Sunday Funnies and Minor Mysteries – LOLs and Semi-CIDUs, October 10th, 2021

Eats, shoots, and leaves.

Minor Mysteries

These are comics that somebody thought were pretty good, or even full LOL, and not baffling but a little hard to pin down. Like, you can think of a rather plausible explanation of the chuckle — or maybe two! — but there’s nothing that clinches the case that *this* or *that* just has to be the key to what’s going on.

For example, with something like this Andertoons, we might think of the minor mystery as expressed in terms of providing the missing caption. Is it about the odd feeling you’re being watched? Or more like “Oh, where did I set down my glasses?”. It could be either, do you agree?

A Minor Mystery from Darren, who says “I can’t tell if Watson’s jarns need to be interpreted as a specific term.  I’m flummoxed.  Apparently the squirrel is as well?”

Okay, the joke here is that the threatened punishment will involve a cannister vacuum cleaner (in what seems to be a photo clip?) rather than a conventional physical beating or the like. But it’s an unanswerable mystery just what the threat is. Torture by exposure to noisy motor, like a household pet? Being inhaled altogether? Having some portion of his body inhaled?


  1. Reality Check: The phrase is something like ‘Folk around and find out’, except I changed two letters.

  2. Re: the Andertoons, one of the pairs of glasses has eyes. The person has the feeling that they’re being watched.

  3. Rob’s got it on the Andertoon. The Looks Good on Paper panel is just asking you to use your imagination on the threat posed by the vacuum cleaner. And any old expletive will do when it comes to Watson’s suggestion. He could have said “faff” or “screw” or “futz” or any number of words I can’t say here.

  4. ought was Mr Johnson is buying the cleaner by instalments. Having missed one payment, the salesmen are acting like Mafia goons.

  5. Pete, that’s rather clever! I saw them as not just like Mafia goons, but as exactly that; and the vacuum was in the story only as the threat. But if on the other hand they are vacuum cleaner sales team, then of course they are carrying one around with them all the time — or indeed this might be the very one Mr Johnson purchased on contract.

    As it happens, I should have thought of that sooner, since my father for a couple years was an Electrolux sales person. Collections were not the sales team’s responsibility. But a good sales rep would call on existing clients for a good long while after the purchase, with a line about “Just wanted to drop in and see how you’re doing” and an expectation of selling them some bags or attachments.

  6. I believe the idiomatic version of Watson’s comment is “fart around and find out.”

    Is “jarns” another term for grawlix?

  7. I forgot to ask Darren if his term “jarns” for the expletive-substitute symbols has a history in alternation to Mort Walker’s term “grawlixes”. Or is it just as well known to anyone reading?

  8. I don’t know if this is right, but the first thing that came to my mind was that the mob guys are going to use the vacuum as a ticking torture device.

  9. Watson/Holmes is kind of a CIDU for me. Is Watson sarcastically expressing annoyance at Holmes? Or is he enthusiastic about the job, just expressing it vulgarly? The remark doesn’t make sense anyway, since “@#!!@ around” implies wasting time or working ineffectively, not something likely to lead to “finding out.”

  10. CaroZ: reading most mystery stories, the detective rarely works effectively, instead he or she just futzes around until a second victim is killed, and then maybe a third or forth, by which time it’s obvious to everyone who the murderer is, if only because of attrition of suspects…

  11. I can’t actually remember any of the details of any of the mysteries, though I have read ’em all, but my recollection of my recollection was that the bar for “brilliant” was way much lower in the 19th century. Sherlock Holmes was the first, so just coming up with a brilliant observation like “the ubiquitous servants you ignore are neither blind nor deaf, you know” was earth shattering. But unfortunately I can’t cite any examples this many years removed from when I read ’em.

    The Scarlet Pimpernel was particularly bad in this regard, it didn’t age well — it is sooo obvious to the modern reader the unexpected secret double life of the hero, but I gather it was quite the shocker back in the day.

  12. @Lost in A**2: yeah, my bad; I should have said Holmes was among the first, or one of the pioneers or something like that.

  13. Jarns are indeed a Walkerism. His lexicon seemed to refer to grawlix as only one type (squiggly lines) of the class of maladicta. But it seems like today it’s more common to refer to all swearing symbols as grawlix. I probably should have used that term for less confusion.

    I guess it’s just that we imagine Watson to give a “prim and proper” response and the mild oath is so strange that it’s funny?

  14. “F*** around and find out” has become a fairly popular phrase of late. Enough so that I have become aware of it through the Internet while living in rural Germany. Properly, the verb conveys the idea of engaging in an activity which you know, ought to know or have been told will result in negative consequences for you. The fellow in the last cartoon has apparently f-ed around and is about to find out. Unsurprisingly, Whamond seems to be using it incorrectly.

  15. In the Anderson cartoon (eyes in glasses), it appears the glasses match the outline of the glasses in the painting. The old trope of someone putting eye holes in a painting so they can watch you secretly from behind the painting seems to be in play. Only in this case, “eyes following you around the room” is literal, as they seem to have migrated from the painting to the shelves of glasses and are now being covert in a different way.

  16. larK – Dad was a BIG Holmes fan, so I was raised with Holmes movies and the books when I was old enough to read. Dad would point out to me what Holmes what seeing and figuring in the movies, as well as in other mystery movies.

    As a result I can usually figure out “who did it” long before the end of the movie/TV show (unless there is no logic or connection to the crime in the rest of the movie/TV show). I do not tell Robert who did it.

    My best was when we saw “Knives Out”. I figured out who did it – before it was done!

    (When my nephew was born I made sure that one of the books we gave him was a copy of complete Holmes. Nephew is named after my dad and the inscription we put in the book mentioned that Holmes was a favorite of dad’s.

    In case anyone is wondering – when my niece was born we did not know what to get her as a gift. We ended up buying her a (very) small library of books – baby books, bathtub book, favorite books of mine and mother and put an inscription in each book of why we picked that book – except the bath book as we did not want ink coming off in her bath. When her brother came along we bought him a similar library (harder to do as we were all girls in my family and Robert did not enjoy reading books until in junior high and “Dr No”) I made sure to include a copy of the complete Holmes for him.

Add a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.