Saturday, May 06, 2023

Cool for Cats

This is the weekly dispatch 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 created Bizarro in the late twentieth century and continues to do the Sunday comic from Rancho Bizarro in Mexico.


Until one has loved an animal a part of one's soul remains unawakened.
Anatole France

Almost every artist and cartoonist I know shares their home with a pet. Animal family members contribute greatly to our well-being, and it's clear that they love us, openly and completely. 

I grew up with a canine companion, and in my adult life, my spouse and I have had several feline members. All of them delighted us and touched our hearts, but one made an especially profound impression. Following the loss of one of our first cats, we visited a shelter to adopt a new family member. We met a cat who had been rescued from a hoarder's house. He had been kept in a carrier for most of his life and was afraid to be out in the open. He received no health care, and an untreated respiratory issue left him with a less-than-melodious meow. He needed help and we took him home.

Because of his distinctive voice, we named him Hoagy, after the great American composer and performer Hoagy Carmichael. After a few months of veterinary care, daily food, shelter, and grooming, Hoagy began to thrive.

Despite the cruelty he endured early in life, he became an affectionate and outgoing cat. He greeted everyone who visited our home and would sit beside new friends, responding to their touch with a slightly gravelly purr. He loved to sit with me as I worked at my desk.

Hoagy was only with us for eight years. His shelter tags are on a chain I wear daily, reminding myself of his example of optimism, forgiveness, and love.

Our current feline is also outgoing and affectionate and often helps me while working.

A May Day tradition at our house is watching the 1973 folk horror film The Wicker Man, which I've mentioned in the blog before. In one scene, Christopher Lee's character, Lord Summerisle, observes the animal life around him, and quotes a section of Walt Whitman's long-form poem, Song of Myself:

I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and self-contain’d,
I stand and look at them long and long.

They do not sweat and whine about their condition,
They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins,
They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God,
Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things,
Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago,
Not one is respectable or unhappy over the whole earth.

I must admit, until I researched the words, I was unaware that they were Whitman's. 

If you share your life with a pet, please give them a pat on the head or a treat for me.

Today's pipe pic is a self-portrait of German painter and graphic artist Max Dungert (1896-1945).
Wikipedia provides this biographical info:

[Max] was born to Ferdinand Dungert, a police courier, and his wife Betty Elise née Koehler. From 1910, he attended the Kunstgewerbeschule Magdeburg , where he studied with Rudolf Bosselt and Adolf Rettelbusch, among others. In 1919, he was one of the co-founders of a short-lived artists' association known as "Die Kugel" (The Sphere); devoted to Expressionist art. After 1920, his works would briefly display a trend toward Realism.

In 1921, he went to Berlin and joined the Novembergruppe, another association of Expressionist artists and architects. Later, he would also create works in the Cubist style. During the next few years, he occasionally shared a studio with Beye. From 1925 to 1928, he made several study trips to Italy, France, and Switzerland. He established his own private drawing school in 1930, and joined "Porza", an international association for intellectual and artistic exchanges.

During the Nazi regime, in 1937, several of his works were confiscated as part of the campaign to identify and eliminate "Degenerate Art". He was drafted into military service in 1944. His studio and many of his works were destroyed not long after. He was killed sometime during, or immediately following, the Battle of Berlin.
Many of his works survived and are displayed in museums in Germany.

I was not familiar with Max Dungert's art, and I thank readers Paul and Ellen for thinking of Bizarro when they saw Max's self-portrait. A true artist, the painting shows that he had a studio cat.

Now, let's review the latest output from my studio, where I was ably assisted by my boy Foster.

We kicked off the week with another of my inanimate object gags. It was at least partly inspired by a woodworker in Maine named David Adamsen. His YouTube channel features videos of his elaborate and unique wood turning projects. They feature no dialog and are hypnotic and relaxing. I've found them to be a great way to wind down before going to sleep.
This scenario isn't far from actual history.

Wednesday's punning caption was called into question by a reader who wrote:
Whales are called a pod in a group. According to google, a group of walruses is called a "Huddle."
"Huddle" is indeed among the names turned up by a web search, but it's not the only one, nor is it the most common.
Pods are herds of marine mammals including whales, dolphins, walruses and seals.

