Food is fresher, have you noticed?


I was mentioning Mother Nature’s revenge and the reverse of climate change in an article at the end of March. The air is fresher, the ozone layer is closing, the water is clean – I noticed the other day how clean the ocean is. When I was a kid it was gin clear, you could be waist deep and still see your feet at the bottom of the water, my cousins from New York always were amazed at that. But over the years with the over-population of the state and more and more and more pollution, the water got murky.

Another reason could be that the cruise ships are not going out cruising and they are not dumping any trash and oil into the sea. Over the years the ships proliferated in number and of course the pollution caused by them proliferated.

I noticed another thing – fresh fruit and produce. Either Instacart shoppers are choosing the best there is or the produce is fresher and I tend to believe the produce is fresher simply because it’s always brought in fresh and the turnover is daily. People are buying more and more these days so the stores are stocking up more frequently, probably daily. I noticed it with lemons, celery, broccoli, apples and other things.

I’m sure the produce is going through the same amount of hands but you don’t notice it.

I have a neighbor who owns citrus and avocado groves. Every year for Christmas he would give each of us a case/carton of grapefruits or something like that. They were the freshest and most tender I ever have. I asked him why and he said only one pair of hands touched them, they came right off the tree into the carton, that was it. No other handling!

Which of course reminds me of apple picking in October in the Hudson Valley in New York state. I hope that happens again this year.

I saw an article about the future of concerts which mentioned 4th of July. I sent the first paragraph to my cousins, whom I spend 4th of July with: “Where were you planning to be on the Fourth of July this year? Backyard barbecue with your crankiest relatives, fighting over who gets to light the illegal fireworks that your derelict cousin smuggled in from South Carolina? Or maybe out on the Chesapeake Bay, arguing about the amount of mayonnaise in the crab cakes while drinking warm National Bohemian beer? Better yet, tubing down the Shenandoah with a soggy hot dog while blasting Grand Funk Railroad’s ‘We’re an American Band’?”

We laughed at the “crankiest relatives,” which is all of us at one time or another. We spend the 4th in The Hamptons, not Chesapeake Bay, but sort of the same thing. We are all hoping for a “normal” 4th of July this year.

The naked guy had a mask on!

There’s this guy who rides his bike around town naked. Or almost naked. For maybe 25 or 30 years, he has been riding from one end of the city to the next, all over Miami, in a flesh colored thong, so he appears naked and basically is. He’s about 65 now, so picture it. And no, I don’t have a picture. But if you ask anyone in Miami about the naked guy on the bike, they’ll know who you mean.

I’m thinking of this because the other day I was with a friend at a bar, which was closed, but had an open pick-up window for food pick-up, and he was talking to the naked guy who was the only person on the street with a mask! He wasn’t naked at the time, he was wearing a t-shirt and shorts. But I found it funny that about 12 people where there and the only person wearing the mask was the usually naked guy – all covered up – on his face that is.

As for the naked guy, the gym won’t allow him in wearing a thong anymore, he has to have a shirt and shorts and whenever I see him at the bike shop in town he is in a t-shirt and shorts.

I got a comics idea about the situation the other day at the bar because something funny happened regarding the mask and the naked guy and my friend. Stay tooned.

Sheltering-in-place is creating new businesses

hotdogsIn this covid time, so many people are changing their lives. I have two friends who are sort of in the food business. I don’t know how far it will go, but there are many people who started food businesses in their kitchens.

One friend is selling hot dogs from a stand in front of his house, you know, like the ones you see in NYC. I stopped by and the whole neighborhood was out. He is doing an incredible business, especially at his prices. I only wanted a hot dog with mustard and sauerkraut but I ended up with everything, two hot dogs for $16.00! I gave him a $20 and told him to keep the tip.

Another good friend of mine is selling pies and coffee! The coffee is ground in bags from some South American country, but the pies he is making in his kitchen from scratch. I took a couple of photos of him making the pies, but he is shy, which is the total opposite of his regular job – he is a cameraman and a producer of reality tv! I won’t mention the shows, but if I did, you would know them. So he prefers to be behind the camera, rather than out front.

He is selling the pies to restaurants and to people on the street. Those he sells in front of his house, like my hot dog friend. He has an idea now to go around on a bike and sell slices of pie! There is another guy in town that for years has sold hot dogs and hamburgers from his bike – so this is the idea with the pie.

Another friend started a bagel business, but they are gourmet bagels that sell from $9 to $15 each! And he sells coffee and other things. He sells 900 to 1000 bagels a day and sells out daily! Do the math! He has a regular storefront, presently he sells through a window since restaurants can only do take-out.

