Early Exits


(If the kids are screaming “Embiggenate it!” click the image and tell them to shut up.)

Bizarro is brought to you today by Halloween Costume Tips for Babies.

I’ve learned through personal experience that meetings with the police can be fraught with danger both to one’s personal safety and freedom, so I make it a habit to cut them short. The gentleman in the cartoon above has done so, too, though it can be assumed that the police he was meeting did not agree to his leaving when he did. This happens.

I’d like to be able to move on without mentioning recent activism surrounding the traditional treatment of non-white people by a significant portion of America’s police officers, but I’m not that kind of guy. I will say just this for now: I fully support any peaceful protest that reminds Americans that racism is still and has always been a daily experience for many millions of non-white inhabitants. The pro athletes who are taking a knee instead of standing during the National Anthem are heroes and have my full support. People who think a piece of fabric in the form of a nation’s flag is more important than the concepts it stands for are ignorant at the very least and quite possibly simply racist scumbags who fear losing the power they’ve wielded for so long in the U.S. They are, for the most part, the same people who voted for Trump and anyone who did so, in my estimation, is one of two things: too stupid to be able to instantly spot that Trump is a self-serving narcissist who has never meant anything he has ever said (so obvious a child could see it! what’s wrong with these people?!) or a garden-variety racist. Many are both, of course. If America doesn’t wrestle power back from these people in the near future, it will be lost and will likely never return. Think “The Handmaid’s Tale”. There is a metric shitload of reasons that brilliant book and the Hulu series resonate so loudly just now. If you think it can’t happen here and now, you’re as wrong as the millions who assumed an unqualified psycho like Trump could never be elected.

If you don’t get this joke, you’ve likely got a small, fairly insignificant hole in your education. We all have a few, so don’t let it get you down. To fill the gap, just google, “how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?”

I just did a mermaid gag a couple of weeks ago but sometimes one gag leads to another. In this case, a longtime email-pal in Germany who has suggested gag ideas that have made it into Bizarro before suggested a scenario with a mermaid who is forced to take her younger sibling with her on dates. I liked it and turned it into this. Thanks, Michael!  Here’s the surprisingly sexy mermaid gag from a few weeks ago that some readers didn’t get at first. If you are among those who don’t get it, google “baseball metaphors for sex”.

Opossums are very strange animals. They are the only marsupial found in North America, their name is commonly pronounced as though the first letter is silent (which it isn’t meant to be), it’s simultaneously very cute and horrifically reminiscent of a gigantic rat, it is the only animal in North America with a fully prehensile tail and they are known to overturn canoes full of natives and eat them. (That last fact might actually be about crocodiles in old Tarzan movies.)

Here’s a short, very cool article about opossums. Here is my favorite quote from the article, which was pulled from Captain John Smith’s notes in 1608: “An Opassom hath an head like a Swine, and a taile like a Rat, and is of the bignes of a Cat. Under her belly she hath a bagge, wherein shee lodgeth, carrieth, and sucketh her young.”

The Captain was not known for his spelling skills.

What I could not find out from Google is how rodents get hold of power tools with which to cut perfect little half-circular holes in baseboards.

I have no doubt that some of my readers are chiropractors and doubtless many more are chiropractic patients. I don’t wish to offend any of you who are in those categories but a couple of personal experiences with chiropractors and a little reading about the origins of the art have led me to firmly believe it is a pseudoscience along the lines of palm readings and pet psychics. I don’t like clowns, either. I am, however, a huge fan of talking balloon animals, and now you know everything you need to about this cartoon.

I will, however, say that if those things work for you, you are not being injured by them, are an adult of sound mind and average I.Q. or better, and can afford to give them your money, I can offer no reason why you shouldn’t do so.

If you are annoyed by my unwillingness to believe in things that traditional science can find no evidence for, you’re in good company. My beloved Olive Oyl has much to say about the challenges of living with someone limited by the confines of reason.

I will also say that if you intend to add a balloon animal to your family, please adopt one from a rescue shelter and avoid the breeders.

A few people got bent out of shape over this cartoon because it references the kind of dolls that are used by therapists to get children to talk about abuse. I’m not making fun of child abuse, of course, but rather adults who become overly incensed by things said on the Internet. I suppose I am one of those people because I find SO much that is said on the Internet offensive. I’m going to share with you now the ingenious solution I’ve found to that problem: I limit the things I read on the internet. You’d be surprised how much more satisfying life is when you ignore the Internet for a while and spend that time doing something fun or useful in the three-dimensional world your species spent millions of years evolving to exist in.

