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.

Old friends popping up out of the blue

I’ve been cleaning the house up this week. Nothing much, it’s more messy than dirty. But I want it to look decent for a friend I haven’t seen in 40 years. Yup, 40 years! We were kids the last time we saw each other for goodness sake!

He emailed me a couple of weeks ago. My name popped in his head after all these years and he did an internet search and he found me. We talked on the phone, and he’ll be in town maybe this week. He lives in Orlando now and he’s back and forth to Miami often.

Strange when I think about it. 40 years – a lifetime. I had a whole life since I saw him last, so did he.

This isn’t the first time this happened, a friend I know since we are three years old contacted me not long ago. He found me on Facebook. We haven’t touched base in person yet, but he also lives not too far from me, maybe an hour’s drive north. The last time I saw him, I think he was maybe 7 or 8 years old. Amazing. He has a wife and four kids now.

Social media is amazing. But again – this isn’t the first time, but a bit before I was on social media, in 2008 or 2009, I found an old photo of a friend named Tom, yup, another Tom. We were very good friends but he left town after Hurricane Andrew in 1992. It was such a crazy time that people got scattered all over the place and he ended up going back to California, to San Francisco, where he was born. His family has lived there for generations. I never asked him about it, I have to – did they go there during the gold rush of 1849? How did they end up there so many years ago?

Anyway, I found a bunch of old photos and there was Tom in one. It jogged my memory, I had not seen him for almost 20 years by then. I did an internet search and I found his email address. I emailed him and we connected, he came down to visit and we have been connected since – mostly on Facebook – but we have been connected in person, too. It’s sort of my turn to visit him in California – maybe soon after the pandemic is over.

I find it so weird and interesting that even though decades have passed, we all go back to where we left off – sort of like muscle memory. It’s like no time passed at all. Even all our voices sound the same to all of us after not hearing them for so long. And the funny things we remember about each other come right back. Certain things come up or tv shows come on or whatever, and something flashed in your mind and you remember certain people at certain times doing certain things. A news story or event or a certain neighborhood or building brings certain people to mind.

My friend in Orlando asked if I remembered him. I was taken aback when he asked. Why wouldn’t I? He’s part of the fabric of my life.

He protests too much

I just left my car for service early this morning – a tune up, Schedule A service.

I took Uber home. I see they charge a booking fee now on top of the regular fee. Strange. How else would I get them, wave them down to save on the booking fee? Just add that fee to the cost of the ride rather than nickle and dime people, right?

A friend texted me and asked me to meet him for breakfast. I had breakfast early this morning, about 7 am, so I didn’t want to go to breakfast, but also, I am incapacitated until the car is done later. So I’m stuck at home, although I guess I could have taken an Uber to meet him.

He could have picked me up you say? No, he can’t, because in Miami, a car-based city, he doesn’t have car. He bikes it all over. He is an older guy, in his 70s and to his credit, he rides miles a day – sometimes as much as 60 miles a day!

When I told him I left the car for service, his reply was, “I’m so glad I don’t have a car.” Which makes me think he wishes he had a car, because why say such a thing? We all chauffeur him around when he can’t take his bike places.

And he is totally against social media, too.. I think it’s because he doesn’t get it. He doesn’t understand. He puts down social media daily. He sends me articles constantly on how bad it is, how they are stealing our personal info, etc. etc.

Rather than just not say anything, he likes to put social media down, like he does my car or anyone’s car – because he doesn’t have a car.

Ironically, he used to work for the city and he had a city car and he would bring the city car home, which maybe was not allowed, because quite a few years back he was written about in the newspaper and blogs and scrutinized about using the company car for person reasons. So maybe that’s why he has an aversion to cars. Although he has had his own car after that situation and he did pick me up many times to go out and hang out.

He did tell me yesterday that the best thing he ever did was give up his car and use his bike, which I can believe. I told him I missed the gym and he suggested I get a bike, but I miss the free weights, not cardio. So a bike will do me no good in that regard.

He has a new bike now, it folds up. It looks so silly when we are at lunch or wherever, because it looks like a wheelchair or something folded up beside him, then he unfolds it and rides off.

Shots are coming

This is yesterday’s cartoon. I wasn’t sure how it would be received, would people like it? And lo and behold, people seemed to like it.

I overheard someone say this the other day and thought it was funny, and for some reason, whenever I read it or hear it, it makes me laugh.

