Tiny Sports


(For an embiggenated experience, hold your breath and click any image.)

Bizarro is brought to you today by First Step To Extinction.

ThIS week at Rancho Bizarro had its ups and downs with several of my cartoons drawing criticism from readers in both expected and unexpected ways. We’ll get to that momentarily but first, I’d like to give a heart-felt shout-out to someone who crosses my mind every Mother’s Day––my mother. Thanks for keeping me away from cliffs and preventing wild animals from carrying me off, without a single failure! Your perfect record allowed me to grow up and write this paragraph about how lucky I am to have had such a terrific mother. I am also grateful for your emotional support, friendship, guidance, and delicious peanut butter and jelly sandwiches all the way through elementary schoolLOVE you, Mom!

And, of course, happy Mother’s Day to everyone else who has helped in raising kids, whether they were biologically yours or not, regardless of what kind of biological equipment you have in your pants, because we all eventually end up at the mercy of younger generations and if we don’t collectively do a good job raising them, we end up releasing rotten people into the world and you never know how much trouble they might cause. (See 45th president of the United States.)

And now to the week’s cartoons…

Nowhere in the field of human athletic endeavor is there a greater difference between the professional version and the miniature version of a sport than in golf. It would be as if miniature baseball was played on a field the size of your kitchen and you had to dodge pterodactyls and zeppelins to hit a home run. Or if miniature football were played inside a crowded junk store full of taxidermy bears, hat racks, chandeliers, sofas, and china cabinets. While many may wish that the miniature version of these games was more like the full-size, professional version, my fondest wish is the opposite; that the pro-size become more like the miniature. Would big-shot golfers like Tiger Woods or Greg Norman be as legendary if they’d had to hit through the legs of a dinosaur? Especially an animatronic one that could break your legs with a swipe of its mighty tail?


To my great surprise, I did not get one comment this week about how celiac disease is a real thing and not a figment of people’s imagination and how miserable it is and how they are tired of people making fun of gluten sensitivity. That’s good. Because I am aware that celiac disease is real and a miserable thing to endure and I’m not making fun of those people. I’m making fun of the 99% of people who only think they are gluten sensitive because the food industry and wack-job, fringe diet gurus have convinced them of it. And, of course, people who think that Wheaten terriers could in any way be involved in that issue.

On a side note, it was harder than I imagined it would be to find a name for a pet rescue organization that has not already been taken. “Happy Fur Rescue” was maybe the fourth or fifth name I came up with before I found one that didn’t come up on a Google search. I just now thought of “Giddy Mutt,” though, and it doesn’t show up on Google so I wish I’d used that. Dammit.

This nuclear-age cartoon started another political shit storm on my FB page, of course. These days, there is no shortage of people who are willing to argue to the death over whether Trump is the least qualified, most embarrassing and dangerous person to ever hold the office of president of the U.S. (historically speaking, he absolutely is) or if Obama let the entire world shit all over America (historically speaking, he didn’t) as they have been told by Fox News. Don’t miss the fact that this cartoon doesn’t mention any politician or party.

This ad is from me…

This cartoon got lots of readers asking me what it meant. It refers to the belief that if you travel faster than the speed of light, you can go backwards in time. The actual science behind this kind of thing is far more complex than that, and entirely theoretical since no one has done it since the filming of Back To The Future in 1985. Unfortunately for scientists, the formula for doing so was lost in a studio fire caused by faulty wiring in a Mr. Coffee machine the following year.

This penguin cartoon got a few complaints but not from who you’d expect: people who object to the sexual objectification of fowls. No, it was from the ornithologically obsessed who felt the need to point out to me that penguins are hatched from eggs and so they don’t have navels. I’d like to take this opportunity to remind those readers that Bizarro is a comic feature and not a whimsically illustrated textbook.  (Here’s another thing that never happens to penguins.)

I quite like this cowboy/witch cartoon. It’s simple, funny, kind of sweet, and it points out a connection between these two cherished subcultures that I’d never considered before. I’d love to be a fly on the wall as they get to know each other further and he mentions that he’s a born-again Christian and she counters with her pledged devotion to the Dark Prince.

And now we come to the last comic and controversy of the week, which garnered me two angry letters. Here’s one of the complaints verbatim but the other was very similar:

“Your comic today is tasteless and cold. Do you not remember when Dave Dravecky broke his arm pitching? Later to be amputated because of cancer. You need to apologize to Dave and all SF Giants fans.”

