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>Brady Apocalypse Pants

>Bizarro is brought to you today by Towel Paradise.

Since I didn’t post any cartoons last week while I was away, here are a few of my favorites from the missing week to catch up a bit.

The onion gag is funny to me, but I also like the dude’s Brady Bunch hairdo. I don’t normally draw men with this kind of coif, but I will be doing more of it in the future because of it’s awesomeness.

The “End of the World” gag is a version of the man-carrying-end-of-the-world-sign cartoon cliche. Longtime readers (both of them) know that I enjoy putting a new spin on the classic cartoon motifs, and I thought this one was fun. Like all living humans under the age of 70, I am on Facebook, but I can’t say that I get anything out of it. If I want to say something to someone, I send them an email (call me old fashioned) and because my name is known by more people than I know, I get so many messages on there that I don’t have time to do anything other than click “accept” on friend requests and “ignore” on everything else. I don’t join groups or causes, don’t send “pokes” or “bites” or “transfusions” or whatever else they have on there, and I don’t read invitations. Nothing personal, I just don’t have the time.

The baggy pants joke is my favorite of these three. Anyone who knows me is well aware of my constant and decades-long stupefaction over the baggy pants fad. Anything about giant, baggy pants is and has always been funny. That’s why clowns wear them.

I hope to have time to do my travelogue blog tomorrow. Tune in then, my frenz.

>We Are All Hitler

Bizarro is brought to you today by The Truth.

If there is one thing the children of America are learning it is that if you don’t like something, compare it to Hitler. I wish I had known this when I was a kid. So many times I was told to go to my room and think about what I’d done (just like Hitler used to do to the Jews!) and even though I was angry and felt I was being treated unfairly, I did not know to compare my parents to Hitler. Live and learn.

The political discourse in our beloved U.S. of A. has become so ludicrous that it can barely be satirized. Still, I hope I’ve done a decent job here. The sort of things some Americans are teaching their children with the dreck they plaster on signs and march up and down the streets with is appalling, and we will all suffer the consequences of these drones when they grow up and inflict their warped sensibilities on society in more robust ways. Many will even have their own TV shows.

I think most Americans are still relatively sensible and don’t equate Obama’s efforts to help people other than the uber-rich with Hitler, but they don’t get the media coverage. So it’s the media’s fault. The media are Hitler.

To be honest, I’m not sure who is Hitler, but I’m sure he’s out there. Lurking, waiting to make his move. Get ready for mandatory mustaches, people.

NOTE: Good news at Bizarro Headquarters: I did not die yesterday afternoon. So there will be no theories about whether yesterday’s post was a prophecy or a suicide note in disguise. I’m not planning to leave the house today, increasing my chances of living another 24 hours, so everyone can relax. If I get to feeling woozy or anything, I’ll post an emergency paragraph or two before I call 911. Stay tuned.

>Death By Entertainment

>Bizarro is brought to you at this moment by The Roman Colesseum.

I got into another family’s car recently (I was invited, it wasn’t a car-jacking) and saw that there were two separate DVD players on the backs of the front seats. In this way, their two children could each watch their own programming while riding in the car. Perhaps it was an overreaction, but I vomited.

When I was a kid (oh god, I hate sentences that start out that way) my siblings and I looked out the windows when we were in the car, even on long, long, interminably long car trips. If we wanted something else to do, we played games wherein we counted things. When we were bored with that, we punched and bit each other.

I wonder if the children in the aforementioned family have any idea what lies outside their own home and car. I wonder if they can identify a 3-dimensional cow standing by the roadside. Or if they know what high speed wind feels like against a rigid hand, or what a pop bottle sounds like when it shatters against the windshield of an oncoming car.

I fear for the future when the video generation are in charge. Their insatiable thirst for constant entertainment will likely make the blood lust of the ancient Romans look like child’s play. I foresee a time when the Cottonbowl will be used to feed atheists to lions.

>Old School Thigh Master

Bizarro is brought to you today by Saw VIII: Bleeding From The Ears.

I have to admit I’m really pleased with this joke. It’s a simple idea based on an iconic game of childhood innocence and curiosity, but with the addition of a single word becomes dark and disturbing. What more can one ask of a cartoon?

Speaking of dark and disturbing, I turned on TV last night to watch Hardball and Countdown and it happened to be tuned to some show called “Extra” on NBC. Within seconds I could see that it was a faux news show about celebrities, that generation of mutant journalism that I think “Entertainment Tonight” started.

