These pesky resistance bands

tom-bandsI got the idea for today’s comic from my own experience with these resistance bands. I haven’t been to the gym since we’ve been self quarantining and I really miss it. I live in a condo, so I’m not keen on using heavy free weights that will drop and bang loudly on the floor. So I decided to buy these bands.

bandsThey are ok, not great, so I may not use them, but I will give them more of a try, I may grow to like them. I’ve been experimenting and watching a few videos online to see some of the techniques on how to attach them to a door and use them.

But I do miss the free weights. Even if the gyms were open now, I’m not even sure if they are or not, I’m hesitant about going at this point in time.

The North Fork

northfork

Halyard at Sound. Photo courtesy ILoveNY

I was watching a show called TasteMakers yesterday and it featured an escargot farm in the North Fork of Long Island, NY. One of my favorite places – the North Fork, not the farm, although I love that, too. You can watch that episode here. Notice the scenery of the area – the farms, the Long Island sound, the villages.

The North Fork of Long Island is closer to New England in feel and location than it is to the rest of New York. It’s closer to Connecticut and Rhode Island than it is to NYC and the North Fork has a New England flavor. There are a lot of farms and wineries and old villages; the South Fork is where The Hamptons are and it’s more beachy.

Most people prefer The Hamptons, especially in the summer, but where I live in Miami it’s like The Hamptons, 365 days a year – so I prefer the New England-y feel of the North Fork, which is different than my normal life.

Map of Long Island

Map of Long Island

Long Island is shaped like a fish and the tail, the east end, has “two forks” – North and South. You can see here how close it is to New England, rather than NYC. That inlet just above the North Fork, in Connecticut, is New London to the left (west) of the inlet and Mystic to the right (east). Also, one of my favorite areas. The Cross Sound Ferry, is a car ferry which takes you  over the Long Island Sound, from New London which goes to Orient Point, the tip of the North Fork on Long Island. It saves driving all the way around, through Manhattan, The Bronx, and Queens and the rest of Long Island to get to the eastern end.

Anyway, there’s a place that was shown on TasteMakers regarding the farm called the Peconic Land Trust. The conserve and protect land on Long Island – 13,000 acres, which are farmed and protected from development.  23 acres are shared by farmers who are new to farming and want a place to get started, so they may be given an acre each to do their thing and try their hand at farming. The Trust encourages and helps working farms and farmers.

If it wasn’t for the cruel winters out there, I would love to live on the North Fork of Long Island. I’ve written about Riverhead before, one of my favorite towns on the north fork.

Related story: 48 Hours on the North Fork of Long Island

A little zoo confusion

There was a little confusion regarding yesterday’s cartoon. While I love people having different interpretations of a specific comic. The idea here was never to throw the boy to the lions. But let me assure you that no children were harmed in the creation of yesterday’s cartoon.

To alleviate the concern, I changed it up a little and posted both versions yesterday. Now it’s about the ice cream, I guess.

They aren’t hungry. It’s just a gag on the usual, “Please don’t feed the animals.”

The animals are regularly fed at this zoo. Those two lions looking over the wall are just being curious, they aren’t hungry, especially for the boy. His dad and he are just visiting the zoo and they come upon the sign and the zookeeper is explaining the sign.

I noticed that in the comments on Facebook and Instagram, people are getting the wrong impression!

I got the idea from watching all those Zoo shows I like on Animal Planet.

A few people felt that the animals should be set free, but I don’t think we want wild animals roaming the streets and I learned from these zoo shows that most zoos these days are there to protect and breed endangered animals. And most of the animals live in natural sort of habitats that are recreated at the zoos.

When did culture start?

Culture sign isolated on whiteEvery day it seems that another event is canceled – art shows, parades, Broadway and recently I read that Art Basel may be canceled. I’m still waiting to find out the fate of New York Comic Con, which is in early October.

The good news great news is that NYC has no new covid cases since March. None. I’m so proud of New York. Here in Florida, we are the opposite. If there is a Comic Con, how will they let people in? New York is safe now, do they want us grubby infected jerks in their state or city now?

But right now, things are boring. There is nothing to go to, nothing to attend anymore. It got me thinking, when did things start? When did culture start? I mean I’m sure the world was boring many years ago. There is the Coliseum in Rome, so we know that in 80 AD there were events going on. And I guess in ancient times before that there were things happening like chariot races, but when did opera start or plays on stage? When did someone say, “Let’s put up a stage here and perform?” When did someone say, “Let’s put up some clothes lines and hang art?”

