Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Piraro Meets Larson

Bizarro is brought to you today by Sex, Violence, and Illegal Aliens.

Here is a completely true story that I don't believe I've ever mentioned in a public way before.

In 1981, I was 23 and working as a rookie ad designer for Neiman Marcus in Dallas, Tx. (Their headquarters, believe it or not.) I was drawing cartoons simply to entertain myself during downtime and my coworkers encouraged me to get them published. I hadn't seen a comics section of the newspaper in years and thought there was no place for anything more surreal than Marmaduke. But one of them brought in a cartoon from a newcomer, Gary Larson, called "The Far Side". I'd never seen his work before and was surprised that newspapers were, in fact, publishing the sort of cartoons that previously had only been seen in magazines. So I decided to submit my work.

I sent work to the 8 or 10 cartoon syndicates whose addresses I could find at the public library (NO INTERNET!!) and got encouraging responses, but no "takers". One day, I got a phone call from an editor at Chronicle Features in San Francisco, the same syndicate that gave Larson his start. He said he liked my work a lot but since they were selling Larson's work and it was only just then starting to catch on with editors, they didn't feel they had the resources to push another feature in the same category. But he wanted me to keep submitting new work so he could see how I was progressing.

We kept in touch and I sent in new work every month or so. A couple of years later, in 1984, I got a call from them saying that Larson had jumped to another syndicate and that now they had room for me. I was ecstatic. This began a several-month period of my submitting work, them editing it, giving suggestions, and generally grooming me for a daily gig.

During this grooming period, I happened to see an ad in the paper saying that Gary Larson would be appearing for a book signing at a local shopping mall bookstore. I was extremely shy with strangers back then, but decided to go meet him and see what he could tell me about the syndicate he had just left and I was about to join.

When I arrived, it was one of those small, narrow bookstores you see in the typical suburban mega-mall, and at the entrance of the shop was an average looking guy with round, wire frame glasses sitting by himself at a folding table with a stack of books. No one was speaking to him. I introduced myself by saying something like, "I'm Dan Piraro, I've been hired by (editor's name) to replace you at Chronicle Features." He smiled at this and said, "replace me, huh?"

He was a very nice, soft spoken, quiet sort of guy and he answered my questions about syndication. He vouched for Chronicle Features and their editors and said he'd had no complaints about them at all, but that he decided that now that his work was starting to gain some momentum, a bigger syndicate with a larger sales force seemed like a good business move. His words were something to the effect of, "I have no idea how long this is going to last so I figure I have to make as much as I can while I am able."

He fully expected his popularity to wane and wanted to make the most of it, which seemed logical at the time, neither of us knowing what an epic career lay ahead for him. I chatted with him for perhaps half an hour, during which time he signed and sold maybe three books. He hated that first book tour so much that I believe he never did another. I've sat at lonely tables in bookstores, too, and I don't blame him.

I saw Gary only once more, about ten years later, at the funeral of one of our mutual editors. Afterward, we smiled and reminisced about the bookstore meeting and it turned out the "replace you" line was what he remembered most. By this time, he lived in a huge, gated property outside Seattle with attack dogs roaming the grounds like Mr. Burns of "The Simpsons". I was still in a normal house in a normal neighborhood in Dallas, of course. I had a Papillon that roamed the yard from time to time, but it wasn't really the same.

I hadn't thought of that incident in years until it sprang into my head last night like a ninja from the past. Just thought you might enjoy it.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Facing It

Bizarro is brought to you today by camouflage.

One of my father's-in-law and I were driving through Florida recently, saying things with our mouths and we came across this idea of having your eye teeth dilated. So I made a comic about it. I'm blessed with funny in-laws all around, so it's fun to visit CHNW's family.

I'm happy with the character who is speaking in this cartoon because he actually looks like he's thinking about the way his food tastes. Achieving the proper facial expression is important to me and is something that comes from experience. It's a difficult and subtle art, moving an eyelid up or down, or a mouth a fraction one way or another can completely change the character's expression. You just have to do it enough to develop an intuition about it.

