Simply the Best

I redid my cartoon from yesterday, it seemed only right. I added Tina Turner up in heaven on a cloud, replacing the random guy from yesterday. What do you think?

I’m in mourning for Tina. Her death hit me hard, I don’t know why. I mean I know why – I loved her. But I don’t know why when some celebs die it hits me very hard. I sometimes believe it’s the state of mind you are in that day or week and that mood translates to the death of someone whether you knew them or not.

I saw Tina in concert many years ago, maybe 2008, around that time, she was of course already an icon. Our seats were great. I was looking for the photos I took, but can’t find them. She came up right over us on a crane. She was right there -feet from us.

I think I know every one of her songs and all of them from the 1980s are stuck in my mind – I can remember that time frame when I hear the songs. “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” reminds me of the summer of 1984 – one of my favorite years. I can remember that summer so clearly whenever I hear that. The video was all over tv, and you could hear the song in stores, on the street, wherever you were. You hear the first few bars and you know the song.

In 1984 or 1985 I stole a big Tina cutout that was outside a record store in the mall. I’m not sure where it is now, probably folded up in my parents’ garage. It was sitting right outside the entrance, I was with my cousin, and I just took it. I was possessed. I kidnapped Tina!

“Simply the Best” of course is iconic and it’s used in so many ways these days – at events, on tv commercials, it reminds me of HBO, which used it for many years as part of their brand.

I love “River Deep, Mountain High,” and “Rolling on the River” reminds me of my mother, she loved that. My mother also loved the Tina and Bryan Adams song, “It’s Only Love,” whenever that video came on we stopped what we were doing and watched.

I remember as a young kid seeing Ike and Tina Turner on tv and thinking, “what a funny name,” it just sounded funny to me. But she’s been part of my life, like so many of us.

We all know her story, how she escaped from Ike with nothing, made it to a motel, where the owner let her stay even though she had no money, and through it all, she reinvented herself and became a superstar.

Seeing the announcement of her death yesterday was a shock.

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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.

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Tutti a tavola a mangiare! 

Ina, Christina, Rory and Mary Ann

Let me start by saying I don’t even boil water. I can, of course, but I don’t. Except to make tea. But I do love watching cooking shows. I guess it’s the same as DYI home shows, I don’t plan on renovating any time soon, or house hunting, yet I enjoy these shows, too. I find them relaxing. There’s not much thinking involved. Although I guess if you’re following the recipes, there is thinking. But since I’m not following the recipes, I don’t have to think.

Right now I have four favorite tv cooks/chefs – Ina Garten, Christina Pirello, Rory O’connell and Mary Ann Esposito.

Ina has her regular cooking show, Barefoot Contessa and her Be My Guest with Ina Garten, which I love. It’s a show where she has a famous person come to her East Hampton home and she interviews them and cooks with them. I found this show while on a plane.

The first half hour is a sit down interview where they sit at Ina’s kitchen table and talk. The best part, I think. The second half is them in the kitchen cooking and chatting, but I prefer the first part where you learn a lot about people and how they got their starts, their philosophies, etc. But now the Food Network screwed up the whole thing by having only the half hour cooking segment, and for the whole hour, you have to subscribe to a streaming service. So you now have to pay for the best part.

I read a reader’s comment somewhere that says the celebs are bubbleheads and this person who left the comment didn’t care what these “bubbleheads” had to say. He felt the cooking segment was the best part, but I feel the opposite and I don’t find Stanley Tucci, Emily Blunt, Marcus Samuelsson, Nathan Lane and Julianna Margulies, bubbleheads, quite the opposite. They all have very interesting stories about their lives and how they got to where they are now in life.

And one more show I like, which is sort of a travel/cooking show is Stanley Tucci’s Searching for Italy show on CNN. It’s excellent and knowing that Stanley grew up in Calabria, Italy, makes it more interesting. The first street I lived on as an adult was Calabria (in Coral Gables, FL), so it comes full circle in a way.

Anyway, on with my favorite cooks – Christina Pirello, hosts Christina Cooks, a half hour cooking show, where she prepares what she calls Macroterranean food. – it’s vegan Italian/Mediterranean food. No meat, no butter, sugar, etc. All natural. I mostly love her personality, she reminds me of so many people I know from the Northeast – Staten Island, New Jersey, etc. Christina is based in Philadelphia.

