Creative panhandlers

I’m not surprised that yesterday’s cartoon hit home with a lot of people, they or someone they know has had a similar experience in some way.

I got the idea for the cartoon through a circuitous route. I may have told you this before, but I was at a Taco Bell drive-thru recently and this guy comes up to the car and asks for money. I told him I didn’t have change, I only had a $10.00 bill and I showed him the bill in my hand.

He then says, “I’ll wait for the change.”

Now this intrigued me and I liked his ingenuity, so I didn’t mind that. But he was annoying as he followed me and the car as I drove around the drive, waiting for my turn to order. I ordered and drove to the window, and he was still there and when they handed me the change, he took it. He didn’t even wait for me to decide how much to give him – I think it was about $3.00 and he took it. He waited between the car and the drive-thru window, so as not to miss his opportunity in the off chance that I hit the peddle and sped off, which was not my intention, by the way.

So of course, I got to mulling this over and I ended up with the cartoon you see here.

It’s dog eat dog out there, these panhandlers have to be creative.

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Faded pictures

I was looking through pictures of our kayaking adventure and also pictures from when my friend was in town in April. A lot happened – went to the zoo, Everglades, etc. But I don’t have many pictures. Is it possible we are finally, as a society, getting over taking pictures of everything, including our lunch every day?

There was a time where we took pictures of everything. My friend likes to post “stories” on Instagram, which disappear in 24 hours, so he doesn’t have any photos to see or save.

I used to take so many pictures of everything, sort of documenting my whole life. When I published the daily news, I literally would have 150 photos of an event I attended and then I would have to go through every one of those photos and edit them down to a handful that I would publish. I finally learned, after so many years of that to just edit as I went along. I would take maybe 12 photos and then whittle that down to 9 or 10. And this way, I literally cut out hours worth of work going through images.

But now I sort of don’t take pictures of things. When we went kayaking, my biggest fear in that rubber raft was sinking. Not so much drowning, but sinking and losing my keys and my phone. But I left them home and went out “naked” so to speak, and it was so much more relaxing not having to worry about anything.

I remember once I went out and left my phone at home and rather than panic, I was totally relaxed.

So I’m wondering now if we are letting up on the photos. For one thing it’s rude when you are with people, you know, you’re out and about and maybe at lunch and you are taking photos of everything. I don’t even answer the phone when it rings when I’m with people. I try to think of years ago when we didn’t have that option, so why is it so important now? Let people wait, you don’t need to text right back or answer right away or take pictures of your lunch all the time.

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Our kayaking misadventure

So things are slowly getting back to normal. I actually did some physical activity yesterday. It’s been so long! And the good part is that today I don’t feel achy or any pains, so my muscle memory is working.

What we did was go kayaking, but only for a short time That’s me rowing at left and that’s a blow up kayak, which looks more like a moccasin/shoe.

My friend Jorge came over with a new kayak – a blow-up kayak! I told him we had regular kayaks here at the building that we could use, but he insisted on purchasing a rubber blow-up one. So he brought it over and while I didn’t want to go out in that thing, I thought, “Let’s see what happens.”

I live on the bay so it only made sense for him to bring it over so we could launch from here and he could just leave it here for convenience if he likes.

I know Jorge almost all of my life, so it was just another day; another adventure for us to add to our hundreds, if not thousands of adventures we’ve had in our lives together.

It took awhile to blow up the thing. Maybe an hour! Eventually one of my neighbors brought down an electric pump and showed us an easy way to do it, so that made that part easy. Another neighbor brought me sunscreen and insisted I use it, so it ended up being a nice day.

We finally got the thing into the water and really didn’t get the results we had hoped for. As I suspected, it was ricikty and flimsy and unstable. He packed some sort of lunch and drinks and stuff and that thing made the kayak even heavier, plus we had all sort of supplies – life jackets, oars and other things.

We got out into the bay and paddled around a bit, but it was rocking and jiggling and wouldn’t steer right, it kept turning in circles. It was not was was expected – from him anyway. Me, I sort of predicted this.

What I didn’t predict was that I would get seasick. I’ve lived around the water my whole life and only got seasick twice – this time and once on a Key West snorkeling trip.

Anyway, after about 20 minutes of “boating” and an hour or more of setting it all up, we decided to head back and get out. And just as we got to the home docks, I got seasick and started throwing up. Not good.

I almost jumped out and swam to shore, but we made it in properly as many of my neighbors stared from out back, where some were in the pool, others sunning themselves and others getting ready to boat. For a small building, it seems like everyone was out!

I came upstairs and it seems like I fell asleep for a long time while Jorge got everything back together. When he came upstairs two hours had passed! I could have sworn it was half an hour!

We ended up going to a local place to eat lunch, but I was still feeling unwell, so I didn’t eat anything, I took it home with me. He went home from the restaurant and after another hour or sleep or so I felt much better and I texted him and told him, “I had such a great day today!”

And I did, seasickness and all.

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No more touching

The pandemic will have us doing all sorts of new things; you know, changes in our behavior and customs.

