Saturday, June 11, 2022

Fresh Garbage

This is the weekly communiqué from Bizarro Studios North, where I have been writing and drawing the Monday through Saturday Bizarro comics since 2018. My partner and friend, Dan Piraro, who created Bizarro in the late twentieth century, continues to do the Sunday comic from Rancho Bizarro in Mexico. ~Wayno®

Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.
Søren Kierkegaard

Greetings from verdant Hollywood Gardens, PA, where I recently stumbled upon the above quote from the Danish philosopher-theologian, and wrote it in my sketchbook. I can't claim to know what he had in mind when he wrote this for his book, The Concept of Anxiety, but it resonates with me as an apt description of the psychology of making art. 

The creation of any type of art usually begins with... nothing. Or, perhaps more accurately, with everything. A blank canvas presents almost no constraints, and is a place of unlimited possibilities and freedom. I think ol' Søren recognized that a certain amount of anxiety is a normal and necessary part of the creative process. Once the artist discovers and defines the direction of a piece, overcoming that initial anxiety becomes a motivation to proceed, although anxiety often reappears until (and even after) a project is completed.

A pithy quote encapsulating a familiar feeling or experience is reassuring, and I'm glad I found this one, whether or not my interpretation is correct.

Our pipe pic was suggested by two Bizarro readers, so I offer a tip of the summer porkpie to Jazz Pickles Helen D and Kenton. The smiling smoker is author and humorist David Sedaris.

Photo by Anne Fishbein, via NPR
Although he may not have actually smoked it, Sedaris posed for several photos with this pipe. One showed him bent over an old typewriter, which was also a fun image, but this one, taken in the Los Angeles County Library, was available in a higher resolution, so I chose it for the blog.

I guarantee that no small amount of anxiety went into the writing and drawing of this week's Bizarro comics. Let's hope they don't produce any anxiety in readers.

In addition to the rearview mirror hanger, my favorite part of this panel is the indifferent look on the raccoon's face.
In the sketch phase, I tried two different captions before eventually settling on "air putrifier," although I still like the sound of "stenchener."

I wonder how kings from a checkers game would rank in relation to chess pawns. There are no doubt additional gags to be done using various game pieces as characters. Maybe in a future Bizarro, who knows?

Or, he could have been quarantined on a cruse ship since the spring of 2020.

On Thursday, we offered a look at the mundane existence of superheroes when they're not saving the universe. I quite enjoyed drawing Captain America in a ribbed tank undershirt, like a film noir detective in his dingy apartment. 

Two weeks passed between our last clown gag and this one. The world's balance has been restored.

Continuing our practice of assigning sentience and motives to inanimate objects, we imagine a rivalry between home improvement tools. The mind of a cartoonist can be mysterious. And weird.

That's it from the Little Shop of Humor until next week. Thanks for visiting, and for your comments. Pop by Dan Piraro's blog to see what he has to say about these panels, and to gaze in wonder at his latest Sunday Bizarro page.

You're also welcome to subscribe to my weekly email newsletter. Each one includes a preview of an upcoming cartoon, and a non-Bizarro relic from the archives. Of course, you can unsubscribe at any time.

Bonus Track Update

I mentioned that last week's bonus track, Ian Dury's "Billericay Dickie," was planted in my brain by one of the panels in the blog. Readers submitted several good guesses, but nobody made the connection that led me to include the song.

The culprit was Tuesday's one-armed bandit gag, and the lyric that became an earworm for me was this:

You should never hold a candle
If you don't know where it's been
The jackpot is in the handle
On a normal fruit machine

As I said, the mind of a cartoonist can be weird.

(Unambiguous) Bonus Track

Spirit: "Fresh Garbage"
from the album Spirit (Ode Records, 1968)


A classic and catchy heavy hippie rock selection, which provided the title for this week's post. I remember hearing this song as a wee lad, on a trippy radio show hosted by a character called Brother Love.

Brother Love aka Ken Reeth (1938-2005)

I surreptitiously absorbed his teachings via the FM dial, knowing my parents would disapprove, and discovered a musical world beyond the pop music charts. Thanks, Brother Love, wherever you are.



  1. Carol W.9:57 AM

    On Thursday, I am gratified that you called it a “ribbed tank undershirt “. When one of my son’s used the derogatory description of same in 2004 when he was a teen (which I won’t even use so as not to perpetuate it), I insisted he call it an A-shirt. The cartoon is funny and we still get the point!

    1. I'm with you. I don't want to perpetuate that term, and appreciate you noticing it. Maybe someday the term will be forgotten.

    2. I always heard them called muscle shirts while I was growing up (60s and 70s). I didn't even know what was being talked about with the other term, until I looked it up, and I don't use that term for them either.

    3. Melanie -- Of course, muscle shirts! How could I have forgotten that? Thanks for the reminder. Bizarro readers are the best.

  2. I too am a fan of Spirit. I first heard them on a TV show that was on Sundays for 4 hours(I think). Don't remember the station but it was probably out of Philly. "I Got A Line ON You" from The Family That Plays Together got me to buy the album. Later I ran across their compilation album "Time Circle". A 2 CD set that includes live and alternate versions.

    1. Oh, yeah, "I Got a Line on You" is a classic. I'm also pretty sure that I heard "Mr. Skin" played at a junior high dance, but my memory might be a little fuzzy on that.

  3. tim-in-nj9:08 PM

    In this weeks preview, I'd like it if the bartender's glass contained the Eyeball of Obervation, instead of an olive and the eyeball from the lower right corner. but then, what do I know?

    1. An eyeball martini would be a perfect Bizarro cocktail!

    2. Anonymous9:32 PM

      Hey bartender, I will have one. 🍸

    3. Anonymous9:41 AM

      Make mine a double, I'm nearsighted!

  4. Alexi2:15 AM

    Howdy! I enjoy your cartoons and writings. Thanks for making me chuckle. I am curious about K 2 and 0 2 in this week’s cartoons. Have I missed them in every weeks’ cartoon? I have probably missed an explanation in your email or blog as I am an inconsistent reader. Cheers.

    1. Hello, Alexi! Thanks for the kind comments.

      K2 and O2 are among the Bizarro Seret Symbols. We mix them up when placing them in the panels, and not every one appears every day.

      You can see a full list of Secret SYmbols with explanations on Dan Piraro's site:

  5. Wow, I haven't heard that one in a long time. Probably decades. I had no idea that was the title. I tend to be bad at picking up lyrics unless I'm paying close attention like I was this morning.

    Coincidentally, I saw that photo of David Sedaris last night in a pre-concert slide show before seeing Neko Case. He's coming to our tiny Northern California town of Grass Valley later this year.

  6. Speaking of David Sedaris, have you heard him sing commercial jingles in the voice of Billie Holiday? Turns out I heard it on an episode of This American Life in 1998. If you have time, his story leading up to it is excellent. In fact, this whole episode is great. Little did I know when I read this blog post that I'd then spend an hour re-listening to a radio show I last listened to 24 years ago. One that was performed live in my home town, no less.

    1. Steve:

      Yes, I do recall that recording of Sedaris doing the Billie Holiday voice. He really captured her sound!

      It's odd about hearing/not hearing lyrics. Sometimes I focus on them right away, and at other times I find I'm paying attention to the overall sound.

      I haven't seen Neko Case live in a long time. I'm jealous!

  7. I saw the Fresh Garbage title for this week's post and figured the track for the day would be Spirit! Great stuff!