Wordle showoffs

I love this cartoon because I love the characters. I drew this months ago and it had different text and context. I don’t even remember what it started out as, but I changed it so many times over the past few months.

I didn’t change the drawing, I changed the wording. It reminded me of something someone said on social media about the New Yorker cartoon I wrote about the other day – that “they draw the images and then figure out what they are saying later,” which of course I don’t think that’s the case, but maybe it is, because this Wordle gag ended up that way.

One part of love about the cartoon is that the thought Steve is thinking “Ouch!” as a Wordle answer is not really an answer because it’s only four letters. But it almost makes it seem like his whole life is Wordle, including all his thoughts.

I find it silly that people post their Wordle scores on social media every day. The silly part is that you don’t see their answers or the way they got to the final word of the day, it shows blank boxes. It doesn’t show what the previous word tries are or even what the word is.

Maybe people just hit a “share” button on Wordle somewhere and it posts your final score without you even realizing what it looks like on Facebook or wherever.

It’s like saying, “I’m great!” everyday.

One friend of mine posted his score every morning and I actually appreciated it because it reminded me to play the game. But posting your score without any concept or content is like saying, “I won an award for something,” and not saying what the something is.

It’s annoying when people post this online, but then again, it gave me the idea for this cartoon, so it all worked out.

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Do people like snakes?

This snake/worm cartoon from last week has gone viral on Instagram. I’m not sure why, do people like snakes? Or is it worms?

You can see by the numbers below that over 2 million Instagram accounts have seen it, and by the time this story runs, the numbers will be even higher. Over 83,000 people so far have “liked” the image and over almost 8000 people have “saved” the image on Instagram and over 2800 have shared it. They don’t link back to me or tag me, which is the proper thing to do, so those many people shared the image without giving me, the artist, any credit, but that’s ok, my signature and copyright is on the cartoon.

But it’s interesting to see what goes viral on the internet and what doesn’t and this snake/worm cartoon has really taken a life of its own.

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Our local celebrity

We have this homeless guy in town. At least I think he’s homeless, because I’ve given him a lot of money over the years because I want to help him out. And now I see what he is doing with some of that money – he’s on Instagram! And he’s asking for donations on his Instagram page.

I am cracking up over it, because he’s a local celebrity, one of the bars sells t-shirts with his picture on it and gives him the money and a friend of mine with a business in town handles his accounts when need be – like maybe cash a check or whatever. He’s a left-over hippie from the 1960s, one of those people that everybody loves so we support him.

Anyway, I noticed he started following me on Instagram and he has such great pictures posted. Really well lit and he’s in the pictures with beautiful women around town. He’s living the dream, well it looks like he is living the dream, I don’t suppose being homeless is the dream – but he may not be homeless, after seeing all this I’m flabbergasted. He’s got a lot of jewelry, is dressed well and is hanging out holding his own at local watering holes and places.

Maybe that’s his schtick – making out as if he needs the money, so people give him money, and he lives off of that.

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There’s always that one . . .

There is always one comment left on my cartoons that bothers me. I could have thousands of people like a cartoon, but the one person who makes a negative comment gets to me. But haters gonna hate.

I try not to leave negative comments on any social media posts. I don’t see the need for it. I have a friend who had a friend who used to do food reviews for the NY Times and she told my friend that if she went to a restaurant that she didn’t like, she did nothing. She just didn’t write about them. She felt that there was no point giving press to a place she didn’t like and what was the point of writing that she didn’t like the place.

I tried to live by that. What is the point of ruining someone’s day, usually a total stranger, for no reason at all.

But again, I get tons of nice comments and accolades, but the one person who probably isn’t intelligent enough to get the joke ruins my day.

I am trying to get a thicker skin. I guess any attention is good attention. I noticed years ago when I was written up in a publication during my daily news days, even if the write up was negative, my numbers would go up in readership and social media followers. As the saying goes, “Any news is good news,” or even better, “Say what you want about me, just spell my name right!”

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Avoiding phone calls

There’s a new thing where people are keeping their phone ring tones off permanently. They would rather get texts than talk to people on the phone.