When did art move from cave walls to something more portable? When did someone set up the first museum or have the first concert?

It’s something to think about. Before then there were dark ages, and I don’t mean the time before the Renaissance, I mean like caveman times.

No need for a vacation

beach

Me getting out of the water on Key Biscayne.

I was mentioning going to the beach every day in a previous story. I did do that for many years. I need to get back to that. I live right near the beach but I’ve neglected to go. But again, for many years I would be there daily.

Living in Miami, I had many choices and I would be all over. I would go to Miami Beach or Key Biscayne or Matheson Hammock – wherever the mood struck me. Sometimes I would go for an hour to just have lunch and then I’d get back to work. Other times I would spend the day. The first time I ever had sushi was at Matheson Hammock, I got it at a local store and ate it at a picnic table. It was the first time I put the whole ball of wasabi in my mouth, too, not knowing what that putty-like green ball was!

There was a period of time, maybe about three years of my life, where I didn’t travel anywhere, and I was an avid traveler, so this was odd for me, but I don’t think I noticed it. My mother and one of my cousins thought it was because I was afraid to fly. But it wasn’t. My life was perfect, I felt no need to go anywhere “to get away.” And it was true.

I was a printing broker, so my life consisted of working a few hours in the morning – that was it, by 11 am I was free for the day! I would have lunch and then head to one of the beaches. I would come home, shower and many days go to happy hour with friends, then head home and repeat the next day. This was my life. I didn’t need a vacation from vacationing.

Since the pandemic and all the changes we are going through, I feel that that part of my life may return. I’m doing a lot of cartooning now and I could easily fit the beach in around that.

Which reminds me. There was one period where I would go to the beach, I would have a rule – I couldn’t leave the beach until I came up with two cartoon ideas. And I managed to come up with two a day that way! I sold a lot of comics to newspapers and magazines back then – I guess the ideas I got on the beach where pretty good; good enough to be published!

Kayaking, beaching and cycling

boat

Me boating.

board-comicToday’s comic came to me when I was watching a couple of paddle boarders the other day. I live on the bay and am always seeing some action on the water. Since the self quarantining, there has been a lot of activity during this period. I guess people are getting bored sheltering in place so they are hitting the water, and that’s an easy way to be out and about and still shelter in place.

I see more boaters, kayakers, and jet skiers and paddle boarders – more than ever. Which reminded me that I haven’t done any of this lately. I’m not sure why. I used to bicycle a lot and roller blade, too, but don’t do that much either anymore.

For so many years I went to the beach daily, sometimes for an hour, sometimes for five hours, but it was almost a daily thing. I would go to different beaches, some to swim, some to layout, some to just eat lunch at a picnic table and then get back to work and so on. For many years I met my friends on the boardwalk on Miami Beach late in the afternoon after work and we would run – then go to happy hour – not a great combination, but that was our life!

Sometimes I would go alone and hang out on the boardwalk until it got dark. I used to love the tranquility and the twilight hour being at the beach. Then I would head home and do it all again the next day.

The grass is always greener

tom-maskI received a text from a friend in New York. I hadn’t heard from him since April. He saw one of my full moon photos on Instagram and said he was jealous and wished he was here in Miami.

But of course, I wish I was in New York right now. I would be there now normally if we were in normal times. I’m wearing my New York cap (and a mask) in their honor, as you can see here.

Oddly enough, New York and the whole tri-state and maybe most of the New England area are the safest places to be these days. But of course there is that pesky quarantine for visitors. Which I guess is a good thing. They rid themselves of the monster, why open the door and allow it to re-enter. But he tells me the “liveliness” is missing in the city these days. He used that word.

There was a time when I was content to just be, you know, not to get up and travel. But now I’m feeling restless. I still feel that I need to visit the Carolinas this summer. Being cooped up in the house for months would make anyone want to escape.

I’ve been out and about of course, but just to run here and there and get back home.

It’s weird but at the beginning of the shelter in place order back in March, I think, I said I was fine with it. I’m not now. I’m over it as I am sure you are, too.

The summer house

shoecomic

Today’s comic seems to be very popular. In less than an hour of being posted, it already has 100 shares on Facebook.

