Sunday, June 29, 2008

Popsicle Psycho


This Bizarro cartoon is made possible by Mind-Numbing Confections, Inc.
Like anyone, I loved hearing the ice cream truck coming when I was a kid. But now I've got this damned OCD-type mechanism in my brain that hangs onto any melody I hear for hours or days, playing it over and over in my head.

My studio is on the second floor of our apartment, overlooking our street in Brooklyn, and I like to have the windows open when it is between 65 and 85 degrees. For most of the summer, this leaves me totally vulnerable to the local popsicle vendors and their satanic soundtracks.

How a person with any hearing at all can work these trucks is beyond my imagination. I'd rather drive a school bus full of hungry badgers.

Stress Mess












(Click on image to biggy)

Today's Bizarro is brought to you by Eternal Gardening Equipment. "Helping people reap what they sow since 1846."

There are many good gags to be had in hospital situations, the inherent vulnerability of health issues sets the perfect stage for comedy. The one drawback is that with all their clutter and equipment, hospitals are tedious to draw. I've solved that somewhat with this empty hallway, but I still had to make up a bunch of electronical junk for the testing room. In truth, the hallway, too, would be a visual cacophony of gurneys, shelves, doors, and god-knows-what-else, but that would have confused the gag. Plus, more tedium.

I don't know if anyone can tell, but all of the machines in all of my cartoons are totally made up out of my head. That includes airplane cockpits, UFO consoles, operating rooms, engines, etc. I'd actually like to be able to research these things and make them more accurate, but I fight down the anal retentiveness in my nature and just make crap up.

Speaking of which, I'm due for a colonoscopy soon. If you haven't had one yet, you really don't know what you're missing. Knowing it is long overdue, each day I play out an internal battle over whether to call to make an appointment, or throw myself in front of a bus.

So far, it's been a tossup and I've done neither.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Punch Rolling


This cartoon is brought to you by AFGO. (Another F***ing Growth Experience)

I'm not the sort to buy into self-imposed myths like the power of profanity, but I like to keep this blog safe for all ages and sensibilities, so I dug out the asterisks for the above headline. It's been so long since I used one, I couldn't remember where I'd put them. Turns out one of my cats had eaten the entire bag, so I had to dig them out of the litter box.

As for this cartoon, because I'm not the sort of person who can keep anything to himself, I must tell you I've had trouble enjoying moseying lately, too. Some bad mojo stopped by my Brooklyn apartment to visit recently and I've been going to counseling to try to get rid of it.

I'm a big believer in counseling, it has saved my life more than once, and the therapist I'm going to now is the bomb. I'm not the Woody Allen sort–seeing a therapist regularly year after year for my entire adult life–I only go during a crisis, usually for a few months, then quit when I've solved my dilemma. The same way you'd treat your car.

I'm on the road to solving this crisis, but I'm metrosexual enough to admit it's been damned difficult, and I've spent most of the past couple of weeks feeling like something left in the yard by a passing dog.

There have been many times recently when I've wanted to give up and disappear, even give up my career and just wander off into the night, never to be heard from again. A self-imposed witness protection program. But the temptation passes quickly since I have no other means of making a living and I dislike sleeping outdoors.

I hope my blogs and cartoons haven't suffered (the comics written during this struggle will appear in a few weeks). I've always prided myself in being able to hide my despair from my readers and complete my appointed rounds without interruption. I went through a hideously painful divorce back in the mid-90s, I never missed a deadline and most of my readers never noticed a thing. But as a blog reader, you have unwittingly placed yourself into a special group of those privy to my most private thoughts: fair warning, free country, view at your own discretion.

For instance, when I was a toddler, I was convinced I was not one, but several girls trapped in a man's body. And the man wasn't even me. A story for another time, perhaps.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Eat to Kill

(click on image to make it become enbigger)

Today's Bizarro cartoon is brought to you by a grant from the Mixed Messages Institute.

Life is full of mixed messages, not the least of which is our parents' insistence that we treat animals and other weaker creatures with compassion, while serving us the steaming, mutilated remains of a tortured chicken
or pig.

