CSotD: Saturday leftovers

This Pearls Before Swine (AMS) starts us off with something silly.

But silly isn’t stupid. After all, Isaac Asimov wrote silly limericks, and nobody would call him stupid. And speaking of limericks, Oliver St. John Gogarty, James Joyce’s roommate in that Martello Tower, wrote very clever, dirty limericks — including the one ending “they argued all night over who had the right to do what and with which and to whom” — and his serious poetry was highly thought of, as was his practice of medicine.

I prefer the Sunday puns in Pearls because of the more elaborate set up, and I have to say that I did not see this one coming, which is the hallmark of a good pun, regardless of Rat’s traditional last-panel annoyance.


That ability to see word patterns and alternatives can, as Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereals points out, be something of a hindrance, particularly if it makes you giggle at the wrong time.

I’ve got a related problem with NPR, where guests consistently say “Thanks for having me,” because I reflexively respond “That’s what she said,” which means I’m referencing a character written as an idiot telling an idiotic joke and thank god there’s nobody there but the dog.

Who thinks I’m funny no matter what I say.


But let’s go to the other end of the scale, because I often feature Existential Comics here, usually with some kind of disclaimer about how much philosophy you need to have studied to get the joke.

In this case, you’d better have majored in it, because, in addition to Thales and Plato, the gag references Avicenna, Decartes, Leibniz, Hume, Marx, Wittgenstein and Camus, and I laughed because metaphysics was the part of philosophy that I hated.

I think you’d also laugh if you liked that stuff — metaphysics, not chicken enchiladas — but only if you didn’t take yourself too seriously, which was kind of the hallmark of people who liked that stuff.

The best part of the Internet being that you can have cartoons that crack this kind of obscure joke and, if they’re good, they’ll find an audience.


Mike Lynch has an article in the current Jester about cartoonist Peter Arno, who was, in real life, who James Bond was supposed to be: Suave, handsome and relentlessly sexist.

A large proportion of his cartoons are horrifyingly off-key today, but he also produced some non-sexist classics, including this, which invented a classic phrase.

And this, one of my favorites but one which nobody under 60 seems to get, which makes me wonder if they’ve ever seen American Graffiti.

Arno was a brilliant artist and Lynch offers a solid look at him. Worth the click.


As a bridge to less exalted fare, Macanudo (KFS) combines philosophy and foolishness and why not?

I have problems with superhero stuff because it requires a great deal of suspension of disbelief, and I’m too often in the position of this fellow, questioning things as if they were supposed to make sense.

And trying to forget that I know that Superman can’t fly. He just leaps. Over tall buildings with a single bound, yes, which is pretty cool, but he doesn’t have the power of flight.

Or didn’t used to.


Not sure I agree with Fido’s translation in Rubes (Creators), which I would give as “Faithful,” but the gag brings to mind that we don’t often give dogs classic names anymore, though there is temptation to name your dog “Fido” just to be ironic or something.

But here’s a hint: If you adopt a dog, ask if the name they give you is the dog’s real, established name, or just something they made up. If it’s a surrender, you may be stuck with the name, but, if it came in as a stray or in a truck from the South, where they apparently don’t know how to spay, neuter or chaperone their animals, you can name it anything you like.

Half the female dogs in our region are named Lucy. It is not a coincidence.


And this Bliss (Tribune) redirects me to yet another rant about language.

I have no problem with casual poker players, and I’d point out that some decks of cards have an extra one that tells you what beats what. I think throwing it away is arrogant, though you should throw out the jokers because the odds in a 52 card deck are just fine, thank you, and all that low-hole and one-eyed jack stuff makes the game far too frilly and foolish.

Which is to say that the last time I played for money, I had four natural tens, but lost to what should have been a full house, jacks over threes, because one of his threes was a hole card, so I had five tens and he had five jacks and to hell with it.

But — getting to the language part — what is even worse is “poker talk,” a second language that people adopt when they play the game. Poker seems to compel people to talk like cowboys and thank god chess doesn’t require them to talk like knights and queens and such.

“Prithee, wouldst thou make thy move?”
“Zounds! Thou hath taken my bishop!”

Though I think tennis could be played entirely in French and nobody’d be the wiser.


Finally, I think the real gag in this Pardon My Planet (KFS) is that, even if you add hot water and a cup, it still doesn’t answer the question of how anyone can stand the stuff.

You don’t need a fancy brewing system. Someone on-line said the other day that he’d reverted to a percolator, but I’m not quite that old school. I use a Mr. Coffee that, I think, cost $20 six or seven years ago and is still going strong and making good coffee.

I’m kind of surprised they still sell instant coffee at all, but it’s like canned vegetables: You can buy it, but it isn’t being granted a whole lot of shelf space anymore.

You need canned beans once a year for that casserole, granted, but offered instant coffee or no coffee, I’d choose the latter.


18 thoughts on “CSotD: Saturday leftovers

  1. Regarding “Thanks for having me.” it’s not just NPR.

    There is this covid doctor on tv that says it on every single channel, every single interview, every single day. Others have now started saying it.

