A sense of normalcy

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I’ve noticed one semblance of normalcy – tv an tv commercials. All of our tv shows are on and the commercials are running with them – KFC, McDonalds, Perrier, cars, computers, JC Penney, Macys – they are all still running commercials. Makes me feel like things will be all right.

And the newspaper is delivered every day. I know many of you don’t read the printed paper, but trust me – it’s there on the doorstep every morning.

But I am enjoying the sense of solitude. I know many aren’t, but I am usually home alone in the day working anyway. My only concern is lack of business – and money coming in. I applied for a deferral of mortgage payments and hopefully the state or country will just automatically do that like they did in New York state. Also I’m hearing good things about 0% small business loans, so I am applying for that.

I do agree with Trump on one thing – the only thing I’ve ever agreed with Trump on – is that the economy will come roaring back when this virus mess is over. When people start making money again and people are “let out” of their houses, they’ll want to spend, not so much spend for the sake of spending, but they’ll want to go out to restaurants; go to the movies, travel – they’ll feel like birds let out of  cage and I think the economy will roar back sooner than later.

Still reading the printed newspaper

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Sunday’s newspaper.

I still subscribe to the printed newspaper – The Miami Herald. Do you subscribe to a printed newspaper?

I only do it for the tv listings, which I know I can get online, so maybe it’s really to support the printed paper. I always want to support the printed newspaper.

One problem with the printed newspaper is that the news is always old when you receive it. By the time it’s on your doorstep the news has been posted all over social media. And I understand that, the news is fresh, if you can post it the second it’s fresh, why not do that?

But what about the features? Most times I’ll read a Sunday feature on a Tuesday, when the feature is completed. It won’t be printed for five days, but there it is for all to read on Tuesday. I think that is part of what’s killing the printed papers. Why not save the features so that they are seen in the printed version first? Then they can be shared on social media or wherever after they make their debut in print.

A lot of times my father tells me something, “You know what I read in today’s paper? Blah, blah, blah …. and blah, blah, blah,” and I have to tell him I read those stories days ago online.

The comics are a lost cause in the paper because I don’t like most of them and they are too small to read, I showed a photo here one time of how small they really are – smaller than some postage stamps! I read the comics online. They are big, colorful, bright and right out there in your face.

The Daily cartoonist showed some samples of newspaper comics from 1954 the other day, that is how comics should be run – large and respected!

When I was a kid, my parents subscribed to the Miami Herald and the South Dade News Leader and I would sometimes buy the afternoon Miami News. When I got older and would traverse South Florida, I would sometimes buy the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel and the Ft. Lauderdale News and I loved the Hollywood Sun-Tattler, probably for the name mostly.  You could also go further north and get the Palm Beach Post and Boca Raton News or go south and get the Key West Citizen, three of them still printed today. But these were all daily newspapers easily accessible. I loved that they all had different comics, and did not like when the Ft. Lauderdale papers combined the comics page and ran the same one every day – I sort of felt cheated.

On the west coast of Florida there are still many papers like the Ft. Myers News Press and the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, the Bradenton Herald, and I love the Naples Daily News – mostly because it doesn’t seem to be part of a chain on the west coast of Florida and it’s still large in page size and sort of does its own thing. It’s the last newspaper I buy on my way back to Miami whenever I’m on Florida’s west coast and I stop and pick it up on my way home.

Today is Tom Falco Day!

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So this happened – February 14 is now Tom Falco Day in the City of Miami.  I received a proclamation that says so. It may be just today, but I am claiming it in perpetuity so every February 14 is Tom Falco Day! That’s me at left with one of our City Commissioners Ken Russell.

For 15 years I published the news and was an activist in our little village and I decided to end the publication this month. So many of my friends and townspeople came out, such memories. It was bittersweet. It was so nice to see so many faces.

I am still living here, I’ll be around town, I just won’t be publishing the news every day, which is a big responsibility off my shoulders. I feel like it’s the last day of school. Forever!

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Can a comic strip have seasons?

 

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Drawing Hal.

I’m working on my comic strip Hal and High Water, and hopefully will start publishing daily, but I have an idea that I’ve been considering. And that’s taking breaks, sort of having seasons, with breaks in between.

I know, I didn’t even start yet and I’m talking about taking a break! But listen, seriously. What I mean is, cartoonists work 365 days a year, they never stop, they never get vacations and if they do they have to build up that time by working extra hard to get a backlog of comics so that they can take time off. But what if the comic ran for a month or two or three and then there was a break, sort of like a tv show. The comic runs, ends with a cliffhanger, takes a month off, and then comes back for a new “season.”

A webcomic can do that very easily not so much a newspaper comic. But why not?

