What’s in a word?

Today’s Tomversation cartoon was influenced by the word, “orbisculate.” I got the idea from CBS Sunday Morning.

Growing up, Jonathan and Hilary Krieger’s vocabulary was enriched with a word their dad, Neil, used whenever a citrus fruit squirted you in the eye – a word they couldn’t find in a dictionary. Turns out he’d made it up! But with his passing last year from COVID, the Kriegers have set out to honor Neil by getting his word officially recognized by the publishers of dictionaries.

Their idea is to get the word used enough so as to make it become part of the English language. There is a list of uses they hope for and one was a comic strip. So I decided to accommodate them.

Here is the short story about it on CBS Sunday Morning.

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Naked and Afraid

I based the title of today’s cartoon on one of my favorite shows, “Naked and Afraid.” I actually like “Naked and Afraid XL,” better, but didn’t at first.

“Naked and Afraid” is about a man and a woman who are stranded in some god forsaken place with nothing and they have to survive for 21 days. There have been variations where there are three people, or shorter periods where fans take part, etc. Each week, it’s a different couple or set of people.

Then came “Naked and Afraid XL,” which I didn’t like at first, but then grew to love. XL is a continuation- it’s the same people in each episode for the season. It’s usually 12 people in groups of three and they eventually find each other and craziness ensues. Usually it’s people who are fan favorites or those who have been on the show before. Some times as many as five other times. They are sort of regulars.

I guess this all started with “Survivor,” which I still love, but “Naked and Afraid” is more raw, although I still can’t not picture the guy behind the camera eating a burger while the naked folks suffer from not having food or a drop of water for a week. Survivor has been on hiatus due to the pandemic, but Naked and Afraid seems to have found many strange and dangerous places in the United States, where this year’s episodes have been taking place. They are usually out somewhere strange in the world, but it’s been domestic this year and the regions have been just as dangerous.

I interviewed Ryan Holt one time – one of the regulars, because I thought he was the super hero of one XL season and then the day the interview ran he disappeared on the show, supposedly eaten by a lion in Africa. At least that’s how the cliffhanger was left. But of course he ended up being ok, since he’s been on future episodes.

But you always learn something different – like that Ryan didn’t get eaten, and you learn how to skin a snake and eat it and how to avoid wild animals, but it’s all about the interaction between people. One favorite Jeff, turned out to be a schmuck in one episode – he turned out to be a selfish jerk who would catch food and eat it in front of starving people without sharing – “Let them get their own.” I never liked him since then.

I recently learned that the canvas bags they carry around are not to hide their named bits, it turns out the microphones are in there! Besides, they are naked but you really don’t see anything, it’s mostly blurred out.

It really is about human interaction and survival.

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Drawing Batman

Somebody posted an old 1966 review from Cleveland Amory in the TV Guide on Facebook, which reviews the new upcoming tv show “Batman.”

He talks about it being on two nights in a row and that if watch part 1 and miss part 2, oh well.

No VCR’s or DVR’s back in then.

I remember when I was a kid some time in the 1970s, there was a show I was watching, I can’t remember what it was, but when it was over, I said to my mother, “I wish I could just snap my fingers and be in California so I could see the show again when it comes on there during their time zone.”

I remember in 1979 or thereabouts one of my uncles got a VCR, that was the first one I saw I think, although I do remember in school they used to wheel in something similar on movie or documentary days, so maybe his was the first one I saw in a house.

One quote from the Cleveland Amory review says, “The whole show, on first impression, may not be as great.”

This of course, is my favorite Batman, and while I have drawn other versions, I stick with Adam West’s 1960s version when I draw him. I ran a Batman comic this week and have another one coming up next week. Too much?

Sometimes I wonder if I am stepping on their trademark.

There was this guy who used to do Charlie Brown-type comics daily. That was his comic – a retread of Charlie Brown. I don’t think he got away with it because I have not seen his work in a couple of years.

Maine Cabin Masters

The Maine Cabin Masters

There is a tv show I’ve been watching a lot lately – Maine Cabin Masters. I’ve been binge watching it. I really like it.

It’s a group of old friends and some family members, who renovate old cabins for clients, which they call “camps,” in Maine. The cabins are on lakes or rivers. The main three are Chase, the boss; his sister Ashley and her husband Ryan. There are also Dixie, Jedi, and Lance, who was a great character on the show, who left in later seasons.

The scenery alone is worth viewing, so much of it seems to take place in the fall and the turning leaves are amazing. The show is fun because they all have a great rapport since they know each other all their lives and also, the renovation work is great, they take old worn out cabins and turn them into spectacular places. And three words really are the main/Maine reason to love it – “Maine,” “cabin,” and “lake.” Three perfect things.