Somebody who has tons of great opinions about character design is John K, the dude who did Ren and Stimpy. I spend lots of time on his blog, just because it's fascinating. No modern animator that I know of has John's amazing level of expertise and talent. I often wish I'd worked for him when I was young instead of getting into newspaper comics. But I've had a good run and have no complaints.


One more mention of the awesome comedy show I'm MCing in NYC this week. If you're in the area and you like funny things, this is the deal you want to see. All of our comics are headliners, you'll never see this many bigtime TV comics on the same stage again without having to wear a tuxedo. And ALL the money goes to rescued critters!

Dave Attel
Louis C.K.
Wyatt Cenac from The Daily Show
Lizz Winstead creator of The Daily Show
Gary Gulman
and ME.

Tickets, info, and more laughing pig pictures:

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Gag Trance

(You want to view this bigger, you can click it)
Bizarro is brought to you today by Wedding Tragedy.

Here is a weird little idea that came from who-knows-where. I like this kind of gag because it is unconventional, affords some interesting visuals, touches on a modern social issue, and makes me smile. It's hard to write cartoons that do all of those things at once, so when I am blessed with one, I'm happy.

Writing cartoons is an odd activity. Since I don't have regular characters or story lines, I start with a completely blank page each time and nothing to build on. I search the web for pictures or info or ideas that spark something in me, then let my mind wander. To the casual observer, I'm doing nothing, just sitting at my desk staring into space like a cat. It resembles catalepsy. But inside my head, an entire road crew is shoveling, digging, hammering, rearranging, paving, destroying, building, and sweating like wrestlers in the hot sun.

On another topic, does anyone know how to build a disintegrator ray? There is a car parked across the street from my building whose car alarm has been going off every thirty minutes since last night. Nothing will wake you from a catatonic cartoon-writing state like a car alarm.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Stress Can Kill

Bizarro is brought to you today by Early Parasailing.

Here's my shot at advocating organ donation. When you die, you won't be using your organs anymore, why not donate them to a church whose choir is forced sing a cappella?

Speaking of potatoes, I like doing Mr. Potato Head gags, as do many other cartoonists, but I am troubled by the fact that this kind of gag requires me to draw the potatoes so enormous. Technically, Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head should be the size of actual potatoes. It's quite a dilemma and causes me great anxiety.

This is what passes for work-related stress for me. Pretty sad.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Smart Apes

Bizarro is brought to you today by Ebony and Ivory.

Is there nothing to see here? Really?

One might have thought that there was nothing much left of racism in America until recently. Racism is a very primitive impulse, at one time in our distant past, it was beneficial to distrust those not from your "tribe." And while most of us have evolved to see the foolishness in that kind of thinking in modern society, there are still plenty of us who operate from the primitive parts of our brains. This kind of grunting, chest-beating throwback to our hairier ancestors rises and falls throughout history and so I suspect that this current wave, too, shall pass. Let's hope no serious casualties result in the meantime.

I often wish that "intelligent design" were true, so that our species might behave more intelligently.

This cartoon has nothing to do with racism, of course, it's just been on my mind lately. Tomorrow, a funnier post.


One week from today, April 1st, I'll be appearing in a terrific comedy show in NYC benefiting Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. We have an amazing lineup (myself notwithstanding) and have just added Lizz Winstead, a true hero in the comedy world.

Lizz co-created The Daily Show, served as head writer, and hired such talents as Stephen Colbert and Lewis Black. She's also a well-known, national headlining comedian appearing on HBO, and in The Aspen Comedy Festival.

You won't get a lineup of headliners like this (myself notwithstanding) in any other single comedy show, I guarantee. And all the money goes to a great cause.

Get tickets here or suffer the consequences!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Parrot Psychology

Bizarro is brought to you by The Life of the Artist.

Knowing how to ask for what you want in life is an important skill. Many people suffer through years of discomfort within a relationship because they don't know how to ask for what they want from their partner.

