Ancient Legos

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(Dost though seek embiggenation? Click thee an image henceforthwithverily.)

Bizarro is brought to you today by Simple Explanations.

Stonehenge is one of those things that, by nature of its mystery, has been the subject of innumerable cartoons. I’ve done quite a few myself. Here’s one that springs to mind. And here’s another that is partly about Stonehenge.

It is said that Stonehenge was the inspiration for the modern-day building block toys called Legos. If that is true, I wonder if a majority of giants in the days of Stonehenge had henge-shaped bruises on the soles of their feet, as modern parents do now with Legos.

One might also wonder about the biological logistics of a woman the size of the one in this cartoon carrying and giving birth to a child that size. I will have to leave that to the experts, however, as I am not well versed in the field of gynecology.

I have found that mere words are not sufficient to express the embarrassment and horror that I feel for my country of birth regarding the adolescent, egomaniacal buffoon who has been allowed to occupy the Oval Office this year, so I drew a cartoon about it. Each time I do this, one or more readers chastise me for sticking my nose into politics and I have to remind them that they are confusing the United States with one of the very many countries where free speech is not encouraged or allowed. Like Russia. Which also happens to be the buffoon’s favorite country, which explains their confusion to some degree, I suppose.

I like food but I’m not what you’d call a “foodie,” so the enormous popularity of cooking shows, food channels, etc. has mystified me a bit. In fact, the kind of obsession America has with food-based television seems very similar to that of pornography, although that’s primarily a male thing. I contend that my relating the two makes sense since eating and mating are two of our top biological imperatives. Accordingly, it can’t be long before there are dozens of TV shows and cable networks dedicated to breathing. “This week on OxygenHigh, we compare the taste and smell of air on the crowded streets of Singapore with that of the air surrounding a corral full of llamas in the Andes.”

I have had discussions with intelligent people about whether health care should be a “right” or a “privilege” and I’ve heard intelligent people argue from both sides. If you fall on the “privilege” side of the equation and do not believe governments should provide health care for their citizens, I ask you to consider these scenarios: Your house is on fire and you call 911, only to be asked for your fire insurance policy number. If you don’t have the right insurance, the firetruck doesn’t leave the station and you’re tasked with putting the fire out yourself. That would routinely result in the loss of almost everything you’ve built over the years, with no way to get it back.

Or someone is breaking into your house and you call the cops. Same thing; you can’t afford police insurance, so no one shows up. I guess you should have thought of that when you got a job that doesn’t provide adequate fire and police insurance. Why should the rest of us pay for your ignorance and laziness?

I’m known to be a hard-working, intelligent guy who has made a name for himself in the world of art and creativity. It wasn’t easy, believe me, and though I’ve made enough money along the way to keep myself and my family eating regularly and living indoors, I’ve had a very hard time over the years affording health insurance. I insured my children when they lived at home but went for more than a dozen years without it myself, in fact, and only managed to get a bare-bones policy just three years ago. I assure you I am neither poor, nor lazy, and there are millions of Americans in the same boat as I’ve been. Had I gotten seriously ill or injured in those years, it would have ruined me or I would have died.

Is this the kind of community you want to live in? To my mind, communities are where humans agree to live together because we are pack animals and therefore stronger together than individually. When the community gets large enough, some of us get together to form a government whose job it is to protect the community and make sure everyone works alongside each other amicably for the common good, and gets the help they need when they’re, sick, disabled, victimized or disadvantaged in a way that makes them unable to participate in the community as well as they might otherwise. When someone in a small village is disabled or sick, do we simply drop them off out in the forest because they are no longer of use to the rest of us?

I’d like Americans to ask themselves why fire and police protection are a right but health protection is a privilege.

Along those lines, there are Americans who believe that Bernie Sander’s idea to offer a free college education to every citizen is nothing more than a “handout”. Again, what if you brought your kid to the local elementary school for first grade but were turned away because you couldn’t afford to send them to school? How is your child going to compete in the workforce with those who are getting a proper education? What opportunities will their future hold with this kind of disadvantage? Does it not improve the society as a whole to have an educated workforce? Don’t we all benefit when we live among educated people? We know from history that a lack of education increases the crime rate, so perhaps if we all pitch in a few bucks to offer education and healthcare to everyone, we’d have a more civil society. Sure, a statistically minuscule percentage of citizens would be slightly less filthy rich, but I can live with that.

