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.

The company I keep; or hope to keep

interviewI’ve  been interviewing a lot of cartoonists lately for my 10 With Tom series. I’ve interviewed many people over the years from “real housewives” to authors, news reporters, fashionistas and actors.  But I think I enjoy the cartoonists the most since that’s what I do and I learn from the interviews. I ask questions that I’m curious about, mostly their influences and their techniques.

An interesting thing about most people and especially the cartoonists is how humble they are. They are all very appreciative of me asking for the interview and they seem to enjoy doing it. I like that about them, they are a great group, I like associating myself with them. I’ve interviewed “the greats” and those starting out, and they all are the same – nice, appreciative and kind.

There are some interviews I’ve tried to get but I either get the runaround or no answer at all. I like to think the email went to the spam folder on those, rather than the fact that they just plain ignored me.

But my point is that I am always amazed at the humbleness and gratefulness of these people I admire, who I am interviewing because I admire. Some become friends or friendly and we run into each other at places like Comic Cons and such and I like that. I like being part of that company.

I do all of the interviews for the Huffington Post but I’ve posted many of them after they run in the HuffPost, right here in my blog. You can see them here.

I had to laugh at one major cartoonist who said he didn’t like the HuffPost and didn’t want to have his interview there. When I asked if I could post it in my Tomversation blog, right here, he agreed. So I got that interview with him. That was gracious of him to to ahead with the interview anyway for the few thousand that read Tomversation rather than the millions who read the HuffPost. Just another example of why I like cartoonists.

Graphic design in the ‘old days’

A few friends shared this video on Facebook. It shows what graphic design was like before Adobe Illustrator was around. I remember the press down letters, but this wasn’t that long ago, was it? They make it sound like ancient history.

I remember using the letters for a bag company I worked for, I think I told the story before, I used to do the graphics for a paper bag company. At times I didn’t have the typeface I needed on our Compugraphic or Varityper machines so I would purchase the type on sheets and press them onto the graphic I was working on.

waxer

Compugraphic and Varityper, I haven’t thought of those names for years. They were huge machines where type came out sort of on reverse film, black on white. Then we waxed the back using a “waxer.” There was a machine with a roller, called a “waxer,” and it waxed the back of the film and it then was placed down where needed. And of course xacto knives and razor blades were in our hands at every moment. I preferred razor blades to xacto knives.

It was all “pasted-up” to make a complete page, image, advertisement . . .

It was all to get the work “camera-ready.” Yes, the stuff was all then shot with cameras and plates and negatives were made from that. Now camera ready means Kendall Jenner posing for Instagram.

I remember I could look at any typeface and know the name of it and the point size it was, just by eyeing it.

I remember in the 1980s when one of my bosses told me that “pagination” was coming in the future. This is where the whole page would come out as one piece. At that time we did the headlines as one piece, the text in columns as another, the photos  were stripped in later in the camera room and there were so many steps to getting just one newspaper page done. I remember thinking that he was kidding, how could it all come out as one piece?

I also remember asking my brother Chris one time if it would be possible to typeset on computers and have different typefaces for different jobs. He said it was probably possible but something would have to be programmed into the computer to get that effect as it wasn’t something that was done at the time. I remember standing in his kitchen in the 1980s having that conversation with him like it was yesterday.

Am I dating myself?

Things that will soon disappear

paper_checkKipplinger has an article, actually, an annoying slide show, which lists 10 things that will soon disappear forever and 7 things that refuse to die. I still use some of those things that refuse to die, sort of like the Creature from the Black Lagoon.

The penny, I like it; the fax, I pay bills with it and checks, which I use to pay bills, maybe one bill a month, but I still need the checkbook for that. All the rest are paid online. Or by fax. I do use the fax online, I got rid of my home phone, which I only kept all these years for my one or two faxes a montht that I send, but now I use an online fax service and was able to drop the landline at home.

And one thing I’m not happy about losing, my internet privacy.

Here is the list.