The price of gas; and coffee

This cartoon from Friday really hit a nerve with people. It got so many shares, likes and comments, more than any other I think.

A lot of people were saying they didn’t like it because it made no sense – how can you compare one cup of coffee to gallons of gasoline? But the point of the cartoon is that if a guy buys a $5.00 cup of coffee, most likely he is doing it daily and most likely, he is doing it more than once a day, so for him to complain about the price of gas is disingenuous. Plus, anyone who buys $5.00 coffee really has no right to complain about the price of gas. It’s just a big metaphor. That’s all. Sort of like Elon Musk complaining about the price of a space rocket.

And yes, I know gas is more than $3.00. I was surprised to see some of the comments from Norway and other far away places where gas is $7.00 a gallon! But it was cleaner to read making it $3.00 a gallon rather than $3.79 a gallon or $3.99 a gallon or even $4.00 a gallon, since $4.00 was too close to the $5.00 amount of the coffee.

I was driving around my county the last few weeks and saw that gas in less populated areas is much less than popular and more upscale neighborhoods. Some differences as much as 50 cents a gallon and these places are harder to get to than popular neighborhoods and areas. So none of it makes sense other than supply and demand I guess.

And might I add that Shell gas stations are always more than any other station on any give day at any time of the year. I gave up buying Shell gas years ago. For spite I think they are higher in price. If one station is $1.99 a gallon, Shell, across the street is $2.29 a gallon. If gas is $3.79 at one station, at Shell across the street, it is $4.15 a gallon. I think they do it to see how many people are too lazy to drive across the street for the cheaper gas – and it’s not cheaper brands, it’s name brand gas that is cheaper than Shell. Always.

Get my blog via email when it’s updated Click here.
Go ahead, sign up – I won’t spam you.

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.

Get my blog via email when it’s updated Click here.

Lines, lines, everywhere there’s lines

I’ve been all over the county this past month and every once in awhile as I’m traveling around by car, I come upon lines. They are out in the traffic lanes, usually spilling out into the right lane and they are endless. That’s where I got the idea for today’s cartoon.

I am assuming they are covid testing lines, or possibly they are vaccine lines or are they food giveaway lines? If we lived in a snowy area, I might assume they are snow delay lines, like what happened last week on I-95 in Virginia.

After Hurricane Andrew in 1992, our county – Miami-Dade, was devastated. There was nothing. No place to eat, no place to shop, no place to do anything. Devastation.

Every once in awhile as you drove around, you would see a line. And we would just get in the line. We didn’t know what the line was for, but we knew it was something we needed, because we had nothing left! So we would park the car and stand at the end of the line. Waiting, to see what was up front.

One time I was driving by Eckard Drugs with a friend, and we stopped. We got in line and when we reached the front, it was for batteries they were giving out. Another day, it was at another location and it was food, another time it was ice.

When I drive by these long car lines these days, it reminds me of that time so many years ago.

Get my blog via email when it’s updated Click here.

10 With Tom


I started a website for my 10 With Tom columns.

Over the years, I had these published in the Huffington Post, my own blog, Medium and other publications. I’ve interviewed, cartoonists and featured cartoons and comics and artists, comic strip creators including Jason Chatfield, Rina Piccolo and Scott Adams, among so many others. . But I’ve also interviewed authors, designers like Betsey Johnson and even Ryan Holt from Naked and Afraid.

I was was planning on doing more interviews for the Huffington Post, but I thought these columns should have a home of their own, rather than be at other websites. They live on forever and are always being seen and read.

Some of these stories have hundreds of thousands of readers, The Stephan Pastis article has over 1 million views! So why not have people read them on my own site, rather than other places? I wouldn’t mind 1 million hits! Huffington Post, Medium, and various newspapers didn’t promote the stories, people found them by doing searches, so why not have readers find the articles on my own site, right?

I now have 10 With Tom here, where you can find some of the past interviews and where I’ll add new ones shortly.