This cartoon about drugs got a metric shitload of attention on the Interwebs. A few people waxed fearful about what would happen if pot was legalized, but most people agreed that it is high time (pun intended) that the United States AS A COUNTRY, NOT JUST INDIVIDUAL STATES, pull its head out of its ass and realize that cannabis has tremendous health benefits and is not a fraction as dangerous as many of the pharmaceuticals we’re being sold. It is also a much safer and less damaging form of recreation than is tobacco or alcohol.

In my judgment, pot is still illegal for two reasons:

  1. Most Americans have been steeped in scary pot propaganda for their entire lives and even if they’ve smoked it (as most have) and know first-hand how harmless it is, they still believe that at least some of the terrifying nonsense they’ve heard must be true. So many of them vote against legalizing it apparently believing that they could handle it, but others cannot.
  2. There are a handful of people are making billions selling drugs that marijuana could replace very cheaply, and those people control politicians by throwing money at them.

In closing, the Lord of the Rings character who is currently the Attorney General of the United States, Jeff Sessions, has said things about marijuana that show him to be either mentally disabled or the complete butt bitch of the pharmaceutical industry. I’m guessing both things are true.

I think if cops tried this, they’d be surprised how often it works.

In my youth I worked in the advertising world and have seen food stylists work in person. It’s kind of amazing that this is a job, but of course perfect-looking food sells better than something slapped together by the teenager who works in the actual kitchens of restaurants, so great attention is paid to this in photos. Behind likely every commercial photo of food you’ve ever seen, someone (and their assistant[s]) spent a lot of time placing each element of a dish carefully into place, often using tweezers and manicure scissors, discarding large amounts of food because it wasn’t exactly the right color, shape, size, or texture to be part of the “perfect” meal. With what is thrown away during a photo session for a single sandwich, you could feed three meals to a family of four. And that family of four is likely underinsured and won’t have nearly enough money to send their kids to college. But at least they won’t be relying on government handouts once the Cheeto Mussolini takes their Medicaid away to provide tax cuts for the extremely wealthy, who clearly deserve every advantage government can give them.

Thanks for dropping by for this informal, imaginary, one-sided chat Jazz Pickles. You mean more to me than you’d be comfortable hearing me tell you. If you enjoy the content I provide for you here for free, please consider the following options.

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63 thoughts on “Ancient Legos

  1. Thank you Dan, for once again being the humorous human hemorrhoid that makes societies assholes and comfortable. They cannot avoid what they see in the mirror that you hold it.

  2. Dan…I love your commentary almost as much as I do your cartoons. Look. I will be 72 years old in September. I served in the Army from 1963-1988, retiring after 25 years of service. During my 3 tours in Vietnam I took several “In-Country” R&R trips to Thailand and learned to love “Elephant” and “Thai Stick”. Our current lack-of-administration is taking our country down the toilet and I wish I could be your neighbor in Mexico…”yo hablo Espanol” , having lived in the Dominican Republic for 2 years. You will only receive criticism from me if you leave the political commentary scene because the 1st amendment is real…

  3. Actually, in many rural areas and farmlands throughout the midwest–and probably other parts of the country, too…in order to have fire department responses from the nearest towns with such equipment, you DO have to buy a ‘license’ that comes on a post to put in your yard. If you have a fire, you have to notify them of your license in order to get response. No license, no fire trucks…

    • I suppose I can understand this kind of arrangement in a small community without the tax revenues to pay for fire departments but in general, the idea is sickening.

  4. You were on fire this week, Dan. Fabulous stuff! And excellent commentary!

    (Yes, I have purchased booty. Haven’t colored yet, but it’s coming.)

    • I was going to post something VERY similar so instead I will wholeheartedly agree and add EXTRA thanks for the splendid and well-reasoned commentary (as always!)…

  5. As usual, your blog is thought provoking and your artwork is laughter inducing.

    And, referencing today’s Stonehenge panel, if I have not done so before, please allow me to tell you how much I appreciate your Rayleigh scattering!

