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>The New West

>Bizarro is brought to you today by Safety.

For those readers who have not visited a state in which it is legal to carry concealed weapons, this is a sign that you see with some regularity. It is alarming to people like me, who are not used to seeing this kind of thing.

CHNW (my Crazy Half-Nekked Wife) was visiting family in South Dakota recently and we were chatting via cell phone one day while she was out shopping. She read a sign like this one to me as she was entering a store and I offhandedly asked if there was a pile of guns next to the door. Hence, the cartoon.

I don’t usually get cartoon ideas from real life situations since most of my cartoons are more surreal than reality. But in this case, not much exaggeration is needed to make this surreal. If I lived in a community in which a lot of people were toting guns, I’d likely be tempted to get a gun to protect myself from all the guns. Seems like a slippery slope.

Without getting too political, if you look around the world at countries where guns are plentiful and unregulated, it is hard to find one you’d even want to visit, much less live in.

>Civil War

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(To make it a bigger picture, click the right femur of the character in the red shirt.)

Bizarro is brought to you today by Smatmobile.

I loved the Smart car the very first time I saw one in Europe in the late 90s. I tend to like small, unusual vehicles of any kind , so it’s pretty much made for people like me. I haven’t owned a car since I moved to NYC, but if I did, this would be one I would consider. Although I should say I know nothing about the quality of the car, I just like the size and look of it. It may be crap, for all I know. (And in any case, I prefer motorcycles and scooters over cars.)

I think one of the most interesting things about the Smart car is, however, that it evokes anger in certain people. I have personally heard several say they would like to crush them or flip them over. I have felt similar hatred for SUVs, but it is because they are a kind of blight on the earth. They use more gas than necessary and so help to keep us dependent on Middle East oil, they tear the roads up faster because of their weight, they are a traffic hazard because you can’t see around them, they contribute to traffic congestion because they take up so much more space, same with parking. Hating Smart cars, on the other hand, seems to be simply a symptom of the growing culture war in the U.S.

I think about this culture war all the time and can think of no reasonable end to it. Could be we are headed for another civil war. Progressives wouldn’t have a chance in such a war, we don’t already have stockpiles of weapons and we are less brutal by nature. If it comes to that, I guess we’ll all move to a more civilized place and leave the country to the Glenn Becks. Perish the thought.

>Death Controversy

>Bizarro is brought to you today by Ways To Get Arrested in the Park.

When this cartoon published a week ago, I got a flood of emails from angry readers. What I thought was an innocent albeit surreal take on an old expression – death with dignity – was seen by many to be a jab at the political movement to secure a person’s right to physician-assisted suicide. Unbeknownst to me, (because I don’t pay much attention to life outside of my own tiny world, I suppose) there is a law in Oregon about this called the Death with Dignity Act.

This topic doesn’t get much press here in NYC, at least not that I’ve noticed, so I didn’t actually think about this when doing this cartoon. I don’t mind offending people with whom I disagree if I feel strongly enough about a topic, but I hate offending people by accident, especially when I agree with them in the first place.

I’ve long supported any person’s right to end their life when they wish to, especially in situations of chronic pain and illness. I think that denying this fundamental right of self determination is superstitious, archaic, and cruel. The sad truth is that even if a person is in excruciating pain, has no chance of survival and decides completely of their own sound mind that they want to end their life, anyone who aids them in any way can go to jail. As I understand it (and correct me if I’m wrong) in most states even if a person attains the means to do this on their own, anyone present while they do it can go to jail. So a person who somehow gets hold of enough pills to kill themself wants to go peacefully, surrounded by family and loved ones, they can’t unless everyone in the room is willing to head to the slammer. Instead, their only option is to die alone, climb out of a window, hang themselves, blow their brains out, whatever they can manage in their condition. Of course, most people just choose to waste away slowly in agony because it is their only legal option. This is the law’s idea of “respect” for human life.

