Today’s cartoon is about a peacock, or rather a peacock feather. When I looked at my personal Facebook page today, it featured a memory from two years ago – peacocks crossing the street. I don’t know how to show that here, but that isn’t the point, the point is that a sign like that means I am in the right place at the right time. According to my friend jak anyway.
jak always said that if you read a word and hear a word at the same time, that’s a sign that you are in the right place at the right time and coincidences like that always mean the same thing.
Where I live, we have peacocks all over the place. Some people love them, others hate them. I love them. But a few years back there was an issue that got in the news about people wanting to get rid of the peacocks. They would round them up and send them to a farm somewhere, which makes no sense, since they will never get them all, they are always proliferating.
NPR called me up to interview me on the radio about the birds. I talked to them about 15 or 20 minutes and I told them that I loved them and that they were part of the character of the neighborhood. I did say I could understand how people despised them because they were dirty, loud and they pecked at their reflection in cars in people’s driveways, which ruined the paint job.
The interview ran on the radio and it was picked up by newspapers all over the country. But what the newspapers did was pick up my comment about them being dirty, loud and a nuisance. They didn’t pick up the part where I said they should be left alone because they are loved by most of us and they are part of the village and village life!
One newspaper wrote a story and as is the case, newspapers all over the country picked this piece of news up. My uncle read my quote in the NY Post of all places! They ran my quote about them being loud.
I was in the Chicago Tribune and Michigan newspapers, Los Angeles, the Midwest, all over – I was branded a peacock hater, which was the total opposite! They all chose to run the negative comments, which really weren’t negative, they were just facts about the peacocks. I’ve always defended the peacocks, but that part they ignored.
It was a bit funny, except the people in the village where I live were not pleased with me. Since the original interview was on the radio, I didn’t have anything in writing to defend myself. But I was part of our peacock mascot project some years back where people painted and designed about 50 of those cement art pieces that you’ve probably seen in different incarnations and animals around the country (cows, dogs, cats, etc.). And I used the peacock as my business logo for years. So I am a peacock fan.
Anyway, I guess I’m in the right place at the right time today since the cartoon and one of the peacock memories popped up on Facebook today. Right?
Still lots of things going on this season. I missed the Lake Worth Chalk Festival last weekend and a few other art events, but managed to get to this past weekend’s Gifford Lane Art Stroll, which is a block party in our village. It’s a yearly thing – 25th year, this year and it brings out the whole village. It’s like a tv show where the full cast shows up for an event and they are all in one scene.
It was also “305 Day,” on Sunday, which is the area code for Miami and on March 5 (3/05).
The hit of the block party is cucumber punch which is delicious on a hot day, which always seems to be the case for this event each year – it’s been a cool winter, but Sunday was totally hot.
The first year I went, 20 years back, I didn’t know the cucumber punch had gin in it, and I really had my fill, I was feeling no pain. Now that I know the ingredients, I take it easy.
They used to serve the gin at a friend’s house where everyone lined up outside his green door and he and his wife and friends would serve it up to thousands. I guess after 23 years they felt enough was enough with the non-stop traffic through their house, so they have it out in someone else’s driveway now. So last year, I went to the driveway for the first time and got some punch and people started talking to me. But the homeowner was not having it, she started yelling, “Tom, you have your punch, now get out of here!” I couldn’t argue with her, because she is 97 years old! She’s a spry 97, but still.
This year while it was outside her house, she wasn’t around. She’s an avid bike rider at her age, so maybe she was out bike riding!
Anyway, it was a great day, I think I saw everyone I know there which is always nice. There’s a lot of food, live music and kibitzing. A perfect day for a small village.
Lots of art shows and boat shows and all sorts of things on President’s Day Weekend. I spent a lot of time out and about with family and friends. First day was hot and humid, second day not as bad and on the second day, I seemed to know every other person that walked by, it was nice.
I parked my car far away from the festival, most of us do, so that when we leave, we aren’t stuck in all that traffic which is on top of the events. When I walked back to my car Saturday, I was dying. I was telling people it reminded me of the final day of Naked and Afraid where people are trying to make it to the extraction point and barely making it. I have a habit of not drinking, or eating, and it catches up with me.
We spent a lot of time at the children’s area, both days, where I still have Baby Shark playing in my head, but one area I liked is where there were easels set up and small kids painted. Some of the work was amazing. One eight year old girl did this fish painting that reminded me of Matisse or something similar. Amazing to see how the children created things. I noticed one interesting thing – the kids draw a lot of trees and water, which is what we are surrounded by and interestingly enough, the trees are palm trees! We are in Miami, so they paint what they see, what they know.
