It’s all about the animals

the-zoo

There’s another tv show I’m addicted to now that I have found now that I’m home a lot – on Saturday night’s I watch The Zoo on Animal Planet. I also watch Saved By the Barn after that. The Zoo is rerun at all times during the week, too.

The Zoo is about backstage at zoos – mostly the Bronx Zoo but also there are zoos in Australia and the UK and other areas of the US including San Diego and Columbus, but the Bronx Zoo is featured mostly. It’s so sweet to watch how much the zookeepers love and respect the animals and how they dedicate their lives to them. It’s quite interesting, too; you learn a lot and you get attached to the people, almost as friends in my head now.

During the time that tigers tested positive for covid19 at the Bronx Zoo, they addressed it on the show. The tigers are all well now.

saved-by-the-barn

Dan McKernan and one of his buddies

As for Saved By the Barn, that’s a show where a guy named Dan McKernan who goes back to his family’s large farm and he turns it into an animal rescue for farm animals where they can safely live out their lives. They rescue animals from various places and almost treat the farm as a zoo, but only for farm animals, so you wont see giraffes or elephants, it’s mostly pigs, cows, goats and that sort.

I know the next time I’m at the Bronx Zoo, I am going to be looking for the zookeepers rather than the animals, now! They are sort of minor celebs in their own right.

Baking bad

baking-bad-comicToday’s comic really makes me laugh. I don’t know if it’s the drawing or what.

I was watching Breaking Bad as I usually do on Sunday and the thought came to me. So simple, yet so funny.

I know the characters so well that I didn’t need to look at a photo for context, I just know Walter White so well. I guess this is a mixture of two of my favorite things – Breaking Bad and the cooking shows I like to watch on Saturday mornings.

Sundays are for ‘Breaking Bad’

breakingbad

Ever since we’ve been cooped up in self isolation, I’ve been finding myself watching Breaking Bad on Sundays. Usually in the afternoon I’ll watch two or three episodes. I don’t know why I’m so attracted to the show. I’ve talked about it before.

Sure the stories and acting are superb, but it’s more than that. It’s the location – the desert and Albuquerque and the darkness of their house and the dynamic between the characters – the family, I mean – the Whites and the Schraders. I love the family scenes, especially when they are all together at a backyard bbq or whatever. Of course Jesse and Walt’s relationship is special, too. And then there is all that crime and drugs thrown in.

I’ve never been to ABQ – short for Albuquerque, but it seems almost as if the place stopped in time. Like for instance if you go into a bar it may be a throwback from the 1970s, that’s what I get from watching this and Better Call Saul, also filmed on location in ABQ. I love that. Even the airport looks small and quaint and the gas stations look like 1960-70s throwbacks. The houses look to be from that period, too.

Here in Miami, everything is chrome and glass, there is no reverence for history, if it’s 20 years old, it’s knocked down for something bigger and shinier. It doesn’t look like that in ABQ. I would like to visit there real soon.

George Herriman, of Krazy Kat fame loved that area of the country. While he lived in New York and Los Angeles throughout his life, he spent a lot of time in ABQ – it’s obvious in his drawings and Krazy Kat backgrounds. I don’t know if I lived there in another life or what, but I’m always drawn to the area.

Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, Ray Donovan and Shameless. All my favorite shows at the moment. And the weird part of this is that for all except for Saul, I started watching after their run or toward the end – you know, not from the beginning from when they first went on the air.

My earliest memory involved a cartoon

fredflintstoneOver the years when I’ve been interviewed, I have been asked who my cartooning influences are. The first is Hanna-Barbera and next is Charles Schulz. I remember drawing Fred Flintstone as a little kid, maybe I was five years old or younger.

I think, because The Flintstones seems like it was for adults, so I am not sure why I would love it so much.