So I spent a couple of days writing apologies to various readers and making statements to various groups and I think I’ve straightened it all out. I certainly hope that if the time comes that I want to check out of this life with some dignity, the law allows me the freedom to do so.

>Glory To The Internets

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A reader pointed me to this extraordinary page. I pass it along to you without comment, for now.

Placing the cursor over a person will provide a description of that character on the right. Be sure not to miss the group of people in the lower right corner.

Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section.
Enjoy… http://www.mcnaughtonart.com/artwork/view_zoom/?artpiece_id=353

>Scary Health Care Reform

>

(click on the image to enlarge)

Bizarro is brought to you today by Two Sides of the Aisle.

Because of the cartoon above, I got a lot of hate mail from readers who are against government-run health care and/or are regular viewers of Fox News. I thought I’d spend a couple of minutes today explaining my position on health care reform, not as any kind of expert, of course, just from my vantage point as one who cannot afford health care in America.

I make a decent amount of money, but I’m not rich. I’m also self employed, so no one provides any kind of insurance for me, I have to buy it. Health insurance costs vary from state to state, but here in NYC, the cheapest I can find for my wife and I, with a large deductible, is over $1000 a month. That’s another mortgage payment each month, into the pockets of super wealthy insurance execs, in all likelihood for nothing. Statistics show that if I ever want to use that insurance there is an excellent chance they’ll find a way to deny me. That’s how they make their profits. My wife had serious brain and heart surgery when she was 20, so just about anything that happens to her now will be called a “pre-existing condition.” You can bet on it.

So here I sit, a reasonably famous guy who makes a decent living, unable to afford to get sick. Sure, I can afford the occasional doctor’s visit or prescription, and do, but if either my wife or I are ever in an accident or get a serious disease, we’re out of luck. We can’t afford insurance and we can’t afford to pay for the care. So we die.

This is clearly an unfair system tilted heavily toward the corporations running it. This dilemma does not exist in any other wealthy nation. Government run health care does. And it works. It’s not perfect, but anyone who has spent any time going through America’s current health care system knows that it is far from perfect, too. Most people describe it as a nightmare.

Yes, it is popular in the U.S. to be fearful of the government, and throwing around scary words like “socialism” is a very effective way to herd people in the direction you want them to go. There has virtually never been a time in human history when this kind of tactic did not work. But all of the top nations in the world are a combination of socialism and capitalism, including ours. Medicare, Social Security, VA hospitals, welfare, public schools, road repair, anything you pay taxes for is a form of socialism. Some people imagine it would be better if none of those things existed and we all got to keep all our money and just “pay as we go” for these services, provided by private companies. But history shows that private industry is just as likely to screw up and cheat the consumer as any government. A combination of socialism and capitalism works best, which is why it is so prevalent worldwide.

A public, non-profit health plan provided by the government is socialism, yes, but no moreso than Medicare or Social Security (which have worked well for decades, despite Fox News’ inaccurate reports of their impending bankruptcy), and will not interfere with your option to pay a private insurer through the nose and take your chances when you make a claim, if that is your choice.

If you’re getting your information from Fox News, that is your right, but you are kidding yourself if you think it is anywhere close to “fair and balanced.” Any number of independent agencies and studies have invariably clearly shown FN is guilty of habitual misinformation, routine and obvious inaccuracies, and a consistent support of the will and benefit of a handful of the world’s most powerful corporations, who already have far too much influence in Washington.

Simply put, Fox News is not journalism, it is propaganda. And not because their opinion disagrees with mine, because much of what they say is demonstrably false, and always supports the narrow interests of a small handful of the uber-wealthy. Millions of Americans are being tricked into fighting for the very corporations that threaten our freedom and welfare. When every other large news agency in the world is saying something is bright and Fox News is the only one saying it is dark, especially when the ten wealthiest and most powerful people in the world are selling light bulbs, be very suspicious.

People opposing health care are afraid the government will control their lives. Right now, huge corporations control our lives by controlling our health care and virtually every other aspect of our lives. At least I can vote against a government. I have no recourse against CEOs.

