Where do you go to my lovely

I saw two great movies yesterday – Mama Mia, which I saw so many times on tv and I think two or three times in the theater when it came out in 2008. And the Absolutely Fabulous movie. I had never seen that before. I enjoyed that.

At the very end of AbFab, during the credits, they play this song that I loved, I looked it up. It’s called, “Where Do You Go To My Lovely,” it’s by Peter Sarstedt.


The lyrics are so great. It was released in 1969 and hit number one in the UK, where it stayed for four weeks. It only hit number 61 in the US, which is surprising.

It’s about a girl named Marie Claire who grew up in poverty in Naples, Italy and then became the height of jet set society, speaking many languages, jetting around the world, being the “it” girl. People thought it was about Sofia Loren because she grew up in poverty in Italy and became a famous jet setter, but Sarstedt claimed he had no one in mind when he wrote the song. Year’s later he claimed it was about his wife.

Mama Mia always makes me feel sort of how the Sarstedt song does – melancholy. Not because of the story, but because of the music. The Abba songs being back so many wonderful memories, starting, I think when I was in junior high school. When I hear the song “Waterloo,” I can picture myself in my mother’s car, with the song playing on the radio, like it was yesterday. That song was released in 1974, so it was 1974 I am remembering.

Other songs from later years remind me of being out in the clubs, when I was young and it was my first experience going out, so the memories are special for that reason. So as I listen to the songs in Mama Mia, I can almost remember where I was during certain periods of my younger life, it’s like going back in time. It’s exactly in my head like one of the Abba songs in the movie, Slipping through my fingers, which says, “Sometimes I wish that I could freeze the picture, And save it from the funny tricks of time.” When I hear the music in the movie, I can almost see a photograph in my mind of that time period. Weird.

He’s blue and he’s awkward, and oh yes, he’s a Yeti!

10 With Tom
10 questions in 10 minutes

I’m a big fan of Nick Seluk and his daily comic strip, “The Awkward Yeti.” The comic is often a clever commentary on the struggle between our hearts and our brains – it always hits home and many times provokes a belly laugh. The Yeti has a running dialogue many of his body’s organs. You can read The Awkward Yeti at GoComics.com here.

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Nick Seluk and friends.

TOM: Heart and Brain seem to have their own spin-off from “The Awkward Yeti” how did that come about?

NICK: Brain first joined Lars (the Yeti) to help me get deeper into the anxiety-driven inner dialogue of an introvert, but it wasn’t long before Heart joined as a counterbalance. Heart and Brain found a dynamic that worked well for me and for my audience, and before too long Lars was on the sidelines (although he stars in his own self-titled series online at Webtoons and still makes cameos). I found that through Heart and Brain I could express myself better, and in a way that many people could relate.

TOM: What did you do before you became a full time cartoonist?

NICK: Before going full time as a cartoonist I was a sort of graphic designer / art director type for several years. I worked in corporate America with tons of huge brands, a job I ended up hating enough to want to start my own business instead. I needed to do things my own way, but more than anything needed to escape the constant meaningless small talk.

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Lars, the Awkward Yeti, courtesy GoComics.com 


TOM:
At what point did you first realize you were famous?

NICK: There are over six billion people who have never even seen my work, so fame is pretty relative. But, having a line of people waiting, actually WAITING for me write my name on a book is very humbling. I guess you could say I was humbled first at San Diego comic con a couple years ago, when I was signing books with my publisher and they had to close off the line. But other than that, it’s not like people recognize me on the street or anything.

TOM: What bores you?

In defense of printed newspapers

It’s $2.00 for a slice of pizza and 50 cents for the Tribune. This is something someone says in a documentary on the death of the Tampa Tribune. I read about this in The Tampa Bay Times, which bought and killed the Tampa Tribune. It’s quite sad what is happening to daily newspapers.

Tampa Bay used to have the Tampa Tribune and Tampa Times. Across the bay was the St. Petersburg Times and one other I am not remembering now. The St. Petersburg Times became the Tampa Bay Times in 2012, they won the right in a lawsuit. This is sort of a dubious thing as it sort of was the writing on the wall for the end of the Tampa Tribune and reminiscent of the Tampa Times. But again, daily newspapers are going the way of the dinosaurs and that’s sad.

Ironically, The Tampa Bay Times is featuring the documentary about their own killing off of the Tampa Tribune in a story in their own publication along with a movie trailer
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I still read the daily newspaper – holding in my hands the old fashioned way. I read the Miami Herald daily and sometimes the Sun-Sentinel which is the Ft. Lauderdale newspaper.

When I was a kid, I could read seven dailies in two counties – The Miami Herald, The Miami News, The Ft. Lauderdale News, the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, the South Dade News-Leader and the Hollywood Sun-Tattler. Loved the name of that one – the Sun-Tattler. That building is now a Holiday Inn, I believe. I also want to mention the Key West Citizen, which is still published daily. Love them.