    Have a wonderful Domingo and productive semana!

  6. As a Canadian with friends and family in America, I am appalled by the ongoing pig-headedness by the current governing party and its ilk on the question of universal health care. Your perspective is brilliantly-well stated, Dan, so have taken the liberty of posting your cartoon and your related commentary on my FB wall to share with all you are willing to be enlightened. Thanks for your continuing commentary of the foibles of human beings.

  7. I think many Americans don’t want to acknowledge that they live in a society that provides all sorts of benefits. They prefer to think of themselves as “rugged individualists” and don’t want anyone telling them what they can and can’t do. True community, which I’m guessing is much stronger where you live now Dan than in the U.S., seems to be disappearing into our phone screens.

    • Indeed. In the end, without government to stop them, the corporations win every time and the money continues to drift to the top until the rest of us lop off their heads in the town square.

      • The sad fact is, government is far-too-often manipulated or influenced by mega-corporations. See how often government overlooks the health impacts of fracking or glyphosate, how coal power plants are always supported, and how copyright has gone out of control (google: Mickey Mouse Protection Act). The recession of 2008 could have been prevented had government been willing to hold big banks accountable. In all these examples (and many, many more!), corporate lobbyists have successfully “influenced” (read: bribed) the government to do their bidding instead of looking out for the welfare of the citizens. The root problem is government getting too cozy with corporate lobbyists.

        There are of course times when government does intervene to stop corporations from causing harm due to their single focus of profit above everything, and it’s always great to see when that happens – but far too often, it’s only after much public outcry until government can no longer look the other way. On the other side, there are also some corporations with a conscience – but they’re in the minority.

        • Agreed. It’s unavoidable, really. There never has been a high enough percentage of good people in the world who can resist giant wads of cash in favor of doing the right thing to keep any government from eventual corruption.

      • It’s getting harder and harder to tell where the corporations “end” and the government begins…or vice versa. Seems like the “current president” IS “running” America like a business, pocketing as much profit as possible while heading for yet another bankruptcy (as is his habit). It’s the “art” of the wheel and deal….

  8. HA! Mister and I have always referred to cooking shows as “Food Porn”. We have recently been referring to crafting videos as “craft porn”. Same idea. Lusting after that perfect ending that just doesn’t happen that way in real life, but it’s so interesting to watch other people do it so well.

    • I’ve seen the “Y porn” construction for decades: food porn, tool/tech porn, clothes porn, etc.

      As far as services: A community provides whatever services to its members that it can, where “can” includes both money, actual supplies, and physical feasibility. Yeah, if you’re an Arctic village living off subsistence hunting with no tech civilization in reach, then you might leave your old folks on an ice floe when things run short. (Generally after you’ve already eaten your dogs.*) When you’re a supposedly advanced civilization, “civilized” includes helping your weaker members. And when a government decides to screw over the people who aren’t paying off the government, that’s a sign that the government might not actually be part of the community anymore — instead, they’re outsiders who’ve gained power over the community.

      The biggest reason that the 1% and their alt-right groupies are so hostile to universal health insurance, welfare/UBI, and worker’s rights, is that they don’t want the peons to be able to challenge their power. So they make sure that if you’re not in the ruling class, you don’t have security. Speaking out against abuse of power is a lot harder when getting fired or arrested means you and your children will starve or otherwise die in misery.

      *Like it or not, that really is part of humans’ ancient relationship with dogs, in multiple cultures. “We give them food we can spare, time we can spare, love we can spare. And in return, they give us their all. Best deal humanity ever made.”

  9. I am regularly amazed by the detail in so many of your cartoons. The four panel one titled ” lesser known landmarks & art treasures of europe is a stunning example. Thanks a bunch for sharing your talent with us.