I would have taken pictures of the art, but parents don’t like strange men taking pictures of their kids’ art and especially their kids.
The paintings take forever to dry and they don’t offer to frame them which would be a great little business in itself, so after waiting a long time for the things to dry, they just sadly end up in the trash. All that beautiful work just thrown away. Not a good finish to all that creativity.
We had our usual hot tea and scones at the English tea room which is always part of the event, and listened to fantastic music by local bands. One great band had five or six members and I personally knew three of them, which was cool.
I may pop over again today for day three. I usually go all three days only because it’s hard to get back into the neighborhood once you leave due to all the traffic. So we’re sort of stuck here until the circus leaves town.
This New Yorker cartoon by Ellis Rosen made me laugh, and cringe.
I live on the water; well, at the water’s edge. I could almost jump out of my window and be in Biscayne Bay and for all the years I’ve lived here (20 years), I’ve thought of the issue of over-development. I’ve looked out over the bay and thought, “What if someone wants to build some sort of condo or something a few feet out from my seawall, literally in the water on stilts or landfill. Is that possible?”
It would be the same if you lived on a lake or river or any open space. Of course it happens on open land all the time. You have a forest in front of you for years and the next thing you know, it turns into a housing development.
And here in this cartoon is something so similar. This looks like an oil rig.
On Florida’s Gulf coast there are permitted sites where oil rigs and gas wells can be drilled, but currently while permitted, they have not been drilled. In 2010 there was an oil rig explosion in the Gulf, which killed 11 people and polluted the water. Sludge is still popping up onshore.
On the Atlantic Coast, I remember some years back, every time you walked the beach, you managed to step in black gooey oil slicks which smelled and of course polluted the area, not to mention your feet. I believe those were caused by cruise ships. I haven’t seen that problem for years, so apparently something was done.
Anyway, back to the cartoon – it reminded me of my thoughts over the years of looking out my window and seeing some structure being built out in front of me – in the water – in the Bay. As it is, our small village is turning into a city. As you look out over the village you see construction cranes dotting the sky. Greed. It’s all about greed. Nothing else. “Let’s destroy a small arts and sailing village to add high, sun blocking, traffic enhancing buildings,” is how the developers and city leaders think. Screw the quality of life, it’s all about money.
We had a parade yesterday – the King Mango Strut, started in 1982 it’s usually the last Sunday of the year, but this year it was a week later, on Sunday, Jan. 8.
It’s a great small-town event and the best part is that most people know each other. It’s like Cheers, where everybody knows your name.
It was put off a couple of years due to the pandemic, but it was back this past weekend and it was so much fun. There are bands and lots of parodies of things that happened over the year – statewide, local and national. All one big parody.
It started as an offshoot of the Orange Bowl Parade and took on a life of its own. The center of town is shut down and the Strut takes over. If you haven’t seen people all year, they are sure to show up here on this very day.
So I’m starting off 2023 in a quandary. A friend and I were headed to lunch a couple of days ago. We went to one of the most popular places in town but the wait was up to 45 minutes so we left. As we walked passed the restaurant, the restaurant owner came running after us. “Oh good,” I thought, “He’s going to get us a table, slip us in somewhere.”
No such luck. He says, “Do you want to meet the new commissioner?”
We lost a City of Miami commissioner (a city council person) for our district in the City of Miami, because the elected guy ran for another office in November, and he had to give up his seat, so now they have to replace that seat for the remaining 10 months.
I didn’t want to “meet the new commissioner,” but I followed in hopes of getting an open table.
The restaurant owner brings us to this guy sitting at an empty table. Here we go, I thought, a meeting. Not lunch. I actually knew the “new commissioner,” and I’ve known him for many years. We were just speaking the week before about a village issue. The restaurant owner asked me to sit down. I asked, “Can I order then? If I sit down can I order lunch?” He didn’t answer, so I asked a few more times and finally he said yes, half heartedly.
The restaurant owner didn’t know we knew each other and his reason for bringing us over to the table was so that we, or I, could be talked into speaking up for the “new commissioner” at the city commission meeting next week – so that the commission appoints him to the seat, rather than have an election, which is what most of the residents in the district/village want – a free and fair election. Not an appointment.
What bothers me after I thought about it all later, was that the restaurant owner didn’t know the “new commissioner” and I knew each other. So why did he grab me to speak up at a meeting for a stranger in his eyes? Why doesn’t he speak up for the guy if he is so interested in him getting the seat? Probably because he worries about getting involved in politics because it would hurt his business. But I should get involved?