I noticed yesterday that I automatically DIDN’T shake hands. And now that I think about it, I don’t shake anyone’s hand anymore. At the beginning of the pandemic, we had to think about it and then pull back, now it just comes naturally – don’t touch each other.

Yesterday, I was with a friend and he said, “Tom, this is so-and-so” and he introduced me to some new guy in town. I said, “Hi, nice to meet you,” and that was that. We were a few feet away, shaking distance, but neither of us attempted to shake hands. All three of us talked for about half an hour and then parted, but no one shook hands then either.

I think I mentioned this before – I don’t like to shake hands, although in the past I would do it, and I don’t like to hug or kiss, which in the past, I did. But I guess this is a thing of the past. No more of this touching each other when meeting and greeting.

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Kayaking (beaching and boarding)

One of my friends bought a new kayak. It’s a blow up one. I never saw one like that before. Seems like a rubber raft to me.

He is coming over this week and we are going kayaking. I live on the bay, so we’ll launch from out back.

I told him that we have a few kayaks in the backyard that belong to neighbors, and anyone can use them, but he insisted on buying his own. He didn’t actually buy it, he won a gift certificate from a sporting goods store and decided to get the kayak with the certificate.

I haven’t been kayaking in years. For so many years I was in the ocean or bay almost daily. I kayaked, paddle boarded, swam and just hung out at the beach. Even when I was younger and was supposed to be working, I would get home and my mother would say, “Why do you have a tan? I thought you were at work all day!”

Some days I would just go out to the beach, have lunch, and then get back to work, other days I would spend all day out there. But it was almost a daily thing for most of my life. I need to get back to that.

I took this picture today, it’s a still shot from a video I took of a guy paddling by early this morning.

I’m working on getting back in shape for the summer. Actually for the rest of my life. Hopefully this and all pandemics will be a thing of the past. This kayaking and eventually paddle boarding and swimming should get me back in shape. Time to lose the pandemic weight I gained.

Stay tuned!

This is one of my favorite comics I did in February.

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He came in like a wrecking ball

Today is “No Pants Day.” This is my contribution.

You’ll probably see a bunch of comic strips today where the characters are pantsless.

No Pants Day is held the first Friday in May. May 5 was Cartoonists Day and May 4, was of course Starwars Day – May the Fourth Be With You.

May is a busy month for the comics world – heck, my own birthday is this month and so many friends have birthdays this month.

Years ago, we used to have a “Gemini Party” where so many of us would get together and celebrate. One time we lined up for a photo – about 12 of us or so – in the order our birthdays fell on the calendar.

Anyway, “No Pants Day” was started by some college students in Texas in 2000. You might have seen the no pants subway rides – that is connected this some way.

May the 4th be with you!

We’re one today! Well, this incarnation of Tomversation is one.

On May 4th, 2020, I started publishing this incarnation of Tomversation, right at the beginning of the pandemic. This is the first cartoon. I started on May 4th, so that I would remember “May the 4th Be With You!” Although I don’t think I would have forgotten an important anniversary date.

A lot of the beginning cartoons were pandemic related, I guess it was easy to come up with those idea since that was an all consuming topic at the time. And it’s great to know we’re almost out of it!

Thanks for sticking around.

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They are two separate emails.


What’s in a word?

Today’s Tomversation cartoon was influenced by the word, “orbisculate.” I got the idea from CBS Sunday Morning.

Growing up, Jonathan and Hilary Krieger’s vocabulary was enriched with a word their dad, Neil, used whenever a citrus fruit squirted you in the eye – a word they couldn’t find in a dictionary. Turns out he’d made it up! But with his passing last year from COVID, the Kriegers have set out to honor Neil by getting his word officially recognized by the publishers of dictionaries.

Their idea is to get the word used enough so as to make it become part of the English language. There is a list of uses they hope for and one was a comic strip. So I decided to accommodate them.

Here is the short story about it on CBS Sunday Morning.

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Art and history come to life

This is freaky, but interesting. I was flipping through YouTube the other night and this caught my eye and I couldn’t stop watching. Famous people’s statues are brought to life. It’s so real and lifelike, and spooky when they blink!

And here portraits are brought to life.

There are a bunch more of these here at Mystery Scoop on YouTube.

The Issue

Today’s comic about Bob’s issues, brought back memories of when I was a kid in elementary school, maybe even middle school, which we called junior high back then.

I didn’t get the idea for the comic from then, after I created the comic, the memories came back.

Back then, maybe I was 10 or 12, I can’t remember. My best friend Gary and I had a daily project we did called, “The Issue.” And what it was was a parody newspaper of what was going on in school. Each day we handed each other “The Issue” at some point during the day. You know, we each did our own issue and swapped.

I like the name, I don’t know who came up with it.

The Issue parodied people and events and things going on in the school. I vaguely remember it being on notebook paper and I think it was just the one page, back and front, and there were drawings and news and things like that.

All these years later I wonder where they went. Did I throw them out? Did we save them and they just disappeared over time, sort of like all those famous toys that seemed to come and go? Like what happened to all our toys? All those things going for hundreds of dollars now on Ebay, the ones we had, where did they go?

Anyway, I guess I was always meant to be in the news business, starting at an early age with the daily “Issue.”

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