On a less serious note, some of my readers may not know that Bizarro is offered to newspaper clients in two formats: panel and strip. I draw the cartoon in panel form, then convert it to strip on my computer, adding extra drawings on the side, if necessary. Typically, the elements shift around, the caption balloon above the characters moves to the side, and their isn't too awful much more to be drawn. This one, however, had to be finagled in many directions to get it to fit. The booth is wider & shorter, the ducks are bigger, etc. Looks pretty crappy here, you might want to click it for the larger pic.
Almost any time I draw a fair or carnival, I add a redneck shoving wads of food in his mouth, which to me is mostly what these events are about. I found fairs interesting when I was a kid, the annual State Fairs were a big deal in Oklahoma and Texas, but as an adult I can't see past the horror. Nothing says "doomed species" like throngs of overweight humans in airbrushed T-shirts, cramming more calories down their gullets than air, lit by flashing lights against a background of hideous stuffed animals, paying money to be hoisted into the air and jerked around until they get dizzy. (Note how both the OK and TX fair have giant rednecks at the gate. I've always assumed it was bait.)

Am I old enough to be a curmudgeon yet? Is there an age limit?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Phantom Women

Bizarro is brought to you today by Necropolis Beauty Products. "You'll think you've died and gone to heaven."

I'm not sure where this idea came from, and it probably isn't everyone's cup of tea, but I love it to death. I find the idea that someone would go to the trouble to act out the old urban legend about the hitchhiking girl in a wet prom dress hysterical. Seems like this activity could catch on with goth girls.

For those who haven't heard the story: a girl of the type described above is picked up on a country road late at night, preferably near a body of water, and gives the driver the address of her home. When the driver arrives, she has vanished from the car. He goes to the door to investigate and the old woman who answers tells him her daughter drowned thirty years ago on prom night as a result of a car crash or whatever. The story is usually told as though it actually happened to a "friend of a friend" and includes local landmarks to make it scarier.

I love urban legends, except when someone tells me one that they believe to be true. It is uncomfortable to be given the choice of either acting impressed by a preposterous story (which makes me feel like a complete idiot) or telling them the story is false, effectively calling them an idiot.

I usually just smile and say I've suddenly remembered I forgot to feed my weasel before I left the house and am afraid he'll chew his way out of the attic.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Name By Any Other Rose

This Bizarro cartoon is brought to you by Friendship, Inc. "Being there at the right time with the right solution."

A good friend of mine from my old stomping grounds of Dallas, Taxes, asked me a while back if I would put his good buddy's name in my cartoon. He knows I use names on rare occasion and he convinced me this guy was a huge fan and would get a giant kick out of.

Unable to resist the opportunity to sell another color print, I acquiesced and here it is. Of course, I've been hearing from Kevin Baileys from all around the country all week. Having a syndicated cartoon is a great way to make new friends, if you don't mind them all having the same name.

With a name like mine, however, I've never experienced seeing it somewhere else so I have no idea what that must be like. I guess you get used to it. My wife has an incredibly common name, on top of which it is gender non-specific, so she meets both men and women with the same name. Of course, now she goes by CHNW, so that's all in the past.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Cleaning Fanatic







Today's Bizarro cartoon is brought to you by Nature's Cleaning Tools.

When I drew this cartoon, I thought "mopologist" was just one of those funny, overly-professional-sounding words for a minimum -wage labor position. The idea of a janitor getting all Mission Impossible with his job seemed amusing, so I drew it up. When it published last week, I got an email from a reader who informed me that the word is real, although it means "an apologist for the Mormon Church." WTF?

Which begs the question, when is one of them going to apologize to me? And what would they apologize for?

In light of the actual meaning of the word, this cartoon takes on a surreal tone.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Christian Chicks


(click image to enlargenize)


This Bizarro cartoon is brought to you by Merry Myths for Misguided Monkies.

I often do cartoons about Christian mythology because, like most Americans, I was raised with Bible stories. Common knowledge, especially mythology, is tremendously fertile ground for humor.

But aside from the Sunday School side of this, I'd like nothing more than to be able to fly on my own power. I have dreams about it frequently. Forget about harps, the glory of god's presence, eternal bliss, 72 virgins, cheap gas – what I'd really love to get when I die is a big, honking, fully-functional set of wings! Even if they came with scaly bird feet. I'd even put up with feathers and a beak–it wouldn't be that different from the ample proboscis I now proudly display.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Jackass in the Mirror

This Bizarro cartoon is brought to you by Guilt Trip Travel Agency. "Enjoy your holiday in Mexico while your mother sits alone in Milwaukee."

As I approach the end of my life (I'm not all that old, I just don't see myself making it much past next week–call it an intuition) I have noticed myself looking more and more like my father. I love my father, he's a great guy in every way, nice-looking, too, but it is somehow disconcerting to see yourself turning into someone else. It seems a gradual theft of your identity.

