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Attention JAZZ PICKLES––> WANT TO MEET ME AND MORE THAN A DOZEN BIG-SHOT CARTOONISTS IN PERSON AT NO COST TO YOU? Come to the HILTON EXECUTIVE HOTEL IN DOWNTOWN PORTLAND at 1PM this coming SUNDAY, MAY 28, 2017!  It’s a totally free event open to the public, and we’ll be signing and selling books, drawing sketches, and giving discount haircuts with those tiny scissors that come on a Swiss Army knife. Hope to see you there! 

Bizarro is brought to you today by I Beg You Not To Click This.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, cliches are the condiments of a cartoon sandwich.

For many decades gag cartoonists (as opposed to cartoonists who do character-driven comic strips, comic books, animation, advertising, etc.) have been returning to certain premises because they are pregnant with possibilities for expressing the human condition in a humorous way. There are many such cartoon cliche set-ups: the psychiatrist’s couch, the gates of heaven, the boss’s office, a llama in ballet tights, etc. 

By using these standard set-ups, cartoonists also enjoy a kind of friendly competition. It’s fun to see how your gates-of-heaven cartoon stacks up against those of your colleagues and heroes. While musing over these cliches one day recently, I imagined the triathlon scene above. The three tropes I’ve chosen for this cartoon are among the most common to my mind: stranded on a tiny island, crawling through a desert, sitting at a bar. I don’t know how these cartoon characters are actually competing except for the last frame where only one guy remains conscious.

Since I will be at the National Cartoonists Society’s annual convention next weekend, which is little more than a drinking fest with a few talks and an awards banquet, I think it bears mentioning that most professional cartoonists I know can hold their liquor impressively.

The cartoon above caused another political shouting match on my FB page. I think self expression is important in a democracy so I encourage people to discuss their thoughts and feelings, but man it gets nasty and childish awfully quickly. It upsets me to read those kinds of comments so I don’t. This cultural civil war that America is fighting on so many fronts is one of the biggest reasons I was ready to live outside the country.

I just saw the much talked about documentary “Get Me Roger Stone” and found it to be equal parts fascinating and depressing. While I knew the general story of how the handful of people who pull the PR strings for the Republican party unapologetically made the decision to abandon ethical politics back in the 70s and fool “unsophisticated voters” (their words) into voting against their interests, I was not aware of the insidious nature of the film’s main focus, Roger Stone, one of the main architects of everything from Nixon to Trump. To call him a scumbag is to insult both scum and bags.

On the bright side, Stone is the one the FBI is looking at most intensively regarding Russia’s role in our last election so there is the delicious (albeit it tiny) chance that he could end up in jail. Fingers crossed.

This Bizarro Bunny has something else he’d like you to consider:

And now, a fish story…

A cartoon about a hit man who works for fish. I don’t know. My mind wanders sometimes.

Some folks didn’t like this cartoon about Heaven’s gate and asked me if my intention was to ridicule Christianity. This cartoon isn’t about ridicule, it’s about perspective. The only thing that separates a religion from mythology is whether you happen to believe the stories and characters within it are actually real. And your opinion on that is most likely to depend on what you were told when you were a toddler. But as an educated adult, to continue to believe that your family’s tiny cultural corner of the world is the only “truth” and everyone else’s is myth is difficult to defend. It also helps to breed fear and contempt of “the other”.

Easy to defend, however, is your choice to buy one or more of my new book. It is suitable for people of all ages except under 2 years old, who may not be able to safely handle the pointy corners.

(WARNING: This book may have been shipped in a truck driven by a person who may have consumed nuts or dairy.)

Cowboys used to fight over more serious issues.

This “Modern Life” cartoon was very popular on the Interwebs this week. I actually first published this back in the 90s but I like it a lot and think it becomes more true every year, so I thought it could use another trot around the block. It works for all of America in a general sense, but in a more specific sense, I think it’s a decent graphic representation of Trump’s entire life. He’s been widely known for decades to possess none of the things mentioned in this vending machine except for noisy shiny crap; of which he has plenty and continues to build more.

This man from primitive times has a wandering mind, too. (Callback to the thing I said above about that stupid fish cartoon.)

That’s it for this week, Jazz Pickles. Olive Oyl and I are traveling this week, winding our way toward Portland for the annual cartoonists convention on Memorial Day weekend. This is the first time we’ve been in the U.S. since we moved to Mexico six months ago and it seems even weirder than we thought it would. More on that later.

Until next post, be happy, be smart, be nice.


Food Nightmares

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Bizarro is brought to you today by Why I Became An Artist.

Mr. Potato Head is an almost endless wellspring of cartoon ideas. I’ve done quite a few over the years, including this very racy one from two weeks ago that I still can’t believe didn’t get censored by any of my newspaper clients, and this one, which is one of my favorites from my entirely-too-long cartooning career. I like this one, too, for slapstick reasons and this one because of its absurdity.

And, the title panel for today’s cartoon (top of this post) is an altered version of a photo of yours truly when I was about three years old.

My first cartoon from the past week is a bit of fun with the Garden of Eden myth. One reader wrote to ask me if I was lampooning the way the Trump Klux Klan and right-wing media tell people completely unmitigated, irrational lies and they believe them. To be honest, that was not on my mind but it is a terrific analogy.

The human mind has an almost insatiable need for myths, and not just in the realm of spiritualism; many of them have to do with politics and leaders. There is no other explanation for the fact that millions of the American poor and working class believe(d) that an old man who demonstrably built a fifty-year career in business by abusing the poor and working class suddenly intends to be their savior. The disastrous health care bill they tried to pass last week was a perfect example of how much current-day Republicans care about the working class.

I’m not sure how successful this cave cartoon is. I liked it when I first drew it but it doesn’t work very well for me now. I’m hoping your results vary.

Old ladies can be such bitches, am I right? ( I said “can” be. Many are quite lovely and sweet.)


This cartoon is quite strange and I like that, but even stranger is how it appeared in one California newspaper. I didn’t find out what had happened until a few readers sent me FB messages about it, but apparently this cartoon was edited at just this one newspaper to this version. (It’s not about it being in strip format rather than panel format, I offer both to all my client newspapers.) You’ll notice that the cartoon is the same except that the “G” is gone from the word “God”. Which is rather “od”.