This includes everything from simple things like, "I'd like you to spend more time on the backs of my knees during our lovemaking," to more complex issues like, "I would feel more comfortable if you did not sleep in full combat gear."

After years of therapy, I recently asked CHNW if she would be more sensitive to my insecurities regarding my checkered past. Specifically, I'd like her to stop introducing me as her "former jailbird husband." She happily complied, she'd had no idea it bothered me. Why did I wait so long?

I encourage all of my readers to work on these areas, as our friend the parrot is doing today.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Bizarro is brought to you today by The Future of The Past.

One of my favorite sites on the Interwebs is You Suck at Craiglist. Notice I didn't link to the name just then? That's because if you go there, you'll be trapped for hours and won't get back to my blog. So there is a link at the bottom of this post for those of you who want to go there after you've read my own clever, daily musings. And for those of you who have already jumped to the bottom and clicked that link, I HATE YOU, YOU'RE UGLY AND STUPID AND MEAN!

Hey, here's some totally cool news. The iTunes site has picked my Bizarro phone app to put on their "New and Noteworthy" page. Thanks, Apple! I could use some sales!

The problem is that there are baziglions of apps on the market and more coming out every nanosecond, so to get noticed you have to be reviewed or featured on a bunch of different sites. It's hard.

Here's a pic of what it looks like on the iTunes site. Go there a buy my app, it's cheap and oh so cool to have! And it will get you that perfect soul mate you've been looking for, guaranteed!*

Here's the link to You Suck at Craigslist.

*Not an actual guarantee.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Game or Life

Bizarro is brought to you today by Spirituality.

The seed for this cornstalk of a cartoon came from my good friend, Richard Cabeza. We call him "Dick," and sometimes translate his last name into English. But that's not the point.

The point is that I grew up in Oklahoma with fundamentalist Christians who believed that the popular Ouija Board game could be used by The Devil to control you. Grown adults at church would preach to other grown adults that they should not let their children play with this kind of "occult" toy and if they had one in the house, it should be burned. These were otherwise normally functioning adults capable of operating motor vehicles and holding down office jobs.

I'm guessing that in those households in which the Ouija Board had been removed, The Devil just switched to Scrabble. If you're even a moderately clever supernatural force of evil, I'm sure you can think of other ways to get bad ideas into kid's heads and damn their souls to eternal torment. TV news, movies, video games, rap music, the Old Testament, the world is full of violence, hatred and prejudice. Who needs board games?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Socks that Kill


Here is another stereotypical cartoon about the amazing powers of static electricity. Each year, several hundred people are killed in the U.S. alone by not using some form of anti-static device in the dryer. Usually, you just get a little crackle and pop when you pull the clothes out of the drum, but when conditions are just right, you could be in for a shock of up to 12,000 volts, which is nearly five times as much as is used in prison electric chairs! Beware, citizens, your next load of laundry could be your last!

This message brought to you by Dryer Balls. "Who doesn't want dryer balls?"

Friday, March 19, 2010

I'm in a Comedy SHOW!


I'm going to be in a terrific comedy show in NYC next week on April Fool's Day of this year, 2010. It's for charity, so bring your self, laugh your ass off and get a nice dose of good karma.

The links in this image don't work, so go here for more info and tickets!

Apatow Now

Bizarro is brought to you today by Lunch.

Here's a kooky crazy wacky fun idea from my good friend and colleague, cartoonist extraordinaire, Wayno. He donates ideas to me from time to time and I love this one. I almost regret not making the clown Seth Rogen instead, but it still works. When I use other people's suggestions, I often change them to better suit my style or facilitate the joke, but this one is pretty much exactly as Wayno conceived it. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Hope you enjoyed this collaboration. For more of Wayno's dandy work, check him out here.

I've been blogging less often lately as I've been busy with some special and nifty projects. I'll fill you in on them later, for now, please forgive my occasional absence.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Adam and Apple

Today's Bizarro cartoon is brought to you by Tampon Chandelier.