The three, beautiful, twenty-something meat puppets hosting “Extra” were in the middle of a stiffly scripted “disagreement” over something Suzanne Somers uttered about Patrick Swayze‘s cancer treatment. One marionette thought Suzanne had a right to speak her mind, another thought it was too soon and she should have known better, the third thought she was wrong for saying anything but did the right thing by apologizing. Fascinating.

I know a lot of people watch these shows, you may be among them, and I do not wish to offend anyone kind enough to read this blog. But I can’t stand them. I guess my revulsion begins in the premise that a celebrity’s routines activities are elevated to the status of “news,” and moves on through the mannequin performance of the cue-card-reading models who, by telling you about celebrities, become celebrities themselves. This concept is akin to a librarian becoming as famous as the authors of the books in her care.

Human fascination with celebrity is an interesting subject, the roots of which are deep within our evolution. Chimps have the same impulse within their own groups. In one behavioral study I read about, when given a choice between looking at a picture of a troupe leader or a food reward, they often chose the celebrity photo. How many American’s would rather watch “Extra” or “ET” than eat a plate of nachos? Fortunately, as God’s anointed species, we are not forced to choose and can simultaneously stuff our faces with Monterey Jack and Jacko. Still, I’d like to put some people in a cage and test this theory.

I’m not completely immune to the charm of celebrities myself, it is programmed into our DNA to a point, but I’m not interested in them enough to read magazines devoted to them or watch news shows about their hourly goings on.

And, for the record, I think Suzanne Somers should have said MORE about Patrick Swayze’s treatment! Whatever the hell that means.

Until tomorrow…become a master of your own thighs.

>Believe It or Not

>Bizarro is brought to you today by Invisible Superheroes.

Let’s talk for a moment about how scary the word “atheist” has become in current-day America. Many people equate the designation “atheist” with epithets like “nazi,” “pedophile,” “criminal,” and “insurance company CEO.” As the funky DJ might say, “Let’s break it down, now.”

Theist: one who believes in god(s).
Polytheist: one who believes in more than one god.
Monotheist: one who believes in only one god.
Atheist: one who does not believe god(s) exist.
Polyunsaturatedtheist: one who believes that god speaks to us through nutrition labels.

Those who fear atheists and atheism are most often living under the assumption that belief in god is what keeps us from running wild in the streets, looting, murdering, raping, and spitting on the sidewalk. This is a common misconception that is easily debunked by leaving one’s own bubble and having a peek at history, anthropology, and cultures other than one’s own. Shockingly few American fundamentalist Christians realize that if they had been born and raised in India, they’d be just as convinced of the existence of blue elephants and multi-armed banjo players, as they are of a water-walking Jew.

A large percentage of your really heinous crimes have been committed by people who were under the assumption they could hear their god’s voice and were following his orders: Son of Sam killer David Berkowitz, Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVey, Osama Bin Laden and all Al Qaeda members including those who took down the World Trade Center, everyone behind the Christian Crusades of the Middle Ages, all KKK members, George W. Bush, Richard Nixon, that guy outside my building with his car stereo cranked up to 140 decibels, the list goes on and on.

Alternately, many law-abiding people who have contributed positively to society have been self-proclaimed atheists: Ron Reagan, David Suzuki, Douglas Adams, Isaac Asimov, Dave Barry, George Orwell, Ayn Rand, Kurt Vonnegut, Tom Wolfe, Woody Allen, George Carlin, Ricky Gervais, Katharine Hepburn, Charlie Chaplin, Eddie Izzard, Patton Oswalt, John Malkovich, Brad Pitt, Carl Reiner, Gene Wilder, Bruce Lee, Bob Geldof, Albert Camus, Noam Chomsky, Francis Crick, Richard Dawkins, Richard Feynman, Sigmund Freud, Carl Sagan, Albert Einstein and countless others.

Whether you like or dislike the people on this second list, the point is that they are (were) not running rampant in the streets for lack of an invisible superhero in the sky telling them the difference between right and wrong or threatening to smite them if they misbehaved.

Of course, not all of your friends, family and neighbors who do believe in a god are using their faith as a weapon, either. The common sense truth is that people don’t need supernatural reasons to be good or bad, just as Sarah Palin does not need to hold a political office to publicly display the thickness of her skull. We all have plenty of reasons of our own for what we do.

Because the “A-word” has become synonymous with evil, as erroneous as that is, many atheists prefer to be called “nontheist.” I’m not one to give in to language games to try to change people’s attitudes, however. Polite terms for Americans of African descent have gone from “colored” to “black” to “African American” in my lifetime alone, and it hasn’t stopped racists from declaring President Obama was born in Kenya.

