News from around the country

There are places I want to be. I don’t mean to visit, I mean to live. So I watch their tv news. My Roku tv allows me to do this – live, as it’s happening.

For years I followed the newspapers and tv news channels of places all over the US on Facebook. And now I watch the tv news. I watch Albuquerque, New Mexico; Connecticut and Charlotte, North Carolina. I don’t even know how to spell Albuquerque or Connecticut, I had to use the spellcheck, but I love these areas.

I started loving Albuquerque, thanks to Breaking Bad. I thought I wanted to be in Phoenix, AZ all these years, but I realized I like the climate in New Mexico better. It’s actually cooler. When it’s 108 degrees in Arizona, it’s 89 in New Mexico, when the low is 70 in Arizona, it’s 40 in New Mexico. I guess it has to do with the elevation.

When I was a kid, I used to imagine that I lived in a trailer in the desert. Not sure why, was that were I lived in a previous life? And then I saw Breaking Bad and there it all was – the desert – the trailer!

According to their news, Albuquerque and Connecticut are boring. There’s nothing happening in either place. New Mexico has a lot of wildfires and for the first half of the news the other night all they talked about was wildfires. And both New Mexico and Connecticut don’t have major league teams, so they talk about high school and college sports when the sports report comes on. But that is all charming in a way.

I love the southern shore of Connecticut and would love to live their except for their rough winters. I like that you can take a ferry from New London, CT to Long Island, NY and be in The Hamptons quite quickly. Not so much that I want to be out of Connecticut so quickly, but I spend time in The Hamptons with my cousins and this would make it easy to get there and even better, to the North Fork of Long Island, which I love, too. And also, with Connecticut, it’s easier to get to Upstate New York where I like to visit, especially in the fall.

North Carolina – well, there’s a big lake I like, where I would like to live in a big green forested area. I love Asheville, but it gets too cold in the winter, and it’s too far from the airport. So a nice lake in the suburbs of Charlotte is what I like.

An interesting thing with Connecticut news is that I watch the NBC channel, but there is no number attached to it. I think the whole state gets it on channel 30 from New Britain, CT. But they just call it NBC Connecticut. I watch NBC4 – KOB in Albuquerque and ABC9, WSOC in Charlotte, NC. And I watch WNBC, NBC4 from New York City, but usually only if there is a major New York story that I want to see like the Frank James subway shooter. BTW, Frank James was Jesse James’ brother’s name, wasn’t it?

I also dream of living in Tuscany, Italy, can I get their live tv news? I guess I’ll have to learn to speak Italian first to appreciate it.

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Sharing Cher; Thank you for being a friend

There is a special dedicated to Betty White on Monday night – 10 pm eastern time on NBC. This is Cher who taped this as part of the special. Cher is singing on the Golden Girls soundstage.

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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.

Christmas commercials

This commercial reminds me of my father and my uncle, who both lost their wives this year. Really sad.

And this, Publix commercial, of course, is my all-time favorite Publix commercial.

The “Last Train Home” commercial was shown for many years in the 1980s and ’90s.

The music in Last Train Home is from Still Life (Talking) an album by Pat Metheny Group, released in 1987. This Publix commercial ran from 1987 to 1996.

To this day, when Pat Metheny is performing, he’ll refer to the song as, “The Publix song.”

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It’s a subdued NY Comic Con

So I made it to NY Comic Con 2021! I hopped on a plane and got myself to NYC.

It was a bit subdued this year, the massive crowds weren’t here. They Comic Con people, Reed Pop, have been very good about covid protocols and I guess regulating the amount of people permitted into the event is one of them.

It’s all the excitement of every year, just with less people.

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NY Comic Con

I was supposed to be in New York today for the start of NY Comic Con, but I’ve been delayed, due to a family issue. Hopefully I can get there this weekend.

I am all set for my visit to the Jacob Javits Center. There is an app called “Clear” where you enter all your covid info – you have to scan a copy of your vaccine card, then scan your driver’s license, then take a current photo of yourself and then scan yourself live, to show that the photo you snapped is you!

They’re being quite careful, but still, thousands of people will be there shoulder to shoulder.

My cousin Michael is there already, he is showing his work at a booth, he’s a cartoon artist. And the photos are making me “homesick” for Comic Con.

A friend asked me yesterday what the big deal was – same thing year after year. I couldn’t explain it. It’s an experience. From the moment you get on the 7 train and see that most of the people on the train are dressed as a character from tv, movies or the comics, to the large crowds exiting the Hudson Yards train station, heading west to the Jacob Javits Center.

It’s electric. The whole four days are electric. Indescribable.

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Coming up with ideas

People always ask how I come up with the cartoon ideas. They just pop into my head. I don’t usually dwell on things, although sometimes I do, I might have a great drawing, but I hate the text, so I’ll let it sit – sometimes for months, and then the gag hits me and I change the text/wording in the cartoon.

Today’s cartoon – the Columbo – “watch one” came to me while watching (watching, see what I did there?) North Woods Law. I wasn’t even watching, I just overheard one of the officers say, “It happened on my watch, I’ll handle it.” And the rest is history. I used Columbo because he’s my favorite detective and he was popular in a past cartoon, where he used Siri for help solving a crime. And I read recently that he’s become even more popular with people during the pandemic.

This one from last year – the “Ice Hole” one, I explained once before, it came to me while watching Life Below Zero. I wasn’t really paying attention either, I think I was dozing off, and I heard Chip Hailstone, one of the people on the show, say to his kids, who were going ice fishing, “Hey, there’s an ice hole!” And it made me look up and laugh and just totally struck me as being hilarious. And voilà – there was a comic idea.

I played around with it a bit. At first there was a bear hibernating behind a bush and he heard the guys say “ice hole,” and he looked up with one eye open. It was titled, “Trouble Brewing,” but I couldn’t get the image setting right, so I made it another ice fisher.

Most times I’ll read something or see something or overhear something and just twist it in my mind for a bit. So many times I hear something and rush to write it down so I don’t forget.

After the cartoon is done, I end up changing it in some way – up until the last minute – sometimes it’s something simple like a color change, other times it’s the wording or maybe the expression on a character’s face. Never a dull moment.

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