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Today’s post is gross and maybe you shouldn’t read it

Marvin, 1/5/13

Marvin is still going all-out with the poop jokes in 2013, in case you’re wondering! Though I think that this might be a first (or at least rare) instance of the strip actually using a variation of the word “poop” in the strip itself. (I was going to go back through my archives looking for varyingly explicit words for feces in the nationally syndicated comic strip Marvin, but then I remembered that I had this last shred of dignity that I was planning on hanging on to for at least another few weeks.)

Anyway, this week’s Marvin has involved Marvin and Bitsy getting stuck outside in a snowstorm, presumably while Marvin’s family celebrates his absence at a fancy restaurant. I’ve been rooting all along for this plot to reach its seemingly obvious dog-eats-baby conclusion, but the crafty Marvin has bought himself some time by making the prospect as disgusting as possible.

Herb and Jamaal and Shoe, 1/5/13

Sorry, Shoe! Herb and Jamaal has won today’s “Hey, I heard a corny old joke from a friend or maybe had it forwarded to me via e-mail, let’s see how awkward it would be turned into comic strip dialogue” contest, and by a substantial margin.

289 responses to “Today’s post is gross and maybe you shouldn’t read it”

  1. Ratiocinator
    January 5th, 2013 at 8:27 am [Reply]

    Josh, I think everybody who reads this blog regularly accept the title of this post as a given whenever they see a Marvin strip featured.

    ASM: When I had my fanboy meltdown, I neglected to mention one other thing about Spidey that writers should know: everybody with super strength can tear his webbing apart, if he waits and lets them. So he really, really shouldn’t be surprised that Kraven is able to do it here. What he should’ve done was web Kraven’s leg and trip him or something…I’m sorry, Newspaper Spider-Man is not only stupid, but it’s annoying enough that it’s compromising my ability to snark half-passably…I need to move on right now…

    FW: “And that’s why I’m overweight.”

    JP: HAHAHAHA, oh Woody Wilson, you kill me man. A Judge Parker protagonist worrying that they can’t afford something!

    RMMD: AAAAHHH! Ugly person in the foreground of the first panel! Big-nosed, underbite-afflicted, and most importantly NO BOOBS! Make it go away! Give us sexy women with boobs, Rex Morgan! That’s what we read you for!

    No, no, NO, don’t show us a sexy woman with boobs who is covering up her boobs with her arm! You’re just toying with your readers now, aren’t you? You’re a cruel, cruel comic strip, Rex Morgan.

    Garfield: This is Liz’s idea of foreplay.

    Foreplay WITH JON, I should clarify, to make things slightly less disturbing.

    Jumble: So does this mean that electricians are Pluggers? (Apologies to any electricians here.)

  2. Monica
    January 5th, 2013 at 8:38 am [Reply]

    @Shoe: “…call, write, fax, text, or e-mail.” Right, because the kids today are all about faxing Mom.

    Shorter, less awkward, and still preserves the punchline (such as it is): “Communications. But apparently she doesn’t know how to contact me by any means…until she needs money.”

  3. lorne
    January 5th, 2013 at 8:38 am [Reply]

    -”Well, it’s time to get back to my bus station at the office.”
    -”Don’t you mean your office at the bus station? Or wait. You don’t work at a bus station, do you? What the hell are you talking about?”
    -”Same result!”
    -”What?”

  4. Droopy Says
    January 5th, 2013 at 8:50 am [Reply]

    Phantom: Kit Walker thinks a cat is stressed out by sleeping. Mark Trail will never outdo that bit of wildlife insanity.

  5. queek, source of Cuteness, Kawaii Commando
    January 5th, 2013 at 8:53 am [Reply]

    A&J: there’s an ap for that?!? (I like the blog repeat today, a LOT.)

    HotC: nice motion effect.

    Lio: lobsters don’t work that way.

    SBp; but, but, Larry and Michael are still alive! (nothing but net!)

    Bizarro: concept win, execution /fail.

    DT: CAPTURED?!? I thought he had been ventilated like a colander.

    GT: on the wings of a snow, white, peacock.

    JP: more free $$$$ for the Parkers! *shocked*

    RMD: Jeremy took off his purple shirt there in panel 1.

    6Cx: *d’aww*

  6. queek, source of Cuteness, Kawaii Commando
    January 5th, 2013 at 8:55 am [Reply]

    Love Is. . . all in the family.

  7. bbofun
    January 5th, 2013 at 8:59 am [Reply]

    FW- That’s the great thing about the stock market- there’s no way to know day-to-day how it’s going. That’s why people never panic about how it’s doing.

    DT- I love this strip, I loved this story- but why did you tease us with the trip to the moon and then act like it didn’t happen? Oh, Dick Tracy- stop playing with my heart!

    GT- “As if I was being carried on the back of a giant peacock!” “Uh- yeah- okay…”

    9CL I don’t know if I should feel smug or dirty that I called this one.

    LUANN- YAY FOR ANN!

    RMMD- “Mingle it up?”

    JP- Hold on- wasn’t one of the things about this whole “elopement” that Randy didn’t know WHEN April would be back? ARRRRGGGHHH! (On the other hand, APRIL! Not quite PEACHES, but I’ll take it.)

  8. bbofun
    January 5th, 2013 at 9:01 am [Reply]

    @queek, source of Cuteness, Kawaii Commando (#5): Re: JP- Technically, “royalties” aren’t free money. Just sayin’.

  9. Not Worth It
    January 5th, 2013 at 9:01 am [Reply]

    H&J: My God, I thought corny old jokes were my forte…. I may not always understand the non-puns in Crankshaft, or the tortured insanity that is Crock, but give me humor that appeared in the 1955 edition of 6,000 Jokes Your Grandparents Tell and I nod knowingly. But this? Is the joke that he just goes to work so that he can hop back on the bus at the end of a long day? Is it a strange pun on “the buck stops here”? What is the “result” they are speaking of?

  10. NuAnn
    January 5th, 2013 at 9:04 am [Reply]

    Fun game: Grab a friend (or just use two voices) and read the dialogue from 9CL aloud. See how far you can get without laughing.

    I’m sure it’s all very dazzling and brilliant in the author’s mind but it has no resemblance to how humans communicate on planet Earth.

  11. Flamedrake
    January 5th, 2013 at 9:06 am [Reply]

    “Time to get back to the joke station!” -Herb and Jamaal, every day.

  12. queek, source of Cuteness, Kawaii Commando
    January 5th, 2013 at 9:14 am [Reply]

    happy puppy. *brainmush*

    toast gradient.

    and he does it SO well!!! (Luscious Malfoy.)(and yes, the spelling is deliberate.)

    sometimes, it’s the simple cosplay that is most effective.

    ocelittle eyes have power as well as Labradoodles do.

    hovercorgi.

    a corgi named Guinness! *gigglez*

  13. Sir Charles
    January 5th, 2013 at 9:16 am [Reply]

  14. Larry Michael & God
    January 5th, 2013 at 9:16 am [Reply]

  15. KreatureFeatures
    January 5th, 2013 at 9:19 am [Reply]

    I loathe Marvin so much that I hate to even snark on it. But I feel obliged to point out that having a clear view of the blue sky is hardly “completely snowed in.”

  16. Voshkod
    January 5th, 2013 at 9:19 am [Reply]

    I’m not sure Marvin’s defensive plan will work. To paraphrase the great canine thinker Satchel, “Cats may have a gross definition of ownership, but dogs have a narrow definition of gross.” The dog may just view it as a marinade.

  17. Calvin's Cardboard Box
    January 5th, 2013 at 9:21 am [Reply]

    @bbofun (#8):

    In fact, we’ve established that it took the judge two whole weeks to write the book, while lying on the beach during a previous vacation! The life of an author isn’t all wine and royalties!

  18. bad wolf
    January 5th, 2013 at 9:21 am [Reply]

    Wow, Shoe, you’re only a week behind Funky’s Cayla telling essentially the same joke too, except Funky needed most of a week to do it.

  19. Not Worth It
    January 5th, 2013 at 9:21 am [Reply]

    @bbofun (#8): They are too, according to a mailing I recently got that screamed “Barak Obama’s Secret Income Source…. And How You Can Get in on It!” Turned out the ‘secret’ source was that he wrote two best-sellers, and the publishers are still sending him money. How you can get in on it without actually writing anything seemed to be by sending a bunch of money to the mailers, who would use it to… buy shares in books, I think?

  20. Not Worth It
    January 5th, 2013 at 9:22 am [Reply]

    @Voshkod (#16): My dog would definitely eat the poop and leave the baby. Maybe that’s the clever plan?

  21. btown
    January 5th, 2013 at 9:25 am [Reply]

    MW: Dill: I usually work alone on my cakes.
    Mary: This time you won’t

    Luann: In contrast with the typical second-grade level of Luann plot developments, this week’s are positively third-grade!

  22. Baka Gaijin
    January 5th, 2013 at 9:25 am [Reply]

    @bbofun (#7) on Dick Tracy: Don’t worry. The “Moon Maid” will bubble up to the surface again like it’s been doing periodically since autumn started like a recurrent case of herpes.

    @Voshkod (#16): I was wondering that too. Diaper Genies are to dogs like breadboxes are to humans.

  23. Liam
    January 5th, 2013 at 9:28 am [Reply]

    MW-These sort of contests are based on the judge’s opinion. The only way to sway their opinion is to bribe them.

  24. Raghead the Fiendly Neighbourhood Terrorist
    January 5th, 2013 at 9:30 am [Reply]

    In the Luannverse, Ann is evil because she outsmarted the con man, who wanted her to resign because…he wanted her to resign.

    She’s Eeeevil. Greg Evans said so.

  25. gleeb
    January 5th, 2013 at 9:34 am [Reply]

    ‘shaft: An old man can think of nothing but his crippling flatulense, and it’s funny!

    ‘bean: Wall Street? You mean the numbers-obsessed financial sector, served by countless teevee stations, live data feeds, and other sources of information, updated every day of the year? You see, this is why Mrs Too-Dull-For-Me-To-Remember-Her-Name Winkerbean never gets to speak. She’s too much of an idiot, even in a world that has Owen in it.

    Bliss: Red and Rover, the later years.

    Curtis: I’ve been reading these things for too many years to think it would be as easy as a witch being stabbed in the neck by a bush baby bearing a poisoned dart.

    Dick: Fine, it’s Saturday. But starting tomorrow, we better start looking for Moon Maid.

    H&L: None of which explains to Hi how the hell he got into their house.

  26. gleeb
    January 5th, 2013 at 9:35 am [Reply]

    Flatulence. I’ve got to start having breakfast before doing this.

  27. Holly Folly
    January 5th, 2013 at 9:39 am [Reply]

    If they are not inside the house, where are Bitsy and Marvin? Is that the garage? Just don’t say that they are in Bitsy’s dog house. That would be really, really weird.

  28. Ned Ryerson
    January 5th, 2013 at 9:42 am [Reply]

    H&J: “The bus station called. They’re running out of you!”

  29. Arabella
    January 5th, 2013 at 9:44 am [Reply]

    Drabble: Honeybunch is having symptoms of a pre-heart-attack, while Ralph makes mental fat jokes? This strip is getting dark.

    Luann: Is TJ too dumb to have made a back-up? Is Ann too dumb to think that TJ may have made a back-up? Is TJ too dumb to realize that Ann picked his pocket? Who will be the dumbest? The suspense is kil…..zzzzzzz

  30. Danel
    January 5th, 2013 at 9:48 am [Reply]

    @Not Worth It (#9): I’m guessing the original joke is one of those wry roundrobin observation that can at best make you quietly go “Heh” – something along the lines of “If a bus station is where buses stop, what does that make a workstation?”.

    They’ve managed to make a fairly poor joke and make it simultaneously awful and incomprehensible. It’s almost an accomplishment.

    Coming soon – puns around how you park on a driveway and drive on a parkway, and exchanges about how a duck’s quack is the only thing not to echo.

  31. Chareth Cutestory
    January 5th, 2013 at 9:58 am [Reply]

    Herb and Jamaal: “Bus station… don’t you mean workstation?” “No actually, my office just smells like hobo piss.”

  32. nescio
    January 5th, 2013 at 9:59 am [Reply]

    Shoe: Really, you couldn’t work a reference to tweeting in here? You’re killing me. Killing me.

  33. Horace Broon
    January 5th, 2013 at 10:01 am [Reply]

    DT: Don’t kid yourself, Broadway’s brother; you don’t have an archenemy. The costumed superhero from your city only bothers with you when the scarred guy who looks a bit like a clown is locked up in the insane asylum that inmates are always escaping from named after a town from HP Lovecraft.

  34. Arabella
    January 5th, 2013 at 10:06 am [Reply]

    @Arabella (#29): Wha..? Whoops, dozed off there for a minute. Should I have said “dumber” since we have two possibilities of dumbness? But if you add in the readers, there’s more than two. So it’s OK. Never mind.

  35. Liam
    January 5th, 2013 at 10:07 am [Reply]

    Marvin-Bitsy is recoiling in terror at the thought of having to eat the shit from Marvin’s diaper and then having to lick Marvin clean.

  36. Illustrator Steve
    January 5th, 2013 at 10:09 am [Reply]

    MT – That’s it, Mark, WHIP IT! WHIP IT GOOD!

  37. Nehemiah Scudder
    January 5th, 2013 at 10:09 am [Reply]

    @bats :[ (#y100): That little fish skeleton icon is a beautiful touch!

  38. Liam
    January 5th, 2013 at 10:10 am [Reply]

    Herb and Jamaal-”Nope, I mean bus station. I’m in the third stall from the left if you need anything.”

  39. Liam
    January 5th, 2013 at 10:11 am [Reply]

    MT-I can imagine the tale Mark will tell when he gets and when he gets to this part Rusty will want to be taught how to do the same thing and Mark will promise that he will teach Rusty as soon as he comes back from some other adventure.

  40. Greg
    January 5th, 2013 at 10:14 am [Reply]

    Marvin: Yes, but don’t dogs eat shit anyway? So… what’s the problem? Lassie there can just lap away at Marvin’s creamy diaper and then they can get on with their day….

    Just thought I’d up the grossness.

  41. Illustrator Steve
    January 5th, 2013 at 10:14 am [Reply]

    MT – Mark decides he must LURE Juan into dropping the money.

