Keeping fit, sort of 6/21/19

Getting to retirement age (voluntarily or involuntarily) is different than it used to be. Our generation refuses to believe it’s getting older. Trust us, we‘re getting older. Thus a proliferation of high end bike trips, hiking trips, excuuuse me, hiking excursions, surfing lessons parachuting and heliskiing are all the rage these days. It’s like we’re screaming, I’m not getting older! It is within this rage that half of the New 60 team, (Andy) took a hiking trip with his wife Joanie to Mallorca a few months ago. Joanie’s brother, Buzzy had just turned 70 and wanted to celebrate in this way. The trip was expertly led by Buzzy’s son Michael (who is ridiculously fit) and included 10 people all 65+. We would walk as much as 8-10 miles a day, up mountains and over rocky terrain. The good news was the guilt free eating and drinking that followed. A couple of the group failed to show for dinner a couple of nights, because they were so tired from the hiking. Our first comic imagines what would have happened if they DID show up for dinner. One further note, there is no such thing as “you are free to eat and drink as much as you want afterwards.” One of us managed to log nearly 50 miles walking and managed to gain 4 pounds. Truth.

The next strip is a celebration of the upcoming summer. There is a universal truth about people in their 60’s and beyond (unless you’re a bodybuilder or European underwear model - no offense Melania). We’re all a little self-conscious when it comes to taking our shirts off and hanging out in our bathing suits. This is totally not true in Europe where the celebrated Riviera features sagging bellies and boobs clad in nothing more than tight speedos. But we digress. We decided to have fun with a pool party, That the party is thrown by a ridiculously fit couple who love showing off their bodies, which only adds to the discomfort everyone is feeling. With one notable exception.

That’s all she wrote for now. Have a terrific weekend and we’ll be back at you next week with two new ones, hot off the press.

The New 60

Decluttering and other fun topics 6/14/19

Hey, it happens to all of us. The kids grow up, get jobs, and move out of the house. Suddenly the place becomes cavernous. The school taxes are ridiculous, especially since the aforementioned kids are no longer in school. You and your partner think, what are we doing in this money pit? And you move. But first you have to declutter. Out go the kids’ lacrosse sticks, their old cleats, field hockey sticks, art projects, report cards, in short, stuff you saved simply because you had the room to store (and lacked the courage to toss it). It’s easy to get rid of somebody else’s old junk, but what about your own? Surely your new abode can’t accommodate your out of favor exercise equipment, Bowflex, Heavy Hands, ab rollers, etc. It may hurt to give these up for pennies on the dollar, but very few people want them. One of us recalls going out for a run during his yard sale and returning home seeing his old Nordic Track ski trainer in an open trunk, driving down the street. Upon returning to the house, he asked the auctioneer, “so how much did that go for,” and the auctioneer proudly announced, “We got $50 for it.” Forget that it cost $600 new. So if you are considering downsizing, you’ve got two basic alternatives, sell everything you can’t fit into your smaller living quarters for a mere pittance or…don’t move. The choice is yours, our friends. It’s a painful topic, but it makes an entertaining comic strip. At least we hope so.

Our other area this week is computer bots, or in longhand, robots. You know when you get asked to check a box saying “I am not a robot?” and then that isn’t good enough so you have to check how many cars are in the block of pictures, or how many crosswalks or how many cars? And who takes those godawful blurry photographs in the first place??? If you’re reading this blog, you’ve been asked all these questions just to get on our mailing list. It’s a security problem, say the experts. You need this because it’ll protect your readers from being bothered by other internet marketers. Personally, let the damn robots have their day. Just don’t ask me if I’m one of them, okay? So it is both aggravating and the topic of one this week’s comics.

Please enjoy them and let us know what you think in the comments section below. We answer everything we get.

Have a terrific weekend and we’ll see you next Friday. Well we won’t “see you” see you, but you get the drift.

