1. So all those substances known to the state of California to be carcinogenic are going to cause us to turn into crabs?

  2. larK — what is the characteristic filling in a California sushi roll? Avacado and crab. Except it’s not actually crab; it’s imitation crab, which is pollock. So in a California roll, pollock turns into crab, which means California itself is carcinogenic.

  3. Does it count as a “pun” when the humor is not in two different phrases sounding alike but actually in the artificial contrivance to get to the two different phrases.

  4. I had never actually noticed any of the lyrics of Roxanne beyond the name, but that at least was enough of a clue for me to look it up. I’d agree that it seems a lot of work to set up that one line. But as chemgal points out, there are a couple extra references in the last panel – “sting” as a verb here but also the stage name of a member of the group performing this song. And “don’t stand so close” as both a remark within the comic storyline, and a different song title by the same group, The Police. (As Dan Drazen reminds us.)

  5. Fun fact. Another member of The Police was drummer Stewart Copeland. He had two older brothers, Miles Copeland III, who was manager of several acts including Wishbone Ash, The Police and Sting and founded I.R.S. Records (standing for International Record Syndicate); and Ian Copeland, a music promoter and booking agent whose company was called Frontier Booking International (FBI). See a theme developing? Their father was Miles Copeland Jr, a fairly high profile member of the CIA in his time.

    I haven’t met any of those people, though I met Ian’s mother Lorraine and daughter Barbara in France about ten years ago. And I saw Wishbone Ash in 2019 – well, a 50-year old version of them, with one survivor from their first album.

  6. “I’d agree that it seems a lot of work to set up that one line. ”

    But that’s the humor of it.

    A pun you aren’t necessarily expecting anything and when it comes it funny and it’s even funny the less expected it us. “Why are these insects being weird?” “I dunno. I guess they are just buggy”.

    A pastis type joke can can take no-one by surprise and there is no-one who can be surprised or amused that the “Roxanne, you don’t have to put on the red light” sounds like “Rocks, Anne. You don’t have to putt on the red light” but rather the reader would be figuring, “okay a woman named Anne is on a mini-golf course and there’s strange rules about red lights and … rocks? … blowing in? Obviously he is setting up something be what?” and the relief that it fits into a well known song lyric (I’m sorry but if I know it, it is a well known lyric) is the humor.

    Technically it’s a pun but the meta humor of it is almost the exact opposite.

  7. One of the many things she’s trying to do – take care of a baby, talk on the phone . . . why there aren’t any objects in her other hands, IDK.

  8. Carl, she is crabby in the first place because she has too many things to do. Apparently one of those tasks is bottle-feeding a baby; and there is an arm devoted to that in her multitasking scheme.

  9. Coupla Bizarro thoughts: I like that six of the seven Secret Symbols sit in the annoyed scientist’s parts jars, along with the rubber chix and the bran. And if the monster were ten times its size it would still be too cute to strike terror in the villagers.

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