Bearing Traffic


Bizarro 04-03-16 hdrWEB

(To enjoy a more embiggenated version of this cartoon, click it twice less than thrice.)Bizarro 04-03-16 WEB

Bizarro is brought to you by Terror Therapy.

As my faithful Jazz Pickles know, I enjoy the occasional pun as long as it is unpredictable and suggests a good picture. This is one such pun, suggested by my friend, Ed Cohen. Ed gave me “Gridlock and the Three Bears” and I came up with the rest. I had a great time illustrating the classic cars, of which I am a fan but cannot afford a warehouse full of like my comedy colleague, Jay Leno has. (The limit of my current budget is one vintage motorcycle, a ’73 BMW.) I think Bunny’s Emergency Pie Repair truck is amusing, as well as the Odd Duck storefront in the background, and I have always been a fan of the AMC Pacer, one of the strangest little cars ever to be mass produced. (People who hated it said it looked like a “pregnant toaster,” but that was exactly why I loved it!) If you click the cartoon and embiggenate it, you will see that where those cars typically had a “Pacer” logo, mine says “Pie”. Other amusing-yet-tiny details are the Pacer’s license plate, which was issued in the state of “Fornia” and the truck’s, which is from a state called “Dohio”. As you can see from the small number above my signature, there are six secret symbols to be found in this cartoon, as well.

Last week’s cartoons looked like this:

bz panel 03-28-16

It is no secret that women tend to enjoy couples therapy more than do men. I think men mostly just want to be left alone to do their thing and leave it at that, whereas women tend to want to tinker and improve “the relationship”. Some might say this is a sexist viewpoint but it has been my experience that things tend to go this way in heterosexual relationships. (I’ve never been in a gay or lesbian relationship, so I’ve no idea if the principle applies there.)  I’m a bit different from most men in that I actually enjoy all kinds of therapy––individual and couples––up to a point. I think it is because I am just egotistical enough to enjoy talking about myself without fear of too many interruptions, even if I have to pay the person to do it. In that regard, I prefer individual therapy over couples therapy, because I get to talk more.

bz panel 03-29-16

Some readers were confused by this Daraprim cartoon. You may remember that in September of 2015, some hedge fund manager and colossal asshat named Martin Shkreli started a pharmaceutical company, bought a 62-year-old drug called Daraprim from whatever company owned it, and instantly raised the price from $13.50 to $750 per pill. In spite of the uproar it caused, he refused to change the price and smirked his way through the ensuing media frenzy and theatrical sham of a Congressional hearing. It’s not all bad news, though, because in early 2016 he was arrested by the FBI for securities fraud. But that news isn’t as good as it sounds, because he’s out on bail now and will likely escape any real jail time, as that is typically reserved for people without as much money as he has.

The truth is that this kind of pharmaceutical price gouging has happened to other drugs, too, and that what it actually represents is what relatively-unregulated capitalism has done to our healthcare system. In spite of the grandstanding, almost no one in government or the healthcare industry is actually willing to do anything about this kind of thing, as we saw by the way Republicans gutted Obamacare before passing it.

Here’s a fun exercise you can do at home: attempt to explain the American healthcare system to a European and watch their head explode. Be sure to do this outdoors so the cleanup will be easier.

bz panel 03-30-16

Here’s a gag that represents something I’ve been thinking a bit about lately. When you grow up in America, you are regularly told that if you work hard enough, you can become anything you want to be. That’s patently untrue and has, in my opinion, created a country full of people who are deeply dissatisfied with the fact that they are not getting anywhere. The truth is we all have to work our asses off just to get by, and most of us will only do that: get by. If you can manage it without having to dedicate your life to a job or jobs that you totally hate, you’ve beaten the odds. The playing field isn’t level and the rules are stacked against your ever escaping the social class in which you were born. And that’s the best you can expect; in other countries it is mostly far worse. The question is, do we tell children that or keep encouraging them to magically ascend to a life of Kardashian Fabulousness? I don’t know the answer, I’m just asking the question.

bz panel 03-31-16

I’m a guy who enjoys living outside the traditional rules of society so this kind of hair replacement really appeals to me. Why wear a wig or have human hair sewn onto your scalp when you can wear a kitten? And believe me, kittens are real chick magnets.

