Rescued cartoon art

Another great story on CBS Sunday Morning this past week.

Bill Blackbeard, over 30 years, has preserved 2.5 million comic strip artifacts – actual ephemeral newspaper comics sections. I love this, but I do wish he would have saved the whole newspaper of the times! Some go back to 1904.

He drove around the country with his wife and friends, collecting old newspaper comic sections, a lot from libraries who would microfilm the newspapers and then have no future use for them after filming them.

The comics are being featured at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum at Ohio State University right now.

Included with the newspapers is the whole original set of 1931 comic art pieces of Blondie – actual drawn pieces of art from the time.

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Vincent’s photos

I was wishing someone a happy birthday today on Facebook, and something new came up – past photos of that person with me, come up along with the birthday wish. This reminded me of my friend Vincent.

Years ago, when Vincent would send Christmas cards, he would include photos of you from the past year. I don’t know if he took the photos deliberately or not, but he would have photos of you at a Fourth of July picnic, or a birthday party or a trip we went on together or whatever.

Usually every December, when you opened your Christmas card from Vincent, out would drop two or three photos of yourself with others, including Vincent (0r not). It was usually some event you had forgotten about, nothing grand like a wedding but always a small event that faded from memory.

I was thinking of Vincent’s photos when the photos popped on on Facebook today, the Facebook photos aren’t current because I don’t take as many photos as I used to. I forget or feel awkward when we’re at a party or event or whatever, I think people may wonder, “What are you going to do with that picture?” But truth be told, everyone is taking pictures every minute of the day, so I wouldn’t be the only one. And 9 times out of 10, they say, “Send me a copy of that!”

Many times at events – with family and friends, I’m tempted to go around and get pics of people. Sometimes I’ll hand my phone to one of my cousins and say, “Go around and get pictures,” but they never do either.

One of my cousins is starstruck and he’s the first to get pics with some famous person or other, whether they want that or not. But I don’t have enough pics of family and friends. I’ve got to make an effort.

I don’t think I have anything from our family Christmas or Easter this past year when we all were together. There was a wedding a few months back, I don’t think I have many from that either.

I’ve got to make an effort to start getting pics of everything.

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Cloudy with a chance of faces

A cloudy eagle

I started this thing called Cloudy With A Chance of Faces. It’s images I see in clouds.

I’ve been posting pictures over the years and a friend suggested I make a thing of it. I add a few outlines to show what I’m seeing and there it is.

I live in Miami, right on the Bay, that combination makes for interesting visions in the sky. The clouds here move very quickly, if you see a formation, you have to capture it quick or it’s gone.

Every morning when I wake up, I look outside and there is something staring me in the face. Many times the clouds look like mountains, other times Snoopy or a lady or whatever.

You could get addicted. I could literally stand in one place and get so many images in a short amount of time. Now that I’m doing this Cloudy project, it gets a big hard not to be obsessed and just be staring at the clouds all day long, waiting for the next image to appear. But oddly enough, when I’m deliberately looking, I don’t see anything. It seems to be an organic thing, you know, it just happens when you least expected, you look up and something is staring down at you.

Snoopy over the bay.

A friend visiting from New York once said that our clouds have layers. I take that to mean they are very expressive. And they are.

If you’d like to follow my venture, I have set up two social media sites. I have the website, too, but I haven’t done anything with that yet. I just wanted to get the name while it was available.

Here is the Instagram account:
and Facebook:
Also Tumblr:

Hope to see you there!

Abe watching over the city.

Madonna, Marilyn Monroe or Mae West? You choose!

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Off the grid

I’ve been living in the stone age this week. What happened is, my internet and tv went dead. ATT Unverse just stopped working. It was an area thing, not just me. The frustrating part was that ATT wouldn’t tell us anything – just that the service would be back soon, which it wasn’t.

It is now almost 60 hours and we’re still off the grid. But I finally found out what it is – one of my neighbors told me it’s a problem with a junction box. And that 60 hours may turn into 100 hours without service according to ATT, who my neighbor got through to.

The good part is I called ATT and instead of canceling their service, like I always promise to do, I am giving them more money in the form of a hotspot on my iphone, which now allows me to have internet. So I am able to post this, post my cartoons and do some work.

It all went dead Monday night at 9:30 pm, right in the middle of Summer House, which I was watching. And I didn’t realize how bad things are when we don’t have internet and tv. Mostly, I couldn’t work, not even cartooning because I go back and forth between computers.

It’s happened before for long periods – after hurricanes mostly, but we’re too consumed with that mess to worry about internet and tv. But the last time, we did have electricity, no wifi or tv, but my neighbor who has Comcast/Xfinity, gave me his password and since they were up and running, I didn’t have to rely on ATT, I used his password to go online and work.

