Tutti a tavola a mangiare! 

Ina, Christina, Rory and Mary Ann

Let me start by saying I don’t even boil water. I can, of course, but I don’t. Except to make tea. But I do love watching cooking shows. I guess it’s the same as DYI home shows, I don’t plan on renovating any time soon, or house hunting, yet I enjoy these shows, too. I find them relaxing. There’s not much thinking involved. Although I guess if you’re following the recipes, there is thinking. But since I’m not following the recipes, I don’t have to think.

Right now I have four favorite tv cooks/chefs – Ina Garten, Christina Pirello, Rory O’connell and Mary Ann Esposito.

Ina has her regular cooking show, Barefoot Contessa and her Be My Guest with Ina Garten, which I love. It’s a show where she has a famous person come to her East Hampton home and she interviews them and cooks with them. I found this show while on a plane.

The first half hour is a sit down interview where they sit at Ina’s kitchen table and talk. The best part, I think. The second half is them in the kitchen cooking and chatting, but I prefer the first part where you learn a lot about people and how they got their starts, their philosophies, etc. But now the Food Network screwed up the whole thing by having only the half hour cooking segment, and for the whole hour, you have to subscribe to a streaming service. So you now have to pay for the best part.

I read a reader’s comment somewhere that says the celebs are bubbleheads and this person who left the comment didn’t care what these “bubbleheads” had to say. He felt the cooking segment was the best part, but I feel the opposite and I don’t find Stanley Tucci, Emily Blunt, Marcus Samuelsson, Nathan Lane and Julianna Margulies, bubbleheads, quite the opposite. They all have very interesting stories about their lives and how they got to where they are now in life.

And one more show I like, which is sort of a travel/cooking show is Stanley Tucci’s Searching for Italy show on CNN. It’s excellent and knowing that Stanley grew up in Calabria, Italy, makes it more interesting. The first street I lived on as an adult was Calabria (in Coral Gables, FL), so it comes full circle in a way.

Anyway, on with my favorite cooks – Christina Pirello, hosts Christina Cooks, a half hour cooking show, where she prepares what she calls Macroterranean food. – it’s vegan Italian/Mediterranean food. No meat, no butter, sugar, etc. All natural. I mostly love her personality, she reminds me of so many people I know from the Northeast – Staten Island, New Jersey, etc. Christina is based in Philadelphia.

One thing we disagree with is that she calls Italian sauce “gravy” but we always grew up with it being called “sauce,” and she insists it’s her way, but I disagree. How many times did my mother call me up and say, “I’m making sauce tonight, you wanna come over?” By sauce she meant pasta, meatballs, whatever was made with the sauce (not gravy). Gravy is brown stuff you use on meats!

It’s funny because at Christmas, one of my nieces, a vegan, made some sort of pasta that I loved. I said to her, it’s so light, the cheese not so overpowering. She said it was vegan. I said, “Oh right, I know of this Italian cook (Christina) who uses white miso instead of parmigiana cheese and it tastes the same, only lighter.” And my niece told me that that’s where she got the recipe – from Christina and it was white miso instead of cheese in this dish!

Rory likes to use a lot of wild greens and flowers in his dishes.

Next up, Rory O’Connell. He has a half hour cooking show, How to Cook Well from County Cork farmhouse, in Ireland. He has a thick Irish accent and I love to listen to him talk. He uses such great expressions, things we wouldn’t say in the U.S.

Rory uses a lot of plants and flowers in his cooking. He sometimes goes overboard and finishes a dish covering it with so many edible flowers, that you can’t see what the main dish is below all those blooms. But I like him a lot and find him entertaining.

Mary Ann Esposito has the longest running cooking show on tv called Cia Italia. She’s messy in her cooking, very homey and friendly and cooks in her own home kitchen in New Hampshire, where she lives.

Three of the four live in places I love – Ina lives in East Hampton, NY, Mary Ann lives in New Hampshire and Rory lives in Ireland. Christina lives in Philadelphia, meh, not my fav, but I still like her.

