There’s always one . . .

This is one of those cartoons that just took off. It really went viral with thousands of likes and shares. It seems that everyone can relate to it. Many people see their own city and many people see themselves or someone they know as that person.

I see this all the time in New York. It’s freezing out and and out comes some guy in shorts and sometimes shirtless, running down the street or in the park. Quite a few people say they have seen this with the person wearing flip flops. I don’t think I’ve seen that.

I actually envy them when I see them. I’m bundled up and they are half naked running through the streets. Most of the people I see are running or jogging like this. But the opposite may be true of them – they may not be able to handle hot weather since it seems their bodies prefer the cold.

In Miami we have the opposite thing – the temp goes down to 70 and people are bundled up as if they are in the Tundra. I saw a lady just yesterday dressed as if the city froze over. It was 69 degrees at the time. I was driving by and I was tempted to stop the car to take a picture for this story.

I’ve been going by Jason Chatfield’s credo – “Don’t curate your art to what gets likes. Curate it to what you like.” I’ve been doing that and people are responding and getting the gags.

Some of the comments the cartoon received:

I am one of those people… I am from Erie PA

I see “these people” all the time in North Myrtle Beach, SC! I’ll be all bundled up with my thin, Southern blood and there are “those” that are in shorts. I’m always thinking that they must be from Canada or Buffalo.

In Chicago. We have a light snowfall in tree limbs and on the ground today, but still some guys in shorts.

Just saw one in Kroger’s and it’s 34 degrees

Maryland but here we’re wearing flip flops!

It seriously seems to be a pandemic in the Boston area!

My daughter and nephew !!

Obviously not from Oregon, would be wearing flip flops!

Wisconsin, I see it all the time.

Me. I don’t feel the cold!

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Back and forth; NYC, home and back

I was in NYC last week, had to go home to Miami for four days and now am back. Very weird feeling to do it over again, you know, hop on a plane to the same destination. I was at a wonderful wedding last weekend, part of it in Babylon, New York, which is a village in Long Island. Very New England-like, beautiful there.

I sometimes ship some of my dirty clothing home to lighten my luggage and it was such a fast turn-around that the dirty laundry didn’t arrive home yet, before I left.

Hurricane Ian came and went, luckily we were blessed and it bypassed us, but it destroyed one of my favorite parts of the state. One of my best friends lived up in the Punta Gorda, Venice, Ft. Myers area and I would spend many days there. He lives in the panhandle now, but those poor people on the west coast . . . .

Ian made it’s way to the northeast with some wind and rain, but nothing to speak of.

I wasn’t going to return to NY, but I had Comic Con tickets and basically I didn’t think a friend of mine would go without me. We are going together. He is so excited to go, I didn’t want to ruin it for him, so I returned to the city for 10 days.

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Summer in October

Friday in NY was fantastic. It was like summer.

I usually prefer fall and would want the weather to be in the 50s and 60s, but this past summer was crap – 107 degrees or heavy rain constantly and this past week was blah, overcast and not really cool, but not really hot.

But Friday, was bright, the sky was blue, the temperature was 80 degrees and it seems like the whole city was out. Every park was full of people of all types from school children to office workers.

I watched in delight as some school boys climbed up on one of the statues in Union Square, where one of them struggled to get up there with his friends. Just matter-of-factly, two friends grabbed him by the arms and dragged him up. And then it looked as if they all had lunch sitting up on the statue base.

An older guy played the guitar and sang old hippie songs from the 1960s, and was amazing. The whole day was amazing.

I took the subway out to Coney Island. While the weather was great, strangely enough, there weren’t many people out there and it wasn’t as lively as it was in the summer. But I still enjoyed it.

Thursday night I spent with my cousins, We all went to dinner and it had been almost two years since we did that due to the pandemic, so it was very enjoyable, one of those nights I’ll always remember.

We may go apple and pumpkin picking upstate this weekend, but the weather is supposed to turn to rain again, bringing in a cold front, so we’ll see. The rain would stop us from going, not the cold front.

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Friends in my head

Bridget and Julia on the set.

I was talking about how much I love Life Below Zero, but I would never consider living like that on the frozen Tundra. I watch these shows over and over again and enjoy them so much, I feel as if some of the people are friends in my head.

Another thing I love is cooking shows. Mostly on weekends I have taken to watching them all. And yet, I don’t even like to boil water. Yet, like Life Below Zero, I find them very relaxing.

I know what roux is and I know how to caramelize onions. I just don’t do that. I love eating it all, but I don’t care to prepare it. I know what stone fruit is and I love all of it, I just don’t bake. I know where capers come from and how to make chicken in a Moroccan tagine; and I know not to turn fish on the grill, it will release itself when ready.

Dan and friends in the kitchen

I know what Sara Moulton is up to and what recipes Jacques Pepin‘s mother used to make. I know how Bridget and Julia like to brown a turkey and how Dan Souza prepares his Indonesian-Style Fried Rice, and when Martha Bakes, watch out!

I know what size oysters should be before they are harvested and how to kill a caribou and ptarmigan in the Arctic. I don’t put any of it to use, but it’s all in my head!