  10. I used to live in a rural community in the Midwest, where residents had to pay $65 a year for an “firefighters response” sign, which you made sure was visible from the road. The township’s council used the money from this fund to buy or repair equipment for the tiny fire department in our area. It seemed reasonable enough to most of us, until, during the Recession, a number of people stopped paying the fee because they were without jobs and needed the money for things like gas and groceries. We then began seeing stories in the local paper about people having to put out their own house fires because they hadn’t paid their fire department fee. One story finally made it to the national news: a man had called the fire department to put out a raging fire in his house, only to have the fire fighters sit and watch the house burn because he didn’t have a paid-for sign in front. This prompted both local and national outrage, which resulted in the township grudgingly raising property taxes to pay for the fire department’s house calls. (I probably don’t need to mention this was a no-taxes no-big-guv’ment kind of area.) I don’t know what it would take to make a no-taxes no-big-guv’ment Congress realize that not guaranteeing national health care for everyone is a bad idea: maybe a plague on the level of the Black Death, which spared no one, rich or poor, young or old.

      • “Hey, if I get sick, that’s just pain I can power through, cuz I’m awesome. But if my stuff burns to the ground, or worse, gets stolen so someone else can enjoy it instead of me?! I mean, that’s my STUFF!”

        That’s my best guess, anyway.

  11. Dan, you know today’s panel is stored as a gif and not a jpeg, yes?

    Does it animate if clicked? The stones topple over, domino-style, just for the entertainment of folks who stopped by to read your blog?

  12. Thanks for providing a voice for our country Dan… I wish more folks would put their thoughts out there. You are spot on with your assessment of #45, the rights/privileged argument and the fact that drug companies stand to lose a ton of $ if cannabis legalization is allowed to spread. Having done my share over the years I do worry about abuse among young folks who are looking for the high rather than the benefits… but hey, that risk is much less frightening to me than them getting addicted to alcohol or scrips.
    Keep telling it like it is Dan.

  13. ….now how the Hell did I get on today when for weeks I’ve been denied access to yr comments section?…lets try this again and see what happens
    …the Sunday Stonehenge cartoon was howler ..until you brought up the
    question of how that small a mother could had birthed a child of that size
    ..then I got all sad and my tears fell like rain….(sob)….
    ….your comments on why so many Americans somehow don’t feel the
    USA doesn’t need Universal Health Care for all means (to me at least)
    that , unlike all Western Europeans , too many of us feel like we’re giving
    the poorest people in (the World’s Most Exceptional Society” ) a free ride
    ..I mean look…it’s all we can do just to keep giving our top one percenters
    another tax break… In a Capitalistic Society.how could we possibly support people like the Trumps AND the millions of impoverished bottom
    dwellers ? I guess what makes us so (different/stupid/hateful) uncaring about the misery of others is that too damned many of us no longer see
    America as a Great Melting Pot of Humanity any more…Add to that the
    great fear that many of us now seem to have the new waves of immigrants and I believe you ‘ll see what’s wrong with American society
    today (and to be perfectly honest , many of the same tribal hatreds seem
    to be plaguing much of Western Europe today)..
    …That said , with the current orange tinted clueless con artist running
    America into the ground, I’d say that right now the rest of the world
    sees Us as the Worst of the Worst….

    • I’d like to point out that when children are born they are very, very small. In the years after birth they grow, often enormously quickly, anyone who has to buy them clothes will tell you this. I think the child in the cartoon simply grew very quickly after birth.

  14. Years ago I needed lack-of-laughs insurance.
    Then I started reading Bizarro, and now I don’t need it anymore,

  15. Donald Trump wants his opponents to think he is a buffoon. A buffoon does not build a real estate empire, or get elected president despite special interests and the “intellectual elite” being mostly against him.

    If you don’t think Trump’s tweeting is part of his shtick, watch the youtube of him at Wrestlemania 23 (April 1, 2007).

    • I completely agree that it is all very calculated. I still don’t think he’s some kind of genius pretending to be an idiot, though. He’s run his businesses badly and only an idiot would be short sighted enough to destroy the future in favor of present profits.

      • Well, yes. Remember that the word “idiot” originally suggested that someone had no attention for anything but themself… and Trump is an obvious narcissist.

        The real problem is that he didn’t just come out of a vacuum — we’ve been moving in this direction since at least Nixon. (I’ve suspected for a while that pardoning Nixon and Agnew was possibly the biggest mistake in the history of American politics, or at least in the 20th century.)

  16. Some of my friends (professional writers) have been discussing the health insurance thing this week on facebook. One of them described health insurance as a duty society owes to its members to guarantee those members remain useful, productive contributors to that society.

