Fourteen Smiles

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(To enjoy the embiggenation of these images, click on any object with corners.)

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Bizarro is brought to you today by Odd Body Parts

Because I was out of town last week and did not post my week’s cartoons, this post includes TWO WEEKS OF CARTOONS!

Let us begin with last Sunday’s double-wide comedy cavalcade about a lab scientist doing some kind of experimenty thing that ends up switching his own head with that of a house cat’s. If you’ve ever had this happen, you know how funny (and embarrassing!) this can be. What’s more, the cartoon has 8 secret symbols, so click it, embiggen it, and commence counting.

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A couple of years ago there were some articles about how sitting down all day is as bad for your body as chain smoking heroine while eating chocolate-covered french fries, and that no amount of exercise can undo the damage, so a lot of people were buying standing desks. Some standing desks have a treadmill so you can exercise and not-sit-down at the same time. I figure other kinds of exercise desks can’t be far behind.

I stand up while working sometimes but my main form of exercise is arguing with people on the Internet, which can be exhausting.

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This is a joke about a cowboy on a pig. If you really love mushrooms, you might think it is funny and forward it to a friend of yours who also loves mushrooms. Other than that, I don’t have a lot to say about it. I’m not a big fan of mushrooms unless they make you see funny things.

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Dogs evolved to be of use to humans not only as companions, but also as hunters, herders and guardians. In our modern world, dogs often report that they do not have enough to do, are bored, and cannot think of ways to be of use to their humans. I think it is good to challenge them from time to time, even if the circumstances are phony.

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I don’t watch TV news anymore mostly because it is too ratings-driven and so they cover “exciting” nonsense rather than less-exciting issues that actually matter to human history. I get all my news from the Washington Post, The New York Times, and NPR, so I don’t miss the TV bullshit coverage at all, and one of the aspects of TV news that I really love doing without is all of that extra information they run across the bottom of the screen while they’re talking about the main story––the “news crawl”. No wonder our species’ attention span is shrinking faster than (could someone think of a punch line for this sentence and leave it in the comments section, please? Thanks.)

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I enjoy starting with a cartoon cliche and finding a surprising punch line for it. The spooky-story-around-a-campfire motif has been used a lot in the world of gag cartoons, but I’ve not seen this angle on it. I was alone in the woods at night one time and it was scary as hell. I admit that this was entirely because I was raised in cities and am now incapable of surviving for more than a couple of days in the place where my species evolved: nature. If there is some kind of apocalypse and the entire technology grid crumbles and we’re all on our own, most of us modern first-world people will be wishing we were good buddies with one of those hillbillies who’ve been prepping for the hostile government takeover or a zombie apocalypse.

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And the Chinese call them “long-grain rice dogs”.

That’s a week’s worth of cartoons from a week ago, now here’s this past week’s worth of cartoons starting with today’s Sunday hootenanny. (This may be the first time I’ve written the word “week” in a sentence three times.)

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This one’s about the ubiquitousness of pumpkin-flavored stuff this time of year. Each autumn there are numerous cartoons and articles and jokes about “pumpkin spice” so I thought I’d go completely over the top and make it the actual reason her stomach is big and round.

On a slightly different subject, did you know that it is not unheard of to get a tattoo of your baby’s ultrasound? Sadly, it is not. And if you’re looking for an equally terrible idea for a tattoo, you might wait a few months and do this. Yes, this is deeply distressing but in a free society you have to be willing to let people do stupid things if they want to.

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I know this big beard fad won’t last forever and it’s always amusing to make fun of people who jump on bandwagons, but I have to say I really like the big beard thing. I’ve long been an advocate of eccentric beards and mustaches and have worn a crazy mustache myself for decades. If I had the right kind of beard, I’d grow it to be much bigger and stranger but, unfortunately, this is just another of many ways in which god has cursed me biologically.

Still, the popularity of the urban faux lumberjack look is ironic considering what I was talking about above regarding the average American’s inability to survive in nature. For reals, though, how cool would a log cubicle be?

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This cartoon got a few really angry emails and comments. I figured it would draw a little criticism but I didn’t expect people to take it personally. Here’s a typical one:

“Until today I have generally enjoyed your humor. But I will read your squib no more. There is nothing even pretendedly humorous about today’s hate-message against all men. Your misandry is going along with today’s popular Big Lie, which presumably makes you feel righteous. But it means only that you have joined a huge mass of people with innocent blood on their hands, because words have consequences.”