I thought it would be funny if a person was dating someone who identifies as a “furry” and then brought them home to introduce them to their parents. If you don’t know what a “furry” is in this sense, you’re in for a treat and/or shock. There is a growing subculture of people who so strongly identify with stuffed animals and furry things that they dress the part, go to “furry” conventions, and get up to all manner of shenanigans dressed as big animals. I’m sure that sex is a part of it for many, as well. While I have no objections to this kind of behavior as long as nobody gets hurt, I have a natural aversion to people in costumes trying to interact with me in public. They usually exist in the form of mascots and clowns. I count myself fortunate that neither of my daughters married a clown or a furry or someone who could not spot Donald Trump as an ignorant, lying, racist, sexual predator from a mile away.

Thanks for reading, Jazz Pickles. If you enjoy my art and ideas and are reading my work for free on the Internet, please consider tossing a buck or two my direction from time to time via one of the methods listed below. It would be much appreciated!

Until next time, be happy, be smart, and resist stupidity and fascism. 

Grab a T-shirt, tote bag, or coffee mug from my store!


52 thoughts on “Early Exits

  1. Thank you for your “brand” of humor. We seem to be in agreement on the issues of the day. I also have to move away from reading posts and the comments. I marvel at the complete stupidity of people. Once again, thank you.

  2. I get being proud of our country and saluting the flag. I don’t get how wanting our country to be better and live up to our professed ideals of “liberty and justice for all” is unpatriotic.

    • The brilliant Al Franken put it brilliantly: “We love America just as much as they do. But in a different way. You see, they love America like a 4-year-old loves his mommy. Liberals love America like grown-ups. To a 4-year-old, everything Mommy does is wonderful and anyone who criticizes Mommy is bad. Grown-up love means actually understanding what you love, taking the good with the bad and helping your loved one grow.”

      • Really? Then why do liberals whose original goals of protestors from years ago have been largely achieved, continue to fight on to push America further and further leftward and oppose anyone who dares embrace conservative views? From Hillary Clinton calling Trump voters “deplorables” to the armed thugs of Antifa calling anyone with a conservative or libertarian viewpoint “Nazis,” the aim of the liberal under their “resistance” banner is to dehumanize their opposition. Yet you believe this is adult behavior? 

        • You’ve been exposing yourself to too much rightwing propaganda, Rob. The original goals of liberals have not been achieved: women do not have equal rights, non-whites are still routinely treated as second-class citizens and are still not safe in the hands of the police, non-heterosexuals are still routinely discriminated against, the super wealthy pay FAR lower taxes by percentage than the middle class and poor, the average person cannot afford health care of any kind without insurance, which they can only afford if they happen to have a job in which the employer pays for most of it. That includes far fewer people all of the time, by the way. I, for instance, have worked my ass off seven days a week for 30 years but have never had an employer who helped pay for my insurance and I have struggled to pay for my healthcare and that of my family. The list goes on.

          Openly racist groups from the KKK to neo-Nazis all identify with and vote Republican, as do multimillionaires who send jobs overseas to maximize profits while taking advantage of lax environmental laws which allow them to continue polluting our planet. They are on the verge of making Earth unlivable for humans but deny the worldwide scientific consensus and turn back Obama-era environmental regulations for their own personal profit. What does that tell you about conservative policies? Unless you’re a compassionless millionaire who believes that anyone who is not rich is morally defective, or a racist/misogynist/homophobe who is happy to see civil rights turned back fifty years, you’ve been duped by the GOP into voting against your interests. I guarantee that the Republicans at the top don’t care about you or your family or your religion. They only care about your vote.