Dr. Helen Scales (marine biologist, broadcaster, science writer)
BBC ScienceFocus

The strip layout involved a fair amount of shuffling but worked out all right.

Enjoy it while it lasts. The next bowl will be pulp.

Our second inanimate object comic of the week turned up on Friday, with a quiet theme of harmony, tolerance, and acceptance.

Sorry, but we can't reveal the number.

I might prefer the strip version of this one and think the reader's eye tracking from upper left to lower right delivers the joke better than the "Z" path the eye generally takes in a vertical panel.


Beer Here!

In contrast to the Illustration Ale label I shared last week, here's one that is pure design (although I'm not really a designer). The graphic elements were meant to resemble barrels stacked on palettes. The racks were "drawn" in Photoshop, and the barrels were letters in the Futura typeface.

Speaking of Illustration Ale, here's a photo taken at East End Brewing Company the day we labeled the bottles in 2017.

Bonus Track

The Coasters: "Three Cool Cats"
Atlantic Records single, 1959

"Three Cool Cats" is one of many great songs Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller wrote for the Coasters. It was the B-side of their hit "Charlie Brown."

Other Bizarro Locations

Dan Piraro's Weekly Bizarro Blog

 Wayno's Weekly Bizarro Newsletter

Dan "Diego" Piraro's Peyote Cowboy Graphic Novel

Stop by next week for more stuff from your cartoonist.

Copyright© 2023 by Wayno®



  1. Anonymous12:34 PM

    I am surprised editors allows you to publish the Friday cartoon. Clearly this is a setup for partner swapping. Lots of sc***ing and somebody wants to get n***ed.

    1. Well, I guess that's one possible response. I intended it as a quiet message of acceptance and diversity, but can't control how anyone chooses to interpret it.

  2. Anonymous3:54 PM

    Enjoyed your kitty musings and it reminded me of..."The Naming of Cats", a poem in T. S. Eliot's 1939 poetry book Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats. It was adapted into a musical number in Andrew Lloyd Webber's 1981 musical Cats, and has also been quoted in other films, notably Logan's Run (1976). The poem describes to humans how cats get their names.
    Watch Peter Ustinov recite the poem, well worth it.

  3. raydbonz@aol.com1:34 AM

    Shortly after reading your comments on cats I was watching one of ours licking - a common pastime. In my head I put a quote - "I lick, therefore I am". And a caption - Rene Descats. Ha! I'm sure it's one of yours from sometime. LOL

    1. Ha! That's very good, especially adding the reference to Rene Descartes. I never did that as a gag, but maybe Dan did at one time. In any case, you gave me a good laugh!

  4. Anonymous4:23 PM

    [Hey Wayno, sorry to trouble with this kinda thing here, but every time I try to tip($) on your page, I get this:

    “ Your card issuer declined this payment. Please check your card information or try a different card.”

    …using the same card I successfully used moments earlier to tip on Dan’s page. I don’t use paypal. Anyways, I’d love to grease the skids, but, maybe a prehistoric p.o. box, or ¿?]

    1. That's weird, but then technology's quirks always baffle me. If you use Venmo, you can send to @WaynoCartoons. If that doesn't work, we'll have to wait until we cross paths in person someday. THANKS!

  5. Anonymous10:56 PM

    No mention of this here, so maybe it's just me that technology has it out for?? I received this on 5/6 and there is NO cartoon here for 5/4 - it goes directly from 5/3 Toupees to 5/5 Mixed Tools. When I received Dan's post on 5/9, there was the 5/4 Nowadays I only chuck Sawdust. I wondered how I could have missed that one? My cursed computer blocks me from viewing your blogspot about half the time, so I saved the email and got lucky tonight when I came back to look again - 5/4 Sawdust is still NOT here! A bright spot to coming back again is that I finally "got" the Club Pinhead joke!

  6. That was no technology glitch, but a case of cartoonist error. I've updated the post to include the missing panel. Thanks for alerting me!

  7. pipe image, for a future newsletter

    from this article

    Ladybird Books published mass-market children's books, starting in 1914