  42. Santa Royale With Cheese
    January 5th, 2013 at 10:17 am [Reply]

    JP: Just to clarify, the “royalty” check wasn’t for anything the judge had written or produced. He gets a check at convenient intervals for being actual royalty.

    JP 2: Oh sure, they’re living hand-to-mouth until.. dun dun DUNNNN… a whopping royalty check gives them some mad money!

  43. Zerowolf
    January 5th, 2013 at 10:17 am [Reply]

    Is “Baking With Beige” a special cookbook used in all the comic strips?

  44. Zerowolf
    January 5th, 2013 at 10:21 am [Reply]

    GT: Judging from the eyes, crystal meth is that reason.

  45. Illustrator Steve
    January 5th, 2013 at 10:21 am [Reply]

    MT – (Two years later, Mark finally stops by his cabin to briefly say hi to his family):
    “Hi family!”
    “Hi Mark, how was the bonefishing trip?”
    “Well, I never did catch any bonefish, but I did snag an old rifle and a Latino guy named Juan.”
    “That’s nice, Mark. HOW is Bill Ellis?”
    “Bill? ….Oh shi.! I KNEW I forgot something on that island!”
    “Island??”
    “Ummm, yeah, well, goodbye folks. Gotta run!”

  46. Zerowolf
    January 5th, 2013 at 10:31 am [Reply]

    RMMD: Is that Charlie Watts in the first panel?

  47. lynn
    January 5th, 2013 at 10:31 am [Reply]

    Curtis: “Basic Elements” – isn’t that a line of sheets at Sears?
    Meanwhile, in beautiful Milwaukee, today’s headline on the front page of the Journal Sentinal: “Judge oks use of dogs to hunt wolves.” memo to self: do not go out for walk after dark.
    //The Milwaukee Journal Sentinal has three pages of comics! Two pages of news, but three pages of comics!

  48. pugfuggly
    January 5th, 2013 at 10:32 am [Reply]

    Marvin Wasn’t there an old riddle about what happens when an unstoppable wave of steaming shit meets an immovable snow wall? No?

    On a related note, I had read somewhere that the human species’ tendency to defecate when scared was actually an evolutionary advantage: large paleolithic predators were supposedly put off by homonids who had befouled themselves in terror and look for less offensive-smelling prey to feed on. So i guess what I’m saying is, I hope it’s too cold for Bitsy to smell anything when it comes to deciding how to weather this little situation.

    H&J Does Herb suffer from kind of mental defect that makes him yell out definitions of locations brought up in conversation, like some kind of automated dictionary android?

    “Well, time to head back to the bus station…”
    “A BUS STOP IS A PLACE WHERE BUSES COME TO A STOP!”
    “Uh, yeah, ok….maybe I’ll just go to the washroom fir-”
    “A WASHROOM IS A PLACE WHERE PEOPLE GO TO EXCRETE WASTE!”
    “Jeeez, guy, did you just break out of the funny farm?”
    “A ‘FUNNY FARM’ IS A EUPHEMISM FOR AN INSANE ASYLUM WHICH IS A PLACE WHERE THE MENTALLY ILL ARE TREATED. HUMOUR DETECTED! STAND BY FOR SMUG GRIN!”

  49. lynn
    January 5th, 2013 at 10:33 am [Reply]

    @pugfuggly (#48): “what happens when an unstoppable wave of steaming shit meets an immovable snow wall” – wasn’t that a Cole Porter song?

  50. Mibbitmaker
    January 5th, 2013 at 10:33 am [Reply]

    Marvin: As they’ve said in MST3K more than once: Oh, poopy!

    H&J: THE FW SMIRK!!! NO, NOT THE FW SMIRK! ANYTHING BUT THE FW SMIRK!!! WHY? DEAR GOD, WHY?!!!!! (sobbing)

    Shoe: “Y’know, blah blah blah, something about mobsters killing her and her family if she doesn’t come up with the cash, blah blah blah…. you know these kids nowadays…”

  51. Zerowolf
    January 5th, 2013 at 10:34 am [Reply]

    JP: Don’t worry we can afford it. After all we are Parker-Spencer-Drivers, pigeons shit gold coins on our heads.

  52. TheDiva
    January 5th, 2013 at 10:34 am [Reply]

    @queek, source of Cuteness, Kawaii Commando (#12): Luscious is right. Dayam.

    Marvin: Well, when the dog devours Marvin in order to stave off starvation, he’ll just have to eat him from the waist up.

  53. Adam
    January 5th, 2013 at 10:35 am [Reply]

    At long last can’t you just say “diaper,” trusting longtime Marvin connoisseurs to fill in the blanks? Oh, no, you’re trying to catch up your new readers? Then good job keeping it “fresh.”

  54. TheDiva
    January 5th, 2013 at 10:51 am [Reply]

    9CL: It’s okay to break a promise if you come up with a stupid, convoluted excuse for it.

    A3G: What, you couldn’t waste ten seconds to draw some stippling on the clip art for a “foam mustache”?

    Curtis: Ah-ha, I KNEW it was too early to be wrapping up the Krazy! (Now it’s Maya’s turn to ask the singing antelope and flaming orangutan for help!)

    FW: “I’ve found it’s easier to ignore my inevitable decay as much as possible.”

    Luann: YES!!!!

    MT: Da da-da-daaaaaaa, da da-daaaaaa….

    MW: “It’ll be good for you to get feedback”=”Don’t even THINK of placing a single frosting rose without my permission!”

    Plugger: Well, since your senior year of high school lasts only one year, and your senior years of life can last fifteen years or more, that kind of…oh, forget it.

    SM: So Spider-Man’s webbing is as useless as the rest of him.

  55. pugfuggly
    January 5th, 2013 at 10:56 am [Reply]

    @lynn (#49):

    Johnny Mercer, I believe. Fred Astaire opted not to sing that particular verse, but Mel Torme was more than willing once he had a few drinks in him.

  56. Jeff
    January 5th, 2013 at 11:02 am [Reply]

    That Marvin strip is similar to an episode of Family Guy where Brian (a dog) and Stewie (a baby) get trapped in a bank vault. I really hope they don’t copy Family Guy’s resolution to the diaper situation.

  57. queek, source of Cuteness, Kawaii Commando
    January 5th, 2013 at 11:08 am [Reply]

    this thread is reason enough to ban Marvin from the newspapers, intertubes and all other forms of communication.

  58. Liam
    January 5th, 2013 at 11:17 am [Reply]

    A3G-”It’s just open a packet of instant coco and add water nothing special.”

  59. Ratiocinator
    January 5th, 2013 at 11:19 am [Reply]

    @Greg (#40): I’m sorry Greg, but I don’t think anything anybody can say could possibly top Baka Gaijin’s line at #22 for grossness:

    “Diaper Genies are to dogs like breadboxes are to humans.”

    I’ve owned a dog so I know what they’re capable of eating, but I have never raised a baby while also having a dog so I did not know about that.

    That visual will nauseate me for the rest of my days.

  60. Liam
    January 5th, 2013 at 11:25 am [Reply]

    MW-Dill, Dill, Dill, when you work with Mary Worth you don’t work with Mary Worth you work for Mary Worth.

  61. Liam
    January 5th, 2013 at 11:28 am [Reply]

    MW-”Who’s shit filled diaper do I have to eat to get a drink around here?”

  62. sully
    January 5th, 2013 at 11:39 am [Reply]

    How come the shit machine and the dog can hear each other’s thoughts?

  63. Mibbitmaker
    January 5th, 2013 at 11:43 am [Reply]

    BBlues: They do not hear that! They just really, really want something. Jerks! (meaning Kirkman and Scott)

    Luann: That felt satisfying! Less satisfying: the fact that we’re supposed to be outraged. Which makes me feel outraged!

    MW: You can really tell Mary owns him now: He’s grown a FOREHEAD VAGINA! EW! EW! EW! EW! EW! EW! EW! EW! EEEEWWWWWWW!!! The mark of Mary! (ew)

  64. Arabella
    January 5th, 2013 at 11:51 am [Reply]

    ~gorge rising~ See you folks tomorrow!

  65. greghousesgf
    January 5th, 2013 at 11:52 am [Reply]

    @pugfuggly (#55): and Frank Sinatra had to be bribed NOT to sing that verse.

  66. Mr K Martin
    January 5th, 2013 at 11:52 am [Reply]

    MARVIN: Eat him anyway, Bitsy! EAT HIM ANYWAY! As for the poop, if you’re a real dog you eat that in the back yard anyway.

  67. pugfuggly
    January 5th, 2013 at 11:55 am [Reply]

    @sully (#62):

    Like a lot of wild animals, they communicate primarily by smell. To be honest, though, most of their conversations are one-way.

  68. pugfuggly
    January 5th, 2013 at 11:59 am [Reply]

  69. Nehemiah Scudder
    January 5th, 2013 at 12:01 pm [Reply]

    @NuAnn (#10): Fun game: Grab a friend (or just use two voices) and read the dialogue from 9CL aloud. See how far you can get without laughing.

    I’m sure it’s all very dazzling and brilliant in the author’s mind but it has no resemblance to how humans communicate on planet Earth.

    I hate having to always be the one defending McE., but that isn’t a valid criticism. If it is consistent within the author’s fictional world, that is enough. Try that experiment with some dialogue of Shakespeare, or Dickens, or Agatha Christie. See? That’s not real in your world, either. It is real in its own world, perhaps a world of the past, perhaps one totally fictional. Whether it works or not is a different question.

    // Great Cthulhu forgive me! I just compared Brooke McEldowney with… no, I can’t say it again.

  70. Mibbitmaker
    January 5th, 2013 at 12:03 pm [Reply]

    MST3Kwanzaa 12-131/5/13

    P1
    CROW: “She had a heart?!”
    MIKE: “Her form, however, was twisted into a shapeless mass right to the end.”
    SERVO: “Oh, yuck! She’s naked! The ugly, disgusting witch is NAKED!” (sobs)

    P2
    MIKE: “Free? …or trapped inside of a busted toenail?!”
    SERVO: “Debatable as to whether ‘together forever’ is truly free, of course.”
    CROW: “Also, traumatized by the sight of someone they just killed dying right in front of them.”

    P3
    SERVO: “Rose….. bud…..”
    CROW: “‘Basic elements’ describes Billingsley’s writing style.”

    P4
    MIKE: “Trio? I only see two of them.”
    SERVO: “The monkey got out while the getting was good — wouldn’t you?”
    MIKE: “Bush baby.”
    SERVO: “Bush baby.”
    CROW: Oh, leave it to Joan Rivers back there to ruin everything in the end!”
    SERVO: “If she ends up being ‘plain’, and it’s all, ‘ooh, I love you anyway’, LESSON LEARNED, I’m gonna crawl all the way down the umbilicus and strangle Dr. Forrester!!!”
    MIKE: “Uh, your arms aren’t operab–”
    SERVO: “SHUT UP, MIKE, SHUT UP!!!”
    CROW: “I know we’re supposed to hate Ms. Yahna, but, man, I really HATE her!”

  71. Nehemiah Scudder
    January 5th, 2013 at 12:05 pm [Reply]

    Andy Capp: That would work! I bought a nice large, sturdy “wheelie bin” as a present for my wife, Xmas before last. (Yes, I am a romantic.) We stenciled it with our address, and put it out in the alley with our other trash cans. It was stolen within the week. The thief left the lid behind. I wondered why anyone would steal a trash can without the lid. Now I know. He was merely helping some inebriated friend home.

    // I’m glad to help my neighbors, but I wish they’d bring the bin back some time. I’ve saved the lid.

    Nancy: So, I’ve never been a big Nancy fan. Even as a kid I thought it was lame. But I picked up a copy of The Best of Ernie Bushmiller’s Nancy at the used bookshop the other day ($3.83!), and I have to say that ol’ Ernie had something going there. At least he always managed to get some kind of gag into every strip, and so far as I can tell, never indulged in glurge.

    Ziggy: I don’t know. If a fellow wearing a shirt and cap, but no pants, promises to behave himself, should you believe him?

    Zippy: ♫ You can learn a lot from Pierce! ♫

  72. Nehemiah Scudder
    January 5th, 2013 at 12:06 pm [Reply]

    @Nehemiah Scudder (#71): NOT Zippy!!! Zits!

    // How many times have I had that horrible dream?

  73. Clint Brawny
    January 5th, 2013 at 12:17 pm [Reply]

    @Holly Folly (#27):

    They’re in Bitsy’s dog house.

  74. Nehemiah Scudder
    January 5th, 2013 at 12:18 pm [Reply]

    @Clint Brawny (#73): Bitsy’s dog house has TARDIS-like qualities, no?

  75. GeoGreg
    January 5th, 2013 at 12:26 pm [Reply]

    @Illustrator Steve (#36):

    MT – That’s it, Mark, WHIP IT! WHIP IT GOOD!

    Q: Are we not MEN? A: We are OTTO!

  76. survivor
    January 5th, 2013 at 12:27 pm [Reply]

    Welcome to another exciting edition of ‘Herb and Jamaal’s Old Jokes Explained After a Traumatic Brain Injury’

    “So someone by the name of Boo came knocking on my door yesterday.”
    “A common reaction to a door knock is to ask who it is.”
    “Did you ask for their last name?”
    “That’s what I did!”

    Tune in next week for more botched cornball entertainment in ‘Herb and Jamaal’s Old Jokes Explained After a Traumatic Brain Injury’!

  77. sully
    January 5th, 2013 at 12:44 pm [Reply]

    @pugfuggly (#67): But if they communicate by stink, which makes about as much sense as anything else in that lousy strip, why is the dog’s mouth open as if he is talking? And if he is talking, why is there a ‘thought bubble’ above his head? Come to think of it, why am I wasting precious seconds of my life even bothering to ask?

  78. Baka Gaijin
    January 5th, 2013 at 12:48 pm [Reply]

    @Ned Ryerson (#28): Hee hee.

    @Greg (#40): Mission accomplished. Disgusting as it is, mission accomplished.

    @pugfuggly (#48) on Herb and Jamaal: I thought it was more of a patented Herb and Jamaal generic Tourettes.

  79. Joshua
    January 5th, 2013 at 12:56 pm [Reply]

    Shoe: To Cassatt and Brookins, here is how you should have told the joke in today’s strip.

