A couple of mind readers, we're not. 4/19/19

Remember the mini series, The People vs. O.J.? In it, the all-black jury is coming to OJ’s house to see if he’s truly part of the black community. OJ’s lawyers take a peek first and are horrified to find pictures of OJ and his white wife, NIcole. OJ Playing golf with the extremely white Arnold Palmer, etc. The lawyers then “blackify” his house with African Art and sculpture. Well this is sort of like that, with much, much lower stakes. Al rearranges Craig’s apartment to be much more appealing to Craig’s date. Cause Al’s a mindreader. Al knows exactly what’s going to work. On a woman he’s never met. Sure he does.

The next strip is born of an amazing coincidence. It turns out both John and my oldest kids are daughters, both the same age, both named Ali! Now we will always see them as our “kids” even though they are all grown up. But what happens when someone calls them “ma’am” for the first time? We certainly remember the first time we were called “sir.” It’s a sign of respect. The hell with that, it’s a sign of age, is what it is. We watch Marv’s daughter, named Alicia (absolutely NO relation to either of our daughters, purely coincidental) experience her first encounter with that phenomenon. We tried to read the mind of what a young woman must think while being confronted with a ma’am. I’m sure we failed spectacularly, but that’s all part of the fun.

Have a great weekend and we will see you next week with two new ones.

The New 60

Let's go to dinner. 4/12/190

Dear readers, did you ever get the feeling that many of these hot, new restaurants are not for you? The brilliant Frank Bruni of the NY Times brought this up a couple weeks ago. And he’s only 54. Sure, for the younger generation they’re fine. I still think even THEY have trouble hearing in those places except who’d want to admit that? Also, when you’re busy looking at your cell phone all night, who cares about conversation anyway? Okay, that was a shot at the millenials and it was uncalled for, but still…

The second strip is a combination of experiences we’ve both had. There is the talking to each other from different rooms, which is a staple of any long-term relationship. And then there’s the fact that it is impossible for both people in a couple to be ready on time at the same time. In fact, it has been scientifically proven that being on time together has NEVER occurred before in recorded human history. All right, maybe once or twice but that’s it. Anyway, that’s our truth and we’re sticking with it. Have a great weekend

The New 60

What's a person to do? 4/5/19

Political correctness. The title of this blog reflects it. We could have said what’s a guy to do, or what’s a gal (see there is no damn equivalent for guy) to do but to be pc, we settled on what’s a person to do. Politically correct but borrrrring.

So let’s see if we have the rules straight. It’s okay to say “people of color” but don’t dare say “colored people.” Or take the word “queer” which is suddenly acceptable. Last week someone actually said Mayor Pete, the former mayor of South Bend Indiana and the first openly gay man to run for President was “not gay enough.” Whatever that means. At any rate, The New 60 takes a crack at this interesting, ever-changing and sometimes maddening topic.

The second comic comes from a certain brother-in-law who was out to dinner with a friend and called one of us to say he and his dinner companion were cracking each other up with all the underwear choices there are out there. Our response…now THAT’S a comic strip. Suddenly it’s okay to talk about your balls. Duluth Trading Company has an announcer with a really deep voice saying stuff like, “It keeps your boys in place.” Or Lululemon has a line of pants that stretch called ABC Pants, and when you look at the label, it actually says the ABC stands for Anti-Ball-Crushing pants. So we tackle this subject head on. Wait a minute, that didn’t sound right. At any rate, you get the drift. Now go ahead and get the comics. We’ll see you next week with two more new ones.

The New 60

On Blogs and Dogs 3/29/19

So this is a blog, right? And it “lives” on our website, right? But you can also access it from the newsletter, right? So if it isn’t web-based, is it still a blog? ‘Cause, like “blog” stands for web log, but you knew that already, didnt you? And when you think about it, does anyone really care? This week we delve into the world of blogs and get help from an expert. And if you think this explanation is confusing, it’s probably clearer than the one in the comic strip. Unless it isn’t.