As I stared into my shaving mirror one recent morning, lamenting my lost individuality, it occurred to me that it could be worse. I could be turning into my mother. Explaining my larger hips and ample breasts to my wife and friends would doubtless be uncomfortable.

Turning into your mother's dog would be even worse, of course. Although my wife loves dogs more than she does people, so I'd likely get more affection than I would as an elderly woman. My mother doesn't actually have a dog, though, so I'm safe on that account. But she does have a pet jackass. It's my father, which is who I'm turning into.

Ah, the circle of life.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Emoticondom

This Bizarro cartoon is brought to you by Unlimited Choices Consortium.

I'm not a fan of using a lot of emoticons when I email, but I do use the original happy face fairly frequently. Email does not imply tone of voice, so the two-stroke smile – I don't bother with the nose dot. : ) – is not only a simple, helpful communication tool, it is often necessary to let your reader know you were kidding. My humor has caused misunderstandings in emails before and I've offended people without even knowing it. If the pissed off party doesn't immediately write back and tell you so, you've got a loose cannon wandering around town drawing a target on your chest, as you skip and whistle down the street without a care in the world.

Of course, if you're skipping and whistling down the street on a regular basis and you're older than 11, unclear emails are probably not your biggest problem.

I am not, however, a fan of the electronic, digital, Pixar-style emoticons that move and wink and stick out their tongues and wear funny clothes. Those things make me feel as though the page is crawling with radioactive insects that have escaped from some evil laboratory at Disney. (FYI: all labs at Disney are evil.) Others are welcome to embrace these gremlins, but I avoid badly-designed things in my own life and don't want people sneaking them into my field of vision without even asking.

It occurs to me that last paragraph sounded like Andy Rooney. Shoot me now. Perhaps that's why almost all of my posts fall into the "cranky comments" subhead.

By the way, anyone know what emoticon you use when you feel like this?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Retired Rockers

Today's Bizarro is brought to you by Senior Scooters of Saratoga.

When I was a kid, rock stars were young, rebellious, and if not good-looking then at least taut-skinned. It was important that they were the opposite of your parents. No one over 35 was even drumming in a band, much less the front man. Now, Rolling Stones concerts have a large disability section up front for the senior scooter and wheelchair crowd, four of whom are on stage. Keith Richard has enough extra skin on his face to build a puppy. Mick Jagger is beginning to look like my chain-smoking, hard-drinking Aunt Ruby.

As a guy who is well over forty but still incredibly cool, I cheer these wrinkly roll models with one hand and cover my eyes with the other. I hope I'm still rocking it when I'm Jagger's age, but I hope I don't have to swing from the rafters from a bullwhip to get my jollies.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Cannot Tell a Lie

Today's cartoon is brought to you by Delayed Reaction Rationale, Inc.

Funny how everything good about America during Clinton's administration was said to be a result of the Reagan/Bush era, and that everything wrong with America in the early '00s was blamed on the Clinton administration.

The one solace I had after election day '04 was that perpetrators of our doom would be in office to take responsibility for the poison fruit of their labors. Now, our ass is so far into a crack that there is pretty much no doubt who wedged it there.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Hot Fried Babes

All proceeds from today's Bizarro cartoon will benefit the Tots for Tots campaign.

I like potatoes. I'm not afraid of them, I don't buy into the Atkins nonsense that carbs will kill you. Fried potatoes will kill you, but it's the fat and cholesterol in the oil, not the potato doing the lion's share of the work. Animal flesh has plenty of that stuff, too.

I eat tons of carbs every day (plus some plant protein), in the form of natural, whole plant foods, and I have no weight problem, no cholesterol issues (the good or bad kind), plenty of energy and health and very low blood pressure. Every single other person in my family battles these issues, so it isn't just genetics.

But I do love me a French fry. I eat them on occasion – not daily, of course – and man, there are far worse-tasting things you could put in your mouth. If I met a French fry woman like the one above, I might leave my wife for her. If I found out French women taste like fries, same risk. Don't tell CHNW.

By the way, the Atkins diet is reported to make you lose weight and though I've never tried it, I have observed that Atkins himself weighs much less now.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Tim Russert

I was very saddened to hear of Tim Russert's death last week. He was one of the precious few journalists with the integrity to nail politicians with tough questions and demand an answer. A huge loss for us as a country.

