborhood daily, and I ran into them one day, we started walking together. I asked them if I was intruding and he replied with a funny quote that I think he made up himself. At that moment, I thought it would be good for a cartoon, but I just kept walking and talking and I forgot what the quote was.
A bit later, he asked where I get my cartoon ideas from. I said they just seem to pop into my head. I then mentioned the quote he had said a bit earlier and I said I thought that would make a good cartoon in some way, only I couldn’t remember it. So he repeated it and we laughed.
Unfortunately, I don’t remember it again and can’t use it. But that’s where I get my ideas – hearing things and twisting them around in my mind.
Speaking of the Today Show, Martha Stewart was on the other day, she was making her famous eggnog recipe and last week I ran that cartoon with the witches discussing Martha Stewart’s and Ina Garten’s eggnog recipes. It all comes full circle, I guess.
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I was having trouble with my AT&T Uverse a common problem. One day I will finally cut the cord.
My tv freezes often, it’s been doing it for years. The issue is that one of the tv’s is too far away from the main router and the signal just dies at certain times, usually at the point on a tv show where they say, “And the murderer is . . . ” or “And the winning number is . . . ” or something like that. I have a booster that AT&T installed, but apparently that doesn’t work well.
So when the tv froze, I reset the router, which I have done 100 times before, but in this case, the wifi was lost after I reset the router. So I called AT&T and a lady helped me. For some reason, my wifi lost it’s name and password I couldn’t find it on the list of routers, this had happened before. Apparently it reverted to an original router name/number like ACXVR123XXX35. She reset the name and password for me and things seemed to work. We hung up and I was happy.
I watched tv all night and then went to turn off the tv to go to bed and the tv would not turn off. The cable box would not shut down and the tv would not shut off. I tried for maybe a half hour to get it to turn off and finally just pulled the plug out of the wall, As I was doing this, the phone started ringing, it was late at night, so I ignored it. But I noticed it was coming from AT&T so I finally picked it up and wondered if they could tell on their end that I was having issues.
It was the lady from AT&T on the other end of the phone, the one who had helped me hours earlier! This has never happened before, I don’t remember them calling back to check on the issue from earlier in the day. I told her what the problem about not being able to turn the tv off and she had me do some things to fix this issue like pull the plugs out, which I had already done and wait 30 seconds for this and wait 15 seconds for that and so on. She also asked me to change the batteries in the remote. And I did it all while she held on.
Years ago, I used Earthlink to host my business website. Every time something went down, I called them and their first thing was to tell me to back up the whole website and to delete it and reinstall it. Of course, I freaked out and never did that and in the end it always was some server error on their end, which is really what I was calling about to begin with, I just wanted to be sure it was them and not something I did. It’s basically the same thing with AT&T – try everything until something works.
During all this going back and forth with the lady on the phone, I noticed I had two remote controls in the room. One was on the bed and one was in my hands. I realized as she was going through her spiel on the phone that I was trying to turn the tv off with the remote from the other room, my office. I don’t know how it got into the bedroom, but there were two in there all night and I never noticed. You would think the remotes would all work for all tvs, but they don’t. When I switched remotes to the correct one, it all worked out perfectly. The tv and cable box turned off.
I was too embarrassed to tell the AT&T lady about that, so I just said that what she told me to do on the phone was working and everything was fine now. I thanked her for her help and we hung up.
I still have red lights blinking on the booster/router in my office, but everything is working, so it will just blink sort of like a “check engine” light in the car. Just there, blinking away for no reason.
The freak out is about the awkwardness of it all. At the airport recently I came upon this where when you pay with a credit card, you have to go through a process of tipping or not tipping before you scan your card.
This is now a thing everywhere – in person at the register and also on apps where you order food or drink.
I’ve seen this at ice cream stores, sub shops, fast take-away places and of course sit down restaurants. You order and then when it’s time to pay, the tip portion comes up. And you’re not even in the store when you order on apps and you are tipping before you even receive service, or even enter the store at most instances. Tip first, ask questions later.
