Sunday, May 21, 2023

 Humor is the best medicine.

Okay, humor may not cure all your problems. For instance it doesn't stop bleeding or mend a broken bone. But humor can be great for taking your mind off of pain and putting you in a good mood. So here are some toons.

Let us know what you think.

Friday, January 6, 2023

JZ Happiness Hack: Don’t be afraid to fail! Accept rejection!


JZ Happiness Hack: Don’t be afraid to fail! Accept rejection! 

Fortune favors the bold! 

You can’t make shots you don’t take!

It’s better to have loved and lost then to have never loved at all!

Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes! (That was just thrown in there cause it’s a cool saying.) 

Everybody gets rejected. It’s part of life. There’s the saying, “you can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.” You may ask, “How is that related to failing?” This phrase is just a fancy puffed up way of even the best don’t win all the time.  

Obama lost his first election.  Nixon said something to the effect of, “you won’t have me to kick around any more…” after losing an election before becoming president. Okay, that didn’t turn out great but he did win reelection by a huge margin. My ideal Tom Seaver was not the star of his high school or college baseball team. Super rich writers: Steven King, JK Rowling, George R.R. Martin have all been rejected at some point. Einstein didn’t come up with E=MC**2 on his first try. The point is all these people have three things in common:

1)    They tried

2)    They failed

3)    They eventually became successful


That’s what you need to do knock on doors, send manuscripts and resumes, talk to people, take that shot. Yeah you’re going to fail – a lot. But guess what you will learn from each failure and improve with each failure. Success (even moderate success) does not come easy and on the first try. 

The key is you can’t have any success unless you try! (Well the one exception may be being born rich like the Royal Family. But being born rich doesn’t necessarily equate to being successful. More on that later.)

BTW, it never hurts to be a little bold and even kind of cocky when looking for opportunities. When I was a sophomore in college my programming skills were growing. I had no doubts that I would get a job as a computer programmer. But as of yet the computer game industry hadn’t really began. There were still very very few personal computers and those that existed cost a lot. It became apparent that at least at first my programming would be all business. If I wanted to get my creative juices flowing it would have to be something else. Since word processors hadn’t yet been invented (at least to the public) I figured my best chance would be to write a comic. Yeah sure I couldn’t draw that well but a number of comic strips were written by one person and drawn by another. 

Being me I decided to start at the top of the heap. I wrote Charles Schultz a letter, where I kindly pointed out he was getting up there in age. I had read an article that none of his kids wanted to take over his legacy. So, I offered. I even wrote up a month of Peanuts gags. My logic and pitch being, we me writing he could concentrate more on drawing. Plus when he finally put his pen down I could take over. Peanuts would still be Peanuts as I would have apprenticed and learned from him.

A month passed and I heard nothing. I went home for summer break figuring, “Oh well I gave it a shot. No harm no foul.” On day while sitting at home playing cards with my sister the phone rang. My sister picked it up.  The conversation went like this:

My sister: No I am sorry Mr. Zakour is not home. May I take a message?



My sister: Okay, so your name is Charles Schultz. How do you spell that?


My sister: C H


I grabbed the phone from my sister. There on the other was Mr. Charles Schultz. They say don’t meet your idols. But apparently that doesn’t apply to phone calls from your idols. Mr. Schultz and I had a very nice conversation. I have no idea how long it lasted. Half the time my brain was thinking: Oh my oh my oh my! But he did say he liked my stuff and I had true talent. But he also said Peanuts would only be written and drawn by him. Still he had faith that I would develop my own comic. He even talked about his rejections. It made me feel really good. It also made me know that I could do this as long as I kept plugging away.

Yeah, I got rejected but it was a darn good rejection.  But even that stung a little bit knowing that 19 year old me would not be taking over Peanuts. Heck if I did this book would be called One Life Hack for a Wildly Successful Life: Take over Peanuts. Of course life usually doesn’t turn out to be that easy. Ya gotta pay your dues and take your knocks. But that’s okay. Each knock makes you a little tougher so the next knock stings a little less. With each rejection see if there is anything you can learn from that rejection. Try to take something positive out of it. Even if that positive is only, “Well I tried.” Put it behind you. Forget about it. Move on to the next.