All of the shows I watch on PBS and Ina is on the Food Network and Discovery Plus for the full hour episodes.

And as Lydia Bastianich, another favorite cook says, “Tutti a tavola a mangiare!

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She was the tv monitor

I was at the doctor’s office, in the waiting area, alone and a local channel was on the tv, showing the news. I decided to try and change the channel to the Today Show on NBC. There was no remote, but I saw some buttons on the side of the tv and I reached up to change the channel. Only for some reason, they didn’t work.

As I was doing that, I hear a lady say, “Don’t change the channel.” I turned and looked at her. She was a fellow patient. She asked me of I worked there. I told her no. I then attempted to change the channel again, but it wouldn’t change.

Again, she said, “Don’t turn the channel. I’m watching that.”

I said, “You just arrived! How were you watching this? I just wanted to put on the Today Show.” She looked at me blankly. I said, “You know, it’s a talk show.” She was horrified! “And news,” I said.

She then made talking gestured with her hands, “Talk, talk, talk, I don’t like that,” she said.

Since I couldn’t get the channel to change, I walked away. But then she said, “Ok, change the channel if you want,” as if I needed her permission.

She then said, “The banks are failing!” I guess she was panicked and wanted to watch the news.

I explained to her the banks were not failing, it was a couple of tech company banks and Pres. Biden said there was nothing to worry about. She looked at me as if she didn’t comprehend. Also, the local news was on, they literally mentioned the bank issue for 20 seconds and then went to the weather and sports. Perhaps I was changing to a financial channel to follow the banking story, maybe I wanted to put on MSNBC or Bloomberg, but she didn’t think of that.

She then walked to the other side of the room and told me to put on what I wanted. But of course, I couldn’t change the channel, so I walked to another side of the room and we ignored each other the rest of the time. I let her dwell in her ignorance and fear. She was a control freak, a tv control freak.

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Hyacinth Bucket and Doc Martin; friends in my head

Angela and Dick Srawbridge

I watch a lot of British tv – sitcoms, called Britcoms, and dramas and dramadies.

My favorite three shows right now are Escape to the Chateau, Doc Martin and Midsomer Murders; in that order. I can watch Dick and Angela Strawbridge on Escape to the Chateau forever. I’ve seen each episode so many times, it’s basically background noise at this point. I want to live with them, live in the French countryside and do everything they do, except for all the hard work.

I also want to live in Portwenn, Cornwall, where Doc Martin lives. I love small towns. And as for Somerset county in England, I don’t know if I would want to live in all these charming small villages only because there seems to be non-stop murders on a weekly basis there!

I love so many other shows, the list is countless. But what I’m finding after all these years is that I am starting to use British terms and words. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But I find it interesting.

My mother was always into British tv and movies. She loved to call a Jaguar car a “Jag-U-ar,” in that British way. And so many times when something was on tv like, Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced Bouquet) in Keeping Up Appearances or Are You Being Served, my mother would call me to ask if I was watching. My father and I would love Death in Paradise, which has been on for 12 seasons, with completely different casts, but with the same concept.

Doc Martin, driving on that side of the car, with Louisa, Aunt Ruth and PC Penhale

One thing I never understood was why British tv shows only have six to eight episodes per season. There really aren’t many episodes in a whole series. By the way, we call a tv series a whole body of work, the British call a tv season, a series.

I always use an expression from “Absolutely Fabulous” (Ab Fab) to a snob at a store – “Drop your attitude honey, you’re just a shop girl.” I think I’ve said it in my head more than saying that out loud, though. And don’t get me started on Vera, the female Columbo, or Broadchurch, which I finally got around to watching, and am obsessed with. Unfortunately, Broadchurch’s three seasons (series) are only 24 episodes total. That’s one single season on American tv. In America, that would be 72 episodes total.

I used a British expression last week that horrified me – I said, “He’s called Joe,” rather than “His name is Joe.” Ang I find myself saying Oregano as OR-E-GAA-NO. The British/European way.