This cartoon was pretty popular with readers, as you might expect. Computers have become such an important part of virtually everyone's life in our society and the story of these two companies and their founders is fascinating. It's also interesting that the one with the better business sense but inferior design won the war in many ways. Apple is a huge and successful company, of course, but nothing like the size of Microsoft. It says a lot about life and the Utopian fantasy of meritocracy.

There are some cartoonists whose work is much more creative, clever, well-executed, and relevant than others, but who make a fraction of the money of less worthy products, too. I can't think of any right now, but I'm sure they exist.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Dental Mortgage

Bizarro is brought to you today by Personal Health.

The Tooth Fairy is a fairly ghoulish character. She (Is it wrong to assume TF is female? ) collects human teeth, for starters, and wants them so badly she's willing to pay for them. What does she do with them? Does she make jewelry, dentures, puppets?

She is also cruelly inequitable. A friend of mine was getting a dollar a tooth while I was getting only a quarter. I had to lose four times as many teeth to keep up with him. I began life with both an inferiority complex and difficulty chewing my food.

This cartoon is retribution. Take that, Tooth Fairy.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


How did I get so popular in Sweden?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Lessons in Nudity

(To enlarge this image, click on the man's right kidney.)

Bizarro is brought to you today by Future Figure Drawing Models.

This cartoon brings me back to art school. I dropped out after a semester, never to return, but during that semester, figure drawing class was my favorite. Not because of the nudity, none of the models were sexually attractive, but because I like drawing animals of all sorts and humans fall squarely into that category.

One of our models was a young hipster dude with a Tom Selleck mustache and a Brady Bunch Half-fro. He thought he was God's gift to women and while other models would put on a bathrobe and tie a belt around their waist during our 10-minute breaks, he wore one without a belt and just let the front hang open while he hit on the girls in our class. This was 1976, before college campuses became hotbeds of sexual harassment litigation. Nobody much liked this guy, including the girls.

Another incident I remember that would have landed someone on an unemployment line today had to do with the teacher for the second-year figure drawing class. She was a very attractive woman in her early thirties and many of the male students had a crush on her. One day, when her model did not show up for a class, she stripped and did the modeling herself. On my break, I happened past her room and it was full of not just students but dozens of spectators. There were so many, in fact, that the crowd spilled out into the hallway, and boys were straining to see over the drove and through the narrow doorway. Good times.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Have You Heard the Good News?

Bizarro is brought to you today by I'll Never Eat Peanut Butter Again.

It isn't often you see a cartoon that combines the darkness of deadly disease with childhood candy icons, and that's just the sort of experience that Bizarro hopes to provide from time to time. I don't know if anyone else likes this cartoon, but I'm sort of proud of it.

I don't eat M&Ms anymore because I'm vegan and they have milk chocolate in them, but I used to love them. It's not so bad to have an ethical reason to avoid things like M&Ms, though (I say that because health reasons wouldn't be enough to keep me away from them). It's a good way to avoid unnecessary calories. I used to be really hooked on milk chocolate and didn't like dark chocolate much at all, but now that it is the only kind I will eat, I've developed a taste for it and love it. I tried a bite of milk chocolate not long ago and thought it was really wimpy. Dark chocolate is actually good for you (if not sweetened with sugar) so it's one of my acceptable vices. As opposed to heroin*, which my doctor told me to cut back on.

*Note to children and gullible adults: I don't use heroin.

Late addition: A reader wrote to me about this post and mentioned that much of the world's chocolate is harvested by slaves (many are children) and that it is important to choose "fair trade" chocolate. Which I always do. I should have mentioned that, thanks for the correction! Here's a quick article explaining that and a list of companies that do and don't use slave chocolate. As of this writing, Mars company, who makes M&Ms still uses slavery cocoa.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


High School Stereotypes

Bizarro is brought to you today by Future CEOs.

I'm sorry to say that my high school class has not had many successful reunions. The 10th, in 1986, was reportedly large and well-attended but I missed that one. They've tried it a few times since, I went to a couple, but there were very small turnouts.