          • I find it very telling how quickly you choose to use labels and associate my opinion with a political party. Rightwing propaganda? Really? I think you’ll find that liberals and conservatives exist across the political spectrum. But then I didn’t associate my comments with a political organization, you choose that path.
            I guess you can only be racist if you belong to only one race? The majority? You associate openly racist groups with the Republican party. There are groups whether left or right leaning who are openly racist and support either the Democrat or Republican party.
            Our laws are there to insure equal rights, nondiscrimination, and violence against the less fortunate. How we as a people choose to treat each other cannot be legislated.
            You seem to be defending “any means necessary” to right the wrongs you perceive within this society. And your rant contains so many spurious statements and inaccuracies it’s difficult to know where to begin. You should be careful speaking in absolutes. The richest man in the world, Bill Gates, does not vote Republican. San Francisco hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer spent $74 million to help Democrat candidates and groups. And let’s not forget Soros who just gave $18 billion to his leftist organization. This is not to say that there are the very rich who are more than will put their money behind Republican ventures. My point is that all billionaires are not conservatives or liberals and do not only support Republicans or Democrats.
            A consensus, about any topic, is a general agreement. It should be open to discussion and further evidence and not try to squelch dissent. Someone should tell Al Gore to stop making so much money from trading in carbon credits.
            Unfortunately, many politicians, Republican or Democrat, “don’t care about you or your family or your religion. They only care about your vote.” But the solution does not lie with demeaning opposing perspectives.

          • I agree with everything you’ve said here. I did not say that all wealthy people are conservatives, nor did I mean to imply that. My point was that the Republican Party’s policies are exclusively about protecting wealth and power and keeping it in the hands of the very few in which it currently resides. Since Reagan, none of their policies has helped anyone but the very rich and corporations. The Democrats have made many mistakes but at least their policies are an attempt to help working class people, minorities, the elderly, the disabled, the sick, and children. That’s over 90% of Americans. The GOP only helps the top few percent. They know they have no actual policies to help the average person so they spend a lot of time with emotional/psychological issues that are fear-based: terrorism, immigrants, transexuals, abortion, crime, drugs, communism, socialism, Muslims, atheists, the hilarious “War on Christmas”, etc. Terrifying people about “the other” has worked very well in the hands of authoritarians and fascists for centuries and it’s been working for the GOP, too.

  3. A pregnant opossum would get in the crawl space and have her litter (?) every season for three or four years. The last year, however, she died before giving birth. Both my wife and I are disabled. Animal trappers @$300! So we went to the Home Depot parking lot and hired a guy for a hundred dollars. She was already turning (ack!) but he got her out, loaded her in HIS truck and within 30 minutes he was off to the dump. We paid the dump fees. It was horrible but it could have been worse. We decided the time was right for shrinking (emlittlening?) our cat doors and we did.

  4. Great internet usage advice Dan. I never once thought of the cartoon making fun of therapists or that technique. -TAKE THAT YOU SNOWFLAKE THERAPISTS! -My bad.

  5. one more try Dan ..I’ll make this shorter this time– I don’t mind at all
    how much invective you lay on the Orange Mussolini (he deserves
    no less) but….me Byo-,I Have to draw the line when yer
    starts to laying into poor old Captain John Smith’s miss=spelling
    of ye olden tymes spellin’ of ” The King’s English ” as it were
    (probably ) spelled in his day– and since we’re on the subject of
    correctness in language, how’s about these words YOU typed
    under the Balloon- dog cartoon:,,,”I am , however a hugh of
    talking balloon animals”…I KNOW what you meant to say but
    I also fully understood the Wee Captain of so long ago….
    I DO enjoy your work week after week ..Keep up the good
    work and (please do) continue giving Trump all the brickbats
    you want to throw at him…Cheers, Larry w

  6. Sorry you have encountered only lousy chiropractors. There are plenty of them, but a good one is worth his or her weight in gold. Particularly those who have shifted from the high-velocity work to craniosacral, which is very effective and no-risk. Speaking as a licensed massage therapist with 30 years experience who was able to work only because of craniosacral treatment after whiplash.

    and KUDOS TO YOU for supporting ‘take a knee.’ My dad nearly died fighting Nazis and I’m glad he’s not here to see what is happening to America.

  7. I agree 100% with your reasoning about the taking a knee. When people get all bent out of shape over it saying that it’s disrespectful I always ask them to tell me which Soldiers fought for just White People’s Freedoms and which Soldiers fought for just Black People’s Freedoms? What trait is there that you can tell them apart? Then I point out to them that the Orange Fraud who got himself 5 deferments so he wouldn’t have to serve his Country is not concerned about the Flag, the Anthem or even the Veterans. I always ask if they were that outraged when the Donald criticized the Muslim-American family Khizr Khan the Gold Star parents of Capt Humayun Khan. Then I point out the real reason that Trump is pushing all this BS. Back in the 90s Trump had a $1.3 million dollar lawsuit for damages against the NFL because they wouldn’t allow him to buy a team. He got just $3.76 and a lifetime ban from the NFL. Now he’s getting his revenge. That’s what all this is all about.
    Thank you for another week of wonderful toons! Take care and give your beautiful beloved Olive Oyl an extra hug!!