Which gets us to grandparenting. Even though neither of us in a grandparent yet (no pressure kids) some of our friends are. And they say, it’s better than parenting because at the end of the weekend, you get to give the little tykes back to their rightful owners. If you’re like either of us, you were much more likely to be strict while raising your own children. And you probably worried about the lasting impact of decisions you made, like “Don’t tell “white lies” in front of the kids,” and “Don’t give them lollipops before dinner,” that kind of earth-shattering stuff. When you’re a grandparent, at least from our observation, uhhh, maybe you’re not quite so strict. Today’s “Dog” comic deals with that insight.

Okay readers, parents and grandparents among you, have a terrific weekend and give the kid a lollipop. Full disclosure, one of us is sucking on an orange DumDum as we speak.

The New 60

Prescription for dealing with prescription drug ads 3/22/19

These days, it seems like you can’t turn on the tv without listening to a pharmaceutical ad. Now maybe that’s a result of watching things like cable news shows, but still. One day I said to John, you ever notice with these new drugs, how they say “People who are allergic to X shouldn’t take X. No shit.” He said, “I wonder about that all the time. How the hell would you know you’re allergic to something if you’ve never taken that thing?” And so our first comic was born.

This is part of what is known as “fair balance.” And that, dear readers, led us to our second comic. The fair balance is the part that comes after the part when they tell you how wonderful your life will be if you take whatever drug they happen to be hawking. It’s the part with the disgusting and scary list of side effects, such as “anal leakage.” We decided to spare you by leaving that part out of the actual comic.

Now as many of you know, John and I had long careers in advertising. And towards the end, we did a lot of pharma (industry shorthand for pharmaceutical advertising). That’s why we know fancy terms like “fair balance.” True story, we rarely worked together in advertising, but did work in the same agency for the last 10 years or so. It was at that agency that John and his partner came up with a terrific animated campaign for an arthritis drug. After miraculously making it through the myriad testing layers, the campaign aired, everyone was thrilled at the response, and soon there were several more executions ready to move into production. Then a similar drug was found to cause fatal heart attacks. All advertising was pulled…leading to the unceremonious demise of the cheery little animated campaign. Eventually, the drug went back on air but they were required to include the possible fatal side effects in the fair balance So the announcer, with a cheery voice, had to say something like: “People who are allergic to _________ shouldn’t take ________. Side effects may include nausea, lightheadedness and internal bleeding, which in rare cases, can lead to death.” You’re sitting in the recording session saying, “Uhh can you make that death part seem not so dark?”

Oh, and one last thing. in case you never bothered to wrestle with the name, Dis-kure-zitall, is our goof name for “This cures it all.” See you next week.

The New 60

A big tip on getting up there 3/15/19

We were trying to schedule dinner with friends both locally and in the city. You know how planning can get. So after another cancellation, we made reservations for 6 (3 couples) to meet for some great old school Italian in the Bronx. What people dismissively call a “red sauce joint” but I call “delicious.” If you tell me you can’t stand chicken parm, I’m telling you you’re a liar. As fate would have it, a major snowstorm was called for that evening. We moved dinner up early and arrived early and 4 of us went to the bar. After ordering drinks the bar tender asked us all for our ID’s. And I noticed the women seemed delighted. When I mentioned this to John the next day, he quickly thought of a more diabolical ending then the one that actually happened. What really happened was we said “Really,” and he said “No, not really.” He was having fun with us, but you can’t recreate dialogue like that with a still image so we changed the ending accordingly. A tip to all bartenders: ask for the ID. You’ll make fast friends.

Our second comic comes from two separate incidents. One of us saw Elton John in a big stadium while the other attended a local music hall to see Michael McDonald (he of the Doobie Brothers, one album with Steely Dan and a long solo career). What we noticed was how freaking old everyone in the audience was. It shouldn’t have been a surprise but it was anyway. Often my wife and I will say, “Can you believe how old everyone is around here?” and it occurs to me we don’t have the luxury of a mirror when we say this. Plus it’s an ego thing, so when we say, “Can you believe how old everyone is,” we never are ever talking about ourselves. Ever. Is that clear? Not even when we go on a hiking trip to celebrate my brother in law’s 70th birthday. We are young damn it. Understand?