    Stephanie: “My daughter’s in college, but I can never get her to call or write or e-mail or text me.”

    Roz: “Well, maybe she’s really busy with classes. What’s her major?”

    Stephanie: “Communications!”

  80. Baka Gaijin
    January 5th, 2013 at 12:58 pm [Reply]

    @Ratiocinator (#59): Sorry about that. I thought that was common knowledge.

    @Mibbitmaker (#63) on Mary Worth: You can’t unsee that. You really can’t. It’s like the 2012 Summer Olympics logo for London. You can’t unsee Lisa Simpson on her knees giving head once you’ve been told about it.

  81. Will
    January 5th, 2013 at 1:01 pm [Reply]

    MW: Mary’s going to meddle him right into last place.
    Curtis: I wonder if Spiny Edidna will dissolve into a bunch of crystals like the crew of the USS Exeter on the Star Trek episode “The Omega Glory.”

  82. endless sky
    January 5th, 2013 at 1:16 pm [Reply]

    Love is…knitting in the nude! Don’t catch up any stray hairs….OUCH!

  83. Calico
    January 5th, 2013 at 1:19 pm [Reply]

    RMMD – WHAT is that thing in panel 1? Yikes!

  84. Beetle Bumstead
    January 5th, 2013 at 1:26 pm [Reply]

    @toomanywhohavepointedouttheobvious
    If Marvin gets elevated from poop jokes to interspecies coprophagia, you have nobody but yourselves to blame. Is that what you really want?

  85. Liam
    January 5th, 2013 at 1:26 pm [Reply]

    Luann-”Might I offer you our extra large weeine, sir, while you wait for directions to a better comic strip.”

  86. Sequitur
    January 5th, 2013 at 1:33 pm [Reply]

    @queek, source of Cuteness, Kawaii Commando (#57):

    this thread is reason enough to ban Marvin from the newspapers, intertubes and all other forms of communication.

    How ’bout we give him to Crankshaft to take care of?

  87. Liam
    January 5th, 2013 at 1:36 pm [Reply]

    RMMD-”There they are. Kill. I say kill.”

  88. tallyHO
    January 5th, 2013 at 1:40 pm [Reply]

    @pugfuggly (#68):

    Danke.

    I knew some of those things but there’s a lot to the six phrases, expressions, words. It is filled with interesting tidbits and I was left longing for more. Oh well, there’s the rest of the internet and there’s Reverend Scudder.

    As a person who hates* both the word “meme” and probably cringes when people rely on certain cliches, like the Zippy example in that article**, it is nice to read. Plus, The Yellow Kid was revived? By gum, by gosh, by golly! That’s a spicy meatball!

    oh noes! i’ve become that which I hate! now i must punch my self in the mug!

    *hateshateshates!
    **me wanna do block-knocking off punching! no comic strip has the right to make me wanna do dat! damn you, zippy!

  89. The Thing in Panel 1
    January 5th, 2013 at 1:42 pm [Reply]

    @Calico (#83): Excuse me, I seem to be lost. Can someone direct me to the Curtis Kwanzaa strip?

  90. Downpuppy
    January 5th, 2013 at 2:11 pm [Reply]

    @bbofun (#7): The whole “it was just a dream” thing is one of those conventional plots that Could.never.happen (without pharmaceutical assistance). So I called 9CL too, but feel only a slight relief that it didn’t go 100% moron.

  91. Mr. Fibuli
    January 5th, 2013 at 2:18 pm [Reply]

    I saw an episode of Magnum, PI where TC talked about Kwanzaa and I thought, “Gee, I didn’t know that Kwanzaa was a thing in 1984.” I looked it up and it turns out that it’s been around since the sixties. And now you know!

  92. [Old Man] Muffaroo
    January 5th, 2013 at 2:53 pm [Reply]

    Beetle – Oh, sure. As if Beetle and Sarge ever “go straight.”

    Snuffy – Lukey’s last name is Hinks. I just put this in here in case I’m ever desperate and misguided enough to google “Lukey’s last name.” You’re welcome, future self, but jeez! get a life.

    Curtis – So they disintegrated, and all that was left of them was “DNA.” Which goes on forever. Kwanzaa miracle. The end.

  93. [Old Man] Muffaroo
    January 5th, 2013 at 2:54 pm [Reply]

    Heathcliff“I’ve always said you look delicious.”
    a) Meaning… terrible, unprintable brain-bleachworthy thoughts of fish sex?
    b) They’re facing death together with one last heavy-hearted quip?
    c) The fish is trying to sell out its partner by suggesting that it’s the more delicious of the two?
    d) Profit?

    Hi – Close your window, Thirsty. The booze is giving you a false sense of warmth, and you’ll die soon. Well. Don’t let me tell you what to do. You’re your own guy.

  94. [Old Man] Muffaroo
    January 5th, 2013 at 2:55 pm [Reply]

    Mark – Just be glad Mark’s not fly fishing, Otto, or that’d be your zipper getting yanked down.

    Momma – So this is what Rose Gumbo eventually becomes. Even the birds are contemptuous.

    Nancy – Fritzi needs a special kind of man. One who doesn’t mind wide-faced, thick-browed, elf-eared sob sisters with steel-belted radial haircuts. Dear god in heaven.

  95. [Old Man] Muffaroo
    January 5th, 2013 at 2:56 pm [Reply]

    @Nehemiah Scudder (#y78): The only circus I ever went to was a dog circus. I’m not sure there were any clowns in it.

    @tallyHO (#y89): Actually, a guy I was in some shows with moved to NYC, and I heard that he’d auditioned for, and been accepted into, a Blue Man traveling troupe. I can’t find it in his resumé, though, and every time I look him up, he’s doing a show in New York, so I just dunno. If anybody could, it’d be him. When he was 17, I happened to see him on the deserted stage, practicing some small movement from one of his numbers, and I realized I was looking at a future professional.

  96. [Old Man] Muffaroo
    January 5th, 2013 at 2:57 pm [Reply]

    @queek, source of Cuteness, Kawaii Commando (#12): Geez, they waste a whole piece of bread for every exposure? Haven’t they heard of toast strips?

    @Joshua (#79): I dunno. Now I can’t read those words without seeing it illustrated by MAD’s least mad artist, Dave Berg. (And by “least mad,” I mean his drawing style. Mentally, he could maybe out-bark a yappy dog.)

    Marfield – Asked to comment on today’s thread, Bitsy the dog just grinned. A certain sort of grin.

  97. Chip Whittle
    January 5th, 2013 at 2:57 pm [Reply]

    So everyone else is just fine with Mark Trail going four days without blurting aloud whatever’s going through his head? If he starts thinking to himself he might just have an emotion and I don’t want to clean up that mess.

  98. Aviatrix
    January 5th, 2013 at 3:00 pm [Reply]

    @Dale (Y97): That detail would be frightfully difficult to miss.

  99. Peanut Gallery
    January 5th, 2013 at 3:03 pm [Reply]

    RMMD – By the looks of everyone except Rex and June, I’d say the acid has kicked in already.

    SFx – Yay for the nerd’s-eye-view of sport!

    ZiggyCarry On Ziggy was easily the least popular of the Carry On films.

  100. Lenoxus
    January 5th, 2013 at 3:06 pm [Reply]

    This H&J is like a “howdunit” mystery, but instead of figuring out how a crime was committed, the reader is meant to extrapolate the trajectory of this shattered mess backwards into the original joke (the joke being what Daniel said in #30). The best humor always makes us think. Okay, that’s the only defense I can think of.

    I might have actually laughed if the line were literally “My workstation has the same result, but with respect to work rather than buses!” Thus explaining the joke to the point of metahumor. But I say that just because I never metahumor I didn’t like.

  101. Amos Snarkadder, CQB
    January 5th, 2013 at 3:11 pm [Reply]

    Cranked brainstem “Internal pressure always makes me blink.”
    Hmm… sounds like that might be increased intracranial pressure. Could lead to a stroke. You really should get that checked out at the ER. But don’t worry, you’ll be fine.

  102. Sequitur
    January 5th, 2013 at 3:14 pm [Reply]

    @Peanut Gallery (#99): Some may prefer the Carrion Ziggy.

  103. NuAnn
    January 5th, 2013 at 3:16 pm [Reply]

    @Nehemiah Scudder (#69): The thing is, the strip wasn’t always like this. At one point it was a pretty funny coming-of-age thing. If we want to say that ever since Edda met a unicorn that we stepped straight into Planet Fetish-O-Tron then fine, but it’s wrong to act like this strip has always been a ludicrous exercise in perversions with submissive men lavishing ridiculous praise upon busty nymphomaniacs.

    Shakespeare and Dickens creates art. McE created fetish porn barely hidden under a dumb person’s idea of witty banter.

  104. Calico
    January 5th, 2013 at 3:21 pm [Reply]

    @queek, source of Cuteness, Kawaii Commando (#12):
    Now here’s some serious toast gradient (warning – song make cause lachrymal secretions, depending on mood):
    Music starts at :12 or so
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IkYfB1C0Zgc

  105. Amos Snarkadder, CQB
    January 5th, 2013 at 3:22 pm [Reply]

    A3G Ha! Margo forgot to wax. Everywhere.

    FC And when it got hot, really, really HOT, they moved into a pair of red six-inch stiletto heels.

  106. Calico
    January 5th, 2013 at 3:25 pm [Reply]

    @Amos Snarkadder, CQB (#101):
    Yes, let’s keep in mind what to do in case of stroke – the FAST principle:

    F (check face)
    A (check arms)
    S (speech)
    T (time – act as quickly as possible)

    On the other hand, with CS’s family, forget it.

  107. Rana the Pedantic Wet Blanket
    January 5th, 2013 at 3:28 pm [Reply]

    @NuAnn (#103): I’m convinced that the downslide began when McE decided to free himself from the “tyranny” of editorial oversight so his genius could fly free.

    //And I’m not just saying this because I sometimes wear an editor’s hat professionally.

  108. Calico
    January 5th, 2013 at 3:29 pm [Reply]

    @Amos Snarkadder, CQB (#105):
    I was going to say earlier, Dolly, Blahniks are definitely not for you, and they never will be.

    H&L – Thirsty’s bare legs make me want to vomit. No pricey heels for him either.

  109. Amos Snarkadder, CQB
    January 5th, 2013 at 3:32 pm [Reply]

    MT So now Mark is a fisher of men.
    Ahem. I’d like a few exegetical remarks from Pastor Dan on this one, please.
    Padre?

    @Calico (#106): Okay, lessee:
    Face – yep, he has one;
    Arms – one, two, both there;
    Speech – when has he ever made sense?
    Time – tick… tick… tick… tick… tick…

  110. Nehemiah Scudder
    January 5th, 2013 at 3:33 pm [Reply]

    @[Old Man] Muffaroo (#92): Lukey’s last name is Hinks.

    I thought of making some sort of note of the fact, but you performed the public service already. At least I can double the chance of our future selves getting a hit on that search.

  111. Aviatrix
    January 5th, 2013 at 3:33 pm [Reply]

    MT: I’m no fishing expert, but I see the thing on the end of Mark’s line, the plug with three hooks dangling off it. Surely that’s a trolling lure, not a casting lure?

    @pugfuggly (#48): Or perhaps it’s easier to run away after relieving yourself of a load. And the mostly digested remains of whatever you ate yesterday might serve as a distraction to your predator. Or at least deprive them of a marinade.

    @TheDiva (#54):

    MW: “It’ll be good for you to get feedback”=”Don’t even THINK of placing a single frosting rose without my permission!”

    If the ‘beauty of nature’ contest is won by roses piped from an icing tip , I’m going to smash someone’s face into that cake.

  112. bats :[
    January 5th, 2013 at 3:34 pm [Reply]

    @Nehemiah Scudder (#37): and all sorts of thanks go to Bob Weber, Jr. (Slylock’s dad), for it!

  113. Artist formerly known as Ben
    January 5th, 2013 at 3:37 pm [Reply]

    Marvin: And that’s when Bitsy decided to garrote himself with his collar.

    H&J: “Ha! They pay me for doing nothing. Suck it, peons!”

    Pluggers: What the hell is a Joy Club anyway? A Joy Luck Club, but less Chinese-y?

    MW: By “ready when the time comes,” I’m assuming Mary means ready to kill another contestant, a
    judge, or whomever Mary says.

    9CL: If I were Amos Edda’s wall of text would have put me to sleep for real. You can reverse the names,
    too.

    JP: Katherine speaks boldly. Nothing without nine or ten figures will come close to stunning her husband.

    RMMD: In the first panel we see the effects of a long term near-starvation diet on a Neanderthal.

    H&L: Irma’s in a coconut bra and grass skirt, which is cool with Hi. Or it would be, if it weren’t an apparent come-on to a threesome with Thirsty. Ergo Hi = LET ME OUT OF HERE!

    GT: “The lighter part may be because of this great coffee and bran muffin that made me…”
    “This interview is over.”

    DtM: So this is from an “Annie Hall” remake with Joey in the Tony Roberts role, right?

    Momma: Sonia thinks she can fly, apparently. That medication of hers is going to have another warning on it soon.

    M-Dawg: A, so there’s a pack of dogs chasing down and eating the soccer team. This is the kind of bloodsport that Phil Hitler demands.

    A3G: Greg maintains a stiff upper lip even while kissing. He’s really going method on this British secret agent role.

  114. bats :[
    January 5th, 2013 at 3:39 pm [Reply]

    @Jeff (#56): I saw (some of) that episode a few days ago. Is it safe to taunt Armstrong with “Family Guy did it!” now?

  115. Artist formerly known as Ben
    January 5th, 2013 at 3:41 pm [Reply]

    @Joshua (#79): Cassatt and Brookins don’t want to make those readers who can’t tell a joke feel bad about themselves. Or maybe there’s another explanation.

  116. A Smirch Unheeded, Deacon
    January 5th, 2013 at 3:42 pm [Reply]

    @Amos Snarkadder, CQB (#109): As the Rt. Ven. Dan is apparently offline, Reverend Scudder asked me to address this: It was Simon and his brother Andrew who were invited to become fishers of men. Mark just recorded it (Mark 1:16-17).

    But perhaps that was what inspired Mark Trail, eh? Sinners in the Hands of an Angry Fly Fisherman! There’s an idea for a sermon!

