Sunday, August 17, 2008

Paying Customer

Bizarro is brought to you today by Ol' Toothy brand chainsaws. "Nothing goes with that mask like an Ol' Toothy."

(You know you want it bigger, so click that comic, homeboy.)

I've got to say I'm proud of this comic. It's dry, deadpan, creepy, and about current events. It makes me happy.

But the price of gas does not. I don't own a car, so I don't suffer from pump shock every time I fill up my car. I drive an old Vespa scooter, which I bought new in 1981, and it costs me around $5 a week to drive it daily around NYC. (When I first moved here in 2002, it was more like $5 a month.) It's the perfect transportation for this city: cheap, able to leap huge traffic jams in a single bound, always a place to park, big rack on the back for bungee-cording cargo to, and fun.

The reason I don't like the price of gas these days is because the price of trains, planes, buses, everything else I rely on to get around when I'm not in NYC is going through the roof. Soon, normal folks like you and me will not be able to afford to leave the house except by bicycle. Which is fine, I ride my bicycle all the time and there are plenty of things to do here in NYC, so I'll be set. But folks in places like Underbite, Nebraska will not be so happy. Many are too big to ride a bike and there's nowhere to go if they could. (I've never been there, but from the looks of it on Google Maps, I'm guessing it isn't on many museum or concert tour schedules and is a couple day's bike ride to get to anywhere that is. Longer, if you've got your date on your handlebars.)

Someday soon, the only gasoline-powered vehicle that passes you overhead or on the road will be full of the uber wealthy: oil executives, politicans, drug dealers, TV evangelists, personal injury lawyers.

A world without gas-powered vehicles would probably be a good thing. I do worry about what it will do to the psycho-killer hitchhiker industry, though.


doug nicodemus said...

wow you got your game back on!


Brad Reid said...

Wow, Dan, it just struck me to thank you for the enlargenatored versions of your cartoons that you have linked up. As a long-time-ago-failed superhero cartoonist, I really enjoy the way you draw, the hook you can put on a line, the slight tremble in the right place, the play of thin and thin, etc. We fans could get by with smaller versions, but what you do offer us is really good of you.

Jezzka said...

the vespa is the road to happiness, indeed!! thanks for the rides, they always made my day!

i've just now decided that my next boyfriend MUST own a scooter, and be an avid rider. everyone else need not apply. i'm very serious about this, i don't care if you're a nudist, have lobster claws for hands, or if you smell of goat's milk, as long as you own a scooter and have an Class M, you can be my boyfriend. i'll pack a picnic basket, we'll go for rides and picnics...nude of course...

Luis said...

I drive a scooter here in Tokyo, and have the same opinion--they're great rides, you can skirt around stopped traffic, the gas consumption is low... and in Tokyo, you used to be able to park anywhere.

The problem is that, in Tokyo, they recently privatized parking enforcement. Since then, two-person teams of ticketers, clad in yellow-green reflective safety vests and quasi-law-enforcement outfits, can be often seen roaming the streets with ticket books and digital cameras, and their favorite target is scooters parked, well, anywhere. They say it is to relieve congestion on sidewalks, but scooters are far less numerous than parked bicycles, which are not similarly impeded from parking, and still clutter the sidewalks as always.

There is no official scooter parking, and since parking a scooter on the sidewalk is now illegal, you effectively cannot park a scooter anywhere in Tokyo except for private property and special parking lots--only the ones that accept scooters, which are not common. You usually have to walk a long distance from and to the lots in addition to paying fees comparable to car parking in a big city, making it rather useless to have a scooter in a significant way.

So, unless you have the ability to park in a spot on private property--and in Tokyo, parking lots for stores are rare--you effectively cannot ride a scooter in Tokyo anymore. So, kudos to the Tokyo government (run by that nationalistic scamp, Shintaro Ishihara), for effectively outlawing a fuel-efficient mode of transportation in the name of scraping up a few more bucks from parking tickets.

Sorry, you touched on an issue that massively annoys me, so I had to vent. Your fault.

fido said...

as many people know by now or have heard my grandpa or as they say in french pepere has a virgin ass.

this cartoon stinks.

fran said...

Your best effort in weeks. Clever.

Robert Finis said...

Dallas as I'm sure you well know, is an insanely bike unfriendly town. I was one of the lucky few who actually had a reasonably safe bike route the five miles each way to and from work; that was the best. I had to move from there, and now I have to use a massive, cars only, named for a former president, turnpike; it's not the worst, but it certainly depresses me that I'm increasing my carbon output so much. Maybe I'll get around to that motorcycle license and FLCL yellow scooter I've dreamed about.

Jym said...

=v= Wow, nice Pedersen.

I moved to Brooklyn from Underbite (where I helped get the local Critical Mass going). Definitely not the most bike-friendly place I've ever lived, and as a bonus, I was only a few blocks away from Nebraska Beef, Ltd.