Your 60's, time to get involved 3/8/19

It’s funny how we go through cycles. Back in the 1990’s there was a gogo stock market and all anyone could talk about was stocks. Walk into any bar and all you’d see on television wasn’t the usual sports shows but CNBC or anything else that had a real time stock ticker running across it.

Today it’s politics. Walk into any bar (what are we doing walking into so many bars anyway?) and all you see are political shows. MSNBC, CNN and FOX. And, if you no longer work 9-5 in an office, you’ve got way too much time to watch these shows. Depending on your views, you get riled up one way or the other. It inspires us to action and volunteerism.

And in this case it inspired our first comic of the week. Andy, full of self righteousness, called a local political action committee. They were having a big organizing meeting in a couple of weeks on a Sunday in a local library. Great he said, I’ll be there. Until he realized in horror, that he and his wife already had two tickets to a Broadway matinee that day. Oops. But there’s always tomorrow. And it gave us our first comic.

Then we decided to stay on theme and do another one on the environment. Since we have a character named Sam who has a second home in Key West (and since one of us lives very close to a big river), we imagined what climate change might do to him. Yes, we’re dealing with a very serious topic, but it’s a comic, and the people have three fingers, so we have to give it a little humor. It’s not a green new deal, but it’s our deal. Stay warm and we’ll see you next week.

The New 60

Meeting comic royalty and other subjects 3/1/19

Last week the creators of the Lockhorns, with millions of readers around the world, sat down to lunch with us, the creators of The New 60, with a worldwide audience of … you guys. They said it’s a tough business to break into but they thought we’d be able to. So a warning to every one of the more than 12 newspapers that still exist in America, we’re coming for your funny pages!

Onto the comics. The first was inspired by John’s wife Linda, who actually brought home a pizza with cauliflower crust. Now I know carbs are evil, but cauliflower? And this is from a guy who has veggie burgers and veggie bratwurst (I kid you not) in his freezer. There’s also frozen pigs in blankets as well as real burgers, but that’s off topic so fuggedaboudit.

The second comic is inspired by a book of Doonesbury comics about our president, titled: SAD! In it one particular strip featured two characters walking, but they were in black and white. The inside joke (what John refers to as inside baseball) was that the colorist was on strike. Then they got a new colorist and all the colors were wrong, red snow, orange smoke coming out of a smokestack, etc. It’s actually amazingly disconcerting. Finally the old colorist comes back and all is back to normal. It also may have been inspired by Network, whcih we both saw. Network takes you behind the scenes at a newscast before it goes on air, and then you see it on air. It’s a cool technique.

In this strip, John reveals a secret the casual reader of comic books never notices. Inside baseball, if you will. All the characters have only three fingers. That’s the way it is. Think about it. You can point, gesture, think, do anything you want to do without all those other annoying fingers. Plus each frame is such a small space no one would notice anyway. Until now. Now you know. So sue us. Actually don’t. We don’t have that much money. We’re not exactly the Lockhorns now are we?

Okay let’s all wave goodbye with our five fingers and we will see you next week.

The New 60

On starting a new chapter and contemplating the final chapter. 2/22/19

No, don’t worry we’re not getting maudlin on you with that final chapter stuff. Just wanted your attention. We will explain momentarily. But first let’s talk about starting a new chapter. Often our comic characters reflect what is going on in our lives or in the lives of our friends and aquaintences. Just as Al has a harebrained idea for a new business, Pizza on a Stick, John and I have a similarly ridiculous idea. Starting a comic strip. What the hell. Newspapers are dying, most popular comics are many decades old…what could possibly go wrong? But hope springs eternal. In us and of course in Al and the somewhat skeptical Joanne. Not that John or I have skeptical wives, mind you. This is just a comic. Besides, you can’t knock Pizza on a Stick unless you try it first. And the sticks are biodegradable, so there’s that.

