Taking things positively

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I’ve been trying to take everything positively. I’m not worrying, I’m making the best of things and I love how so many others are, too.

One thing I love is how at 7 pm in many cities people are hanging out their windows and balconies and applauding the service workers. That is the best. I live next to a hospital, on the bay, so the sound travels on the water and I’m sure the life savers at the hospital hear it all.

The hospital has a large campus and I try to walk over every day, just to get out of the house and walk along the bay. I don’t usually see anyone and if I do, we don’t interact, it’s just a quick 45 minutes for me to get out of the house. I saw these signs (see above?) at the hospital entrance. Aren’t they great? There are about 20 of them scattered about – a nice way for the doctors, nurses and hospital workers to start the day. And end it.

I noticed a few little winding streets in the area which I never walked or drove on before and I sometimes walk along them. There is a lot of shade and peacocks and lots of old mansions. It’s a little vacation for half an hour or so.

I also noticed kids are taking this quite seriously. Friends are posting pictures of their kids being home schooled either by teachers or parents and the kids are really into it. They don’t seem to be fooling around, they are really into the school work. One day, years from now, they’ll have some interesting stories to tell their own kids and grand kids. Maybe tell them about how we used to have this funny custom of shaking hands when we met each other, which we may never ever do again.

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And reporter Cynthia McFadden wins the Zoom/Skype tv game. Remember I posted about all the house scenes from people skyping in to tv news shows? Well this was the scene this morning on the Today Show – a nice lit fireplace, nice background, pretty green wall, the light in the background is on and not a bookshelf (or award or diploma) in sight!

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Just one of the many “Thank You” signs at Mercy Hospital in Miami.

Travels with Farley

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The famous Gerald Ford WIN buttons, when turned upside down meant NO IMPROVEMENT NOW! according to many.

One of my favorite older comic strips is Travels with Farley. I remember seeing it in The San San Francisco Chronicle when I would visit, but I see from an article by Bill Van Nieekerken, that it was a nationally published strip for many years, starting in 1975, and in 1985, Phil Frank, the Farley cartoonist, moved to San Francisco and the strip was then only posted locally mostly about local issues, those are the ones I remember.

The strips are popping up along with other older strips on a Facebook page called The Batavia Funny (and Not So Funny) Pages and I love seeing them. Even though they are dated, for some reason they speak to me. They always remind me of San Francisco, but they are funny.

A lot of the reruns I’m reading covered the 1976 elections and Jimmy Carter/Gerald Ford and so many of the strips reflect life in the ’70s from elections to inflation. In the ’70s, Farley travele around the country and met people from all walks of life and they discussed the issues of the day. Reading them now makes me want to go back.

Recently there was a parade in town and a guy in the parade looked like Farley! I took his picture and said, “You look like the old Farley comic strip character!” he just smiled and I don’t think he knew what I was talking about, but he was the spitting image of the comic character.

The strips here are a few random ones from 1976 and 1977.

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You either see the glass half full or half empty; which are you?

panicIt’s amazing to me how people react to our times today regarding the caronavirus. People’s true selves come out. Weird, when I do a spell check for caronavirus, it comes up as “carnivorous. ”

I have one friend who is all doom and gloom. He thinks the world has ended, all he does is watch the news, but I think he only hears the bad stuff, the scary stuff, and he also speaks to too many people who spread rumors and falsehoods.

When I heard that some of the islands around here are closed, I looked at it as a good thing – Key Biscayne is closed except for residents; the Florida Keys are closed except for residents. All hotels in Miami Beach are closed, tourists are asked to go home. I see that as a positive sign for fighting the virus. My friend sees doom and gloom.

Another friend told me the National Guard is coming in, she got the news from an informed source, “They are in Jacksonville now and making their way down I-95, you know why? To ward off chaos, riots and looting!”

The first thing I thought was that they are here to build field hospitals and such. It’s all how you see things, your own perspective. I always choose to see the brighter side of things. Maybe she is right, I don’t think so. For one thing – this isn’t a hurricane, we have food, electricity, tv and internet. Oh yes, food – she says we will run out of food because the food manufacturers are shut down. I don’t think that is the case, that’s like saying the N-95 mask and ventilator manufacturers are shut down.

Another friend refuses to stay home, he is out daily on his bike, he is a long-distance rider, he goes out with his biking group and hits places all over the county, he doesn’t like the fact that county parks are shut down to visitors, even cyclists. I have one friend training her clients in parks that she can get into, maybe large front lawns, I don’t know. I sort of don’t mind that as she has to make a living.

