Some things never change

Recently this old west cartoon was published regarding the Pony Express. By the way, the pony express only lasted 18 months – from April 1860 to October 1861. It went bankrupt in that short time, and by then the telegraph was being used which made it obsolete.

I like to do these “living the dream” cartoons once in awhile – it’s usually regarding something that was ultra modern back in the day and we laugh about now. I’ve done old tv sets that were new at the time – getting a whole three channels on a big 12 inch screen; and I’ve done cavemen all confused about the new fangled tech device called fire.

I often think of those times – 100 years ago, 1000 years ago, whatever. Even today, we think we are living in the most modern of times, but think of 100 years from now, how so many of the things we think are the highest of tech will be laughed at as being primative.

I may have goofed with this old west cartoon because people are joking about that being post office is today, only they really aren’t joking.

I ordered a book not long ago which was shipped from California on the same day I purchased it. It got to Florida exactly one month later. One month to the day.

There was a time during election time where I was selling a bunch of election stuff on etsy – a lot was selling, but I had to discontinue because the items which normally take 3 days or less in shipping time, were taking a month or more!

Some of the comments I got from readers regarding the this “living the dream/pony express cartoon,” are:

“It’s still 12 days, with all our automation and computers, only 163 years later.”

“Looks like we need to go back to the pony express.”

“Takes that long to mail something from one house to the neighbors now.”

“Some things never change!”

Receive an email each time I publish a blog post by clicking here 

Al Jaffee in his own words

I came across this great Al Jaffee video where the Mad Magazine cartoonist talks about his life and Mad Magazine-related things.

Al passed away in April at the age of 102. My father always used to say all of these old comedians lived long lives because they laughed all day and every day – George Burns, Milton Berle, Jack Benny, etc. I guess you could add Al Jaffee to that list.

Receive an email each time I publish a blog post by clicking here 

The Ed Sheeran quandary

An artist friend posted the article of Ed Sheeran being found innocent of copying Marvin Gaye’s music for one of his songs.

My friend was saying it’s a thing that happens, things sound and look the same.

A few years back I wrote about a little book I have called Steal Like an Artist which says says that there are no original ideas – everyone steals from each other.

Over the years I was positive people were stealing my cartoon ideas. I was so admant about it until it happened to me and I looked as if I was stealing others’ ideas. It just happens, there are just so many ideas. I don’t call it stealing, I just call it life.

Recently a guy suggested I took one of his ideas, but I wrote about how I came up with the cartoon and it has nothing to do with his cartoon.

I saw a cartoon recently that I came up with years ago. Only thing is I never published it and never told anyone about it, but there it was, created and published by someone else, and now I feel that I can’t ever publish my cartoon. I had been putting off redrawing it to fit the format I use now and I wanted to freshen it up a bit, but putting it off just caused me to look as if I am stealing someone’s work, so I guess it will never see the light of day now.

Many years ago I sent cartoons to a syndicate and a month or so later, I saw one of my ideas in a famous comic strip. I was convinced that the cartoonist saw my work at the syndicate some way and used it. Never mind the fact that he published 365 cartoons a year, I was convinced that one was taken from my idea.

My cousin sent me the link to a movie called Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell, he was explaining it to me, he saw it the other night on tv. I told him that was Mama Mia! So it happens, whether the writers agree or not to the fact. In this case, the Mama Mia movie and play people say it isn’t the same thing.

So anyway, I’m glad Ed Sheeran was not convicted of anything. Things sound the same all the time and things look the same all the time. It’s the zeitgeist of life.

Receive an email each time I publish a blog post by clicking here 

Rescued cartoon art

Another great story on CBS Sunday Morning this past week.

Bill Blackbeard, over 30 years, has preserved 2.5 million comic strip artifacts – actual ephemeral newspaper comics sections. I love this, but I do wish he would have saved the whole newspaper of the times! Some go back to 1904.

He drove around the country with his wife and friends, collecting old newspaper comic sections, a lot from libraries who would microfilm the newspapers and then have no future use for them after filming them.

The comics are being featured at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum at Ohio State University right now.

Included with the newspapers is the whole original set of 1931 comic art pieces of Blondie – actual drawn pieces of art from the time.

Receive an email each time I publish a blog post by clicking here 

Right place at the right time

Today’s cartoon is about a peacock, or rather a peacock feather. When I looked at my personal Facebook page today, it featured a memory from two years ago – peacocks crossing the street. I don’t know how to show that here, but that isn’t the point, the point is that a sign like that means I am in the right place at the right time. According to my friend jak anyway.

jak always said that if you read a word and hear a word at the same time, that’s a sign that you are in the right place at the right time and coincidences like that always mean the same thing.

