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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How I came up with them

People ask me how I come up with ideas, so I grabbed a few recently published cartoons and will show you my twisted mind works.

This one was easy. I got a new iphone and they did away with the thumb imprint for signing on, so now it’s either punch in the pin number or use face recognition. After you set up the face recognition, they ask if you would like to do it again this time wearing a mask!

At first I thought of doing a cartoon with someone wearing a Halloween mask, but then thought of other things, like what if someone was in an accident or had a facelift or some sort of procedure where the phone would not recognize them anymore. And I remembered a previous cartoon that was published, this cartoon, where Dracula takes a selfie, only his image doesn’t come up, and from there I got to this cartoon above.

This one started with pumpkin picking. Every year my cousins and I go to the Hudson Valley in New York State to pumpkin pick. And I think it’s more about the Hudson Valley, than the pumpkins. It’s a gorgeous area with spectacular mountain and river views along with the changing leaves in the fall. Only this year, we went to the north fork of Long Island instead, because we needed to be closer to the south fork, where we were going to an event after the pumpkin picking.

I got to thinking – will my pictures be as nice in the north fork as they are up in the mountains and the valley? How will it all look on Instagram? And from there, I got to the cartoon above, and changed the Hudson Valley, to Tuscany, to make it more of an extreme travel plan.

As for this one – I live in Miami – I hear the words “Gulf Stream” almost daily, and this is what I thought of when I heard it one last time.

I’m in museums a lot and I always notice that the guards are ignored by everyone. And even when I say hello they sort of keep to themselves. One time I was in a museum in NYC that was being renovated, and there were only two big rooms open. I was in there with one other person, who happened to be John Lithgow, the actor.

I didn’t speak with Mr. Lithgow, but he spoke to the security guard who was on hand in one room. I didn’t hear what they were saying, but I found it interesting that he reached out and engaged with the guard. Other than that, I often think the guards could be on the phone, eating and even sleeping as no one seems to notice them, or maybe if they did lie down on a bench, like the cartoon suggests, then people would notice them.

Recently I posted something about the Baltimore Museum of Art having an exhibit totally curated by it’s museum guards, which sounds like an excellent idea. So in that case, they were noticed by people.

This trunk one came simply from the fact that luggage was being lost all summer by the airlines.

And of course this museum window one, which I have written about a few times before – I thought it was funny to think of the guard being so blasé about the art after seeing it day after day, that it was more interesting for him to look out the window to see what was going on.

And yes – there are windows next to the art in many museums. Here’s proof taken last month at MOMA in NYC.

And there you have some of the workings of my mind – how I juggle ideas in my head to come up with Tomversation cartoons.

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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 newyorkcomiccon.com.

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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Days of our Lives

I saw an article on line about Days of Our Lives, the soap opera – it’s moving from on air to the Peacock streaming platform.

The only reason it caught my attention is because seeing this hour glass and logo reminds me of summers so long ago. Way back when our mothers would watch this, I think it came on at 2 pm. How do I know? Because we kids would run around the neighborhood jumping from pool to pool at each other’s houses and as we ran along the sidewalks, we would hear the theme playing, “Like sands through an hour glass, these are the days of our lives,” and then the music would play.

Almost every summer day we would hear it coming out of each house as we ran down the block. I guess people listened to tv’s quite loud in those days and also people didn’t have air conditioning, so they weren’t locked in and confined in their cocoons and the sound came blasting out.

I had a similar experience in Boston a couple of times. When the Red Sox play, it seems like every tv and radio in town has the game on. And as you walk down the street, particularly Newbury Street, you can hear the game coming from each establishment. So you actually hear the whole game as you are walking – from pizza places, clothing stores, restaurants and so on.

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The grass is always greener

Recently when I was in New York, I was reminded of this cartoon from a year or so ago. It’s always funny to be that when I’m at the museums, I see people, including myself, looking out of the windows, rather than at the art.

I visited only two museums when in town – MOMA and The MET, must visits for me when I’m there. I didn’t visit one of my favorite places, the Museum of the City of New York, not sure why. I always like going through that Spanish Harlem neighborhood walking toward 5th Avenue to the museum.

The MET recently raised admission rates to $30 per person. They either want to keep large families out or want to keep art away from the masses. I remember when not too long ago it was pay what you want. When they started charging at a local arts festival in town, in Miami, when I asked why all of a sudden, they said, “We want to keep the riff raff out,” I assumed they meant me.

