Second-order synchros of LOLs

What I mean by “second-order synchronicity” is that Arthur was struck by two different synchro pairs on the same day.

“Barney & Clyde matches with MGG:”

“And Close To Home matches with Off the Mark:”

“Neither are exact matches, but both immediately caught my eye.”


  1. I don’t quite get the Close to Home one. I mean, yeah, the spots came off her dress onto the chair, but how did they do that? The peacock’s spots came off because of the force of his sneeze; that’s a common enough trope. But just sitting?

  2. I was given a cheap knockoff Italian soccer jersey which I wore to an informal Italian restaurant. When I stood up my number stuck to my chair. And no, that was not a commentary on the restaurant, just the jersey.

  3. Is that a bug on (under?) her shoe? Is it moving its arms to direct the team of insects that moved the spots? Is it the squirrel in disguise, ready to make a quip?

  4. The “Close to Home” cartoon is the opposite of the “wet Paint” trope. Instead of gaining stripes from sitting on a wet bench, she loses her polka-dots by sitting on a chair.

    It’s not logical, but it’s just as embarrassing.

    In fact, it reminds me of the children’s book “Put Me in the Zoo” (by Robert Lopshire) that my mom used to read to me at bedtime when I was a wee tyke. My memory’s a bit hazy regarding the plot of the story, but I remember an animal that could distribute his spots anywhere he wanted. Oh, how fun it was to see all those colorful spots spill onto everything and everyone!

    This “Close to Home” cartoon reminds me of that book, and how silly it was to see the spots transferring from an animal to something else — as if the spots were tangible entities that could be thrown about!

  5. @Darren – yes, it’s a bug in Close to Home. That bug frequently shows up in that cartoon, much like the squirrel in Reality check. The bug’s a lot quieter, though.

  6. When I was in college living in the dorm, one student got a label maker and labeled everything in the room, as one does. He stuck “LIGHT” on one side of the light bulb in the lamp, and then turned the lamp around and stuck “DARK” on the other side. This somehow seemed very profound and metaphysical to him.

  7. I visited a friend’s home when we were in college (early ’90s). Big house, had a rec room upstairs with the games and televisions. There were four TV remotes in the room. Every one of them had the dial-a-letter label like the cartoon above. But all four were labeled “clicker”.

    I think he got a bit defensive when I asked him why they had labels if they weren’t to distinguish each from the other. It wasn’t like everything in the room had labels, just the remotes.

    @chemgal, thank you. I must have never noticed it before. I’ll have to look for it now.

  8. Mark, I don’t know your age, but your college friend may have been on the cutting edge of scientific research – indeed, even ahead of it. It wasn’t until the 1980s that Bell Laboratories, also the developer of the transistor, proved the dark-sucker theory.

    The following report on their work was published in the Labs’ newsletter, and reprinted in the Bay Area Atari Users’ Group newsletter not long after.


    For years it has been believed that electric bulbs emitted light. However, recent information from Bell Laboratories has proven otherwise. Electric bulbs don’t emit light, they suck dark. Thus, they now call these bulbs “dark suckers.”

    The dark sucker theory, according to a Bell Labs spokesperson, proves:

        1. That dark exists as an independent entity;
        2. That dark has mass greater than that of light; and
        3. That dark is faster than light.

    As previously discussed, the basis of the dark sucker theory is that electric bulbs suck dark. Take, for example, the dark suckers in the room where you are. Note that there is less dark right next to them than there is elswhere. The larger the dark sucker, the greater its capacity to suck dark. Dark suckers in a parking lot have a much greater capacity than do the ones in this room.

    As with all things, dark suckers do not last forever. Once they are full of dark, they can no longer suck. This is evidenced by the black spot on a full dark sucker.

    A candle is a primitive dark sucker. Observe that a new candle has a white wick. After the first use, the wick turns black from all the dark which has been sucked into it. If you hold a pencil next to the wick of an operating candle, the pencil will turn black because it was in the way of
    the dark flowing into the candle.

    Unfortunately, although candles are easily carried to locations where there is much dark, these primitive dark suckers have a very limited range. Portable dark suckers are an improvement, but the small bulbs in these cannot handle all of the dark by themselves, and must be aided by a dark storage unit. When the dark storage unit is full, it must be either emptied or replaced before the dark sucker can be operated again.

    Dark has mass. When dark goes into a dark sucker, friction from this mass generates heat. Thus, it is unwise to touch an operating dark sucker.

    Candles present a special problem, as the dark must travel in the solid wick instead of through glass, and this generates even more heat. Thus it is very dangerous to touch an operating candle.

    Dark is also heavier than light. If you swim deeper and deeper, you will note that the water gets slowly darker and darker. When you reach a depth of approximately fifty feet, you are in total darkness. This is, of course, because the heavier dark sinks to the bottom of the lake and the
    lighter light floats to the top.

    The immense power of dark can be utilized to humanity’s advantage. We can collect the dark that has settled to the bottom of lakes and push it through turbines which generate electricity and help push dark to the ocean, where it may be safely stored.

    Prior to the development of turbines, it was much more difficult to get dark from the rivers and lakes to the ocean. Native Americans recognized this problem and tried to solve it. When they were on a river in a canoe traveling in the same direction as the flow of dark, they paddled slowly, so as not to stop the flow of dark; but when travelling against the flow of dark, they paddled quickly so as to help push the dark along its way.

    Finally, we prove that dark is faster than light. If you stand in an illuminated room in front of a closed, dark closet and slowly open the closet door, you will see the light slowly enter the closet; but since the dark is so fast, you will not be able to see the dark leave the closet.

    (This is from my email archive. It’s so old that my address on it is written in the format of Despite 35+ intervening years, to my knowledge no one has yet disproved this theory.)

  9. On an autism newsgroup I used to frequent, there was a long discussion/argument about the speed of dark being faster than the speed of light. I could never tell if anybody was serious.

  10. When I was a kid in the early 60s, those label makers were so cool they were used as prizes on local kid shows. Perhaps the joke is a geezer still thinks they’re cool. Not really the same joke as Grimm marking his territory in visible form.

    A favorite moment in the old Britcom “Red Dwarf” was Cat (actually the humanoid descendent of earth cats) merrily anointing corridor walls with a little breath spray and declaring “That’s mine, and that’s mine, and that’s mine …”

  11. I sometimes think silence moves faster than sound…

    Speaking of the old plastic-strip label makers, there’s a recurring gag in the short-lived BBC droll comedy series from 20 years ago called “Look Around You”. The first season poses as an ’80s school educational series, and there are numerous clever sight gags. Various and sundry flasks, bottles and assorted props are labeled with white text on red strips.

  12. When I was in elementary school the Dynamo (not sure of spelling) labeling machines with raised white letters on color backgrounds came out. One of our neighbors had a card store, had one of the machines and made labels for sale – his daughter, my friend would take orders from us for labels – at a fairly low price.

    Then my dad bought one of these machines. Since then I have always been labeling things. Now we have a Brother tape machine which prints the labels flat on plastic and can even be used from our computers as printer for labels. Sizes of printing can be changed making it even more fun to use.

    Yes, I label a LOT of things. Better than having to keep opening boxes and other things to see what is in them. Also good – a label on a piece of wood makes a nice price sign for items at craft shows.

  13. Not quite the “bang path” format which showed the routing explicitly, for news and the like, and sometimes for mail.

  14. Yes, Dymo was the spelling and they were the big brand, with the push-thru layer technology to produce those raised letters in white or contrasting color.

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