  117. Artist formerly known as Ben
    January 5th, 2013 at 3:43 pm [Reply]

    @pugfuggly (#48): Oh God, you mean Herb is from one of those inane bing.com ads? That makes a kind of sense.

  118. fluffy
    January 5th, 2013 at 3:50 pm [Reply]

    So if Bitsy is just thinking thoughts (that evil psychic baby Marvin can somehow hear), why are his lips and teeth moving?

    Have I just put too much thought into Marvin?

  119. Artist formerly known as Ben
    January 5th, 2013 at 3:50 pm [Reply]

    @Ratiocinator (#1):

    Garfield: This is Liz’s idea of foreplay.

    Foreplay WITH JON, I should clarify, to make things slightly less disturbing.

    Yeah, that would be a pretty narrow Rule 34 group. I hope.

  120. Amos Snarkadder, CQB
    January 5th, 2013 at 3:51 pm [Reply]

    @A Smirch Unheeded, Deacon (#116):

    Sinners in the Hands of an Angry Fly Fisherman! There’s an idea for a sermon!

    Aye! Sure to set the Brethren aquiver.

  121. Alex
    January 5th, 2013 at 3:53 pm [Reply]

    The wording in Herb and Jamaal baffled me so much I wondered if it was actually an IT joke (stopped buses and whatnot). But that’s probably expecting too much in a strip where the closest thing to modern technology is the occassional appearance of the Starfleet insignia.

    As for Luann: You know, if my paper were to abruptly stop carrying the strip after today and Ann’s triumph marked the last thing I would ever see of it, I’d be ok with that.

  122. Amos Snarkadder, CQB
    January 5th, 2013 at 3:54 pm [Reply]

    @Liam (#58):

    A3G-”It’s just open a packet of instant coco and add water nothing special.”

    But shaken, not stirred.

  123. Baka Gaijin
    January 5th, 2013 at 3:57 pm [Reply]

  124. Liam
    January 5th, 2013 at 4:02 pm [Reply]

    Marvin-Translation: “Change me or I’m going to gut you and use your intestines for a fresh pair of diapers.”

    Gil Thorp-So you would say that you felt ‘light in the loafers’.

    Luann-”Now watch how the board moves behind us and to the side of us.”

  125. Nehemiah Scudder, amateur nitpicker
    January 5th, 2013 at 4:34 pm [Reply]

    @NuAnn (#103):

    @Nehemiah Scudder (#69): The thing is, the strip wasn’t always like this. At one point it was a pretty funny coming-of-age thing. If we want to say that ever since Edda met a unicorn that we stepped straight into Planet Fetish-O-Tron then fine, but it’s wrong to act like this strip has always been a ludicrous exercise in perversions with submissive men lavishing ridiculous praise upon busty nymphomaniacs.

    Shakespeare and Dickens creates art. McE created fetish porn barely hidden under a dumb person’s idea of witty banter.

    You may be right about the old strip — I’ll take your word for it. I first started looking at the strip(s) a couple of years ago, when it was already solidly into the the borderline fetish porn area anyway. Not my thing, though I have no problem with it. What I do have a problem with is when folks criticize McE for simply for using big, unusual words, or relatively obscure or old-fashioned expressions. That, it seems to me, smacks of anti-intellectualism. He isn’t just throwing a dart at the thesaurus. He picks his words carefully. Sometimes he succeeds; sometimes he doesn’t. An expression like, “dancing the mortise and tenon,” made me laugh. Maybe not you. Your mileage, as they say, may very.

    McE’s characters sound to me as if they fell out of an Aldous Huxley, or maybe a John Galsworthy novel of the 20s or 30s. Those books were best sellers in their times, though their mode of expression seems antique now, it is hardly alien to the human species.

    // And now, Jupiter save me, I’ve compared him to… no, never again. I must seek help…

  126. tallyHO
    January 5th, 2013 at 4:41 pm [Reply]

    @Sequitur (yesterday#33):

    On this day, in 1836, Davy Crockett crossed on over to Texas.

    Did he ever get to meet Pecos Bill?

  127. Tom T.
    January 5th, 2013 at 4:42 pm [Reply]

    I know it’s not going to make it any better, but can someone summarize what’s happening in 9CL? When was Amos dreaming?

  128. A Smirch Unheeded, Deacon
    January 5th, 2013 at 4:46 pm [Reply]

    @Amos Snarkadder, CQB (#120): That’s nothing, wait’ll they here my little “No Neosporin™ in Hell” talk!

  129. Sequitur
    January 5th, 2013 at 4:52 pm [Reply]

    @tallyHO (#126):

    On this day, in 1836, Davy Crockett crossed on over to Texas.

    Did he ever get to meet Pecos Bill?

    Yes. Pecos Bill validated Davy Crockett’s parking ticket at the Alamo.

  130. [Old Man] Muffaroo
    January 5th, 2013 at 4:53 pm [Reply]

    @Nehemiah Scudder, amateur nitpicker (#125): “…may vary.”
    Dear Diary: You’ll never believe what happened today…

  131. Sequitur
    January 5th, 2013 at 4:55 pm [Reply]

    @Sequitur (#129): By the way. The “Crocketts” are the dancers at Le Cess Pool in Crock.

  132. Amos Snarkadder, CQB
    January 5th, 2013 at 4:58 pm [Reply]

    @A Smirch Unheeded, Deacon (#128): “Ye miserable, crawlin’ worms. Are ye here again then? Have ye come like Nimshi, son of Rehoboam, secretly out of your doomed houses, to hear what’s comin’ to ye?”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i7Ge0fWvgr8&feature=youtube_gdata

  133. Artist formerly known as Ben
    January 5th, 2013 at 4:58 pm [Reply]

    @Nehemiah Scudder, amateur nitpicker (#125): Per se I have no problem with the sesquipedalian vocabularies or the 9CL characters. Some of my favorite fun reads are the Danay & Lee Ellery Queen whodunits, where both Ellery and the suspects use a lot of high-falutin’ words and Classical references. (The 70s TV show, though wonderful, trimmed this part considerably, casting Jim Hutton as a Frank Capra version of Sherlock Holmes.) And I throw polysyllables into a conversation when I think I can get away with it, e.g. when drinking.

    //It’s other things that bother me about Amos & Edda et al. They exist in a bubble – and Luann comparisons can be made here – where they and they alone are the special people and everyone else has to get out of their way. If anything, the 5 dollar words are brought down by association.

    //Of course that’s just my perspective, and a blatantly subjective one at that.

  134. bbofun
    January 5th, 2013 at 4:59 pm [Reply]

    @Tom T. (#127): Amos was never dreaming. Edda snuck (shut up, spell-check!) out, then woke him, apparently planning to make him think that their sex was just a dream (because they had pledged not to have sex AGAIN until their wedding night). He saw through this upon seeing her, and decided to go with it, insulting her technique along the way, until, today, admitting he knew it was all real, but, hey, if we pretend that it was a dream, and we’re still dreaming, we can shtup ’til the cow come home and we haven’t violated our oath.

    Or, more simply- it’s not a dream, it’s a nightmare of inane plotting.

  135. Baka Gaijin
    January 5th, 2013 at 5:10 pm [Reply]

    @Sequitur (#129): The basement parking at the Alamo.

  136. endless sky
    January 5th, 2013 at 5:12 pm [Reply]

    @Artist formerly known as Ben (#113): Pluggers: “Joy Club” seems to be the name of the senior social group of the First Church of Pluggerville. Many congregations have group activities for their older members, including pot-luck suppers and trips. A cutesy, upbeat name seems to be a requirement, such as Prime Timers or Keen Agers. A google search reveals that “JOY” sometimes stands for “Just Older Youth.” Maybe JOP would be more appropriate here – Just Older Pluggers.

  137. Nehemiah Scudder
    January 5th, 2013 at 5:12 pm [Reply]

    @[Old Man] Muffaroo (#130): Ouch! And now I’m homophonephobic!

  138. Nehemiah Scudder
    January 5th, 2013 at 5:17 pm [Reply]

    @Artist formerly known as Ben (#133): other things that bother me…

    Quite right. Rem acu tetigisti, as Jeeves said to Wooster.

  139. A Smirch Unheeded, Deacon
    January 5th, 2013 at 5:24 pm [Reply]

    @Amos Snarkadder, CQB (#132): Ooh! I hadn’t seen that version! Stephen Fry in it too!

    Them’s were some quiverin’ brethren!

    // Thx!

  140. [Old Man] Muffaroo
    January 5th, 2013 at 5:36 pm [Reply]

    @Nehemiah Scudder (#137): I keep running into people who insist they can hear the difference between the words when spoken. When spoken by regular people, I mean. I prefer mere nitpickers.

  141. A Smirch Unheeded, Deacon
    January 5th, 2013 at 5:45 pm [Reply]

    @[Old Man] Muffaroo (#140): Merriam-Webster, fwiw, has two different pronunciations for “very” — (1) with the “r” going to the first syllable and (2) with the “r” going to the second. M-W has only one pronunciation for “vary”, and that’s identical with (1) very. So maybe those folks are only half-crazy.

    Do try to be careful out there. This constant running into people can cause injury.

  142. Dale
    January 5th, 2013 at 6:02 pm [Reply]

    @Aviatrix (#111):

    MARK TRAIL is like the guy whose only tool is a hammer. There is never any sense of scale. It is quite possible to cast with very large loads of weights and lures.
    In this story, Mark went fishing for bonefish. Then used the same equipment for TARPON. This like anteaters and lions.

    Continuing to read MARK TRAIL is being the guy who hits himself in the head with a hammer.

  143. Right Venerable Pasdordan
    January 5th, 2013 at 6:03 pm [Reply]

    The Amazing Spider-Man: Did Kraven just…fart that webbing apart? Or is he just showing off his moobs?

    ANDYCAPPBOT 3000 has taken notice of recent events…….Currently, it is only twenty years from today……ARCHIETRON remains safely outside of time…….Stay tuned for further warnings……

    Apt. 3-G: Thus began Margo’s sideline in “Foam Mustache-Removing/Sex Slaves.” Come to think of it, that might make more sense that the present story arc.

    9 Chickweed Lane: I hate to be a pastoral killjoy – and Frank Lee Medeire may contradict me if necessary – but couples who can’t make decisions together and stick with them, even when lured by s-e-x, tend not to stay married for very long. And without Amos and Edda, the heart of this strip would be ripped out, and it would probably have to discontinue. Everybody pray for Amos and Edda. Hard.

    Hi and Lois: Hi’s bewildered look gives away the game: the true horror here is neither Thirsty’s hairy legs nor the coconut bra engulfing Irma, but the existential problem of being trapped in a golf-based gag strip for nearly sixty years.

    Luann: Please let this not be more complicated than this, please let this not be complicated…

    Judge Parker: I’d really like to make fun of all the money that seems to flow freely through the JP-verse, but who am I kidding? I want in on that economy.

    The Lockhorns: My take-home pay peaked the same year the Black-Eyed Peas released “Where Is The Love?” Now go back up to Judge Parker and feel the snark. It burns, doesn’t it?

    Mark Trail: Now, you may say that Mark has a magic lure capable of wrapping itself three times around a rifle, between a man’s hands and the barrel, causing him to jump back and drop his gun – all before it even tightens. But you misunderstand the logic [sic] of Mark Trail, mihijo. It is the beard that makes these wonderful things happen. Were that bandit clean-shaven – and quite possibly even if he only had a mustache like Otto – it couldn’t have happened. It is only by the self-policing power of facial hair that right and justice is preserved in Trail’s world. That is the true magic.

    Rex Morgan, M.D.: Not to be outdone by Mary Worth’s 70′s-spy-flick angles, Rex and company go for a Cabaret revival. Which, sadly, is better than anything we’re going to see on the boob tube tonight. And yes, we’re watching the Packers.

  144. Sequitur
    January 5th, 2013 at 6:05 pm [Reply]

    @Baka Gaijin (#135): That’s where he parked his bicycle.

  145. Right Venerable Pasdordan
    January 5th, 2013 at 6:07 pm [Reply]

    @Amos Snarkadder, CQB (#132): That movie was used in my pastoral counseling class to teach us about family systems theory. It’s dead-on accurate.

  146. queek, source of Cuteness, Kawaii Commando
    January 5th, 2013 at 6:14 pm [Reply]

    @Right Venerable Pasdordan (#143): “Edda. Hard.”

    that indeed is what Amos prays for.

  147. Sequitur
    January 5th, 2013 at 6:18 pm [Reply]

    @Right Venerable Pasdordan (#143):

    Everybody pray for Amos and Edda.

    Sorry, Pastor. I’m not in the habit of praying for fictional characters.

    Now, Brooke McEldowney…

  148. Spode
    January 5th, 2013 at 6:28 pm [Reply]

    9CL: It’s not the words themselves – perfectly ordinary words such as: “masterful, tantalizing . . . . insatiable.” It was reading these words in the strip of 1/3/13, in which Amos applies them to himself, that filled me with the most anti-erotic feeling I have ever experienced upon reading a comic strip.

  149. Nehemiah Scudder
    January 5th, 2013 at 6:45 pm [Reply]

    @Right Venerable Pasdordan (#145): That movie was used in my pastoral counseling class…

    I thought you were UCC. Yet another schism? Well, I can’t deny the doctrinal superiority of the Quivering Brethren.

    // I always wanted to address a congregation, beginning, “Ye miserable, crawlin’ worms. Are ye here again then?”

  150. Nehemiah Scudder
    January 5th, 2013 at 6:46 pm [Reply]

    @Spode (#148): Did you make a moue of remonstrance?

  151. tallyHO
    January 5th, 2013 at 6:49 pm [Reply]

    @Right Venerable Pasdordan (#143):
    Hi and Lois: Hi’s bewildered look gives away the game: the true horror here is neither Thirsty’s hairy legs nor the coconut bra engulfing Irma, but the existential problem of being trapped in a golf-based gag strip for nearly sixty years.

    Right On! Preach it, Rev!

