Keep your mouth shut!

I laughed when I saw this on Facebook. It reminded me of something that happened to me a few years back, maybe 10 years ago.

I was at a meeting, covering the news for our village like I did. And at the beginning of the meeting, this guy, Joel, stands up from the dais and yells out to me in the back row, “Tom, you can stay if you keep your mouth shut and don’t say anything!”

I was dumbfounded because I never spoke at meetings, even at important City Hall meetings, I would just take notes for the news story I was writing. I didn’t speak because I didn’t want to be part of the story. I quoted everyone else, I didn’t want to quote myself.

I said, “Joel, when have I ever said one word at any meetings?” He just sat down and proceeded with the meeting. Our village was like the Gilmore Girls, you know, everyone showed up for meetings, the whole town would be there in one scene.

I don’t hold grudges, even though that was a stupid and rude thing to do and we are still friendly to this day, but I hadn’t thought of that in years until I saw this quote on Facebook.

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My idea for a tv sitcom

I saw this in the Edge City comics trip the other day and it reminded me of a similar idea I have for a tv sitcom. I’ve had the idea for a few years now. Maybe I shouldn’t share it here, but then again, I have proof of the idea here, posting it Sept. 1, 2022.

It all began one night when it was storming outside. The wind was howling, there was driving rain and it woke me up. That always freaks me out, once I’m up, that’s it for the rest of the night until the storm passes. I went to the bathroom.

In the bathroom, it was dead quiet. I couldn’t hear any of the storm outside and I stayed there for a bit. It was maybe 2:00 in the morning. My mind started wandering, what if I lived in the safe bathroom. It’s large enough. I use the shower, but never use the oversized soaking tub. There’s a closet, the toilet and shower are in a separate area with a private door. There’s a large counter where the sink is which I could use as a desk and eating area and the large tub is where I could sleep and watch tv.

And best of all, there is an exit out to the street. I could literally enter and exit the bathroom using my own entrance without going through the main house. And there is where my sitcom idea starts.

Ands so the sitcom pitch goes like this: I’m struggling to pay the mortgage. The place is large – 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and all the rest of the house. What if to save the place from being foreclosed, I move into the bathroom and rent out the rest of the house which pays the mortgage? The renters can use the other two bathrooms and of course the whole house; everything other than my bathroom and I’ll give them reduced rent to allow me to live in the one bathroom and there is the sitcom premise. I just typed “shitcom” before I corrected it to sitcom, so maybe the Universe is trying to tell me something about my idea.

Anyway, so the family is living in the main house and I’m living in the bathroom. And hilarity ensues. One time they come home and I’m lying in their bed watching tv while I’m on the phone. Another time they arrive home and I’m in the kitchen at the table eating cereal and so on. I am a part of their family, but I’m not. It sounds sort of like Kramer on Seinfeld in a way. Almost as if Kramer had his own spinoff.

I never have come up with a title, but it could be something clever, related to the bathroom being the apartment.

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Nobody on the road; nobody on the beach

I’ve taken up running and walking again – a combination of the two.

For so many years I did this daily, I was very active. For most of my life I was at one beach or another on a daily basis. Sometimes alone, sometimes with friends. I remember at one point I would meet my friend jak about 4:30 pm and we would run the boardwalk on Miami Beach – almost daily – and then we would hit happy hour and hang out at one of the few dive bars in Miami Beach at the time – this was before it was “South Beach.”

I went to Key Biscayne a lot too, where it was mostly empty weekdays, and I wrote once about what it was like hanging out on Miami Beach at an abandoned area by the St. Moritz Hotel. And I would go to neighborhood beaches where just the neighbors would since they were not in touristy areas.

Oddly enough, I had a friend in town recently, visiting from New York. We overlapped at one point and I went to New York while he was still here in Miami. Since I wasn’t here to take him, he took an Uber to one of the neighborhood beaches. I told him, “You must be the only person ever to take an Uber or cab to this beach, it’s just a local beach, a neighborhood thing. He said, “I know, the Uber driver found it very odd when he saw where he was taking me.”

Anyway, most weekdays the beaches were empty, as they are now, especially now that school has started.

For many years I printed school newspapers as well as other school-related stuff and needless to say, there was no business all summer. No money would come in and I would have to budget for that. So every year, on the first day of school, I would go to the beach to celebrate the start of the new school year which for me was the start up of business for the year. And being the first day of school, no one was there, and I mean no one. I had miles of beach all to myself.

I ran, I swam, I got lunch and I did it all alone, it was my special day.

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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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National Cartoonists Society

I’m now a member of the National Cartoonists Society.

I had applied before but was denied in the past and recently was accepted.

What I love most about it is that I am part of this group of people who I’ve admired all my life. Every cartoonist you can name – they are/were part of this society. And even greater was that I was unanimously approved, which means fellow cartoonists looked at my work and said, “YES! Let him in!” Now that’s an honor. It has put me on the map.

I should have done this years ago, but you know how it is, life takes ahold and sends you in other directions. But I’m here now.

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Why the NYC OMNY MTA system is a scam

I’m unhappy with the OMNY MTA system, remember how I wrote about what a great idea it is? Well it sucks.

I’ve been using the unlimited weekly card for years – right now the cost is $33.00 for a week’s worth of unlimited rides which is 12 rides at $2.75 each, which is 6 round trip rides.