    • Appreciate your comments, Pat. Didn’t know that about the NFL lawsuit back in the day. Not the least surprised, of course. If only the government had instituted a lifetime ban on him.

  8. At 65 years old and very active getting there, I suffered a neck injury long ago. Five years later I could hardly remember anything as a cut man on a construction crew. It took about a year for a dedicated chiropractor to snap things back so I could function. This guy took me in and hardly charged me for his multiple daily and weekly visits. His efforts and time restored my memory and faith in humanity.

    • I had always been extremely skeptical about chiropractors because of the cures-everything sort of claims. As a former science teacher and current software engineer, I like to consider myself as being very rational and only interested in evidence based medical treatments. But when I had a back problem that would not go away, I decided to personally investigate to see what was involved. I went to an elderly, well established practitioner in my community. My plan was to just talk with him and be examined to learn more. He did examine me on a table — interestingly with my boots still one. He did not want me to take them off when I offered and said it was important as part of his examination. He pushed and pulled my limbs a bit and then had me move to another, lower table. I thought this was still part of the examination. He arranged my arms and legs in a certain position and before I realized what was happening, he twisted my hip and shoulders in opposite directions. There as a crack sound and… the persistent lower back pain was suddenly gone. He then explained what the alignment problem was. He also said, “as a tall person, I bet you often stand like this” and mimicked a stance that I did indeed often do. “Don’t do that!” I only had that one visit. I never went back because I didn’t have to. Whatever it was that got out of wack in my spine was fixed. I am still skeptical about chiropractic claims in general, and believe there are a lot of practitioners who indeed do not know what they are doing and are potentially dangerous. But at the same time, I think there are some conditions that can be successfully treated using these methods, and I just wish it could become an established part of the more mainstream evidence based medical science to eliminate the quacks and charlatans.

      • Thanks, Bill. I’ve heard a lot of this kind of anecdotal evidence for chiropractic and I’ve no reason to disbelieve it. Olive Oyl is a supporter, for instance, and I’ve seen her get good results. I, however, had two terrible experiences with my neck, then read about the origins of the practice and can’t bring myself to trust it anymore. I’ve no doubt there are good and bad ones, and that not everything chiropractors do is hocus pocus, but after you’ve been burned it can be almost impossible to restore trust. On a side note, I had a terrific experience with an acupuncturist in NYC a decade ago and became a believer. But then I had a fairly bad experience with a different one recently and now I don’t think I want to mess with acupuncture anymore. I’d go back to the one in NYC that I liked, but I’m not likely to trust any others.

  9. Thanks Dan! That was more than usually funny, and well-written, and the last line made me laugh my fool head off and scare my wife.

    • One can only guess what it took for him to get away. The cops might have taken his shoes away when they arrested him so he couldn’t hurt himself with them.

  10. Just FYI, though many furries are into fursuiting, as you have mentioned, there are many more who simply enjoy anthropomorphic stories, and/or animation featuring anthropomorphic characters. Pretty much, anyone who enjoys Disney’s “Robin Hood,” “Zootopia,” or certainly the old TV show “Thundercats” could certainly be considered a potential furry.

    I never knew about the whole fandom until rather recently, and though I am not attracted to the more hard-core aspects that some of the furries enjoy, I do find the whole archetypal anthro-animal trope to be immensely entertaining, and a traditionally-used device for examining the human condition. The ancient Egyptians had many animal-headed gods for a reason.

    Maybe that’s why I am so pleased that your strip resides right next to “Get Fuzzy” in the LA Times…and I always read both last, as they are my favorites!!