My response was pretty much the same thing I always say to complaints like this:

“I’m sorry my cartoon upset you, that was certainly not my intent. To be honest, I’m not really a baseball fan and have never heard of Dave Dravecky, so my cartoon was not aimed at him or his story, of course. I often get complaints like this one but if every joke writer of TV shows, movies, late night host’s monologues, stand-up comics, cartoons, etc., had to withdraw every joke that had anything to do with someone’s personal tragedy, there would be very little humor left in the world. In fact, humor is our species’ unique way of dealing with our exceptional brain’s ability to comprehend, anticipate, and fear tragedy, which touches everyone’s life sooner or later. Dark humor is one of our most valuable coping methods.”

I believe that and stand by it. The great Steve Allen famously said that tragedy plus time equals comedy. That saying is responsible for the routine reply that stand-up comics utter to the silence an edgy joke will sometimes create––“Too soon?” I’d like to point out that while what happened to Dravecky was certainly tragic, it happened in 1989.

Thanks so much for spending this time with me, Jazz Pickles. Until next time, be smart, be happy, be nice. If you like what I do, please consider one of the support options included in this post. You will make those of us who protect Rancho Bizarro from repossession smile bigly!


59 thoughts on “Tiny Sports

  1. “…objectification of FOWLS…” Foul!

    If you ever have a chance, watch “How to Build a Time Machine”. Wonderful documentary.

    For what it’s worth (my two cents?) Mister and I are baseball fans and thought the pitcher gag was really funny.

    • DOH! I hate making dumb typos like that, especially when I know the difference! Thanks for the heads-up, I just repaired it. And thanks for the documentary recommendation. I’ll check it out sometime if I can find it on my weird Mexican TV system. Glad you liked the baseball joke, too. :^}

  2. Hello Dan, I love the Dinosaur Golf Golf Cartoon! Route 1 South bound in Saugus, Massachusetts had a Putt Putt Golf Course with an Orange T Rex looming over the hole right by the highway. The Golf Course was sold and torn down but the out cry for the Orange Dino was strong that it stands as a lone sentinel to laughing golfers who posed beside it a million times.

    • This may be of limited interest to others, but Putt-Putt Golf is a trademarked type of miniature golf and their courses don’t have dinosaurs or windmills or such. How do I know? I stumbled across the Official Putt-Putt tournaments televised across Ohio when I was bored out of my gourd one afternoon in the 80’s.

  3. Dear Dan, I’m Chloe! I love your comics! You and Gary Larson are my favourate’s. Come to think of it, you and Gary Larson should be friends! I read your comics all the time. Do you remember my mom, Kris? She told me she met you at a party in Brooklyn. She wears your shirt all the time. Thank you for making me laugh, Chloe.

    • Thanks for the nice note, Chloe! I’m happy to hear you are enjoying my comics and really appreciate your taking the time to tell me. Tell your mom hello and happy Mother’s Day for me. I can’t say I remember meeting her but maybe if I saw a picture of her I would.

      I’ve met Gary Larson a couple of times and we had a nice chat. He’s pretty shy, though, and doesn’t talk much so I’m not sure we would be very good friends. Plus, he lives in the Seattle area and I live in central Mexico. :^}

  4. “people who object to the sexual objectification of fouls”

    Shouldn’t that be “fowls”?

    • Yes, it should have been. It was a brain fart, plain and simple. Thanks for the note, I’ve fixed it. :^}

      • As a baseball fan, I was really stymied imagining the “sexual objectification of fouls.” Thanks for clearing that up

  5. Re: making golf more interesting, you wouldn’t happen to have seen Wiley’s Non-sequitur on May 13th would you? It’s interesting how often I see similar themes in different comic on the same day or nearly the same. Great minds, I guess.
    You and Wiley are 2 of my favourites by the way.

    • Thanks, Calvin. I don’t follow other syndicated cartoons but looked that one up when I read your comment just now. Cartoon readers often comment on the coincidences in the comics but almost without exception, they are simple coincidences, of course. We’re all on different schedules, frantically writing and drawing and submitting weeks ahead of publication date to make our deadlines, and nobody really has the time or inclination to try to coordinate subject matter in that way. Even if we did, I don’t see there being much of a payoff for it. :^}

      • I have noticed this coincidence in the L.A. Times so often that I wondered if the “bosses” hand out suggestions for a “theme” as our English teachers did in high school…..lol

  6. While only Dave Dravecky can comment on how he feels about the cartoon, but as a fellow amputee, I think he may find it very funny. I have never been offended by your cartoons involving amputees. I have found them very funny. Thank you for your sense of humor.