At night during that time, instead of being able to watch tv, I watched two Harold Lloyd movies on YouTube on my phone. So I made do. Oddly enough, without wifi and tv, you sort of feel as if you are Harold Lloyd hanging by a thread, off of a clock.

The great Harold Lloyd in Safety Last

But for some reason, Monday, into Tuesday this week felt strange. It’s hard to remember a time when we didn’t rely on the internet, I mean, whether you use cable tv or streaming services, you need to get online these days for that.

My brother was telling me about YouTube tv, he has that. I was looking at how it worked at his house the other day. It’s much cheaper than cable and it gets all the channels. So I was considering changing to that. Again, it would relay on wifi to work, but you could use it on your phone or tablet, etc. so you could use that bandwith to make do.

After 24 hours of this mess, I was over my withdrawal symptoms, I felt at peace. I didn’t miss tv or the internet. I felt like it was in the “old days” when I was hardly ever home and basically in and out to change my clothes.

I think I started being a homebody during the pandemic, and never stopped being in that habit. But now I know I can live without being addicted to wifi and tv. I enjoy depriving myself (doesn’t Kramer say that on Seinfeld in one episode? I think it was about him not having a refrigerator).

First world problems.

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Right place at the right time

Today’s cartoon is about a peacock, or rather a peacock feather. When I looked at my personal Facebook page today, it featured a memory from two years ago – peacocks crossing the street. I don’t know how to show that here, but that isn’t the point, the point is that a sign like that means I am in the right place at the right time. According to my friend jak anyway.

jak always said that if you read a word and hear a word at the same time, that’s a sign that you are in the right place at the right time and coincidences like that always mean the same thing.

Where I live, we have peacocks all over the place. Some people love them, others hate them. I love them. But a few years back there was an issue that got in the news about people wanting to get rid of the peacocks. They would round them up and send them to a farm somewhere, which makes no sense, since they will never get them all, they are always proliferating.

NPR called me up to interview me on the radio about the birds. I talked to them about 15 or 20 minutes and I told them that I loved them and that they were part of the character of the neighborhood. I did say I could understand how people despised them because they were dirty, loud and they pecked at their reflection in cars in people’s driveways, which ruined the paint job.

The interview ran on the radio and it was picked up by newspapers all over the country. But what the newspapers did was pick up my comment about them being dirty, loud and a nuisance. They didn’t pick up the part where I said they should be left alone because they are loved by most of us and they are part of the village and village life!

One newspaper wrote a story and as is the case, newspapers all over the country picked this piece of news up. My uncle read my quote in the NY Post of all places! They ran my quote about them being loud.

I was in the Chicago Tribune and Michigan newspapers, Los Angeles, the Midwest, all over – I was branded a peacock hater, which was the total opposite! They all chose to run the negative comments, which really weren’t negative, they were just facts about the peacocks. I’ve always defended the peacocks, but that part they ignored.

It was a bit funny, except the people in the village where I live were not pleased with me. Since the original interview was on the radio, I didn’t have anything in writing to defend myself. But I was part of our peacock mascot project some years back where people painted and designed about 50 of those cement art pieces that you’ve probably seen in different incarnations and animals around the country (cows, dogs, cats, etc.). And I used the peacock as my business logo for years. So I am a peacock fan.

Anyway, I guess I’m in the right place at the right time today since the cartoon and one of the peacock memories popped up on Facebook today. Right?

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Tutti a tavola a mangiare! 

Ina, Christina, Rory and Mary Ann

Let me start by saying I don’t even boil water. I can, of course, but I don’t. Except to make tea. But I do love watching cooking shows. I guess it’s the same as DYI home shows, I don’t plan on renovating any time soon, or house hunting, yet I enjoy these shows, too. I find them relaxing. There’s not much thinking involved. Although I guess if you’re following the recipes, there is thinking. But since I’m not following the recipes, I don’t have to think.

Right now I have four favorite tv cooks/chefs – Ina Garten, Christina Pirello, Rory O’connell and Mary Ann Esposito.

Ina has her regular cooking show, Barefoot Contessa and her Be My Guest with Ina Garten, which I love. It’s a show where she has a famous person come to her East Hampton home and she interviews them and cooks with them. I found this show while on a plane.

The first half hour is a sit down interview where they sit at Ina’s kitchen table and talk. The best part, I think. The second half is them in the kitchen cooking and chatting, but I prefer the first part where you learn a lot about people and how they got their starts, their philosophies, etc. But now the Food Network screwed up the whole thing by having only the half hour cooking segment, and for the whole hour, you have to subscribe to a streaming service. So you now have to pay for the best part.