I suppose it could be an accident but it is hard to imagine how. My guess is that they removed the letter to avoid offending religious nuts who are incensed by the use of god in comics. (Of which there are more than you would think and I’ve got the hate mail to prove it.) If that is true, I think this is the kind of way-over-the-top, nonsensical liberal pandering that drove a lot of not-big-city folks to vote for Trump. Just my opinion, of course.

On the other hand, there’s no arguing the fact that we live in a world where people are murdered every day in the name of imaginary people in the sky, so maybe it pays to steer absurdly clear of religious nuts of any stripe.

I particularly like this cartoon and it says a lot about today’s electorate. Someone on one of my posts made the point that foil hat nuts reside on both sides of the political aisle but I don’t think you can effectively argue that the vast majority of conspiracy nuts don’t belong to the right wing of American politics. I’ve not done a deep dive on this but I think it is because the Republicans made a conscious effort to court them a couple of decades ago. The modern Republican party doesn’t have policies that help anyone but the extremely rich and corporations, and there aren’t enough of them to elect anyone to office, so they consciously began some time ago to find more conceptual ways to appeal to voters on topics like Christianity, “family values,” terrorism, and crime (abortion rights, the supposed “immigrant threat,” the ridiculous “War on Christmas,” marriage equality, Planned Parenthood’s supposed plot to kill babies and sell their parts to mad scientists, etc.)  In doing so, they’re happy to pander to anyone, including people on the fringes of reality who believe just about any crazy idea you could possibly dream up. I mean, when all of your policies are bad for anyone making less than a million dollars a year, you have to find something to get people excited about. Fear of “the other” is an ancient and very successful method.

Finally this week, we have this daring gentleman who is diligently practicing his dangerous pastime. I skydove once (not a word but should be) and I found it exhilarating. The moment I stepped up to the open door of an airplane and told my body to jump out of it into thin air and every molecule of my being screamed back at me is one I will never forget.

Thanks for spending this time with me, Jazz Pickles. I always enjoy talking to you about my cartoons and hearing about which ones you enjoyed (or didn’t) in the comments section. As the world changes and more people read my work online (for which I do not get paid) instead of in newspapers, I look for new ways to make a living as an artist. If you’d like to help support the ideas and art that you value, please consider one of the options below. My beloved Olive Oyl and I will thank you as we continue to live indoors and eat daily. 

Grab a copy or several of my new book, full of crazy groovy art and only $6. (Buying it from any site that sells books is fine, doesn’t have to be the one I linked here.) 

Make a one-time donation or a monthly contribution to the good people at Rancho Bizarro (there are only two of us––my beloved Olive Oyl and me) who fearlessly bring Bizarro to you 365 days a year in spite of the obvious dangers of publicly attacking a powerful, thin-skinned, authoritarian egomaniac. Any amount is appreciated.

Buy a print of any Bizarro cartoon you can find by using the calendar function on Starts at around $25.

Buy a larger, limited-edition, signed and numbered, archival, color print of one of my personal favorite Bizarro cartoons from an LA art dealer. ($200) They also sell some of my original ink drawings from Bizarro. ($1000)

Until next time, be well, be smart, be nice.


2016 CinSpec Awards Coming Soon

Hi guys! I didn’t mean to drop off the face of the earth, but before I knew it, I just wasn’t on here for a few months. How about that Moonlight Best Picture win, huh? Anyways, I have about a dozen films left to catch, then I’ll be finalizing the 2016 CinSpecs. Look out for them soon. Source:


(For an embiggenated experience, hold your breath and click any image.)

Bizarro is brought to you today by First Step To Extinction.

ThIS week at Rancho Bizarro had its ups and downs with several of my cartoons drawing criticism from readers in both expected and unexpected ways. We’ll get to that momentarily but first, I’d like to give a heart-felt shout-out to someone who crosses my mind every Mother’s Day––my mother. Thanks for keeping me away from cliffs and preventing wild animals from carrying me off, without a single failure! Your perfect record allowed me to grow up and write this paragraph about how lucky I am to have had such a terrific mother. I am also grateful for your emotional support, friendship, guidance, and delicious peanut butter and jelly sandwiches all the way through elementary schoolLOVE you, Mom!

And, of course, happy Mother’s Day to everyone else who has helped in raising kids, whether they were biologically yours or not, regardless of what kind of biological equipment you have in your pants, because we all eventually end up at the mercy of younger generations and if we don’t collectively do a good job raising them, we end up releasing rotten people into the world and you never know how much trouble they might cause. (See 45th president of the United States.)

And now to the week’s cartoons…

Nowhere in the field of human athletic endeavor is there a greater difference between the professional version and the miniature version of a sport than in golf. It would be as if miniature baseball was played on a field the size of your kitchen and you had to dodge pterodactyls and zeppelins to hit a home run. Or if miniature football were played inside a crowded junk store full of taxidermy bears, hat racks, chandeliers, sofas, and china cabinets. While many may wish that the miniature version of these games was more like the full-size, professional version, my fondest wish is the opposite; that the pro-size become more like the miniature. Would big-shot golfers like Tiger Woods or Greg Norman be as legendary if they’d had to hit through the legs of a dinosaur? Especially an animatronic one that could break your legs with a swipe of its mighty tail?


To my great surprise, I did not get one comment this week about how celiac disease is a real thing and not a figment of people’s imagination and how miserable it is and how they are tired of people making fun of gluten sensitivity. That’s good. Because I am aware that celiac disease is real and a miserable thing to endure and I’m not making fun of those people. I’m making fun of the 99% of people who only think they are gluten sensitive because the food industry and wack-job, fringe diet gurus have convinced them of it. And, of course, people who think that Wheaten terriers could in any way be involved in that issue.

On a side note, it was harder than I imagined it would be to find a name for a pet rescue organization that has not already been taken. “Happy Fur Rescue” was maybe the fourth or fifth name I came up with before I found one that didn’t come up on a Google search. I just now thought of “Giddy Mutt,” though, and it doesn’t show up on Google so I wish I’d used that. Dammit.

This nuclear-age cartoon started another political shit storm on my FB page, of course. These days, there is no shortage of people who are willing to argue to the death over whether Trump is the least qualified, most embarrassing and dangerous person to ever hold the office of president of the U.S. (historically speaking, he absolutely is) or if Obama let the entire world shit all over America (historically speaking, he didn’t) as they have been told by Fox News. Don’t miss the fact that this cartoon doesn’t mention any politician or party.

