Food is fresher, have you noticed?


I was mentioning Mother Nature’s revenge and the reverse of climate change in an article at the end of March. The air is fresher, the ozone layer is closing, the water is clean – I noticed the other day how clean the ocean is. When I was a kid it was gin clear, you could be waist deep and still see your feet at the bottom of the water, my cousins from New York always were amazed at that. But over the years with the over-population of the state and more and more and more pollution, the water got murky.

Another reason could be that the cruise ships are not going out cruising and they are not dumping any trash and oil into the sea. Over the years the ships proliferated in number and of course the pollution caused by them proliferated.

I noticed another thing – fresh fruit and produce. Either Instacart shoppers are choosing the best there is or the produce is fresher and I tend to believe the produce is fresher simply because it’s always brought in fresh and the turnover is daily. People are buying more and more these days so the stores are stocking up more frequently, probably daily. I noticed it with lemons, celery, broccoli, apples and other things.

I’m sure the produce is going through the same amount of hands but you don’t notice it.

I have a neighbor who owns citrus and avocado groves. Every year for Christmas he would give each of us a case/carton of grapefruits or something like that. They were the freshest and most tender I ever have. I asked him why and he said only one pair of hands touched them, they came right off the tree into the carton, that was it. No other handling!

Which of course reminds me of apple picking in October in the Hudson Valley in New York state. I hope that happens again this year.

I saw an article about the future of concerts which mentioned 4th of July. I sent the first paragraph to my cousins, whom I spend 4th of July with: “Where were you planning to be on the Fourth of July this year? Backyard barbecue with your crankiest relatives, fighting over who gets to light the illegal fireworks that your derelict cousin smuggled in from South Carolina? Or maybe out on the Chesapeake Bay, arguing about the amount of mayonnaise in the crab cakes while drinking warm National Bohemian beer? Better yet, tubing down the Shenandoah with a soggy hot dog while blasting Grand Funk Railroad’s ‘We’re an American Band’?”

We laughed at the “crankiest relatives,” which is all of us at one time or another. We spend the 4th in The Hamptons, not Chesapeake Bay, but sort of the same thing. We are all hoping for a “normal” 4th of July this year.

Vanity before safety?

tom1So I walked over to the hospital next door, usually once a week I go for a walk around their property/campus, it’s beautiful, big, wide open and on the bay. I went into Au Bon Pain which is there to get lunch. It’s usually empty, only me and the girl working there.

Well, yesterday there was a guy in scrubs, a doctor, tech, something like that. He told me I had my mask on wrong – even tough I looked at the video that a friend sent me on how to do it. Yes, I needed a video, and still got it wrong. He was a stranger getting lunch mind you, in line ahead of me. I didn’t know him.

He then proceeds to touch me! He took the mask off, fashioned it the way it’s supposed to be and then gave it back to me. Then he had the balls to Purell his hands, they had a Purell stand there. I Purelled too because it seemed like the thing to do.

So this hospital worker/doctor, who should know better is all Purelled up and I have his hands all over my face by putting the mask back on. I told him I had these flowery cloth masks at home that I was going to start using, too, but he said the one I had on was “safer.” I guess he means safer without his hand prints all over it.

I guess I was so embarrassed about having the mask on wrong and walking around like that that I didn’t care about the safety issue. Yet I did have the mask on for safety reasons. Go figure.

Read my comics

tom-read8So I’ve been working on comics, redrawing and refreshing some old ones and preparing for my Tomversation debut on May 4th. If you haven’t guessed by now, I chose May 4th because it’s May the 4th Day, you know, “May the 4th be with you.” I thought the anniversary of the debut would be easy to remember that day and it’s a scifi reference.

I’m doing the comics digitally, which I started years ago. It took a bit to go from pen and paper but it’s such a pleasure working digitally. There is only one drawback and that is there is no original art.

When I first went to digital cameras from film cameras, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I couldn’t wrap my mind around not having negatives although I don’t remember ever needing negatives other than the first print. But it really bothered me not to have negatives, now it seems so silly.

Regarding the digital comics, I started right at the top with a Wacom Cintiq. I had a problem setting up the system and my friend Johnny came over and helped me out with it, but eventually I moved to a Surface Pro, sort of a downgrade but so much easier to travel with and maneuver. The Cintiq was tethered to the computer and there was no keyboard so it made some things difficult.


Working on my red Surface Pro

I keep toying with the idea of going back to the Cintiq from the Surface Pro, because the Cintiq is so much smoother and really is the top of the line, but I am still happy with the Surface pro and doing a single panel is easy and doesn’t need much room like a full comics page or strip would need.

Anyway, you can see Tomversation the comic at these three locations:

I’ve been asked why it’s tomversation.toons and not just Tomversation – I do own Tomversation on Instagram and Facebook, but I’ve been using them for personal photos and things so long that it would be hard to transfer and switch names. I tried.