Now let’s go on to this bit about the final chapter. It’s really not so maudlin as it sounds. It comes from that box you check on your new license, “Do you want to be an organ donor?” It goes without saying do you want to donate when you’re dead, which accounts for the last chapter reference. Turns out my stepmother was talking to her beau, (I know, I know, when you get to a certain age you say things like “beau” because “boyfriend sounds weird when the boy in question is 90). He just got one of those new, enhanced licences we’ll all have to carry around next year. He made a joke about leaving his eyes when he’s gone, when my stepmother teased him about his cataracts. Bingo, a new comic was born.

That’s the way it goes in comic land. Please don’t be shy about sending us any thing that happens to you that you think would make a funny comic strip. If we pick it, we’ll name you as our inspiration and might even send you a copy of the artwork.

Have a great weekend

The New 60

Wait, yesterday was Valentine's Day? 2/15/19

If you scroll down, to the blog below, you will find an extra special treat. It’s our Valentine to you. John pulls back the curtain and takes you through every step of the comic making process, from how we come up with what we come up with, to writing it down on old fashioned legal paper, to pencil, to ink and finally to color, with pictures of it all. We recently saw an exhibition of how this worked back in the 1960’s at a comic art exhibition at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich. It inspired John and me and if you’re in Greenwich, it might even inspire you.

As John so eloquently laid out, this is how we go from talking, to final production. This week we talked about millennials. Together, we have a bunch of millennial children. Well, not together, we’re both happily married to our wives, but between us, we have a basketball team’s worth of millennials. Not that this comic applies to OUR kids, heaven forbid, it comes from interviewing and working with people in that age group and from stories our friends told us. As John likes to say, hilarity ensues. Mind you, there’s nothing inherently wrong with asking for maternity leave, it’s just that you gotta be an expectant mom first. And the truth is that many millennials end up with part time jobs that don’t even provide health insurance. But that would make a really boring comic. Trust us.

The second comic is, drumroll please, Valentine’s Day. And since our strip features four men of a certain age, it’s their take on Valentine’s Day. I think by next February, our intrepid foursome will finally remember what Feb 14th signifies. Probably. The thing about writing this strip is that we got to talk about Valentine’s Day wayyyy in advance so we came to last night well prepared. Nothing like a gigantic Hershey’s chocolate kiss to say “I love you.”

So take a peek at our gift to you, the detailed blog below. And know that we love you, our faithful subscribers, for sticking with us. Happy Valentine’s Day. Even if it’s a day late.

The Making of a Comic Strip

When you create a comic strip you are always on the lookout for material that can be turned into a funny idea- for instance...a dinner with friends, a menu with tiny type and a single pair of reading glasses getting passed around. Andy says, “It’s kinda like passing a joint around...” Ding, Ding, Ding... no more calls please, we have a winner! And it becomes this: 

Then-Now_Glasses.jpg

An unfortunate encounter with one of those new phone app parking meters gets a similar treatment: 

Parking Meter.jpg

Show up at the wrong funeral home... (yes, it actually happened) and you end up with this comic:

Funeral_WEB.jpg

Like the comics above, the inspiration for many of the strips are things that have actually happened to one of us or a story we’ve heard or something we’ve read or seen on tv or... well anything at all really. They are then comedically embellished for your viewing pleasure.


So how do we get from “hey, this might be funny” to a finished strip? It starts with a few notes jotted down in Andy’s notebook, or a story about something that happened that weekend or a thumbnail that John has scribbled on a random scrap of paper like the one below, inspired by a Candy Store in Great Barrington, MA. 

candy store rough998.jpg

These notes, scraps, thumbnails etc. are just a place to start- we then proceed to tweak dialogue,  argue about things like whether the number 6 is funny (it’s not), come up with new jokes, throw away others and generally try to dial up the humor to get to something we both think is funny. When we can’t agree, we resolve things in a professional manner-we wrestle for it. Greco-Roman style, best two out of three falls wins. 

You’ve probably heard the expression, “It practically writes itself!” That is an inane expression- it never happens like that. 

Once we’ve worked out a few ideas we like (or at minimum, two ideas we like) it’s time to get going on the artwork. SInce Andy’s artistic skill is limited to drizzling balsamic reduction across fresh buffalo mozzarella, the bulk of the artwork responsibility is handled by John, with the exception of the lettering and final color work which is shipped out to a sweatshop in the Philippines. No, just kidding about that... we would never take advantage of underage factory workers toiling in unsafe conditions. Besides, the comics came back with waaay too many misspellings...