When the “new commissioner’s” food arrived I could tell he didn’t want us at the table. He wasn’t rude, but when I sked him if we were going to talk politics the whole time he said, “Yes, probably,” which meant to me, “Get out now while you can.” So we didn’t stay at the table to eat, we walked down the block to another restaurant but now I am supposed to speak for this guy at next week’s commission meeting. He has already texted me a number of times regarding this. My goal now is to get out of it, especially since most of my neighbors want an election and not me to speak up for this guy’s appointment.
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On Saturday, five of us drove out from the city to one of my favorite things – the Southampton (NY) Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting. It’s a yearly thing. I think it’s 60th.
Thousands of people show up for this event.
We usually do some shopping, which is what the Chamber would love us all to do and then we eat at the Southampton Publik House. Then we step outside on Main Street and the parade starts around 5 pm.
It’s mostly lit up fire trucks and ambulances from various Hampton communities on the east end of Long Island. All small, quaint, old towns. So charming.
At the end of the parade, everyone walks to the end of the block where the tree is lit. It’s a real tree, permanently in the park, it’s there 365 days a year, just not lit up until this Saturday after Thanksgiving every year. There are fireworks behind the tree and it’s a perfect evening.
Before the tree is lit, the high school choir sings Christmas songs and then there are a few speeches, People are thanked for their support and hard work in making this event happen each year. Two ladies have been in charge since the 1970s and that always brings thoughts of the small town I live in in Miami. I can picture them going to work during the year – calling the hardware store owner, asking for something to be built, calling the bank manager for a donation, and so on, throughout the year, making things happen.
It’s all so Mayberry and Stars Hollow. I love it all. I’ve been to Southampton at different times of the year – different seasons. They are all lovable and charming. So are all the Hamptons in eastern Long Island.
We did our usual October pumpkin and apple pickin’ this year, only we didn’t go up to the Hudson Valley, as we usually do, we ended up on Long Island’s North Fork because we were going to a couple of things afterwards on the South Fork – in the Hamptons. Lots of little villages filled the day.
It was gorgeous out, a bit chilly, but gorgeous, we got hot apple cider and pumpkin break and apple cider donuts and pumpkins and apples and such, but it wasn’t the beautiful Hudson Valley, which is the best part of the pumpkin pickin’ each year.
But still, we had fun and then ate in Westhampton and enjoyed a street festival then went to a bar where one of my cousins was performing, he’s a singer. It ended up being a long, but enjoyable day.
I laughed when I saw this on Facebook. It reminded me of something that happened to me a few years back, maybe 10 years ago.
I was at a meeting, covering the news for our village like I did. And at the beginning of the meeting, this guy, Joel, stands up from the dais and yells out to me in the back row, “Tom, you can stay if you keep your mouth shut and don’t say anything!”
I was dumbfounded because I never spoke at meetings, even at important City Hall meetings, I would just take notes for the news story I was writing. I didn’t speak because I didn’t want to be part of the story. I quoted everyone else, I didn’t want to quote myself.
I said, “Joel, when have I ever said one word at any meetings?” He just sat down and proceeded with the meeting. Our village was like the Gilmore Girls, you know, everyone showed up for meetings, the whole town would be there in one scene.
I don’t hold grudges, even though that was a stupid and rude thing to do and we are still friendly to this day, but I hadn’t thought of that in years until I saw this quote on Facebook.
Today’s comic almost reminds me of something that happened some years back, maybe about 10 years ago.
I had taken a friend to the doctor’s office, which is at the hospital next door. I live next to a hospital. My friend had a cancer scare. Luckily everything worked out and he was totally fine, but this was a check up for something and we went to a cancer doctor, an oncologist.
I sat waiting in the waiting room and in walks the UPS guy and after him the FedEx guy with deliveries. Both of them knew me since they were my delivery guys, too.
Both of them separately had such a worried look on their faces. They asked me if I was ok, and I don’t think they believed me that I was there “for a friend.” But it was so nice to see their genuine concerns.
It’s weird that I would have the same delivery guys as the hospital which is a huge complex. Even though I am next door, I am in a neighborhood full of houses, you can’t see the hospital from the street, it’s on a lot of property and is sort of a campus, so you would think they had their own delivery thing going on.
But then again, I would see the delivery guys in the center of the village, about a mile away in the other direction, so I guess they covered the whole zip code or something. Many times I would be walking by in the downtown area and they would give me my packages as I walked by, saving them a trip to my house later in the day. It was more of a convenience – they would do this early in the day and their schedule would have them coming to me later in the day, sometimes 6 or 7 pm. So it was nice of them to give me the packages at 10 am as I walked by, rather than have me wait till the end of the day.
Anyway, this cartoon reminded me of that. I didn’t get the idea for the cartoon from those situations, but after I drew it, it reminded me of those situations.