So call me what you will, but don’t expect to see me bombing, stealing, raping, discriminating, or denying people basic rights for lack of, or in the name of, invisible superheroes. And don’t bother trying to talk “sense” into me with threats of a pyromaniacal dude in tights carrying a pitchfork. Halloween isn’t for several more weeks yet.


>This is a cartoon that I submitted recently but which was rejected for content. The term “up yours” was considered a little too racy for most newspaper funny pages, so it didn’t get published. It was actually written by J.C. Duffy, of The Fusco Brothers and The New Yorker. He didn’t have a market for it, so he offered it to me.

I knew it was “iffy” when I drew it, but I hoped “up yours” was innocuous enough to get by. I guess I should have known better. Lord knows what kind of calamity and social decay would have been wrought upon western civilization if this kind of profanity were to be printed in a comic. The body shudders, the mind reels.

Profanity is profanity purely and only because we all agree that it is. If we stop forbidding certain words or phrases, they immediately lose their power. These kinds of words have the magical power to offend simple because we endow them with it. The myth of profanity exists purely because we believe in it, which, in my opinion, is archaic.

I’ve never studied the subject, but my brain tells me this likely started ages ago when people were more ridiculously superstitious (I say “more” because people are still superstitious, but we weed certain traditional taboos out over the centuries and tell ourselves we’re not) and they feared that saying certain things about god would bring his wrath down upon us. (I know, some people still believe that.)

From there, I suspect we added certain sexually-loaded language to the list, fearing that if we spoke these kinds of words, orgies would break out and society would collapse. I know from personal experience that there are people living in the United States of America in the 21st century who actually fear that if their children hear (or read) about homosexuality, they will become homosexual. These are people with jobs and college educations and drivers licenses.

Personally, I think it is all a lot of hooey. When I was raising my daughters, they were not denied knowledge of profanity, but told that certain words and phrases were off limits only until they were old enough to understand the social implications and use them appropriately. I didn’t want my six-year-old using language that other people would use to make inaccurate assumptions about their character.

Not surprisingly, this worked. They weren’t forbidden from knowing or uttering these things, they were simply warned of other people’s reactions to them if they did and asked to wait until they fully understood this concept before they talked that way. Both are now well-rounded, happy adults. Their brains didn’t explode.

I also did this with all matters of sexuality, illegal drugs, manners of dress, etc. If you tell your kids the truth and give them good, factual information on which to make their decisions, they tend to make the right decisions. Imagine that.

I could go on and on about the myth of profanity, but it wouldn’t make any difference, so f*ck it.

I hope you like this cartoon, as a person who hates doing laundry, I got a chuckle out of it.

>Please Forward This Post

>Bizarro is brought to you today by Jabba the Stud.

I get a couple of hundred emails every day. Some are personal notes from people I know, some are from readers, some are about business, some are “action alerts” from various groups in which I’m interested, and some are forwarded jokes and supposedly funny pictures.

I don’t read all of my emails because I neither have the time nor the interest. I can tell from the subject line and address what most of them are about and I just hit “delete” on all of the stuff I don’t care about. That’s probably what you do, too. What I don’t understand, though, is when people get upset about unsolicited email they get and go out of their way to write to someone and insist they be taken off the list. I find it so much easier and less insulting just to delete them. (I’m not talking about Viagra spam and the like, which doesn’t work even if you complain. That’s what spam filters are for.)

I recognize that not all computers and email programs are the same. If you’re on an old system that takes more than a split second to download mail and requires you to open each email to find out if you want to read it or not, I can see how excess mail would be bothersome. Perhaps wrongly, I assume that almost everyone has a fast system now and that all they are really complaining about is having to flick their finger to delete something they don’t want. I’m probably as off base about this, but it just seems like there are better things to get huffy about.

By the way, I do personally read and respond to all of the emails I get from Bizarro readers, except when I don’t. Occasionally I get very behind on email – with stuff I’ve flagged to be read and responded to, not the “instant delete” stuff – and I don’t answer emails I mean to. If you’ve ever written to me asking something that requires a response and you didn’t get it, it was an accident, I wasn’t just being a poo-donkey. Sorry.

That being said, please don’t write just to see if I’ll respond. That would make me huffy. If you really want to know something, though, feel free.

Here is are lists of my read/delete preferences:

Read: Fan mail, personal friends, business requests, purchase/shipping confirmations, hate mail, evites
Delete: Action alerts, political alerts, newsletters, forwarded jokes, advertisements, Facebook alerts, spam my filter missed
Eye-rolling revulsion: Series of patriotic pictures reminding me to support the troops, series of lovely pictures reminding me to appreciate the simple things in life, series of nature pictures reminding me that God is with me always, links to inspirational videos and songs

Since I have time, so I’m going to post once more today. A rare two-post day. See next post.