  152. tallyHO
    January 5th, 2013 at 6:53 pm [Reply]

    @Right Venerable Pasdordan (#143):
    Mark Trail: Now, you may say that Mark has a magic lure capable of wrapping itself three times around a rifle, between a man’s hands and the barrel, causing him to jump back and drop his gun – all before it even tightens. But you misunderstand the logic [sic] of Mark Trail, mihijo. It is the beard that makes these wonderful things happen. Were that bandit clean-shaven – and quite possibly even if he only had a mustache like Otto – it couldn’t have happened. It is only by the self-policing power of facial hair that right and justice is preserved in Trail’s world. That is the true magic.

    Walp. You lost me there, Rev.
    I’m back to backsliding.

    I don’t see the line as having wrapped around the barrel yet.

    I see a line that has looped three times based on the weight of the lure, above the gun.

    Now, you might be onto something about the Juan’s Beard. It may well have a great affect in this scenario. But, I think that what will happen is the lure will transform into a Fist of Justice and go straight for Juan’s chin.

    //am i setting my sights too high? am i overshooting glory?

  153. Spode
    January 5th, 2013 at 6:56 pm [Reply]

    @Nehemiah Scudder (#150): Yes, and I did it with heavy over-lip.

  154. Right Venerable Pasdordan
    January 5th, 2013 at 7:00 pm [Reply]

    @Sequitur (#147): You would abandon them to the wrath of their creator? You heartless, quivering worm!

  155. Right Venerable Pasdordan
    January 5th, 2013 at 7:01 pm [Reply]

    @Nehemiah Scudder (#149): Sigh. So have I, and with much more specific congregations than you have, probably.

  156. Right Venerable Pasdordan
    January 5th, 2013 at 7:02 pm [Reply]

    @tallyHO (#152): Well, it’s on its way to being wrapped.

  157. Sequitur
    January 5th, 2013 at 7:06 pm [Reply]

    @Right Venerable Pasdordan (#154): Why, yes. The worm has turned.

  158. Gladly, the cross-eyed bear
    January 5th, 2013 at 7:11 pm [Reply]

    @Right Venerable Pasdordan (#156): Wrappification is occurring.

  159. tallyHO
    January 5th, 2013 at 7:20 pm [Reply]

    @Gladly, the cross-eyed bear (#158):

    No. No. No.

    The Wrap-ture has yet to begin.

    The line is above the gun, doing a little a-luring dance. The lure is setting its sights on that fuzzy chin.

    Waitasecond.

    Gotta gets my Slylock Fox Junior Dectavizor 3000 out of the drawer.
    Let’s See…turn it on….
    Let it warm up. Ah. Green Light!

    burbleburbleburbleburble

    exhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaale

    Now that I look at it more closely. Today’s Mark Trail does feature a KWAAAAAZY, waaaaavy line that is…haha…
    you gotta see this…

    …Mark Trail is making an ampersand in thin air, out off fishing line.

    And, yeah. I guess I should admit the line DOES appear “behind” the stock and the barrel at two points leading to the lure. Both points occur with the tail end of the line appearing between them, connected to the fishing pole.

    You are correct. I am the Walrus.

  160. tallyHO
    January 5th, 2013 at 7:26 pm [Reply]

    Seriously though, what gets me is that Juan is so shocked by the Ampersand that he let’s go of the gun.

    Way to go, Juan!

    that’s all.

  161. tallyHO
    January 5th, 2013 at 7:28 pm [Reply]

    If a bee began buzzing about his brow, would he try to levitate the gun and the money satchel with his mind, while swatting at the bee?

    Way to go, Juan!

  162. Sequitur
    January 5th, 2013 at 7:28 pm [Reply]

    @tallyHO (#159): The Walrus was Paul.

  163. tallyHO
    January 5th, 2013 at 7:30 pm [Reply]

    If Otto blew Juan a kiss, would he drop the gun and make an angry gesture towards him by pointing with one hand and shaking a fist with the other?

    Way to go, Juan!

  164. tallyHO
    January 5th, 2013 at 7:31 pm [Reply]

    @Sequitur (#162):

    Way to go, Paul!

    //the burden of tusks sans Tuscany was too much for me to bear.

  165. tallyHO
    January 5th, 2013 at 7:36 pm [Reply]

    If someone walked up to Juan and asked for directions while Juan had the gun pointed at Otto, would Juan cross his arms, say, “Hmmmm”, while dropping the gun and mucking up his entire Plan of Greed (or is it a Plan of Alturism? If he is sharing it with the other islanders, maybe it is that.).
    The if Juan points to some place and tells the questioner which direction to take….

    sputter. sputter….fume…hiss!*

    Way to go, Juan!

    The Waytogojuan 3000 is running out of steam.

  166. Rana the Pedantic Wet Blanket
    January 5th, 2013 at 7:36 pm [Reply]

    @Nehemiah Scudder, amateur nitpicker (#125): @Artist formerly known as Ben (#133): I have no problem with a cartoonist (or other person) displaying an extensive vocabulary, or even positing a world in which erudite people banter wittily Using Their Vocabulary. I mean, hell, I suffered enough from the “why you use such big words, snobby nerd kid” thing growing up that I’m not going to throw sticks at people just for using words that don’t generally appear in ordinary conversation.

    The problem with McE’s prose, though, is that it is so self-conscious. His characters don’t speak the way they speak because they are educated and have extensive vocabularies; they speak the way they speak so that McE can make a point about them – and by extension his strip – being above the ordinary hoi polloi. And they do it in a labored, look-at-me-being-intellectual way that none of the highly educated people I know (some “sophisticated” in their speech, some like me, simply with large vocabularies and unruly smarts and too much education for our own good) do.

    The scant handful of people I’ve encountered who did speak this way were pretty universally condemned as being prats and posers and wanna-bes – including by people who regularly cultivated an affect of sophisticated urbanity but had the chops to pull it off. They were perceived as insecure and trying too hard to impress, and most people I knew were either annoyed by them or pitied them in private conversations.

    Teal deer version: dude is trying too hard, and his characters lack confidence in their own sophistication.

  167. Rana the Pedantic Wet Blanket
    January 5th, 2013 at 7:39 pm [Reply]

    @A Smirch Unheeded, Deacon (#141): It sounds a bit like the Mary/merry/marry distinction. Which I can hear if spoken by someone exaggerating the differences, but not in regular speech. Me, I mostly lump them into one phonemic blob.

  168. Rana the Pedantic Wet Blanket
    January 5th, 2013 at 7:41 pm [Reply]

    @Right Venerable Pasdordan (#143): Re Amos and Edda: I think there are more red flags with that couple than that. Witness her not talking about him about her pregnancy scare until she’d basically told the world about it, his planning to marry her without them talking about it first, her running away whenever she was confronted with the possibility of a serious conversation, both of their attitudes towards work and finances…

  169. Rana the Pedantic Wet Blanket
    January 5th, 2013 at 7:43 pm [Reply]

    Behold, my own Wall o’ Text…

  170. anonymous
    January 5th, 2013 at 7:44 pm [Reply]

    @Rana the Pedantic Wet Blanket (#166): Thank you for introducing me to “teal deer.” Amazing how much I’ve learned here!!

  171. Nehemiah Scudder
    January 5th, 2013 at 8:03 pm [Reply]

    @Rana the Pedantic Wet Blanket (#166): Whether McEldowney is using unusual words for good reasons, or bad, I for one am glad that he is doing so. When “moue of remonstrance” came up a couple of weeks ago, I had to look it up (moue, that is, not remonstrance). Thanks to the little film Bourbon Babe contributed, I will never forget it. I am that much enriched.

    // And someday I will squash someone at Scrabble with it. I just know it.

  172. Gladly, the cross-eyed bear
    January 5th, 2013 at 8:09 pm [Reply]

    With all the brain-dead, proud to be ignorant entertainment out there, even though Brooke is guilty of every sin catalogued above, I like the fact that he’s working that side of the street, IYKWIM.

  173. Nehemiah Scudder
    January 5th, 2013 at 8:10 pm [Reply]

    @Rana the Pedantic Wet Blanket (#166): May I add my thanks to @anonymous (#170)‘s, as well. I didn’t know “teal deer” either.

    // Don’t think it will help me much at Scrabble, though. But I’m always glad to improve my leet comprehension.

  174. Gladly, the cross-eyed bear
    January 5th, 2013 at 8:10 pm [Reply]

    @Nehemiah Scudder (#171): I meant what you said, so much better.

  175. Nehemiah Scudder
    January 5th, 2013 at 8:15 pm [Reply]

    @Rana the Pedantic Wet Blanket (#167): I hope Pat Brady of Rose is Rose tortures himself regularly over distinctions like that, when he scripts that annoying phonetically speaking toddler. Sleepless nights, at the very least!

  176. Rana the Pedantic Wet Blanket
    January 5th, 2013 at 8:15 pm [Reply]

    @Nehemiah Scudder (#171): @Gladly, the cross-eyed bear (#172): I guess. It’s just that I’m sort of tired of the popular notion that anyone who likes things like classical music, old movies, etc., has a big vocabulary, is kinda nerdy, etc. etc., is a pretentious wanker know-it-all. For me, McE’s presentation reinforces that misconception, rather than challenges it.

    //Or to put it another way, if McE is the flag-bearer for those who resent the spread of dumb entertainment and the denigration of the educated and intelligent, we’ve not just lost that battle, we have lost the war.

  177. Calvin's Cardboard Box
    January 5th, 2013 at 8:16 pm [Reply]

    @Rana the Pedantic Wet Blanket (#166):

    For example, people have come to the defense of the use of “mortise and tenon” in a strip earlier this year. Yes, it could have been a clever sexual innuendo. “I understand they have been getting together just like the mortise and tenon, eh?”.

    However, the context was Amos running across one of the strip’s interchangeable female sex robots, who asked him “you two have been dancing the mortise and tenon out of holy wedlock?” Which does not come across as a clever use of an architectural metaphor, but instead as someone trying too hard and ending up with a construction that no actual human would ever put together.

  178. MWDG
    January 5th, 2013 at 8:17 pm [Reply]

    MW: Mary totally emasculated Jeff (well let’s be honest Jeff wasn’t exactly a fully functioning man to begin with.) Mary hopped in the sack with that councilman a few years ago just for kicks and to humiliate Jeff.

    Unfortunately Mary may be headed for a Chris Brown/Rihanna situation with hot head stud/cake decorator, John Dill. She better watch her step!

  179. Nehemiah Scudder
    January 5th, 2013 at 8:19 pm [Reply]

    @Gladly, the cross-eyed bear (#174): Ah, but you brought up the important point that there are many people out there who are proud of their ignorance. Jobbernowls!

    // Let ‘em look it up!

  180. Nehemiah Scudder
    January 5th, 2013 at 8:32 pm [Reply]

    @Calvin’s Cardboard Box (#177): … a construction that no actual human would ever put together.

    There you go again. I refute you thus: An actual human did put it together. You just quoted him.

    Moreover, it is memorable enough that you and I, and many other mudges remember it still. I myself have used it in conversation (not often, and ironically, but there it is). The people I spoke to had to think for a moment, but they got it, and I don’t think they will forget it, either.

    That is a successful phrase. I wouldn’t be surprised if it made some future Bartletts.

  181. Gladly, the cross-eyed bear
    January 5th, 2013 at 8:34 pm [Reply]

    @Rana the Pedantic Wet Blanket (#176): You go to war with the army you have.

  182. Nehemiah Scudder
    January 5th, 2013 at 8:36 pm [Reply]

    @Rana the Pedantic Wet Blanket (#176): …we’ve not just lost that battle, we have lost the war.

    Not the war, nor the battle, possibly a skirmish, my friend.

    // Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement. — Albert Camus

  183. Nehemiah Scudder
    January 5th, 2013 at 8:38 pm [Reply]

    @Gladly, the cross-eyed bear (#181): Bats Colon Left-Bracket and I have a mutual admiration society going. Wanna join?

  184. Amos Snarkadder, CQB
    January 5th, 2013 at 8:41 pm [Reply]

    @A Smirch Unheeded, Deacon (#139): And Joanna Lumley!
    I wish I could find the older (B&W?) version from 1968. I was just a sweet innocent lad then and watching it helped make me the insufferable smart ass I became in college and have maintained until this day.

  185. Shrug, Slow Clap...
    January 5th, 2013 at 8:43 pm [Reply]

    @Baka Gaijin (#22):

    “…like it’s been doing periodically since autumn started like a recurrent case of herpes.”

    Er, that’s how you view autumn as having started? Man, I snark on my Minnesota some times, but I guess I’m really glad I don’t live in Louisiana.

    /// Did every guy’s baton turn rouge last fall or what?

  186. queek, source of Cuteness, Kawaii Commando
    January 5th, 2013 at 8:44 pm [Reply]

    “Wango Tango”

    -Ted Camusgent

  187. Amos Snarkadder, CQB
    January 5th, 2013 at 8:51 pm [Reply]

    @Right Venerable Pasdordan (#145): Hmm… in birth order that would make me Seth Starkadder.
    //”Now what might that say about me?” he wondered.

  188. Shrug, Coming to Horrified Realization Seconds Moments After Hitting "Send"
    January 5th, 2013 at 8:55 pm [Reply]

    @Shrug, Slow Clap… (#185):

    Oh hell. Japan. Saw Baka, but for some reason brain translated as Scudder. Crossed wires in brain. Ignore.

  189. Amos Snarkadder, CQB
    January 5th, 2013 at 8:56 pm [Reply]

    @Right Venerable Pasdordan (#143):

    Apt. 3-G: Thus began Margo’s sideline in “Foam Mustache-Removing/Sex Slaves.”

    It’s a depilatory! Can it be a contraceptive, too?!

  190. Shrug, Shrugging
    January 5th, 2013 at 8:58 pm [Reply]

    @Nehemiah Scudder (#72):

    “NOT Zippy!!! Zits!”

    Well, at least I feel a bit less abashed now. Clearly it’s brain cross-wire night all around.

  191. Nehemiah Scudder
    January 5th, 2013 at 8:58 pm [Reply]

    @Amos Snarkadder, CQB (#184): I first saw it as a Masterpiece Theater miniseries – in the early 70′s, I think. Read the book afterwards. “There is no butter in hell!” was a catchphrase among the PBS crowd for a while.

    // The Swedish philanthropist, Fjohürs Lykkewe, was one of the producers. He made a guest appearance, as himself, on Portlandia’s season opener last night. I was hoping they could get his older brother, Ljstnürs Lykkewe, who contributes so much to NPR, to appear as well, but it was not to be.