Important Note: When it comes to failing having a short memory is very helpful.

Right after college I created a poorly drawn character called The Mouth Monster. I figured maybe I could do my own art? I could not. I mean I could but only the local papers would buy it. Nice extra income (lunch money) but not enough to make a living. It was around then that I discovered established comic strips and magazine cartoonists often buy gags. You just needed to contact the creator through the syndicate or magazine they worked for. I sat down wrote a bunch of gags and sent them out to a whole bunch of different cartoonists. I took a deep breath fully aware that I was bound to get rejected.

Not surprisingly a bunch of them said: “Thanks but no thanks.” Happily a lot more of them said, “we love your stuff. Please write for us.” Over the course of the next few years I literally wrote thousands of gags for comic strips. Later,  I decided to branch out to TV hosts who did a monologue at the beginning of their show. I fought back the fear of rejection and low and behind I found myself submitting gags to both  Joan Rivers and the Tonight Show. I love it. I had found my calling. 

My lack of fear of rejection combined with my love of humor writing and my knowledge of computers is how I become a novelist.  As you could probably guess it certainly wasn’t a straight path. In the early to mid 90s when the World Wide Web first became a thing I was fascinated by it. I realized that now anybody could put stuff out into the world for anybody else to read. My fellow geek friend Ron Pool and I created what may very well have been the first interactive online novel: The Doomsday Brunette.  This was the futuristic story of the world’s last freelance PI and his wise-cracking holographic assistant as they hunted down a beautiful but deadly enhanced human. It was pure fun pulp. I also started to scribble my own poorly drawn computer cartoons and also put them on the web for the world to see.

Of course nobody knew the cartoons or the mini-interactive novel where there. We had no marketing budget and quite frankly no way to monetize this yet.  Then I discovered something called The Cool Site of the day and I also discovered something called Yahoo. I wrote to them both saying: “Hey why don’t you feature us?”

Much to my pleasure they both emailed back and said, “Sure!”

BOOM. Due my lack of fear of rejection the world knew about us. We got calls from NY Times, Detroit Free Press, San Fran Chronicle. (I can’t even remember. But a lot of newspapers when newspapers still had more power than the web.) We won a Webby award. A bunch of books named us to top 10 web sites. A few people even bought cartoons. We made some t-shirts and sold those.

All the while we still had our day jobs. As for creators there still wasn’t a way to make even a moderately successful living off of online revenue. Then the big companies started to jump online. NBC / Universal started their Scifi channel web site, On a whim my lack of fear of reaction caused me to email them and say: “Hey I wrote this story called the Doomsday Brunette about a cool pulp sci fi PI. Would you like me to write original interact content for you?”

The next day I heard back: “You know that’s a cool idea. Send us the first chapter.”

Right then and there I wrote the first chapter of The Plutonium Blonde. Took maybe an hour. I highlighted what I thought the links could be. I sent it off. The next day I got a e-mail from Sean at scifi saying Bonnie Hammer (who was a VP I believe at that time) liked it. Let’s move forward. Boom, the The Plutonium Blonde was born. For the next twenty some odd weeks I would write a chapter (send it to a reader to edit) and then send it into the NBC universal would then me actually money for writing stuff.  I felt great. All because I took a chance and sent an email. 

Plutonium Blonde ran it’s course on I felt good about it. I believe they felt good about it. I talked with scifi about doing an audio version but nothing came of that. I talked to scifi about doing a movie version. But they ultimately decided it would be too costly. That was that. At least for the time being.

Out of the blue the online service Prodigy contacted me. One of their VP’s said: “I love your writing and your cartoons I want to buy it all.” I said, “Sure.” For awhile my cartoons appeared on Prodigy.  But then Prodigy got bought out by another company that wanted to focus on music. I was gone. But hey I gotten paid a nice salary while it lasted. 

Sometime later, my cousin Larry Ganem (who is now a cool VP at DC comics) told me there was this new company called Peanut Press and they were doing something called e-books. I said, “Great I’ll write to them.”

Larry said, “Don’t you want to think about it for a bit.”

I said, “Nah, thinking is way over rated when it comes to new technology.”