And a new thing at many restaurants is where they use this new scanning device at the table; they don’t take the credit card away to process it anymore, which is a good thing, but the waitstaff now stands over you waiting for you to tip and pay for the order, You don’t really have time to think.
Last week I split a bill with a friend, we both gave a credit card and split it in half and we both tipped 20% and left. We didn’t get a receipt and we asked each other, “Do you even know how much the bill was?” Neither of us did.
In NYC recently I was at a diner with another friend, an expensive diner (diner, not dinner), and the waiter was quite pushy. He was an older guy and I guess worked as a waiter most of his life, so he knew the ins and outs.
He handed me the black box to pay and then said, “Put your card in this way,” and “Here is the tip section, I’ll push the 20% button for you here,” and he did. He pushed the tip button himself.
One thing about that tip thing – I think they are losing out because I usually give more than 20% tip and most times I’ll round up the tip to a higher figure. Like if the tip is $17 or $18, I make it $20. So if their 20% button gives them $17.25, if they left me to my own devices, I would have left them $20.00 and sometimes even more if I liked the waiter or waitress, or if I know them personally.
There is one Starbucks I frequent in NYC daily, it’s a convenient location for me. But they are terrible. They are slow, they ignore orders placed on the app, they once made me break a $20 bill for a 5 cent bag (they charge you for shopping bags in all NY stores now) and they are not tip-worthy. But if you don’t leave the tip ahead of time when placing the order, you worry about the treatment you will get. But now that I think about it, could it be any worse than the service you get now?
At the beginning of the pandemic, when everyone was staying home, I used Instacart and had things delivered from the supermarket. You would tip in advance there, too. I usually gave $5, but at that time, they were so overwhelmed, they literally would take up to four days to deliver the products. Now it’s two hours, but then it literally was days, they would tell you on the app, “We’ll be there next Thursday, between 2 and 4 pm.” It was a mess.
But I read that if you gave a big tip, you would get faster delivery times, so I started giving $20 and it worked; I was prioritized and received my delivery on the same day. So it seems as if on these apps and such we are now paying to get a fast and decent order before we even get the fast and decent orders and it’s almost a bribe to get the fast and decent order.
I heard that people don’t tip Uber drivers much. I always do. I used to give them a cash tip, but now I put it on the app. It’s easier. As I exit the car I tell them, “I’ll put the tip on the app.” I don’t know if they believe me, but I always do add it later.
I was watching the Connecticut news the other night and there was a story about Hartford. All of a sudden, the name Jimmy Hartford popped into my head. Jimmy Hartford was a made up name my friend Ernesto used years ago. Not for himself, but for a fake friend.
What I mean is, in the 1980s, my friend Ernesto and I used to run along the back of South Beach hotels. It wasn’t even called South Beach at the time and the hotels were mostly derelict. There weren’t many tourists, and many hotels at the time were occupied by older people. This is long before gentrification of the area.
So we used to run along the back of the hotels in the sand and then randomly jump in hotel pools. There were no barriers or security or anything and usually there was no one in the pools except for us. We just hopped a short wall, or just walked in off the beach which was not blocked in any way. When we were confronted, Ernesto would say we were there visiting our friend Jimmy Hartford, and he would make up a room number – Jimmy Hartford in room 301 or room 510 or whatever.
Many times, there was no such room number and most times we were thrown out.
It’s amazing that hearing the word Hartford brought back that memory from so long ago. These days I can barely remember friends and family members’ names at times and I remembered that.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the 1980s these days. They were perfect. Everything about them – the clothing, the music, the movies, the whole environment – the whole decade.
When we die, I often think that we could time travel and go back to any time period we choose. I would choose to live from Jan 1, 1980 to Dec. 31, 1989, and then do it all over again.
This recent cartoon started out by the witch on the left telling the witch on the right how to do the laundry. I was originally laundry, not a witches brew inside the cauldron. But I couldn’t get the wording right.
As it sat for a few days, I saw Ina Garten on the Today Show and thought I would like to do a cartoon Ina-related. And this one came to mind. I changed the laundry to eggnog. As for Martha being part of the scene, I don’t know how I came up with that, but it became a debate on what to put in eggnog – cinnamon or nutmeg.