  192. Rana the Pedantic Wet Blanket
    January 5th, 2013 at 8:59 pm [Reply]

    @Nehemiah Scudder (#179): “Jobbernowl” is a pretty nifty word, even without knowing its definition. (And so much better than “beef-wit” though I will give McE credit for giving that one legs – and such long ones, too.)

  193. Gladly, the cross-eyed bear
    January 5th, 2013 at 9:08 pm [Reply]

    @Rana the Pedantic Wet Blanket (#192): The root is Job, adding to his woes posthumously. Thanks for the word, Rev.!

  194. Nehemiah Scudder
    January 5th, 2013 at 9:10 pm [Reply]

    @Rana the Pedantic Wet Blanket (#192): One of my favorite websites explains it well.

  195. Rana the Pedantic Wet Blanket
    January 5th, 2013 at 9:10 pm [Reply]

    @Nehemiah Scudder (#180): Well, yes, McE did come up with that construction, and presumably he’s an actual human. But CCB does make a good point: it is labored and strange, but because it’s also his own weird invention, McE can’t point to existing usage to justify its inclusion (“Yeah, it’s weird, but it’s a known idiom, whatcha gonna do?”) nor can he claim that it’s an intelligent original coinage and bit of clever wordplay, because it fails as metaphor on its own merits.

    So why is it there? It’s nothing that pops up in casual conversation, it’s strained and flawed, and it sits awkwardly on the page. It’s hard to avoid the impression that it’s just there to sound impressive, and who cares how clumsy it actually is – it uses less-known words! EEE!

    Now, if the character in question was known for making strange malaprops like this (which, I, for example, have been known to do, to the amusement of my friends) that would be one thing. But this is not such a character; it’s someone who exists primarily as a vehicle for expressing this strange bit of awkward phrase-play.

    Thus: McE takes a perfectly interesting and valid metaphor (mortise and tenon) using vocabulary that is outside the usual run-of-the-mill conversation – all of that is good so far – lards it up with things that break the metaphor into bits (dancing, holy wedlock), stuffs it in the mouth of a character who doesn’t normally speak that way, and does so in a way that seems contrived to call attention to the attempt at word-play rather than advancing the story.

    He’s a great source of vocabulary, but he is a bad writer. Or, at the very best, he’s a writer/cartoonist who has good ideas and impulses but is congenitally incapable of not gilding the lily to the point it breaks off and falls on the ground.

  196. Rana the Pedantic Wet Blanket
    January 5th, 2013 at 9:11 pm [Reply]

    @Nehemiah Scudder (#194): Thanks for the link!

  197. Amos Snarkadder, CQB
    January 5th, 2013 at 9:12 pm [Reply]

    @Nehemiah Scudder (#191): That must have been when I saw it with my brother. “Something nasty in the woodshed” was our catchword for years.
    *snicker*

  198. Rana the Pedantic Wet Blanket
    January 5th, 2013 at 9:13 pm [Reply]

    (I haz opinions, yes.)

  199. Nehemiah Scudder
    January 5th, 2013 at 9:16 pm [Reply]

    @Amos Snarkadder, CQB (#189): And a floor wax! And a dessert topping!

  200. Nehemiah Scudder
    January 5th, 2013 at 9:18 pm [Reply]

  201. Gladly, the cross-eyed bear
    January 5th, 2013 at 9:22 pm [Reply]

    @Rana the Pedantic Wet Blanket (#195): Yes, he overlards his prose. “Djinn joint” would have been enough, but he made it ” djinn djoint” which made the joke worse. But in a Honey Boo Boo world…

  202. Right Venerable Pasdordan
    January 5th, 2013 at 9:27 pm [Reply]

    @Gladly, the cross-eyed bear (#158): As yet, there is still room for the Holy Spirit between the fishing line and the rifle’s sinful barrel.

  203. Right Venerable Pasdordan
    January 5th, 2013 at 9:30 pm [Reply]

    @Rana the Pedantic Wet Blanket (#166): Teal deer teal deer: posers!

  204. Nehemiah Scudder
    January 5th, 2013 at 9:33 pm [Reply]

    @Amos Snarkadder, CQB (#197): …our catchword for years.

    Other folks, too. Cold Comfort Farm was a big hit when it came out in 1932. My Oxford Dictionary of Quotations” 2nd ed. 1953, has “Something nasty in the woodshed” as its sole quotation from Stella Gibbons. Was it in the 1st ed.? When did it make Bartlett’s?

    // I’m sure one of our resident librarians, won’t just shrug this off, but will find out when the phrase first caught on fire.

  205. Right Venerable Pasdordan
    January 5th, 2013 at 9:33 pm [Reply]

    @Rana the Pedantic Wet Blanket (#176): He’s the Kelsey Grammer of the comics set, in other words.

  206. Nehemiah Scudder
    January 5th, 2013 at 9:34 pm [Reply]

    @Right Venerable Pasdordan (#203): Pro-tip: A true poser spells it poseur. With italics.

  207. Nehemiah Scudder
    January 5th, 2013 at 9:35 pm [Reply]

    @Right Venerable Pasdordan (#205): Maybe the Charles Emerson Winchester.

  208. Right Venerable Pasdordan
    January 5th, 2013 at 9:39 pm [Reply]

    @Amos Snarkadder, CQB (#197):

    “I saw something nasty in the woodshed.”
    “Yeah, baby, but did it see you?”

  209. Right Venerable Pasdordan
    January 5th, 2013 at 9:41 pm [Reply]

    @Nehemiah Scudder (#206): True dat. But poseurs didn’t grow up watching “Repo Man.”

  210. Right Venerable Pasdordan
    January 5th, 2013 at 9:43 pm [Reply]

    Oh, what wouldn’t I give to hear this exchange in Monday’s Mark Trail:

    Juan: “But Otto, what about our relationship?”
    Otto: “Fuck that.”

  211. Calvin's Cardboard Box
    January 5th, 2013 at 9:44 pm [Reply]

    @Nehemiah Scudder (#180):

    Yes, I also remember Fred Durst claiming that everyone was in “argeeance” about the politics of the Bush administration. It may even make it into Bartlett’s some day. But neither my ability to recall the phrase nor its potential enshrinement make it any less of an abomination.

  212. Rana the Pedantic Wet Blanket
    January 5th, 2013 at 9:46 pm [Reply]

  213. Rana the Pedantic Wet Blanket
    January 5th, 2013 at 9:47 pm [Reply]

    @Gladly, the cross-eyed bear (#201): One more sin to lay at Honey Boo Boo’s feet, then! Hah.

  214. Gladly, the cross-eyed bear
    January 5th, 2013 at 9:48 pm [Reply]

    @Right Venerable Pasdordan (#202): If I remember my theology, there’s ALWAYS room for the Holy Spirit. It’s like Jello in that way.

  215. Amos Snarkadder, CQB
    January 5th, 2013 at 9:49 pm [Reply]

  216. [Old Man] Muffaroo
    January 5th, 2013 at 9:50 pm [Reply]

    @Nehemiah Scudder (#171): Always remember that a moue stash is where you keep your moues.

    @Rana the Pedantic Wet Blanket (#195): Brooke thinks he’s Charles Emerson Winchester III, but he’s really Frasier Crane.

    @Right Venerable Pasdordan (#205): GOD DAMNIT YOU GUYS

  217. Rana the Pedantic Wet Blanket
    January 5th, 2013 at 9:50 pm [Reply]

    (I do understand what you guys are getting at. I just sort of feel that we deserve good intelligent pop culture, not simply “better than the rest of the drivel” stuff. I also suspect that a great deal of my irritation with both 9CL and Pibgorn is that I can see the potential for greatness in them… and then their creator’s hamfisted insistence on caking it on and patting himself on his back for cleverness holds it back. It’s frustrating.)

  218. Rana the Pedantic Wet Blanket
    January 5th, 2013 at 9:51 pm [Reply]

  219. tallyHO
    January 5th, 2013 at 9:52 pm [Reply]

    Just as I’m content with allowing Paul to be the Walrus, I’ll be okay with being wrong. On the ongoing discussion about big word usage in a comic strip, I disagree.

    After considering how to explain my disagreement with almost everyone’s points, I really don’t know how to keep it short.

    Suffice it to say, if a cartoonist who does sequential art is good with words, a dictionary is not a crutch to be used.* The reader may have a rare use for such texts if they read a comic, be it one panel or a thousand of various sizes and dimensions and shapes, but they should not need to consult it, or to think about it too hard in order for them to get what is being expressed.

    A good cartoonist, like a great cartoonist, should be able to tell a joke or a story with no words at all. They should be capable and excel at relaying their idea with Just Enough to Make It Work, And For It To Work Well. The end result is a happy reader. Not just some happy readers, as many as possible no matter what kind of day they are having. By “happy” I don’t mean each and every comic should impart some sort of joy or that it should make most people laugh. It should just make them content, satisfied, somehow, someway.

    No matter how long or big the cartoon is, you only have so much space for words so what is said/written is the result of a judicious process. For example, Brevity is the soul of something or another. If the characters have a great vocabulary, great! But, just like their underwear, it doesn’t need to be shown…unless, the characters are shown in their underwear sans a top layer. (or, like “Love Is…).

    There’s been too many great cartoonists who showed how to make up words, to impart inflections, to create likable characters, to twist a phrase, to tell a joke, to cut to the chase, etc., etc., to think that if you just have the right big words, that’ll cover the base. It isn’t being inventive to rely on big words. Perhaps, IF something is being explained then fine (i.e., Sunday “Mark Trail” and scientific names). But, being inventive, just like drawing what isn’t shown, and, adding just enough to make it work, doesn’t and should not require the reader to consult another text.

    Should you know the Arthurian Legend to enjoy “Prince Valient”? Not if you find the strip to be a good read.

    I am not saying the guy is doing it wrong, but that there are more impressive ways to do it right.

    *an exception for this would be to make fun of the word!

  220. tallyHO
    January 5th, 2013 at 9:55 pm [Reply]

    Alternate dialogue for “Marvin”:

    Dog:
    Looks like we died and went to Heaven.

    Dog:
    We may have to go our separate ways from here, kid.

    Marvin:
    I need my poopy diaper changed.

  221. Gladly, the cross-eyed bear
    January 5th, 2013 at 9:57 pm [Reply]

    @Rana the Pedantic Wet Blanket (#217): “Deserve’s got nothin’ to do with it”
    Albert Camus

  222. tallyHO
    January 5th, 2013 at 9:59 pm [Reply]

    @tallyHO (#219):

    There’s a rule for that, isn’t there? When correcting someone’s spelling or grammar, you are bound to make a mistake of your own.

    I mis-spelled (not mis-typed): valiant.

  223. Nehemiah Scudder
    January 5th, 2013 at 10:04 pm [Reply]

    @Calvin’s Cardboard Box (#211): It all comes down to this: Is our children learning?

  224. Our Children
    January 5th, 2013 at 10:08 pm [Reply]

  225. Amos Snarkadder, CQB
    January 5th, 2013 at 10:08 pm [Reply]

    @Nehemiah Scudder (#204):

    “Something nasty in the woodshed”

    Hey, that would make a great name for a folk rock band!
    In fact, it is:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFDUkAKB0a4
    //Well, they’re not exactly Mumford & Sons

  226. Right Venerable Pasdordan
    January 5th, 2013 at 10:13 pm [Reply]

    @Nehemiah Scudder (#223): Make the pie higher! Make the pie higher!

  227. Nehemiah Scudder
    January 5th, 2013 at 10:14 pm [Reply]

    @Amos Snarkadder, CQB (#215): Interesting. I read about the google n-grams, but I’ve never tried it.

    It also peaks about 1968 when the BBC miniseries we both remember came out, and in 1995 when the movie you linked to came out. That was Ian McKellen as your Amos the preacher – old Gandalf hisself, thought I recognized him. (It was Alastair Sim in the earlier one.)

  228. tallyHO
    January 5th, 2013 at 10:29 pm [Reply]

    @Nehemiah Scudder (#223):

    But
    But
    But
    The comics should be making fun of things just as you are making fun of that.
    If the comics are serious or seriously defending the indefensible, that’s a bad thing.
    However, they don’t need to be stepping stones for knowledge. Nor, do they need to be barometers for what the reader knows.

    It really is simple.

    It is all about supplementing a person’s imagination. That’s art. That’s it.

  229. Nehemiah Scudder
    January 5th, 2013 at 10:34 pm [Reply]

    @tallyHO (#219): I agree with most of what your teal deer says, but don’t forget: playing with words is part of the fun of writing and reading. I am almost always delighted when a writer sends me to the dictionary. (A good writer, I should add – I exclude all academese).

    You’ve seen those “Great Classics” editions “abridged and retold” for “young readers”? Of course you have: Treasure Island, and Ivanhoe, and Call of the Wild and Cthulhu knows whatall. The story is still there. Usually they are illustrated too, with excellent art. But they have taken out all the hard words, and the result is rubbish. I would not insult an intelligent child with one as a present.

    I despised those books as a kid, as soon as I knew what they were, and that adults were hiding the good stuff from me. A hard word was a puzzle and a challenge, and an essential part of the fun of reading. I still feel that way.

  230. tallyHO
    January 5th, 2013 at 10:35 pm [Reply]

    Let me put it this way:

    If there was a Poindexter and that Word Nerd used big words, an opposite characterc could do one of two things:

    Sit there and be the butt of the joke, or,
    deliver it back to his/her face with verbal acuity that would make Popeye prove or disprove that he’s a one-eyed sailor.

    One of two things. Why? Frazier Cran characters need an opposite. They need a Woody Boyle or a radio sportscaster as a foil. Whether or not that foil triumphs depends on just what the goal is for the dominant character. On “Cheers”, Carla the waitstaff person, bested every one who entered the ring. In “Frazier”, often the sportscaster came across as a buffoon.

    The comics should never be a leading metric for what we know. These things mainly reflect what we know.

  231. Ride Dem Haunches
    January 5th, 2013 at 10:38 pm [Reply]

    @Nehemiah Scudder (#227): I understand those Scientology guys can help you out with that n-gram problem.

  232. tallyHO
    January 5th, 2013 at 10:39 pm [Reply]

    @Nehemiah Scudder (#229):
    I am almost always delighted when a writer sends me to the dictionary.
    As am I. However, I believe cartoonists are rarer than writers.