I have a weird thing where I don’t answer my business phone line, I do answer my private line. My business line has a message that says text or email me and it seems to work. Although I remember years ago my accountant was doing my taxes and he said that my business was down a lot in the last quarter. He asked me why. I told him it could be because I removed the phone number from my website. And his response was, “Well, you better put it back on there.”

I don’t like speaking to strangers. I cringe at the thought. I have lost many large orders due to that, but that’s they way it is. I’ll go broke before I speak to a stranger, I guess.

I like texts. But there are a couple of texts I have the ringer off for. There is my building text – my condo – where we’re all one long string. That can be very annoying when everyone has to chime in on a text. Like someone will ask, “Did someone see my Amazon delivery?” and rather than just ignore it if you know nothing about it, everyone has to respond, “Not me,” Not me,” Not me,” Not me.” And it goes on. So I leave the ringer off for that. But it is odd when you look down at your phone and see “45 text messages” came in. Then you look and see it’s that nonsense.

Not long ago someone asked via text, “Who called the cops on the car that had the alarm going off?” I didn’t answer, so they assumed it was me. But for the record, I have never in my life called the cops on a neighbor, or on anyone for that matter.

With my family, the texts aren’t that bad, But one friend who we have all known since we are kids is on one of our family texts and when it is someone’s birthday (including Paul McCartney or any of the Beatles), he will send about 20 texts in a row, so fast, I don’t know how he does it. All saying “Happy Birthday” or “Happy Anniversary” or something, with pictures and texts and so many things. For about 10 seconds, the beeping goes on and on with texts coming in from him – so those texts are silenced, too.

But anyway, I remember when we all thought cell phones were so cool, and now we find them annoying. There’s an interesting article from a couple of years ago called, “The hidden stress of cell phones,” and it explains a lot.

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Old friends popping up out of the blue

I’ve been cleaning the house up this week. Nothing much, it’s more messy than dirty. But I want it to look decent for a friend I haven’t seen in 40 years. Yup, 40 years! We were kids the last time we saw each other for goodness sake!

He emailed me a couple of weeks ago. My name popped in his head after all these years and he did an internet search and he found me. We talked on the phone, and he’ll be in town maybe this week. He lives in Orlando now and he’s back and forth to Miami often.

Strange when I think about it. 40 years – a lifetime. I had a whole life since I saw him last, so did he.

This isn’t the first time this happened, a friend I know since we are three years old contacted me not long ago. He found me on Facebook. We haven’t touched base in person yet, but he also lives not too far from me, maybe an hour’s drive north. The last time I saw him, I think he was maybe 7 or 8 years old. Amazing. He has a wife and four kids now.

Social media is amazing. But again – this isn’t the first time, but a bit before I was on social media, in 2008 or 2009, I found an old photo of a friend named Tom, yup, another Tom. We were very good friends but he left town after Hurricane Andrew in 1992. It was such a crazy time that people got scattered all over the place and he ended up going back to California, to San Francisco, where he was born. His family has lived there for generations. I never asked him about it, I have to – did they go there during the gold rush of 1849? How did they end up there so many years ago?

Anyway, I found a bunch of old photos and there was Tom in one. It jogged my memory, I had not seen him for almost 20 years by then. I did an internet search and I found his email address. I emailed him and we connected, he came down to visit and we have been connected since – mostly on Facebook – but we have been connected in person, too. It’s sort of my turn to visit him in California – maybe soon after the pandemic is over.

I find it so weird and interesting that even though decades have passed, we all go back to where we left off – sort of like muscle memory. It’s like no time passed at all. Even all our voices sound the same to all of us after not hearing them for so long. And the funny things we remember about each other come right back. Certain things come up or tv shows come on or whatever, and something flashed in your mind and you remember certain people at certain times doing certain things. A news story or event or a certain neighborhood or building brings certain people to mind.

My friend in Orlando asked if I remembered him. I was taken aback when he asked. Why wouldn’t I? He’s part of the fabric of my life.