You can subscribe to 10 With Tom, and you’ll only receive 10 With Tom interviews (not this Tomversation blog, that’s a separate subscription), but I’m not sure if all the past stories I added will come up as one big email for your first email that you receive after subscribing. So if that happens, forgive me. You’ll usually just receive one interview after it is published.

It won’t be a daily thing, I’ll publish randomly.

I have to get out more

I drove 30 miles south from home and while down in Homestead (a city south of Miami), I stopped to get gas. My credit card was declined three times at two different gas stations.

Then later in the day, I got a call from Citibank, claiming my card was being used fraudulently. I had to confirm it was me using the card so they would unlock it. They said it was “out of my buying pattern.”

I guess I never really leave my neighborhood and I only buy gas around home, so when they saw the attempts to charge 30 miles away, they freaked out.

I’ve been thinking of taking a road trip. That’s going to be some experience every time I attempt to buy gas along the way.

I remember when I used to go from one end of the county to the next – all in one day, for work – the county is larger than the states of Rhode Island and Delaware combined. And there was a period where I drove 100 miles a day, just to hang out with friends, night and day. Now I usually drive about three miles a day. But the weird thing about this incident is that I was using the card in my own home county, still considered to be part of Miami. I am glad to see they are trying to stay on top of fraud though.

I remember some years ago, I got a call from American Express. They said their was fraud on my card. I asked how they know, they said someone was trying to buy motorcycle parts, and they knew that wasn’t me. About a month later, I got a call from Visa – they said something about fraud, too. Their reasoning was that someone was trying to by Avon, and they knew it wasn’t me. So I fall somewhere in between motorcycle parts and Avon!

I have protected the cards all these years – I use those protective sleeves and so far, so good. I had seen some people, try to skim my card, but luckily they didn’t get through the protective shield around the cards.

Get my blog via email when it’s updated Click here.

West Side Cowboys

This cowboy is William Connolly on 11th Avenue on December 18, 1932. One of the last West Side Cowboys.

Have you been to The Highline in NYC? I came upon these pictures online, which preceded The Highline and the Elevatated tracks that are The Highline now. But these pictures depict an interesting time in NYC.

The trains used to go right up 11th Avenue, they literally were on tracks, sort of like trolleys. They started in 1846 for industrial reasons – bringing goods and services to that area, which became the Meat Packing District among other things.

So freight trains shared the streets with horses and buggies and eventurally cars and trolleys. But here is the amazing part – people would get hit by the trains at times. I don’t know how you don’t hear a freight train coming down the street, even at slow speeds, but people would acutally get hit.

So the City Council hired men to ride horseback in front of the trains and they would yell out to warm pedstrians. They became known as West Side Cowboys. In the early 1930s the Cowboys days ended because the trains were taken off the streets and became elevated (Els) and eventually went underground as subways.

Get my blog via email when it’s updated Click here.

Where are the newspapers?

Today’s newsstands – no news – but lots of candy and drinks.

I was in Boston and New York for a few weeks in November and I only saw one newspaper the whole time. It was on Thanksgiving morning at one of my cousins’ houses. She had the NY Times on her dining room table. The rest of the time I did not see any newspapers. No Boston Globe or Boston Herald. No NY Times, NY Post, Newsday or Daily News. Nothing.

Until a few years ago, I would see some at the newsstands. Some – not a lot. These days the “newsstands” sell candy and drinks. That’s it. Maybe an iPhone accessory or two, but gone are the days of actual newspapers.

I noticed at Hudson News in Grand Central, there are no newspapers and if there are – they are few and far between. They seemed to have cleaned the place out – the once cluttered store is now basically empty. Same with Hudson News in the airports. I was in three Hudson News locations in JFK Airport in November, and I tried to find some newspapers. Not one in any of the Hudson News locations.

Now this is a newsstand – an image from yesteryear.

I subscribe to the Miami Herald at home and am lucky when the paper arrives. I complained once and in return I received a nasty hand written note from the delivery girl, telling me I am lucky that I get a newspaper at all! No joke. Oddly enough, the day I was heading to Boston, I was waiting out front about 6:30 am for Uber. The news delivery girl drove up in her car – onto the lawn, did not get out – handed me the newspaper, backed off, and was on her way.