    It is a bizarrely beautiful juggling act to witness. George Herriman was a poet. No one ever mis-understood what he wrote, with words and with pictures.

    Nicholson Baker can write boring things, too. True. That’s anecdotal. But, “The Mezzanine” is arduous, especially for someone whom I loaned the book to and who could not get through that thin sheaf of a story.

    Comics are more universal than prose. That’s all.

  233. Right Venerable Pasdordan
    January 5th, 2013 at 10:44 pm [Reply]

    @Nehemiah Scudder (#229): I used to read Classic Comics and Classics Illustrated when I was a kid. They’re still how I know the storyline to Frankenstein, among other things. I seem to recall that they simplified the vocabulary, but not completely. They could still be a challenge to read.

    And while you two are going back and forth about the beefwit McEldowney, let us take a moment to appreciate some true masters of wordplay in comics form: Al Capp, Walt Kelly, and George Herrimann, all masters in their own way, and all of whom had a discernible impact on the English language.

  234. tallyHO
    January 5th, 2013 at 10:45 pm [Reply]

    @tallyHO (#232):

    Gah.
    Great cartoonists are rarer than good writers.

    Please overlook my typos in the prior comment. They are plentiful, Good ’N” Plentiful ( I haven’t eaten dinner yet).

    I like Nicholson Baker and respect the hell out of where he’s coming from. I will dangle anything to get his attention. But, I have never been in the same room as he.

    Okay, I wouldn’t dangle anything.

    Actually, I’m not a prescriptivist about writing, but I appreciate craft of cartooning. For professional writers, yeah, craft is the boomdiggity. Do it well, delight or disturb or diss or entice or incite…do whatcha want. But, comics….

    I gotta be impressed with cartoonists.

  235. Right Venerable Pasdordan
    January 5th, 2013 at 10:47 pm [Reply]

    @tallyHO (#232): And yep, what tally said: if they can make you reach for the dictionary and do it in a way that doesn’t present you with a wall of text? That’s mastery.

    (Side note: one of the more recent masters of that art was Xaime Hernandez, of Love & Rockets fame, who could go from street slang to erudition in the flick of a crowquill pen.)

  236. tallyHO
    January 5th, 2013 at 10:53 pm [Reply]

    @Right Venerable Pasdordan (#233):

    That was my trailing point in my entrée into this discussion.

    The Great Ones–even Jackie Gleason– did wonders with words.

    Cuz, there’s a lots of different ways to say things.

    That’s where Patrick McDonnell falls so short–in MY Opinion–he’s just using inflection. He’s not saying a dang thing with force. Vapors and not form or substance. It is almost as if he’s bored with his job.

    That’s a drag to witness. I think people appreciate and see and feel someone having fun with their art. Performance ((old man) muffaroo) or verbal wordplay, Rev., having fun with what you are laying out, shows up and imparts, elicits, triggers, pushes, pulls, envelopes a reader with…

    a want for more.

    That’s all.

    This is gonna seem like an aside. But, I recommend everyone reading this to go find a copy of “Sita Sings the Blues”. You can get a copy for free or you can tip the creator of the movie. Even blues singers, can make one feel good even right after they make someone feel bad.

    Nina Paley is a cartoonist who funneled herself through animation. Everyone should try to get though it. And, I can’t see anyone not getting through and liking the film.

    Go. Now. Search. Find. Old words, new art. Old art, new words. Love. Loss. Humor.

  237. Gladly, the cross-eyed bear
    January 5th, 2013 at 10:54 pm [Reply]

    I’m betting that not too many threads here feature quotes from both George W. and Rumsfeld.

  238. Vince M
    January 5th, 2013 at 10:57 pm [Reply]

    @Rana the Pedantic Wet Blanket (#192): I do love ‘jobbernowl’, having heard it drawled by W.C. Fields to his prospective son-in-law in “The Bank Dick”. “Don’t be a luddy-duddy. Don’t be a jobbernowl, don’t be a mooncalf; you’re not those, are you?”

  239. Gladly, the cross-eyed bear
    January 5th, 2013 at 10:58 pm [Reply]

    Just this week, Agnes featured two memorable phrases- “skritched his hind end” and “pink, squishy with little folds around a hole.” That’s terrific writing, IMO.

  240. Nehemiah Scudder
    January 5th, 2013 at 10:59 pm [Reply]

    However, they don’t need to be stepping stones for knowledge. Nor, do they need to be barometers for what the reader knows..

    No, they don’t need to be, but they can be. Why not? I’m ashamed to admit, as a electronics guy, how much math and science xkcd has made me look up, or relearn since I found that cartoon.

    Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp,
    Or what’s a heaven for?

    Robert Browning

    // Just kidding. Albert Camus, of course. Had you going there, tho, didn’t I?

  241. Nehemiah Scudder
    January 5th, 2013 at 11:09 pm [Reply]

    So what’s the Committee’s take on The Brick Testament? Can that be regarded as a cartoon. I’m inclined to think so. Pictures with captions and all. And very educational and entertaining.

  242. tallyHO
    January 5th, 2013 at 11:11 pm [Reply]

    @Nehemiah Scudder (#240):

    Fair enough.

    I smiled.

    None of us are kids. Kids should learn to appreciate reading and should have a great vocabulary AND probably know at least one language beyond their native tongue so that they can appreciate and understand so. much. more. And, so they have a thirst for knowledge.

    Now, if you haven’t watched “Sita Sings the Blues”, go to Archive.org and search for it watch it. If you like it and want a copy you can share with others, buy one and send it to them, from Nina’s site. She’s good. It’s a good movie. Bollywood meets animation meets 1920s singers of the blues. Go.

    As a matter of fact, as a dude, I prefer that women who do comics do great comics. Guys…there’s so many of us to mess things up…But, women who are cartoonists, I appreciate it when they just make great art. Even if I don’t get it 1000%, someone should.

    Ha. Admittedly, I don’t expect much from syndicated comic strips, no matter who writes and who draws them. Nor, I do I expect much from comics books. But, there’s a lot of great stuff and fun stuff out there. You cherish that. I cherish that.

    Go. Go. I was reminded of the movie because I kept repeating “That’s all.” Watch it and you’ll know what.

  243. Baka Gaijin
    January 5th, 2013 at 11:13 pm [Reply]

    @Sequitur (#144): I’m glad someone got that.

    @Gladly, the cross-eyed bear (#158): Wrappification here happened about 2 weeks ago.

    @Shrug, Slow Clap… (#185): I’m in Europe. Things are different here.

  244. Right Venerable Pasdordan
    January 5th, 2013 at 11:27 pm [Reply]

    @Nehemiah Scudder (#241): I’ll vote “aye” on the Brick Testament. Educational, entertaining – not always fair to the text, but fair enough.

  245. seismic-2
    January 5th, 2013 at 11:32 pm [Reply]

    I have no problem a priori with a writer’s selecting seldom-used words if they are in fact the very best choice to convey a subtle distinction that a more nearly commonplace mode of expression would fail to communicate adequately. In such a case, the writer has chosen to eschew a quotidian vocabulary in favor of a rarefied one that may force his readers to refer to a dictionary but that will better serve the purpose of getting his ideas across, once they do so. However, in the case of 9CL and Pibgorn, I get the distinct impression that the writer’s choice of words is a tool primarily to convey the message “Ain’t I grand? Admire me, beefwits!”

  246. seismic-2
    January 5th, 2013 at 11:34 pm [Reply]

    @Baka Gaijin (#243): I’m glad someone got that.

    I suspect everyone did.

  247. I Hate Mowing
    January 5th, 2013 at 11:39 pm [Reply]

    @Calico (#83):

    Looks like Parker Schnable is on hiatus from “Gold Rush”.

  248. Nehemiah Scudder
    January 5th, 2013 at 11:40 pm [Reply]

    @Vince M (#238): Regarding that quote: Moon calf is well-known, jobbernowl is in unabridged dictionaries, but what is a luddie-duddie? Is it a variant on luddite? Fuddy-duddy? A portmanteau of the two?

  249. [Old Man] Muffaroo
    January 5th, 2013 at 11:56 pm [Reply]

    On one episode of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” anchor idiot Ted decides he’s going to improve his vocabulary. The first day, he gets the words “redolent,” “recondite,” and “abstruse,” and he is determined to use them and make them his own. As fate would have it, he’s given a last-minute notification that a prominent citizen has died, and he passes this fact on in his newscast. “And, in the opinion of this newscaster,” he concludes portentiously, “He was never redolent, recondite, or abstruse.”

    Ladies and gentlemen! This echoes the feeling I get from reading comic strips by writers with this cargo-cult belief that unusual words make you look smart. They seem to smirk over their own cleverness. If it was well done, I don’t think we’d be debating it now.

    @Nehemiah Scudder (#229): I was just recommending the Classics Illustrated version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame to someone who’d never read a comic, as an example of what the medium could do. The art (by Reed Crandall and George Evans) casts it and places it in a solid and credible set. The script is a marvel of inclusion and editing, and though it must omit any number of subplots (the gypsy-hating anchoress, Frollo’s useless brother), it includes more than any other version I’ve seen, apart from the translations I’ve read from Hugo’s original. It does justice to all the characters, and it ends as it was meant to end, with a lingering kick in the gut. I was somewhat surprised to find that Sony offers it as an e-book (the comic, I mean), and even a little tempted, just to see if they did justice to the art.

  250. Nehemiah Scudder
    January 6th, 2013 at 12:00 am [Reply]

    @Right Venerable Pasdordan (#244): not always fair to the text, but fair enough.

    The text is an interesting question. The Rev. Smith wanted to use a modern colloquial English version to make it easier to understand. (An curious parallel to our discussion of abstruse language re McE.) When I first discovered the site, he was using the New Jerusalem Bible, a Catholic translation. I thought it worked well. Very readable, but with enough scholarly heft you felt it wasn’t dumbed-down.

    But he changed that, I’m not sure when. In his FAQ, he says:

    …because modern English translations of the Bible are generally protected by copyright, to avoid legal issues, The Brick Testament website and The Brick Bible books use the author’s own wording of Bible passages, based on a number of different public domain Bible translations and occasionally a translation from the original Hebrew or Greek suggested by colleagues.

  251. Mr. O’Malley
    January 6th, 2013 at 12:09 am [Reply]

    Herriman was brilliant. Walt Kelly as well. They joined dialog and visual art in a way few others could do. In one of the Kelly reprints on this site, the compiler asks “What other comic strip would bring in reference to cartographer Martin Waldseemuller’s 1507 naming of the Americas?” Yet you never got the feeling that Kelly was talking down to you or trying to impress you.

    W. C. Fields was mentioned—a fine example of how sesquipedalianism can function in the cause of humor. Don’t think a line like that one in The Bank Dick just popped out of nowhere. Fields filled stacks of notebooks with words he might find useful, and he was a prodigious reader, particularly of 19th century British novels.

    @Nehemiah Scudder (#229): As someone brought up on tales of the Ruby Yacht of Omar Khayyam and the Kurwood Derby, I really don’t think it’s a problem if things go over the head of children at first. My parents used to make me read Classics Illustrated instead of regular comics. Strangely the one I remember best is Off On a Comet, hardly a major work. And Food of the Gods.

    @Rana the Pedantic Wet Blanket (#217): I agree with you. He comes closer than most. That’s why it’s especially annoying when he doesn’t quite get it together.

  252. Gladly, the cross-eyed bear
    January 6th, 2013 at 12:11 am [Reply]

    Groundhog Day Featuring Mark Trail

    Mark: Boy, it’s great to be home!
    Rusty: Hey Mark, Cherry says you used a fishing pole to take away a bad man’s gun! Tell me all about it!
    Cherry: It’s good to have you home, dear! You know, Ranger Tom Martin stopped by!
    Mark: Oh, really? How is Ranger Tom Martin?
    Cherry: Oh, virile as ever!
    Mark: Uh-huh. Say Doc, there was a guy down there almost as old as you! His name was Pop.
    Doc: I usta love orange pop.
    Rusty: Mark!
    Mark: There was a young lady down there who looked like you, Cherry! Except she was a lot younger. And her tits were bigger. But Doc, that old guy Pop helped me catch a big bonefish!
    Cherry: (snerk) You know what “big bonefish” reminds me of?
    Mark: No, what?
    Cherry: Ranger Tom Martin!
    Mark: How so?
    Cherry: You know, “big” BONE-fish! Get it?
    Mark: No.
    Cherry: Because Ranger Tom Martin has a big “bone”!
    Mark: OK
    Cherry: I mean that Ranger Tom Martin has a large penis. Which I’ve seen..
    Mark: uh-huh
    Cherry: And touched.
    Mark: I get it now.
    Cherry: Ranger Tom Martin and I have sex when you’re gone. All the time!
    Doc: That’s for sure! They’re always goin’ at it! He screws her silly!
    Rusty: Mark!
    Mark: Well, that’s great. Just great. Doc, you know those bonefish really put up a heckofa fight. Did you ever catch one?
    Doc: Catch a boner? Not for years!
    Rusty: Mark, will you take me fishing?
    Mark and Cherry: Hahaha!
    Mark: Rusty, you know I was kidnapped.
    Rusty: Uh-huh.
    Mark: And you know that guy, Otto, tried to kill me?
    Rusty: Yeah….
    Mark: Rusty, do you know what post-traumatic stress disorder is?
    Rusty: No..
    Mark: Do you know what “trauma” means?
    Rusty: No
    Mark: Well, it means I CAN’T TAKE YOU FISHING!!!
    Rusty:..Not…ever?
    Mark: No, no, Rusty, some day I’ll probably take you fishing…so you have to stay ready to go, because it could be…any day (winks at Cherry)!
    Mark and Cherry: Hahaha!

  253. Nehemiah Scudder
    January 6th, 2013 at 12:15 am [Reply]

    @[Old Man] Muffaroo (#249): I remember that episode. Part of the reason that it is so funny is the you and I, and the writers of the show, know what redolent, recondite, or abstruse mean, and where and how to use them correctly. They are really not even that — what’s the word? It’s on the tip… oh yeah — abstruse. Or recondite. Ted was not smart enough to use them appropriately.

    In fact, the show’s writers were using the old trick of flattering the audience. “You guys are smart enough to know this — and Ted isn’t, ha ha ha.”