There is one thing that bothers me though, and that’s the budget. Clients give them a long list of things to do which usually consists of fixing the whole foundation, replacing the roof, replacing the outside siding, replace the flooring, sometimes redo the inside stairs, add a new outside deck, add new windows, renovate and redo the kitchen and every single thing inside, including bringing electricity and running water into the place and oh yes, add a dock down on the lake and add steps down to it, also many times, trees, huge, tall trees, have to be cleared from part of the property – and do it all for $30,000!

The crew is about eight people and the supplies have to cost way more than $30,000. The roof alone is more than that. How much would the Property Brothers charge for this? $150,000 or more? I can’t figure out how they work for months, literally a couple of months on this one job and all split the $30,000 after paying for supplies.

Now I am guessing the producers of the show pay it all, but still it’s all unrealistic. Even if they are paying for most of the salaries and supplies, etc., why not give a realistic estimate and at the end of the show have a little blurb in the credits that says the production company paid for the job. Sort of like Judge Judy, where the people who lose the cases have their loss paid for by the production company.

Other than this one little thing, I love the show. It’s comforting to watch. The hour goes by quite quickly.

Counting the days until summer

summerhouse
I see Carl and Kyle and that looks like Amanda next to Kyle and Paige next to her.

I came across this photo, which I originally posted in July 2019.

Every year when I’m in The Hamptons I look for the filming of Summer House, a tv show I watch. When I watch the show they seem to always be at bars and restaurants we go to so I’m always checking around for them. I left The Hamptons one day in the summer, in July 2019, and headed back to the city, and there they are at a restaurant some of my cousins were at the night I left.

My cousin Matt took this picture at the restaurant. He texted it and said, “Is this the thing you’re always talking about?” And it was.

I watched the recent episode last night. This year they are quarantined in the house in the Hamptons and they can’t leave. Usually they are out and about and they have big parties and hang out at the bars and beach, etc. and they go back and forth to the city each week and then hit the summer house on the weekends.


I made my plans again for this summer. I had missed last summer due to the pandemic – first time in years, and hopefully I’ll be there this summer. I’m not sure why I like the show so much, but I think it has to do with the fact that I am there when they are there and I am at places they are going to, so it sort of brings the summer back to me. They usually show the episodes six months or so later, so summer is long over by the time it’s on tv, and it is a little nostalgic for the past summer.

I used to like the Fall best, and I guess I still do, but these days I really love summers. I’m not sure why, all of a sudden, but it could be due to New York. New York has a certain vibe in the summer. While it seems like everyone is gone – up to the mountains or out to the Hamptons and Montauk it’s really not like that and the city comes alive. I like tagging my Instagram pics as #summerinthecity, it has a nice ring to it.

Everyone is out on the streets – at sidewalk tables, in the parks – everywhere. It’s alive. The farmer’s market at Union Square has a special feel to it, although I love the pumpkins and eventually Christmas trees and stuff in the fall and winter. But summer is special. We spend July 4th in the Hamptons and there is always someone at the house, so it’s easy to go back and forth at any time from the city, there is always someone driving back and forth at any given time.

I do a lot of walking in New York, on this particular day, on July 1, 2019, I walked 11.1 miles! Those “flights climbed” are probably up and down the subway steps, which isn’t part of this total walking tabulation, so add whatever miles I rode on the subway to the 11.1 miles and you can see I rally got around. I remember this one day because I was flabbergasted at at all the miles I covered in one day.

I’m really looking forward to this summer. It’s hard to believe it is only a few months away. I’m dying to get vaccinated, which will be the first step to some sort of normalcy.

Pretend it’s a city

I’ve been watching “Pretend It’s a City,” on Netflix. I’m probably done with it by the time you read this.

It’s a seven part show featuring author (although she hasn’t published a book in 30 years, but I guess it’s like being an Oscar winner. You’re always an Oscar winner) and humorist Fran Lebowitz. Each episode is about 30 minutes long.

Martin Scorsese directed the series and is shown as he interviews Fran in many scenes, which fade in and out of various locations, from a quite club called Players, which was founded in the 1800s by Edwin Booth, brother of John Wilkes Booth, to being on stage in front of an audience.

The title “Pretend It’s a City” refers to Fran’s frequent mantra mostly to tourists who stop in the middle of sidewalks or do other annoying things, who she says need to realize, you are in a city – act like it! Fran is the female Larry David to me.

Some of the funniest things she talks about are New York City itself. Like, why are lawn chairs needed in the middle of Times Square? One interesting thing she says is that when she got to NYC in the 1970s, it was rough and gritty. But that’s how she knew New York since it was her New York at the time. She had nothing to compare it to. People who arrive today expect to see the lawn chairs in the middle of Broadway and that’s their New York.