I remember when I delivered the Long Island Press as a boy. That’s a long story I won’t go into, but we didn’t do anything like that. We actually serviced the customers. I remember when it snowed, I walked around the block with the papers piled up on a sled.

Anyway, I was born in the wrong time period because if you are a regular reader of this blog, you know I worship newspapers – printed newspapers, but over the years, I have read them less and less. They seem to be phasing out and that’s a sad thing. I wonder what it was like in the days of cities like NY having 14 daily newspapers – morning and evening editions.

I remember in the 1980s when the NY Post and the NY Daily News competed fiercely. There were maybe eight editions a day. It seemed that every time you walked by a newsstand in one day, the front page headlines were different with the different editions. I miss those days. Well, hell, I miss everything about the 1980s.

Receive Tomversation via email each time I publish Click here.

Travel plans for the new year

Will Comic Con be affected by my travel plans in 2022?

Got most of my Christmas shopping done. Did it online. Now I just sit back and wait for the deliveries. I also made some donations to various causes, including Wikipedia! I had never donated to them before; an ad popped up on Facebook for them so I donated. I use them almost daily, so why not? I kept ignoring that thing at the top of their page this time of year, but some reason, the Facebook ad worked on me.

I know I should shop local, and I do. But I gave up mall shopping years ago, although the last time I was in a mall wasn’t that long ago. For my mother’s funeral in October, I needed a new pair of pants to go with my black suit. I put on a few pounds during the pandemic and the pants didn’t fit. So I want to the mall with a friend, got a new pair of black pants and we had lunch. So we shopped local.

Glad to say since I have been back to working out, I don’t need those over-sized pants. But I’ll save them just the same.

Speaking of suits, I was making airline plans for a wedding I have to got to in September. The reason suits reminded me of that is because I seem to only wear suits at weddings and funerals. The issue with the wedding date that it is going to screw up my NY Comic Con for 2022. The wedding is about three weeks before Comic Con, so I can either stay in NY for those three weeks or come home after the wedding and then go back again a few weeks later, which I don’t think I’ll do.

I was talking with a friend the other day and was telling her that after my long trips, I come home and totally forget them. Not on purpose, but I tend to forget the fact that I left town and I’m just right back into my routine here at home. I was just in New York and Boston and basically have no memory of Boston. Well, I do, but I have to actually sit down and think about it, it’s not like it just comes to mind as a recent memory.

My friend said the trick is to travel for short periods – like maybe three days – and go to many different places. I may just try that. I’ve been doing the opposite – going for long periods of times, but what is the point if I return home and feel as if I never left the house?

First world problems.

Receive Tomversation via email each time I publish Click here.

Union Square

It’s not Christmas without a visit to the Union Square Green Market. Seeing people carrying Christmas trees through Manhattan really sets the season. I love the Green Market on Saturday mornings. It’s a ritual when I’m in town.

We went to The Hamptons for the Holiday parade on Saturday, but I stopped by the Green Market first.

There’s a holiday bazaar every years – booths set up at one end of the park. The same thing is set up in Bryant Park behind the library and in a space inside Grand Central Terminal.

Receive Tomversation via email each time I publish Click here.

The Southampton Annual Tree Lighting and Parade of Lights

We made it back to the Southampton Christmas parade this year. We had gone a couple of years ago and last year it was canceled due to the pandemic. I love it for so many reasons, the parade is fun and the tree lighting at the end of the bar is even more fun, but the idea that all of the small villages at the east end of Long Island get together and celebrate with a parade is so quaint. Southampton along with East Hampton, Sag Harbor, Shelter Island and all the others taker part.

My cousins and I hang out for the day, we eat – on Saturday, before the parade, we at at the old standby – the Southampton Publick House.

I wasn’t sure if we would go this year. My cousins had planned to go to the lighthouse lighting event in Montauk, which is just as great, but so much longer to get there. But I put a little bug in one of my cousin’s ears at Thanksgiving and left it at that. By Saturday, we were on our way. Was there ever any question?

Receive Tomversation via email each time I publish Click here.