I literally hung up the phone with Larry and sent an email to Peanut Press. I asked if they wanted to turn Plutonium Blonde into an e-book. To my surprise they answered immediately. They had read the story on and loved it. They said sure. Long story short Plutonium Blonde went on to become the number e-book in the nation until Stephen King finally knocked it off the charts with his Riding the Bullet.

Time passed I continued to write, draw silly cartoons and work on web stuff. That was still my main source of income. One day I got an email from a lady I thought was crazy she said, “Hey I’m owner of Daw books and I want to turn your e-book into a novel. You up for it?”

I said, “Sure.”

The rest as they say is history. I needed to expand Plutonium Blonde out some to make it a novel so I enlisted Larry Ganem again. After all he was a communications major and knew things like the difference between an adverb and an adjective. The Plutonium Blonde was released and went on to be called the funniest sci fi book of the year. Some people even compared it to Good Omens and Hitchhikers guide. 

I now had the start of moderately successful writing career all because I had no fear of being rejected.

Another lesson of life hack to learn is:

            It never hurts to ask….

Note: it might be a little scary or a little hard to ask. But the worst that can happen is that somebody says “no thanks.” That is hardly ever fatale.

After I had established as both a gag writer and pulp humor novelist I was invited to San Diego comic com. While walking the floor in amazement that I was at comic con to speak on panels I ran into Bongo Comics group. These were the people who produced Simpsons comics. My son and I talked to one of the editors and I told him what a fan of the Simpsons I was. How I loved the show and the comics. At my son’s coaching I took a deep breath I then asked, “Are you open to freelance writers?”

To which he replied. “Actually we are? Do you have a web site or a resume?” 

We got talking more. The next month I was pitching and selling stories to the Simpsons comics. This lead to work with Rugrats, Fairly Odd Parents and many others. All because one I listened to my son and two I fought back my nerves and asked.

Summary: Don’t let fear of rejection stop you from asking. Keep on plugging away!


Jz's Happiness Hack: Choose a career you have a passion for

JZ's Happiness Hacks 

Happiness  Hack: Choose a career that you have a passion for or that you’re good at 



You’ve probably heard that old silly saying, “If you love what you do it’s not work!” Or “If you love what you do you never work a day in your life?” Or something like that. You get the gist. It’s corny but in many ways it is correct. Let’s not beat around the word bush, work is work. No matter who much you love it, even if you have the best job in the world, I don’t know: Being an astronaut, a pro athlete or being Beyonce’s personal massage therapist, there are some days when your work is still going to suck and will actually require work. It’s the nature of the beast. It’s the reason why work is called work not play or vacation or frolicking.


Even the best jobs have some drawback or some bad days. Being an astronaut may be cool, but you do have to drink recycled urine. Even super star ball players get booed or have to do photo shoots.  I’m sure even Beyonce’s personal massage therapists has tasks they don’t enjoy. Maybe Miss B has a cold and is sneezing on you? Maybe one of JZ’s weird friends is giving you funny looks? Maybe your hands hurt? Whatever this is the real world we are talking about. No not that silly reality show, there’s nothing real about any reality show. This is life. Somedays even the best job will suck like a heavy duty vaccuum. Not coal mining deep in the shaft and the canary just died, sucked, but still your job no matter what will at times feel like work.


One note should be added to this life hack. Unless you are independently wealthy, you also need to choose a career that people will actually pay you to do.  I didn’t want to talk about money right up front because it seemed a bit crass but when push comes to shove you need a source of income to well, do anything: eat, find housing, buy things. 


The hack really should read: 


Choose a career that you have a passion for and people are willing to pay you do. Even though, I guess it doesn’t matter if you are good at if people pay you. Still if you are good at it chances are you will enjoy doing it which is a big plus too.


Of course chances are people won’t pay you to do something unless you are good at. Yeah my parents used to pay me to stop singing and to be quiet, but that wasn’t really a career it was more like literal mad money. You could be the world’s greatest rose pedal tosser but not only is tosser not really a world there wouldn’t be a lot of demand for that. Sure people having weddings might want you to come and toss rose pedals but it would be hard to make a sustainable career out of that. Plus you will probably piss off a lot of cute flower girls. You really do not want to piss off flower girls. Kicks to the shin are painful.  Besides, pedal tossing is really a young person’s game.