But perhaps this is a good idea for those who are hesitant to get the vaccine – a jello shot in exchange for an arm shot. In this case, many people may opt for the two shots, rather than the single Johnson & Johnson shot.

It is an exciting time, just the thought of travel has me excited.

Loving the new daily comics

For the first time, since I think the late 1980s. I like the comics in the Miami Herald! I really did not like their selection for the past couple of decades! In fact, I gave up cartooning because I saw doom and gloom on the comics pages. I just didn’t enjoy them. But in the 1980s I loved them. But maybe it’s because that is the only way we got our daily comic strips back then and of course I was a young guy/kid and I guess anything might have been funny to me. But I do think they were a great selection at the time in all our daily newspapers that were around then.

Now I love them. It seems that all the McClatchy owned newspapers have the same comics pages now. Each newspaper is not dictated by a features editor, it’s one or two pages for all.

The Miami Herald has one page but if you read the e-edition, there are two pages. Here is the printed page. It features such new(ish) and 21st century comics along with some classics. But I like most of them, where in the past few years I couldn’t choose one that I liked.

I’m not just saying that because I’m not printed in the Herald. I really do enjoy them.

I read my comics online now and don’t usually glance at them in the newspaper, but I knew the change was coming a few weeks ago so I check them out now.

I had a good rapport with the features editor at the Herald and we did talk about me having my work published daily, but that never came to pass, and of course I am thrilled with that today. I can’t imagine having such tight and strict deadlines and editors in this digital age, where I can draw something and have it appear online to the world second later!

But I wouldn’t mind having a few of my daily comics appear one day a week – say on a Friday. They can run a few of my past week’s comics in the weekend section, three, four or five of them. They can pick and choose and just run them together. Other than that, I am thrilled with my online, digital schedule.

Be an Arts Hero

This cartoon from earlier in the pandemic is being rerun today as part of the Be An Arts Hero campaign, which is Monday, March 15. Cartoonists from all over the world are participating to bring awareness to the arts. Cartoons will start spreading across social media at 9 am eastern time.

The AAEC (Association of American Editorial Cartoonists) has been asked to spread the word about Be An Arts Hero, a push by the arts and cultures sector for direct government support of creatives during the time of coronavirus.

Be An #ArtsHero is joining a national effort of Arts Workers, urging the Biden/Harris administration to support the Arts and Culture sector. Together, cartoonists contributed to this political cartoon initiative.

An original cartoon (or a repurposed or existing cartoon on the subject), is to illustrate a unique point of view on the particular struggles of editorial cartoonists during this crisis.

I chose to repurpose the one shown above, which was first published towards the beginning of the pandemic.

Hashtags and tags include: #ArtsWorkersUnite, #ArtsHero #First100Days, and @JoeBiden, @KamalaHarris, @WhiteHouse, and @BeAnArtsHero. So if you look for them after today, you’ll see the cartoons all over social media and at BeAnArtsHero.com.

The arts and culture stats sheet can be seen here. You’ll see the large economic impact the arts have on our country.

My subconscious mentor

Recently I was interviewed for a publication and they asked me about my influences. I mentioned Hanna-Barbera and Charles Schultz and of course Ralph Dunagin, who I only recently realized was a big influence on my work. I had written about that in June 2020, when Ralph passed away.

For all these years I had not thought about him, but when he passed away and stories and images of his work started appearing, it struck me right away that that was my work! I was looking at my own work, yet it was Ralph’s work, who I was influenced by.

I don’t want to say I copied him, because I never did and I never traced or drew his work like I did with others. I never traced Fred Flintstone, yet I drew him all the time as a kid. Same as Peanuts characters – I drew them over and over. But with Ralph’s work, especially his Dunagin’s People comic strip, I only viewed it and subconsciously studied it, but I never recreated it on paper, I never copied or drew it – I saved it only in my head I guess. And I don’t remember doing that. It was all so subtle.

I find it so interesting. I subconsciously studied his line work. He was an “unassuming influence,” as I called my last blog story on him. I draw clothing in his style and I don’t connect the lines when I draw, just like him. I also draw feet like he does. I literally see his work in my work. Only I never knew it until recently. So that is really a case of subconsciousness. All these years it was right in front of my eyes, but I never knew it.

The new normal?

Today’s cartoon reflects something that may be happening in the country; maybe the world. I haven’t seen it personally, but they started talking about it on tv. People who have been vaccinated have an air of arrogance and superiority. And maybe they should.