    • Though I’ve not read it (or any other syndicated cartoon) for a few years, I like “Get Fuzzy,” too. It’s one of the only syndicated strips that actually makes me chuckle. :^}

  11. Where is this bay abounding with mermaids? On 10-10 the same six gulls float over the 9-22 sea with the same bushes on a peninsula, while a couple of clouds have appeared over the 10-10 horizon. Based on facial arrangement it appears we have two different mer-persons (although this may be due to mermaid emotions). We certainly have different boaters, as the sailor in the S S Olive Oyl actually knows which way to face and how to effectively row. The startling 10-10 revelation is that this mermaid’s mother must be a fish. We now need a cartoon that suggests the father — a merman or a twisted, possibly scaly (fishy variation on ‘furry’) human male?

    • Good eye. I was wondering if anyone would ask about that. I sometimes use backgrounds and sets from previous cartoons for new ones. Just like Hollywood. :^}

  12. I totally agree with your comments about the police and the current state of the US. I just finished watching Vietnam and although I always kind of thought so, I have totally dropped any illusions I had that this is a great country. On a lighter note, furries was a great episode on CSI! I love your stuff!

    • I’ve recently watched that series, too. The whole worshipping-the-flag thing is part of how the propaganda machine works, making citizens fall in line and support America no matter how despicable her behavior is and has been at times. As Al Franken so brilliantly said, “We love America just as much as they do. But in a different way. You see, they love America like a 4-year-old loves his mommy. Liberals love America like grown-ups. To a 4-year-old, everything Mommy does is wonderful and anyone who criticizes Mommy is bad. Grown-up love means actually understanding what you love, taking the good with the bad and helping your loved one grow.”

  13. There’s quite a story building up in my mind of how a suspect handcuffed to a table gets all the way home and walks in the front door. It would be enough to fill a 90 minute movie with plenty of suspense, tension, and action.

  14. Dan… thanks for not moving on without commenting on recent activism. Your comments are right on target and needed. I know you get a lot of “flak” for such posts as a comic writer, but who else can talk about so openly and then create a funny that makes us laugh. Keep em comin.

  15. I enjoyed the opossum reference, and wonder if, rather than being a rotten speller, the good captain suffered from a calligraphic lisp (or “lithpe”).

    I know people who spell like this.

  16. “People who think a piece of fabric in the form of a nation’s flag is more important than the concepts it stands for are ignorant at the very least…” Well stated! When we confuse the map for the territory, we are lost.

  17. Yeah, but how many pinheads can dance on the head of an angel?

    I like how the police suspect planned ahead with a front door wide enough to fit the table through.

  18. Today’s ‘toon about college prep for fetuses assumes you liberals will allow them to be born…not a given. Like your humor, but it’s your own fault for letting your politics seep through too often.

    • The way I see it, a just society would either provide abortion services or birth control to poor folks. The Republicans want to remove both. If they succeed, the birthrate of impoverished, unwanted children will skyrocket and 15 years later, so will the crime rate. That’s history and statistics, not opinion. The Republicans also want to take away healthcare, jobs programs, food programs, and all manner of public assistance for the same folks. Yet they’ll be the first to whine and bitch and run for the gun store when the crime rate spirals out of control. Brilliant plan.

  19. Hi Dan -Your long lost friend Gene here ,I thought the gag on the stuffed bear cartoon was that it was a “Panda” bear which is not a real bear – Might be an idea for a future cartoon also.
    Even though I don’t draw many toons anymore , I still get ideas all the time (most often forgetting them ,as I don’t write them down )lol
    It wouldn’t hurt to send some of these ideas to you (who knows ,you may even use some of them as you have in the past. Let me know . I could send them through your E-mail address? Have a good day! Hi Olive !

    • Thanks, Gene. You can send them to me here and I won’t post them for public use. I’m always interested in suggestions from readers. I never know what’s going to spark an idea! :^}

  20. …A very late comment on Possums , but since so many of yer fans
    were talkin’ so much last week (this week in a Phil Dick novel)…Does
    anyone else but poor pitiful me sill remember that Walt Kelly’s
    Pogo Possum was absolutist the sweetest , cutest little
    cuddle-buddy “funny (talking) animal in the whole wide glorious
    comic strip American Universe ?
    ,,,,Sigh….that was so long ago in another time/another place
    …If Kelly was still alive now and drawing the ageless Pogo. I wonder (change that to…”Ah wondah” )….what sweet , gentle Pogo would feel like saying now…Could it be sum- thin’ like…
    “we has met the enemy, an’ we is Trumped..?..(or words to
    that effect.)…Larryw

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