Saturday, August 31, 2019

Rhymes Against Humanity

Ambiguity is OK. Ask the reader to meet you halfway.

With those wise words from a master cartoonist, we enter Back to School Season with the regular weekly recap from Bizarro Studios North.

Monday was the Inverted Bird's birthday, and the entire cast of Secret Symbols took the day off to celebrate. 

This gag references one of the worst lyrics in the history of popular music, Jimmy Buffett's "Margaritaville." In order to set up a rhyme with the word "fault," he wrote the awkwardly-phrased "searchin' for my long-lost shaker of salt." The song is already horrible, but this tortured syntax is the rancid icing on a flavorless cake.
This sketchbook page shows the results of time spent brainstorming for items to include. I limited my final choices to phrases that syllabically match the original lyric. It's a shame we didn't have room for five, or I'd have included "paper of wax."

Even the Reaper has to put up with rebellious offspring. Note that although a meat cleaver appeared on two consecutive days, it isn't a new secret symbol.
We tucked a couple of (expired) Easter eggs in the art. I was particularly proud of the Tainted Food & Wine magazine.

I opted not to show the character carrying bagpipes, hoping that the reader would need an extra beat to make the connection, with the slight delay adding to the payoff.

Thursday's offering is a testament to the faith we have in the literacy of Bizarro's readers. To get this one, you must understand the phrase memento mori, and also recognize the reference to Bill Murray. High and low, baby, high and low. 

Speaking of puns, on a recent Bizarchaeological dig, explorers turned up what may have been the first recorded pun in a comic panel, along with the first occurence of the comment cartoonists hear more than any other.

Along with cats, dogs, clowns, pirates, and the Grim Reaper, Frankenstein's monster is a favorite character around BSN. Here, we make note of a parallel to modern research methods, and imagine a non-traditional Doctor F.

Come back next week for another edition of the blog, as we ease into September. Also, please drop by Dan Piraro's blog for Dan's latest Bizarro Sunday page, and to learn the difference between a dork and a nerd.

Bonus Track

No, I won't subject you to "Margaritaville."

Instead, here's Danny Elfman's Overture to the 1986 Rodney Dangerfield film "Back to School."


"Back to School" was Elfman's second film score, following 1985's "Pee-Wee's Big Adventure," and was eventually released on CD along with the Pee-Wee music. These early works are my favorite Elfman scores.


  1. It's fine to dislike Jimmy Buffett, but not to disparage his lyric writing. To wit: If you drink Margaritas or Tequila shots, you need a salt shaker. If you drink too many of either, you become drunk. If you are drunk, you lose things. Therefore, looking for a 'lost shaker of salt' makes sense in this context. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if 'salt' came first and 'fault' came on board only because it rhymed with 'salt'.

  2. When I saw the Jimmy Buffett gag, I honestly didn't notice the meter connection and my mind raced over various themed combinations... the first was "grinder of pepper" which on a formal table would accompany a "fork of salad", "spoon of soup" and even a "carver of meat"... then for a Margaritaville Diner you'd have a "squeeze bottle of ketchup" and maybe a "dispenser of napkins". It's a wide-open concept...

  3. Except that "shaker" is also the name of the container. Cup of coffee. Bowl of soup. Shaker of salt.