Keep your mouth shut!

I laughed when I saw this on Facebook. It reminded me of something that happened to me a few years back, maybe 10 years ago.

I was at a meeting, covering the news for our village like I did. And at the beginning of the meeting, this guy, Joel, stands up from the dais and yells out to me in the back row, “Tom, you can stay if you keep your mouth shut and don’t say anything!”

I was dumbfounded because I never spoke at meetings, even at important City Hall meetings, I would just take notes for the news story I was writing. I didn’t speak because I didn’t want to be part of the story. I quoted everyone else, I didn’t want to quote myself.

I said, “Joel, when have I ever said one word at any meetings?” He just sat down and proceeded with the meeting. Our village was like the Gilmore Girls, you know, everyone showed up for meetings, the whole town would be there in one scene.

I don’t hold grudges, even though that was a stupid and rude thing to do and we are still friendly to this day, but I hadn’t thought of that in years until I saw this quote on Facebook.

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Nobody on the road; nobody on the beach

I’ve taken up running and walking again – a combination of the two.

For so many years I did this daily, I was very active. For most of my life I was at one beach or another on a daily basis. Sometimes alone, sometimes with friends. I remember at one point I would meet my friend jak about 4:30 pm and we would run the boardwalk on Miami Beach – almost daily – and then we would hit happy hour and hang out at one of the few dive bars in Miami Beach at the time – this was before it was “South Beach.”

I went to Key Biscayne a lot too, where it was mostly empty weekdays, and I wrote once about what it was like hanging out on Miami Beach at an abandoned area by the St. Moritz Hotel. And I would go to neighborhood beaches where just the neighbors would since they were not in touristy areas.

Oddly enough, I had a friend in town recently, visiting from New York. We overlapped at one point and I went to New York while he was still here in Miami. Since I wasn’t here to take him, he took an Uber to one of the neighborhood beaches. I told him, “You must be the only person ever to take an Uber or cab to this beach, it’s just a local beach, a neighborhood thing. He said, “I know, the Uber driver found it very odd when he saw where he was taking me.”

Anyway, most weekdays the beaches were empty, as they are now, especially now that school has started.

For many years I printed school newspapers as well as other school-related stuff and needless to say, there was no business all summer. No money would come in and I would have to budget for that. So every year, on the first day of school, I would go to the beach to celebrate the start of the new school year which for me was the start up of business for the year. And being the first day of school, no one was there, and I mean no one. I had miles of beach all to myself.

I ran, I swam, I got lunch and I did it all alone, it was my special day.

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On (and off) stage

Today’s cartoon reminds of a scene I used to see almost daily, some years ago.

I used to run on the boardwalk on Miami Beach, almost daily. And there was a hotel pool area that sort of looked like a cruise deck. I don’t know if it was deliberate, but the pool was set up where there were cabanas behind it, built into the wall. When I looked at it, it almost looked like a stage. Like a fake cruise ship set up on a stage.

I used to run by, sometimes walk, and stop there, and look at the layout and picture the Carol Burnett Show for some reason. I would imagine it was a set on the stage, set up as a cruise deck.

And for some reason, I guess when I drew this, it reminded me of that in a way, where you don’t see the whole ship, just this small section.

Back then, too, I used to stop back behind the Roney Hotel as I was on the boardwalk, and the way it was shaped, reminded me of a stadium. It is a sort of horseshoe shape face out to the ocean, so if you stood below, on the boardwalk, it was like looking up at stadium seating, and I was on first base or on stage or whatever. You can see it here, the boardwalk which can’t be seen would be at the bottom of the picture and looking up from below at the “U” shape, looked like stadium seating.

Vivid imagination I have. But almost daily I would look at these two scenes and imagine the one where I was looking u at the audience and the other, where I was the audience, looking at the Carol Burnett Show. Weird.

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Days of our Lives

I saw an article on line about Days of Our Lives, the soap opera – it’s moving from on air to the Peacock streaming platform.

The only reason it caught my attention is because seeing this hour glass and logo reminds me of summers so long ago. Way back when our mothers would watch this, I think it came on at 2 pm. How do I know? Because we kids would run around the neighborhood jumping from pool to pool at each other’s houses and as we ran along the sidewalks, we would hear the theme playing, “Like sands through an hour glass, these are the days of our lives,” and then the music would play.

