She sculpts Lucy

I’m sure you’ve seen the news lately about the Scary Lucy statue in Celoron, NY. You’ll remember that a sculptor made a sculpture to honor Lucille Ball, which was placed Lucille Ball Memorial Park, in her hometown, only the sculpture was scary and ugly. Lucy fans were upset, there was even a Facebook page created to push the cause of replacing the statue with  new one with Lucy’s actual likeness.

Finally, “New Lucy” was unveiled earlier this month on Lucy’s 105th birthday.
New Jersey sculptor Carolyn Palmer was chosen by the town to make a “better” version of Lucy and the rest is history. I kept seeing Carolyn in the news regarding the statue and it was all about the statue and Lucy and I thought, “Let’s learn more about Carolyn,” so I asked here my 10 With Tom questions. Here they are: (that’s Carolyn with Lucy below)



TOM: Did you watch I Love Lucy or any of the Lucy shows before you decided to create the statue?

CAROLYN: Yes, I grew up watching, “I love Lucy.” After winning the competition, I immediately subscribed to “CBS – All Access” for reruns and watched countless episodes. She was fun to sculpt because I never laughed so much while creating a piece of art. I actually had to turn off the sound at one point so I could just focus on the visuals. When I found poses or expressions of Lucy’s spirit that I liked, I’d screen capture the images, enlarging them onto big computer screens. I also hired 5’7″ models that were Lucy’s actual height and enlarged “head to toe” reference photos for my studio walls.

TOM: Do you know Lucy Ricardo’s address in Manhattan without looking?
CAROLYN: No, I don’t and that’s a great trivia question. I can’t recall a time when their address was mentioned on the show.

TOM:  Gotcha!- it’s 623 E. 68 St., NYC.

TOM: Where was Ricky from?
CAROLYN: Ricky was from Cuba. Speaking of Ricky, fans have contacted me wondering if I was going to make a sculpture of him too. They feel Ricky was a part of Lucy’s success and should be honored as well.

TOM: I agree, a Ricky statue would be great next to Lucy!

TOM: Name 3 things in nature you find most beautiful.
CAROLYN: It’s so difficult to choose just three because nature is filled with abounding beauty. For one, I love gazing at starlit skies and watching the phases of the moon as it waxes and wanes. Another joy is witnessing how the play of light changes with the seasons and influences all the warm and cool colors dancing around the landscapes. And my third choice is watching animals in their natural habitat. Right now we have a surplus of deer around our property. They are so gentle and graceful in how they interact. I wish all humans were that way.

TOM: Starry Night, Mona Lisa or Les Demoiselles d’Avignon by Picasso?
CAROLYN: Les Demoiselles d’Avignon is a powerful painting by Picasso; one of my favorites at the Moma.

TOM: What do you usually order at Starbucks?
CAROLYN: My daily addiction: Venti Mocha Frappuccino Light with only one shot of frap roast (instead of 4)

TOM: Which tv show would you like to crawl into and spend the day ?
CAROLYN: Downton Abbey – I love the era but only for a day. I’ve grown to enjoy the vast information available today by computer and social media.

TOM: What scares you the most, and why?
CAROLYN: The current crisis with the human condition. History reports that evil always existed and probably always will but our weapons are no longer just bows and arrows or rifles. Today we have advanced machine guns, chemical warfare and other methods of mass destruction. There are now ways to destroy the entire planet ….and all of this frightens me.

TOM: Where would you like to live?
CAROLYN: I love living near NYC but would like to be bi-coastal and have a home in California too.

TOM: What talent would you most like to have?
CAROLYN: I’d like the talent to be a playwright because not a week goes by that I don’t think of writing a play. It’s like background noise in everything I do. I’m always thinking, Wow, that person would be the perfect character or this scenario would convey a powerful message, or the lighting over there would highlight a dramatic backdrop. These kind of thoughts haunt me. So, if my hands ever give out from sculpting, I just may take a try at it!

Thanks, Carolyn!

Check out my other 10 With Tom interviews here.

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10 things you didn’t know about ‘Naked & Afraid’s’ Ryan Holt

10 With Tom
10 questions in 10 minutes


RYAN HOLT (Photo by Mark Fleming)

You probably know Ryan Holt, a favorite survivalist, from the Discovery Channel’s hit, “Naked and Afraid” and “Naked and Afraid XL – “Survivor” on steroids. Ryan is a friend in my head, that’s why I reached out to him.

