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>Dangerous Jobs

>Bizarro is brought to you today by Not Dead.

When I was young, I found the stereotypical flute-playing snake charmers of India to be fascinating. I figured that regardless of how good you are at it or how tame the snake is, it has got to be a dangerous job. Unless the snake is defanged, you’re spending pretty much your entire day within striking distance of a cobra. It’s like being Donald Trump’s personal assistant.

Even creepier, though, are the religious hillbilly kooks who handle poisonous snakes because of a single line in the Bible that says something about safely handling serpents. The supposition is that if they have enough faith, God will protect them from the snake. What they don’t realize is that modern translations of the Bible are not in all instances accurate. In ancient Hebrew, the word for “serpent” was very similar to the word for “scissors.” We now know that the author was recommending safety with scissors, not playing with snakes.

I don’t know if these serpent-handling cults still exist, most of the photos of them that you can find are from the early and mid-20th century. There are, however, newer cults that show their faith in god by safely handling scissors at their services.

Whatever you’re handling today, be safe and don’t run. Unless a snake is after you.

>Hybrid Happy

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(To view this cartoon LIFESIZE! click on the spittoon.)

Bizarro is today brought to you by YouKnowWhatTheySay…

I don’t have a car, but if I did, it would likely be a hybrid. I don’t have a horse, either, but I think a horsepig would be a fun ride. One would certainly get lots of stares and you couldn’t ask for a better conversation starter.

I’m one of those people who likes things that are different from the norm, so the horsepig would appeal to me, regardless of its relatively ungraceful appearance. But that would only be until they caught on and everyone had one, then I’d move on to something else. What I’d really dig would be a horsechicken. Think of the pecking power a beast like that would have.

>Eating Ourselves

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(To make the cartoon big, click on the seagull’s left knee)

Bizarro is brought to you today by Geriatric Mouse Voice.

Judging by the emails I got last week, this cartoon was very popular with environmentally conscious readers. Destruction of ocean life is far worse than most people realize because it is hidden under the surface. It’s hard to get good photos of all that is missing from the sea. Most experts estimate that 90% of all large ocean life has been decimated in the past 100 years. Red Lobster All-You-Can-Eat night, anyone?

And judging by some emails I’ve gotten recently, there are a number of readers who think I hate fat people and think they are fair game for ridicule. My point is not that fat people are “funny” or “bad,” but that human selfishness is ruining the planet, with Americans firmly in the lead. I know it is hard to resist food, I’ve battled it myself, we all have. And we’re not the only species prone to this, we’ve all seen what happens to dogs when too much food is made available. For millions of years, humans couldn’t be certain when their next meal would be, so our genes evolved to tell us to eat all that is available, especially the fatty stuff. It could mean the difference between making it through the winter and winding up as a frozen skeleton. But for most of us in developed nations, those days are gone.

Food has only been cheap and plentiful for our species for a relatively short time, so our bodies haven’t had time to evolve messages that stop us from eating too much. My message isn’t “let’s all make fun of fat folks,” my message is “wake up and smell the devastation to our bodies, our earth, and our fellow non-human inhabitants.” I don’t kid myself into thinking that this will ever change, but I feel compelled to comment on it.

On a lighter note, here’s a silly cartoon about a clown.

>Total Pigs

>Today’s Bizarro is brought to you by the Total Car.

A few years before I adopted a vegan diet, I stopped eating pigs because I read about how intelligent they are and how badly they suffer on factory farms, not to mention slaughterhouses. I later came to understand how all those critters I was eating were intelligent in their way and suffering at the whims of my taste buds, so I became vegan.

It’s funny to me now that I used “intelligence” as a guide to whether or not a being deserved to be tortured and murdered. If that were true across the board, I can think of any number of people I’ve known who could be caged and butchered and sold for 99¢ a handful. “I’ll have a Ricky sandwich and an order of Debbie nuggets, please.”

Most people don’t think that way of other species, I know. I didn’t until I did, so I’m not judgmental about those who eat meat. I feel strongly about it, but I don’t think that people who eat animal products are “bad” per se.