Almost every summer day we would hear it coming out of each house as we ran down the block. I guess people listened to tv’s quite loud in those days and also people didn’t have air conditioning, so they weren’t locked in and confined in their cocoons and the sound came blasting out.

I had a similar experience in Boston a couple of times. When the Red Sox play, it seems like every tv and radio in town has the game on. And as you walk down the street, particularly Newbury Street, you can hear the game coming from each establishment. So you actually hear the whole game as you are walking – from pizza places, clothing stores, restaurants and so on.

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The grass is always greener

Recently when I was in New York, I was reminded of this cartoon from a year or so ago. It’s always funny to be that when I’m at the museums, I see people, including myself, looking out of the windows, rather than at the art.

I visited only two museums when in town – MOMA and The MET, must visits for me when I’m there. I didn’t visit one of my favorite places, the Museum of the City of New York, not sure why. I always like going through that Spanish Harlem neighborhood walking toward 5th Avenue to the museum.

The MET recently raised admission rates to $30 per person. They either want to keep large families out or want to keep art away from the masses. I remember when not too long ago it was pay what you want. When they started charging at a local arts festival in town, in Miami, when I asked why all of a sudden, they said, “We want to keep the riff raff out,” I assumed they meant me.

The magnificent Hudson Valley view from Washington Heights

I did get lost in Washington Heights, for some reason I was looking for Riverside Park and I ended up there. Yes, it reminded me of the the movie, “In the Heights.” The center part is very much like the movie, very chaotic, lots of people, bodegas and businesses. As you reach the Hudson River and the George Washington Bridge, it turns into the beginning of the Hudson Valley and it feels as if you are upstate.

The boy with the mushroom hair

At the MET Museum I kept running into this guy/kid, he looked to be sort of young – 18 to 22 maybe. He was by himself and very interested in the art. I liked the way his hair sort of came up like a mushroom.

It was one of those instances where you keep running into people when you are somewhere, almost as if you are stalking them. I suppose I was if I took this photo. I just found him interesting, he seemed so cool. Not many young people visit museums by themselves and are so into the art. Perhaps he’ll be a big famous artists one day.

I’m glad to be home, but I’m looking forward to being back in New York in September and October – I’ve got a wedding to attend, Comic Con (yes, got my tix already), and of course pumpkin and apple picking upstate, We may do that in Connecticut this year rather than upstate New York.

I remember the green paint incident, one of my first days in NYC this this summer. I still have it on my clothing, the paint won’t come off. A souvenir of the summer of 2022.

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Some cocoa butter . . .

Amazon Prime Day is over and I’m gonna miss it. Not for the bargains, for the Jon Baptiste commercial!

It’s the song of summer! I can’t get it out of my head – the line that says, “I need some cocoa butter and camping supplies,” makes me laugh every time. I actually would wait for the commercial, which was not hard to do since it seemed to be on every few minutes. It’s short and sweet and catchy.

I had written it down to use in a cartoon and I couldn’t come up with anything. Them I remembered a cartoon I used for a past Prime Day and I added the text.

Now to be honest, the 1000 times I’ve seen the commercial, I thought he was singing “Cold, Cold Butter,” but a reader corrected me so I changed the cartoon early this morning before most people saw it.

Butter made sense to me because I thought they were trying to show that Amazon/Wholefoods, delivers food, too.

I did take advantage of Prime Day and I bought a new Surface Pro 8 computer so you’ll be seeing my new cartoons created on that.

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Selfish travelers

I was on a plane and as is the case often, a couple asked if I would exchange seats so they could sit together. I told them NO.

I think this is the first time I said no, as it’s happened to me more than once and I always accommodate people. But I think I’ve had it with that and I told them, “NO, I don’t want to move.” And for the rest of the flight, I felt uncomfortable and guilty. I avoided the guy who was sitting next to me the whole time, we didn’t speak, I didn’t eat or drink because I didn’t want the flight crew reaching over him and I didn’t want any interactions with him. I felt he was being a schmuck by asking me to move so his wife, who was sitting in front of him could sit next to him.

I know, I know, it sounds selfish on my part. But it’s not.

It was a husband and wife who wanted me to switch seats and they ended up sitting one behind the other for the trip. They also asked the lady sitting next to the wife, if she would exchange seats with the husband, who was sitting next to me, and she said no, too. She said she needed to sit next to the window because she feels “wonky” if she doesn’t. They literally wanted to take the window seat away from the lady or me.