Another friend can’t stay home, he is all over the county, sneaking into places that are closed so that he can take pictures.

I fear that if these people don’t take this seriously, it will go on and on. We need to end this virus spread today. It won’t work with people like my friends, and these foolish Spring breakers who think “not me.”

As for me, I don’t mind the solitude, I guess that is the introvert in me, although yesterday, Sunday, seemed like it would never end. There wasn’t anything on tv and I didn’t feel like watching anything on demand. I do enjoy watching Governor Andrew Cuomo on tv, he is very calming and makes a lot of sense when he speaks. Others, not so much.

I finally received my food delivery from Wholefoods – at 10 pm Sunday night! Now I am afraid to touch the bags and the food, due to the panicking of friends who told me not to. I’m not sure how to eat now if I can’t touch anything.

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We’re under house arrest

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I’ve seen this picture a few times over the years and I always love it. I feel like I want to jump in and be part of the scene. It’s sometime in the 1920s and these guys don’t seem to have a care in the world. They are gone now, but they are so alive in the photo.

I keep thinking this when I see old photos and not so old; a picture from just last month, for instance.  I was scrolling through pictures on my phone and seeing so many great things that happened the is past year. Lots of travel pictures and family pictures, lots of events in town.

Today it’s like almost like being in jail. I keep thinking things will be different soon, one day soon we will be able to go out and play and eat and travel and do everything we did in the past.

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I guess I’m not really comparing it to jail – it’s sort of like house arrest, yea, that’s it, house arrest.

Oh sure, we can go out, but to where? To pick up food?

I walked around the neighborhood yesterday, I live on the waterfront, so that was nice and pretty. I stopped at a restaurant I like, I thought I could order take-out, but they were closed, so that was disappointing. It just adds to the depression and gloom.

It’s the new normal.

I keep thinking that when things are better and we have our full freedoms again, we are going to appreciate it so much. So many times things happen in my life which makes me appreciate other things. I feel down or something bad happens and then when that period is over everything is so great with the world, I forget the bad and appreciate the normalcy so much more.

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This generation listened to authority.

One thing that bothers me is the younger generation, the Millennials, the college kids, the spring breakers, who are not taking this seriously. They can get sick themselves, but even more so, they are carriers. They are extending this whole lock down period for months by their actions. I’ve seen them crowding into places with my own eyes and of course on tv – the spring breakers on beaches and restaurants.

I saw an older lady on the news telling reporters, “In my day, we listened to the authorities, now they [the younger people] think they know it all.” I thought to myself, I’m sure her generation felt they knew it all, too, and perhaps didn’t follow authority, but then she said, “How do you think I got to be 93?” And that made me smile. She’s right.

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Nesting, social distancing, whatever you call it; let’s do it!

my-caronaI have been trying to stay home and not “congregate anywhere,” practicing social distancing. I’m not doing things or going places where I don’t have to be. I did run to the supermarket yesterday to get a few things and it was maddening, of course people were buying up all the toilet paper, paper towels and water. I went early in the morning to avoid the crowds, but at 8 am the store was packed.

I think I am helping the cause by staying home, in this way I am trying to keep the whole country from closing down like Italy and France.  I heard that if the virus gets worse, they can close us all down, make us stay home for weeks or a month. Not sure if that is true, but it sort of makes sense. So many local events have been shut down including Ultra, the big music festival, St. Patrick’s Day events, Spring Break!, schools are closed, churches, too, etc., so there must some validity to people congregating in large numbers.

I have friends who are out and about – biking, going to restaurants, theater, church, gym. Not sure what to make of that. I tell them they are selfish and could be carriers even if they don’t get infected. Maybe I’m getting paranoid and they aren’t. But I’m more worried about loss of business than of catching the virus myself and I feel that the more we all stay healthy, the more the economy and life in general will remain normal to some degree.

This isn’t to say I am not worried about people catching the virus, that is my main concern of course. But I do want life to return to normal and it won’t until the infections decrease. The best way to do that is to stay home and not be a potential carrier.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says that if we don’t start taking this seriously, we will all be quarantined for 14 days or more. The whole country!

I’m still cartooning, getting ready for the Tomversation comics debut on May 4. So I’m keeping busy. I’ve also been binge watching Breaking Bad and Shameless.

We went to the Ferrari show

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We had a little Ferrari show in our village today, one street was Ferraris up and down the road.

I’ve been to quite a few car shows these days, I guess the Universe is telling me something. But the shows were outside, it’s beautiful out – 73 and sunny and a perfect day to walk around, eat, drink and look at cars.

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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, also I see I am quoted in the New York Post and now 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.