I politely thanked this guy for his comments and asked him what the “Big Lie” is and what “blood” I have on my hands because of my words, but his email address was incorrect and my reply bounced back. I’m guessing maybe this is one of those white males who is tired of being blamed for everything. I get that. Not all white males are bad. I’m a white male and I don’t think I’m bad. But it is undeniable that white males have been in charge of most of the world for most of human civilization (approx. 10,000 years) and are behind the overwhelming majority of incidents of racism, injustice, war, child abuse, sexual molestations, environmental abuse, and institutional violence of just about every kind. That’s not to say that any other style of human (black, brown, female, etc.) might not have done the same terrible things had they been in charge all these centuries, nor is it to say that all males have done terrible things, but it is undeniable that many males have done these things and the vast majority of women, as a group, have not.

One last note: that guy’s second sentence sounds like he might have traveled here from the 19th century, so perhaps he’s dealing with all kinds of crazy time-travel issues I know nothing about.

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I guess when I wrote this week’s gags I was on a kind of kick about the rat race that civilization has become. From the urban office dude who dresses like a mountain man, to the “civilization” joke, to this cave man talking about going camping, there’s a similar theme here.

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I think this ZZ Top gag got the most chuckles out of me this week. Just good, old-fashioned stupid fun with no deeper meaning. In addition to the “civilization” theme, I guess I was thinking a lot about beards this week.

 

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This Pokemon gag isn’t all that original, I know. I’ve seen a few other cartoons about the amazing things people are missing while they’re busy playing that game. I wrote it just after the game made headlines but the way newspaper syndication works, it takes weeks for me to go from a written idea to a published cartoon so “getting there first” on current events is difficult for me.

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My last cartoon for the week is this mythological moment between the god and the devil made famous by the super popular desert religions. “Feel good movie of the year” used to be a term you’d hear a lot but I think maybe nobody says it anymore. Oh well.

That’s it for these two weeks, see you next Sunday. In the meantime, a special thanks to those of you who have donated a few bucks or who contribute monthly to Bizarro via my Tip Jar to keep me able to post my cartoons for free on the web. Your support is much appreciated!

Another great way to support my efforts to keep you smiling is by buying a print of any Bizarro cartoon from the homepage of Bizarro.com.  Just find a cartoon you like using the calendar function below the cartoon, then click “Buy Prints”.

If you’d like a larger, nicer, limited-edition, signed-and-numbered print, or a piece of original hand-drawn art from Bizarro, go to this groovy LA art gallery website!

47 thoughts on “Fourteen Smiles

  1. If I could afford any body modifications, I would get a bar code tattoo on the back of my neck and have my belly button surgically removed.

  2. How about “Our species’ attention span is shrinking faster than George Costanza’s dick in the pool”?

    True: the speed of said manly member’s shrinkage is never mentioned, just the fact that ithe eforementioned shrinkage was significant, but I like to think it shrinked faster than our species’ attention span is shrinking.

  3. Wow. I mean wow. After years, you’ve just lost me as a reader too. It’s not for the comic, which could be construed as just a bad brain fart (despite being fairly obvious sexism) but for your attempted defense of it, continuing to dig the hole you’re in.

    Being a white male yourself doesn’t give you the moral right to be bigoted against white males. Self-loathing is not a defense. Rather, it’s a symptom. Further, it’s telling that YOU were the one to bring race into this, when race wasn’t in the original comic, nor in your critic’s response to it.

    The balance sheet is clear, and humanity is (far) better off for having had white males. But even if humanity was WORSE off, for having had white males in it, it would still be bigoted to single out white males for abuse.

    Of course, I oppose censorship, so I would never tell you that you cannot post your bigotry for all to see. By all means, do it. It’s better that we know.

    For these reasons, I’m gone. Enjoy your echo chamber.

    • If you’re really gone forever you won’t see my response, but that’s okay. See, I don’t get why it is bigotry to notice that white males have a)been in charge for a very long time and b)been responsible for virtually all of the avoidable horrors of human civilization. I see it as an indisputable historical fact. The cartoon was originally meant to criticize men as they compare to women, but I brought race into it because non-white men have had very little power in the Western Hemisphere so it doesn’t seem fair to lump them in with the warmongers.