I read a reader’s comment somewhere that says the celebs are bubbleheads and this person who left the comment didn’t care what these “bubbleheads” had to say. He felt the cooking segment was the best part, but I feel the opposite and I don’t find Stanley Tucci, Emily Blunt, Marcus Samuelsson, Nathan Lane and Julianna Margulies, bubbleheads, quite the opposite. They all have very interesting stories about their lives and how they got to where they are now in life.

And one more show I like, which is sort of a travel/cooking show is Stanley Tucci’s Searching for Italy show on CNN. It’s excellent and knowing that Stanley grew up in Calabria, Italy, makes it more interesting. The first street I lived on as an adult was Calabria (in Coral Gables, FL), so it comes full circle in a way.

Anyway, on with my favorite cooks – Christina Pirello, hosts Christina Cooks, a half hour cooking show, where she prepares what she calls Macroterranean food. – it’s vegan Italian/Mediterranean food. No meat, no butter, sugar, etc. All natural. I mostly love her personality, she reminds me of so many people I know from the Northeast – Staten Island, New Jersey, etc. Christina is based in Philadelphia.

One thing we disagree with is that she calls Italian sauce “gravy” but we always grew up with it being called “sauce,” and she insists it’s her way, but I disagree. How many times did my mother call me up and say, “I’m making sauce tonight, you wanna come over?” By sauce she meant pasta, meatballs, whatever was made with the sauce (not gravy). Gravy is brown stuff you use on meats!

It’s funny because at Christmas, one of my nieces, a vegan, made some sort of pasta that I loved. I said to her, it’s so light, the cheese not so overpowering. She said it was vegan. I said, “Oh right, I know of this Italian cook (Christina) who uses white miso instead of parmigiana cheese and it tastes the same, only lighter.” And my niece told me that that’s where she got the recipe – from Christina and it was white miso instead of cheese in this dish!

Rory likes to use a lot of wild greens and flowers in his dishes.

Next up, Rory O’Connell. He has a half hour cooking show, How to Cook Well from County Cork farmhouse, in Ireland. He has a thick Irish accent and I love to listen to him talk. He uses such great expressions, things we wouldn’t say in the U.S.

Rory uses a lot of plants and flowers in his cooking. He sometimes goes overboard and finishes a dish covering it with so many edible flowers, that you can’t see what the main dish is below all those blooms. But I like him a lot and find him entertaining.

Mary Ann Esposito has the longest running cooking show on tv called Cia Italia. She’s messy in her cooking, very homey and friendly and cooks in her own home kitchen in New Hampshire, where she lives.

Three of the four live in places I love – Ina lives in East Hampton, NY, Mary Ann lives in New Hampshire and Rory lives in Ireland. Christina lives in Philadelphia, meh, not my fav, but I still like her.

All of the shows I watch on PBS and Ina is on the Food Network and Discovery Plus for the full hour episodes.

And as Lydia Bastianich, another favorite cook says, “Tutti a tavola a mangiare!

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Bare minimum Mondays

Have you heard about “Bare Minimum Mondays?” They’re sort of a sister to Quiet Quitting and Casual Friday.

I work for myself, so I can admit I’ve sort of lived Bare Minimum Mondays for years. As the lady in this Insider article, she does Bare Minimum Mondays, to beat the Sunday Scaries, which I get.

That was my solution to hating Mondays – I would do little work and go to the beach. I would make it a habit to go to the beach every Monday. It eased me into the week. Again, I work for myself, so that’s an easy thing to do.

I used to be the president of the board at our condo. Back then I really needed Bare Minimum Mondays. I told someone once that every Sunday night felt like the night before the first day of school each Monday because it was it was a lot of pressure and not enjoyable, not to mention stressful. He laughed at that until he became the condo prez, then he got it.

For many years I printed school newspapers and other publications and during the summer months – June, July and August, I didn’t have any money coming in, so on the first day of school, which wasn’t a Monday, but usually a Wednesday, I would celebrate business starting back up by going to the beach. It was sort of like Bare Minimum Monday, but it was better. Since everyone was dealing with the first day of school – parents and kids – I had that day to myself.

But then again, during the school and business year, I would manage to take Bare Minimum Mondays, to ease my way into the week. It was a mini-vacation.

When there is a holiday on a Monday, it is sort of like Bare Minimum Monday for everyone. For some reason, the week goes so much faster – it’s Tuesday before you know it, then it’s Wednesday, Thursday and Friday – it goes by so fast. That sounds like that Seinfeld episode (shown below), but it’s true.