When the dialogue is more or less agreed upon, it gets put into balloons in a rough pencil to make sure it fits into the 13 x 4 inch format, seen below: 

candy store rough997.jpg

At this stage the dialogue and scenes are broken up into frames, making sure that the story is clear and the joke is paid off.  The pencil is then reviewed by the Office of Standards and Practices and returned with instructions to replace any nudity and/or profanity with modest clothing and/or grawlixes accordingly (see example below)

Grawlix.jpg

If any reference photos are needed (as in this case) a quick Google image search provides anything we need:

Candies.jpg

Next, the pencil gets tightened up, finalizing facial expressions, gestures, background details, etc.

candy store991.jpg

Inking and lettering- still going old school with this: an assortment of markers and Japanese brush pens. Someday soon... iPad Pro and Procreate.

Jetpens.jpg
candy store_lineart.jpg

All inked and lettered and ready to scan...

Candy Store.jpg

After scanning, Photoshop color layers are added, url, copyright... and then... it’s done! Except, of course for posting on Facebook, website, Instagram, Twitter...

That’s pretty much it.  Until we have to start the next one. 

If you’ve read this far (God bless you) please let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.

But please, keep the nudity and profanity to a minimum.


Andy and John

On candy and dentists 2/7/19

Here’s a hidden truth: John has a sweet tooth and Andy has an upcoming trip to the dentist. The first strip is a trip to one of those old fashioned candy shoppes. We were talking about them and how some of the skinniest people we know love candy. We do not like those people. It’s not fair… anyway.

The first thing you experience going to a place like that is nostalgic delight at all those candies from your past that you ate without thinking about them. I mean what could be wrong about chewing gum that is packaged like chewing tobacco? Or chocolate cigarettes and cigars? A particular favorite was Lik-a-maid which was simply sugar and food coloring and artificial flavoring inside a straw. You’d rip the top off the straw and pour the flavored sugar on your tongue and then crunch it between your teeth. Umm umm. Where were our moms and dads saying, kids, don’t eat that!? Oh for the days before carb, fat and protein counts.

The second strip deals with a trip to the dentist. Actually the periodontist, which is wayyyy worse. When the office called to schedule an appointment, they mentioned that the aforementioned periodintist had retired. When I mentioned this to John, he said, bingo, a new strip. Yes getting older never ceases to be funny. At least that’s what Michael Douglas said at the Emmy’s.

See you next week.

Andy and John

GOOD OLD WHAT'SHERNAME 2/1/19

If you’re anything like us, you might have trouble remembering people’s names. Especially if you only met them once or twice. Or at a big gathering like a cocktail party. Or if they’re out of context, like not in the place where you usually interact with them. Or if they look like a Tony but their name is really Scott. Or if it’s someone your wife knows well but not you. Or if you’re retired so you don’t need to remember names for work anymore. Or if you’re at weddings. Or bar mitzvahs. Or funerals. Or… you’re over 60.

Point is, it doesn't get any easier. And neither of us is an expert at it in the first place. And we’re not powerful enough to have one of those people who follows around Senators and whispers stuff like, “That’s Janie Boyle, she heads the cotton growers union in East Texas, her son Grady just enrolled at Georgetown as a freshman.”

We have to rely on our memories and face, they ain’t what they used to be. So that is the impetus for this week’s comic. For those of you who say, but wait, aren’t there supposed to be 2, we just hope you won’t notice. And if you do, shhh, don’t tell anyone else.

Finally, we DO remember the names of all our loyal and faithful subscribers. And we could recite them but who has the time?

Stay warm and enjoy Super Sunday. We’ll be back with you next week.

Best

The New 60

On hat hair and dough 2/25/19

A very special shout out to our friend Betsy Cadel, who not only suffered a case of hat hair, but helped shape it (the idea, not her hair) into an idea for a new strip. Hat hair is just one of the injustices of a cold winter. And unlike the comic, it even happens to bald people. Trust us.