The New 60

Unplugging 6/7

Yeah, we know it’s a little strange writing a blog about unplugging while on a laptop computer. As Alanis Morissette once sang, “Isn’t it Ironic”? And this week, both our comics are about ways to unplug and de-stress. One is about a thing we’ve been doing long before it became a thing. We call it, “taking a walk in the woods.” But it turns out that’s an ancient Japanese custom called Shinrin-Yoku or “Forest Bathing.” Who knew? We stumbled upon it while doing research for a advertising a wood treatment product. It turns out the decaying trees on the ground coupled with the smells of growing trees and leaves give off beneficial smells that reduce stress hormones in men and women. And it’s a slow walk, not a forced hike. But warning, you’ve got to take off the wireless Beats, Bose or Apple headphones and listen to stuff like the birds chirping and the wind rustling the leaves and the babbling brooks. Why do we need this? Well, I can only speak for myself (Andy) but I can often be found watching a Mets game on my tv, while doing the crossword on my iPad and pausing to shoot off an occasional text on my iphone. All this while receiving a bump on the wrist from my apple watch telling me it’s time for deep breathing. We thought the name “forest bathing” cried out for fun and we hope we provided it.

The other comic comes from experience. These Fitbit wrist bands and apple watches are great if you need external motivation to get going. But what if you don’t? Then it becomes annoying as hell. Both John and I have had recent incidents when we took off our watches or bands for some reason, did some heavy physical activity, and then realized we hadn’t put the watch/band back on. Heavens! Sure we got the benefits of the exercise but it totally didn’t count because we didn’t record it. You know, if a tree falls and no one hears it, does it make a sound? So we tackled the absurdity of our reliance on these all-encompassing devices that serve to remind us we have failed miserably as human beings on a daily basis. And we pay good money to find out!

So anyway dear readers, show technology who’s boss this week. Turn off your phone, okay but what if your kids call and they are in trouble? Turn off your tv, but how can I watch the Mets? Turn off your laptop, but how can I read my ebook, and for god’s sake toss away the Fitbit, except I’m about to get my congratulatory 10,000 step thingie. Ya know what? Forget the whole thing and if you gotta plug in, at least make sure you plug into the New 60.

Thanks and have a great weekend.

The New 60

Made in the shade 5/31/19

Last weekend was Memorial Day, a long weekend. That’s cool but at least one of us (Andy) was totally unaware of it, until it was upon us. Now, there’s nothing wrong with a long weekend - in fact they are great - but the prospect of a long weekend loses a little of its excitement when you’re not working 5 days a week in the first place. Does that sound like whining? Okay, it is whining. Forget we mentioned it. We’d still rather play golf, tennis, go for a bike ride or go to Costco on a random Wednesday rather than on a long weekend. All of which has absolutely nothing to do with our two new comics this week.

The first one grew from John’s fevered imagination. As is true of most creative people, we spent far too much time watching tv in our misspent youths. In addition to such stalwarts as Leave it to Beaver, Father Knows Best (how would that title go down in the #metoo era?), Bonanza and The Brady Bunch, John partook in Petticoat Junction. Think about pitching this show to the networks: “Okay, I’ve got a great idea. Here’s how it opens. These three hot girls go skinny dipping in the water tower and even though we can’t show them naked, we’ll have them toss their petticoats over the side of the water tower so everyone will know they’re naked. It’s high concept, trust me.” We wondered what our kids would think if they watched that now. We think it would go firmly into the “what the hell were they thinking” category. And that it would make a pretty good comic.

The second comic comes from real life. Many of our friends have kids who are either getting married or having kids of their own. A couple weeks ago some friends threw a co-ed baby shower for their daughter, who was months away from delivering a grandchild. It was remarkable that so many men attended, and it turned out to be fun. No opening of presents and saying oooh and ahhhh, as the gifts were opened, this was just good food, good drink and fun with friends. It was held at our friends’ house with it’s big, beautifully landscaped, sun-dappled backyard. The other remarkable thing about the party was how everyone struggled to avoid the sun. Over the length of the afternoon party, the sun took over from the shade and everyone kept moving their chairs or tables or blankets into an increasingly smaller and smaller patch of shade until…comic #2.

By the way, if you wonder why our doctors keep recommending we take a vitamin D supplement, it’s because we don’t get enough damn sun. Just saying.

Have a great weekend and we’ll see you next Friday.

The New 60

The more things change...5/24/19

Here’s what we like about our 60’s. Freedom of schedule. Riding a bike, playing golf or tennis, going to a movie or play in the middle of the week instead of when it’s crowded on weekends, babysitting our grandkids. Here’s what we don’t like. Aches, pains, trips to the doctors, babysitting our grandkids’ dogs. More on that in a minute.