This ad is from me…

This cartoon got lots of readers asking me what it meant. It refers to the belief that if you travel faster than the speed of light, you can go backwards in time. The actual science behind this kind of thing is far more complex than that, and entirely theoretical since no one has done it since the filming of Back To The Future in 1985. Unfortunately for scientists, the formula for doing so was lost in a studio fire caused by faulty wiring in a Mr. Coffee machine the following year.

This penguin cartoon got a few complaints but not from who you’d expect: people who object to the sexual objectification of fouls. No, it was from the ornithologically obsessed who felt the need to point out to me that penguins are hatched from eggs and so they don’t have navels. I’d like to take this opportunity to remind those readers that Bizarro is a comic feature and not a whimsically illustrated textbook.  (Here’s another thing that never happens to penguins.)

I quite like this cowboy/witch cartoon. It’s simple, funny, kind of sweet, and it points out a connection between these two cherished subcultures that I’d never considered before. I’d love to be a fly on the wall as they get to know each other further and he mentions that he’s a born-again Christian and she counters with her pledged devotion to the Dark Prince.

And now we come to the last comic and controversy of the week, which garnered me two angry letters. Here’s one of the complaints verbatim but the other was very similar:

“Your comic today is tasteless and cold. Do you not remember when Dave Dravecky broke his arm pitching? Later to be amputated because of cancer. You need to apologize to Dave and all SF Giants fans.”

My response was pretty much the same thing I always say to complaints like this:

“I’m sorry my cartoon upset you, that was certainly not my intent. To be honest, I’m not really a baseball fan and have never heard of Dave Dravecky, so my cartoon was not aimed at him or his story, of course. I often get complaints like this one but if every joke writer of TV shows, movies, late night host’s monologues, stand-up comics, cartoons, etc., had to withdraw every joke that had anything to do with someone’s personal tragedy, there would be very little humor left in the world. In fact, humor is our species’ unique way of dealing with our exceptional brain’s ability to comprehend, anticipate, and fear tragedy, which touches everyone’s life sooner or later. Dark humor is one of our most valuable coping methods.”

I believe that and stand by it. The great Steve Allen famously said that tragedy plus time equals comedy. That saying is responsible for the routine reply that stand-up comics utter to the silence an edgy joke will sometimes create––“Too soon?” I’d like to point out that while what happened to Dravecky was certainly tragic, it happened in 1989.

Thanks so much for spending this time with me, Jazz Pickles. Until next time, be smart, be happy, be nice. If you like what I do, please consider one of the support options included in this post. You will make those of us who protect Rancho Bizarro from repossession smile bigly!


Balls In The Air

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WANT TO MEET ME IN PERSON, TAKE PICS TOGETHER, AND WATCH ME SIGN MY NAME ON THINGS? You can do these things and more by finding yourself at the Hilton Portland & Executive Tower in downtown Portland, Oregon on Sunday, May 28th at 1pm. I’ll be there with lots of copies of my new coloring book and one of my Bizarro cartoon books along with a couple dozen other famous cartoonists. (We’re having our annual cartoonists convention there that weekend and this is the only public event involved so don’t miss it!) Hope to see you there!

What we have here is a funny joke with lovely art that begs numerous questions, two of which are these: Were chainsaws invented while sailors still dressed this way, or was there at least one special place where sailors still dressed this way after chainsaws were invented? I don’t pretend to know the definitive answer but I’m guessing there was at least one old-time-sailor-themed gay bar in San Francisco after chainsaws were invented where this could have happened. Even if there wasn’t, keep in mind that this cartoon feature is called “Bizarro,” not “Normalo”.

As I knew I would, I got a few questions about the meaning of this protest cartoon. If you’re not up on Internet pop culture, first of all, congratulations. I envy you. Some of us have to keep up with this drivel in order to make fun of it in cartoons.

Secondly, there’s this thing where companies invest millions on short videos that are longer than TV commercials but are essentially just commercials that they hope will go what “viral”, which, contrary to your first thought does not mean they will make you sick, though they often do, but that people will like them so much they will forward and post them like crazy and they will reach millions of people without having to pay to show them on TV. In short, you are expected to do the work of spreading the corporation’s message without being paid.

So recently Pepsi did this with a video in which one of the lesser-known Kardashians (oh, God, there’s MORE of them?!––yes, she’s a product of the Kardashian/Jenner coupling) is on a super suave, exclusive, chic fashion shoot when a crowd of good-looking young people march past in protest of something. She is moved by this and walks away from her $10,000-per-hour shoot to join them. They are all drinking Pepsis (the choice of activists everywhere) and soon come to a line of bad-ass police officers in riot gear who look like the sort who would shoot an unarmed person because they are not white, and the young, attractive people all stop in their tracks. The Kardashian/Jenner girl then bravely rubs two braincells together and generates enough friction to have an idea, which is this: she marches up to a cop and hands him her Pepsi. He takes a sip, smiles, everyone cheers and laughs, and all of America’s political, social, and racial problems are solved by high fructose corn syrup and attractive youngsters.

This super expensive commercial was immediately (and justly) attacked vehemently by everyone with a detectable IQ who saw it, and the resulting social media pressure to remove it from the Interwebs caused Pepsi to take it down immediately. I can understand how Ms. Jenner got sucked into this gig––a girl’s gotta work and scripts look very different from the final product––but how none of the many dozens of people who saw that video before it launched didn’t catch how offensive to the families of innocent dead people it was is anyone’s guess. In defiance of my more cynical side, I’m assuming it was an ‘Emperor’s New Clothes” situation and some people “got it” but were afraid to speak up. But who knows? Everyone working for Pepsi and whatever godawful ad agency dreamed up this steaming turd might actually be stupid enough to believe that any topic can be used to sell more shit. Because this is America, and convincing people that they don’t currently own enough crap to be happy is what we do best.

But American capitalists are not the only ones paying poor Ms. Jenner to step in the political correctness dung pile. Vogue India  just announced their 10th anniversary issue and released a sneak preview of the cover which has the same Kardashian/Jenner spawn on the cover. The problem with that is that she is not Indian, she just kind of looks Indian. Many disgruntled Vogue readers are asking if all of the Indian women (in a country of 1.3+ billion people) were too busy for the shoot.