Last Christmas, I did a cartoon about Tim in collaboration with a comedy writer friend, also a fan of his, Andy Cowan. Days after it appeared, Tim's best friend wrote to me and asked if he could buy the original art and give it to him for Christmas. I agreed and sent the cartoon to him. A couple of days later, Tim's wife wrote and asked the same question. I told her who had bought it with the same intention and she was happy that Tim would get it, one way or the other. A couple of weeks later, Tim mentioned it briefly on Meet the Press, clearly flattered that he had made it to the funny papers. I have long since forgiven Tim for getting my first name wrong.

video

Sometimes it really seems only the good die young.

The National Coffin

Today's Bizarro is brought you by Pessimists Amalgamated. "The glass is half full, but it's half full of poison!"

I'm not a pessimist, but I'm very pessimistic about certain things. Like many pessimists, I call myself a "realist."

One thing I'm realistic about is the upcoming election. In a reasonable world, Obama would win in a record-breaking landslide: Bush is the least popular president in nearly 100 years, the economy is in the toilet and a finger is pressing on the flush handle, our reputation worldwide is in the gutter, gas will be $5/gallon by November, according to legal experts, our constitution is in crisis, McCain's policies are the same as Bush's or MORE in the direction that nailed us into our current coffin. It's a no-brainer.

A part of me thinks Obama will win in spite of the combination of stupid, blind patriotism and racism that will account for 90% of the votes against him. But the realist in me is bracing for another close election that the Republicans can steal at the local level. I'm not an alarmist, but that would be national suicide.

If McCain wins, it will change this country for a very long time. Forget what disasters will befall our economy, our troops, our international reputation – the Supreme Court will become a fascist juggernaut for decades to come, and nothing short of an armed uprising will be able to stop them.

If you don't already have a passport, you might want to apply for it before the election. If Obama loses, those offices will be mighty crowded.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Cat Love












(Click on image to enlargenate)


Bizarro is brought to you today by Survivors of Abusive Cats.


I've lived with both cats and dogs and appreciate both for very different reasons. Dogs love you unconditionally, while cats seem to tolerate you as long as you let them have their way. I have often wondered if one of my cats has homicidal fantasies about me. It's just something about the way she looks at me.

For those of you who don't have Bizarro in your Sunday paper (email the paper and DEMAND it!) or it is published in a format that doesn't include the larger title panel, here it is.

UNinquisitive Inquisition

Today's Bizarro is brought to you by the Kansas Board of Education.

Cartoonists have long explored various renditions of the "fish walking out of the sea" and other evolution motifs, and I'm no exception. There is just so much you can do and say with this subject.

I'm not entirely sure what this one is saying, but I think it might be about how some people can't believe we evolved from single-cell organisms because they are trying to see the entire picture at once. They imagine a fish got legs one morning, walked out of the ocean, bought a suit, and showed up at the office that afternoon.

Richard Dawkins uses a good metaphor in his book, "The God Delusion," saying that if you stood at the bottom of a huge, sheer cliff, you could not imagine how a person could possibly get up to the top without help. But if you go around the other side and walk up the slow incline to the top, it's quite easy. (If I've got the wrong book here, somebody let me know.)

Evolution vs. Creationism is sort of a favorite subject of mine, both in Bizarro and in my personal life. I love documentaries about the subject and have read a number of books about it, both scientific and political. I believe in being polite and diplomatic, but I admit I find it very difficult not to be condescending to supposedly well-educated people who believe in creationism in the face of so much evidence of the relative accuracy of Darwin's theory. It's as though they were born a thousand years too late.

War on Grammar

Today's Bizarro is brought to you by the Straight Talk Express.

The day this cartoon ran, I got a couple of letters from soldiers who were angry that I was making fun of our troops. I politely explained that I was not making fun of the troops or anyone else, but rather pointing my satire at the Bush administration, who began and continue this war because of oil.

One wrote back to me and claimed it is not Bush, but Al Gore and the environmentalists who are responsible for the high price of gas. At least that's what I think his nearly random arrangement of letters and punctuation was trying to convey. (not all right-wingers are illiterate, of course, but this poor fellow is damn close.)

I explained to him that Bush, Cheney, and their hoard are oil men and that they and their cronies are making billions off the current crisis. I asked him to Google "oil company profits." He wrote back and said that he had, and found nothing.

I'm guessing Google had as much trouble interpreting his scattershot English as I did.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Dedicated Cameraman

Watch this video full screen if you can. (click the little icon at the bottom of the video screen that looks like a square with brackets)

Ever been on a hike when it started to get dark and you were worried about getting back to your car in time?

http://www.brightcove.tv/title.jsp?title=1438490562

Thanks to Gary for sending this.