If you are a writer, artist or actor people are bond to tell you, “You should just do it for the exposure!” Here are a dozen handy retorts to people who tell you that.


1)    I can’t eat exposure

2)    I don’t need exposure I burn easily. I need cash for sun screen.

3)    No.

4)    Gee how thoughtful and cheap of you.

5)    Take a long hike off a short pier. The exposure to the water will be good for your sole.

6)    Why would I? (Then start to laugh.)

7)    Do you do what do for exposure?

8)    I’m not a nudist I don’t need exposure.

9)    Great, when my landlord asks me for the rent, I’ll show him my exposure.

10) Sure and then Santa and the Easter bunny will bring me all I need to survive.

11) If I wasn’t so polite I would say: FU and the horse you ran in on. (But why get the horse involved.)

12) Yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s how Elvis got his start. But he’s dead now so you see how that worked out.


The point is if somebody wants to pay you with exposure that means that they most likely are new and starting out which means you aren’t even going to get a lot of exposure for your time and effort and work. Oh if they have money they are incredibly greedy or cheap and you will next see any of their money.

Yeah, even if you enjoy doing what you do it’s still work that takes time. 

The take away, just like you should avoid exposing yourself to the cold or the sun you should avoid exposing your work for free. Your time and effort is worth more than nothing, zero, zilch.  

Now that I got the truth bomb out of the way time for the positive amazing spin. Work is certainly less like work and far more fun and fulfilling if you are doing something you enjoy doing. Plus if you are good at that will also help increase your enjoyment (we like being good at things) and also increases the amount of money people will pay you to do it. For example an original DiVinci sells for much more than an original Zakour. Heck, that elephant who pants with dung has their painting sell for more than any paintings I could create. I take comfort in knowing I write way better books. At least way better than the elephant. Plus I use electrons and ink not dung! Therefor I guarantee my work smells better. Take that elephant who writes with dung! Please note: unless you are an elephant or maybe a monkey you probably don’t want to consider dung artist as a career.

If you don’t have a career yet or are looking to change careers you’re thinking: Okay Mr. Moderately Successful writer what should I chose? My answer is, “I don’t know you. But (as the hack suggests) I would ask you to consider: what are you good at and what do you like? They do say “write what you know.” You can adapt that to, “Do what you know.”

Young me (senior in high school) decided to follow this advice. The things I knew were baseball and comics. Face it I was 17 and really didn’t know much. I didn’t even know enough to know I didn’t know much. But even then I realized I needed a more organized way of figuring what I know and what I’m good at. Being logical even way back then I made a list of my strong points and my not so strong points. That list follows:


Strong Points

Weak Points


French, Spanish (and other language)


Geometry: any math past Algebra


Working with my hands



Have a way with the written word


Great knowledge of cartoons and sports


Can throw a baseball pretty well for 1 inning

Sweating: having been born with dry skin I can’t sweat so I get heat stroke pretty fast.

Good at falling in Judo


Like to make people laugh. (Mostly on purpose.)

Talking in public

Good Friend

Talking to girls



In-tact Hairline



Writing in cursive


Heights: they scare the heck out of me


My voice while loud and memorable isn’t memorable in a good way. Just be glad I am not doing the audio version of this book.


I feel obligated to note that very few of us truly know what we want to do before the age of 30. Yet much of this list still holds true today. Though the talking in public and to girls (women) no longer holds true. 


            That said looking at the list I quickly ruled out a number of jobs: gigolo (darn),  judo Olympian (though the Olympians did get to throw me around and were impressed by my falling skills), carpenter, plumber, mason, teacher, pilot, fireman, astronaut, policeman, math guy, interpreter at the UN, actor, sports broadcaster, swim coach, stuntman (because of the heights thing or else I could have so rocked, stuntman). 

            I idealized Met’s legend right handed pitcher Tom Seaver. But being left-handed and unable to pitch effectively once I actually got over heated due to my inability to sweat made that dream a pipe dream.  Sadly the left handed specialist who comes in to pitch to one batter gets them out and then go sits and watches the game from the bench had not been invented yet. Too bad I would have rocked that. 