Where I live, we have peacocks all over the place. Some people love them, others hate them. I love them. But a few years back there was an issue that got in the news about people wanting to get rid of the peacocks. They would round them up and send them to a farm somewhere, which makes no sense, since they will never get them all, they are always proliferating.

NPR called me up to interview me on the radio about the birds. I talked to them about 15 or 20 minutes and I told them that I loved them and that they were part of the character of the neighborhood. I did say I could understand how people despised them because they were dirty, loud and they pecked at their reflection in cars in people’s driveways, which ruined the paint job.

The interview ran on the radio and it was picked up by newspapers all over the country. But what the newspapers did was pick up my comment about them being dirty, loud and a nuisance. They didn’t pick up the part where I said they should be left alone because they are loved by most of us and they are part of the village and village life!

One newspaper wrote a story and as is the case, newspapers all over the country picked this piece of news up. My uncle read my quote in the NY Post of all places! They ran my quote about them being loud.

I was in the Chicago Tribune and Michigan newspapers, Los Angeles, the Midwest, all over – I was branded a peacock hater, which was the total opposite! They all chose to run the negative comments, which really weren’t negative, they were just facts about the peacocks. I’ve always defended the peacocks, but that part they ignored.

It was a bit funny, except the people in the village where I live were not pleased with me. Since the original interview was on the radio, I didn’t have anything in writing to defend myself. But I was part of our peacock mascot project some years back where people painted and designed about 50 of those cement art pieces that you’ve probably seen in different incarnations and animals around the country (cows, dogs, cats, etc.). And I used the peacock as my business logo for years. So I am a peacock fan.

Anyway, I guess I’m in the right place at the right time today since the cartoon and one of the peacock memories popped up on Facebook today. Right?

Receive an email each time I publish a blog post by clicking here 

Yes? No?

This cartoon ran the other day.

Followed by this one the next day. Which I thought was funny because she still had the streak in her hair, even though she dyed it.

There were two other versions I did, which you can see here. But I think I like the one above, with the streak. It’s sillier.

And they are all a play on this one with the lions manbun, which was published a couple of years ago.

Receive an email each time I publish a blog post by clicking here 

Not sure if I’ve ever eaten a parsnip; have you?

This cartoon was published Friday. I wasn’t sure if I should use it or not. Originally it was a simple one, where the snowman with the broken carrot nose says, “Carl is in a mood today.” And that was that. But I changed it to the parsnip not being orange enough and I wanted to see it people would get it. I don’t think most did. I don’t want to say it flopped, but it wasn’t as popular as others.

I don’t even know if I’ve ever had a parsnip and I think I only know what a parsnip is because I watch cooking and food shows, even though I don’t cook. But as I’ve said in the past, I find cooking shows very relaxing, so I watch a lot of them, yet I am never struck with the idea of actually cooking something other than in the microwave or air fryer.


Parsnips look like white carrots, and possibly when ordering in or eating out, they might have come as a side dish along with carrots and other veggies, so possibly I’ve tasted one, but I don’t think so. I might have thought they were overcooked carrots that turned white, the way broccoli does when it’s overcooked.

Roasted carrots and parsnips.

I try everything, so it’s not liked I deliberately turned down parsnips when I had the chance to taste them. I’ve had bison burgers and ostrich burgers and liked them. I’ve had duck and goat and liked them. I’ve had Korean food and all sorts of Asian food from Thai to Indian and being in Miami I’ve had Haitian food. I just don’t think I’ve ever had parsnips.

Once I was in NYC with a friend and we were looking for a place for lunch. As we walked through the city he would suggest places. My friend is a snob and as we looked at places, mostly exotic types, and he would suggest places, I would say “no, not that one,” and we would keep walking and then he finally said, “What does your sensitive American tastes want, a hamburger?”

I had to explain to my snobby friend, who was from out of town and didn’t get it, that I was turning down places that were empty at lunch time – they didn’t have one customer eating there which is not a good sign, and the rating on the front had a “C” not an “A” which is what you look for in NYC and other cities that have ratings on restaurants. My friend wasn’t wise enough to realize that, he thought I was being an ugly American, when I was trying to be a wise/safe eater.

We ended up at a wonderful Korean BBQ restaurant somewhere in Midtown Manhattan, you know, one of those places where you cook your own food at a fire or possibly it was a stone, in the center of the table. Not sure if they use parsnips. Probably not. But one day I’ll try one and report back.

UPDATE: I just tried a parsnip! A few hours after writing this blog post I was at Whole Foods. I went to the hot bar to get lunch and there were carrots and parsnips. Only the dish was called “Carrots with turmeric,” and if I hadn’t written this post, I would have thought the white carrots were just discolored from the turmeric! But I realized they were parsnips and I bought some and know what – they taste like carrots. White carrots. And since I don’t really like carrots, I probably won’t be eating them again anytime soon. 🙂

Receive an email each time I publish a blog post by clicking here 

Making cartoons out of everyday sayings

People always ask me where I get my ideas from. I don’t know really, they just pop into my head. But many come from actual events or sentences or sayings.