Pigs are really cool animals. I’ve gotten to know a bunch of them at Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary and they’re really fascinating. They’re smarter than dogs, big, ugly, affectionate and full of personality. You do have to be careful to follow a few simple rules when you’re visiting them, however. I saw one frantically rooting and snorting at a woman’s butt one time, almost knocking her down, and sending her screaming from the pig yard. Turns out she had an apple core in her back pocket. No one got hurt, but she almost lost the seat of her pants.

>Serving Pervs

>Bizarro is brought to you today by Nine Nekked Men.

This cartoon appeals to me not because I think that transvestites are perverts – what do I care what somebody wears?– but because it sort of represents the hypocrisy we’ve seen in the news lately.

Once again, politicians who had formerly been outspoken and very “Jesusy” about others for cheating on their wives have been caught cheating on their wives. A politician who was turned down for a federal judgeship by a Senate judiciary committee years ago for being a racist, is the ranking Republican on the committee reviewing Judge Sotomayor. And he is, of course, accusing her of being racist. Business as usual in Washington.

Back to transvestites, I’d much rather see a man dressed in drag than anyone dressed like this.

NOTE: Before the “what about Bill Clinton?” comments start pouring in, I’m not talking about politicians who cheat, I’m talking about politicians who use their religious beliefs as a cudgel and toss around terms like “family values” like a frisbee. Yes, Bill Clinton and many other Democrats have been cheating scum. The difference to my mind is that they don’t whip up the religious right to vote for them by pretending to be otherwise. Just my opinion, not worth a nickle more than you paid for it.

>Help a Brother Out?

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I’m a regular columnist for VegNews magazine, writing a column in each issue about the humorous side of vegetarianism and veganism called “Plant-Based Piraro.” Once each year, the magazine sponsors a vote for readers’ favorite this-and-that.

If you want to help a great cause, go to this page and vote for the following two nominees in these two categories:
Best Animal Sanctuary….Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary
Best Column…Plant-Based Piraro (sample article from last year here)

You have to cycle through the categories to find those two, along the way you can vote for whatever you wish, of course, or nothing. Whatever suits you. At the end, they’ll ask for your email address and name, if you provide it you’ll be entered to win some prizes, but it isn’t necessary if you prefer to remain anonymous.

Thanks, kids. You’re phat,” “stoopid” and “sick.”

>Trials of the Extra Terrestrial

>Bizarro is brought to you today by Invasion of the Coffee Tables.
I’ve used the Bizarro alien icon in cartoons as more than just a “hidden picture” before, but I think this is the first time he has been the subject of the joke. For anyone keeping a detailed scrapbook of every minute detail of my career, flag this page with a Post-it note and a star! Then see a counselor about seeking a more worthwhile pastime.

It is interesting that we nearly always imagine aliens to be about our size or, if they are evil, much bigger. But I can’t recall ever seeing a story about tiny aliens. I’m sure there are some and sci-fi afficianados who see this post will leave some examples in the comments section, but it certainly isn’t common in film or TV. I did a cartoon a long time ago about a race of extra-terrestials who were the size and shape of golf balls and were terrified by our species’ treatment of them.

Kurt Vonnegut wrote a novel years ago in which the Chinese had conquered the world by developing a way to shrink themselves to microscopic size. While the rest of the world was in ruins as people fought over scarce resources, the Chinese had virtually unlimited resources because they consumed so little and their enemies could no longer even see them. This has nothing to do with this cartoon, but I thought it was a brilliant idea and wanted to tell you about it. (Yes, science geeks, I know there are holes in this plot as this would drastically increase the number of other predators they would encounter, but let’s put that aside for now.)

If extra terrestrials that were the size of, say, birds visited our planet and were not well-armed with more advanced weapons than ours, we would subjugate them and eat them, of course, as we do to everything else we can dominate. There are some people who will eat anything with a pulse and claim it is delicious, so it probably wouldn’t even matter what they tasted like.

There have been many stories of aliens that are more powerful than we that want to eat us, of course. I enjoy these kinds of stories as I hope that people will see the obvious parallel to how we treat our fellow beings on this planet, but that never happens. Unless a Planet of the Apes scenario actually takes place, I’m certain it never will.

I hate to end on a serious note, so let’s all have a look at this, from Night Deposits, a random blog from my buddy, J. C. Duffy.