And I added the text before I actually looked up Ina and Martha’s recipes. And lo and behold, I was correct in my first assumption. Ina prefers cinnamon and Martha prefers nutmeg.
Me? I love eggnog but I’m not going to take sides. I’m not telling if I prefer cinnamon or nutmeg. 🙂
My goal has always been to sell ephemeral items. I’ve done that in the past with Flintstone cartoon cels and old magazines and magazine advertisements, too.
This Hazel cartoon is from an estate collection of original art.
This early Ted Key ink and watercolor cartoon is done on paper that has been mounted to a board. This would have been done to give to an executive for their wall or even a retirement or going away gift. The cartoon has a hand written caption that reads “You’ll Have To Speak Up” with OK RUN written in blue pencil.
Overall paper that art is on measures 11″ x 8 1/2 inches. It’s not easy to find any hand colored Ted Key originals, so this is extra special.
An October day in NYC. My favorite intersection at Madison Square.
I’m home. I spent a lot of time in New York this past year, more than I usually do.
I’m glad to be home. In the past I spent a lot of time in NY and when I left, I missed it as the plane was taking off heading back to real life. I would see the “Welcome to New York” sign at La Guardia Airport, but we were headed in the opposite direct. South. Home.
I would think of all the things I did during that visit, and back then I might spend a month or two in the city. I would quit my job and just go and then crawl back to get my job when I returned.
Now I look forward to getting home. So many times I change my plane tickets and head back early. I almost did that this time, but I stuck it out and stayed until it was time to leave.
I guess you need to get away to appreciate coming home.
One strange thing these days is that the day after I return home, I hardly remember being away. It’s like just another day or week or so and it’s past and that’s that. Onward. I can think back and think of things I do and if I look at all the photos I took on my phone, I can feel like I’m back there, but in everyday life, it’s just life as usual and I don’t really feel as if I missed a beat by leaving for a bit.
That being said, I already made my reservations and plans for the coming year – NY Comic Com, pumpkin picking, July 4th,Thanksgiving, etc. etc. All on repeat for 2023.
I bid on and won this Linus original cartoon cell created by the Bill Melendez Studio for A Boy Named Charlie Brown in 1969. I was the first Peanuts movie.
I bid on another one featuring Charlie Brown and another character, but didn’t get it.
My cousin works for the auction house that sells orignial cartoon art. They are based in Hoboken, so every time I come up from the PATH train (subway), one of the first things I see is the buidling he works in. I’ve only been inside once.
He told me a month or so ago about some of the Peanuts art they had getting ready for auction. He wasn’t allowed to show it to me, but he informed me about it.
A few weeks ago he texted me about two hours before the auction ended and I bid. I now have this great thing to add to my original cartoon art collection.
On Saturday, five of us drove out from the city to one of my favorite things – the Southampton (NY) Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting. It’s a yearly thing. I think it’s 60th.
Thousands of people show up for this event.
We usually do some shopping, which is what the Chamber would love us all to do and then we eat at the Southampton Publik House. Then we step outside on Main Street and the parade starts around 5 pm.
It’s mostly lit up fire trucks and ambulances from various Hampton communities on the east end of Long Island. All small, quaint, old towns. So charming.
At the end of the parade, everyone walks to the end of the block where the tree is lit. It’s a real tree, permanently in the park, it’s there 365 days a year, just not lit up until this Saturday after Thanksgiving every year. There are fireworks behind the tree and it’s a perfect evening.
Before the tree is lit, the high school choir sings Christmas songs and then there are a few speeches, People are thanked for their support and hard work in making this event happen each year. Two ladies have been in charge since the 1970s and that always brings thoughts of the small town I live in in Miami. I can picture them going to work during the year – calling the hardware store owner, asking for something to be built, calling the bank manager for a donation, and so on, throughout the year, making things happen.
It’s all so Mayberry and Stars Hollow. I love it all. I’ve been to Southampton at different times of the year – different seasons. They are all lovable and charming. So are all the Hamptons in eastern Long Island.