One thing we disagree with is that she calls Italian sauce “gravy” but we always grew up with it being called “sauce,” and she insists it’s her way, but I disagree. How many times did my mother call me up and say, “I’m making sauce tonight, you wanna come over?” By sauce she meant pasta, meatballs, whatever was made with the sauce (not gravy). Gravy is brown stuff you use on meats!

It’s funny because at Christmas, one of my nieces, a vegan, made some sort of pasta that I loved. I said to her, it’s so light, the cheese not so overpowering. She said it was vegan. I said, “Oh right, I know of this Italian cook (Christina) who uses white miso instead of parmigiana cheese and it tastes the same, only lighter.” And my niece told me that that’s where she got the recipe – from Christina and it was white miso instead of cheese in this dish!

Rory likes to use a lot of wild greens and flowers in his dishes.

Next up, Rory O’Connell. He has a half hour cooking show, How to Cook Well from County Cork farmhouse, in Ireland. He has a thick Irish accent and I love to listen to him talk. He uses such great expressions, things we wouldn’t say in the U.S.

Rory uses a lot of plants and flowers in his cooking. He sometimes goes overboard and finishes a dish covering it with so many edible flowers, that you can’t see what the main dish is below all those blooms. But I like him a lot and find him entertaining.

Mary Ann Esposito has the longest running cooking show on tv called Cia Italia. She’s messy in her cooking, very homey and friendly and cooks in her own home kitchen in New Hampshire, where she lives.

Three of the four live in places I love – Ina lives in East Hampton, NY, Mary Ann lives in New Hampshire and Rory lives in Ireland. Christina lives in Philadelphia, meh, not my fav, but I still like her.

All of the shows I watch on PBS and Ina is on the Food Network and Discovery Plus for the full hour episodes.

And as Lydia Bastianich, another favorite cook says, “Tutti a tavola a mangiare!

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We’re all content creators

I keep seeing the words “content creator” so I looked it up.

According to Adobe’s website, “A content creator is someone who creates entertaining or educational material to be expressed through any medium or channel.” They say it’s mostly through online publication. Which I think is what we all do.

If we blog, if we draw, if we use Instagram or TikToc or Facebook, we are content creators.

I posted my vacation pics, there, I’m a content creator.

I prefer to be called a cartoonist rather than a content creator. Writing this blog is making me a content creator and I think I prefer “content creator” rather than “blogger” in this instance. So sometimes it’s good to be called a content creator, other times I prefer to be called a cartoonist. You may prefer to be called a photographer or chef rather than content creator, too. I guess it goes back and forth depending on whatever it is you are doing.

I guess we’re all content creators whether we want to use that term or not.

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Hyacinth Bucket and Doc Martin; friends in my head

Angela and Dick Srawbridge

I watch a lot of British tv – sitcoms, called Britcoms, and dramas and dramadies.

My favorite three shows right now are Escape to the Chateau, Doc Martin and Midsomer Murders; in that order. I can watch Dick and Angela Strawbridge on Escape to the Chateau forever. I’ve seen each episode so many times, it’s basically background noise at this point. I want to live with them, live in the French countryside and do everything they do, except for all the hard work.

I also want to live in Portwenn, Cornwall, where Doc Martin lives. I love small towns. And as for Somerset county in England, I don’t know if I would want to live in all these charming small villages only because there seems to be non-stop murders on a weekly basis there!

I love so many other shows, the list is countless. But what I’m finding after all these years is that I am starting to use British terms and words. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But I find it interesting.

My mother was always into British tv and movies. She loved to call a Jaguar car a “Jag-U-ar,” in that British way. And so many times when something was on tv like, Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced Bouquet) in Keeping Up Appearances or Are You Being Served, my mother would call me to ask if I was watching. My father and I would love Death in Paradise, which has been on for 12 seasons, with completely different casts, but with the same concept.

Doc Martin, driving on that side of the car, with Louisa, Aunt Ruth and PC Penhale

One thing I never understood was why British tv shows only have six to eight episodes per season. There really aren’t many episodes in a whole series. By the way, we call a tv series a whole body of work, the British call a tv season, a series.

I always use an expression from “Absolutely Fabulous” (Ab Fab) to a snob at a store – “Drop your attitude honey, you’re just a shop girl.” I think I’ve said it in my head more than saying that out loud, though. And don’t get me started on Vera, the female Columbo, or Broadchurch, which I finally got around to watching, and am obsessed with. Unfortunately, Broadchurch’s three seasons (series) are only 24 episodes total. That’s one single season on American tv. In America, that would be 72 episodes total.