>A Lot of Bull

>Today’s Bizarro is brought to you by Skaters In Love.

The basic concept for this cartoon came from my young protege, Victor, who has been sending me ideas since he was about 14. He’s got some great ideas, especially for his age, and I’ve drawn a dozen-or-so of them in the past five years or whatever. I forgot how old Victor is now.

I like cartoons that lead you to think through the punch line and this is one of those. Of course, you have to have heard the expression, “like a bull in a china shop,” to get the joke, but I think people still say that, don’t they?

I often wonder where expressions like this come from. Who first thought of placing a bull in a china shop to illustrate destructive clumsiness? Did someone say it in a pub in Llanidloes, Wales in the 17th century and it spread slowly by word of mouth from there? Or was the expression published somewhere and catch on more quickly? There’s probably a web site that explains it, but who’s got the time to dig that up right now? Not I.

For the record, I think bullfighting is the most heinous and barbaric of sports still being practiced in the civilized world. Parts of Spain are finally outlawing it, and it’s about time. Others are decrying the loss of a “tradition.” Slavery, rape, pillaging, and throwing virgins into volcanoes are traditional human activities, too, but I’m not shedding any tears over their loss. Not that they are completely gone, but at least we’re not still televising them or featuring these activities in the travel section of the Sunday paper.

As you might surmise, I root for the bull.

>Speaking of Talk

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Bizarro is brought to you today by Yummy Babies.

I love this gag, it’s simple, dark and unexpected. I originally used this line in comedy shows by saying, “My wife and I just had a baby yesterday.” (the audience invariably applauds) “Yeah, we had a baby boy, and it was really strange because we’re vegan and we don’t normally eat meat.” (The audience is grossed out as they realize what I’m talking about.) “His mother was all, (weepy sounding)‘he was such a good boy!’ and we were like, ‘eh, he really wasn’t that good.'”

I’m not saying it was a great routine and it tended to leave half the audience confused and the other half disgusted, but I enjoyed it. As a person who doesn’t distinguis between the suffering of humans and non-human animals, it was a bit of an activist joke, too. Every animal any of us have ever eaten was terrified when it died, and mourned by those who knew him/her.

Elsewhere in the news, I think Conan’s residency at The Tonight Show has been good. He’s got the best writers in talk show TV, for sure. A NY friend of mine who used to write for The Daily Show was hired by Conan and moved out to L.A. Now that I have an “in” at The Tonight Show, my friend assures me that I can definitely be a guest on the show. All I have to do is become a huge celebrity of some sort, preferably in TV or film.

Here’s a kooky idea: How about if every person who reads this blog writes to The Tonight Show and threatens suicide if they don’t book me as a guest? C’mon, it would be fun! If it works, get me on the same show as Natalie Portman. I have a huge crush on her. Brilliant, gorgeous, and vegan – what’s not to like?

>Fish Sperm, Education, Love

>Bizarro is brought to you today by Our Amazing Oceans.

I often draw cartoons that require a fifth grade education or better to understand, and this is such a cartoon. I fully realize that when I do this, I leave out probably more than half the readers out there, not that my readers are younger than 11 years old, but that most people in the U.S. seem relatively uneducated. Ever see Jay Leno’s “Jaywalking” routine where he asks simple questions of people on the street? It sends chills down your spine.

I’ve known many people with a college degree who couldn’t find their way through the first round of Jeopardy with a single correct answer. I’m not talking about any of you who read this blog, of course, but it is alarming how many so-called “educated” Americans can’t name the countries that border us or tell you who wrote Hamlet. Sad and scary. We’re ripe for being taken over by a less lazy culture. Speak Chinese, anyone?

I like this cartoon because it depicts the unreasonable demands we sometimes put on our spouses. Female fish poop out eggs all over the place, then some male comes along and squirts his magic man juice all over them, they both have a cigarette, get dressed, and go home without so much as exchanging phone numbers and never see the babies again.

Long term monogamous relationships between humans become so prickly, even under the best of circumstances, it is easy to see why many people choose the fish method. Hopefully with the proper contraception so they leave the diseases and children out of the equation. That’s never been my style, I’m a serial monogamist, but I can’t fault in those who never hook up long term.

It’s a lot of work and sometimes maddening. But often sublime, too.

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