I didn’t give a reason for not wanting to move, I just declined to move. And this moronic husband who wanted us to change seats says to his wife, “Oh well, you like to sit next to the window.”

I think people are getting tired of this seat swap, it’s become a regular thing. People just book flights and then deal with the seating situation later, I guess.

But I carefully booked my flight months in advance and I planned my seat months in advance – not over the wing so I have a view, and on this particular side of the plane so I could see the skyline as we lifted off, etc.

I’ve given up my seat many times over the years – one time to the large Bush family so they could all sit together, Jeb’s, not George’s. But this time I was not doing it. And through the whole trip, I ignored the guy next to me, so there were no pleasantries and it was an uncomfortable flight because of this. I felt guilty the whole time and I should not have been made to feel that.

And you know what? The lady in front of me who refused to give up her seat felt guilty the whole time, too. Know how I know? Because she didn’t talk the whole time to the wife who was seated next to her, but when they were departing the flight, she said, and I quote, “Goodbye, and I’m sorry.” So she felt the need to say she was sorry because she must have been feeling guilt about it the whole time, ruining her flight, too.

Selfish travelers plan ahead or just deal with the seats you’re dealt!

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Wellness check

Today’s comic almost reminds me of something that happened some years back, maybe about 10 years ago.

I had taken a friend to the doctor’s office, which is at the hospital next door. I live next to a hospital. My friend had a cancer scare. Luckily everything worked out and he was totally fine, but this was a check up for something and we went to a cancer doctor, an oncologist.

I sat waiting in the waiting room and in walks the UPS guy and after him the FedEx guy with deliveries. Both of them knew me since they were my delivery guys, too.

Both of them separately had such a worried look on their faces. They asked me if I was ok, and I don’t think they believed me that I was there “for a friend.” But it was so nice to see their genuine concerns.

It’s weird that I would have the same delivery guys as the hospital which is a huge complex. Even though I am next door, I am in a neighborhood full of houses, you can’t see the hospital from the street, it’s on a lot of property and is sort of a campus, so you would think they had their own delivery thing going on.

But then again, I would see the delivery guys in the center of the village, about a mile away in the other direction, so I guess they covered the whole zip code or something. Many times I would be walking by in the downtown area and they would give me my packages as I walked by, saving them a trip to my house later in the day. It was more of a convenience – they would do this early in the day and their schedule would have them coming to me later in the day, sometimes 6 or 7 pm. So it was nice of them to give me the packages at 10 am as I walked by, rather than have me wait till the end of the day.

Anyway, this cartoon reminded me of that. I didn’t get the idea for the cartoon from those situations, but after I drew it, it reminded me of those situations.

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Land crabs and tourists

Land crabs looked like this after it rained a few decades ago.

I’ve noticed something – but maybe it’s nothing.

When I was a kid, come winter, every other car on the road was a foreign plate – you know, from a different state. It seemed that everyone drove down to Florida.

Over the years, that disappeared, I didn’t notice it until the last couple of years when the foreign plates showed up again. In droves (no pun intended).

I am guessing that maybe it had to do with the pandemic, and maybe people felt safer driving their own cars than being crammed up together in an airplane and I noticed it even more during the period when flights were being delayed or canceled by the thousands, I guess people felt they could depend on their own cars rather than the airlines. Also, I know it was very hard finding a rental, I tried, so I guess bringing your own car along was the thing to do.

Now I notice the cars with the out of state plates are gone. But the airlines are starting to cancel flights again, so who knows. But then again, it’s summer, so there really aren’t tourists here in summer.

Another thing I noticed when I was driving today was a large sign that warned people about land crabs. I don’t know if it was warning them not to drive over them or not to pick them up.

When I was a kid, that was an issue. After it rained, the streets were full of land crabs who were flooded out of their holes/homes. You had to be careful not to drive over them or they might puncture a tire. These crabs were all over – by the hundreds – they even appeared in back yard pools. They would break the screening around the pool areas and just end up in the water.

I have not seen that for years because of all the over-development. I thought the crabs disappeared due to that, so it was interesting seeing the sign today, warning people of the crabs. The sign might be left over from the big rains/tropical storm thing we had a couple of weeks ago. But again, I didn’t even know there were any land crabs to be warned about, I haven’t seen any in decades.

So far, as of today, I haven’t seen any tourists or land crabs. Things a good thing.

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