Saturday, July 31, 2021

May I Have Another?

Greetings once again from Hollywood Gardens, PA, the home of Bizarro Studios North. 

We're about halfway through the summer season, and the cautious optimism of Independence Day is already giving way to a possible resumption of existential dread. We'd like to offer a brief, harmless escape from the raging lunacy of the world by presenting our latest cartoon output for your enjoyment.

But first, here's this week's pipe pic. It's a portrait of novelist and screenwriter Raymond Chandler, and was brought to our attention by a regular Bizarro reader named Andréa.

Chandler created hardboiled Detective Philip Marlowe, who appeared in a series of novels, including The Big Sleep; Farewell, My Lovely; and The Long Goodbye. Many photos show Chandler with a pipe, and this one is a particularly striking composition. Thanks to Andréa for the alert.

Chandler became a writer at age thirty-four, after losing his job as an oil company executive in the Great Depression, which should serve as an inspiration to all of us late-blooming escapees from the corporate world.

Some gems of wisdom apply across the universe.

I enjoyed drawing a pair of Klein bottles in this panel. According to Wikipedia, a Klein bottle is "a non-orientable surface: it is a two-dimensional manifold against which a system for determining a normal vector cannot be consistently defined." Who am I to argue with that? 

I first heard the term mentioned on the Firesign Theatre's 1972 album, Dear Friends.

The album includes a parody of sci-fi adventure serials, titled Mark Time! In the segment, an excitable character voiced by Philip Proctor proclaims:
Prince Arcturus has us by the thrusters! With you as bait, half the Federation Navy's gonna come blastin' in, and the Prince’ll have 'em trapped like Mars flies in a Klein Bottle! 

I've mentioned here before that the Firesign Theatre had a profound effect on my sense of the absurd, when as a misfit high schooler, I listened to their seminal Columbia LPs countless times on my cheapo Lloyd's brand stereo console.

Tuesday's panel showed a highly motivated consumer from the olden days, when people worked together in offices.

Newspapers that publish Bizarro in its strip format received one of our infrequent sideways strips, which we've rotated here for easier reading.

The fun-loving monastics of Alpha-Omega House love to initiate new members. Many of our readers noted that the third brother from the left was modeled after John Belushi. In fact, all four characters were loosely based on actors who appeared in Animal House. Left to right, the inspirations are Bruce McGill ("D-Day"), Stephen Furst ("Flounder"), Belushi ("Bluto"), and James Widdoes ("Hoover").

A word of advice: Don't argue semantics with a beast who can lock its jaws on your forearm.

Our second cinematic homage of the week references one of Gene Wilder's most beloved roles, and reveals the origin of his surname.

To be fair, the cleric was using the Penance app to keep things fair for all parishioners.

That's the recap for this week, dear friends. Stop by Dan Piraro's blog for more comics commentary and other edification. While you're there, pause to admire his latest magnificent Sunday page.

Take care of yourselves, and each other.

Bonus Trailer

Farewell, My Lovely (1975)
Starring Robert Mitchum as Philip Marlowe

Note: Many YouTube videos are unavailable outside the USA. On some mobile devices, you must select View Web Version on this blog to see the video link.

Bonus Painting

Robert Mitchum (2007)
Acrylic on Masonite, 12" x 12"




  1. I always enjoy seeing the strip versions.

    If you and Dan could work it out so that between the two of you, your weekly posts would have each of you showing some panels and some strips, and the other reversed, that would make things more fun than the current duplication of panels.

  2. Count me in as a Firesign Theater fan from way back when.

  3. Hi, Andréa! When Wayno seemed to make a point of including the accented é I figured it wasn't any run-of-the-mill Andrea but must be you!

    I never know for anything what constitutes being a fan. I had only one FS album, on vinyl, in my record-collecting days, but played it very high-frequency and knew big parts of it pretty much by heart. Other of their albums I enjoyed a whole lot when friends would play them, but I never felt I had to have them for my own.

  4. Nice to find another Firesign Theatre Fan. Some of the cleverest wordplay out there.

  5. I still quote Firesign Theater occasionally. Also from my way-back high school days.
    Thanks for the Clean Up After Your Pet discussion with the dog (I often have discussions like this with mine when we encounter ambiguous signage) and for your following word of advice. That was my belly laugh for the morning!

  6. Posted on a Firesign Theater Fan page on facebook today. Artist is Bruce Snyder.[0]=AZUZF1LPI2kfloOV0AfpFgqOwWq-u0ybbPs--7NF1kco0nueHbnIJtjZguyq_H3aHCxoK_sX1l0h7YGxWn4oGWMQ44zoRorYyeu8eVrQuHpg2l0hdN8cvl_sXAg7OLZsZrulIcqor0ymL0V4K-huIAZYOlTVTozDAKHJEyVk2OdEMvZUL4KFdznogDJfRwfnurM&__tn__=EH-R

  7. Count me in as another Firesign Theater devotee. One of their lines has become a talisman for me " A power so great, it can only be used for good, or evil." Fits most every occasion.

  8. Aw !
    He's no fun, he fell right over !

  9. When I started at San Francisco State in 1981, you could check out headphones in the student union and plug them into jacks in various places throughout the building and select from around ten channels. It was the 40-year-old version of streaming. One day I selected the comedy channel and heard something completely different than I'd ever heard before. It turned out to be Firesign Theatre–probably "I Think We're All Bozos on This Bus." I had never done drugs or alcohol. This was the most reality-warping experience of my life to that point. I have a lot of their vinyl but it's been in storage for 20+ years. I need to either break them out or do some modern streaming and listen to them.

    Also, this was the second blog post I read today that mentioned Klein bottles.

  10. I'm a fan of Klein bottles. They are like Moebius strips, in that they are topological oddities, but with another dimension. A Moebious strip is a flat loop of paper (say) with one side, formed by taking the flat two-dimensional strip of paper, giving it a single twist in the third dimension before gluing the ends into a loop. A Klein bottle is a bottle with no inside or outside; it is conceptually formed by stretching the neck of a bottle, looping it down, around and up back into itself, except that it takes a detour in the fourth dimension so it doesn't actually intercect itself. But it would look a lot like those drawn in the cartoon.

  11. The Firesign Theatre and "Animal House" referenced in one blog - two of the most life-changing influences in my life! Well done, young man!!

    1. Mike! Great to hear from you. I was listening to some of your drumming just today, on the new Savory Flakes song.

  12. Ok, this is scary coincidence. I'm just getting around to reading your blog today (August 4) but when I read your cartoon of July 26, my first thought was the quote from Firesign Theater. This is despite the fact that as a Topology/Non-Euclidian Geometry major, I was aware of Klein bottles long before Dear Friends album. I guess the boys had a significant influence on all of us.