Terrorists

Just found this video. No explanation necessary. If you can't watch it here, watch it here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1EXKLVgEx0

Wildebeest Cove

Today's Bizarro is brought to you by Acme Ax Grinders. "Got an ax to grind? SO DO WE!"

Okay, this cartoon is more poignant than funny, but one of my pet peeves is how soulless developers will destroy habitat, then name the tasteless housing complex they puked up after what they destroyed or displaced. If you see a gated community named "Eagle Bluff," you can bet there isn't an eagle within a hundred miles of it. But there probably used to be. "Bear's Meadow" no longer has bears or a meadow, but they do have a security guard at the gate, 24/7.

My dream is to one day have enough money to buy an entire gated community on the outskirts of some American city, evict everyone, tear it down, redo the landscape and turn it into a wildlife preserve. I would call it "Fearful Rich White Folks Sanctuary," and humans would not be allowed. If one happened to wander onto the property, he would be shot with a tranquilizer, thrown in a cage, and relocated to a nearby city. If he accidentally injured one of the inhabitants of the reserve, he would have to be put down, of course.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Triumph the Comic Insult Dog

I meant to post this ages ago, but this is the video that Robert Smigel did for our comedy show in New York benefitting Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary in May. The lineup included Janeane Garofolo, Louis CK, Gary Gulman, Dave Attell, Will Franken, and me as MC. It was a great show and a good time was had by all.

The human in the video is Doug Abel, the co-founder of Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. He's also a successful film and TV editor, so he knows a lot of cool dudes like Shmigel, Attell and Louis CK. Here's a page about the show.

Picayunity and Pricing

Today's Bizarro cartoon is brought to you by the League of Supper Heroes.

Someone wrote to me when this cartoon appeared in the paper and said that I had Batman running in the wrong direction because the muscled side would be stronger and force the skinny side inward. I replied that she was completely correct, except that I was implying that the muscles were not real but only padding, so the weight and wind resistance of the padding would force the larger side inward.

Some cartoonists are aggravated by this kind of picayune argument from readers but I really like it. These are exactly the sorts of insignificant details I think of when I'm drawing the cartoon in the first place, so I always enjoy discussing my rationale. Usually my logic for the way I drew it is correct, but sometimes a reader proves me wrong and I'm always grateful for the education.

Back in the 80s, I got a very funny letter from a Canadian explaining why the angle of the cut of a tree I had draw would have caused the tree to fall the other direction. He argued that since he was Canadian, he should know. Since I don't know anything about lumberjacking, I wrote back and described my logic – if you cut it this way, it would fall that way – and I included a diagram. He wrote back with an apology and included a government pamphlet on how to properly fell a tree. Turned out I was right.

He and I became good friends after that, visiting each other in Toronto and Dallas, and I featured him and a few of his friends (The were the self-proclaimed "Bizarro International Fan Club and Motor Oil Company") on the back of one of my early books. I think it might have been "Post-Modern Bizarro," but I can't find a copy of it around my house right now.

On another note, check out how much this site wants for a different old book of mine. You can get the same book for $1.59 on Amazon.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Free Puns

Bizarro is brought to you today by Candice's Coupon Club of Carolton.

This is a gag suggested by my friend, Phil Witte. People suggest ideas to me all the time, 90% of which are puns. I like puns, but only when they are somehow surprising and fresh, as I think this one is. People groan at puns when they feel they could have thought of it themselves. You can only get away with puns when they are completely unexpected.

In my opinion, the contrast between the serious nature of the political issue and the foolishness of the pun makes this one work. Also, who among us has not known (and will one day be) an addled elderly person not quite clear on the concept?

My Ugly Ego










Yesterday, I posted a cartoon about cosmetic surgery (Mind-Boggling Beauty), which drew a comment from a reader that I must address. The reader known here as "ging," sent a link to the above children's book.

At first glance, it seems innocent enough. Most kids think their mother is beautiful, I suppose. Even if they don't, a little white lie is a minor price to pay to someone who holds your very survival in her hands.