These are all village people by the way, they are from my village where I live. And they are my friends. There’s something in the water here I think.

All dressed up and nowhere to go

I’m seeing and feeling my future and I like it. My goal is to cartoon full time and with this shelter-in-place going on, that’s what I am doing. Business is not good as we all know, so days are not hectic like they normally are. I wish they were because I need the business, but I like it being low key, too. I am getting lots of cartooning done. I like being home all day, too.

But it’s odd, and I am sure you are feeling the same way – you wake up in the morning and think, “What do I have to do today?” Then you remember – nothing! You don’t have to go to work or have the car washed, you don’t have to run out anywhere, there is nowhere to go. There is no pressure where normally you might feel something pressing on your to get done. There is nothing to get done!

What’s on tv now? Is there a podcast you like to listen to? Have you been cooking or baking? This blog – I’ve been posting daily or almost daily. In the past I would post once or twice a week. Now it’s all the time!

My comics have been becoming quite popular, I’m picking up fans on Facebook and Instagram and on my website and I can see it growing and growing.

I was watching a sort of podcast/YouTube video the other day where cartoonists were being interviewed and they were talking about the pandemic. They all agreed that they were sort of drawn into it (no pun intended), in other words, they were doing comics on pandemic subjects. It’s hard to ignore. I’m going to possibly post two pandemic-related comics a week and the rest will be general interest, just so it doesn’t get boring.

The first week went well with four pandemic-related comics, the fifth was actually the “fifth be with you one on the ‘fourth be with you’ day.”

Pandemic comics


Here are the first five Tomversation comics published this week which can be seen and followed at If you click on them here they will open larger.

All except one pandemic related, but I promise they aren’t all going to be pandemic related.

I originally had planned to post a bunch a once, you know, maybe run 12 comics at one time, so they could sort of be binge watched, like a tv show on Netflix or something, but the daily publishing seems to be working for now.

I’m enjoying being back in the game. I truly get giddy every time I complete a comic. Some of them I go back and rework but most go fast and I get my thoughts out as planned on the first go round.

My new addiction


I’m getting addicted to Instacart. I’ve using them to order from Publix, but it does get expensive. I’ve noticed that the prices on Instacart are a bit higher than in the store and then you add the delivery charge and tip and it’s way up there.

The deliveries are happening fast now, usually within a few hours. At the beginning of the shelter-in-place order, they were taking up to three to four days to deliver. I felt like I was out in the wilderness, like those Alaska shows I like. There was no running out to grab something I needed, I had to plan ahead.

And at the beginning, I was tipping high, too. I read that if you tipped well you would get better and faster service. I’m a good tipper, but I was extraordinary. I’m back to being just a good tipper now.

As the days go on, I just add to the list, I shop at any time, you know, add this, add that and when I’m ready I place the order.

While I’m addicted I don’t see myself using the service after this pandemic is over because I like going to the store and seeing what’s around, what’s new, feeling the food, etc.

At first it was frustrating that I couldn’t get in touch with them if there was a question or issue. But the other day they gave me a lot of free things with my order – it must have been part of someone else’s order – so I got a couple of Taleneti Pistachio ice creams and beer battered fish and some other stuff. I tried to contact someone, but there was no way. I just figured I’d pay for it if they asked for it back – I have to now, I ate most of it already.

What about the face masks?


I noticed that the majority of my comics, let’s say all but a few of my comics, show people without facial coverings, you know, no masks. And the people are in groups and being just normal people. But what about the new normal? Will we ever gather in groups again? Will we sit next to each other in bars or at ball games, will we shake hands?

Here is a cartoon where the people have no masks because when I first drew it, getting hand sanitizer was the big thing, now wearing masks is the thing, so I added masks. Even the dog has one.

But showing people without masks, is this good? Is this bad? Is this keeping with the times? I noticed that even on tv news, the reporters out in the field always have masks on. Sometimes you can’t hear what they are saying correctly as they speak through the masks, but I assume they are wearing them just to prove a point and to be part of the movement since most are solo except for their camera man and in many cases they are filming themselves, so they aren’t near others.

If I add masks to my comic characters then all of the comics will have characters wearing protective masks, and when this pandemic is over, then what? Will I have a portfolio of comics where every person is wearing a mask?

It will document the times, but I’m not sure if that is how I want to be documented.

It would be funny if I went back and added masks to everyone and then when this pandemic is all over I go back and remove the masks and repost the comics mask-free.