What if a newspaper comic ran for three months, then took time off and in that time another comic ran? What if three or four comics took up one space in the newspaper – sort of like the old days with tv, when a show would take the summer off and there would be a summer replacement. Years ago, that was the norm on tv and these last few years it’s been like that where there are not many reruns, other shows take up the time slot and there are usually three tv seasons now in a year.

So a newspaper comic would run a few months, maybe three months or six months, then take a break and in that three or six months another comic would run, then perhaps another comic or the original comic would come back, but they would run on some sort of schedule.

I’m thinking of doing that with Hal and High Water as a webcomic – running it for a period of time and then taking a short period of time off. Hopefully the readers will be there upon its return, but a good cliffhanger may be needed for that – sort of like a “Who shot JR?” cliffhanger.

I had written once about switching up my own comics over the year – run a panel cartoon for a few months, then a comic strip, then something else, but that would defeat the purpose of having time off. It would allow me to publish my different ideas and features over time, but it would not give me time off.

So I’m toying with the idea of taking breaks during the year – yes, even before I started publishing.

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Living in the Roaring ’20s

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Let’s bring back the newsies caps, but not the smoking.

Some of us were talking and we have a feeling that a lot of the 1920s will come back in the 2020s. I’m talking about maybe fashions and sayings and things like that. Maybe even  reprisal of silent films as a goof. It may all start as a goof.

I have so many of those newsboy/newsies caps, but I never wear them. Possibly some guys may start wearing them as a goof and they’ll catch on and become the fashion. Maybe sayings will come back like, “horse feathers,” and “Don’t take any wooden nickels,” and “four-flusher.” You can see a full list here.

Other fashion statements of the 1920s were beaded dresses, argyle socks, Cloche hats, art deco and flapper styles. Maybe guys will slick back their hair and wear straw hats.

Podcasts are sort of like old time radio, aren’t they? And maybe sepia toned photos could be a common thing on Instagram. And what about cars, people might drive more restored cars around as a common thing – Model T’s, Model A’s, The Hobnocker, Bugatti, etc.

Pez was invented in the 1920s and so was Pineapple upside down cake and Kool-Aid and sliced bread! Water skiing was invented and the dial telephone,  and the jukebox and sunglasses! And of course newspapers were at an all time high in circulation, every city had their fair share. And it was the Gatsby and the Charleston dance era. Who knows, even if just one or two things came back for a bit, it would be interesting.

I never liked when the years changed or the decades passed. I don’t know why, I guess I didn’t like the passage of time. But for some reason, I’m all into the 2020s. I’m looking forward to them.

Maintaining an institution

The Miami Herald, my daily newspapers, is dropping the Saturday edition this spring, they will only print six days a week.

A few years back, The Times-Picayune in New Orleans dropped a few printed editions during the week, but I think they publish six days a week now. And today I saw a story on tv about the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Little Rock’s daily newspaper going digital. It’s been published for 200 years or so and the current publisher Walter Hussma wants to keep it in business. Their new plan – give every paid subscriber an iPad so that they can read the paper online! His goal is just to pay the bills and to keep the institution going, not to make a killing in profits.

“It’s a lot more interactive. We have slide shows. We have video. You know, when the Arkansas River flooded a few weeks ago, we had ten videos on the front page,” said Hussma

When they first talked about going digital, someone asked, “But what if people don’t have an iPad?” So the newspaper invested $12 million in iPads and now every subscriber receives a free one!

These videos explain it all.

I visited The NY Herald last week

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The New York Herald in 1895, when it was a new building at Herald Square.

I had to go to Macy’s on Herald Square last week so as I usually do when I’m on Herald Square, I pay homage to the New York Herald. The Herald itself is not there today, it left the location in the early 1920s and a clothing store took over the location until around 1940 when one of the ugliest buildings you’ve ever seen – a square ugly box replaced it.

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Luckily there are some remnants of The Herald at the location. The large statue of Minerva & the Bell Ringers stands as a memorial to James Gordon Bennett, founder of the newspaper.  The statue originally stood right at the top of the building, front and center, you can see it in the top photo. The owls that graced the roof are there today and so is the clock. All at a small park across the triangle.

The Herald stood on the triangle at Broadway and 6th Avenue between 35th and 36th Streets. It originally was downtown on Park Row where most of the newspapers in the 19th century were, but in 1895 it moved uptown to the Herald Square location, named of course, for the newspaper.

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This disgusting building stands in The Herald location today.

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Do these people realize the hollowed ground they stand on?

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One of the clocks stands in the park today across the street from the location. Another clock is on the other side of this column.

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Owls from the original building grace different areas of the small park that holds the historic mementos.

Related photos and stories:
The New York Herald
Visiting the NY Herald again
Revisiting The New York Times
Pulitzer and The World
The Sun; it shines for all

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