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Well, this blog’s varied and intelligent readership has met the challenge of last week’s baffling Ziggy cartoon. Josh “The Sedermeister” W. has this to say: “You presume that information cannot be extracted from the eyes/eyebrows of the characters. Well, my friend, I do believe you presume too much. Forget about Ziggy for a moment. The parrot’s eyes are quite telling. He has the half-closed eyes often associated with an evil or mischievous thought crossing a cartoon character’s mind. The eyes of a schemer. Case in point: ‘The Family Guy’s’ Peter Griffin, after seeing ‘free Tibet’ signs at a rally, informing China from a payphone that he has acquired Tibet and will trade it for ‘that’s right, ALL the tea.’ But I digress. Next take a look at the dog’s eyes. He has wide open (albeit small) eyes — the eyes of an innocent. So what you have here is less naive character corrupting his pure-of-mind companion by explaining a painful ‘truth’ to him — Lassie is a ho’. Imagine an older brother saying to his younger sibling, ‘You know, mommy and daddy tried to put you up for adoption but no one would take you — even when they offered a large sum of money to sweeten the deal.’ In this context Ziggy’s expression makes total sense. He’s the parent walking in on that conversation, disappointed in the lack of maturity being displayed by his progeny … while wearing no pants.”

The delightful and talented Laura continues with the no-pants tack: “Does the fact that Ziggy is naked from the waist down, and possibly pulling up his shirt to expose even more of himself, enhance the meaning of the strip in any way?” (That all depends on what you mean by “enhance,” Laura.) “Maybe the dog and parrot have something against nudists, and Ziggy’s annoyed that they’re mocking him and his dangly bits.”

By the way, I have already railed in this space against the evils of coloring in daily strips; in this case, it highlights the fact that the Ziggy’s artist is too lazy to draw Ziggy’s pants (which is still a lesser crime than being too lazy to put on pants, believe you me). A quick glance at the Sunday comics reveals that I don’t get Ziggy in the Sunday comics, so anyone who can add information on his pants-wearing in that context should chime on in.

Meanwhile, Willy n’ Ethel has proven a tougher nut to crack. One reader who chooses to go nameless says, “‘Will there be anything else Master?’ is a clear allusion to I Dream of Jeannie. And the bandage refers to the episode where Tony gets amnesia and forgets who he is. If you think of it that way, it all seems kind of obvious.” That “it seems kind of obvious” bit worked on me in my Apartment 3-G quandary, but it doesn’t quite convince here. I’m still holding out for a more logical explanation.

This is as good a time to any to offer a linkback to Subdivided We Stand, who makes an amusing reference to “Wilbur the Combover King.”