Your opinions may vary, that’s fine. I’m just hoping there will be a way to afford to go to a hospital before I actually need it.

>We Are All Hitler

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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.

>Beat It?

>Bizarro is brought to you today by Surprising Products.

I grew up in the South where pinatas are common at children’s birthday parties. Consequently, for many years I believed that if you beat an animal hard enough, you would get candy. This was a lesson that did not serve me well in my later years.

Therefore, I propose that we replace the common subjects of pinatas – donkeys, bulls, superheros, skinless toddlers – with more deserving targets like Rush Limbaugh.

IMPORTANT NOTE: While I despise Rush Limbaugh and do not wish him well in any sense of the word, I DO NOT advocate physical violence against him or anyone else that you happen not to like. This is a humor blog, so DO NOT take my musings as prophecy or advice. (A defense that Rush himself has used countless times when advocating immoral, illegal, or treasonous behavior.)
In summary: Busting open Rush Limbaugh pinata = candy and laughs.
Busting open Rush Limbaugh himself = jail and drug-tainted bodily fluids and organs.

>Anatomically Incorrect

>
Bizarro is brought to you today by The King’s Colonoscopy.

Speaking of which, it is time for me, once again, to pay a stranger to shove things into my rectum. Yes, I am overdue for a colonoscopy, the medical equivalent of prison rape.

I had one about ten years ago, when I turned 40, and after complaining to my friends about how it was the worst, most painful day of my life, they all said, “But you’re not supposed to remember it. They give you that amnesia drug.”

Huh? They gave me no such drug. I guess they forgot. Perhaps they took it themselves.

Now I’m (over)due for another and I don’t want to do it because:
A. The last one was a nightmare
B. I don’t have health insurance and it’s expensive
C. I don’t know where/who to go to. Am I supposed to pick someone randomly from the Yellow Pages and pay them to shove things into my butt? Sounds like more like Craig’s List than modern medicine.

A reasonable blog reader might ask, “Why don’t you have health insurance, Dan?”

Because in NY it is phenomenally expensive when you are not affiliated with any group or employer. The cheapest I’ve found is through the Freelancers Union (which isn’t really a “union” but a group of freelancers who buy insurance together so it is cheaper) and it’s still over $1000 a month for minimum coverage for my wife and me, and of course, that doesn’t include “pre-existing conditions” or anything else they decide they don’t want to pay for. I’d literally rather die than pay $12,000 a year to an extortion corporation, only to be denied money back later when I really need it. It is the definition of organized crime.

I Twooted this last night, but how is it that even the dimmest Americans cannot see these two simple facts:
1. All politicians who oppose government-run health care actually HAVE government-run health care.
2. All politicians who oppose government-run health care are taking huge amounts of money from the insurance industry and big pharm.

Will this country ever wake up, or do I see residency in Europe in my future?

>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…

>Join the Club

>Bizarro is brought to you today by The Talent Portion of Our Competition.

What’s funnier than caveman violence? A lot of things, but today’s cartoon is about caveman violence anyway.

I guess this joke comes from the recent economic catastrophe, known in some corners as The Bush Legacy, and while there is nothing funny about so many people being out of work, maybe a recently laid off employee might look at this cartoon and say to him or herself, “well, at least I didn’t get clubbed or speared.” Or perhaps even, “At least I don’t have to go around in a one-shoulder dead animal skin and get an uneven tan. At least not yet, anyway.”

Keep in mind that during the Great Depression, things were even worse than this and FDR brought us out of it with government spending, which Republicans (who pushed us into that one, too) decried as insanity. Those who do not learn from history are destined to repeat it and here we are again. But things are beginning to turn around. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for a quick recovery. It took 8 years to bury the country this deep, it’s going to take more than a few months to dig it out.

P.S. I think I used that photo that is beneath the “Talent Portion” link above before, but it’s so great, I decided to use it again.

Until tomorrow, smile with every lip on your face…

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