It’s the little funny indignities we go through each day that make their way into our comics. As long as they are relevant to people in their 60’s. The good news for us is that a lot of what’s relevant to people in their 60’s is relevant to people in their 50’s. Or 70’s. Or even 30’s. Okay, that might be stretching it a little, but you get the point. By all means, please share it with your friends of all ages.

The second idea actually happened to one of us. Okay it was me, Andy. You know the old cliche about turning chicken shit into chicken salad? This one was like that. When I told it to John, he had the character trip over the dog with the pizza flying through the air. But I didn’t trip over a dog. I don’t have a dog. John has a dog, but he didn’t attempt to make a pizza. See, that’s what makes us good partners.

ANYWAY, in actuality, it was the result of an exceedingly poor transfer from pizza stone, to pizza peel, to dinner plate. As the slow motion horror unfolded (of the pizza folding on itself) it looked for all the world like a calzone. Just the night before, my wife had executed the transfer seamlessly (we made two balls of dough). Next night, with Joanie out of town, I tried it myself, bungled it and the world’s sloppiest calzone was born. It tasted pretty damned good, by the way, and who knew, 4 years after it became a dinner, it would become a comic.

So that’s it for this week. Next week, in addition to the endless babble about the Super Bowl (we used to watch for the commercials, but that was when we were in advertising) we will be back with two completely- unrelated-to-Super-Sunday comic strips.

See you next Friday

Andy and John

SEX AND THE SPATULA 1/17/19

Hi Guys

Welcome back. As we kick off our second year, we thought about one of our favorite topics. No wise guy, not food, sex. Like love and relationships in general, passion takes on different dimensions the older we get. This idea came to us, shall we say, naturally. Our “Then and Now” format seemed like the perfect way to handle the subject.

The second comic deals with internet gadgets. One thing is that most of them are plain dumb to begin with (not my carbon fiber eyeglass cleaners, mind you, but MOST of them) and the other thing is that many people in their 60’s have downsized to smaller houses or apartments. Which brings us to a second issue, where do you store all the dumb gadgets you bought? We already dealt with that one in a past comic, just pay extra for a storage unit. And the third thing is that the more time you spend at home, the more likely you are to see these ridiculous products and be tempted by them. I mean, who WOULDN’T want a Square Strike Wedge that makes chipping as easy as putting? Who could resist an egg-let that lets you hard boil eggs WITHOUT the shell! (exclamation point is from the manufacturer, not us! Oops, I mean, not us.)

So this weekend, spend less time with infomercials and more time with thenew60 (notice the subtle plug there)?

Have a great weekend

The New 60

Putting year 1 to bed 12/21/18

Well it’s been close to a year now. We started thinking of the concept of a comic about what it’s like to be in your 60’s in this day and age, in December of 2016. In January we started compiling ideas. And by March, we were putting pen to paper. Actually it was fingers to keyboards and stylus to computer pad but pen to paper sounds so much better.

I love to go ahead and do it, but John, not so much. He takes the careful approach. Think before you do. Who are the characters? What are their stories? What are their back stories? And it’s a funny thing. Once you do that your characters start to become real. Who has the grandkid? How would she react to being a grandma? Or one of us thinks of a funny idea and then we say, ‘that’s more of an Al story than a Marv story,” or things like that. Slowly but surely, your characters take shape. Kind of like the way people take shape. We get molded and shifted by our circumstances. All the time. Only this time, we make up the circumstances. And the characters’ reactions to said circumstances.

It’s kind of fun. The characters become more and more real. And they become slightly different over time. John even began to draw them slightly differently. We have single situations we love, like the time yours truly got stuck for 20 minutes trying to figure out one of those new parking meters. Or the time I couldn't reach one of my kids and John said, just change the Netflix password. The Pizza franchisee convention? Well, John’s been to a few of those for Little Caesars. These are the real life situations we tweak for the comics. And then we develop storylines. Who, towards the end of their corporate careers, hasn't dreamed of starting their own business? It just so happens that Al and Joanne are looking into opening a Pizza on a Stick franchise. What could possibly go wrong? And then their are Craig’s exploits in the dating world. Will he finally meet “the one” next year? Will Marv finally take off those extra few, alright extra 20, pounds? Will Sam realize his dream of becoming a Major League Baseball radio announcer?