You can subscribe to my blog now. Receive Tomversation via email
each time I publish Click here. 


Caronavirus is our Jaws


Mayor Vaughn wants the beaches open.

I was watching Jaws the other day. I don’t know if it’s my favorite movie, but I must have seen it 100 times. Every time I come across it on tv, I stop what I’m doing and I watch.

I happened to turn it on in the exact scene that reminded me of Florida these days. Mayor Larry Vaughn of Amity Island in Jaws wants the beaches open for July 4th through the whole summer, while the police want the beaches closed to protect people from the shark, the mayor wants the beaches open; sort of like the dolts in Florida these days who feel the beaches should be open, just adding to the spread of caronavirus.

No sheltering in place for these idiots.

The reason I like Jaws is not about the shark, the part I like is the little beach town in New England and that point in time, the mid 1970s. I love that. It reminds me so much of the Hamptons where I spend part of the summer with my cousins and I am hoping to be able to be there this summer, but if these idiots in parts of Florida are still spreading the virus by opening beaches and other businesses, who knows what summer will bring.

You can subscribe to my blog now. Receive Tomversation via email
each time I publish Click here. 

Three stories about today

CBS Sunday Morning had some great stories this week, they were all feel good stories about the caronavirus and our sheltering in place. This first one is of interest to me because I’ve been thinking it – it’s about the backgrounds you see on people’s zoom reporting. It’s funny. I like the Lady Gaga one because she is always all out there being the most of the most and yet her home background is so plain – it’s her home office. Others go out of the way to show off awards and things like that.

I often wonder what I would show. I don’t zoom, I do Facetime, but with people who know me and have been here, so I don’t have to choose a background to impress.

Another story was about artist Nadir Nelson and his work. He’s an award winning artist and you can see why here.

Beven Strickland of North Carolina got up off her couch and headed to NYC to help in the hospital. It’s a beautiful story about a beautiful hero.

You can subscribe to my blog now. Receive Tomversation via email
each time I publish Click here. 

Enough with the solitude already


This sheltering in place is starting to get to me. A couple of weeks ago (was it a couple of weeks, or one week or a month, who knows anymore at this point) I said that I could live like this – alone in the woods or in Alaska in solitude. But this has gotten old faster than I thought. Maybe I could be alone in the woods for a week now, maybe a few days.

It’s early Saturday morning. I miss getting up and heading to the gym on Saturday mornings, in the quiet, where the village is quiet and free of people. Wow, there I go again, liking to be free of people. But I mean only when I’m out early in the morning at the gym. Then of course after the gym at breakfast – I like it quiet then. Then when I get home and watch tv. On Saturday mornings I watch a bunch of cooking shows on PBS, I barely boil water, but I find the cooking shows very relaxing. I like to eat, I don’t like to cook. After that I do my day whatever that is, but of course it always involves people, which is the big thing missing now – people.

I’m rambling on. I keep thinking of summer, hoping we will all be set free and can travel and have a normal world, but how will that be? Will we still be wearing masks when out in public? What will the subway be like? What about bars and restaurants? I’m sure hand shaking is a thing of the past, but I don’t care about that, and that ubiquitous kiss on the cheek or both cheeks will end, that I will not miss, I was never a fan of that.

One day at a time, that’s how I’m taking it. My life moved in slow motion for so many years. I would tell people that a week felt like a month. I didn’t know the reason why and I didn’t want to know out of fear of ruining that. It’s a great thing when your life moves in slow motion, but now it’s moving fast, which is kind of weird since you would think out of pure boredom it would move slow, but it’s the opposite. It’s Saturday again? Wasn’t it just Saturday?

I keep thinking of years from now when we tell young people what it was like in 2020 – how the whole world shut down, how we were all in self isolation, under house arrest. I don’t wish to rush my life, but I sort of look forward to the future.

Spring cleaning


So I’m getting ready for the big move. No, I haven’t put my place up for sale yet and I haven’t been house hunting, but I have been cleaning out closets and draws, trying to lighten the load by getting rid of things I don’t need. Also, it’s something to do while cooped up at home.

I’m donating them.

Look at this book, very interesting, ended up at the top of the pile.

I never read it. I didn’t read most of these books. For a few years, I was receiving books daily, sometimes three to four books a day. They were coming from publishers who wanted me to review their books! I don’t know how I got on the lists, but all the big publishers sent me books – Doubleday, Random House, Simon & Schuster, etc. I didn’t know how to get off the lists so I kept receiving them and one day after maybe three or four years it stopped.

They are filling up the house. It’s time to get rid of them. Most books these days I read on Kindle. But to be honest, if I wasn’t planning on moving, I would keep them. It seems like all the people in the know have lots of books!