Until tomorrow – in the feast of life, be the fiber, not the fat.

>Visiting A Broad

>Bizarro is brought to you today by Vixen Travel Services.

I like this cartoon for its simplicity. The absurd lack of geographic proficiency of Americans is embarrassing and reflects our arrogance. It is yet another item on the “Why They Hate Us” list, and who can blame them? Far too many Americans are too self-absorbed and intellectually lazy to find out what is going on outside of our own borders. Or inside, for that matter. That’s how the network calling itself “Fox News” gets away with passing off their absurd propaganda as “news.”

On a less stressful note, with all the excitement of yesterday’s first Bizarro contest I barely got any sleep last night. By the time the Western press was finished with me, around midnight, the Asian press started in. It was exhausting.

This morning, the winner, a reader indentifying himself as “t. tex,” wrote to me and I was surprised to find out he is a guy I knew way back in my squandered youth in Texas. When I was front man for The Doo, Tex was at the helm of the infamous Dallas punkrock band, The Nervebreakers.

Tex is in Austin now, (good choice) and has a pretty interesting blog about music and other odd things. I got lost there this morning, applying my eye bones to the many peculiar photos and sundry art, to which I will be linking in the future. Always fun to find a new source.

Gotta catch some shut eye now. Conan wanted me on his show tonight to talk about the contest, but I just can’t make it all the way out to the West Coast on such short notice.

See you in dreamland, kiddies…

>Happy Shiny Children

>Bizarro is brought to you today by Well-Adjusted Kids.

This is one of those rare cartoons that is wrought from my own experience. When my eldest daughter was a kid, she was vacillating between wanting to be a writer and a musician, and wondered how she would ever be any good at either if her childhood continued to be happy.

A few years later, her mother and I solved that problem by getting divorced. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for my children.

Speaking of screwed-up children, how are beauty pageants for children still legal? These things are clearly factories for mental illness and pedophilia. I can’t help thinking that one day Americans will look back at pictures of these freak shows with the same disbelief and revulsion that most of us now do when we see an old photo of a public lynching.

I’m not criticizing the children involved in these events, of course, they are merely the monsters their frankensteinian mothers are experimenting on. In my humble opinion as the father of two daughters, this is as close to a beauty pageant as a kid should get.

Until next time, you are my lucky star

>Zombie Therapy

>Bizarro is brought to you today by Fashion Police.

Monsters who feel remorse for their behavior is a regular theme in vampire dramas – HBO’s “True Blood,” the film, “Twilight” – so I thought it might be fun to extend the same feelings to a zombie. He eats people’s brains, then feels bad about it. If only Karl Rove were capable of such emotion.

A libertarian reader told me recently that he believed government should stay out of our way because most people are basically good and will do the right thing without government intervention. He called my view that humans cannot be trusted, “cynical.”

He’s absolutely right, it is cynical. I also happen to think it is realistic and accurate, as witnessed by recent human history. (By “recent,” I mean the past 100,000 years.) While most “individuals” might be good, groups of idividuals in power cannot be trusted. Corporations are amoral by definition – their sole purpose for existence is to make money, not serve humanity – and the very small percentage of people who rise to the top of corporations are very often as unethical and unrepentant as a zombie. That’s how they get there. Bernie Madoff, Ken Lay, Dick Cheney, everyone on Wall Street, etc.

People who rise to the top of government usually have the same problem, of course; power almost always corrupts. But the difference is that government is not amoral by definition and in a republic such as ours, the politicians eventually, in some way, must answer to the rest of us. That is to say that if things get out of hand we can fire them, as we did to so many Republicans in the last election. (Of course, people have to be smart enough to figure out they are being screwed, which sometimes takes a while, but that’s another story.)

It’s not perfect, god knows, but it’s better than letting markets police themselves and not screw the rest of us (see Wall Street, last eight years), and corporations not to pollute the planet and sell toxic goods to the rest of us (see last 60 years), and people to treat each other fairly and not seek to destroy those with more skin pigment. (See Civil War, civil rights movement, “birthers,” current town hall hooliganism over health care, Glenn Beck, Lou Dobbs, Rush, etc.)

Stories about zombies and vampires are popular because they are a metaphor for our actual lives as we struggle to avoid the bloodsuckers and braineaters at the top. What discourages me most is when the monsters find ways to scare their prey into fighting for them, instead of against, as they have done so often in the past decade and most recently with health care reform.

Enough seriousness, now this.

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