But I do know that my earliest memory of all time, you know, in my whole life, my earliest memory was me, at two or three years old, running around our Brooklyn apartment – naked – trying to get away from my mother, who was trying to get me in the bathtub and Huckleberry Hound was coming on the tv – the theme song was playing! I can sort of picture that.

huckleberryhoundI don’t think I have an earlier memory, so it’s quite interesting that a Hanna-Barbera cartoon is my earliest memory. Is that crazy? I’m surprised I didn’t draw Huckleberry all the time. But I do know I used to love those Hanna-Barbera cartoons – along with The Flintstones it was Huckleberry and Yogi Bear and Quick Draw McGraw and so on.

I’m trying to not change the subject of what’s happening in our country these days, but need to post here daily and don’t wish to repeat what you see on the news every day. It almost reminds me of Al Roker and the weather – the news people show murder, rape, riots and then, “Here’s Al with the weather!, which I’ve always found stupid.

Alaska is beautiful, but . . .

I’m still watching all those Alaska/wilderness shows like “Life Below Zero” and all, that I discussed here before, but I’m now wondering why these people put themselves through all that misery. I understand the wanting to be alone part, but the cold and misery. What is the point of living in 40 below zero. When Sue, the older lady breaks down on her snow machine and can’t get it through the snow and then needs to deal with a broken generator to try and stay warm, I wonder why.

When Jesse and his dogs try to collect enough cords of wood to make it through the winter and living without running water, because the pump broke, I wonder why. He says he prefers the cold tundra and harsh conditions to Hawaii.

And hunting marten, moose, ptarmigan, caribou and muskrat (bleh) for food or doing without. Why when in the Blue Ridge or Smokey Mountains, Harris-Teeter is not very far off.

Wouldn’t it make more sense to live in the mountains and rough it in North Carolina or on a Caribbean or South Pacific Island? They could still rough it, they just wouldn’t have to freeze to death doing it.

Do you get the gag?

who

I wrote about the “boomer” comment the other day and that makes me wonder, as I often do, “who is my audience?” I mean when you publish comics you have a demographic, but what is the audience if you publish a general interest cartoon?

I’m a boomer, but I do think younger. So can I combine the two? Will everyone get the gags?

I have often felt that if one or two gags get past a few people, so be it, it then becomes an inside joke, and I like that idea.

There’s a comic site called Comics I Don’t Understand. So I guess not every comic is understood and that’s ok.

My goal is to have readers of all generations. Why not? Today entertainment is segmented from movies to music to tv. There are so many different genres and they all cater to different elements of society. It’s micro-segmented. There was a time when there were a few tv channels and we sort of all watched the same thing, then cable came into being and there were hundreds of channels. I saw an ad recently for some sort of tv service that offered 2000 tv channels, is that possible?

Years ago I used to read the tv ratings in the newspapers. Once a week they listed the top 10 or 20 shows for the week – they had two lists – one for white America and one for people of color. And it always amazed me that they were nowhere similar. Seinfeld was number 1 on the white America list but at the bottom of the list or nowhere on the list for people of color! And vice versa, the shows that they watched, white America didn’t seem to watch.

Of course it’s the same with music, movies and so on.

share

I have more followers on Facebook than Instagram. I know that Facebook is not a favorite with the younger generation and Instagram is, so if I want that younger audience, I need to step up my Instagram game. But also, Facebook has a “share” feature which is used often on my work, Instagram needs a “share” feature. That will help tremendously. Look at this comic above, only posted 10 minutes on Facebook and already 13 shares! By the end of the day I expect over 100 shares. This is the beauty of Facebook.

You can see the Facebook site at facebook.com/Tomversation.toons and Instagram at instagram.com/tomversation.toons. By own cartoon website is at TomFalco.com.

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

Jerry Stiller – Frank Costanza to you

jerry-stillerJerry Stiller passed away last night. As I watch all these tributes to him on tv I am finding myself needing to revisit Seinfeld. I watch now and then, but not on a regular basis. I mean I’ve seen every episode 100 times, but I haven’t watched for awhile.

When I see reruns now I can almost remember where I was when the episode was on for the first time in the 1990s. Thursday night was Must See TV.