      To be more fair, I probably should have mentioned that the mitigating factor is testosterone. That’s where the violence comes from and it likely accounts for the reason women are so much less prone to it.

      • Genghis Kahn, Pol Pot, Edi Amin, Papa Doc, that nut job in N. Korea and probably many others that don’t immediately spring to mind. I suspect there aren’t many women because they are smart enough to get men to do their dirty work for them.

      • White males have equally been responsible for all the advancements and delights of civilization. The Sistine chapel, penicillin, “Tosca”, central heating, indoor bathrooms, Notre Dame, home electricity, the “Mass in B-minor”, automobiles, the Parthenon, the Apollo missions – all are as attributable to white men as the dismal facets are. Note that all of these things come from Europe or the United States, where it just so happens there are a lot of white men.

      • I know I’m late with this but, this IS a cartoon and if one has no sense of humor, taking its content this seriously, is as funny as the cartoon. How does one get bigotry out of simply reporting that there are men (lots), with these traits? …Lighten up ‘Francis’….er…I mean, Randy….

    • I’m catching up on my comics reading after a long period off, and while I have always loved Bizarro, but never felt the need to comment before, I just can’t let the ironic inaccuracies presented in this topic pass by. I’m sorry if this is long and preachy, but I think it’s very important that we try to see reality for what it is, rather than what we imagine it to be.

      So to start with, you want to be told what the “Big Lie” is, but you go and state yourself pretty much verbatim just a few seconds later. “But it is undeniable that white males have been in charge of most of the world for most of human civilization (approx. 10,000 years) and are behind the overwhelming majority of incidents of racism, injustice, war, child abuse, sexual molestations, environmental abuse, and institutional violence of just about every kind.” That’s the Big Lie… that everything bad in the world is the white man’s fault, and if we could just wrest power away from them everything would be just so much better.

      In reality, there is absolutely nothing unique, and especially not uniquely terrible, about the “white male”. European dominance of world civilization is really less than 500 years old (certainly not 10,000), and that dominance only came about because of a fluke combination of history, geography, cultural competition, and technological advancement that just happened to make the Europeans the first to develop both the desire and the ability to do so. There’s no reason to believe that any other culture would’ve been any better if they had been first to the starting gate instead. The 15th c. Chinese, for example, had much of the same or better tech, and if they had decided to turn their focus outwards instead of inwards we might all be speaking Mandarin right now. Or just imagine if the Aztecs had developed gunpowder and ocean navigation first, who’s to say they wouldn’t have sailed the Atlantic and conquered Europe, and we’d all be watching the human sacrifices on the steps of the London pyramids, live in HD, every Saturday at noon?

      The fact is, there’s nothing the Europeans did that people all over the world haven’t been doing all throughout history; being alternately conquerors and civilization builders. Alternately cruel and kind, despicable and beneficial, self-serving and magnanimous. History is full of it. There’s the Chinese empire (again), the Mongol Empire (which took over half of the known world), the Greeks, the Romans, The Egyptians, dozens of middle eastern empires (Babylon, Assyria, Hittite, Ottoman, etc.), the Arab expansion, the Muhgal, the Maya, the Inca, the Anasazi. All of them did great things. All of them did horrible things. The Arabs, for example, had their own thriving slave trade in Africans and Europeans at the same time the Europeans were sending African slaves to the Americas. So why does it always seem to be the white Europeans getting all the bad publicity?

      Now, onto the male part. It may come as a surprise to some, but “men” are not all members of a single, homogeneous group bent on domination of the world, and are certainly not, as a group, wholly responsible for all that’s bad in it. Indeed, only a very small fraction of rich and powerful men have ever actually been leaders (political or economic) at all. And despite their current selfish reputation they have not generally acted solely on their own behalf, but mostly in service to the societies they belonged to. Remember, just because the horse is pulling the cart, it doesn’t mean he’s the one deciding where it goes. The vast majority of everything that men have ever done has been motivated primarily by the desire to support, provide for, and protect their wives, their children, and their cultures, to make things better for the people they care about. It’s just that that has very often come at the expense of those they don’t care about. But even those leaders who were truely sociopathic generally recognized that they could best benefit themselves by doing at least a bit of good work trying to strengthen the nations they controlled.