Be an Arts Hero

This cartoon from earlier in the pandemic is being rerun today as part of the Be An Arts Hero campaign, which is Monday, March 15. Cartoonists from all over the world are participating to bring awareness to the arts. Cartoons will start spreading across social media at 9 am eastern time.

The AAEC (Association of American Editorial Cartoonists) has been asked to spread the word about Be An Arts Hero, a push by the arts and cultures sector for direct government support of creatives during the time of coronavirus.

Be An #ArtsHero is joining a national effort of Arts Workers, urging the Biden/Harris administration to support the Arts and Culture sector. Together, cartoonists contributed to this political cartoon initiative.

An original cartoon (or a repurposed or existing cartoon on the subject), is to illustrate a unique point of view on the particular struggles of editorial cartoonists during this crisis.

I chose to repurpose the one shown above, which was first published towards the beginning of the pandemic.

Hashtags and tags include: #ArtsWorkersUnite, #ArtsHero #First100Days, and @JoeBiden, @KamalaHarris, @WhiteHouse, and @BeAnArtsHero. So if you look for them after today, you’ll see the cartoons all over social media and at BeAnArtsHero.com.

The arts and culture stats sheet can be seen here. You’ll see the large economic impact the arts have on our country.

Redoing an old cartoon

Today’s comic is an old one. I originally did it in the late 1990s, and I liked the sound, the alliteration better. The one on the right is the old one – AOL/A&P, two things from the past. I know AOL is still around, but it’s not as common as it was in the ’90s. Just thinking about it and I hear that old fashioned dial tone sound it used to make when booting up. Remember that?

Another thing – many parts of the country say they are standing on line, rather than in line, which I guess is important for the gag, but I know you get it either way, right?

Emojis are my spell checker

Ever use emojis as spell checkers? What I mean is that a lot of the time if I’m not sure of the spelling of a word while texting, I spell it until the emoji pops up, then I know that is the correct spelling.

Recently I did it with avocado, not sure if it spelled “avocado” or “avacado.”

When the emoji popped up, I knew the correct spelling, which of course, I could have used the emoji instead of the word.

I have a neighbor who has avocado groves. Every time he texts, he puts three avocado emojis at the end of the text. I guess he feels it is subliminal advertising.

Emojis are the hieroglyphs of today. Will we end up using them as our language one day? I know so many teens do. What’s old ancient is new again. They don’t even teach cursive writing in schools anymore!

European Woman Examines Egyptian Hieroglyphics – Sean Sexton, 1900

NCSFest

On Saturday I watched the NCSFest all day. It was a a cartooning festival put on by the National Cartoonists Society Foundation. It was storming outside, so it was a perfect day to stay inside. You can see over nine hours of the fest here on YouTube, watch the whole thing or pick and choose by scrolling through. The schedule is here so you can see what comes on when.

The main seminar/talk I was interested in was The Superstars of Instagram, I wanted to see how they work and mainly how they get so many followers. The Awkward Yeti, for instance has 1.8 million followers! I interviewed Nick Seluk, The Awkward Yeti cartoonist once, you can see that here.

I also liked the talk on Creating a Successful Online Cartooning Business.

There was a lot of good stuff. Jim Davis, the Garfield cartoonist spoke from his studio and so did cartoonists explaining their process from doing comic strips and panels to creating books.

In between, the yearly Reuben Awards, which are the Oscars for cartoons/cartooning, were announced. The ceremony and events were canceled this year due to the pandemic. Awards are given or best newspaper comic strip of the year, best comic panel, best greeting card comic, best online comic strip, etc. The Daily Cartoonist has a list of winners here. There is then the Reuben Award for Cartoonist of the Year, which went to Lynda Barry.

I love this photo of Lynda, a real artist. The desk looks so comfortable, like you can just sit down and create. I am messy, but since I do all my work digitally on a Surface Pro, it isn’t strewn with all these wonderful tools and inks and pens and such. I literally have to turn on the computer and wait for it to set up. I can’t just get comfy and into it like Lynda here.

Garry Trudeau says that cartooning is like a public utility – you just expect it to be there when you want it.