But the description below the book tells a different story:
"Dr. Michael Salzhauer, a renowned plastic surgeon, wrote My Beautiful Mommy to help patients explain their transformation to their children. The story guides children through Mommy's surgery and healing process in a friendly, nonthreatening way. "

If you're not completely creeped out right now, you may want to check your vital signs. The lousy, psuedo-Disney art makes your skin crawl all the more. Another reader, "Julie," suggested a cartoon for Bizarro based on this topic, which I'm definitely going to use. (If you read the small print on the back of your computer, you will see that any and all ideas for cartoons submitted in the comments section of this blog become the sole property of the writer of this blog, in perpetuity.)

Some alternative titles for the book:
The Stranger With The Familiar Voice
What Did You Do With My Mommy, You Taut-Eyed Freak?!
My Mommy Is Stacked
Daddy's Weird New Wife
Why Does Mommy Always Look Surprised?

Check out the real book here.

Monday, June 9, 2008

FUN and ME!

(Click image to enlarge)

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls! Come to Woodstock, NY this Saturday, June 14, and meet your favorite cartoonist, as well as a hundred-or-so snazzy farm animals and good food, music, dancing, face painting, caricatures (by me), more good food, beer, fun, etc.

PLUS! You can buy a limited-edition print of the image above, signed by the artist!
Holy crap! Are you kidding?!
NO!

More info here... http://www.woodstockfas.org/newsletter/2008-06.html

Mind-Boggling Beauty


Bizarro is brought to you today by Facial Fabrications of Beverly Hills.

I have ambivalent feelings about cosmetic surgery. On the plus side, for people with severe deformities or injuries, it is tremendously useful and completely warranted.

On the other hand, the way so many rich people end up looking like bad drawings of themselves in their golden years is creepy. Any time someone chops you up with a blade and rearranges you, it is dangerous, and the thought that so many people will pay bucks-a-go-go to risk their life for a slight age reduction – under the best of circumstances – is mind boggling.

Then again, if it were not for the vain and wealthy, a lot of the techniques used on deformities would not have been created. Joan Rivers alone has personally funded untold amounts of research in this area.

On the down side again, it teaches us as a society that aging is somehow wrong.

On the up side, the parts taken from Michael Jackson's nose were used to create new noses for three children born without any.

I vote "no" on unnecessary cosmetic surgery, but I didn't always hold this opinion. Back in 1996, I had my forehead extended and have been really happy with the results.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

"Special" Species

Bizarro is brought to you today by the Aberrant Species Corporation. "You ain't seen nuttin' yet!"

I was raised to believe humans are not animals, that we are something different, in our own category, annointed by God, the only creatures with a "soul," more important in every way. I no longer believe any of those things and it isn't just from watching "America's Got Talent."


(click image to enlarge)
This arrogant mindset is what has wedged our collective asses into the environmental crack from which we currently view the world. The idea that nothing matters but you and your kind works only so long as you are not very powerful. Like for two-year-olds. Annoying, but not particularly dangerous.

Once you can destroy your surroundings with the push of a button, the flick of a trigger, or the construction of a factory farm, that arrogance becomes lethal.

There's no debating that if a life form with superior intelligence came to this planet, they would immediately conclude that the only thing standing in the way of Earth's operation as the perfect biological machine that it is, is humans. Of course, if they wished to save it, they wouldn't remove everything else, they'd remove us.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Killer Clowns

Today's Bizarro cartoon is brought to you by Pachyderm Management Tools, Inc.

I was a big fan of the circus as a kid (except for clowns, who terrified me) and brought my own children to B&B Ringling's Circus when they were young (keeping well away from the clowns, who still make me extremely uncomfortable.) After a few of years of this, and my kids learning to beg for it every time they saw the TV commercials, I read an article about the cruelty inflicted on the animals within. It's obvious if you look, but we're raised not to "see", if you know what I mean.

I explained it to my kids and we decided to boycott the circus as a family and started going to Disney On Ice each year instead. (A sacrifice on my part since I loved the circus and could barely tolerate the ice show. But sacrifice is as much a part of parenting as suds are a part of shampoo.)

My kids were cool with it, no child can tolerate the idea of cruelty to an animal. (Well, no girl, anyway, and I have two daughters.) Later, I discovered Cirque du Soleil which blows the old-style circuses away in every category and includes only willing participants.

Bottom line, when I was a kid I dreamed of joining the circus. Now I dream of banning it. (Actually, I only want to ban the use of animals in circuses, other than dogs. I suspect dogs don't mind living in trailers with people of questionable breeding.)

Circus cruelty issues here.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Poster Passion

As I've said on this blog before, I'm a big Obama fan. And I'm a huge fan of this poster, designed by the graphic geniuses at Obeygiant.com. I wish to no one (atheist invocation) that I'd sought out one of these posters months ago when they first appeared. They're all gone now, no reprints in the offing.