      And let us not forget that, for every powerful man pulling the strings to try to make his country great, there are dozens of others who have ended up lying dead and forgotten in the mud somewhere in service to that same goal. Indeed, if there is one word that could best describe what men have done for the world, that word would be “sacrifice”. Our world has been, almost literally, built on the sacrifices of innumerable unnamed men. (Yes, yes, women and children too, but mostly men.)

      So why are men usually the ones calling the shots, and not women? Well, for one thing, with great power comes great responsibility. The men are the ones who have generally stepped up to take on both the responsibility of doing the heavy work and suffering the consequences of their actions, while the women usually followed along afterwards to enjoy the spoils once things have stabilized. Societies throughout history have been organized primarily on the idea of protecting the women and children first (to whatever extent possible), and sending the men out to do the fighting and the building and all the other really nasty stuff. Men had the (overt) power because they were the ones who needed it. Wealth, influence, status and fame were usually less of ends in themselves, but the means to an end or carrots to keep urging them on to bigger and better things.

      And have women really not had power? “Power” comes in many forms, much of it more subtle than simply being a king or tycoon telling other people what to do. Remember, it’s the women who were raising the men, taking care of and supporting their development, teaching them their values. Women have almost always been the prime movers and shapers of culture at large. One does not need to vote or hold office, or even be visible, to help guide the rudder of society. “The power behind the throne”, “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world”. That kind of thing. Men have traditionally held the overt power, but women have wielded theirs covertly, often very expertly.

      Not to ignore the fact though that there have always been actual powerful and influential female leaders, many of whom have been just as noble, and just as ruthless and savage, as any of their male counterparts. Hatshepsut, Cleopatra, Jean D’Arc, Catherine The Great, Elizabeth I (who ruled England during the first phase of it’s global expansion), Victoria (who ruled England at the height of its empire), Indira Gandhi, Margaret Thatcher… The list goes on and on. Just because women haven’t often lead overtly, hasn’t meant that they couldn’t, when the need or desire arose.

      And finally, one last bit of food for thought. The very same “white European males” who gave us the “cruelty” of the colonial age are also the ones who gave us *The Enlightenment*. You know, the socio-political-ethical philosophy that says all people are equal and deserving of basic human rights, that self-determination and the rule of law and government by the people are better than rule by a powerful oligarchical few, that reason and rationality and the scientific method are preferable to emotional decision-making and unthinking ideology. The same philosophy that now compels you to protest the cruelty and unfairness of the dominance of an elite class over all others.

      Yes, the greatest irony of all is that it was the white man who made it possible for you to feel indignant towards the white man.

      There, I’ve said my piece. Now let’s go back and enjoy the comics. :)

  4. “Our attention span is shrinking faster than Angelina Jolie’s popularity.”
    “Our attention span is shrinking faster than a chocolate cake at a depressed women’s party.”
    “Our attention span is shrinking faster than his self-esteem when his wife comes in.”
    “Our attention span is shrinking faster than the resale value of a new Ford.”
    “Our attention span is shrinking faster than a melting witch.”
    “Our attention span is shrinking faster than newspaper revenue.”
    “Our attention span is shrinking faster than a dick after the big O.”
    “Our attention span is shrinking faster than the appropriateness of any more comments.”

  5. I have more concern about the 7.1 Billion people than which might be “worse” than the others.
    And if you included all of the necessary Caution signs regarding a lot of that population, this would have be a Sunday double-wide comedy cavalcade.

  6. Re: Wiener dogs … so the joke goes:

    Q. Did you hear about the cowboy who bought a dachshund?
    A. Someone told him to “get a long, little doggie.”

    I was driving home from a gig, 2 hrs away, about 3am. Two lane highway, out in the boonies. I pull into a 24-hr gas/mart to get ice coffee-sugar concoction to keep eyes open, at the same time as a pick’emup pulling a horse trailer. No one else on the road, much less at the gas/mart. Two cowboys (’cause they were wearing cowboy hats of course) get out of the truck. One cowboy is also holding a leash, waiting for his dog to come out, and instantly I’m thinking of this joke … “uh-uh … no way in the world will this happen … no way …” Yep, it was a dachshund. I was walking in with these people, resisting the greatest urge to tell, say, acknowledge that “hey you guys are cowboys and that’s a dachshund, and did you ever hear …” But I thought I’d just leave well enough alone, and make weird contorted faces in this gas/mart at 3am.