“Naked and Afraid,” now in its 5th season is about a random couple – a man and woman, dumped somewhere remote, exotic and dangerous in the world and they have to survive for 21 days. They have no food, water or shelter and they are on their own. No one wins anything at the end of the show, the prize is the knowledge that you survived the wilderness. Each hour episode each week consists of a different man and woman.


“Naked and Afraid XL” has 12 survivors from past shows, dumped in a remote place with the same premise, but they are in groups of three and they have to last 40 days. No one is voted off but they disappear little by little due to sickness or just leaving, which they call “tapping out.” XL is interesting in that the intensity is different with each episode as the teams randomly come upon each other and one group of three that soon becomes five or six, totally mixes up the dynamic. XL has the same “characters” on all season, so each week you see the same people unless they’ve left (tapped out).

Ryan is home now in Maine. He runs the Human Nature Hostel and the Wilderness Warrior Project, which he created to assist returning Veterans who may be struggling with PTSD, like he was when he returned. He served eight years in the US Marine Corp Infantry and by his own admission was lost when he returned home. He explored the Appalachian Trail after an honorable discharge and “walked off the war.” Now he wants to do the same for other returning vets. 

Ryan is a good sport, he agreed to participate in “10 With Tom.” What I find funny is that I picture him as being a primitive man in the forest, but according to his answers, I can see he lives with all the comforts of home in Maine.


RYAN HOLT (photo courtesy Discovery Channel)

I asked him the following questions:

Tom: Are you recognized on the street?
Ryan: I live in a very mountainous and rural part of Maine (Roxbury: population 370). Not many people to be recognized by, although the other day I was at a local swimming hole and a family of “flat landers” approached me and said, “Hey! Are you famous!? The guy from Naked and Afraid?” I said, “Ayah, that’s me.”

Tom: If you were able to vote off members of the XL cast, who would you have voted out of Africa first?
Ryan: Since I was only paired with two other survivalist (Angel and Steve) for the first few weeks, I would have voted off Steve because, well, we all know “he’s kind of a big deal” and there is no room for such an arrogant ego and no existent humility. 

Tom: You live in Maine, you’ve “lived” in the Everglades and Africa. What’s the perfect outdoor temperature for you?
Ryan: Having been born and raised in Maine might make me a little biased but there truly is something unique and special about my homeland. It is the perfect temperature in the summer and offers four seasons to ensure a wide range of every single outdoor activity. Not the best state for couch potatoes, Maine is for the adventure and nature lover.

Tom: Name 3 things in nature you find most beautiful?
Ryan: I find everything in nature to be beautiful, but if I had to pick three things that really resonate with me… Mountain Summits, Trees/Plants, Observing Wildlife.

“Anyone can love a rose, but it takes a great deal to love a leaf. Its ordinary to love the beautiful, but its beautiful to love the ordinary.”  -Unknown

Tom: Last place you visited outside US
Ryan: My last trip outside the US was South Africa. This Fall I plan to explore Iceland.

Tom: What do you usually order at Starbucks?
Ryan: If you were searching for me inside a Starbucks, you would NEVER find me. I don’t drink caffeine or pay extra for name brands. 

Tom: Other than Naked and Afraid, favorite tv show
Ryan: Other than Naked and Afraid, my favorite TV show is Alone

Tom: What scares you the most, and why?
Ryan: Other people. They are the most unpredictable. 

Tom: What are your three favorite foods (other than alligator and snake).
Ryan: Other than alligator, lizard and snake, my favorite foods are Sushi, BBQ, Fresh local cafes.

Tom: Tell me about someone you really admire?
Ryan: I really admire my Girlfriend Dani Beau. Not only is she beautiful, skilled and passionate about nature and all living beings, she completed 21 days and the first 40 day challenge of Naked & Afraid as a Vegan. You have to be driven and dedicated to your morals & beliefs to accomplish such a challenge as a Vegan and to be doing it with laughter and a smile!? She’s a total badass! I will always admire her for her accomplishments, how she cares for the Earth and for putting up with me, haha.  

Thanks, Ryan!

Naked and Afraid XL is on Sunday nights, 9 pm, on the Discovery Channel, you can see Ryan and gang in action, there.    

Scott Adams – Ten With Tom

10 With Tom
10 questions in 10 minutes


Scott Adams, courtesy Twitter.