I also loved the comic strip Peanuts. Charles Schultz the creator of Peanuts was my other ideal. I mentally devoured ever Peanuts book other there. I could recite Peanuts cartoons verbatim. Much the way today I recite lines from the Princess Bride: “I don’t think that means what you think it means.” But the problem there was my drawing skill was on a scale of 1 to 10 like a 3. Not the stuff syndicated cartoonists are made of.

I figured hmmm, I’m creative and good with words and stuff I can be writer. I love writing. The catch there was I did not love typing on a typewriter. For those of you born this century or even in the 90s you can google typewriter. At the time typewriters were a marvelous way to get words quickly on a piece of paper. They beat the heck out of pen and pencil for speed. But still there was no good way to correct and you could only do one page at a time before popping out one piece of paper and trying to line up the next piece of paper. That “being bad with my hands” thing came into play here. I found myself at an impasse. As much as I thought I’d make a good solid writer (I had an ego then) I knew I couldn’t write novels and books and such on a typewriter. It would take forever. But I still thought that was my best option for now. Go to Syracuse University and major in Journalism or something similar and then turn that into being a novelist down the road. Was it the perfect plan? No of course not. There is no perfect in this world. But it could be the start of my life’s roadmap.

Then a miracle of technology appeared senior year on the third floor of my high school: a computer terminal. For me and the terminal it was love at first sight. Okay, it was a one way relationship but still I had seen the future and it was a teletype machine connected to a computer around 12 miles away via the phone. 

The school gave us a book on BASIC which was as the word implies a very basic programming language. Within a day I had written my first program.



That was it but I was impressed. I soon modified it to ask you for your name and then say hello to you based on your name. After that I modified the program more so it would say a random wise ass thing after greeting the person. People seemed amazed that a machine would ask them their name and then respond to that name and then say something funny. By the end of the semester my best bud Cory (who would go on to MIT for a Ph.D. or two) wrote a computer football game. I will be honest, Cory did most of the heavy programming. I did the humor, play by play and a lot of the game mechanics including having a dog run and poop on the field.  People played the game and laughed and had fun. I learned I can use my logic and creative skills to make programs on computer to be both useful and entertaining. I had found my future. I would go on to college and major in Computer Science. Yeah, I wanted to write and create computer programming let me do both. I also decided I would minor in English and Biology just to keep the writing dream to be a possibility.  Actually the biology was more just in case the US got into another war and started the draft again, then the biology would allow me to go to Med school. 

You might be saying, “Now Mr. Zakour, you are saying you wanted to be a computer programmer and writer which is geeky but cool. But today you are just a moderately successful writer. How did that come about?”

To which I will reply, “Please read the rest of this book.” But I will give you a hint a spoiler if you will: The sci fi geek writer I am today owes a lot to that high school kid who decided to be a computer programmer. Yes, that part of me may be buried deep in my subconscious but it still helps drive everything I do today based on creative with a touch of logic and organization thrown in. 

Heck that second or third program I wrote over 40 years ago still reflects itself in all of my sci fi writing where I usually have a wise-cracking machine or side kick. Plus my strip Working Daze not only has wise acting computers and geek culture references the entire thing takes place in high tech office. I tie in my real world experience from my years as a programmer turned web guru turned consultant. Truth be told some of the Working Daze lines I’ve used have been directly said to me by bosses when I worked in the real world. 

For instance: “Tell me why I think this is important!” “Are you sure this web thing isn’t a passing phase?” “How come nobody emailed me about my email being down?” “I touch the link but nothing happens!” “If the computer is so smart why does it let me make mistakes.” 

This is also a true actual conversation I had:

Me: “Computer Consulting.”

Voice: “My computer isn’t working!”

Me: “Can you be more specific?”

Voice: “The screen is just blank. Nothing there.”

Me: “Have you turned your computer on?”


Voice: “Never mind.”

Art and life often imitate each other. Take advantage of it. I know I certainly have to moderately successful results. Heck, I even get people who ask if they can be a comic strip character or if any of my characters are based on them. I also get people who insist I worked in their office. I didn’t unless I did and those people know who they are. I just worked in an office and quite frankly all offices share certain characteristics which works out great when you are writing. Quite frankly we all much more the same than we are different. That’s why if you do what you know not only will you do it well but others will identify with you and your work!