This is the part about racism that certain people don’t understand. Even though lynch mobs are on the decline and it is technically illegal to deny a person services because of their race, being routinely passed over for white people even in small, seemingly unimportant ways, erodes an entire race’s self esteem and we’d be wise as a society to stop doing that.

Speaking of unapologetic, unrestrained capitalism, here’s a cartoon about a guy who thinks he can buy anything he wants if he has enough money, just like every member of Trump’s White House staff and cabinet, and completely unlike 99% of the relatively small number of Americans who voted for the Cheeto Mussolini and, if their hero gets his way, are about to be without health coverage. That’s not just great, it’s great again!

There’s no hidden political message to this plant psychologist cartoon. Yes, I’m glad too.

Oh, no, here comes one with hidden meaning again. I actually think this might be my favorite cartoon of the week. Humans are pack animals (a dog term) and with that comes pecking order (a chicken term) so from an evolutionary perspective, we kind of can’t help forming groups and cliques and castes, which means some folks rise to the top and others are excluded and pushed to the bottom (a salad dressing metaphor). Well, we can help it, but we have to exert an awful lot of effort to do stuff like see things from someone else’s perspective, admit that much of what we think of as “truth” is just the way we were raised, and behave compassionately toward people who are different from us because the fact that they are different does not make them evil.

It starts with a simple lapel being worn by the “in” crowd, but it ends with anyone not wearing a flag pin being accused of being a terrorist in disguise (even though any terrorist worthy of fearing would know that already and wear not only a flag pin but also a Confederate flag T-shirt and a red hat about America’s impending greatness.)

In these riotously difficult political times, it is tempting to say “If only those people would understand that…(insert fact about something important.)”

BUT WAIT…Some scientists in the field of genetics are pointing to evidence of the possibility that every thought we have may be a chemical reaction brought about by our exact genetic makeup, and that something as fundamental to our beliefs about ourselves as FREE WILL might actually be an illusion. Yes. An illusion. It’s possible you only think you have a variety of choices, but given your exact genetic map, you can and will only make one decision in any given situation. WFT!?

If that’s true, where does it leave us? No one could be blamed for anything they believe or do because they are programmed to believe and do exactly those things, with no choice in the matter. They only think they have a choice. Out the window goes religion, morals, ethics, crime, elections, and just about every manner in which we judge ourselves and each other. No one would be guilty of anything any more than a baby is guilty of pooping its diaper. It’s shaky ground, to say the least, but entirely biologically possible.

The Mr. Potato Head toy was invented in 1952, six years before my parents’ genetic programming compelled them to do something disgusting that resulted in my conception. A few years after that, my mother’s genetic programming compelled her to purchase a Mr. Potato Head toy for me and my older sister, place it under the tree on Christmas morning, and lie to us about where it came from by saying a magical, flying fat man from the Arctic had brought it while we slept. In those days, kids had to attach the body parts and accessories to actual fruits or vegetables because the genetic programming of the people running the toy company had not yet compelled them to include a plastic potato in the package. That didn’t happen until 1964. Here’s the original.

After I finished this cartoon I found out that there actually are backpacks with solar panels that can charge your cell phone and they aren’t as elaborate or problematic as the one pictured. Oh well.

I was trying to make a point about how we sometimes inconvenience ourselves with technology that is supposed to make our life simpler and give us more leisure time. Often, it just absorbs our life force like a vampire and we end up robbing ourselves of real life in favor of what’s happening in the tiny glass rectangle on our phone. Whatever.

Thanks for dropping by, Jazz Pickles. I cherish this time we imagine we’re spending together. I hope you’ll consider helping Olive Oyl and I keep the campfire burning at Rancho Bizarro by clicking one or more of the options below. Until next time, be smart, be happy, and be nice. 


Room Service

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Bizarro is brought to you today by Flying Mustaches.

I’ve heard from a couple of people who didn’t immediately understand the cartoon above but when they did, they laughed. I love cartoons like that. I was proud of this one when I thought of it because it is fairly surreal, yet also a completely simple twist on a popular saying. In my experience of writing a joke a day for over 30 years*, I find that surprise is the most dependable way to get a laugh. I always love finding a surprising angle on a cliche expression, and this one achieves that very well in my opinion. PLUS, it has eleven Secret Symbols, including the newly-added “O2,” which you can find out about under that blue link you just sailed past.

As of today, May 1, 2017, I’ve published 11,788 cartoons since Bizarro began.

I’ve written more than my share of cartoons about cloning in my day. I’m skeptical that cloning humans will ever be a thing, but I can’t help but wonder about it. Under these blue words is one of my faves from 1997. The colors are hideous because I had to color the old-fashioned way back then, which was complex and inaccurate. Only a few months later I began using a computer to color them and everything changed for the better.

I don’t have much to say about this one other than that at Bunny’s Diner, they do things just like Mom used to.

I arrived at this cartoon by asking myself, “What would be even worse than having a small person growing out of your shoulder?” My answer is illustrated above, I welcome your ideas in the comments section.

I have been a performing musician from time to time and I have great respect and affection for musicians in general. I cannot, however, stand cafes and restaurants with live music. They are virtually always too loud to ignore and they diminish my ability to converse with my companion(s), which is one of the two reasons I go to cafes and restaurants. If I want to hear live music, I go to a live music venue. I also can’t help but feel sorry for them because people rarely pay any attention to a musician in this kind of setup. For all that most people get out of it, they might as well be dressed in a tutu and be dancing Swan Lake in the corner of the cafe. Am I being a jerk about this? Probably.

When I wrote this cartoon about border collies I figured someone else had probably already come up with a cartoon about this pun so I googled it. Googling gag ideas has become fairly standard practice for me with certain kinds of phrases or puns that I suspect someone else might have arrived at before me, and when I see that it has been done, I always kill the idea and move on. In this case, yes, it has been done a couple of times before but it was done differently and I thought mine was funnier, so I did it anyway.

The basic idea for this cartoon came from an unsolicited Facebook message from someone calling himself Kenneth McCoy. I get lots of gag suggestions from readers but I only use a very tiny percentage of them. This one seemed like one I would have thought of, so I went for it. If any of you know Kenneth, tell him I mentioned him in this blog post today.

Hope you have a great week, Jazz Pickles! If you enjoy my work, please consider one or more of the support options below. The folks here at Rancho Bizarro will think of you every time we buy groceries and tequila! 