    It’s a good old trick, and it worked.

    The thing about McE is, and I know you and I have disagreed about this before, that he does use the words correctly. He looks them up, and he may stretch it a little, but it’s deliberate. He’s no Ted Baxter.

  254. Amateur
    January 6th, 2013 at 12:17 am [Reply]

    MW: Ronald Reagan almost had it correct. The most terrifying words in the English language are actually “I’m Mary Worth and I’m here to help.”

  255. Nehemiah Scudder
    January 6th, 2013 at 12:20 am [Reply]

    @[Old Man] Muffaroo (#249): …someone who’d never read a comic

    Oh, come on… for real? How is that possible?

  256. Majicou
    January 6th, 2013 at 12:23 am [Reply]

    @seismic-2 (#245): …the writer’s choice of words is a tool primarily to convey the message “Ain’t I grand? Admire me, beefwits!”
    No doubt you have received this impression from the fact that the writer is himself a tool–a complete and utter one.

  257. Droopy Says
    January 6th, 2013 at 12:29 am [Reply]

    @[Old Man] Muffaroo (#249): H.G. Wells used “recondite” in the first sentence of “The Time Machine.” But he never repeated that mistake, which must have been anoying even in the late Victorian Age.

  258. Droopy Says
    January 6th, 2013 at 12:41 am [Reply]

    Spiderdick: The elephant is not out of control or on a rampage. After seeing all the idiocy around him, and fearing what would hapen next, Khyber gave it a pass.

    Flabby Flunky: Help me out here. I don’t know anything about tennis, which I suppose gives me something in common with Batiuk. Do tennis players actually spin their rackets to see who tosses?

    Family Circus: Here we go with the start of another 1958.

    Pluggers: That’s . . . actually funny, and free of the usual Pluggers inanity and smugness. Pluggers will burn a cross on Galen Peters’ lawn, as soon as they discover fire.

    Mark Trail: I saw weasels, and words in praise of weasels, and I thought I was looking at Luann. Just kidding. Sunday Mark Trail is one of the best strips around.

  259. Nehemiah Scudder
    January 6th, 2013 at 12:42 am [Reply]

    @seismic-2 (#245): Showing off is basic to all civilization. Why do we write sonnets? Whatever message the poem conveys could be told more simply, even more accurately in prose, or blank verse. And yet we rack our brains, and twist syntax, and torture words, so we can fit or stretch the message into fourteen lines in a specific meter and with a specific rhyme pattern. This Procrustean exercise is nothing if not showing off, saying, “Ain’t I grand? Admire me, beefwits!”

    // Ok. that “Procrustes” reference was just showing off. Sue me.

  260. Dartpaw86
    January 6th, 2013 at 1:09 am [Reply]

    Bitsy’s “!!” are very out of place, sounding as if he’s speaking in a panic, while his face seemed bored and void of emotion.

  261. Nehemiah Scudder
    January 6th, 2013 at 1:12 am [Reply]

    @Droopy Says (#257): H.G. Wells used “recondite” in the first sentence of “The Time Machine.” But he never repeated that mistake, which must have been annoying even in the late Victorian Age.

    Wells never used “recondite” in the first sentence of a novel, other than The Time Machine, that I can find. However, he did use the word in novels like The Passionate Friends, Mr. Britling Sees It Through, Tono-Bungay, Men Like Gods, and probably elsewhere, but I’m too tired to bother to look. Evidently he thought the word was reasonably transpicuous.

  262. Rana the Pedantic Wet Blanket
    January 6th, 2013 at 1:32 am [Reply]

    @tallyHO (#222): Yes. It’s called Muphry’s Law. (One of my favs, actually.)

  263. Dale
    January 6th, 2013 at 1:39 am [Reply]

    @Nehemiah Scudder (#259):

    My high school English/literature teachers often asked:
    So, what was the author trying to say?

    I never volunteered an answer. It would have been something like:
    I don’t know and I don’t care. But if people are still guessing after all these years, he must not have been a very good writer.

  264. seismic-2
    January 6th, 2013 at 1:44 am [Reply]

    @Nehemiah Scudder (#259): // Ok. that “Procrustes” reference was just showing off.

    Not really. It’s used rather more commonly than you might think, since we are so often being forced to conform to some or another template, and we tend to complain about it. Now when Alexander Pope admonished us that in criticizing writing (and, by extension, in criticizing cartooning) “A little learning is a dangerous thing; Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring,” that was showing off (but it was also effective in conveying his meaning, indeed by exemplifying the very thing that he was discussing). Again, it seems to me that Brooke, however, is less interested in creating work that is inspired by drinking deeply from the Pierian spring as he is in trying to convince us that he and the Muses are part of a synchronized swim team that frolics in it daily.

  265. Nehemiah Scudder
    January 6th, 2013 at 2:09 am [Reply]

    @seismic-2 (#264): So, you give me a pass on Procrustes and his infamous bed*. But I bet if McEldowney were to use that reference, people here would be all over him as a pretentious obscurantist twit. You know it’s true.

    *What’s your sleep number? No problem! We can fix that!

  266. Poteet
    January 6th, 2013 at 2:10 am [Reply]

    MT — Yay, shortgrass prairie wildife! Grasslands are wonderful!

    I read somewhere that the biologists raising black-footed ferrets face (or used to face) a real challenge teaching the young ferrets to be wary of predators, a lesson usually learned from their parents. One solution was building a remote-control artificial badger that would chase the young ferrets around, and to further cement the lesson, I seem to recall that the young ferrets were pelted with rubber bands when RoboBadger was chasing them. I hope it worked.

  267. Poteet
    January 6th, 2013 at 2:13 am [Reply]

    @seismic-2 (#264): I always really liked that Pierian spring line, but if McEldowney is swimming in the spring, I’ve taken my last drink.

  268. Poteet
    January 6th, 2013 at 2:25 am [Reply]

    MW — Mary seems to be a few sheets to the wind in that last panel. Since she’s only walking to another part of Charterstone, there’s no harm done except to the cake project. “Now lishen, John, I AM nature and I am beeyootiful! So you shtart drawing my fashe on top of that practish cake or I’ll shtart hitting you with thish *hic* poon!”

  269. seismic-2
    January 6th, 2013 at 2:27 am [Reply]

    @Nehemiah Scudder (#265): “If residents of Springfield are forced to purchase meat on a bun that comes only with mayonnaise and not with mustard, that allows no substitution of lettuce in place of pickle, and that does not permit them to ask for no onion, are they ordering a ProKrusty Burger?” – Albert NSFBG Camus

  270. Chip Whittle
    January 6th, 2013 at 2:39 am [Reply]

    @Nehemiah Scudder (#265):

    So, you give me a pass on Procrustes and his infamous bed*. But I bet if McEldowney were to use that reference, people here would be all over him as a pretentious obscurantist twit. You know it’s true.

    If McEldowney were to refer to the bed of Procrustes it would be in the service of Amos and Edda hand-wringing or Drusilia pointing out how she’s a succubus so she’s able to fit anyone to the parts of the bed she thinks they should use most.

  271. Droopy Says
    January 6th, 2013 at 3:22 am [Reply]

    @Nehemiah Scudder (#261): Probably, and I never had a problem with his Wells’s vocabulary; at least I don’t recall reaching for the dictionary while reading his works. But I’ve handed The Time Machine to a few people who wanted to read a good science-fiction novel, and the first sentence trips them up. Which is a shame, and I hope the American educational system gets smarted up* before The Time Machine gets dumbed down.

    (*Eric Blair would cringe, but Newspeak seems the best language to describe what’s needed.)

  272. Droopy Says
    January 6th, 2013 at 3:23 am [Reply]

    “his Wells’s”. *sigh.* I have the proportional self-editing powers of a spider.

  273. Ratiocinator
    January 6th, 2013 at 3:52 am [Reply]

    Throwing in my two cents after skimming: the way 9CL characters talk never bothered me.

    The thing that bothers me about 9CL is the fact that Brooke has shown himself to be kind of an egotistical dickhead, and also strips like the one here:

    http://joshreads.com/?p=5975

    Which seems to be saying:

    A) that if somebody assaults you and you don’t manage to hit them back, it means you are a joke and makes the assault okay*;
    B) that the British in WWII were cowards because they needed the Americans to save them, so an American soldier assaulting a British one is okay;
    C) that Brooke McEldowney is a horrible person if he sees the world this way.

    *Differing from the real world, where I’m pretty sure a real investigator would say “Wow, you have all of these bruises and cuts and the other guy doesn’t have a scratch on him! Well, this supports your claim that he started the fight and that you didn’t do anything physical to provoke him. We’ll pick this guy right up.”

  274. Baka Gaijin
    January 6th, 2013 at 5:13 am [Reply]

    We’ve entered a new age of Mary Worth. In the past, the week or so of Mary backpatting herself and soliciting congratulations happened after the meddle.

    Loweezy, I wouldn’t brag about being “Ugly enough to stop every living being with eyes.”

    They could substitute Dagwood for Poncho in today’s Pooch Cafe with no change in entertainment value.

  275. Baka Gaijin
    January 6th, 2013 at 6:21 am [Reply]

    Uh oh. Was my comment so ugly I stopped everyone from commenting?

  276. Liam
    January 6th, 2013 at 8:24 am [Reply]

    A3G-Like Van Gogh Evan too has cut off a piece of his body to impress the woman he loves only this time Evan didn’t cut off an ear.

    FW-Plus if you lose you can cave someone’s head in with the handle.

    MW-”I’m going to be living with him for the next few months.”

  277. NuAnn
    January 6th, 2013 at 8:48 am [Reply]

    This has been a fantastic discussion to read, at least for me; hopefully it isn’t boring the pants off of everyone else. I don’t have much to contribute beyond:

    1) Using big words does not make you a great writer.
    2) Using big words to emphasize the extraordinary, unique and sooper speshul nature of your Mary Sues does not make you a great writer.
    3) We do not need to venerate 9CL as an “intelligent” comic strip simply because it takes more time and effort to be about as banal as Rose is Rose. (The recent series of “smile” strips is a good example of how lots of big words can’t make you clever, especially when repeated ad nauseum.)

    Or maybe I’m just spoiled; Watanabe did the classical music thing better AND funnier without any year-long digressions into cello competition sexytime.

  278. Sophia Pygea
    January 6th, 2013 at 8:55 am [Reply]

    @NuAnn (#277): “Using big words does not make you a great writer” – no one has informed Nehemiah Scudder of this.

  279. Little A.
    January 6th, 2013 at 9:10 am [Reply]

    @NuAnn (#277): A useful essay is, Politics and the English Language
    , by George Orwell. If somebody has mentioned this already, I have not noticed.

  280. Calvin's Cardboard Box
    January 6th, 2013 at 9:19 am [Reply]

    JP – Today’s installment boils down the strip to its essence.

    “Wow, look at all the money we have.”
    “Yes, wow, that is an obscene amount of money.”
    “Money validates our existence, doesn’t it?”
    “Yes, having money makes us good.”
    “Lets buy some happiness with our money!”

  281. gleeb
    January 6th, 2013 at 9:40 am [Reply]

    ;shaft: Ed, of course, roots for the amoral, sociopath Dolohov.

    ‘bean: Dull golf gags got you down? Here’s a dull tennis gag to mix things up. And there’s smirking. There’s always smirking.

    Dick: OK, you’re setting up a future story. But, please, Monday is Moon day?

    Mary: The all-seeing Eye of Mary knows meddling with John Dill will be worth it. It’s already paid off in being able to avoid spending time with Dr Whatsisname.

  282. queek, source of Cuteness, Kawaii Commando
    January 6th, 2013 at 9:47 am [Reply]

    Sinfest: 2012 goes out with a bang. *love this strip*

    Luann: Tiffany in a nutshell.

    NS: this would have been so much better done by someone else. (imho)

    Lio: d’awwwww.

    JP: smugsmugsmuggitysmug.

    Bizarro and PajamaDrekkery share a ‘joke’ today.

    MT: FERRETS!!!!!!!!! *dooks*

    MG&G: no worries, the Marlins have scouts in your area.

    Mutts: yeah, cats are like that.

    PMP: steals a joke from Frame Games.

    RMMD: “lungs” nudge-nudge, wink-wink.

    6Cx: wow. Milleresque in its hamhandness.

    SFx: Olive, age 6 (SIX) and still better than Reply All.

    rMC: Lily! yay!

  283. Downpuppy
    January 6th, 2013 at 9:48 am [Reply]

    @Calvin’s Cardboard Box (#211): Agreeance became a word the moment nobody was willing to look Sarah Jones in her boobs & correct her. (It had been wandering in & out of marginal usage since about 1530)

    The official Rex Morgan & bats[: parody have become indistinguishable. Today, June all but tells Rex to go pee on a stick.

  284. John C Fremont
    January 6th, 2013 at 9:59 am [Reply]

    PV – Sir Roger turned into Dana Carvey so gradually, I didn’t even notice.

  285. Conor
    January 10th, 2013 at 7:12 pm [Reply]

    As disgusting as possible? I beg to differ. As anyone with a dog who’s ever forgot to flush a toilet before and wondered why the dog seemed so thirsty all of a sudden, the Poopy Diaper could be the final push Bisty needs to start a-devourin’.

  286. Morgan Wick
    January 10th, 2013 at 8:32 pm [Reply]

    To be fair, Shoe and Herb and Jamaal aren’t really competing on the same playing field. “Steal corny jokes from e-mails” is just what Herb and Jamaal do, while Shoe is just trying to fill the void from the departure of They’ll Do It Every Time:

    “Seems Loopina has found a new passion in school…” (panel of teenager spewing vaguely communication-related phrases)

    “But she never seems to find occasion to use it until – well – - ” “Hey Mom, could you spare another couple hundred dollars? Tuition is going up again and – ” (said mother sports “the urge to communicate her to the moon”)

  287. gnbman
    February 16th, 2013 at 7:21 pm [Reply]

    @Jeff (#56): Thank you so much. I would’ve had a stroke if no one had mentioned Family Guy in this comment section.

  288. ??? ??
    September 8th, 2013 at 11:29 pm [Reply]

    ?????

  289. armani ?????
    September 8th, 2013 at 11:30 pm [Reply]

    ??? ??

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