She hates the no smoking inside rule. She says that artists and creative people meet and mingle over drinks, music and smoking. What if Picaso had to run out to smoke a cigarette every once in awhile, “Think of all the things he would have missed,” she says.

It’s all funnier and hits home when Fran tells it. Try the first episode, I think you’ll stick around for all seven.

Fran talks about so many famous people she has known. About her dislike for Warhol, her lifelong friendship with Toni Morrison and so much more.

There are lots of old scenes of “old New York” in the shows. She is really great to listen to.

My mechanic

I had a Seinfeld moment with my mechanic. No, it wasn’t like the one with Jerry’s car and mechanic, it was like the one with the barber.

My mechanic found a different size lug nut on my wheels. I had gone for new tires. He asked why it was different than the rest. I told him that he and his brother are the only two people who work on my car. I don’t know if he believed me.

It was like when Jerry changed barbers and felt guilty about it. Only I didn’t change mechanics, in fact, I can go get tires at a tire place, but I go to this guy for everything, even tires.

We then realized it was the small lug nut that is used for the spare tire. It must have been mixed up one time when I had the spare on and then changed back to the regular tire.

I told him it was like the Seinfeld episode with the barber. He knew what I was talking about and he laughed.

My mechanics don’t like how I treat the car, I just put gas in it and go. They say I run it into the ground, but I told them that when I get a new car one day, I’ll have to use the dealership because the car will be under contract.

For years I leased cars, but didn’t like having to turn them in every three years, so I bought this last car and I just keep it and keep it, it runs great. It’s a bit old, but runs great, thanks to my mechanics.

Dead Freight

I watched my favorite Breaking Bad episode on Sunday – Dead Freight. I love the titles of the episodes, they are all a play on words and brain twisters.

This is the train episode, Face Off, is my second favorite.

Spoiler alerts – don’t read any further if you haven’t seen the episode.

Anyway, there are a couple of things I question regarding the Dead Freight episode. First off, how do they know where the train car is going to be ahead of time? Lydia tells them at 2 am, yet a day or two before they set up the spot below the tracks to bury the tanks, as if it is right below their car.

And when the train has to make an emergency stop, most trains, I’m told, need a mile to stop a fast moving train. Is the train not moving that fast? Do they see the dump truck from a mile away, having enough time for them to stop?

And lastly, I hate the last few seconds of that episode. I’m not sure why they need to do that other than to show what a schmuck Todd is.

I got towed

My car got towed yesterday. I still am not sure of the circumstances because I was parked in a space that I have been parking in for years. But then again, that’s what they say on Parking Wars the tv show, all the time, so who knows.

You ever watch Parking Wars? It’s rerun a lot on different cable stations. It takes place in different cities like Detroit and Philadelphia – there are different segments, one is booting, so the show is about people booting cars around the cities, another is ticket writing and another is at the towing lot, where you go to pick up your car after it’s towed.

It sounds boring, but it isn’t. It is mostly about people’s reactions and how they handle the situations.

Well, when I saw my car was gone, my Parking Wars knowledge kicked in. I called the towing place and got all the info I needed, you know – the cost, the location to get the car, etc., then I went to the ATM and got cash – you always need cash! You also need your license and proof of insurance according to what I see on tv.

I summoned an Uber and went to the lot. Living in a small town is strange, because as I was Ubering over, I got many texts from people telling me they heard what had happened and they wanted to know if I needed lift to the lot!

To my surprise, when I got to the lot, on a Wednesday afternoon, I was the only one there! I literally was in and out in 10 minutes! From watching the tv shows, I had expected to be there for hours, shuffling from window to window, arguing with the towing people behind the glass windows. But it wasn’t like that.

Unlike the tv show I was able to walk to my car and get my registration without an escort or pass. I also didn’t need to show proof of insurance, which explains a lot about Miami drivers. I literally did not have to show that my car was insured. I think this bothers me more than anything.

After I paid, I was set loose in the lot – alone – I got my car and drove off. All very civilized, nothing like the tv show! The whole experience took about an hour and wasn’t bad. The total cost was about $200.00, which included the towing fee, the parking ticket and the Uber! Not bad, on tv they show people paying lots more money for their infractions.

All in all it was not as bad as I had anticipated.

Charlie Brown back on broadcast tv

After screwing up Charlie Brown for Halloween, I never did get to see it this year, Apple tv has made a deal with PBS to show A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and a Charlie Brown Christmas on broadcast tv.

PBS will show the episodes commercial free on Sundays, November 22 and December 13 at 7:30 pm eastern time both nights.

Details here on the PBS website.