When I am in New York, it’s all about Seinfeld and it has been over the years. It seems that every single person in New York City is a Seinfeld aficionado. Everything that happens can be compared to a Seinfeld scene.

Just last week my cousin called me from New York he had something happen to him and he said, “what does this remind you of? and I answered, “such and such episode of Seinfeld.”

When I am in the city I go up to Tom’s Diner which is the exterior for Monk’s Restaurant on Seinfeld.

My parents loved Stiller & Meara. When I was a kid we saw them in the street in the city one time and my parents were excited. They didn’t go up to them, but they pointed them out and said, “Look, there is Stilla and Meara.” They were that big at the time. But of course I know Jerry Stiller from Seinfeld and King of Queens, where he stole every scene. If you ever get a chance, check out these Seinfeld outtakes here on YouTube there are many videos of outtakes. Hysterical.

Here is a short one. I heard they had to redo this scene so many times because no one could keep a straight face while filming.

 

Christmas in July

miss-fisher

Miss Phryne Fisher

I was watching Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries the other night and it was Christmas in July. The show takes place in Australia and it turns out that Australia has two Christmases. They have the regular one on December 25 and another in July.

You see, in December, it’s summer in the southern hemisphere, so to have a snowy and cold Christmas, they do it again in July, which is the coldest month. I never heard that before. Imagine having two Christmases. It’s hard enough having two!

It’s like living in the wilderness

railroadThere are a couple of Alaska-based shows that I like, “Railroad Alaska” “The Last Alaskans,” and “Life Below Zero.” All based on the solitude of Alaska.

Living in solitude myself these last few weeks is agreeing with me. I’m not anti-social, but I am a loner.

These tv shows are about people living out in the Alaskan wilderness. I’ve also watched “Alaskan Bush People,” and other shows and they all are the same – survival in the wilderness.

Alaska Railroad is one of my favorites. It’s about two trains that go from south to north each day and you see the adventures along the way. One train carries cargo – building supplies, tractors, big items for the oil fields, etc. and the other train carries passengers.

The passengers aren’t at train stations, they literally flag the train down in the snow. And the people don’t ever seem to live near the train tracks; many walk miles to get to the train and then they head to get supplies or for doctor visits and things like that.

Most adventures happen along the way without the trains – where their are avalanches or earthquakes or things that would harm the trains and the tracks and crews have to fix the problems before the trains arrive. It’s really good.

The Last Alaskans is about people who live in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, which is in the northeast corner of the state. The refuge is the size of South Carolina and there are only seven cabins permitted. Eventually, the people will have to leave and the whole place will be wilderness after the last child of the current lease holders dies. The show tells their stories.

And Life Below Zero is about people surviving all around the state, you see how they spend their daily lives surviving in the wilderness.

I only bring up these shows because I feel as if I am living like that now. I’m just basically living off the land or on what Instacart or Amazon bring me. They never get the orders right, so I eat what I get. It’s an adventure, you adapt like they do in the Alaskan wilderness. Well, sort of. Of course, I am in Florida and not in the snowy forest and I don’t have to leave the house and trudge anywhere or hunt for food. So basically I’m not really living in the wilderness, but it feels like it sometimes – the comfortable parts, where I don’t have to work for my food and shelter. And hoping for toilet paper to be in one of the deliveries (I finally go it after trying for weeks).

There is another show called The Deadliest Catch. It’s about fishing in rough Alaskan waters I don’t watch that but I had a friend who did – a friend named Alex who watched the show and then took off for Alaska to work on the boats! He was a waiter at a local restaurant, one day he just told me he was taking off to work on the fishing boats in Alaska that he saw on tv, and that was that, it was about eight or 10 years ago. Every once in awhile at the beginning I would get a butt dialed call from him – I would hear shuffling and scraping and movement in the background, but no talking and I would imagine that all that scraping and shuffling was him reeling in lots of seafood. I haven’t received a call in years. Hope he is ok.