And the strangest thing of all? The other day I was getting in my car which was parked at a meter at the curb and I attempted to get into the right side, the passenger side, to drive. For a moment I thought the steering wheel was on the passenger side, as it is in Britain. I draw the line at calling eggplant, “aubergene” though.

I have a friend who is the spitting image of Hyacinth Bucket, she walks and talks like her and has her build and high voice, minus the British accent. When she goes on and on about something I’ll say, “Ok Hyacinth,” and she gets it and laughs.

I do love All Creatures Great and Small and Miss Scarlet and the Duke, and Downton Abbey and so many of the newer shows on PBS.

And I know it seems that all I do is watch tv, but I do have a life – I travel a lot, draw all these cartoons you guys read daily, I own a business and run it daily, am on the condo board and for 15 years I was editor and publisher of our local news and was at every meeting and event in town for all those years. So I do manage to get things done between watching the lives of Dick and Angela and Doc Martin.

I’m thinking I’ve got to get more of these people or more British stuff in my comics. It’s there for the taking.

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Wednesday’s snowman/people cartoon really took off. It was liked and shared by thousands of people, it really went viral. You might remember a month or so ago I was having problems with social media algorithms, but it seems to have passed. Many people are back to seeing my work.

I got the idea about the snowballed kids really fast. I had a morning show on, I think the Today Show, and a guy was talking about how his social media post took off. He said it started slow and then snowballed.

And the word “snowballed’ just hit me. I heard the expression all my life, but in that moment, it struck me as something I could use for a comic. I thought of the snow people right away and I drew up the cartoon right then and there.

One of my neighbors and his wife go walking around the neighborhood daily, and I ran into them one day, we started walking together. I asked them if I was intruding and he replied with a funny quote that I think he made up himself. At that moment, I thought it would be good for a cartoon, but I just kept walking and talking and I forgot what the quote was.

A bit later, he asked where I get my cartoon ideas from. I said they just seem to pop into my head. I then mentioned the quote he had said a bit earlier and I said I thought that would make a good cartoon in some way, only I couldn’t remember it. So he repeated it and we laughed.

Unfortunately, I don’t remember it again and can’t use it. But that’s where I get my ideas – hearing things and twisting them around in my mind.

Speaking of the Today Show, Martha Stewart was on the other day, she was making her famous eggnog recipe and last week I ran that cartoon with the witches discussing Martha Stewart’s and Ina Garten’s eggnog recipes. It all comes full circle, I guess.

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I gotta cut the cord one of these days

I was having trouble with my AT&T Uverse a common problem. One day I will finally cut the cord.

My tv freezes often, it’s been doing it for years. The issue is that one of the tv’s is too far away from the main router and the signal just dies at certain times, usually at the point on a tv show where they say, “And the murderer is . . . ” or “And the winning number is . . . ” or something like that. I have a booster that AT&T installed, but apparently that doesn’t work well.

So when the tv froze, I reset the router, which I have done 100 times before, but in this case, the wifi was lost after I reset the router. So I called AT&T and a lady helped me. For some reason, my wifi lost it’s name and password I couldn’t find it on the list of routers, this had happened before. Apparently it reverted to an original router name/number like ACXVR123XXX35. She reset the name and password for me and things seemed to work. We hung up and I was happy.

I watched tv all night and then went to turn off the tv to go to bed and the tv would not turn off. The cable box would not shut down and the tv would not shut off. I tried for maybe a half hour to get it to turn off and finally just pulled the plug out of the wall, As I was doing this, the phone started ringing, it was late at night, so I ignored it. But I noticed it was coming from AT&T so I finally picked it up and wondered if they could tell on their end that I was having issues.

It was the lady from AT&T on the other end of the phone, the one who had helped me hours earlier! This has never happened before, I don’t remember them calling back to check on the issue from earlier in the day. I told her what the problem about not being able to turn the tv off and she had me do some things to fix this issue like pull the plugs out, which I had already done and wait 30 seconds for this and wait 15 seconds for that and so on. She also asked me to change the batteries in the remote. And I did it all while she held on.