I got vaccinated yesterday! I hadn’t planned it, I’m not of age yet and I’m not a front line worker, but I got a note from my doctor and I made an appointment at Publix. I tried other places; hospitals and such, but I ended up at Publix. Ironically, I ended up at my family’s Publix. What I mean is the one where I grew up and went to as a kid and where my parents still go. It’s only four blocks from their house! The appointment just popped up and I grabbed it when I had the chance.

I got there early and there only ended up being three of us there – a lady and a man and me. We were in and out fast and it went well. We joked about seeing each other in a month for our next shot. “See you, same place, same time.”

Publix didn’t ask for ID or the doctor’s note or insurance card or anything, which seemed strange, but I guess it’s all about getting people vaccinated more than the paperwork and other stuff. I heard they are opening it to almost everyone now and it’s really going well. When President Biden said there would be 100 million vaccines in 100 days, I doubted that, but it’s happening, we are almost there!

I stopped at my parents’ house for breakfast after my first shot and I’ll do it again after my second shot. Happy that I am on my way to normalcy.

A good friend of mine is against vaccines, I don’t think she has ever been vaccinated in her life. I mentioned that I had seen articles that said in the future if you don’t have a vaccine, you may not be able to fly. I think some airlines in Europe started that rule already. My friend is not happy about this, but that could be the new normal. There is talk of digital “travel passports” now, for domestic and international travel.

I didn’t mind last year, I am glad I experienced it – all the changes in the world, etc. But I think it’s time to get back to normal now. The new normal. Whatever that is.

No one cares anymore

I saw this cartoon by Steve McGinn on Facebook yesterday. It made me laugh because it’s true and funny, but it reminded me of a guy who lives here in town. I wrote about him back in May.

There’s this guy who rides his bike around town naked. Or almost naked. For maybe 25 or 30 years, he has been riding from one end of the city to the next, all over Miami, in a flesh colored thong, so he appears naked and basically is. He’s about 65 now, so picture it. And no, I don’t have a picture. But if you ask anyone in Miami about the naked guy on the bike, they’ll know who you mean. And just recently I saw him all dressed up in a top hat and tails and learned that he is an undertaker and the top hat and tails are his work clothes! Such a juxtaposition.

I’m thinking of this cartoon because toward the beginning of the pandemic, last May, I was with a friend at a bar, which was closed, but had an open pick-up window for food pick-up, and my friend was talking to the naked guy who was the only person on the street with a mask! He wasn’t naked at the time, he was wearing a t-shirt and shorts. But I found it funny that about 12 people where there and the only person wearing the mask was the usually naked guy – all covered up – on his face that is.

Today and for most of the year, they have been strict and everyone must wear a mask if not eating or drinking. I’ve been admonished more than once by the bar/restaurant staff when my mask slipped.

As for the naked guy, the gym won’t allow him in wearing a thong anymore, he has to have a shirt and shorts and whenever I see him at the bike shop in town he is in a t-shirt and shorts.

But just as the cartoon above says, “no one cares anymore,” I guess after 30 years of seeing this guy ride around all of Miami in a flesh-colored thong, no one cares anymore. But it was a funny thing to see him being the only one with a mask. I haven’t seen him riding his bike lately, but I wonder if in his thong he is actually wearing a mask while riding.

We can’t wait to gogh!

My cousin had me in tears the other day. Why? Because she booked us tickets for the Immerse Van Gogh experience in New York for July! I was going to get some tickets for Miami when it’s here in April, but this is better. I had written about it in November, when they were planning the event for Indianapolis. I really had considered going there to see it.

I was in tears because I can’t believe that things are starting to get back to normal. When she texted me that she got the tickets and told me the date and time, I was filled with happiness, something I really hadn’t felt in a long time, the pandemic was starting to weight on me. But it’s real. It’s happening. I’m going to immerse myself into my favorite artist with some of my favorite people.


I’ve missed them so much. My cousins are like brothers and sisters to me. I spend so much time with them during the year, but the last time I saw them in person was November 2019. We talk and chat all the time, but of course it’s not the same.

What was even better is that I didn’t realize that there were more than two of us on the text when she said she got the tix, so when others chimed in and said they were excited, too. I really lost it.

I’ll take you along through this blog, of course, but if you want to attend in a city near you, check out the info and dates here.