Mine was not a stereotypical high school experience, I attended a magnet school that tended to attract kids that did not "fit in" at their neighborhood schools, so many of my classmates were really smart or artistic or musical or unusual in one way or another. (That is to say that most of us were the kid on the ground in this cartoon.) This led to a lot of interesting adult careers, spread out all over the globe, but we were by nature a class of more independent sorts, thus making it difficult to get everyone together again. At least that's been my impression. Either that or they're having fabulous reunions every few years and I've just not been invited.

I was never beaten up by a jock for being brainy, like this poor kid, but I was regularly called a "fag" by redneck types because I was artistic and didn't dress like Ted Nugent. This didn't happen at my high school, Ted Nugent types tended not to apply or get accepted there, but it happened in other parts of my hometown of Tulsa. Thanks, Booker T. Washington High School, for saving me from a miserable high school career as an outcast.

I think it would be fun to have a large high school reunion but I've given up hoping for it. I'm content to run into them occasionally on the streets of New York and other places my classmates tended to escape to.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Pea in Your Ear

Bizarro is brought to you today by the Technological Advances.

When I was growing up, I remember hearing people remark about how amazed really old people must feel. "Just imagine! They were born during horse and buggy days and now we've sent a man to the moon and can watch it live on TV! Such an amazing time to be alive!"

Yes, it is remarkable but I'm guessing old people born in 1910 probably got just as bored at seeing amazing new inventions every ten years as we do at seeing them every ten seconds.

When I was small, there were four channels on TV if you could get the antennae to work, there were about five computers in the whole country, each filling an entire room, and if you didn't already have the bust line you wanted, you just had to get over it because there was no such thing as a boob job. Cable TV didn't exist. Recording was something you could do to sound, but recording pictures off of TV was crazy talk. Movies were something you could watch on TV once a week on Saturday night, or at one of the three movie theaters in town, each playing only one film each. Phones had wires that connected to the wall and you couldn't even unplug them. If you didn't want to be disturbed by its ringing, you left it off the hook. Nobody but tobacco executives knew that cigarettes caused cancer. Typewriters sounded like machine guns and to correct a mistake you had to use white paint. Dark-skinned people used different water fountains and restrooms and no one batted an eye. If you wanted to cook something you had to use heat and wait half an hour – "microwave" was a word only astrophysicists recognized. Larry King was a middle-aged guy on the radio.

But today if you told me that I could stick something the size of a pea pod in my ear and hear the thoughts of any person from the past 10,000 years, alive or dead, just by thinking about them, I'd nod my head and say, "cool." Nothing surprises me except what we can't do. I'm still surprised an airplane is the fastest way to get from L.A. to N.Y.C. How quaint. When are they going to work the bugs out of that teleportation thing? Airplanes bore me, even with 42 channels of TV in the back of the seat. I can't surf the web on my laptop while we're in the air? What am I, Abraham Lincoln?

Perhaps I was born too soon.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Be a Doll

Bizarro is brought to you today by Ventriloquism.

We finally have what passes for warm weather in New York City at this time of year and it has buoyed my spirits considerably. It's been in the low fifties for the past couple of days and it feels like Mexico. I rode my bike around Prospect Park yesterday dressed in something lighter than an Eskimo suit. It was glorious. Today I may go riding again, perhaps to the local dollar store to see if they have rubber sheets*, or across the Brooklyn Bridge to see how many tourists are mindlessly walking in the bike lane. Every year they repaint the signs and walkway markers and still somebody gets creamed.

For anyone who is not familiar enough with the mystical techniques of ventriloquism to understand this joke, just try to say a "B" without moving your lips. Ah, now you've discovered the magic of ventriloquism. Somehow, doll-wielding entertainment icons like Beverly Massegee can make the sound of a "B" inside their mouth and not with their lips! If you try it, it will sound like a "G." That's why all over the globe people flock to pay big bucks to see this rare art form.

*For use in making it easier to clean up after some of our foster animals.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Sunday Punnies #5

(Click the image to engorge with size)

Bizarro is brought to you today by 24 Hour Party People.

