When Connecticut was the world

glass-house

This is sort of like the picture I had seen in a book when I was a kid – a glass house in the woods.

There is this cool article in Vanity Fair about so many cartoonists who lived in Fairfield County, CT, for a period of time, from the 1950s through the ’90s.

When I was a kid and read books on cartooning, it would always mention places in Connecticut where the cartoonists lived. We once went to the Museum of Cartoon art in Greenwich, CT when I was a kid and that was really the closest I ever got to all those cartoonists.

Ironically, over the years, I always pictured myself living in a glass house in the woods in CT.  I saw an image in a book once, maybe it was about architect Frank Lloyd Wright, this was when I was about 14 years old and that always stuck with me and I thought it would be perfect to live that way in CT – all glass, surrounded by trees.

Ironically, I live up high in an all glass condo now, on Biscyane Bay in Miami, and if it was on the ground, it sort of would be the glass house of my imagination, only its not in CT and not surrounded by forest.

Anyway, the Vanity Fair article brought back so many memories of Mort Walker and Bug Sagendorf and Jack Tippet and so many more during the hey day of comic strips. I wanted to be like them, still do.

Advertisements

It’s about the parking; not the food

When I meet my friends for lunch, we’ll usually text or email and say, “Wanna go to lunch tomorrow? Where?”

I usually choose places where it’s easy to park, The others of course, choose based on the food, which seems like the normal thing to do.

I guess I really don’t care what we eat, I just don’t want to drive around the block five times looking for parking, so for me, it’s all about the parking. We don’t have restaurant ratings in Miami, but if we did, it would be all about the A-rating, too.

There’s a place in New York City that always looks good, a Chinese restaurant in Midtown East, I think around 50th and 2nd, I think. They are the only place I have ever seen with a C-rating. Then from that they went to an “Under Review” rating and now they are a B. What’s so hard about getting to an A?

Summer reading; Little Free Libraries

library1I have a friend who is fixated with the little free libraries that you may have seen around your town. There are only four of them in my town, this one shown here. Now our objective, is to have more added. Places like Lake Worth, Florida, have as many as 80 around their town! It started small and grew from there.

According to Lake Worth resident and artist AnnaMaria Windisch-Hunt, Palm Beach County has a REAP program (Resident Education to Action Program) that funds the boxes now through grants. The libraries started off with three, where AnnaMaria had a couple of sailors build the boxes. “The three were hand built with re purposed items and dumpster diving. One looks like the replica of the owner’s home. The other was done from a hope chest and mine incorporated [AnnaMaria’s late husband] Fred Hunt’s dresser,” she says.

She went on, “We ask all the talented artists in the community to paint one and they all come out. Now we have someone local who is able to build them. The only ones what required variance were in public right of ways. i.e Forestation, the ones by City Hall. Everyone is on board. In fact the Library used to divest of books via selling or trashing if they were in good condition they would now be kept and picked up by the Library Steward.” It’s so popular that she can no longer get books at the library but now they are looking to publishers for donations.

She has a story about the library boxes in her Lake Worth Every Minute blog.

library3

These Little Free Libraries or “book boxes,” as they are called are loved by the neighbors. There is one at LoKal, a local burger place, they call it the “bootleggers library.” That’s Adrian from Lokal, he enjoys the library and has some great suggestions for restaurant guests.

The advantage of these little libraries are that neighbors meet neighbors through them and in a way, they are sharing more than just neighborly visits. Books are being shared that were read by neighbors who are now sharing the books with fellow neighbors. It would be interesting to see what books are being shared in which neighborhoods.

A nice project would be to have a bunch of the libraries sponsored and then maybe painted by artists, like we did in our town a few years ago with painted peacocks. In this digital age, its nice to hold paper and ink in hand, have the smell and feel of an actual book and enjoy sharing it.

There are more than 50,000 book boxes around the world in 70 countries; they are in all 50 US states.

This is an excellent idea to share the books you already read and loved.

Related posts:

Little Free Library

Plans and tips for library builders

Set of plans

The Danger of Being Neighborly Without a Permit

The Low-tech appeal of Little Free Libraries

library8

Did I tell you about the time I had dinner with OJ?

20155878_10154667819107541_3257643844984361583_nSo OJ Simpson will be back on the streets October 1, he received parole from the Nevada prison where he has been incarcerated for the past nine years. This reminds me of the time I had dinner with OJ.

Well, it wasn’t really dinner, but we sat at the same table at a bar/restaurant in Miami many years ago. It was a neighborhood place and very crowded,  there was a big football playoff game on and I guess that is what drew the crowd.