Well, if you use the OMNY system for the same purpose, it only works from Monday through Sunday. So if you start using it on Saturday, which I did last week, it is useless for that Saturday and Sunday. It literally starts on Monday and goes through Sunday. Read that again. If you start using the OMNY payment method any day of the week other than Monday, then you are screwed out of days.

I lost 7 or 8 rides from last Saturday or Sunday, a waste of $22.00, where if I used the MetroCard as I have for all these years, that would not be the case.

I called OMNY to complain and was told by some guy, “Too bad, that’s how the system works.”

So my suggestion is, DO NOT USE THE OMNY MTA SYSTEM. It’s a ripoff. I don’t consider myself a stupid person, so I consider their ad campaign stupid and the whole system is stupid. It screws over visitors especially.

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Unheralded

So I unsubscribed to the paper again – the Miami Herald. I did it for a couple of reasons – they keep raising the price and I don’t like the delivery person.

I’ve supported newspapers my whole life, I often wished I lived in the days when newspapers ruled the media, but then I’d probably be old or dead by now, so maybe not.

I went to pick up a copy the other day at a store and the daily newspaper was $3.00 plus tax. $3.00 for the daily paper, what’s the Sunday paper cost?

The newspapers are struggling to survive. What if they gave each issue away for free, like most weekly papers do, and they can maybe raise the ad rates to compensate for the extra readers that would bring them?

I remember when I was a newspaper delivery boy so many moons ago – the daily newspaper was 5 cents and the Sunday, I don’t remember, but probably 35 cents. I remember one time the price went up a nickel a week for subscribers and one guy complained that he didn’t know and was upset about the extra nickel.

Anyway, I don’t really read the daily paper these days. I only subscribed to support them and I think the only thing I read was the tv listings. The Sunday paper used to take half a day to read, now it takes 10 minutes.

I read the comics and news online and therein lies the rub with the news and featured stories – they are all put online way before the paper is printed. And I don’t go to their website to read these stories – they are all over social media, they just come up in my feeds. I think it should be the other way around. I think they should print the stories first and then put them online, so if people want fresh news, they have to get the daily newspaper, rather than the other way around.

So many times my father would say to me, “Did you see such and such article in the paper today?” And I would say, “I read that a few days ago online.”

So basically, people are buying the daily newspaper to read days old news.

Now, this boy had it hard.

As for the delivery girl, she is obnoxious and incompetent. When I complained one time she sent me a long letter saying I was lucky she was delivering the paper at all and I should be thankful. Then she went on to complain about how hard her job is.

I remember being 12 years old and delivering the papers in all sorts of weather, by foot or on my bike and dragging them on a sled when it snowed. This 35 year old woman delivering my paper by car has it hard I guess. So I was glad to unsubscribe to lighten her load a bit – one less paper to lug in her back seat.

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How to catch a smuggler

I was watching How To Catch a Smuggler the other day. Ever see that? I’ve seen so many episodes, they are almost repetitive now. It’s a reality show where they show people trying to smuggle drugs or illegal food or packages and things like that into various countries around the world, including the United States.

One time recently, I was coming through the JFK airport in New York and they flagged my carry on bag. The TSA guy called me over, “Whose luggage is this?” he yelled. “Mine,” I said, putting my hand up.

“Come over here,” he said. “And don’t touch anything!”

I replied, “I know, I know, I watch ‘How to Catch a Smuggler.” He laughed and said, “So do I.”

It ended up being a small pair of scissors in my luggage which set off their machine. He let me keep them and I was on my way.

I used to get nervous about being stopped at the airport, but it’s happened so much to me, I’m used to it now. These days, it’s getting my hands swabbed for explosives. Now I know the drill and when they start swabbing, I ask, “What are you doing, swabbing for explosives?” And they are taken aback and look at me.

Many years ago, I was traveling to Cleveland for a wedding. I had to stop in Atlanta. For some strange reason I was wearing cowboy boots. This was the first and only time I ever wore them. Again, I don’t know why.

I had my wallet in one boot, it was easier to carry and I didn’t have to sit on it, if it was in my back pocket.

In Atlanta, I was sitting, reading the newspaper, waiting for my connecting flight, and two big guys in suits came up to me. They said, “Sir, we have been watching you. Can you please reach into your boot slowly and take out whatever it is you have in there.”

So I reached down and took out my wallet. They looked it over. And I don’t remember the rest of the conversation, but they said something about wanting to check my luggage. I told them that if they went to get my checked luggage they would make me miss my flight to Cleveland, but they were more than welcome to check it in Cleveland.

Their last words to me were, “Maybe we will.” And they walked away. I always remember those words as if it was yesterday, “Maybe we will.”

This was long before 9-11, it was in the 1980s in fact, so it was strange that they were keeping such a close watch on me traveling to the midwest of all places.

They never did meet up with me in Cleveland. I didn’t fly back home to Miami from Cleveland, I drove with my cousins after the wedding, back to New York and I flew back to Miami from NY later that summer.

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My dad’s brother

I was visiting my dad in the hospital (nothing major) and a nurse came into the room to see him. She asked if I was his brother!

Should I be insulted? But when I think of it, he looks younger than his age, so maybe it was a compliment to him. I’ll take it that way.

It reminds me of when people ask women if they are pregnant, or when are they due, and they aren’t even pregnant!