So anyway, I think Bare Minimum Mondays or any day you choose during the week, is a great thing for your sanity. It’s a day you can look forward to. I know there is lots of talk these days about a four day work, but even then I think we need a Bare Minimum day to ease the work week, no matter how many days it is.

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All you gotta do is answer the phone

Years ago, maybe 20 years ago, I asked a neighbor how she worked in New Hampshire and Miami – she and her husband, both lawyers, went back and forth between the two places. She told me, “Tom, all you have to do is answer the phone, the client/customer doesn’t have to know where you are, they are just happy that you answered the phone.” And I’ve always remembered that.

It’s so easy these days with all the digital things we have – iphones, ipads, etc. I’ve worked on planes, trains and at the beach.

Years ago, I think I mentioned, I was a printing broker and I handled school newspapers. I literally worked an hour or two a day. I picked up the newspaper ready for print at the schools and dropped them off at the printer and that was it. In between, I stopped at the office, but by 10 am, I was usually free the rest of the day. And this was before cell phones.

I was unreachable after 10 am. I don’t know how I managed to do this for 20 years, but I ran a very good business like this. Teachers occasionally would leave me voice messages on my home answering machine, but basically, that was it. I was free from 10 am until 8 am the next day. No fuss, no muss.

When cell phones came into play and websites and things like that, I seemed to be more tied to the office than when I was a printing brokers with no way of reaching me.

It’s always amazing to think and wonder how things got done in the past without being tied to our cell things 24/7.

I blogged about this one time – the fact that I would meet up with friends while traveling and we would just meet up at the appointed time and place without being able to text back and forth 100 times to arrange it all. I would tell friends I would be in NY on such and such date and if they happened to be there visiting, too, we would arrange to meet.

But how did we do it? I don’t remember. Did we say on such and such date at such and such time we would meet in front of this place and that was it? We always managed to meet up and we were always there at the appointed date and time.

Sometimes life was much easier and less stressful when we weren’t tied to wifi all day and night.

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We’re all content creators

I keep seeing the words “content creator” so I looked it up.

According to Adobe’s website, “A content creator is someone who creates entertaining or educational material to be expressed through any medium or channel.” They say it’s mostly through online publication. Which I think is what we all do.

If we blog, if we draw, if we use Instagram or TikToc or Facebook, we are content creators.

I posted my vacation pics, there, I’m a content creator.

I prefer to be called a cartoonist rather than a content creator. Writing this blog is making me a content creator and I think I prefer “content creator” rather than “blogger” in this instance. So sometimes it’s good to be called a content creator, other times I prefer to be called a cartoonist. You may prefer to be called a photographer or chef rather than content creator, too. I guess it goes back and forth depending on whatever it is you are doing.

I guess we’re all content creators whether we want to use that term or not.

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I wanna quit the newspaper

I got this crazy note from my newspaper carrier. No joke.

I only bring this up now because I see the FTC is trying to make it easier to cancel subscriptions to everything. Right now you have to jump through hoops to cancel any subscription and that’s what happened here.

I called the paper to cancel my subscription and rather than just canceling it, they questioned me as if I was on the stand. Why did I want to cancel? “Well,” I said, “I never really read it.

You don’t read it? “Well no, like today. I didn’t read it.”

Why didn’t you read it today? “Well, to be honest, it wasn’t delivered today and I didn’t even miss it.”

It wasn’t delivered? “Well, no, that happens a lot . . . “

And then on and on, I go . . . “A lot of time it’s left out front where people pick it up off the street, other times, it just doesn’t come. It’s late, it’s this it’s that,” and I go on and on.

At the end of the conversation, I asked them to please not use my name and don’t say anything to the carrier, but of course they did, and I got the above note.

After the subscription was finally stopped, I got non-stop calls from the paper asking me to re-subscribe.

One day I was standing out front, very early in the morning, it was still dark out, I was waiting for an Uber to pick me up to take me to the airport.

Up comes a car, I think it’s Uber. It comes right up to me on the front lawn – right up on the grass. It’s the delivery girl! She has her usual music blasting and she hands me the newspapers for the whole condo, says, “Good morning,” backs up into the street and is off.

Since then I’ve resubscribed, but only to the digital version, not the printed paper. But I forget to read the digital paper and occasionally use it to read the tv listings only. I once read up to seven newspapers a day (no really), now I read none. I can read the comics online, which I do, I can get all the news online from social media, where all the stories are posted and I hate to not support the local papers. So maybe I’ll go back to print, soon.

By the way, about showing this letter to her boss. I know her boss, he lives next door to one of my best friends. I have his number in my phone and if I really had a complaint, I most likely would text him, not go through the subscription service.

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