Last Train Home

My favorite all time Publix commercial.

This commercial ran for a few years from 1987 to 1996 and every time it came on, I would stop what I was doing and watch. It’s part of my Christmas memories of my youth and it’s just one of those things – a song, just like a smell, that brings you back to another time.

The music in Last Train Home is from Still Life Talking an album by Pat Metheny Group, released in 1987.

To this day, when Pat Metheny is performing, he’ll refer to the song as, “The Publix song.”

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Holidays in Small Town America

We spent Saturday in Southhampton, NY, one of the Hamptons at the eastern end of Long Island. They had a Christmas parade and tree lighting with fireworks. Something so special in this small, quint town. 

People crowded the parade route by the thousands, they hung out of bars with drinks, all bundled up from the cold, mind you.

At the end of the parade, just like clockwork, everyone moved to the end of the block to a park where the tree was ready to be lit. After a few speeches, there was a countdown and the tree was lit.

Then there were fireworks behind the tree for about 15-20 minutes. So much fun. Small town America during the holidays!

Thanksgiving week in NYC

I’m back in NYC for Thanksgiving week. I noticed that one of my best friends, Santi, is in town from Miami, I saw his posts on Instagram, not sure why he didn’t notify me but we’ll hang out and have fun. This video above is last night’s ice skating at Bryant Park, it’s a little long, but I had hoped the music could be heard because the skating is so in sync with the music – Barry White singing, “Can’t Get Enough of You.” It was so loud, filling up the park, but for some reason, it is not very loud here.

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A few Octobers ago, Santi and I ended up here together, too. His wife was coming but she got sick and there was a Nor’easter or hurricane or something on the way, so she never made it. Luckily neither did the hurricane.

So Santi and I and some of his friends had a ball. We were all over the city every hour of the day.He showed me so many things I had not seen or known before, and I thought I knew every inch of the city. I saw the Lady in Gold at the Neue Galerie, which I had never seen before, the painting or the gallery. I remember him getting into an argument with some tourists who were from a country who as supposedly communist at the time, he just started yelling at them in the museum when he heard they were from whatever country it was.

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Since it was October, four of us went to this Oktoberfest at a German restaurant in the east 80s, I believe. We drank a lot of beer and ordered this pile of meat. It was a huge platter full of everything you can imagine – pork chops, steak, knockwurst, whatever, tons of meat! And I try not to eat much meat in my daily life, so it was something for all of us to get through the pile of that meat.

It was a fun week, he had stayed at a friend’s in Greenwich Village so we spent a lot of time down there. I’m hoping for a repeat of all that this time. We’ll see. I may drag him to one of my favorite museums today – the Museum of the City of New York, which is in Spanish Harlem, a quirky neighborhood I think he would love. 

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Cut and paste

design

Years ago I worked for a local newspaper, it published three days a week, that is where I got my start in the newspaper business. It was the mid-80s. I remember my boss telling me that one day, there would be a thing called “pagination,” where the whole page would come out as one thing – the headlines, the columns, the photos. We all stood back  in awe at the thought of that.

At the time, everything was done separately, we used exacto knives or razor blades to cut and past, I preferred the blades. We had a waxing machine and waxed the stuff and placed it down on blue-lined boards. I remember years before that I went on a tour of The New York Times, I think it was in junior high school, and they had the hot type method which is really ancient by today’s standards.

One machine was used just to create headlines, another for the columns of text. For the photos, we cut in red material that came out clear when shot in the back camera room and the photos which were shot separately were then stripped in. It was a process.

I remember when I started my own graphics business a few years later and we had Compugraphic machinery that actually allowed us to change the fonts on demand! We didn’t have to stop the whole operation and change fonts.

When computers started being used in the process, I asked one of my brothers who was in the computer business if he knew of a way where we could change fonts on the computer. He said there is possibly a way but it would be hard to program. I just wanted a few fonts to switch back and forth from. Crazy to think of now, huh where we have thousands of fonts at our disposal.

My comics had brought me to the newspapers business. I had submitted a bunch to the newspaper and they called me to come in one time, when I went in I found out that they weren’t interested in my comics, but they wanted me to work at the newspapers in the production department, which ended up being my design future to this day.

I did draw a lot for them though, I did a lot of cartoon work for ads that people placed and also I did political stuff. I’m sure I have those old newspapers somewhere, probably in my parents’ garage or something. I need to go look for them.

I won on HQ Trivia!

I won HQ Trivia last night! It was there 1 year birthday and after one full year, I won my first game.

I won 40 cents. Yup, 40 cents.

I don’t think you can even buy a gumball these days for 40 cents, aren’t they like 50 cents?

No, it wasn’t fun just because I won, sort of like being nominated is good you don’t need to win. I wanted to win money.

They have given away $400,000 in one game, shared by those who won, my game last night was $5000 shared by over 12,000 people, so that’s where the 40 cents comes in.

Don’t know HQ Trivia?  I did a story awhile back on Medium, you can read about HQ Trivia here.

Coffee break

Sorry, I haven’t been around. Been busy.

I’ve been working on new comics but I also have started a new biz called Fair Trade Coffee Roasters. It’s coffee imports and also coffee-related items (and tea). I’ll share the website with you when it’s up and running.

This is the logo. How do you like it?

Coffee Fair Trade

I needed another revenue source, so this is it. Hoping it brings a lot of revenue.

I’ve been trying to get some 10 With Tom interviews, too. But a lot of people don’t respond to their calls and emails. I’ve reached out to a few tv people but also a bunch of cartoonists that I like, who apparently don’t need the publicity, because they haven’t answered my requests.

Tapas for comics, do you know it?

bidenI was listening to a podcast called, “Tapas Media and Building Your Brand” at Webcomic Alliance.

They have over 35,000 comics at Tapas, and  it seems that if you find your niche audience you have loyal fans. They also have some sort of payment system, which is great. I used to post there but found the whole system confusing but if that is where the audience is, I guess that’s where comics should be posted. That’s my version of Joe Biden.

I like the idea that Tapas seems to be geared toward mobile devices rather than computers and it’s the go-to place for Millennial comic readers. The podcast folks were not fans of social media as a means to share comics, but I find that to be quite the opposite. It might not work for long form comics and serials, but I think for gag-a-day, it’s great, especially since you can divide the panels into single panels and swipe through them on Instagram now.

My one concern is single panel comics. I’m going back and forth between my single panel Tomversation comic panels and a strip I have in mind. I don’t see too many single panels on Tapas but I guess with millions of readers I’m sure to find my audience. I think they have more younger readers than GoComics, which seems to have an older audience, including myself.

I was waiting for Sherpa to come back at GoComics so that I could start publishing there, but to be honest, I’m tired of waiting for them to complete the platform.

My plan is to start publishing at Tapas, Facebook, Instagram and possibly Tumblr (I like the sharing aspect of that) in the fall, probably on Labor Day, September 3.

Stay tooned.