bz panel 04-01-16

As I mentioned in the first paragraph of this post, the small number above my signature tells you how many “secret symbols” I have placed in a given cartoon. I’ve been doing this for many years but don’t be too hard on yourself if you’ve never noticed. You can read more about this practice here, if you like. In this Time Machine cartoon, I’ve put a “27” above the signature. If you have trouble finding more than two secret symbols, however, notice that the date of this cartoon’s publication is April 1st.
bz panel 04-02-16

As I’ve said many times on this blog and even more often in real life, I still cannot believe that the rodeo-clown-baggy-pants-underwear-showing fad was ever popular, much less has lasted for more than two decades. There are actually adults alive today who cannot remember a time when people weren’t going around in absurdly, comically huge pants. Just last week here in Los Angeles, I saw two guys dressed like this working on the sidewalk in front of a local shop.

I based this joke on the popular bumper stickers of yesteryear––“If you can read this you’re too close”. I always wonder about people who put stickers like that on their car. Do they think other drivers tailgate simply because they did not know it was unappreciated by the person in front of them? Do people with “Baby on board” bumper stickers think other drivers will ram them indiscriminately unless they think a baby might get hurt? I think a bumper sticker that says “Explosives on board” would come closer to achieving the goal.

Last thing: A guy I know is selling limited-edition, signed prints of a page of my upcoming coloring book, to be published this fall. The image below comes in two different sizes and is very affordable. They won’t last forever, so grab one here!  (Note: the actual print does NOT have that ©DanPiraro2016 line across the top. That’s just for this web posting.)

Thanks, Jazz Pickles. Have a grand and groovy week!



47 thoughts on “Bearing Traffic

  1. Do you really think Obamacare was gutted? How many pages were removed? It is a formidable tome.One that Pelosi couldn’t/wouldn’t read until its passage.

    • From an Australian who benefits from publicly funded universal Health care and who doesn’t need a gun to feel safe in life, I often feel like the guy with the malfunctioning Timewarp app when I read about you yanks. And yes my head explodes when you try to explain why everyone shouldn’t have healthcare but should have a gun. Boon – there it goes again

    • It’s just that they set out to create socialized medicine, something similar to what all other civilized nations have, but it ended up being barely better than what we already have. The only benefit I can see in the current system is that it outlaws the pre-existing conditions loophole.

      • Oh, now I get it: Strapping hard-working, low income citizens with an increasingly huge fine each consecutive year for being insured less than 9 months of the last two was the Republicans’ fault? Funny how that didn’t happen here in RomneyCare nation.

        Really, Dan, I love you’re cartoons here again this week, and putting your incredible artistic talent to use in sarcasm is witty and fantastic. But, please, oh please… if you are tempted to become another Doonesbury, please fact-check your political commentary, my Friend. The best American political commentary cartoons have historically not been party-driven. Call me a libertarian, but if it were as simple as “Democrats are right, Republicans are wrong,” I’m afraid that espousing such a truncated worldview in your commentary is beginning to lose me again.

        Keep up the good work, but please leave the mudslinging to the political arena.

  2. To be fair, I understand “baby on board” stickers etc to be more an indication for emergency workers if there’s a serious accident etc. That’s just always what I learned

    • That was the origin of those signs, decades ago.

      But it didn’t take too long for them to morph into whatever anyone wanted. I even saw one in the back of a law enforcement cruiser that said “DUI hunter on board.”

  3. The picture from your upcoming coloring book has convinced me that if I buy your coloring book I will absolutely refuse anyone, especially me, from coloring in it.
    How could anyone do that drawing justice – except for some pro. Guess I could just look, or make copies, or buy 2. We’ll see.

  4. I drive an AMC Pacer regularly. They’re fun little cars and people love to ask me about it, especially in the summer when I have the windows down because I have no air conditioning.

  5. Calling the AMC Pacer a “classic” is stretching the definition of the term. Is the other car a Buick Riviera?

    • I’m using “classic” as a synonym for “old,” of course. But yes, that’s a distorted version of a ’72 Buick Riviera, the kind with the Corvette-style rear window. I’ve always thought those were bizarre looking cars.