The magnificent Hudson Valley view from Washington Heights

I did get lost in Washington Heights, for some reason I was looking for Riverside Park and I ended up there. Yes, it reminded me of the the movie, “In the Heights.” The center part is very much like the movie, very chaotic, lots of people, bodegas and businesses. As you reach the Hudson River and the George Washington Bridge, it turns into the beginning of the Hudson Valley and it feels as if you are upstate.

The boy with the mushroom hair

At the MET Museum I kept running into this guy/kid, he looked to be sort of young – 18 to 22 maybe. He was by himself and very interested in the art. I liked the way his hair sort of came up like a mushroom.

It was one of those instances where you keep running into people when you are somewhere, almost as if you are stalking them. I suppose I was if I took this photo. I just found him interesting, he seemed so cool. Not many young people visit museums by themselves and are so into the art. Perhaps he’ll be a big famous artists one day.

I’m glad to be home, but I’m looking forward to being back in New York in September and October – I’ve got a wedding to attend, Comic Con (yes, got my tix already), and of course pumpkin and apple picking upstate, We may do that in Connecticut this year rather than upstate New York.

I remember the green paint incident, one of my first days in NYC this this summer. I still have it on my clothing, the paint won’t come off. A souvenir of the summer of 2022.

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Some cocoa butter . . .

Amazon Prime Day is over and I’m gonna miss it. Not for the bargains, for the Jon Baptiste commercial!

It’s the song of summer! I can’t get it out of my head – the line that says, “I need some cocoa butter and camping supplies,” makes me laugh every time. I actually would wait for the commercial, which was not hard to do since it seemed to be on every few minutes. It’s short and sweet and catchy.

I had written it down to use in a cartoon and I couldn’t come up with anything. Them I remembered a cartoon I used for a past Prime Day and I added the text.

Now to be honest, the 1000 times I’ve seen the commercial, I thought he was singing “Cold, Cold Butter,” but a reader corrected me so I changed the cartoon early this morning before most people saw it.

Butter made sense to me because I thought they were trying to show that Amazon/Wholefoods, delivers food, too.

I did take advantage of Prime Day and I bought a new Surface Pro 8 computer so you’ll be seeing my new cartoons created on that.

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Winter Arts Festival time

We did our local arts festival yesterday and will go back again today. When I say did, I don’t mean we showed our art, I mean we walked around, ate, drank, kibitzed and enjoyed the show. For one thing, the town is mobbed with people and it’s impossible to get in and out so it’s best to just stay put and enjoy the event.

It is getting a bit out of hand with the $25 entry fee and $15 gyros and $18 taco dishes, but it is what it is.

This weekend every year is the busiest weekend of the year in Miami. There are a few arts festivals, the boat show and some other things. They say it’s impossible to find a hotel room or rent a car – they’re all booked for the weekend.

Oddly enough, it was cold all winter, where I love, but yesterday and I guess today, when a bunch of us go back, it will be very hot.

I ran into my nephew’s friend, he told me that he and his wife got in for free. He said to the people at the gate that they forgot to stamp him when he left and then he rubbed the wet stamp on his wife’s hand after they stamped him – sort of like we used to do at the clubs. So he saved 50 bucks.

I used to be part of this as a sponsor when I did the daily news around here so I would get lots of tickets to give out free. But not anymore, I’m now a peon like everyone else (which I love being by the way), but people didn’t know and I got so many texts and calls from friends and family asking me for tickets. Even the UPS guy was hounding me for tickets. How he got my phone number I’ll never know.

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We went to the Beaux Arts Festival

A couple of us went to the Beaux Arts Festival in Coral Gables yesterday. It’s the 71st edition.

It was smaller this year, I guess due to covid, and they moved the location south a bit – it’s still on the University of Miami grounds, just not in the grassy, shady, lake area, near the Lowe Art Museum – it was more in a parking lot.

There wasn’t much food. A friend of mine, who fell off his bike, for like the 5th time, asked me to bring him his favorites from the festival, since he is still laid up – conch fritters and gyros. Only they didn’t have them. I think there were just a few food booths and nothing great. So I stopped by empty handed to visit him afterwards.

At the festival I saw a lot of friends, many of them are artists, who had booths set-up and were showing and selling their work.

It’s one of those things that comes around year after year at the same time – repetitive, but we look forward to it.

The weather was perfect, bright, sunny and cool – in the 60s. Today a cold front is coming through so it will be rainy and windy most of the day.

But that’s the beginning of a bunch of our art shows for the year. 2022 has started.

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