For instance these three cartoons are actual things that I heard. Normal things that I just put with a funny image.

If you live in Florida, you know it’s a common thing to see alligators all over the place – many times on golf courses. And this or something close to this is something you would hear someone say.

This “resting my eyes” we’ve probably heard many times when someone is lying down and rather than say they are sleeping, they say they are resting their eyes. I heard someone on tv say they were resting their eyes, and this came to mind. So in this case, it was just a matter of making it the Frankenstein Monster and his wife. I made her have Lily Munster’s hair rather than the usual big hair with the shock of white. This could have easily been Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head, too, by the way.

This one always makes me crack up because I have a mole on my head. You know, a sunspot type thing. And I called the dermatologist’s office one day and made an appointment to have it looked at. When the receptionist on the phone asked what I was coming in for, I said, “I have a mole on my head,” and we both burst out laughing, and of course this cartoon came from that.

Just a few instances when everyday life turned into cartoons.

Receive an email each time I publish a blog post by clicking here 

I’m being used for clickbait!

I find it amazing at how many people don’t mind stealing others’ intellectual property and think nothing about it.

When this cartoon was published earlier today, people started commenting on social media. Some said due to Netflix’s new policy of no account sharing, they would be dropping their account. It’s sort of cutting off their nose to spite their face. But they don’t think it’s a good idea to support the streaming service they like.

This reminds me of some of these sites that are clickbait. I’m on on a few now. Not deliberately. And it’s happened before. The sites shall remain nameless here.

A guy reached out to me last week and asked if I would answer a few questions for an article, which I’ve done so many times before. Next thing you know, they placed 60 – not 6 – 60 of my cartoons on their site and sort of placed the answers to my questions in between.

When I complained, they sent me this long spiel about how this is their method of publication – basically that’s how they do it – they take your work and make it theirs. They didn’t say it that way, they said that’s how they “showcase” it. One bad part is that they are then copied around the internet and others do the same thing – they take a bunch of my cartoons and make clickbait out of it. The only difference is that they go on my site and pick and choose so the cartoons are different.

I’ve interviewed artists for many years and I’ve asked permission to use a few of their pieces to show off their work which was part of the articles. I also had them send me images when possible, so that they were in control of what was shown. But the text was the majority of the work, and a few of their works complimented it, along with a photo of themselves. Here are some on my 10 With Tom site – interviews I have done without stealing anyone’s work.

I’m fuming over this plagiarism by these other websites and I find it amazing that they have a link on them for “removal” of articles. When I brought that up to one of the sites, they said that is for people who post their own stories on the site and want it then removed, which I find to be B.S.

I sell some Tomversation items on Etsy. I saw my actual stuff picked up and being sold in Asia somewhere, they just snapped up the images and cartoons and are using them.

Many years ago, before I was an editor or writer or anything, I was taking photos at an arts festival and one of the artists yelled at me. He didn’t like me taking pictures of his work right out there on the street where it was being shown. I learned a lesson back then and I never again took people’s work for granted or took photos of it without asking their permission.

Yes, I’m guilty of taking Starry Night and other images whenever I’m in museums. I’m not sure where they falls into this. And my cousin goes to museums and draws the work. Not to sell, but to just practice his art. So I’m not really sure where to draw the line (draw the line, no pun intended).

I guess I should be happy that they like my work and they are keeping the copyright and my website part of the images intact, which is a good thing. I guess.

Receive an email each time I publish a blog post by clicking here 

Say, ‘Cheese!’, or don’t

This cartoon is all about those Victorian images we see where people are very serious in the photographs. It seems like every single image at that time was a serious thing.

I came across some images online the other day, where people were actually laughing and smiling in the old photos, and this cartoon came to mind – what if they were able to smile and the photographer just told them not to, like in the cartoon here?

Supposedly it took up to 15 minutes at the time for the shutter speed to work correctly and it was easier not to smile. Also, many people had only one, two or three photos taken during their whole lifetime and I guess it was a serious matter.

People also had their photos taken after they were dead – they were propped up with the living and that was a remembrance of a person who may not have had their photos ever taken when they were alive. I’m serious. Look here. It’s called, “Death Photography.”

The cartoon above was done two ways, a part black and white image of the subjects, to mimic the photo being taken and a full color cartoon. If you slide the thingy back and forth you can see what I mean.

Below are a few Victorian photos, some smiling, some not. And I’m wondering the smiling ones look like spur of the moment, and not posed, especially these girls jumping and smiling and laughing in a photo from 1880, so I think that blows the 15 minute time constraint theory. But who knows.

Receive an email each time I publish a blog post by clicking here