Look, boys and girls, just above the lettering, it's another edition of Bizarro's Sunday Punnies! I think this is the fifth or sixth one I've done in the ongoing series. (If only there were some way to keep track.)

I didn't get a chance to post a Sunday cartoon over the weekend, so here's one now. As I've mentioned before, the majority of the puns from this series are from readers. People send me lots of puns but I rarely think they are worthy of a stand-alone cartoon. My Sunday Punnies series is a fun way to include them in a bonus pack of punnery. So send your puns now! They must be original (you didn't get it from another cartoon somewhere) and you must acknowledge that you will get nothing in return for your donation, other than a wink and a hearty thank you from yours, truly. But isn't that the true spirit of giving?

You can't imagine the fun of opening the Sunday Comics (or the Internets) and seeing your idea illustrated in full color by a legendary comics icon such as myself until it actually happens! Even then, you'll have to pinch yourself to be sure you're not dreaming!*

*The author of this blog does not accept responsibility for any injury or disfigurement resulting from the pinching of readers. If you feel you may be at risk of somnambulistic self-mutilation, experts recommend wearing mittens to bed.

Saturday, March 6, 2010


Here is a video, the memory of which you will take to your grave.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Up All Night

Bizarro is brought to your attention today by
Two Feet of Snow.

I've recently finished a personal project in which I have carefully reviewed that last 35 years of my life and created a chart of the number of times I have stayed up all night and the reason why. I hope you will find it entertaining and informative.

Partying 2
Working on a deadline 27
Worrying 11
Sick 14
Talking 4
Having sex 0
Arguing 23
Tripping on recreational drugs 0
Tripping on prescription drugs 3
Reading a good book 1
Squatting with binoculars in the
bushes of a celebrity's home 0
Being brainwashed by the enemy 0
Driving to Las Vegas to bail out a
family member

I suspect I will lose some sleep over this list.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

contest winners...

Congratulations to this week's winners:


What does it mean that the top three finishers' names all start with "M"? Let's hear it from the rest of the alphabet? Are you going to take this lying down?

More hijinks tomorrow, do drop in.

Contest #20 is NOW!


As usual, two images are posted below, one is the original cartoon, the warped image beneath it has been changed in 15 ways. Your mission, if you are the disco royalty that I think you are, is to find those differences.

1. There are 15 differences between the two cartoons.
2. NONE of the differences have to do with the warped nature of the second image.
3. ALL of the differences are something missing, added, or moved, not just "bent" from the distortion. The differences will not be too subtle, so once you spot one you should be relatively certain you've found it. (As opposed to something like, "Is the hat on this one is a shade lighter than the other one? Hmmm.")
4. FIRST PERSON to correctly list the 15 differences in the comments section of the post wins 4 packs of Bizarro Trading Cards, mailed by me personally from Bizarro International Headquarters in Brooklyn. I'll even lick the stamp, unless it's self adhesive. SECOND AND THIRD persons with correct answers will each get 2 packs of Bizarro Trading Cards!
5. Put your email address on your comment so I can contact you if you win. I won't post it or keep it or file it or sell it or mount a Broadway musical about it.
6. If you live outside the U.S., I may not be able to send you a prize. Depends. Canada is probably fine, Saudia Arabia, probably not.

Click on the image below to ENLARGE and PLAY!


A new seek-n-find-puzzler-brain-teaser-contest-game will be posted today at 6pm NYC time. First person to solve it will win a prize. Not sure what yet, maybe a little cartoon drawing by my own hand, made especially for the winner. For a glimpse of a past contest, click this, daddio.

Regular daily cartoon post to come shortly.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Probing for Pasta

Bizarro is brought to you today by Chick Magnets.
I got a lot of positive mail about this cartoon, all of it from men saying they found this cartoon especially meaningful because the primary female in their life routinely behaves this way.