  6. As a long time Apple user, I found the Time Machine cartoon hilarious and went to the Store to find only prints available. After some more clicking around I found all sorts of art customized items (including a mouse pad!) in the King Features Shop. Do you get a royalty payment if I buy there? I noticed that doesn’t have a direct link to that store.

    • I supposedly do get a few cents from the sale of those items so feel free. I occasionally sponsor a T-shirt sale myself, and get the lion’s share of those sales, but they aren’t any-comic-on-demand the way the King Features shop is. So if you find things you like there, please purchase! Thanks for your support!

  7. You’re right about the healthcare exploding head – every time the the subject of the U.S. Healthcare Circus is breached around my Japanese wife, she just walks away, shaking her head in disgust.
    Can’t wait for the coloring book to be released. Checked out the available signed print pages, but got sidetracked by (and purchased) the Bizarro Heroes book instead. Still a couple of pennies for you to save for your next prescription drug, right?

  8. ” I’m a bit different from most men in that I actually enjoy all kinds of therapy––individual and couples––up to a point. I think it is because I am just egotistical enough to enjoy talking about myself without fear of too many interruptions, even if I have to pay the person to do it. In that regard, I prefer individual therapy over couples therapy, because I get to talk more.”

    I think this is funnier than the cartoon it is commenting on. I almost never want to talk about myself in spite of two X chromosomes. Feel free to take my place in the therapist’s office.

  9. I’ve been thinking about the hope vs reality conundrum a lot as well. Although I do agree that the ‘you can be anything you want’ promis is patently untrue and can be the reason people feel so unsatisfied, here’s the thing. If your mother has a severe cancer, do you want to tell her that her chances of getting better are 2% or do you want to tell her she will make it. Personally I feel I can handle the odds. Know that the chances are slim, but fight for them anyway. Research have shown that people believing they can beat the ods actually do better, so forcing them to face the truth does actually help. Does this apply to economics as well?

  10. They may have gutted Obamacare, which already started out as the Republican answer to actual universal healthcare, but it paid for my cataract surgeries, enabling me to, you know, read this comic and stuff…

  11. Hope vs. reality: Why does everyone feel they are so hard-done by? Are you reading this on a computer? If not your personal computer, are you using the computer at the library? Wait – you have access to a library? Did you walk there with shoes on your feet? Were you scared to walk to the library for fear of being shot at or bombs dropped on your head?

    Sometimes people have a right to complain and sometimes they need to see all they DO have. Always aim for better but recognise any and all the positives that you have in life. Maybe, just maybe, your life is pretty damn good after all. It may even be better than the Kardashians.

    • Couldn’t agree more. There is much to be said for downward comparison, and upward comparison is always a road to dissatisfaction.

  12. Yeah, I was wondering about that Apple computer in the Time Machine cartoon. Product placement and all that. Was there a computer in it for you? There should be!

  13. I always thought that “Baby on board” bumper stickers were a warning to others that the driver is over tired and distracted. I give those vehicles a wide birth.

  14. I spent the first half of the ’80s in the company of a lovely young woman who had a Pacer. She referred to it as looking like a pregnant roller skate. The doors were very big and heavy, so any time she rode in my car, which had smaller doors, she’d end up slamming the door when she got out because she was used to the force she had to exert to close her Pacer’s door.

    Regarding the campfire cartoon, it reminds me that John Steinbeck once said that poor and middle-class Americans regard themselves as “temporarily embarrassed millionaires.”

    • As always, love the realistic car cartoons. Quick factoid about the Pacer doors; they were asymmetrical with the passenger side door being wider than the driver’s side, to make it easier to get into the back seat. This is a nice article about this unusual car.

  15. On the subject of bumper stickers that comment on tailgating, some of my favorites seen in the wild:

    “Sorry For Driving Sooo Close In FRONT of You”

    “The Closer You Get The Slower I Drive”

    “My Brakes Are Awesome Come Closer I Will Show You”

  16. “Bombs on Board.” Like it a lot. An FBI magnet, but funny nonetheless.
    And the VAGUE Magazine in the paper today. How about “50 pages of ads that make you feel bad about your appearance and to increase your unnecessary wants” (?).

    • Thanks, Dan. I’m a fan of vintage cars and enjoy drawing them in my traffic scenes from time to time. I can’t remember if I used reference for the back of that van or if I just made something up off the top of my head.

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