Life below zero; it’s brutal

Jesse Holmes

I’ve been watching so much Life Below Zero lately, it seems to be on tv non-stop. I’ve seen so many of the episodes three or four times, but for some reason, it comforts me. I guess it’s the people, my favorites are Jesse and Sue. Season 12 started recently.

I don’t understand how they live like they do. It’s not like they are living in a city. So many of them go to Fairbanks or some other place and they get the cold sweats, they can’t take all the people and the “traffic.”

But I laugh when I think of their lifestyles. It’s like they say, “I want to be away from everyone. Far away in northern Alaska. I don’t want running water, tv, cable or electricity. I don’t want a store within 300 miles of me and I want it to be dark for 22 hours a day in winter and I like 40 degree below zero weather. And I want to have to hunt and fish daily to survive.

Sue Aikens

I just don’t get that. But that’s how they live. I often wonder why they just don’t move to the mountains in Colorado or North Carolina or some place remote but not brutal. But apparently these people, friends in my head, like it that way.

I’m not doing my 10 With Tom column these days, but I would interview them with probably more than 10 questions if I did write the column.

Life below zero

Yesterday’s “Ice Hole” cartoon got a big reaction and lots of shares on social media. I try to be cerebral but I guess the simpler and crazy ones are what the masses like.

This comic came to me while watching one of my favorite shows, Life Below Zero. I wasn’t really paying attention, I think I was dozing off, and I heard Chip Hailstone, one of the people on the show, say to his kids, who were going ice fishing, “Hey, there’s an ice hole!” And it made me look up and laugh and just totally struck me as being hilarious. And voilà – there was a comic idea.

I played around with it a bit. At first there was a bear hibernating behind a bush and he heard the guys say “ice hole,” and he looked up with one eye open. It was titled, “Trouble Brewing,” but I couldn’t get the image setting right, so I made it another ice fisher.

Oh yea, one more thing. People think those are women. They are men. But as I see them as women, I think it’s even funnier – sort of like Lucy and Ethel go ice fishing.

Hurricane Isaias


So we dodged a bullet. Hurricane Isaias brushed by, we barely got any wind or rain.

I was traumatized by Hurricane Andrew in 1992, which did a number on Miami. Things were never the same after that – it was life changing for everyone who lived through it.

For years after that I would freak out with any sort of wind and rain but over time I got used to other hurricanes that came by and eventually in the last year or two, I’ve become a bit better about them and I don’t freak out so much. But it is a scary thing.

We get prepared and panic and worry and whether it comes through or not we are so relieved when it is over. And I look at that as sort of a good thing. The hurricane makes up stop and take notice, sort of like the caronavirus, and then when it’s over, we are happy with the status quo before it arrived, even if the status quo wasn’t great.

It’s weird. Now that we are over the danger of the hurricane, let’s get back to normal – dealing with caronavirus which isn’t so bad if you do the right things – wear a mask, social distance, etc. So it’s Monday and we’re back to work or staying home or whatever it is we did last Monday and in this case we are happy to do it.

Unfortunately, it is going to affect the Carolinas and possibly the Northeast. Hope not.

But for me, I opened my shutters and let the sun in.

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 sound of silence

silenceIt’s so quiet outside. It’s almost like being back 100 years or more.

Sure inside we have the tv and computer on but outside there is not much traffic, including air travel – so we don’t have many planes overhead or cars on the street.

The Earth is recovering from abuse. The ozone layer is closing, oceans and waterways are getting cleaner and clearer, there is much less air pollution and less movement on the ground is stopping earthquakes from occurring. And animals are reappearing.

In Lake Michigan, algae blooms are disappearing and the water is clearing up so much that hundreds of shipwrecks are showing up on the sandy bottom.

The planet is healing.

There are sounds we don’t hear anymore, things from the past – like typewriter bells and a tv dial, cash registers, rotary dial phones and such. And today it’s mechanical things like cars on the road and planes in the air to a big degree.

I read recently that 74 miles of Oakland streets will close to cars to give walkers, bicyclists exercise room during coronavirus stay-home order. Streets closed to cars.

the-earthThings I do hear are more birds chirping and singing in the morning and crickets and water gurgling. And at night it’s mostly silent. And friends are silent, the ones who are drama-filled know I won’t be part of that, so that’s been silenced in my life, too.

I hate to run a cartoon without giving credit to the cartoonist, but I don’t know who did this, but it explains what is going on so clearly.

I understand.

And the people stayed home


And people stayed at home
And read books
And listened
And they rested
And did exercises
And made art and played
And learned new ways of being
And stopped and listened more deeply
Someone meditated, someone prayed
Someone met their shadow
And people began to think differently
And people healed.

And in the absence of people who
Lived in ignorant ways
Dangerous, meaningless and heartless,
The earth also began to heal
And when the danger ended and
People found themselves
They grieved for the dead
And made new choices
And dreamed of new visions
And created new ways of living
And completely healed the earth
Just as they were healed.

– Kitty O’Meara
More on Kitty and the poem here.

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