Nepotism’s Double-Edged Sword

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Bizarro is brought to you today by Never Stopping, Just To Be Safe.

There is much to talk about today but I promise it will be rewarding in a way that will punish those who come here only for a quick scan of the cartoons and don’t read the text or click the links. Woe is them.

When people in the U.S. learn that I’ve moved to Mexico, or when people I meet here learn that I’m a syndicated cartoonist, they often ask if living here has or will influence my cartoons. One might think that today’s big-ass-wide Sunday cartoon is the first obvious example of a Latin American influence but one would be wrong. This cartoon is, instead, the influence of one Brian Shanahan, a reader who offered me an idea via Facebook message. His concept was the basic connection between Spanish for “the boss,” which is “el jefe” (pronounced hey-fey) and the Family Circus character “Jeffy”. He didn’t have a scenario but just envisioned a poster of him as a Castro-style dictator and the words “El Jefe”.

I loved the idea immediately and concocted the above scenario, which was inspired by the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s half-brother. You may notice that the soldier is saying “the boss” in his word balloon, but the banner on the wall is using a similar spelling for Jeffy’s name, a sort of loose pun.

Another interesting thing to note is that my original submission––the one that appeared in hundreds of newspapers on April 23rd and in the box at the top of’s homepage on that date––does not include Jeffe’s mustache. (King Features programs the cartoon that appears at the top of my homepage and they used the one I submitted for publishing.) I often think of ways to improve a cartoon after it’s already in the pipeline and too late, and it always pains me. Personally, I think this cartoon is much funnier with the big, red, curly mustache.

Finally, this isn’t the first satire of The Family Circus I’ve done. My first was way back in 1995 and I got a bit of hate mail from people who revere FC as “the last bastion of family entertainment” and thought it was akin to sacrilege to associate those beloved characters with The Devil. In addition to the hate mail, I also got a phone call the next morning from FC’s creator, Bil Keane. It scared me to death because I hadn’t met him yet and feared he was going to chew me out and threaten to sue me. Instead, he was very friendly and gracious, thanked me for the lampoon, and wondered if he could trade one of his pieces of original art from a Sunday comic for the original art of my “Faustus’ Circus”. I agreed, of course.

Years later, I did another Sunday spoof in collaboration with my good friend, Michael Capozzola, who is a successful stand-up comic and a cartoonist. For the unenlightened, Bil Keane used to annually publish cartoons that were ostensibly drawn by one of the child characters in FC because he was on vacation, and ours was a satire of that scenario. Here’s an example of one of Bil’s “vacation” cartoons. 

Here’s one more from a few years back that is an attempt to mimmic a Family Circus cartoon entirely, except for the signature and a few of my Secret Symbols. I always have a ball doing these but the El Jeffe one is probably my favorite.

Here, I’ve used the term “artificial intelligence” as a reference to the current American “president” and his administration’s willful, loathsome, and self-serving denial of science. If you’re one of those people who believes politicians who say that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the left (or China, or Noam Chomsky, or the Tooth Fairy, or whomever) consider this: On one side of this issue are millionaire industrialists (and the politicians on their payroll) who stand to make billions by polluting your drinking water and your air, and on the other are academics and scientists who stand to make a hundred bucks here or there by publishing an article in a magazine only they read, but could lose their entire career if discovered to be lying to the public about science. Which of those groups has a greater motivation to lie about climate change? And which of those groups knows the most about science, which is what climate change is about?

If you still believe that the vast majority of scientists the world over have the same hidden agenda and that the Trump White House is doing us all a big favor by ignoring them and deregulating polluters, please do the rest of us a favor and dart out into high speed traffic at dusk as soon as possible.

Ever seen one of those rooms that is built with strange angles and perspective so that an apple appears to be rolling uphill or a person looks like they’re huge when they stand at the other side of the room? I first saw that at Six Flags Over Texas back in the late 60s in an attraction called “Casa Magnetica”.  My ten-year-old mind was blown away and I still love those kinds of things.

I posted this cartoon about the cat that is going to “make the couch great again” on FB and Twitter with this simple line: “When hats lie.” I didn’t think I was being all that cryptic, but apparently I was because a number of people commented by asking, “You mean CATS?” No, I meant “hats,” as in the one that the Cheeto Mussolini and his “crumbs” wore all during the campaign. (You didn’t think I’d actually make you look at a picture of that boob and his idiotic hat, did you? This is a safe place!) Foolishly, I did not make the cat orange, which would have helped a lot. Totally my bad. Here is a corrected version.

I’m sure you’ll agree that some super heroes take their alter egos far too seriously.

Also at the family style restaurant is a TV room where you can ignore each other while you eat, a garage where dad can disappear to for hours at a time while working on some project he uses to avoid the wife, and dogs roaming around under the tables for the kids to sneak unwanted food to.

This cartoon could have been titled “Centaurs of the Old West” but after 30+ years of daily cartooning I’ve come to believe that it is better not to spell out every single aspect of a cartoon. In this way, I have attracted a select group of more intelligent, well-read, well-educated readers such as yourself––ones that don’t need things explained to them and enjoy being in on the aspects of a joke that are not spelled out. That’s just one of the many reasons I have not become fabulously wealthy as a cartoonist, but can count on my most loyal readers to defend me in a Mexican knife fight. If I should get into one of those things down here, I’ll let you know so you can rush to my defense.

Hey, want some happy, insider news to reward you for reading what I write and not just quickly scanning the cartoons? How about this––> After three and a half years of groovy fun times with my beloved partner, Olive Oyl, I asked her this week to marry me and she was foolish enough to agree. Yay!  After two marriages that failed in spectacular fashion, I swore I would never marry again but O2 silently, stealthily changed my mind by being unerringly principled, honest, loving, intelligent, loyal, and insightful. She’s too amazing to ever live without and she richly deserves the social respect and legal rights one gets from a legal coupling, so I’m taking the plunge. Accordingly, I am officially adding the first new Secret Symbol to the Bizarro canon in many years. It is “O2,” which stands for Olive Oyl. (I don’t use her real name in public posts in order to reduce the number of people who may seek her out on FB or wherever and bug her in ways she’s not interested in.) To read about all of my Secret Symbols and their meanings, including the new one, go here!