We are taking a few weeks off but when we come back in mid-January, we will attempt to answer these and other burning questions. Until then Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Kwanzaa and whatever else you celebrate. Here’s hoping your romaine isn’t tainted and you don’t catch hell for playing Baby It’s Cold Outside. Have a great rest of the year and an even better 2019. And most of all, thanks for taking this ride with us.

Peace

The New 60

Getting Up There 12/13/18

This week we take a look at getting older. How do we deal with age? It’s the noises we make when we bend down to pick up something we dropped. When we get into a car. When we get out. Just going through the motions requires a little more of us than it used to. I can see it in John’s balky knee. Or my neck.

About that neck. I was 24 years old, just starting my first job in advertising at NW Ayer Chicago. I started on 7/7/77 (got married on 7/7/84, so 7/7 is a big day for yours truly) and they promptly told me they had a slo-pitch softball team. Well, I’m not the world’s most naturally gifted athlete, but I love playing softball. I rode a bike to the office and after work, hurriedly pedaled to the park where we were playing. No time to warm up, but what the hell, I was 24. I put on my glove and was told they don’t play with mitts in Chicago. The ball its a little bigger in circumference and after it gets smashed around for a few innings, it becomes slightly mushy. They put me at third base. Wouldn’t you know it, but the first pitch got smashed on the ground to third. I fielded it cleanly, and it hurt like a mother, but I wasn’t gonna let anyone know that. I was going to show off my “rocket” arm. So I reared back and threw was hard as I could to impress my new co-workers. I felt something tear between my neck and shoulder on the right side as the ball went on a straight line…5 feet over the first baseman’s head. Today, I still wake up and feel shoulder/neck stiffness in the exact same place.

So we took Sam to an undefined gym class and watched him compensate. This was an amalgamation of John’s knee, which made him switch from singles to doubles. And my shoulder and recently my foot. Oh yeah, and tennis elbow too. There’s always golf, but the tennis elbow put a damper on that. There’s hiking in the woods, which my wife loves as well. Well plantar fasciitis starts rearing up but only after 4 miles. Every time. So I could stand that and kept the walks to that length or less. But when you compensate (top of the toes) and then it hurts to walk, period. But there’s always the elliptical. And if that hurts the exercise bike.

We had fun with Sam dealing with the very same shortcomings. Read it and see what he ends up doing.

We’ll talk to you next week, our last comic of the year before taking a couple weeks off. But I gotta run. I’m late for Pilates.

The New 60

Having an Act II 12/7/18

Act II. It’s a cliche that means, what are you doing or going to do now that you’re retired, fired, or winding down. John and I had some fun with this awhile ago and wondered what would our characters do with their own second acts. We came up with a franchise idea, Pizza on a Stick. For those of you that didn’t know, John did a whole bunch of Little Caesars Pizza commercials back in the day, and he’s been to more than one convention. I’ve been to a few conventions myself, but they were for soft drinks and beer. Believe us, conventions are filled with comic fodder.

When I was looking for my Act II, I thought about writing a comic strip. I called John and the rest, as they say, is history. Now obviously we’re having a little fun with Al and Joanne’s second act and she’s a little more skeptical than he is. But when you’re in or close to the age range of The New 60, pondering Act II is important. C’mon, you’re thinking about it, right?

Most of us have probably worked for some sort of big corporation or in the case of ad people, worked for several corporations within the same industry. Your time is not exactly your own and while you do get a nice paycheck plus medical, you give a lot of your brain and your free time in return. With NO residuals, I might add. One of my lasting memories is of writing a commercial for Herbal Essences. After literally months and months of back and forth with the client, we sold our idea. Then we cast for the lead actress. When we finally boarded the plane, the actress, who had put in about 2 minutes on the project so far, was seated in first class while I (along with my art director) went back to coach. Because them’s the rules.

