Why did the peacocks cross the road?

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I’ve been giving more interviews these days one one single subject, now that I ended the Coconut Grove Grapevine, than all these past years. I ended a publication I did daily in our town – the Grapevine was our daily news for 15 years. It was time.

Anyway, these interviews aren’t about me or the Grapevine – they are about the roaming peacocks we have in our neighborhood. Recently the City Commission declared that the offending peacocks will be removed humanely and that has put everyone in an uproar.

The peafowl roam the streets, you literally have to stop as you are driving to allow them to cross the street. It’s cute and picturesque, but I guess not if they are a nuisance to your property.

I was interviewed by NPR, WLS in Chicago, just now by some publication in Washington, DC and I think some paper in Chicago. The New York Daily News contacted me too.

I personally like them, but of course they haven’t been pecking at my car or jumping on my roof. I probably would feel differently if that were the case.

All these interviewers have me as “Tom Falco, editor of the Coconut Grove Grapevine,” and I’d like to now be, “Cartoonist, Tom Falco,” but I guess that doesn’t have as much authority and they think a title like “editor” makes me smarter and gives me more authority. A couple of them emailed me here, to this Tomversation account. When I see a newspaper contacted me, I hope it’s them asking about publishing my comics, but no, it’s those damn peacocks.

Today is Tom Falco Day!

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So this happened – February 14 is now Tom Falco Day in the City of Miami.  I received a proclamation that says so. It may be just today, but I am claiming it in perpetuity so every February 14 is Tom Falco Day! That’s me at left with one of our City Commissioners Ken Russell.

For 15 years I published the news and was an activist in our little village and I decided to end the publication this month. So many of my friends and townspeople came out, such memories. It was bittersweet. It was so nice to see so many faces.

I am still living here, I’ll be around town, I just won’t be publishing the news every day, which is a big responsibility off my shoulders. I feel like it’s the last day of school. Forever!

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An earthquake? In Miami?

earthquakeI was sitting here typing away on my desktop computer, when it started swaying. I thought I was imagining it at first. I didn’t look up to see if the blinds or other things were moving, I just noticed the monitor moving back and forth. It was shaking, sort of like when you shake your leg as a nervous habit – I thought I was doing that and making the desk shake.

I was at home in my home office in Miami.

At first I thought it was my neighbor upstairs on his treadmill or something. Then I thought it might be the construction crew down the block. When they first started building a new condo a couple of years ago, each time they drilled in the pylons, it shook the buildings in the neighborhood, we are on landfill. Lamps swayed, things shook, so I thought it was that again.

But I realized they were almost done with the job so it probably was not them. Then I thought, “An earthquake? Could it be an earthquake? Nah.”

I ran to the back balcony and looked out into the water, thinking someone was working out in the bay, again, maybe installing pylons. Nothing there, and then it popped up all over my Facebook feed that it was the residual effect from the earthquake between Jamaica and Cuba.

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When famous people pass, you get a feeling. A different feeling with each one. Most remind you of your own past, maybe of your own youth and you mourn them like the rest of the world. But there are others that you feel are family members and they hit you hard and I don’t know why. It’s so random.

I remember in the past when Elizabeth Montgomery passed, it hit me hard, and also Audrey Meadows. I didn’t feel the same as when Jackie Gleason passed, not that I didn’t mourn him, but Audrey Meadows felt like a family member and I don’t know why.

Lucille Ball felt like family and so did Anthony Bourdain. His death hit me like a brother. Weird. Tom Petty hit me pretty hard, too, and Prince. And so many random people.

I wasn’t a basketball fan, but for some reason Kobe Bryant’s death hit me very hard, too, like a family member.

My own bother passed away almost a year to the day six years ago (January 29). And I’ve had strange feelings about so many friends who have passed recently. I was driving home late on Friday night and for some reason, all my friends who are on the other side popped into my head. I started thinking about my best days in the 1980s – my favorite decade. And then the music started to play on the radio from that time, music that reminded me of my friends who were gone. Strange, but comforting.

Living in the Roaring ’20s

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Let’s bring back the newsies caps, but not the smoking.

Some of us were talking and we have a feeling that a lot of the 1920s will come back in the 2020s. I’m talking about maybe fashions and sayings and things like that. Maybe even  reprisal of silent films as a goof. It may all start as a goof.

I have so many of those newsboy/newsies caps, but I never wear them. Possibly some guys may start wearing them as a goof and they’ll catch on and become the fashion. Maybe sayings will come back like, “horse feathers,” and “Don’t take any wooden nickels,” and “four-flusher.” You can see a full list here.

Other fashion statements of the 1920s were beaded dresses, argyle socks, Cloche hats, art deco and flapper styles. Maybe guys will slick back their hair and wear straw hats.

