A friendly reminder

hal-and-high-waterIt’s amazing how my whole life has been enveloped by comics, yet a few years back I was sort of out of it and didn’t think I would draw again. Not for any special reason other than I was underwhelmed with so many comics in the newspapers and felt the heyday was over and I ran a very successful marketing business, so I felt that was my future.

About 12 years ago or so, my friend Victor bought me a bunch of stuff as a gift. I was reminded of it as I was cleaning out the closets recently. He bought me pads and pens or markers, something like that – for a birthday or Christmas gift and he said he hoped it would get me back into drawing and cartooning. It was the sweetest thought.

The funny thing is that it was all items I wouldn’t use and never have. And I’m sure anyone would feel that way because you use your own materials when creating art. If I was a painter, but then again no, isn’t that a song? Anyway, if I was a painter, I would have my own canvases that I preferred and my own paints and brushes.

But Victor’s thought meant so much more than the items themselves. And I am back on the road to cartooning history after all this time with a friendly reminder from those pads and pens.

As you know I post my comic daily online at TomFalco.com
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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.

My friend Arva

arvaA friend passed away yesterday – Arva Moore Parks – she was a Miami historian who knew everything there was to know about our city and she saved so many great historic places in the city.

When I was growing up, I admired her. Every time I read about her in the newspapers or saw her on tv, I was impressed.

Some years ago, I saw her on a plane. I was starstruck, totally starstruck. I didn’t say anything, but I was honored to be in her presence. She was a person of such high regard and honor.

Years later I met her at a local protest. I was covering the news for our town and she was there protesting the demolition of a 100 year old church. She came up to me and she knew me. She knew my name! She said my name! I had never met her before but she knew my name. From that day on we were friends. Not friends where we would talk all the time, but she would contact me about things and I would contact her about things and she even honored me by writing about me in her book about the history of Coconut Grove – our village.

Over the years whenever I was writing the news, fighting with politicians and trying to save the world, I would think as I was writing, “What would Arva think?” Would she agree with what I was doing? She always did.

One of our local PBS stations shows a little thing on the history of Miami every night in between programs. The first voice you hear is Arva’s and then you see her on the screen explaining one thing or another. The music at the beginning of the segment is always the same and when I hear it, I say out loud, “Cue Arva!” and I point to the tv and smile as she comes on the screen.

You can see her obit and see how great she was in this Miami Herald obit.

This is the video when I hear the music at the beginning, I know Arva is coming on next.

I see your true colors

true-colorsIt’s interesting how people’s true personalities come out during this time of stress. I’m happy to say that it looks like most of us are rising to the occasion, but then there are those few who are miserable and they want to make you miserable – not on purpose, it’s just their way.

I have friends who I have not spoken with in weeks because I turned them off. I didn’t dump them, I don’t dump people, but I do distance myself.

One of my best friends, who is always abrasive and rude, was quite rude via text. How do you get rude and obnoxious via text? I mean, in person, you can easily blurt something out, but I would think with a text you have time to look it over and remove the rude parts. Anyway, we have not spoken in a month. We will again, but not right now.

Others are negative about everything. I’m not that way, for years when I wrote the daily news in our town, I was abrasive at times, I fought with politicians and others and it got ugly sometimes, but that’s not me. I turned into something I didn’t like. But during these stressful times do I need to hear other people’s problems? I don’t mean serious problems, I mean daily day to day problems like you can’t find toilet paper, or you can’t get the SBA to answer your phone calls or you don’t have any business – I don’t either –  I can’t do anything about it for myself but I don’t dwell on it. We’re all stressed, it’s how you handle it.

quit

I found out that by avoiding things, or thinking about things I don’t like, it helps me out. I know it sounds like a simple thing, but it protects my sanity. My cousin texted me the other day, sad and concerned about Broadway being closed. But while she is a New Yorker she lives far from Broadway and only goes a few times a year. I don’t think she would be going during this time of year, so I told her to just imagine it like it always is and don’t look at pictures of the empty streets. Make believe it is business as usual. Make believe Times Square is full of people and all is right with the world.

I’m using that with friends who insist on going out where they should be sheltering in place. They think it’s ok to go out daily for food or drive up two counties away to be with their family or run daily or just not stay home. I know it’s none of my business, but I feel the longer we prolong this thing, the worse it will be. So I’ve taken to ignoring them and what they are doing, just to get it out of my head. Who am I do judge them, although the air they breathe affects all of us these days. They want to be selfish, fine.

My favorite saying is, “It’s not about how many times you fall down, it’s about how many times you get up.” That saying has been attributed to so many people – Lincoln, Knute Rockne and others. I’m not sure who said it, but I love it. I have always lived by it.

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Isn’t it ironic?

house-arrestI was talking to my cousin in New York and I told him I know how Sam (not real name) feels now. Sam is a guy who has been under house arrest for many years.

“Oh, that’s the funny part,” my cousin tells me. After all these years, his time is up, he is not under house arrest anymore!” But he is! Where can he go now?

Sort of reminds me of an Alanis Morissette song.

I met Sam a couple of times – at a bar, at happy hour, where there were many of us. My cousin would tell me, “Don’t look him in the eye, don’t joke with him, he is very volatile and could explode at any second!”

One time my cousin showed me an article in The NY Post where there was a picture of Sam being taken from his house by the feds in the middle in the night. It explained why Sam was under arrest – he beat up this guy, he gambled, he sold booze, he robbed a bank, he stole a car, he sold things that had “fallen off a truck,” he sold drugs and prostitutes, he hung with a shady crowd, etc, etc. he did everything except murder. You get it, he was a step down from Tony Soprano.

Anyway, my cousin would visit Sam at his NYC apartment once in awhile over the years, dreading each time he was “summoned,” but he would go with another friend of Sams. Now I guess they are all free and when the bars and restaurants are open again, they can hang out like they always did.

By the way, my cousin is an honest person who does an honest day’s work. In New York you are sort of thrown in with people by circumstances – you hang out with a buddy at  bar, he invited a buddy who invites someone and a guy comes over from a nearby table and becomes part of the group and so on. I was part of that mix for many years, but I got tired of it and got out. But these are all great people with one virus in the crowd. See how I did that?

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And the people stayed home

peace

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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