If anybody happens to have one they could part with, I would consider it a HUGE favor. I'll send you a signed book, donate money to Barack's campaign in your name, donate money to you in Barack's name, whatever you think is fair.

Jail

Today's Bizarro is brought to you by Necessary Evils Shower Gel.

Long ago I had to bail a guy I was sort of related to out of jail. From start to finish, the process made me want to take a shower. The phone call from Lockup at 3am made it difficult to get back to sleep. The trip the next morning to a bail bondsman in a nearby Texas town was "skeevy," to say the least. Standing in line at the city jail to get to the bulletproof window to talk to the rude, unhelpful woman to start the bail process was almost life-threatening in and of itself. If I hadn't had plenty of cigarettes to trade to the other folks in line for their protection, I might be typing this now with mangled fingers.

It was an educational experience, to be sure. I learned that day that as far as the people behind the counters and windows in this process are concerned, there is no difference between the folks being bailed and those doing the bailing. I learned that the city jail does not waste money on decor, furniture, or competent cleaning services. I learned that bail bondsmen and jail personnel have no sense of humor when it comes to jokes about their hygiene.

Most importantly, I learned that some relatives cannot be trusted to pay you back when you bail them out and hire them a lawyer. Sometimes they just disappear, never to be heard of again.

Which is payment enough, really.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

God Save Our Flag

Bizarro is brought to you today by the Narrow-Minded Nitwits Institute of Misinformation. "We distort, you decide."

The flag pin issue is one of my pet peeves. In fact, anything to do with flags drives me batty.

Every time the self-proclaimed super patriots try to pass the flag desecration amendment, as the did back in the eighties, and again in the nineties, and again in the '00s, I just shake my head and wonder. Confusing the principals this country was founded on for the graphic symbol that symbolizes them is not just idiotic, in my opinion, but dangerous. As soon as you turn the flag into a holy relic, you leave behind the principals it stands for.

Currently, we have a nation full of people who believe that plastering their bodies, cars, and homes with a graphic symbol is the single most important thing they can do to help soldiers being shot at half a world away. Getting them out of the line of fire never occurs to them. Voting for politicians who are willing to say the emperor has no clothes is unthinkable. More flags, we need more flags. God bless our holy design.

Here is a cartoon I did a while ago about the same subject.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Bad Ass Like Me


For those of you who assume veganism is not a good diet for an athlete, read this!

Devolution Pantsuit

A friend sent me this pic today via email. No idea where it came from but it made me laugh.

I've been an Obama fan all along and am happy the primaries turned out the way they did. It's not that I don't think Hillary would be a decent president, I just can't imagine another 4 to 8 years of the kind of Repubican vitriol that spewed non-stop during Bill Clinton's administration. I'm sure they'll pull the same crap with Obama, if the country isn't too bigoted to elect him, but at least it will be a new set of lies and tired, predictable jokes. Plus, I think we need some new ideas in Washington, not just promises of new ideas. Who knows if Obama's really got what it takes to deliver that, but I'm hopeful.

Just to show how old and wise I am, I saw Devo the night they first appeared on Saturday Night Live, way back in 1953 or whenever that was. Shortly thereafter, I saw them in concert at some small venue in Dallas. Can't find a video of them on SNL (1978) but the one below is a reasonable facsimile. If you weren't alive then, you can't imagine how different this was from anything else being done at the time. For you extremely young readers, their doing an old Rolling Stones song.

Help A Critter


Here is one of those sites where just by going there and clicking a button, the sponsors will give money to animal groups. Do it every day. It's not fun, but it's not NOT fun, and it might save a critter in need.

Thanks!

Guns Blazing

Today's Bizarro cartoon is made possible by Miniature Folding Chairs, Inc. "It's not you, it's our chairs."

To be honest, I'm not particularly fond of this cartoon. I did a similar-looking one back in the late eighties of an astronaut on a space walk, trying to break into the cockpit of his space shuttle with a coat hanger, which was much funnier. I figured some folks might like this one or I wouldn't have submitted it, but in retrospect, I'm not too proud of it.

I know cities need to raise revenue to keep themselves going, so things like parking fees are somewhat necessary. But I never park illegally on purpose (except with my scooter in NYC, but they force you to because the laws here are REALLY screwy) so I get apoplectic when I get a ticket. I got one in L.A. last year (in a rental car) because my bumper was hanging maybe five inches over the little crosses they put on the street in front of the meters to designate each spot. I didn't even know the crosses were there, I just parked about where the meter was.

