Saturday, May 22, 2021

Radical Clarity

Welcome back to the weekly dispatch from Bizarro Studios North. We're slowly getting used to the idea of mingling with people again, but are in no hurry for long-distance travel. For the time being, it feels wonderful to have seen a few close friends in person rather than on-screen. Electronic devices are better suited to reading comics than sharing a cocktail hour. We'll get to the comics shortly, but first, here's another pipe pic for your enjoyment and/or bafflement.

This is a 1974 Associated Press photo, which was published with the following explanation:

Devon's only pipe-smoking dog, 8-year-old American bull terrier named Butch, shown Aug. 10, 1974. For the past five years Butch has smoked a daily tobacco pipe. His owner Jean Morel, 52, of Greenclose, Exmouth, Devon, who is disabled, said "Butch is a real pal to me and he started smoking five years ago. He used to pinch my pipe so I decided to give him one of his own." Butch also sports only one eye, he lost his right eye in a battle with a neighbor's dog.

We'd never endorse giving tobacco to a pet, but must admit that Butch was a handsome photographic subject.

We should also mention that no animals were harmed in the production of this week's Bizarro comics, though some may have been inaccurately drawn.

A win-win situation, and an example of better living through vapor therapy.

For those who'd like to have an additional degree of separation from the reality of combat, we developed a mildly exciting game of strategy and guesswork. Interested manufacturers should contact Bizarro Studios to discuss licensing terms.
My first attempt at a gag using this caption was rather disturbing, and not very funny. Prior to its appearance here, nobody else has seen it. I apologize if it inspires any nightmares.
Wednesday's panel is based on an obscure folk tale: Bropunzel, the Helpful Yet Creepy Sibling.
Responses from readers in the trade were mixed. One kind reader said, "This is now hanging up in our surveyer equipment shop!" That compliment warmed my heart, but another critic wrote:
That "instrument" does not belong on top of a Range Pole! Although it's a somewhat poor illustration of what is called a "Total Station," it belongs on a Tripod! A Prism is what belongs on top of the Range Pole!

I think we should give the employee some slack. Isn't it impressive enough that a cat dressed in human clothing and found a job?

I'd been trying to build a gag around the idea of an "extreme sports" version of something that's not extreme for several weeks. I made a list in my sketchbook that included marbles, knitting, and other low-key activities, eventually landing on meditation. 

I'm tempted to say that once I had the idea, the comic almost drew itself, but in reality I struggled with the upside-down character in a cross-legged position.

This one also worked a little better in the strip layout.

Late last year, I started practicing meditation on a (nearly) daily schedule. I'm still barely a beginner, and rely on guided sessions, but I can vouch for the emotional, mental, and physical benefits.

Taking a moment to clear the mind also seems to make room for new and surprising ideas, which a cartoonist is always seeking. Meditation helped me come up with this comic, and it's safer than sucking on a Valium balloon.

As we return to social gatherings, I'd like to remind you that if you have a party, be sure to clean up immediately afterwards. A tray of cheese and crackers left out overnight could attract a swarm of mice and parrots.

With that PSA, we wrap up another week of words and pictures. Don't forget, Dan Piraro offers additional wisdom and wisecracks over at his blog, accompanied by his latest gorgeous Bizarro Sunday page.

Bonus Track

Morey Amsterdam
Cheese and Crackers
Columbia Records

Yet another quirky item from our archives, this was one of several novelty songs written and recorded by Amsterdam. He's known primarily for playing Buddy Sorrell on The Dick Van Dyke Show, a character based on Mel Brooks.

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  1. Regarding Extreme Meditation, with an Apple Watch you can get exercise credit for meditation, so it's not as wacky is it at first seems.

  2. You learn something new every day - I never knew that Buddy Sorrell on The Dick Van Dyke Show was based on Mel Brooks. But I see it! And I love 'em both!

  3. Extreme Ironing is a thing (lookitup). Truth is stranger than Bizarro.