I used a British expression last week that horrified me – I said, “He’s called Joe,” rather than “His name is Joe.” Ang I find myself saying Oregano as OR-E-GAA-NO. The British/European way.

And the strangest thing of all? The other day I was getting in my car which was parked at a meter at the curb and I attempted to get into the right side, the passenger side, to drive. For a moment I thought the steering wheel was on the passenger side, as it is in Britain. I draw the line at calling eggplant, “aubergene” though.

I have a friend who is the spitting image of Hyacinth Bucket, she walks and talks like her and has her build and high voice, minus the British accent. When she goes on and on about something I’ll say, “Ok Hyacinth,” and she gets it and laughs.

I do love All Creatures Great and Small and Miss Scarlet and the Duke, and Downton Abbey and so many of the newer shows on PBS.

And I know it seems that all I do is watch tv, but I do have a life – I travel a lot, draw all these cartoons you guys read daily, I own a business and run it daily, am on the condo board and for 15 years I was editor and publisher of our local news and was at every meeting and event in town for all those years. So I do manage to get things done between watching the lives of Dick and Angela and Doc Martin.

I’m thinking I’ve got to get more of these people or more British stuff in my comics. It’s there for the taking.

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King Mango Strut

We had a parade yesterday – the King Mango Strut, started in 1982 it’s usually the last Sunday of the year, but this year it was a week later, on Sunday, Jan. 8.

It’s a great small-town event and the best part is that most people know each other. It’s like Cheers, where everybody knows your name.

It was put off a couple of years due to the pandemic, but it was back this past weekend and it was so much fun. There are bands and lots of parodies of things that happened over the year – statewide, local and national. All one big parody.

It started as an offshoot of the Orange Bowl Parade and took on a life of its own. The center of town is shut down and the Strut takes over. If you haven’t seen people all year, they are sure to show up here on this very day.

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I bid and won this Linus cartoon cell

I bid on and won this Linus original cartoon cell created by the Bill Melendez Studio for A Boy Named Charlie Brown in 1969. I was the first Peanuts movie.

I bid on another one featuring Charlie Brown and another character, but didn’t get it.

My cousin works for the auction house that sells orignial cartoon art. They are based in Hoboken, so every time I come up from the PATH train (subway), one of the first things I see is the buidling he works in. I’ve only been inside once.

He told me a month or so ago about some of the Peanuts art they had getting ready for auction. He wasn’t allowed to show it to me, but he informed me about it.

A few weeks ago he texted me about two hours before the auction ended and I bid. I now have this great thing to add to my original cartoon art collection.

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The Great Pumpkin won’t be on broadcast tv this year

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown won’t air on regular tv this year.

I know, I know, we can watch it on DVD’s and other methods, but there’s something about knowing when it’s on broadcast tv and we are all watching together.

This year, you can only see it on AppleTV+, and it is free for a couple of days, so you can download the app on your tv or wherever and watch it from Friday, October 28 to through Monday, October 31.

And it’s the same for A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and A Charlie Brown Christmas. Those can be seen on AppleTV+ from Nov. 23-27 for the Thanksgiving special and Dec. 22-25 for the Christmas one.

I miss those old Dolly Madison and Coca Cola days when the shows were on CBS every year. Guess it’s time to move with the times.

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If it’s October, it must be New York Comic Con!

Yup, New York Comic Con is back. Last year’s event was a bit subdued due to covid and the year before was totally canceled, but now it’s back.

From Oct. 6-9, all your favorite, movies, tv shows, pop culture, comics and super heroes will be at the Jacob Javits Center, just as they’ve always been.

After four days of rain in NYC, the sun came out for New York’s favorite fantasy fest.

Most tickets are gone, but you may still be able to find a few at

Tell Spider-man, we sent you!

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A wedding, a funeral and Comic Con

NY Comic Con, October 2018

I have some traveling to do in the next week and beyond. But it’s a crazy schedule.

I’m going to NY for a few days for a wedding, coming home to Miami for three days for a funeral, and then going back to NY for 10 days for Comic Con, along with pumpkin and apple picking and the usual fall stuff.

I’ll take you along for Comic Con and Pumpkin and apple picking, the other stuff, probably not.

NY Comic Con, October 2018
Pumpkin Picking, Hudson Valley, NY, October 2021

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