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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Things are getting back to normal; unfortunately

I’ve been seeing a lot of trash in the ocean and bay lately. Not too long ago, at the beginning of the pandemic, I had written about how the planet was healing itself and nature was reclaiming itself. The water and air were so clean. Now it seems to be getting back to normal, although I don’t remember seeing so much trash in the water as I do now.

What I mean is, I live on the bay, so daily I look out at the water and for all these years I really didn’t see anything floating around in the water. Now I do on a daily basis. It’s trash – paper and plastic. I’m not sure why there is more these days than in days past, but it’s out there.

The cartoon above is not really funny, it’s sad, it’s a commentary on how our wildlife is being treated.

Ironically, I’m not seeing as many people out in the water as during the pandemic. Back then, there were people in boats, paddle boarding, kayaking and I used to see one couple floating around on a large inner tube for hours – on a daily basis. They would lazily go from one end of our little inlet to the other. And with all of these “quiet,” “gentle” forms of water activities, there was no pollution or trash. Now that we’re back to motors and boat tours, ships and tourists and the lot, it’s showing.

I got the cartoon idea below, which ran at the beginning of the pandemic, by what I would see daily – lots of water sports activities.

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Pumpkin pickin’

On Saturday, we went pumpkin pickin’ in the Hudson Valley, one of the most beautiful places in the country.

The leaves hadn’t really turned yet, but it was still fall up there.

We stopped a few farms, got pumpkins, apples, apple cider, apple cider doughnuts, you know, the works. We also got mums for the season.

Going pumpkin picking and the works is a new tradition – a great one.

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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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Naked and Afraid

I based the title of today’s cartoon on one of my favorite shows, “Naked and Afraid.” I actually like “Naked and Afraid XL,” better, but didn’t at first.

“Naked and Afraid” is about a man and a woman who are stranded in some god forsaken place with nothing and they have to survive for 21 days. There have been variations where there are three people, or shorter periods where fans take part, etc. Each week, it’s a different couple or set of people.

Then came “Naked and Afraid XL,” which I didn’t like at first, but then grew to love. XL is a continuation- it’s the same people in each episode for the season. It’s usually 12 people in groups of three and they eventually find each other and craziness ensues. Usually it’s people who are fan favorites or those who have been on the show before. Some times as many as five other times. They are sort of regulars.

I guess this all started with “Survivor,” which I still love, but “Naked and Afraid” is more raw, although I still can’t not picture the guy behind the camera eating a burger while the naked folks suffer from not having food or a drop of water for a week. Survivor has been on hiatus due to the pandemic, but Naked and Afraid seems to have found many strange and dangerous places in the United States, where this year’s episodes have been taking place. They are usually out somewhere strange in the world, but it’s been domestic this year and the regions have been just as dangerous.

I interviewed Ryan Holt one time – one of the regulars, because I thought he was the super hero of one XL season and then the day the interview ran he disappeared on the show, supposedly eaten by a lion in Africa. At least that’s how the cliffhanger was left. But of course he ended up being ok, since he’s been on future episodes.

But you always learn something different – like that Ryan didn’t get eaten, and you learn how to skin a snake and eat it and how to avoid wild animals, but it’s all about the interaction between people. One favorite Jeff, turned out to be a schmuck in one episode – he turned out to be a selfish jerk who would catch food and eat it in front of starving people without sharing – “Let them get their own.” I never liked him since then.

I recently learned that the canvas bags they carry around are not to hide their named bits, it turns out the microphones are in there! Besides, they are naked but you really don’t see anything, it’s mostly blurred out.

It really is about human interaction and survival.

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The menace of the ocean

Today’s cartoon is more editorial or commentary than funny. It’s about the scourge of our oceans – the jet ski.

Since the pandemic started, I have seen more and more activity on the water, including jet skis. The calm, pretty kayaks and paddle boarders are sometimes menaced by jet ski riders.

I know, I know, I sound like an old man, “Get off my lawn!” “Get out of my water!”

But seriously, I have always been against them. They tear up the ocean bottom in shallow areas and are not good for the sea life. The noise, interruption and chaos is not healthy for them.

I can hear them coming from a mile away. And usually they are racing across the sea, in pairs or more.

I remember years ago, I used to go to a quite beach, where there were hardly any people and one guy would always pull up in his jet ski. I didn’t like it then, I don’t like it now.

Today with all those Spring Break fools, spreading covid and disaster all over the city, jet skis only add to this mess. And it’s never the locals, I guess locals have a respect for the environment. It’s always visitors, tourists. You can sometimes see them pulling the jet skis behind their cars, looking for a dock to accost so they can then attack the water, the fish and the whole environment.

Ok, there’s my rant for the day. I’ll go back to being a happy cartoonist tomorrow.