My parents subscribed to the Herald and the South Dade-News Leader and I would occasionally buy the others. In New York, I used to read the four dailies – the Times, Daily News, Post and Newsday. I sometimes still do. When I was a kid, I delivered the now defunct Long Island Press.

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It’s shocking how small the Miami Herald is these days in size. In height and width, but also in content. When we were kids and we took road trips around the country, small towns in Tennessee and Georgia had tiny newspapers – at least they had newspapers. Now the Miami Herald is very small. But it still is delivered seven days a week and I read it, holding it in my hands, like the old days.

I do read many publications online that I normally would not if there wasn’t an online way to do it. I don’t read the whole newspaper, but I follow so many news organizations online that I read stories here in there from various newspapers around the country. So that is a great thing. But there is something about holding the actual newspaper in your hands, smelling the paper and ink, having it on your doorstep each morning. There’s something special in that.

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Newsies

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I changed the nameplate at top. They are newsboys from the early 20th century – newsies. You may have seen the play or movie “Newsies,” which is about the newsboy strike of 1899.

In the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, newsboys sold newspapers on the streets of New York. They worked grueling hours and didn’t make much, many were homeless.

In 1899, Joseph Pulitzer who owned the New York World and William Randolph Hearst, who owned the New York Evening Journal, raised the amount of money they newsboys paid for the newspapers.

In 1898, due to the Spanish-American War, newspapers sold a lot of issues, this was the only means of news and people bought them up, wanting to know the daily status of the war. Newspapers raised the price from 50 cents to 60 cents per bundle of 100 newspapers. After the war, all newspapers dropped the prices back down, except for the World and Evening Journal.

I looked up the newspaper front pages from back then, you can see them here. They were one cent. So the 60 cents per bundle of 100, really didn’t leave much of a profit. You can read about the strike and get details here. The main outcome is still used to this day – the newspapers will buy back unsold copies of the papers. So if the papers don’t sell, the news seller is not responsible for them.

Things that make you go hmmm

iphoneThere is a new app called Text to Ticket which pays you to snitch on people who are texting while driving.

So far it only works in California. The tattle tale gets $5 for reporting the offending driver.

Question: How much do you get for video taping the person who is video taping and tattle taling while driving?

Now here is an interesting new app called Wag. It’s dog walking on demand, sort of like Uber for dogs. It’s only in a few major cities like New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle and LA.

A 30 minute walk is $20, a longer walk is $30 and you can add another dog to the walk for $5.

I didn’t know the New York City museum entrance fees were optional

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Temple of Dendur at Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC

I read an article yesterday about the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC charging mandatory entrance fees. I never knew the $25 entrance fee was a suggestion.

I’m in NY often and I’ve been to so many of the museums. I’ve paid full price all the time – at the MET, MOMA, the History Museums and so on. I never knew the entrance fee was a suggestion and the way they corral you in and “force” you to pay, who knew it was a suggestion. When I think of all the money I have spent over the years, it burns me up. Sure, I am in favor of supporting the arts, but I don’t like the feeling of being forced, when I didn’t have to be forced. I challenge anyone to try and enter without paying, see how that goes. Try to get around the velvet ropes at all the museum entrances. Even at the Museum of the City of New York, one of my favorites on 103rd and Fifth, they are standing at a podium, mere feet from the entrance, expecting to be paid.

Now they plan on possibly making it mandatory for out of city residents, but even though I live outside of NYC, I daresay I visit more museums there than locals do. But I guess it doesn’t matter now, all these years I’ve paid full price when I possibly could have gotten in for less or for nothing.

Not too long ago at MOMA, I think, I saw a sign at the entrance that said there was a flat fee for a one day NY Pass for New York attractions, it was $109.00. This is for one day, which is great if you’re planning on racing through the city, but it really makes no sense if you plan on visiting three or four museums. Three museums at $25 each is $75 and four is $100, so the $109 is more than you would pay if you went to each place and paid one at a time.

I found a site that sells the passes – the one day for $109, two days for $189, three days are $199 and so on. But again, unless you plan on racing through the city and fitting in many museum or other tourist locations, it makes no sense.

They’re selling ice in the winter.

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Van Gogh’s Starry Night at Museum of Modern Art, NYC

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A Jackson Pollock at Museum of Modern Art, NYC

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It’s art. At Guggenheim Museum, NYC

Collecting comics stamps

A friend just posted Wonder Woman postage stamps. They have been out since last fall to commemorate her 75th anniversary. I didn’t know that. I got some today! I don’t snail mail many things, so luckily I can just save them and not use them!

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I am going to start collecting them. You can get some old issues on Amazon, Ebay and auction sites, but the USPS has some for sale like Batman Forever and Charlie Brown and some others like the Sunday Funnies series which includes Calvin and Hobbes, Beetle Bailey and Dennis the Menace.