    I really think this tv doctor started the trend. I never heard it used so much until he started saying it. He’s on tv all day, every day, I’m not sure when he has time to be a doctor, but he surely loves behing had (on tv).

  2. And with one wild card, two pair is HARDER to get than three of a kind, and should therefore out-rank it. And the more wild cards, the wider the discrepancy.

  3. Just got this response when I tried to use your link to Existential Comics (and got the same response when I tried another route to go there): Firefox refused to let me connect, because:

    Websites prove their identity via certificates, which are valid for a set time period. The certificate for http://www.existentialcomics.com expired on 3/26/2021.


  4. Maybe Superman operates by Leaping to extreme heights, then uses his cape like a wingsuit, which would explain how he’s able to maneuver instead of falling like a rock…

  5. In re coffee, I reverted years ago to a French press. If you have a metal one they are basically eternal and it isn’t any slower than a drip machine, which is distinctly a mortal device—I’ve thrown out a dozen over the years. Plus there is just the right amount of fussing so you feel you actually did something.

    And you have to clean the filter but you never run out then and have to tie the coffee into an old sock (actually I’ve known people who claimed they tried to origami something from paper towels—turns out there is a reason you don’t see any origami books with a coffee filter on the cover).

  6. I thought the Existential Comics problem was just me — First day on a new computer and I’m still disabling Microsoft’s bizarre expectations of what I might want. I’d snagged the comic a day or two ago.

    And I have a French press but I don’t have a garbage disposal, which makes it literally a hot mess. But my Mr. Coffee has a permanent filter which means no paper and I just shake the damp grounds into the garbage at night when I set it up for morning.

    Also lets me have a hot second cup without starting all over.

    So now my theory is that, if you tug on Superman’s cape, he’d fall, but would probably bounce like a Super Ball over perhaps a medium-sized building. Which brings up the question of why Superman and Batman are one word but Spider-man is hyphenated and both Super Ball and Super Bowl are two words?

  7. James Thurber, in My Years With Ross, talked about that very cartoon. New Yorker editor Harold Ross, who had a prudish streak, didn’t realize the use to which that back seat was put. To him the cartoon had an Alice in Wonderland quality to it.

  8. And if the guest tried to avoid that awkwardness by saying “Thanks for having me on” the tempting reply is “No, we were being perfectly serious!”

  9. Thanks for the info about Lucy Mackenzie. I thought your remark about dogs getting named Lucy with a reason might be referring to Lucy, director Kelly Reichardt’s dog, who has an IMDb page at https://www.imdb.com/name/nm3086405/ , and has appeared in a few movies by Reichardt and others — including the really great “Wendy and Lucy” (2008) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1152850/reference , which she is credited as starring in along with Michelle Williams.

  10. The PBS cartoon ran in the Washington Post last week. For most of this week, Jeremy Hardy’s version of the song has been living in my mind: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZaI3WEEnMkQ

    N.B.: Jeremy Hardy had his own style, which never did win him any awards for singing.

    The Peter Arno link goes to an article that references a bio by Michael Maslin, “Peter Arno: The Mad, Mad World of The New Yorker’s Greatest Cartoonist.” I’m trying to decide if I agree–I think I’d put Charles Addams at the top. If you want the epitome of what the New Yorker is, I’d put Peter Arno, Helen Hokinson, and John Held, Jr. as the top three, maybe with James Thurber somewhere in there as well. Later on, Ed Koren, George Booth, Roz Chast. But Charles Addams holds a special place in my heart–I grew up reading his books over and over.

  11. I had always thought that “Love” in tennis came from the French “l’oeuf.” But whenever we watch Roland Garros or any of those other French tournaments (husband is a dévoté), les juges disent “Zéro.” They don’t say “deuce,” either.

  12. Your comments imply that there is a joke in that Pearls Before Swine. It must be in hiding.

    As for the NPR bit, whatever happened to “Thank you” being followed by “You’re welcome”?

  13. Gotta be a youngster to get the PBS joke, I guess. Song came out in 1978, “Roxanne, you don’t have to put on the red light.” The singer was Sting, who also recorded “Don’t stand so close to me” in 1980.

    And the Office (US version) went on the air in 2005. “That’s what she said” became a catch phrase in the same year.

    On the other hand, and to balance the day, I have no idea when back seats could no longer be lifted out of cars and used, perhaps, as cots, which is why the young folks don’t get that one.

  14. Ed, I occasionally do hear that “You’re welcome” (or pretty close modern equivalent) from another NPR personality, having been thanked by a program anchor.

    Sometimes it’s like “Of course, Scott” which I would still count as okay, though it seems dangerously ready to head for the unacceptable “No problem”.

    And I do see the point of the “reverse” thank-*you* when it’s a small-fry person promoting a cause they care about, or an artist / musician / writer on a publicity tour for a new work. These categories stand to benefit from their appearance and could be sincerely thanking the host.

    Especially fun are when the guest is a politician and the nominally neutral host / interviewer gives them a “thank you for your time” which I often think carries with it an implicit “… but no thanks for your awful opinions!” .

  15. Nobody is noting that the even more obvious reply to “Thanks for having me” is just “Thanks for being had”?

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