After looking over the 10 With Tom I did with Stephan Pastis, Pearls Before Swine cartoonist, I thought why not ask the 10 questions of Scott Adams, creator and Dilbert cartoonist, after all, it was Scott who was Stephan’s tipping point. He liked the strip when it was kind of new, talked it up and overnight it became a sensation, something like that.

Here are my 10 With Tom questions with Scott Adams.


Tom: Are you recognized on the street?
Almost never, except locally.

Tom: If you had to kill off one of your Dilbert characters, which one would it be and why?
I have a character named Ted the Generic Guy. I kill him whenever I need something bad to happen in the strip. After that, probably Dilbert, but he’d come back to life somehow later.

Tom: What newspaper(s) did your family subscribe to/read when you were a kid?
Albany Times Union

Tom: Which comic strip, past or present, would you like to crawl into and spend the day?
Sounds like a sad life any way you look at it. But I’d go with Mutts because I like pets.

Tom: Without looking, what color is Lucy Van Pelt’s dress?
I’m thinking yellow or red. My final answer is…yellow?

Tom: No. It’s actually blue.

Tom: What do you usually order at Starbucks?
Cafe Mocha (hot) with whipped cream.

Tom: Me too! Always.

Tom: Last book you read
Scott: Hard to Ignore by Dr. Carmen Simon.

Tom: What bores you?
Scott: Listening to someone describe food or TV shows.

Tom: Tell me about someone you envy.
Scott: Someone has a better life than I do? My life hasn’t always been easy, but at the moment it’s spectacular. I honestly can’t think of anyone I envy. (But envy isn’t a big part of my personality in general.)

Tom: Do you still feel that Trump will win the election? (I know you endorsed Hillary)
It wouldn’t be any fun if I changed my prediction now, would it? My prediction assumed Trump goes into a deep hole before powering out toward the end. So we are right on schedule.

Thanks, Scott. Good sport.

Scott has gone digital as many cartoonists have these days, but Stephan still uses pen and ink. They did a funny video, “Digital vs Analog,” a couple of years ago. Here it is.

Stephan Pastis – 10 With Tom

10 With Tom
10 questions in 10 minutes

I got the chance to ask Stephan Pastis, creator of the comic strip, Pearls Before Swine, my Ten With Tom questions last July. I do the Ten With Tom feature once in awhile for the Huffington Post. Stephan has one of the most popular comic strips around, his tipping point was when Scott Adams, creator of the Dilbert comic strip, noticed his work and mentioned it in a blog post. The rest is history. His online readership went through the roof overnight.

He won the 2015 Reuben Award for best newspaper comic strip. I’m trying to follow in his footsteps with my comics, so it truly was an honor doing Ten With Tom with Stephan.



Do people mistake you for Seth Macfarlane?

I’ve heard that before, but the one I hear more is Robert Downey, Jr.  I even had a restaurant owner in Dublin, Ireland tell me what an honor it was to have Robert Downey, Jr. in her restaurant. I told her that I appreciated it, but that I didn’t like to be disturbed while dining.

Why do you create your comics 7 months in advance, why so far ahead?
I’m anal retentive.  I need to relax.

Are you recognized on the street?
Almost never. Except as Robert Downey Jr. in Dublin.

What are a few of your favorite classic newspaper comics from your childhood?

Far Side
Calvin and Hobbes
Bloom County

Flintstones or Scooby Do?
Scooby. There’s always someone trying to scare away prospective house buyers by filling it with fake ghosts and/or monsters. Knowing that the ghost thing is a sham, I could probably get a great deal on real estate.

Which comic strip would you like to crawl into and spend the day?
Krazy Kat. Lots of peyote and throwing bricks at others.

Dick Tracy or Little Orphan Annie?
It wouldn’t be Annie. Her lack of pupils would be disturbing, particularly if you fell in love. You could never look into her eyes.

What section of the printed daily newspaper today should be eliminated to add more comics?
Many of the comics.

Without looking, what color is Olive Oyl’s dress?
Top half of her is red. Bottom half of her is black.  Both halves are probably stained by spinach.

Do you think you’ll ever go digital in creating Pearls Before Swine? Why?
No. Too lazy to learn. Plus, it doesn’t seem like something Robert Downey Jr. would do.

Thank you Stephan!

You can enjoy Pearls Before Swine daily at GoComics here: