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 streaking.” We decided to spare you by leaving that part out of the acutal 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. On this one occasion, we were working on the same project. John had come up with a terrific animated campaign for a drug called Celebrex. We were ready to run on national tv until the client discovered an additional side effect at the 11th hour. It turns out, the drug could kill you. So during the fair balance portion the announcer, with a cheery voice, had to say something like: “People who are allergic to Celebrex shouldn’t take Celebrex. 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?” Yeah thanks. Needless to say, the campaign never aired.

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

who couldn't use a little bathroom humor? 11/16/18

Here’s what happens when you’re over 60. Somethings are easier than they used to be. For instance, paying tolls with EZ-Pass and depositing checks online. But some things are more complicated, like going to the bathroom in a public space. I know I’ve been to at least one place where there were urinals and toilets in the bathroom, but a long communal, co-ed sink outside the bathroom, complete with my all-time favorite, an attendant who hands you a paper towel when you are finished washing your hands. You sort of have to tip the poor guy. He doesn't want to be there anymore than you want him to be there. But this guy also had peppermint lifesavers, so…

This week, we explore the bathroom, ‘cause let’s face it, we have to go a lot more than we used to. John recalled one of his least favorite aspects of going. Assholes (not literal assholes, which are essential to the bathroom experience, but figurative assholes) the kind who talk on their cell phones as if nobody were around. We figured out the most obnoxious conversation you could possibly have in a stall, and came up with a loud conversation with the stall person’s stockbroker. A special shout out to my cousin, financial wiz Tommy Lowell, for keeping us honest on our dialogue about what someone would actually say to a stockbroker. And I promise, I did not talk to him from the bathroom.

Then John talked how frustrating it is to use those automatic sinks. You wave your hands under the soap dispenser, it doesn't work. You wave your hands under the sink, it works, but no soap. Then you go back to the soap and this time it works but now you can’t get the water to turn on. You move sinks, same story. A young guy walks in, puts his hands under the faucet, voila, water! How do they do it? It must be in the wrists. In fact, the jerk who was discussing his portfolio from the crapper probably has no trouble with the automatic sink. To hell with him.

At any rate, wishing you a good weekend despite the snow. Hopefully you won’t be spending too much of it in the bathroom.

Later,

The New 60

On politics and being politically incorrect 11/9/18

The inspiration for our first comic requires no explanation. We try to stay clear of politics these days, because the subject causes a lot of hatred and the complete inability to see the other side. Nonetheless we sent out our first comic of the week, “Vote” to everyone. No matter how you ended up voting, it was good you voted. We wondered, how can we get people to vote? And John said, “How about just using the word VOTE?” I said, “it’s clear but what’s funny about that? And he said, “We’ll make fun of Sam. We’ll say every vote counts, even his.” I thought, poor Sam, he gets the fewest frames and now, we’re making fun of the poor guy. But after all, he’s just a drawing, So we went with it.

Since we were in a political frame of mind, we thought about political correctness, Everyone is so careful these days. Stepping on eggshells. Back in my ad days I had a very straight, politically correct client and we were in Canada for casting. As an example, if we were casting a black person in a role, he’d refer to him as an African American. Accurate but stiff, formal and I think, shows that that person is uncomfortable. So there I was in Canada with my client and the casting agent asked why we weren't casting the lead role of a black woman in Canada. Putting on my best client hat, I replied “Oh do you have a strong African American talent pool here?” Without missing a beat, the casting director said, “No, we have a strong African-Canadian talent pool.” Served me right. So much for political correctness. In our second comic, Al and Joanne have dinner with their friends, two new characters in the strip. Their friends happen to be gay. And we handle that topic like we handle most everything. With a sense of humor. That’s something this country could use a little more of. No matter which side of the aisle you’re on.

Thanks for reading

The New 60

On being funny after a sad week. 11/02/18

We love doing this comic strip. But sometimes, it’s harder to be funny than others. After a week filled with hate crimes, we had to take a step back, gather our collective breath before forging ahead. In the end, we figured, we can all use a little laugh more than ever right now.

Last week, when John was compiling a list of our greatest hits for submission to a syndicate, he said “Let’s do something around a weekend walk in the woods, we haven’t done that yet.” Maybe it was the crisp autumn air, maybe it was the beautifully colored leaves that inspired him or maybe he was gong for a different look. But when he said it, I told him I’d never go for a long walk during a Giants game and he said, “Bingo, there’s a comic.” I must say however, that when the aforementioned Giants go 1-7, it gets harder and harder to justify staying home.

Our other effort this week revolves around setting your clock back, or forgetting to set your clock back. We try to be topical when appropriate. Remember that comic about forgetting Valentine’s Day we ran on Valentine’s Day? With the marathon coming up as well as Daylight Savings Time, we had our choice of a couple topics. Since neither of us is exactly in marathon running shape, the choice of a subject was easy.

John has a state of the art, solar powered watch that requires no winding, no batteries and no resetting. Which is great, until the watch gets it wrong. Which his watch did. (Don’t tell John I told you this, but he’s been walking around with a watch that’s an hour off for months with no way to fix it). Hopefully Daylight Savings will set that all straight, but maybe not. For full disclosure, my wife and I have driven around with car clocks that needed resetting for ages. “Where is that manual again? Oh sounds complicated. Forget it, I don’t have the time to do this. Maybe Saturday.” Sound familiar? Al tackles this dilemma at the diner.

Have a great weekend everybody and remember to set your clocks back (if you can figure out how). That makes two great things to look forward to (I know, never end your sentence with a preposition, but I just did, so there!) 1) We get an extra hour of sleep and 2) The Giants wont lose (they have the week off — maybe I’ll take that walk after all).

Andy & John

Who you calling old??? 10/26/18

A couple weeks ago I was walking the mean streets of Tarrytown, NY. Well, they’re not that mean actually, unless you think ethnic restaurants and antique stores qualify as mean. At any rate, I was crossing the street. I had a green light but the “don’t walk” sign was lit up as well. Since there were no cars, I walked. As I started across a woman in a mini makes a right turn into the crosswalk and honks at me. I threw my hands up in one of those “You must be fuckin’ kidding me” kind of poses, when she rolls down her window, and says, “Read the sign, old man.” Now, being the mature individual I am, I may or may not have shouted back, “Have another donut, fatso!” But her comment stuck. Old man? Surely she wasn’t talking to me.

But of course, I let her remark get to me. I don’t think of myself as old, but to younger people, I am old. And that leads us to one of our new comics today.

The other subject we tackled is portion control, aka, how we fool ourselves. I have been through, at different times in my life, Weight Watchers, Atkins, The Power Hour (eat no carbs all day then whatever the hell you want for one hour each night), even the infamous Vegan Before 6. My preferred technique is to take what I like about each diet and combine them. For instance the Vegan one has no limit on bread, while Atkins loves bacon cheeseburgers, but leaves the bread out. I just combine the two diets and eat a bacon cheeseburger with a bun. 

The real inspiration for this cartoon came when I was trying to attempt to use portion control, by bringing a side of potato chips to take into the office (the shared workplace where I write) for lunch. It was a narrow ziplock kind of bag. At first I started taking only as many cape cod salt and vinegars as I could fit (about 8 but who’s counting), but then I found if you broke them in half, you could get way more in there. Marv’s attempt at portion control is similar. As John put it, and we considered it for an alternate ending, “you’re making a mockery of portion control.” He said this as he was polishing off a dark chocolate covered pretzel, while mentioning the health benefits of dark chocolate, by the way.

If you’re old enough to be reading this comic on a regular basis you’re probably old enough (except for you Ali, Greg, Mark, Marissa and Maddie and all your buddies) to have no idea how you look to younger people and no idea how to manage portion control. But don’t worry. That’s why you have us (except we have no idea either).

Thanks for reading

Andy