Thanks for making it to the end of our weekly chat, Jazz Pickles. Please consider some of the support options linked to below. Those of us at Rancho Bizarro will think of you every time we sleep indoors. 


Coincidental Comedy

(For an embiggenation experience, click any object without corners in any image.)

Bizarro is brought to you today by Tray of Voyeurs.

We had a busy week at Rancho Bizarro. As I mentioned in last week’s post, we adopted a Mexican street dog as a companion to our dog, Jemima, whom we brought down here to Mexico from what used to be the United States. The new dog is four months old and is recovering from a broken leg which she sustained from an unsuccessful encounter with an automobile while she was still on the streets. Today’s cartoon is about a dog in a cone collar because of an injury to its rear hip area, which is exactly where our dog’s stitches are (from the surgery that inserted a metal pin) and what’s notable about that is that I wrote and drew this cartoon four weeks ago, before I knew of our new dog’s existence. Spooky? Only if you’re prone to reading coincidences as messages from another dimension. Still, it’s kind of funny.

Here is a shot of new dog being super cute, and here is a picture of new and old dog together, attempting to chew each other’s faces off in a good natured way. They love this game and neither of them seems to get hurt.

Her full name is Monita Chichita but we’ll mostly call her Monita, which we kind of made up. “Mono” is the Spanish word for “monkey,” and by our our gringo logic, adding an “ita” to the end both feminizes it and means she is little, so we think it means “little monkey girl”. “Chichita” is a word we found on a list of dirty words that our Spanish teacher gave us that supposedly means “small boobs”. (I know that’s not all that dirty, but a lot of the other words on the list are filthy. FYI: If you want to say “big boobs,” it is “chichota” according to the smut list.)

I mentioned recently that I like ventriloquism gags and here is another one.

Surprisingly, this cartoon only garnered one complaint from a vegan/animal rights type person. I’m a fan of the artisanal movement toward hand-made goods but, like all trends, there are those who will take it too far and make it seem ridiculous. That was the primary motivation behind this cartoon.

The other thought here is that most of us modern folks in places like America have completely lost touch with where animal products come from and exactly what sights, sounds, and smells that entails. A hot dog stand like this one would likely get fewer customers but it shouldn’t. If you’re comfortable with where your animal food comes from and what that actually means, why turn a blind eye to the process? And if you’re not comfortable with it, perhaps it is time to change your habits. Unlike some of my posts from the past, I’m not advocating for either meat-eaters or vegetarians, I’m just saying facing the truth when making these kinds of lifestyle choices is probably a good thing.

One of the things I like about Mexico is that life isn’t sanitized and deodorized for the consumer’s comfort. Life here is a bit grisly and in your face. That feels more honest and gratifying to me than the mindless superstore, shopping mall culture of the U.S.

Some cats are so cranky.

I truly enjoyed the whole Trump-has-tiny-hands storyline that happened last summer when it was still unthinkable that such an unstable, insufferable clown could become president of the most powerful country in the world. It’s not as funny now, of course. In case you’re unaware, this story started way back in the late 1900s when a reporter (I think it was from Spy magazine?) said Trump had small hands, and then Trump spent the next many years trying to negate and disprove the comment every chance he got. Because nothing says “confidence in one’s manhood” like whining and pleading your case in the face of a childish, shcoolyard accusation. When it came up again in the primaries last year, he spent waaaaaaaaaay too much time disputing it again. Trump’s lack of dignity and confidence about virtually everything is befitting a chair-throwing guest on a Jerry Springer episode.

The reason the hand thing makes him so uncomfortable, of course, is that small hands are supposed to be an indication that a person has a small penis. The fact that this childish, middle-school-gym-class discussion was even part of the presidential campaign was absurd and insulting to anyone with an I.Q. high enough to write their own name without silently mouthing the letters, but still it persisted.

And now he has the nuclear codes. Let’s hope a foreign leader doesn’t insinuate his wing-wang might be bigger than Trump’s or we might all be vaporized.

Even more childish than the Cheeto Mussolini’s obsession with his weiner is his habit of calling any journalism that contradicts his egomania, “fake news”.

On a more amusing note but still the same topic of America’s despicable political reality, Olive Oyl and I went into the town center today (called the “Jardin” here) to see what the local Mexicans were up to for Easter, which is a big deal lin Latin America. We’ve seen some religious processions and such this week, but today’s event was among the strangest I’ve ever encountered. Check out the links below as I explain it.

Apparently, the locals have a tradition of hanging effigies of people (real or fictional) that they believe have wronged them––the devil, historical or political characters––in the Jardin on Easter Sunday and blowing them up with explosives. (What this has to do with Easter is beyond my education or imagination.) Before it begins, there are numerous papier mâché characters hung on ropes (horizontal, like clothes lines, not vertical like a lynching) with three firecracker-type-things attached to a small hoop around their waist. They light the first one and it spews sparks, thus rotating the dummy (with the red bowtie in this pic). As the first firecracker reaches it’s end there’s a little “pop!”, then it lights the next one and it spews sparks and smoke and continues the rotation, then it pops and lights the third one, which does the same thing but ends with an ear-splittingly loud KABOOM! and the whole thing explodes into a million pieces. Then they move to the next figure. In all, there were around 20 characters today. Here’s a pretty cool devil effigy and here’s the unbelievably amazing photo of his explosion that Olive Oyl took on her iPhone. The entire extravaganza was a hoot but the best part was that the grand finale was an effigy of Donald Trump. (The sign on him says “DONALD pero no el pato” which translates to “Donald, but not the duck.”) Up until then, the crowd laughs and claps as each character is ignited and explodes but as the time wore on, the crowd began chanting “Donald! Donald!” until they finally lit him up. Here he is spinning. When he exploded, the crowd erupted for the first time in loud shouts and applause, as though the Mexican national team had just scored a goal in the World Cup. By my reckoning, the crowd was about half Mexicans and half gringos, and all of us enjoyed watching Trump disintegrate.

The macabre aspect of this exercise did not escape us, but it is a basic psychological fact that blowing off steam in this manner can be very therapeutic, and much better than going after the real politician with a noose. I believe this kind of public event has a healing effect on people and it is no secret that virtually all Mexicans and a majority of Americans despise DT. He would have had a very difficult time finding a friend in this town today.

It was so much better than an egg hunt and probably my favorite Easter ever.