When you start your own thing, you make your own rules. Nobody tells you what to do. But while there’s no guarantee of a paycheck, it’s really exciting to watch your own creation start to take off. We are closing in on a year’s worth of comic strips. So for those of you who follow us, and comment on our work, and like us and share our comics, and offer us ideas and inspiration, we want to say a profound thank you. It’s a really cool journey and we couldn’t take it without you.

Peace,

TheNew60

Andy and John

Phoning it in 11/30/18

No, we’re not actually phoning it in. We’re doing a “Then and Now” about the ubiquitous, sometimes obnoxious, and always interruptus … cell phone. When we got the idea I thought it would be great to show all the things you used to do and show how they’re done now. But John said no, I have a different insight. It doesn't matter what the current technology happens to be, we’re still doing exactly the same stuff we used to do, only now it’s on a phone. Better angle. That phone brings joy and pain, and like the people in your life that are most important to you, there are times you can’t live with them, but god forbid you try to live without them.

A good case in point was involved the Landorf family dog, a wheaten terrier (we called him a Wheaten Terrorist) named Otis. Unfortunately Otis grew increasingly aggressive after he turned 7 or 8. He became agitated when I went to work. And would bark in a menacing way. Every morning I had to go downstairs, put him in a cage, get my work bag and coat, come back downstairs and take a biscuit. I’d let Otis out of the cage and toss the biscuit across the room. He’d chase after it and I’d open the door to the garage and quickly shut it behind me. Until one day when I left my cell phone behind. Rather than deal with my dog, I spent the day without a phone. But soon thereafter, we were without Otis. Trust me, we tried to make it work.

The motivation for the next comic came from the midterm elections. We noticed a raft of younger and younger candidates. They overcame long odds and beat their much older and more established opponents in the primaries and then went on to win their respective midterms. So many of them sounded so mature and reasonable and full of energy. We were mutually impressed. And then we wondered if either of us could have run for congress when we were in our twenties. The answer was a resounding no. (Something about getting into a car after consuming two pot brownies probably disqualified me).

We had fun thinking that one up and recalling all the intelligent things we did in our 20’s.

At any rate, we hope you enjoy this week’s strips (take your minds out of the gutter) and we’ll be back with two new ones next week.

Have a terrific weekend (even if you’re a Giants or Jets fan)

The New 60

Stuffing the turkey, stuffing ourselves 11/23/18

It seems hard to believe but Thanksgiving is upon us once again. As we get a little older, we lose a few miles per hour off our fastballs, but maybe, hopefully, we gain perspective. The prospect of metaphorically losing a few miles off your fastball is of course was what led John to the fly swatter. Not that HE’S lost anything mind you.

We think a wonderful source of comedy is the difference between how we see ourselves and the way the rest of the world sees us. In our minds, we’re not that much different from when we were in our 20’s and 30’s. At least mentally. But then stuff happens. The cute waitress calls you “sir.” Someone gets up on the bus and offers you their seat. As I wrote a couple weeks ago, some lady leaned out of a car window and said “you’re crossing against the light, old man.” I looked behind me to see who she was talking to (not really, I knew who she was talking to, but being called old man was still a shock.)

Even an act as simple as catching a fly (not a fly ball, but the kind that flies around in the kitchen) becomes a test of “I’ve still got it.” Which is better than a test of reflexes, because let’s face it, they’re slower than they used to be. This week’s first comic shows Al grappling with a fly, and of course, with getting older. But with perspective we adjust. Playing more doubles than singles in tennis. Hitting from a forward tee in golf and mulling a switch to senior shafts. And, speaking of fly balls, playing in an over 60 slo-pitch softball league. But with perspective, it’s all okay. ‘Cause we’re still out there playing tennis, golf and softball (well I’m not playing softball, but as soon as I find an over 60 league, I’m back, and watch out fellas, I can still throw the ball all the way from the pitchers mound to first base.)

The second comic is John’s tribute to Norman Rockwell’s famed Thanksgiving portrait, using our characters. And it’s a reminder to have a great Thanksgiving. Enjoy your families and don’t talk politics until Uncle Albert goes home.

Happy Holidays

The New 60