    • Thanks, Dale. Much appreciated. There have been many times in my career that people who are not disabled feel they must defend the disabled, but the folks who actually live it every day thank me for cartoons on that topic and say they have often used humor to get them through the tough times. Seems to be a kind of trend.

  7. The baseball one is especially excellent: a literal laugh out loud for me immediately. (You drew the pitcher perfectly. The lack of blood, paradoxically, is also good.)

  8. Another wonderful week :) Loved the nude penguins. One would not know they were nude without the naval. ;) Loved the pitcher one too. Actually, I loved every one!! :) :)

  9. My thought on the baseball pitcher went back to my dad, (b. 1908) who was both a basketball and baseball player. He got scouted by the St. Louis Browns as a pitcher, but, as I was told, ‘He threw his arm away,’ my Mom called it. I don’t know if that means dislocation or what, but that’s what I thought of when I saw the panel.

    • Interesting story. I’ve heard the expression “threw his arm OUT,” which typically meant that he worked it too hard, injured it and he can’t pitch anymore. I’m now wondering if the way your mom said it was the way they said it back then, or if she just got the phrase wrong over the years.

      • I immediately thought he “threw his arm out” when I saw it. I didn’t even consider it was a break.

        I like the idea that “threw his arm away” might have been an older way of saying it.

        I can imagine a writer of the time penning it: “Jennings had thrown so much, for so long, and with such relentlessness, that he eventually threw his arm right away, never to attain the professional glory he so desperately sought.”

  10. Sheesh………..I’m so glad you explained the “Do you know how fast you were going?” ‘toon. It sure made a big whoosh sound as it blazed over my head. lmao…………Aloha from Kona, Hawaii

  11. I guess I’ll raise an anatomical objection to the baseball cartoon. The pitcher is obviously meant to be a southpaw but that certainly looks like a right arm in the catcher’s hand! Is he Bill the Galactic Hero???

    • Indeed. Excellent eye! I love including those kinds of inconsistencies in my cartoons to see who’s paying attention to details. :^}

  12. Loved them all. Nothing much offends me. I always share your facebook posts to my friends. You’ve got a twisted sense of humor that I enjoy… like my old favorites like Far Side.

  13. Hi Mr. Piraro, I loved your “Our time is up” cartoon; excellent double entendre. Your comic is one of the reasons I pick up the Red Deer Advocate in Alberta Canada every Saturday for your Sunday panel. Thanks for the laughs!

      • My immediate thought was that the car should have been a Tesla because of its Insane Mode. But the Telsa models don’t look any more exotic than a high end Japanese sports sedan, so the reference would have been lost for all but true gear heads. A DeLorean would be an obvious choice, but I appreciate how you don’t go for the obvious.

  14. Re: Cowboy and the witch. Clever. And they might just figure out how to make it work. Imagine what the kids would look like.

  15. LOVE yer toons mate… dark humour… whimsy…Toons are not always supposed to be accurate ( as in witches do not worship satan) They are just FUN.The amount of people who groan when i post a toon on my page of some injured animal, as in a cat katapulted to the ceiling on the springs of a chair, or a baby thrown up by a loving grandpa and the ceiling is splattered in red spots.. no baby..IT’s A TOON guys.. i usually add that no real people /animals were hurt in the drawing and posting of this toon… not even a toon one!!! People need to lighten up.. LUV your take on things Dan.

  16. My objection to your nude penguins isn’t so much the belly buttons as that they look like they are still covered in feathers. Featherless birds look mighty strange. I looked around on the web for a picture of a featherless penguin but couldn’t find much, though I did find pictures of featherless owls that make the point.

    Of course, when I say I have an objection, I am not to be taken seriously – I am well aware that a cartoon isn’t a science textbook. And the good news is that birds actually do have a belly button, in a manner of speaking:


    Why can possibly resist drawing cartoons of things as surreal and cute as penguins anyway? Have you ever done any cartoons playing on their resemblance to nuns? You are sure to get lots of complaints about such a cartoon. :-)

    I’m in full agreement with your reply to the person who took offense at the baseball joke. One should actually not even bother – people with no sense of humour can go jump in a lake (I actually had a stronger expression in mind, but this is a family forum).