Thanks for reading this far, Jazz Pickles. If you like my content and want to support me, click on one of the illustrations below and consider helping me keep this wagon rolling. All five of us here at Rancho Bizarro will appreciate it a whole big lot!



(Click freely upon the images herein and experience embiggenation therefrom.)

Bizarro is brought to you today by Evolution Hiccup.

I was discussing cartoon cliches last night with someone I met at a friend’s house and he mentioned that Bob Mankoff, the cartoon editor at The New Yorker, recently put together a list of them. Without reading the list, the ones that come to my mind most readily are “crawling through a desert,” “stranded on a tiny one-tree island,” “two people in a bar,” “a psychiatrist’s couch,” and the famous “ascent of man” line of evolving mammals, like the one above. There are dozens more, of course.

Two reasons cartoonists love to use these cliches are 1) they are setups that lend themselves well to saying something about the human experience, and 2) they are a fun way in which cartoonists can engage in a sort of friendly competition. For us, it’s less about who has sold the most books or gotten the most cartoons published, it’s about putting your best psychiatrist’s couch joke out there and seeing how it stands up against your cartoonist heroes.

I’ve done quite a few “ascent of man” cartoons like the one above. The most famous (of mine) and the one I’m most proud of can be found under these blue words. As you can see if you clicked that link, it isn’t funny, but it’s poignant and true and I think it will stand the test of time. If there are people around in a couple hundred years and they come across that cartoon, they’ll still get it.

The one today is a little more opaque, I think. It’s a product of my belief that all humans have a sense of arrogant pride about how much we’ve created as a species––complex language, writing, philosophy, the innumerable discoveries of science, modern technology and medicine––yet most of us never achieve anything of note at all. A very tiny fraction of us have created the amazing world we live in, the rest of us have just learned how to use it. In short, the overwhelming majority of us have evolved to where we are now, then do nothing more than turn around and try to dress up the chimp for a cheap laugh.

I’m no different, of course. I’ve not contributed anything life-changing to the planet. I just draw silly pictures for money in an effort to stay out of an office cubicle. So far, dressing up the chimp has worked okay for me.

This cartoon about punctuation was born out of my childhood memories. Like many families in the 1960s, a vacation to us meant piling into the station wagon and driving somewhere with a cheap motel (with cheap diner attached) and some kind of inexpensive attraction. We also moved across country twice in that station wagon, so we got plenty of family road time. Something our dad used to do to amuse us was to point out the signs that said “Stop Ahead” and get all of us kids to help him watch for the head so he didn’t run over it. It made us laugh.

This cartoon about the Dark Ages got some good play on the Interwebs this week. As you can imagine, people argued over whether it is stupider to believe the “official” story behind various historic events, or the conspiratorial versions. The latter are far more entertaining, of course. A few of my more philosophical friends and readers, however, posed questions about the nature of reality in the first place.

On a side note, several people complained that this cartoon disparages mechanics and they wished I’d have picked a different scenario. I have nothing against mechanics, by the way, it was an arbitrary choice.

And also, yes, there are isolated regions of America where there are people who pronounce “oil” to sound like “erl”.

Murder isn’t funny but the real subject of this cartoon is karaoke, and it most certainly is. Under the proper conditions, I have on occasion had one hell of a lot of fun with karaoke. My biggest dilemma with it is trying to decide whether to pretend to be a rock star and sing the song well, which is a blast, or go for the humor by pretending to be a melodramatic diva.

Come to think of it, that’s the same dilemma I have in almost everything I do: go for the humor, or play it serious. I’ve gotten in trouble many times by going for the humor but playing it serious can be so boring. Sometimes you just need to dress up the chimp.

One reader wrote to me this week to say it was unfortunate that this cartoon about the bloodthirsty king published the same day the U.S. bombing of Syria was in the headlines. He was concerned I would get a lot of hate mail accusing me of being insensitive, so I see his point, but the truth is it could not have been better timing. My cartoon is about the mental illness of power-hungry leaders who care nothing about human lives outside of their own tiny circle. I’d say this cartoon accurately describes both of the main actors in the Syrian story this week. (Yes, Assad has been more violent than Trump, I get that. Let’s not start shouting about who is worse. Neither of these assholes care about anyone outside of their tiny circles and we’ve yet to see how many innocent people will suffer/die under Trump. If he ignites a nuclear incident, he wins hands down.)

I used to have two children but now I have two adults. We’re close and always have been but raising them was equal parts rewarding and difficult. I tell my younger friends who are considering having kids to be sure they fully understand that it is not a hobby, it’s a career that will eat every other part of your life until there is nothing left of you other than being Mommy or Daddy. When they finally move out, you have to reinvent yourself. That suits some people very well, others not so much.

Another thing to consider is the exploding population vs. limited natural resources, and the large number of children in orphanages and foster care. Adoption is a far kinder, greener way to go than producing your own crotch fruit. I’m not preaching because I didn’t adopt, I’m just putting it out there. Both of my daughters––thus far, anyway––have decided against having kids. To be honest, I’m fine with that. I don’t want to attach myself emotionally to small children then watch them suffer at the hands of Trump’s policies, environmental and otherwise, the disastrous effects of which will last far beyond his 4-to-8 year reign. I hope I’m wrong, but I suspect the world is at something of a tipping point. I may not live to see the collapse, but babies born now certainly have an excellent chance of doing so.

Olive Oyl and I have one cat, Boo, and one dog, Jemima. Our dog is extremely emotional and has a lot of anxiety issues. Among the things that scare her are wind, people speaking passionately about any topic, cuss words (even when only muttered under the breath), loud trucks, parades, and fireworks. Mexico was not her first choice for relocation because they shoot fireworks and have parades here almost daily. Some weeks are quieter than others, but never do more than a couple of days go by that we don’t hear “bombas” going off somewhere nearby, often right over our house. We’ve already gotten Jemima something called a “Thunder Jacket” and that helps a bit, but we’ve decided to also get her a therapy dog. We hope that she’ll be comforted by having another dog around while we’re gone. This week, an opportunity presented itself to rescue an adorable puppy from the streets of our ‘hood, so look forward to some pics of our new family member soon. I will, however, NOT be posting pictures of food.

Thanks for your attention, Jazz Pickles. I always enjoy our time together. If you want to help support my cartoons and commentary, please have a big ole gander at the suggested ways of doing so below. The four of us at Rancho Bizarro will be most appreciative!