Summary: Do a bit of brain / soul searching. Make a list if you have to.  Figure out what you are good at and enjoy and can get people to pay you for. Start figuring out ways to do that.


Positive Vibes: The Power of Compromise.

JZ's Positive Vibes

The Power of Compromise from 3/10/22


Compromise has gotten a bad rap in some sectors.  You’ve probably heard the statement, “When you compromise nobody gets what they want.” Sure, there are times when yes compromising can be bad. If you make compromises on building materials to save money, then compromise may lead to trouble. (See that Condo in Florida that sank.) But quite frankly the ability to compromise is how modern civilized societies get things done. When you are a mature adult you realize you can’t get everything you want.


The lack of compromise has kept American politics pretty much stuck in neutral. Since compromise is seen as a four-letter word it’s nearly impossible for both parties to get anything done unless one party controls the White House and both parts of the congress so that party can ram their agenda through. Which may work for a while but inevitably control will shift to the other side who then spend all their time undoing what their rivals did. You do the math, this doesn’t work. Closer to home the Geneva city council is so split I’ve seen pro wrestling matches with less drama and vitriol, making it harder for Geneva to get stuff done.


What’s the solution? Well first, I’m not that smart. I don’t offer solutions only suggestions for another possible way of proceeding. I note that society tends to do better when we all look for common ground. Beliefs and ideas we all share. If we look a little deeper and are flexible we see that often our mutual goals aren’t THAT different. It’s a framing issue. Instead of wanting “my side to win at all costs” look at like “how can we make this better for both sides…”


Which brings me to something near to my heart, the baseball lockout. Here the owners of major league baseball teams locked out their players in order to prevent the players from striking over their contract negotiations. The owner’s excuse was to prevent the loss of games. Of course the owners didn’t offer a deal for weeks and both sides remain entrenched as they want to win. In these types of win at all cost ideals there are no winners only losers, in this case especially the fans. Last week the owners canceled games. The two sides remain divided over numbers: minimum salary, luxury tax, and a pool of money for younger players. While players and owners (who are pretty much guaranteed profits win or lose) argue the game suffers. Making matters worse they are bickering over numbers instead of finding ways to make the game more exciting and shorter. 


This entire situation could be solved if they met in the middle. Owners want a minimum salary of 700,000 and players want 725,000 so meet at 710,000. Owners offering a player pool of 30 million, players want 80 million, meet at 50 million. And so on. The players get paid again, the owners get profits from games again and the fans get baseball again. Does anybody get everything they want? No of course not that’s not how life works. 


Positive Vibes: We Can Disagree and Still Be Friends!

Jz's Positive Vibes.....

We Can Disagree and Still Be Friends…


It’s easy to forget that we can disagree with each other and still be civil to each other and still be friends. I’m certain that no two people on Earth will agree on everything. We are shaped by our own unique combination of DNA and environment. I understand identical twins have the same DNA but unless you keep them in some sort of identical lab setting (which is unethical BTW) they still have their own unique beliefs based on the different environments and circumstances as they age. I’ve seen identical twins really go at it when arguing. Which is fine. Everybody disagrees with somebody sometimes. But that doesn’t mean we can’t still get along.


This month I’ve been fascinated with NASA’s Dart Mission. Dart is a 250 million dollar project to deflect an asteroid by “changing its motion in space through kinetic impact.” In other words, they want to hit the asteroid with something to change its path. NASA doesn’t do this for kicks and giggles. It’s done because there is a possibility (however small) that we might spot an asteroid coming in on a crash course to Earth. A big enough asteroid could make us go the way of the dinosaurs. Therefore, it would be nice to have a chance to stop such an event. The Dart team targeted a 530-foot asteroid called Dimorphos. Now to greatly simplify this (due to my lack of knowledge and limited word count) NASA fired a rocket at Dimorphos. The rocket traveled millions of miles through space and hit its target. We got to watch live video of it happening. Which I thought was amazing.