It's not politically correct to suggest differences in the behavior of men verses women, but I don't follow those rules because I think there are plenty of innate differences in the behavior of men and women and it isn't about superiority or inferiority, it's about evolutionary advantage. That said, it has been my experience that women are much more guilty of this kind of ordering than are men. That's not backed up by a scientific study or a national poll, I'm just citing several decades of personal experience. I can't think of an evolutionary advantage to it just now, but given enough time, I might be able to make something up.

My own CHNW does not do this very often but many of our female friends do. Three that I can think of off the top of my head are so bad about this that they seem dangerously close to invading the kitchen and supervising their meal. I have no doubt that they have consumed significantly more cook's saliva than those of us who can stick to a menu. As a vegan, I often will say "without cheese," but that's usually the extent of it. I'm hoping that isn't enough to raise the chef's ire.

On a different note, I Tweeted the picture below last week and a lot of people liked it, so I'll share it here with you. I took this shot off of my TV screen, it is of a man who was weighing in about the U.S.A. vs. Canada, gold medal men's hockey match. I think he's the pope of Canada.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Anorexia Pride?

Bizarro appears before you today courtesy of Contraceptive Lingerie.

When this cartoon appeared in the paper I got an email from a reader asking me why I don't like fat people. I get this kind of mail every time I do a joke about weight, usually from a person who claims that they eat right and exercise but are simply genetically predisposed to be large.

I am well aware that this kind of person exists and on the rare occasion when I make a fat joke, I am not poking fun at those kinds of people. In this case, however, I am not poking fun at fat people of any sort. This is simply a bit of word play: What kind of food would they serve in Heaven? Soul food, of course. If a soul eats too much of it...

So my sincere apologies to any readers who thought this was a cheap shot at large people. It was not, but I can see how it could be interpreted that way.

One objection I have to the "I eat right and exercise but I'm genetically disadvantaged" position is that obesity, especially among children, is epidemic in the U.S. and the "genetic defense" is far too often used completely erroneously. For the vast majority of people, eating right and exercising are plenty enough to keep them within the realm of what was a normal-sized American 40 years ago. But these days, a "normal-sized" person in the U.S. is someone who is under six feet tall and for whom anything smaller than an XL T-shirt is too tight. It's very difficult to even find a Medium T-shirt being sold at a public event where shirts are for sale. Vendors bring L, XL, XXL, and XXXL, because that's what sells. (And the majority of these shirts are not being sold to young men who are going for the baggy fashion thing.) This sea change in a couple of generation's time isn't a medical mystery. The simple fact is that as a society, Americans are sedentary, eat garbage, and way too much of it.

Class picture, 1970........ Class picture, 2008

The complaints many have about the fashion industry selling rail-thin girls as an ideal are warranted, to be sure. Being underweight is as dangerous as obesity. But I believe the movement to accept obesity as a natural or healthy state for more than a tiny percentage of the population is equally wrong. The added stress this puts on our already crumbling health care system is reason enough to fight this epidemic, especially among children. I'm not advocating discrimination against overweight people any more than I advocate discrimination against LGBTs or Muslims. But to my mind, being proud of obesity isn't much different from being proud of anorexia. It's just a more mainstream condition.

Just my two-cents worth, as usual. Sorry if I offended anyone and hope you got a smile out of the cartoon.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Cat in a Box

Bizarro is brought to you today by Inappropriate Pets.

I suppose most cats enjoy boxes and wrapping paper, that's nothing new. We live with three cats and all three are into this. I'm not sure why anyone bothers to waste money on cat toys, cats hate them.

Of our three, one of them likes boxes and small enclosures so much, she sits in them almost constantly. If she's awake, there's a pretty good chance she's in a box or laundry basket somewhere in the house. We leave them lying around for her. She likes deep ones where only her ears stick out the top and also very small ones which only her ass and hind legs will fit into. It looks like she's wearing cubicle, cardboard hot pants.

Enough with the cute animal stories. The previous post about the dog taking a Rorschach test elicited a lot of different interpretations. The cartoon itself is something of a Rorschach test, apparently. I didn't think of that when I drew it, but I like it.

Don't forget to check out the new Bizarro iPhone app. It's dandy and cheap. You'll love it.