Horse Hat

(Make the smallerness disappear with one-click embiggenation.”)

Today’s Bizarro is brought to you by Creativity.

I’ve long been a person who likes hats. When drawing characters, accessories like hats and clothing add a lot to the information about the character. If you draw a naked person, the only thing that tips off the viewer as to what kind of character he/she might be is the hair. Without clothes, so much is hidden: the era the character is from, their social class, what kind of job they might have, whether they are introverted, extroverted, a dignified person of refined taste or a raving lunatic.

I started wearing hats back in the 90s when my grandfather passed away. When asked by the family if there was anything of Grandpa’s that I’d like to have, I asked for his fedora, which he often wore with the brim flipped up all the way around. I wear mine that way now, too. (The front edge flipped down is too Bing Crosby for my taste.)

The cowboy in this cartoon has found yet another use for a hat and he came by the idea the hard way; it can be quite a shock to the system to get up in the middle of the night to take a leak and walk straight into an invisible horse.

Everyone in their right mind is afraid of bears, as they well should be. We are natural enemies in that they are large, powerful carnivores and we are made almost entirely of meat. By saying that, I do not mean we should wage war on bears, of course. We should just stay out of their way.

In the spring of 2003, I was attending a party in Los Angeles and met a man who had spent more than a decade living among Grizzly bears in Alaska. I chatted with him for about half an hour and found out all about his unusual life and his strange comfort level around these wild animals and how he considered them to literally be personal friends. I thought his dedication to protecting them was admirable, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that it was a catastrophe waiting to happen. A few months later, in October of that same year, he and his girlfriend were killed by a Grizzly at their camp. I didn’t know him very well, of course, but since I had spoken with him only a few months earlier I could not help but feel a kind of chill go up my spine. Werner Herzog later made a movie about it.

Moral of the story: It’s great to love animals and want to protect them from humans. It’s not always great to want to pet them.

Okay, I think I’ve done enough cartoons about the difficulties of couple’s counseling. I worry that people are going to think that Olive Oyl and I are not getting along, which, I’m thrilled to report, is far from true.

BUT…I’ve done a fair amount of couples counseling in the past with various wives and lady partners, and have had mixed experiences. Some of it was super helpful, other encounters were a painful waste of time and money. In retrospect, I have come to see the failed attempts as being the result of attending counseling with the wrong partner and the wrong therapist.

This cartoon sprang from the fact that so many people are selling hand-made stuff online these days. I’ve been trying to find ways to monetize Bizarro with products and such, too, but it is difficult because I don’t have regular characters that people fall in love with and will buy any piece of garbage I slap them onto. If you’re a big Bizarro fan, let me know what kind of products you might like to see. And be as specific as you can.  If you’d buy a T-shirt, would it be just one of my cartoons on a shirt, or would you like to see special art that just says Bizarro and has a cool picture or something? Like one of my title panels. (Here are four examples) Or something completely different? Bizarro dishtowels? Socks? Shivs?

The first part of this caption is from actual commercials about erectile dysfunction. I used to work in the advertising field and found it unappealing on many levels. I’m one of those guys who mutes TV commercials within one second of their appearance and I go quietly nuts when watching TV at someone’s house who doesn’t do that.

I admit that some commercials are authentically funny, but my favorites are the ones that are accidentally funny. Like the one for the online dating service that is only for farmers. (If you’ve not seen it, google it.)

One of the most prominent erectile dysfunction drug companies has one that has had me scratching my head (no pun intended) for years by ending each commercial with an older couple sitting in adjacent bathtubs, holding hands. What? I’ve thought about it for years and still can’t come up with a scenario in which advertising people pitch it to the executives from the boner company and they respond with a thumbs-up. (Except in the scenario where they’ve taken so much of their own product that their thumbs are permanently sticking up.)

I got one piece of hate mail from the cartoon above. A longtime reader said that I was being condescending and that I was better than that. I responded a bit brusquely about the vastly underestimated importance of the press in protecting us from politicians, and then I trashed Fox News and praised the New York Times, Washington Post, and NPR. This didn’t sit well with the reader and he said I’d lost a fan.

Personally, I don’t trust TV news because they are slaves to ratings. As Fox News discovered that fear and terror sells and began to shoot up in the ratings, other networks followed suit and added an unacceptable amount of sensationalism to the news. These days I only trust NPR, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other old, venerable institutions that care more about their reputations than their ratings. Yes, I know people will argue with that view. That’s fine. None of us actually knows what is real and true anymore, if we ever did.

I’ve long used the term “grammar nazi” to describe people (like me) who were good at grammar and spelling in school and were taught that those things are perhaps more important than they actually are, and so they correct others with the best of intentions but less than pleasant results.

But, now that there are Nazi sympathizers in the White House on a daily basis (Bannon at least, probably more) I’ve decided to give up the use of “Nazi” when describing things other than people who sympathize with the tenets of the Nazi party.  This seems to me to be a time when it is not wise to marginalize that moniker with humor. Instead, when referring to pests like myself, I’ve switched to “grammilitia,” which doesn’t have quite the same ring but works pretty well. I’ll conclude by saying though I still believe in the importance of grammar and spelling in many areas, I am embarrassed by the number of times I’ve corrected people and have given up the habit, so this cartoon is self-flagellating.

Thanks for reading this far, Jazz Pickles. I truly appreciate the positive responses and donations I’ve received from readers of late, so thanks for that. As my readership shifts to being primarily online where I don’t get paid for my efforts, I continue to depend more on those of you who enjoy supporting the art and ideas that you enjoy. Here are some easy ways to do that:

You can make a onetime donation or sign up for a monthly contribution through my Tip Jar.  Any amount is appreciated and used for food, shelter, and the causes of good against evil.

Thanks also to those of you who bought one or more copies of my new book! (only $6!)

You could also help support my efforts by purchasing a color print from King Features (from about $25 to $100 framed.) They make your house, trailer, or abandoned van down by the river look much more elegant.

Finally, a limited-edition, signed and numbered, archival fancy schmancy fine art print ($200) or original inked Bizarro panel (more $) from this online art gallery is the perfect gift for yourself or some other lucky fool. All of these things help me keep the gates of Rancho Bizarro open for fun-loving caballeros like you!

Until next week, be happy, be smart, be nice.