    My take is that rich people just want a cheap source of disposable labor, so there’s no point in insuring anyone poor/middle-class as long as you know you’ve got a large enough supply of them for replacements.

    • Agreed. More all the time I’m seeing America’s version of capitalism as modern-day slavery. Once you’re hooked on credit cards and debt, you’re working for the banks whether you want to or not.

      • The thing is, that’s a problem with capitalism in general — it fundamentally requires a pool of exploitable labor.

        Most of the civilized countries have moved hard in the direction of socialism, but not us — indeed, our “owner class” have successfully mark(et)ed “socialism” as a dirty word, precisely to preserve the class structure that enables the exploitation of minorities and the poor.

  17. We’re spending the summer in Colorado, where recreational weed is legal – for now. However, since we’re staying on Federally managed land, weed is definitely not legal.

    While it would probably have been instantly erased by the incoming Tin Hat Administration, all Obama had to do was remove marijuana from the list of Federal schedule 1drugs. He had the opportunity to make the choice, and buckled to pressure from the Reefer Madness Pharma lobby. Therefore, weed=heroin. Money talks.

      • The problem w removing MJ from schedule 1 is that it opens it to big pharma and big tobacco. All those corner pot shops would disappear and the Marlboro man would reappear as a stoner.

  18. Dan, I appreciate your commentary as much as I do your panels. Something’s Verrry familiar with the Ripple Effect cartoon… can one plagiarize one’s own work, or is this just efficient recycling? By the way, the earlier one is one of my favorites.

    • I often use backgrounds and sometimes characters from old strips. Like Hollywood does with sets and actors. Sometimes it is the only way I can keep up with deadlines.

  19. Keep on keepin’ on Dan. I’d like to echo another reader’s assertion that your commentary is as spot on as the cartoons. And I have to laugh at the folks that get ‘butt-hurt,” as the kids say, when you get political on here. A staggering number of people live in a Conserva- Land bubble, where cognitive dissonance is the normal order of things, but sadly, no amount of explaining, talking or rational thought will remove head from sphincter. At any rate, Dan…good on ya. See ya in the funny papers.

  20. “Again, what if you brought your kid to the local elementary school for first grade but were turned away because you couldn’t afford to send them to school? How is your child going to compete in the workforce with those who are getting a proper education?”

    Don’t give the Republicans any ideas.

  21. Dan, I’m not sure if I can keep reading your cartoons now that you’ve admitted that you are not well-versed in the field of gynecology. The primary reason I read them is for expert gynecological advice! Well…maybe I can make a FEW allowances.

  22. I’m glad both that cartoons can’t really support diatribes (you might lose contracts), and that a blog will. Keep being infuriated for me – you express it so much more effectively than I can.

  23. thanks for your accurate character assasination of mr covfefe. may your children have children….. in due time.

  24. My friend (yes, I have one), a GI doctor, told me about a patient he saw who had a reoccurring problem with abdominal pain. While examining him my friend noticed that he had what looked like a red rash or burns encircling his abdomen. The light went on. Occasionally pot smokers are subject to cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome which causes “nausea, vomiting and cramping abdominal pain”. Taking a hot bath or shower relieve these symptoms, hence the red rash around the patients abdomen. This is a very rare symptom but there are harms that come from marijuana, just not very many and not the ones marijuana prohibitionists talk about.

    BTW, in Canada marijuana for recreational use will become legal on July 1 (Canada Day), 2018. It’s already legal for medicinal uses.

  25. I don’t think “take me to your leader” “only if you take him with you” is funny’ the comics are for fun. Post as political cartoon on the option page and leave the comics to funnies.

  26. From another jazz pickle~

    There are strange sea creatures known as “sea pickles” invading the Pacific Northwest.

    These gelatinous and somewhat translucent organisms, called pyrosomes, have been seen congregating, sometimes by the thousands, close to shore from Northern California up to southeast Alaska.

    Pyrosomes are pelagic Tunicates, which are part of Chordata, a phylum that includes humans.

    ~So, hello jazzy uncle Sea Pickle!!!

    {info from: http://www.bendbulletin.com/nation/5415326-151/strange-sea-pickles-keep-washing-ashore-along-the }

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