I’m noticing that the silly comics get more play – more likes, more shares, more attention.

I personally like the esoteric ones, you know, the ones that make you think, but it seems that the comic reading public likes these silly ones. It’s something to think about.

When I look at this one, I wonder, where are they? Are they at a lake? Are they in the mountains? I know I drew it, but I didn’t give the location much thought.

I am always making changes, up until the last moment before it’s published and one thing I wish I would have changed now is changing the word “home” to “rental,” so it reads, “I love how you children are taking to our summer rental!” Like here.

new-shoe-COMIC

I spent July 4th alone

I spent July 4th alone. I don’t think I have ever done that before. In my whole life I was always with people. It reminded me of a few years ago when I did New Year’s Eve alone. I had never done that before, I was always with family or friends or at parties, but one year I was alone. And I liked it!

I didn’t like being alone for July 4th though. I normally would be in NYC, actually, The Hamptons, with my cousins. These photos are from a couple of years past in NY. I usually do the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest and at times have watched the fireworks from Manhattan when not in the Hamptons.  This one picture of Molly and me, in the car, on our way to The Hamptons last July 4th, is one of my favorite pictures. Molly is my aunt and uncle’s dog.

On Facebook yesterday, one of my memories popped up from three years ago – it was a little video I posted from a crowd at Long Island City, where I went to watch the fireworks over the East River, with Manhattan in the background. I don’t know how to save it and post it here or I would. There were literally tens of thousands of people there – all on top of each other. Wonder if that will ever happen again. I remember all of us trying to get on the subway back to the city after the fireworks – the crowds were backed up all the way up the stairs into the street. The same thing happened one year in lower Manhattan, near city hall, where the fireworks were over the Brooklyn Bridge.

Will we ever be in crowds like that again?

Anyway, one of my cousins called me early yesterday morning to tell me that it was still on – that everyone was driving out for the day. No one was sleeping over. They are all being quite careful in New York due to the coronavirus and that’s why New York went from having the highest rate, down to the lowest.

I guess I didn’t have to be alone, but I chose to be. I could have been with family, as our town and even my neighbors weren’t doing anything, but I know my family was doing things – boating, barbecuing, etc. Yesterday was the 14th day of me sort of self-quarantining after being at a family party 14 days before.

I didn’t want to say anything, but I was at this party for my nephew’s 2-year-old daughter along with maybe 50 other people. And not one person had a mask on and there was no social distancing. While it was all family, a lot of the people I didn’t know from his wife’s side of the family, maybe 50% of the people there – and they insisted on shaking my hand – even when I would pull it away, they would grab my hand! And my sister-in-law’s mother, who sees me all the time, insisted on hugging me – three times throughout the day!

So for 14 days I was freaking out – counting down the days until I was safe. Last week, a week after the party, my family had pizza night. I didn’t go and I explained why and they respected that, which was surprising, because in the past they would have said something like, “Get off your ass and get over here!” But they respected my decision.

Anyway, I spent July 4th alone. I didn’t like it. Hopefully next year it will be back to normal. Not the “new normal,” the old normal.

We made it to July 4th!

coconuthunt

So it’s July 4th weekend. Hard to believe we all made it to this date. I remember starting to shelter in place in March. I thought it would all be over by now. But I guess I was just fooling myself. This year July 4th will be different for so many of us.

Normally I would be in New York at this time – probably at my cousin’s house in the Hamptons for the actual July 4th holiday with the family. Many times I would be there for the weekend, but on the actual day, July 4th, I would be in the City watching fireworks over the river.

But for many years I did stay home and was part of big celebrations in our town. We did so much here from hot dog eating contests to fireworks with so much in between.

For a few years we had a coconut hunt! What we did was have painting parties for a month or two before. Usually on a Friday night at one of the local galleries, we had painting parties with wine and pizza. Anyone could come by and paint – and people did. By July 4th we ended up with hundreds of coconuts.

At a given time, we would have the contest. We would hand out clues to people and they would run out into the village trying to find coconuts. Certain coconuts were winners – for instance, the golden coconut was the grand prize coconut, then there were others. We had numbers on all the coconuts and they were called randomly at the end and people would win all sorts of prizes.

We even had Lucie and Desi Arnaz Jr. one year for July 4th. They recreated a famous Lucy and Desi Sr. photo at City Hall here in the village. Fun times.