Years ago, I used Earthlink to host my business website. Every time something went down, I called them and their first thing was to tell me to back up the whole website and to delete it and reinstall it. Of course, I freaked out and never did that and in the end it always was some server error on their end, which is really what I was calling about to begin with, I just wanted to be sure it was them and not something I did. It’s basically the same thing with AT&T – try everything until something works.

During all this going back and forth with the lady on the phone, I noticed I had two remote controls in the room. One was on the bed and one was in my hands. I realized as she was going through her spiel on the phone that I was trying to turn the tv off with the remote from the other room, my office. I don’t know how it got into the bedroom, but there were two in there all night and I never noticed. You would think the remotes would all work for all tvs, but they don’t. When I switched remotes to the correct one, it all worked out perfectly. The tv and cable box turned off.

I was too embarrassed to tell the AT&T lady about that, so I just said that what she told me to do on the phone was working and everything was fine now. I thanked her for her help and we hung up.

I still have red lights blinking on the booster/router in my office, but everything is working, so it will just blink sort of like a “check engine” light in the car. Just there, blinking away for no reason.

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Van Gogh in America

There is a new Vincent Van Gogh exhibit in Detroit, called “Van Gogh in America.” CBS Sunday Morning featured the museum and their plans for showing Van Gogh’s work on the 100th anniversary of their aquiring their first Van Gogh piece 100 years ago.

One hundred years ago the Detroit Institute of Arts became the first museum in the U.S. to buy a piece by Vincent Van Gogh. Now, the museum is honoring the century by featuring 74 of his works from around the world, which explores America’s introduction to the artist, who by the way, is believe to be American’s favorite artist, living or dead.

I fit in a Van Gogh cartoon whenever I can, I love him and his work so much.

I came up with this cartoon idea from the segment on CBS Sunday Morning. In the tv piece, curator Jill Shaw said, “The texture of his paint strokes is like cake icing.” And it is!

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Be her guest

Ina Garten (left) and Julianna Margulies

I barely boil water and don’t like to cook, but I love watching cooking shows. I watch them all. I find them relaxing.

I know what a chocolate ganache is, how to make a roux, I know the best way to crack eggs and I know the best extra virgin olive oil to buy, but I don’t cook. I just eat.

I was on a plane recently and I started watching an Ina Garten show called Be My Guest With Ina Garten. It’s an hour show where she has people come to her Hamptons house and the first talk for about half an hour over a drink and then they cook together. The best part is the first half hour because you learn so many life lessons from people from different walks of life. One guest is better than the other.

I’ve been DVRing the show and I watch it when I can.

The episode I watched on the plane was with Julianna Margulies where she talks about living life on her own terms. I’ve never seen ER, but she talks about leaving that show. She was offered $27 million to stay for two more seasons after she decided to leave, but she left. People talked bad about her, saying she was thinking she was too big for her britches, when in reality, she left the show to move from Hollywood to NYC where she directed a play for $270.00 a week. $270.00 vs $27 million.

Years later, she was offered the show, The Good Wife, she loved the concept, but she did not want to move back to California, so they ended up moving the whole production to New York, just for her! I have a cousin who worked on that show, as part of production and also the spin-off show – The Good Fight.

I saw Nathan Lane and Emily Blunt and Marcus Samuelsson, who has an incredible life and story.

They talk during the cooking segment, but the best part is when they are sitting across from Ina, telling their story. I learn a lot from their journeys. I’ve rolled back the episodes and watched segments again.

And of course, they go out into the Hamptons at times to shop and that’s a place I love. I was there recently this fall. And if the village of Southhampton didn’t change the schedule, I’ll be at this year’s Tree Lighting and Christmas parade again in a couple of weeks.