There were the usual tables around the place and the bar and at the back, there was one very large table, which consisted of a bunch of tables pushed together. There’s were we sat together. I was with a friend or two and we ate and drank and sort of across from me, maybe one person over, was OJ.

He just acted as if everything was normal. This was of course, after the murders, so I’m not sure how he would show himself in public, but there he was, cheering his team on. I wanted to talk with him, I never spoke to an alleged murderer before.

At one point, they turned to the weather channel, so I asked OJ why they changed to that from the game. He said, “We want to see what the weather is in Philadelphia, that’s where the next game is.” Then he explained some things about the current game that was going on.

20245465_10160282648890206_8744458707930521646_nThat’s the extent to our conversation. At one point he got up, I guess to go to the bathroom and all these fools in the restaurant were falling all over themselves to get to him, he shook hands as he slowly walked to the bathroom, with is head up. No guilt, no shame. Just another OJ day.

The next day, my friend Victor who was with me said, “That was smart of you to agree with what OJ was saying, he knows what he’s talking about.” I looked at Victor and said, “Did you think I was going to disagree with him?”

I had seen him off and on a few more times when he lived in Miami. I saw him driving out of a school once, his kids went there and another time I saw him at the post office. After he left, the clerk at the counter said, “People are so excited. I guess they like seeing a murderer!”

Is it a Republican corner?

There’s a guy on the same corner every morning in New York City who sells the NY Daily News and the NY Post. I don’t think he has any other newspapers, just the News and the Post. And you can tell the political bent on people by what they purchase – Democrats mostly buy the News and Republicans mostly buy the Post. I’m a Daily News guy.

But although the stacks look to be the same quantity, every time I buy the paper, the guy grabs for the Post, sort of out of habit, as if he mostly does that all day, so I assume most people in this area, midtown East 50s, purchase the Post. He doesn’t really look up, so it’s not like he doesn’t recognize me from going to him daily, he just doesn’t pay attention.

I stopped reading The Post due to their negative political views, but to honest, I dropped them years ago when they dropped the comics page. How do you drop the comics page? It was the only reason I bought the paper. Their comics were small and black and white and they didn’t even have their own page, they were part of a page. The Post didn’t respect the comics when they ran them, but how do you drop the six or eight comics that you did have?

Oh, and to upend everything I have said here, I have to say that the Post has the better sports section. So it all could just be that. People are buying the Post for the sports section no matter what their party affiliation is.

I’m missing my daily comics news

I miss The Daily Cartoonist blog. It’s been over a year, I wonder if it’s ever coming back. I liked getting all the comics news in one place. I learned a lot from Alan Gardner, who blogged each day, and I enjoyed the comments that people would engage in on each posting. On May 2, I thought it would come back, you know, exactly on the day Alan took a break.

I thought of almost doing it myself, you know, posting comics news daily, but I don’t have it in me. It’s hard enough keeping up with local news at the Coconut Grove Grapevine, where I think I finally want to lighten  my load.

My perfect life would be to wake up and cartoon every day. And travel. I am working toward that.

Studying cartoonists – in person

stephan
I was talking about the humbleness of cartoonists I’ve interviewed or met. I find it quite interesting. Other than interviewing them, I’ve seen many at Comic Cons. I like to watch them, study them. I usually don’t go up to them, but I stand back and just watch. I don’t know if I’m absorbing the scene or what. I mostly see them at the GoComics booth.

I’ve watched Stephan Pastis of Pearls Before Swine. Not stalking, by the way, just happened to be there a couple of times, a year or so after our 10 With Tom interview. I didn’t approach him, I just happened to be at the GoComics booth when he arrived a couple of times.

One time he was a few minutes late, the line of people waiting to meet him and get his autograph was long. I wanted to see how he would be when he got there. He is one of the top cartoonists today, would he act it? Would he arrive and be big, you know, like be a presence. So he arrived, had on his usual baseball cap, jeans and a t-shirt and a backpack. I wondered what he possibly could be carrying around New York City in a large backpack. Anyway, he arrived at the booth, smiled, threw the backpack down and sat down and started his thing – meeting and greeting his fans, one by one, making small chit chat with each of them, signing their books and just being humble. What I love about cartoonists. The humbleness.

I don’t know what I expected. Maybe I thought he would come in big and say, “Here I am, the great Stephan Pastis!” And act like he was all that. Which he is. But it was the total opposite. I loved that.

I know he likes beer. I would love to go with him for a beer some time. But I’m to shy to ask or to even approach him, even though I feel like I know him because of the 10 With Tom interview a couple of years ago. He’s a friend in my head.