Our first strip this week comes from our Then and Now series. You remember. Those are the ones that contrast what we used to do with what we now do (notice we resisited the urge to say “do do”). A personal favorite contrasted the way we used to pass around a joint (those round, twisty things before vape pens) to the way we now pass around reading glasses when trying to read a menu. This new one deals with the world of cars. We used to think a spoiler looked cool as hell, now we think it does what it says, spoils the look of the car. One of us is having some trouble with his car at this very moment and nothing looks sexier than reliability. Voila, comic #1.

Our second strip comes courtesy of John’s mom. Thank you Mrs. Colquhoun. Now that John’s kids are grown, there’s no more "leaving them off at Grandma’s for the long weekend while we get a little alone time.” Now it’s “Can you watch the dog for a couple days?” This of course comes with a laundry list of do’s and dont’s, prompting the aforementioned Mrs. Colquhoun to contrast how taking care of the kids seemed a hell of a lot easier. And that is simply all we needed for comic #2. That and the fact that John and his wife prepared such a laundry list. And that’s what is so much fun about this “job.” It’s looking at our lives or that of our friends and being able to laugh about it. Well, not the part about OUR lives. That’s nobody’s damn business. But our friend’s lives, good stuff!

And when we do it right, we get comments like, “did you attach listening devices inside our home?” No, well maybe. But only a couple.

Have a great weekend and if you get the chance, please weigh in on our comments section. We’d love to hear from you.

The New 60

Turning 66 and oh yeah, comics 5/18/19

One of the staff (an enormous staff of two) of The New 60 turned 66 this week. He is still firmly in his mid-60’s, or to borrow a phrase from Linda Kaplan, our former creative director, in his “incredibly late 50’s.” Hell, age is just a state of mind, right? Who cares about the number? That’s all it is, a number, along with a stiff neck, an achy breaky knee and the realization it’s a little tougher to lose the weight and … forget it. Forget we even mentioned it, okay?

This week we visit part of how it feels to be in your 60’s when you go for your physical. None of us wants to cop to it, but there is a little sense of underlying dread when we go, right? And that only increases when you get that friendly call from the doctor’s office wanting to discuss your test results. What could possibly go wrong? A couple years ago, that same New 60 staffer got a call from his doctor in the San Francisco airport. He picked up the phone, and the doctor said, “Hello, you have diabetes.” Turns out he was wrong and it was a one time blood sugar reading gone haywire but still. He is now my “former doctor.” All of which served to inspire this week’s first comic. That and the test results from last Friday that they still haven’t called about. But, as Alfred E. Newman (ya know, the guy who Trump thinks looks like Mayor Pete) once famously said, “What, me worry?”

Onto the second. Both John and Andy have copped to this one at some point in the past, including this past Tuesday night. If you are a sports fanatic or are married to one or live with one, here’s the deal. They are watching some sort of game in extra innings or double overtime or on tape delay. You can see their eyes are about to close, but they want to stay up to see how it ends. This is a completely unscientific study, but I maintain that less than one half of one per cent make it through the final out, basket, touchdown, etc. And yeah, we left out hockey on purpose ‘cause neither one of us follow it. Back to the subject, whatever it was. The only thing more pathetic than falling asleep before the ending is pretending you didn’t fall asleep before the ending. And THAT is the subject of our second comic.

See you next week with two new ones. And don’t ask us about the NBA Conference Finals, we were too busy sleeping before the final bucket.

The New 60

Communicating about communicating 5/10/19

At the New 60, we always try to draw on experience. An experience either one of us has had, or an experience one of our friends has had. Or something we observe in a total stranger. The first comic this week has to do with something that pisses everyone off, regardless of age. Waiting on hold. Especially waiting on hold for a big institution like a credit card company or a bank or, in this case, an insurance company. You know in advance you’re going to have to wait forever. This was the second of a two part comic. We thought it would be fun to have Marv wait from last week’s comic until this week’s. So the germ of the idea came from one of us having to dispute a bank charge. You have to make the decision, is this going to be worth the aggravation I know I’m going to feel? And if you make the decision to go ahead, you tell yourself you won’t get aggravated, at least not this time. Until you do. As Marv stews, so stew we (does that even remotely make sense?).

