More Minor Mysteries, Ooopses, and Not-Quite-Rights

This Wrong Hands is almost a good Oy, playing on “usher” being both a family name and a role in a wedding. But do we make sense of the different kinds of dwelling the two people have?

This Pardon My Planet is not really wrong. But it’s not right, either.

(Not repeating in full the discussion from before on the issues of whether and how to use Far Side comics, but as before this will be not copied nor embedded but just linked.)

Sent in by Max C. Webster, III, who says “I assume Old Jake is the dog, and the familiar sight is his boy, but as for the joke . . . huh?”

This one from Ken Berkun.. The zombie could have said something about “Brains!” and the scarecrow may connect to the Oz Scarecrow who felt the lack of brains. But do those line up right for a “I hear that”?

Wait up, I’m still stuck on “I hear that”. Does that somewhat less common expression offer any advantages (besides maybe shortness) over the more modern / natural sounding “Now you’re talking!” or “You said it!”?

Crankshaft often uses a pun or attempted pun as the punch. Can it be that “processing” is meant to work that way here?

I guess this is meant as a critique of how some people think of the process of teaching and learning?


  1. The Life on Earth strips reminds me of a saying in Hong Kong in which the “teaching to the test” approach is compared to stuffing ducks.

  2. The Far Side comic is just a take on the faithful dog waiting for the man to come home after a rough day.

  3. I think the first one is just an unexpected juxtaposition. The House of Usher is a story by Poe, so it’s creepy, then you see the next one, and are surprised by Best Man, and have to go back and reprocess.

    I think the blue gene one is ok. The Far Side is as Mark H said, a role reversal.

    The Brains one certainly could have had a better caption, but I assume one of them said “I need a brain” and the other one replied with “Boy, I hear that.” Either could have said either line, I think, which is the point.

    The Crankshaft is a pun. Processing the insurance claim / Processing the idea of the claim.

    I’m not sure about the last one. Yes, teachers stuff your head with information, but he’s just making them airheads, which is the opposite of what school is supposed to accomplish.

  4. What Wendy said. To add a tiny bit (maybe,or just to be irritatingly repetitive): Because The House of Usher is a Poe thing, it gets a Gothic mansion. Because the Best Man is assumed to be a 20-something bro, he gets an apartment.

  5. Random trivia: the gothic mansion shown in the “Addams Family” TV series never actually existed in that form. It was a composite matte painting that added the creepy upper storey to an existing house (which has since been demolished).

  6. Specifically, the scarecrow probably spoke his famous (song) line “If I only had a brain. . .” which brought on the zombie’s response.

  7. P.S. I would like to thank whoever the moderator was who kindly fixed the “<i>italics</i>” tag that I messed up on.

  8. A zombie and the Scarecrow walk into a bar:
    “Yeah, I hear that.”

  9. For many simple text sequences, you can open and close the italic part with underscores. That can be less prone to problems. In the usual way of things, my example might fail.

  10. Even with the elucidation efforts here – for which I’m grateful – the Crankshaft still doesn’t quite land in my back yard. In other words, “Say what?”

    The Life on Earth panel reminds me of recent school days in Ventura, California, according to an apparently-not-widely-reported news item from a few days ago. That’s about all I can say about that subject without calling down moderator lightning, though.

  11. Normally “they’re still processing it” would refer to the insurance claim working its way through the company’s system. But in this case, it also means the people at the company who were incredulous that he would even file the claim in the first place are still coming to terms with that fact.

  12. Thanks, Powers, for articulating those two senses of the phrase. What I was having trouble with, I guess, was deciding whether they really are two distinct senses, or two “applications” of a single meaning. As though that has much to do with whether something “qualifies as” a pun! 🙂 A complication is that the mental application is something of an idiom?

  13. Carl Fink: “processing” is the current jargon for “coming to terms with”, as in, “My dad died and I’m still processing it”.

  14. @PS3: yes, i know, but “bile” is a digestive fluid containing substances which help in lipid absorption. Using “digest” would add an actual pun to the comic.

  15. I do think the Andertoons works. “I hear that” is usually commiseration. “Now you’re talking” is upbeat. “You said it” can go either way.

    The zombie and the Scarecrow are both downbeat on this, because they are commiserating over a shared lack. They aren’t celebrating the concept of brains; they are sitting at a bar drinking, because they are ruing their own personal lack thereof.

  16. For some good digs at the “teaching to the test” approach, see and go through the archives.

    Crankshaft has a history of starting fires. One strip in this series said the FD got there so fast because his neighbors have the FD on speed dial.

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