    And yes, that cowboy/witch cartoon is indeed rather sweet. I imagine that even after they discover their religious differences the relationship will continue, and both their families will disinherit them.

  17. My fave this week is the 1 with the 1-derful pun.
    The shrink sees nuclear war beginning outside his window.
    He calmly sez to the lady on the couch that —
    “… our time is up.”
    She is looking at him, & hasnt seen the mushroom cloud.
    And the shock wave will take a bit to get there.

    It took me just a bit to process this & get the pun.
    Becuz —
    “… our time is up.”
    — has 2 meanings here.
    Like, at first we expect the shrink means their hour is up.
    But then I processed the mushroom cloud.
    So —
    “… our time is up.”
    — now means they are moments from death.
    That is the key to puns & to much of humor —
    You get a tiny “A-Ha!” moment when 2 lobes in your brain share a spark.
    We call that “making an inference.”
    To wit — your mind connects 2 unrelated things.
    And we enjoy that!
    We get a tiny squirt or dopamine in a pleasure center.
    It’s a reward for putting disparate things together.
    And it’s addictive!

    Other stuff comes tumbling out of this cartoon …
    1] The shrink’s fatalistic aplomb also helps it work.
    2] Shrinks are usually contemplative sorts.
    3] And so duz her unawareness of the coming blast.
    4] And whatever grief sent her there no longer matters.

    And here’s maybe another level Dan likely did not intend —
    5] Let’s say she voted for Trump.
    6] And she is there working out her guilt over that act.
    7] And I bet Dan has been thinking of the nuclear disaster Trump may cause.
    8] Dan could have had her wearing a Trump T-Shirt.
    9] That wd have been awesome!

  18. I remember you mentioning how much of a pain it is, so Thank You for making the effort to draw each individual person in the crowd in the baseball comic.

    I particularly appreciate it because my brother was in the crowd at that game and now he’s been immortalized in a comic!

  19. Some Canadians have a sense of humor too. Some wanted Kevin OLeary
    [self named “Mr. Wonderful”] as Prime Minister! He would make Canada grate on other countries’ nerves again.
    While living in Mexico, I hope you are not ‘undocumented’.

  20. The biggest controversy about the baseball pic is of course that the pitcher have (or had, depending on the team surgeon’s workmanship) TWO right arms!

    Classic Piraro, I believe?

  21. Hi, Dan,
    I loved the work this week, as usual; I was particularly fond of the “time is up” cartoon.
    Keep up your policy of not apologizing for the cartoons. As you say, “Bizarro is a comic feature.”
    One more thing: I appreciated your link last week to the explanation of the hidden drawings. It helps a lot!

  22. I had never heard of the real baseball situation other readers commented on. When I saw the baseball cartoon I thought it mildly called attention to how professional sports management treats the human players as fancy equipment (easily replaceable as you highlight). It also shows the players love the game enough to suck it up and take it, even to extremes. I follow the sport of cycling and having seen drug enhanced guys ride up and down mountains in the French Alps with broken collar bones, arms, etc, your cartoon is just not that over the top to me. It rightly highlights this absurdity.

    I loved the time is up one. Fantastic. Great work as always!

  23. Thanks to Brian, I now know about bird “umbilical cords”…(the details I’m sure I’ll forget in the next 24 hours….typical!)

    “Our time is up” was the baZINGahhhh moment for me this week. (Laughing through my tears….)

    Thank you, Dan Piraro!

  24. I missed the time-travel idea in the “Do you have any idea how fast you were going?” panel. I just thought that anyone finding himself driving through a Jurassic feeding zone would probably start driving really fast. And, puzzling that he was actually pulled over, might respond to the cop, “No, but do you have any idea that a dinosaur is looking over your shoulder?”
    Love your humor, keep it up.

  25. Thanks Dan. These are all great (the wheaten terrier one is my fav) and as always I love your commentary.

  26. Now allow me to relate one cartoon (driving too fast), with another cartoon (baseball) with another cartoon (our time is up) – https://what-if.xkcd.com/1/

    Yes, “our time is up” was the laugh out loud line of the week. I’ll use it in class.

  27. Your cartoons of late have been fabulous! Your poking at our political leaders is so spot on. Today’s comic on alien heaven is wonderful. Please keep up the great work. Humor speaks truth in the most unique way.

    By the way, we saw you many years ago at the Laugh Stop in Houston, when the Shrub was running for president. You continue to be a beacon in the darkness of politics.

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