Podcasts are sort of like old time radio, aren’t they? And maybe sepia toned photos could be a common thing on Instagram. And what about cars, people might drive more restored cars around as a common thing – Model T’s, Model A’s, The Hobnocker, Bugatti, etc.

Pez was invented in the 1920s and so was Pineapple upside down cake and Kool-Aid and sliced bread! Water skiing was invented and the dial telephone,  and the jukebox and sunglasses! And of course newspapers were at an all time high in circulation, every city had their fair share. And it was the Gatsby and the Charleston dance era. Who knows, even if just one or two things came back for a bit, it would be interesting.

I never liked when the years changed or the decades passed. I don’t know why, I guess I didn’t like the passage of time. But for some reason, I’m all into the 2020s. I’m looking forward to them.

Jojo was limping all day; we were worried

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Jojo checking out the neighborhood.

So I went to my parents house yesterday for our usual family pizza night, I usually get there early to avoid traffic; I arrived about three hours before most of the others.

As I entered the house, I noticed their dog Jojo was acting weird, he was sort of walking on three legs. One of his front legs was extended out, as if he was avoiding walking on it.

I asked my father, “What happened to him? Did he run into a car again?” A few months ago, Jojo darted out of the house and ran right into a speeding car, luckily he wasn’t hit by the car, but he hit the car. My brother and nephew rushed him to the vet, but he was ok, he just had a hard time getting around for a bit, you know, like he couldn’t jump up on the couch and bed and things like that, but in a few weeks, he was as good as new.

So when I saw his leg extended, I assumed the same had happened. My father told me that he hadn’t run out of the house, he thought he might have hurt himself when jumping off the bed. And that was the explanation. For the rest of the day, he walked sort of limping, on three legs. It started in the morning and extended into the evening.

He had a hard time getting up on the couch, but he did jump up and down and when I held his leg in my hands, he didn’t flinch. I tried to look for a thorn or something in his paw but I didn’t see anything. So this limping went on and he really wasn’t himself, he was very lethargic the whole time. He almost had a pleading look in his eyes, as if to say, “Please help me!” He didn’t seem like he was in pain and I wondered if we should take him to the vet or hospital or something.

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Looking at me like I’m an idiot. This is an old picture, so he must always think I’m an idiot.

When people came to the door, he just remained on the couch, he didn’t run or bark and jump up and down at the door as usual. A bit later I took him for a walk and he seemed better outside. I didn’t force him, I asked him if he wanted to go out and he did. But he never whimpered in pain, he just had a hard time walking.

Anyway, a few hours later the rest of the family started showing up. My sister-in-law Laura took one look at him and called us all “idiots” or something to that effect. She solved Jojo’s leg problem in a second.

He had put his foot/leg through his collar. Picture it – his leg was through his collar around his neck – that is why his leg was extended. I am laughing out loud as I type this. I can’t stop laughing.

When she took his leg out of the collar, he was back to his old self – his old annoying self. All of a sudden he was jumping, running non-stop barking – just going crazy as his usual self.

For the rest of the night we all laughed and felt like morons. Poor Jojo. And stupid me – I literally put the leash on him to walk him and I took the leash off, and I didn’t notice the foot/leg through the collar.

I can still see him in my head hopping around on three feet with his one leg/arm/foot extended in the air. Even when he was lying on the couch next to me, he had his one leg extended, maybe trying to tell me something and I just thought he was babying the injured leg, which ended up not being injured at all. I can still see him looking at me, which I thought was in pain, but he had his leg extended and that look was saying, “Can you please release my leg?”

I’m still wondering how he managed to get his leg through the collar.

Another December, another Miami Art Week

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Another Art Basel/Art Miami behind us, well almost, Sunday is the last day of the yearly event. It’s a thing called Miami Art Week where art is all over the city and tourists pour out of the woodwork.

The big thing this year was the $120,000 banana. Surely a publicity gimmick, but supposedly some artists sold a banana that was duct taped to the wall for that amount. It was the talk of the city, at our usual Friday night family night, everyone knew about it. I looked for it at the shows, but it got eaten by the time we arrived!

The one interesting and sad thing is that a couple of the Art Shows – Art Miami and Context are on the former site of The Miami Herald. The Herald moved out to western Miami-Dade County a few years ago and the site is now empty. So they put down pavement platforms and huge tents, larger than football fields, and the art shows go on once a year.

The view out back is spectacular because as was the case years ago, newspapers and factories and such were on the water for easy access by water and they occupied prime land. Now that land is open and spectacular and the Herald is on the other side of the airport somewhere. Long Island City, Queens and Brooklyn New York are like this, the old waterfront which was occupied by factories and such are now open to parks, restaurants and expensive condos. Society is reclaiming the waterfront, which was a dark, spooky place for so many years.

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