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Doctor Who rides again

This Doctor Who cartoon was published recently. It’s re-do of one from 2014. The original is Matt Smith as the doctor, but if you swipe the image, you can see the new doctor, David Tennant is the doctor.

David Tennant played the doctor from 2005 to 2010 and Matt Smith played the doc from 2010 to 2013, right after David. But for I think, it’s three episodes, David Tennant is back for the 60th anniversary specials. So I thought it would be cool to make the cartoon reflect that.

I know they don’t look exactly like either guy, but it’s just a suggestion in both cases because Doctor Who changes so often, that I wanted to cartoon to be timeless. When I first did the cartoon, I didn’t realize that a lady would play Doctor Who, and that happened from 2017 to 2022 with Jodi Whittaker as the doctor.

I’m not a great Doctor Who fan, I’ve only seen a handful of episodes, but the gag is obvious and it’s been done by other cartoonists over the years. I’m surprised the old Abbot and Costello bit stands up to this day, but people do get the gag and like it.

A guy left a comment on one of the published pieces of David Tennant’s Doctor Who here and said he looked like Colombo. Maybe he does by the way he is touching his chin thinking. I have done a Colombo gag or two over the years. Here is one. Similar, but no way David Tennant, not that the Doctor Who cartoon is either, but you know what I mean.

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The Great Pumpkin won’t be on broadcast tv this year

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown won’t air on regular tv this year.

I know, I know, we can watch it on DVD’s and other methods, but there’s something about knowing when it’s on broadcast tv and we are all watching together.

This year, you can only see it on AppleTV+, and it is free for a couple of days, so you can download the app on your tv or wherever and watch it from Friday, October 28 to through Monday, October 31.

And it’s the same for A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and A Charlie Brown Christmas. Those can be seen on AppleTV+ from Nov. 23-27 for the Thanksgiving special and Dec. 22-25 for the Christmas one.

I miss those old Dolly Madison and Coca Cola days when the shows were on CBS every year. Guess it’s time to move with the times.

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My idea for a tv sitcom

I saw this in the Edge City comics trip the other day and it reminded me of a similar idea I have for a tv sitcom. I’ve had the idea for a few years now. Maybe I shouldn’t share it here, but then again, I have proof of the idea here, posting it Sept. 1, 2022.

It all began one night when it was storming outside. The wind was howling, there was driving rain and it woke me up. That always freaks me out, once I’m up, that’s it for the rest of the night until the storm passes. I went to the bathroom.

In the bathroom, it was dead quiet. I couldn’t hear any of the storm outside and I stayed there for a bit. It was maybe 2:00 in the morning. My mind started wandering, what if I lived in the safe bathroom. It’s large enough. I use the shower, but never use the oversized soaking tub. There’s a closet, the toilet and shower are in a separate area with a private door. There’s a large counter where the sink is which I could use as a desk and eating area and the large tub is where I could sleep and watch tv.

And best of all, there is an exit out to the street. I could literally enter and exit the bathroom using my own entrance without going through the main house. And there is where my sitcom idea starts.

Ands so the sitcom pitch goes like this: I’m struggling to pay the mortgage. The place is large – 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and all the rest of the house. What if to save the place from being foreclosed, I move into the bathroom and rent out the rest of the house which pays the mortgage? The renters can use the other two bathrooms and of course the whole house; everything other than my bathroom and I’ll give them reduced rent to allow me to live in the one bathroom and there is the sitcom premise. I just typed “shitcom” before I corrected it to sitcom, so maybe the Universe is trying to tell me something about my idea.

Anyway, so the family is living in the main house and I’m living in the bathroom. And hilarity ensues. One time they come home and I’m lying in their bed watching tv while I’m on the phone. Another time they arrive home and I’m in the kitchen at the table eating cereal and so on. I am a part of their family, but I’m not. It sounds sort of like Kramer on Seinfeld in a way. Almost as if Kramer had his own spinoff.

I never have come up with a title, but it could be something clever, related to the bathroom being the apartment.

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