A friend on facebook didn’t think so. They posted something to the effect of “OMG what a waste of 250 million dollars.” And so we dove into an online discussion. Here’s a hint to remember when “discussing” with another person: the world is filled with many grays, there is very rarely a true right or wrong answer. Keep an open mind and listen to what the other person is saying. I opened with a joke, because well that’s what I do. “I bet the dinosaurs wished they had a DART system.” We then exchanged views and opinions. 


The friend said, “250 million is a lot to spend!”


I noted. “While that sounds like a huge number 250 million is roughly 0.004 percent of the US budget. A small price to pay for potentially saving Earth.”


Other friends from both sides chimed in. Points against there’s a very slim chance of an asteroid hitting Earth. Counter point: Still, it’s nice to know that maybe we’d have a chance to SAVE EARTH. 


Another counter point: We’d have to spot the asteroid in time and it would have to be the right kind of asteroid. Counter point: Still, it’s nice to have a chance. 


Another point: Why don’t other countries pitch in to help? Counter point: It’s nice that the US takes the lead in saving the world. 


Final point: Rather see the 250 spent somewhere else, this seems like a waste. Counter point: It’s the US government they are built to waste money. At least this has a chance to do some good for the world.


We went on for a while. We all expressed our opinions and when the conversation was over we remained friends. Did we change anybody’s mind? Nah, but I hope we got each other thinking that there are at least two sides to everything.


Saturday, October 8, 2022

Spreading my creative wings

Besides Working Daze comics and Positive Vibes articles and tips will also be added DadToons written by me and drawn by Debora Costas to this blog.

After all I am a happiness guy and nothing saying happiness like Dad jokes brought to life. These will also be available on facebook:

Friday, August 12, 2022

 Expressing Gratitude...

    By John Zakour

Last weekend one of our friends sent me a quote from Doctor David Steindi-Rast that read, “It’s not happiness that makes us grateful. It’s gratefulness that makes us happy.”  She asked if I believed that. And I replied, “Yes, absolutely gratitude is one of the basic tenets of happiness.” In fact, one of the best ways to increase your happiness is to express that gratitude to others. What better way to express it then once again in my column.


I am going to start with the obvious. I’m grateful to my family starting with my parents. Yeah, they weren’t perfect but, in many ways, they were perfect for me. Even when they gave me bad advice, “Take French.” They always meant well. Also grateful to my sister as I would have been even more spoiled if I was an only child. Yeah, my first years were great, but it was nice to have company. Sure, I wanted a dog or a brother, but life doesn’t always give you what you want. It teaches you to adapt and be flexible. I’m grateful to my wife and son for their support and encouragement and putting up with me all these years and all my “little” faults. (If you must know I am the world’s worst singer, yet I still occasionally sing without realizing it.) I tell everybody the secret to being a moderately successful writer is to have a spouse or a significant other who has a real job. Our dog Daisy also gets kudos for making me play with her outside even when I didn’t think I wanted to.


To all my friends old and new, big and small, republican and democrat and undecided. You make my life fun and interesting and a learning experience. Since I made a lot of my current friends playing softball, pickleball, ping pong, tennis and martial arts, I’m grateful for sports. Besides helping me be social, sports also help me stay strong(ish) and keep me in shape(ish). Plus running around hitting balls and punching bags is a great release.


Now this might seem weird, but I am grateful for Apple, Amazon and Google. Yes, they are monster companies and truly have the potential to become Doctor Who villains; yet I choose to concentrate on the positive things they do. If it wasn’t for Apple and their development of MacWrite I might not be a writer today. I guess I also must give Microsoft a little “well done” for Word. Google gives every person access to a wealth of knowledge (when you shift through the spam) plus google docs is a nice alternative to Word. Amazon for better or for worse has become the major factor in the publishing industry. I appreciate having all these books at my disposal. I certainly wouldn’t have over a hundred books available to everybody if it wasn’t for them. So, thanks, Apple, Google and Amazon, try not to be evil.


Finally, I’m grateful for living in a small town in the Finger Lakes. Is Geneva perfect? No of course not: taxes are high, I’m still not sure how downtown will look once all the construction is done and our city council sadly mirrors national politics in not being able to cooperate. Yet the lake is beautiful, you can get anywhere in ten minutes and the vast majority of the people are friendly and welcoming. So thanks, people of Geneva.

And now a cartoon. Speaking of being grateful for pets and parents. :)