This is just one of the many reasons I don't carry a gun.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Electric Chair Religion


This cartoon has never appeared in Bizarro, of course, it's a little too controversial for the funny pages of the daily paper. I included it in my retrospective book, however, and have shown it at many of my comedy shows and it never fails to get heaping wads of positive comments. What I saw as a simple observation, something I actually thought of as a child of 11 or so, apparently resonates with a lot of people.

There is no editorial comment to be implied here, it's just a depiction of what the world would look like "if." How many of you reading this would have a tiny metal electric chair hanging around your neck or dangling from your ears right now? After a natural disaster you'd be getting blankets and drinking water from the American Red Chair. You might even be looking forward to this weekend's New York Times Chairword Puzzle.

Tooth Blindness


Today's Bizarro cartoon is brought to you by Vapid Pursuits Plastic Surgery Partnership. "Making millions from poor self esteem since 1976."

This idea was donated by my friend and fellow cartoonist, Michael Capozzola of Cheap City.

I like it because I dislike this current trend of making one's teeth as white as the underwear on a Tide commercial. In contrast, my teeth, which are a fairly normal color, look like rotting Cheetos. I'm afraid to smile around the luminous-mouthed people I know, for fear they will think I'm homeless, or British, or worse.

I can't afford to use an overly large pulpit on this point, however, as I did recently endure five years of adult braces. I'm ashamed now that I was vain enough to go through with it.

I had learned to live with my slightly crooked teeth until my new girlfriend at the time (1998) convinced me they were unattractive and I should get them fixed. I began to feel self-conscious and gave in, not fully realizing the physical pain, constant irritation and inconvenience that lay ahead. It was five long years of complete misery, not to mention thousands of dollars out of my own pocket for the honor. CHNW would never have even thought of making such a suggestion.

Now that they are gone and my teeth are fairly straight (I had them removed before the orthodontist recommended because I was just flat sick of them) I suppose it is fine, but if I had it to do all over again I would have skipped it. Girlfriend be damned, it's not like I was a snaggletoothed hillbilly or anything.

I won't get my teeth whitened, either, so deal with it.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Dead Funny

One of our Bizarro Blog Buddies, Eric H., sent me the pic at right, which he took in Troy, NY back around 1980. He submitted it to National Lampoon and they printed it in their "True Facts".

If it's still around when I kick the cartoon bucket, I'm going to have my funeral there. I'd probably even do that if I didn't have a cartoon by a similar name, because how do you resist a funeral home called "Bizzarro"? Unless you find one called "Dead Meat," then it would be a tossup.

Pie Homage


Today's Bizarro is brought to you by The Center for the Study of Hitchcock Homages.

I've seen a lot of graphic caption balloon puns over the years, have even done some myself, so I tend to shy away from them. But when "my friend, Derek, gave me the idea for this joke," I liked it and decided the addition of the pie chunks made it worth doing. That's me and CHNW (note the monogram), in case you have some kind of rare vision disorder that prevents you from spotting the friggin' obvious.

And yes, that's vegan pie. Duh.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Insult to Salvation











Today's Bizarro is brought to you by the U.S. Army. "Be all that you can be, for much longer than we promised."


I sometimes do cartoons about controversial themes and expect to get letters from disgruntled readers. This was not one of those cartoons, to my mind, but I got not one, but TWO letters from people who thought I was disparaging the Salvation Army. One person believed I was insinuating that the SA would steal from you.

I politely explained that I have supported the SA for decades, with donations of a lot of valuable stuff that I'm just too lazy to put on Craig's List, and that I was simply exploring the humorous possibilities of combing the Salvation Army with the U.S. Army.

Regarding the U.S. Army, servicemen and women have typically supported Republicans, deeming them stronger on defense, and when the Iraq War first started, Bush's competency wasn't even up for discussion. Any implication that the war might go badly was met with accusations of treason. But it is good to see many veterans are coming around to a more reasonable opinion. The fact that someone is your commander in chief, does not mean he knows what he's doing or that he has honorable intentions.

A famous guy with a funny wig and short pants once said something like, "A patriot is one who questions his government, not follows it blindly." That's not even close to the right quote but it is past my nap time and I don't have the energy to look it up right now. I'm sure one of you fine readers will correct me. I count on you for these things.