The second strip (after 4 decades in advertising, we are always tempted to say, the second spot, which is how you refer to a commercial in the biz) deals with one of those occurrences we both have had. When it’s something that happens to us both, we realize we might have an idea that resonates with our audience. In this case, we are talking about the twin phenomena of losing your hearing bit by bit (no, I will not put closed captioning on my tv!!!!) and of a couple communicating with each other by shouting from different rooms. It’s usually the sound of one person’s voice, the hearing of only a few key words, honey, will you, favor, 8? Followed by the mandatory reply, WHAT????

Ain’t love grand? Read ‘em and laugh. And have a wonderful weekend.

The New 60

Should I take it now or take it later? 5/3/19

Social security. Once you hit 60 you start thinking about it. Should I take it as soon as I can? That would be age 62 1/2 (why the half is anyone’s guess), or should I wait as long as I can? That would be age 70 1/2 (there’s that damn half again). If you take it right away, you get less each month. The longer you wait, the more you get. But who knows how long you’re going to last? Gosh, this is getting kind of morbid, but at any rate, it’s a thing John and I discussed. It’s kind of funny because the 70 1/2 thing works only if you plan on being around a long time. I proposed that idea to John and he said, no, what does everyone you know say when you talk about how long you’re gonna be around? They say, “Yeah, but what happens if you get hit by a bus?” And that was the core of our first idea this week.

Our second thought came from having to wait on the phone. Anytime you have to, it’s horrible, and if you’re like us, you dread it even before it happens. It’s the call to dispute an insurance claim, a bank statement, a credit card bill, fun stuff like that. I recently suffered through one of these with Citibank. Now I’m sure it’s a fine institution, but it’s an institution. And my “representative” obviously had a script she was reading from. She was told, when the customer seems to be getting more and more upset (that’d be me) just tell him/her that “I understand the frustration you’re going through.” Trust me, it doesn’t work. I once had an advertising client who, in rejecting my idea said, “I applaud your passion, but…no.” Hey, buddy, applaud this.

One final note, John repeated the opening lyrics to “Brandy, you’re a fine girl,” word for word. I tried to get us to do “Mandy” but I could only get as far as “I remember all my life…” so John won.

See you next week.

The New 60

The (not so) great outdoors. 4/26/19

If you live in the northeast like we do, you’ve endured another cold, snowy, wet winter. Now that the weather is warming, you can’t wait to get out there. One of us did just that last Monday. I called a buddy on the spur of the moment and said, “Let’s play golf, right now.” The friend (names are omitted to protect the innocent) belongs to a country club, so we met there. I took out my pull cart and was told that pull carts were against club rules. My friend calmly strapped his bag across his back and started walking uphill to the first tee. Way uphill. Not wanting to panic or seem like a wimp, I carried my bag (for the first time in my life, I’m sorry to admit). John said, that’s a comic, and we dreamed one up.

The second strip comes from the fact that both John and I are big Mets fans. Watching a game a couple weeks ago, the announcers said it was Jackie Robinson Day. Jackie Robinson wore #42. That number can never be worn again by any player in the major leagues. But on this one day, every player in the major leagues wears #42. The visiting team made a pitching change and the Mets announcer, Gary Cohen, had no idea who the new pitcher was. He said “Coming in to the game, #42, uhh, wait, there is no #42.” Voila. Comic #2.

In addition to thinking up ideas, we also have to think about who plays what roles. In this case it was easy. The character of Sam Lipisi used to be a commercial voiceover, the kind of guy who says “This Bud’s for you.” So it was an easy choice to give him a side hustle as the announcer for the local baseball team, the Boulder City Bullets. We thought Sam needed a foil to play off, so he invited his friend Marv to sit in with him in the booth on Jackie Robinson Day and watch his buddy not know a single player on the other team. As the cliche goes, “you can’t tell the players without a scorecard.” In this case, you couldn’t tell the players even WITH a scorecard.

Enjoy the great outdoors this week, and let’s hope it turns out better than it did for our guys.

See you next week.

The New 60

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