  7. …shrinking faster than a Shrinkydink in a blast furnace. Yeah, I dated myself with that one.
    …shrinking faster than a comet headed into a white giant star.
    …shrinking faster than a weightlifter’s testicles on steroids.
    …shrinking faster than an ice cube in a kiln.
    …shrinking faster than a – Ooh, look! Cat videos!

    I am convinced that catnip enables cats to see red. “Wow, the colors…”

  8. I may be too optimistic here, but…

    “Our attention span is shrinking faster than Donald Trump’s support.”

    The bit in the first cartoon that really made me laugh was the way in which the cat head just passed out on top of the expensive equipment, oblivious to the crisis. :-)

    Makes me think I should watch “The Fly” again…

  9. Your first cartoon made me think of the ol’ B/W movie THE FLY. Was that the inspiration? You mentioned tattoos in the pumpkin pie spice-ultrasound comic. You’re not anti-tattoo, are you? Just got my first one for my 09/21st 55th birthday. Inside my right wrist my original design (think spirograph-thingy with waves in the centre). Something I wouldn’t have done a year ago but just felt right to do now. (@Nassau, NP, Bahamas with Hurricane Matthew slowly heading this way)

  10. Question: the devil and god image appeared in the L.A.Times with the devil on the right side and god on the left, but it couldn’t have been a true reversal as the words were legible. How is this possible? Or am I having a dyslexic moment? Okay, 2 questions.

    • I create each cartoon in a vertical panel format, like the ones posted daily on Bizarro.com, then I convert them on computer to a horizontal strip format to give client newspapers two shapes to choose from. With each cartoon I decide whether it is funnier to read the caption first, then look at the picture, or vice versa, and often times I will swap the composition to facilitate that judgement, which is what happened with the cartoon you mentioned. The L.A.Times prints the strip version, hence the difference you noticed.

  11. ♎ While I never got into the urban “fakerjack” look myself, I would much prefer a log cubicle to the normal ones with rubber padding.

    I’ve been following the coverage of the Bundy Bunch and their teabilly ilk up in Oregon and I’m not convinced they have better survival skills than city slickers. This population might be skewed a bit with welfare ranchers, the Bundys with their cattle and newly-canonized St. LaVoy with his free-range foster children, but they seem to survive mostly on government checks and grifting on GoFundMe.

    (Speaking of grifting, a III%er militia dude was just found using “legal defense” funds to customize his truck to spew diesel smoke. That’s a valuable prepper skill.)

  12. In addition to the image reversal on the 10/1 cartoon, in our papers (Tacoma, WA and Olympia WA) the *words* were different. Can’t recall exactly and didn’t save the paper, but something like this: “…a famous athlete and sexual predator yet to be determined…” It may have been a little different, but that’s the best I can recall. Any idea why this would happen? –Love your comics!

    • You’re right, I’d forgotten about that. I added a word to the strip version that I thought helped the rhythm, but I didn’t have room for it in the panel version and it wasn’t absolutely necessary, so I left it out.

  13. Much as I enjoy your cartoons I have a complaint. I understand that you have a life that may occasionally cause you to miss posting a week’s cartoons and I appreciate that you eventually posted them, however, the way you’ve done this leaves something to be desired.

    Specifically you missed a second:
    Sunday opening panel
    Cutesy remark about clicking on something specific to embiggen the Sunday cartoon
    Link to some interesting vaguely related site

    If you do not supply these immediately I demand my money back!

    • I thought about that but the other Sunday title panel was kind of boring and not worth posting in an out-of-sequence place, in my opinion. To help make up for it, this comment reply is brought to you by The Hand Of God.

  14. Wow! Today’s strip (“bird stickers”) had four easter eggs in the horizontal format and five in the vertical, and your count showed three and four, respectively. I guess I need to get a life.

  15. Well, from my observations it seems men are no more prone to being selfish, sexist, xenophobic, or warmongering than women. I assure you, plenty of women possess these traits. I believe in most ways women are equal to men, and that includes bad traits as well as good ones. Historically, the males of the human species have more often been in leadership positions and therefore had the ability to carry out their unconscionable schemes – but I maintain that if women had been allowed equality for an equal amount of time, they would certainly have enacted just as much evil enterprises as the men had done.

  16. As always, Dan, love your ‘toons! Btw, pretty sure ‘…hillbillies whose…’ should be ‘hillbillies who’ve’ in the camping out creepy story ‘toon.

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