Yet Another set of Semi-CIDUs, Minor Mysteries, Oopsies, and Not-Quite-Rights

From Chemgal, who says  “I thought the highest possible GPA was 4.0. Are they using a different scale in Zits?” She mentions she can think of a possible explanation, and I think I know what it is too, but even if it’s not a full CIDU there may be enough uncertainty for people to discuss as a Semi-CIDU.

This Beetle Bailey is from 1965-05-17, and appeared in ComicsKingdom retro series recently on Thursday 2021-12-02. I wasn’t aware that spray-painting would be part of helmet maintenance, but I guess why not? But what exactly is going on in the aftermath scene that is puzzling the General? Has the grass in general been painted an odd color, but not inside the helmet outlines where it was shielded? But those patches don’t look like they’re supposed to be natural grass. Or has the procedure somehow damaged / killed off the grass inside the helmets, and left it normal outside?

We all know one of the standard time-travel puzzlement plots involves killing Hitler young. But what are the stories about smuggling him away in your luggage?

Call me hidebound and oldfashioned, but I don’t always think open-ended and unresolved are better. MAYBE someone with a lot of insight into snoring does have a principled way of matching these up. But without that, or an official answer key, you have to resort to “Oh, just posing the question is funny, and gives us a chuckle about how much snoring goes on and how bad it is.” But is that really enough?


  1. Chemgal, high schools often will give “weighted grades” for honors or AP (Advanced Placement) courses. Usually the scale then goes up to 4.5 but I have seen 5.0.

  2. Yeah, they started experimenting with that way back in my high school days (late 80s). You’d get +1 to the GPA for any “intensive” class (AP was still gaining market share at the time), so that people who tried harder stuff wouldn’t be penalized for it. I ended up graduating with something like 4.7 GPA thanks to taking mostly challenging classes, but if you stripped out the bonus points it was 3.97 (a lone B).

  3. In my high school years our district also had those bonus points for honors or advanced classes. (Advanced would mean taking a standard sequence, such as math, but shifted a year earlier. All students were required to take four years of math, but that did not include calculus for most students.) I didn’t know that was still done, but it’s the obvious explanation of how Jeremy can have a 4.1 average.

    Apart from figuring out the underlying system, was anyone else surprised that Jeremy individually carries a 4.1? No, he isn’t a goof-off, but very little of his portrait has been about academics. I would have guessed he was middle of his class,or comfortably in the middle of the upper half.

  4. Mitch4: Yes, I was surprised. I’d have put him as as B student at best from context.
    (And I’ll be unsurprised if folks dredge up older cartoons that support him not being a good student, but maybe they’ve been consistent.)

  5. I think the idea is that Beetle took the “when the paint dries” directive as license to procrastinate so long that the grass died from lack of sunlight.

    At least one university (Caltech) permits course grades of A+, which enter the student’s average at 4.3 – not that I ever got one.

  6. What kind of snoring sounds like a dripping faucet??

    A dripping faucet can be annoying when you’re trying to sleep, just like snoring can, but I can’t see how it sounds like snoring??

    Furthermore, there are only two sleep positions featured, lying on your back, and lying on your right side…

  7. Like other folks, my (public, not private or magnet or anything) high school did a weighted rank. It actually was pretty complex, and the weighting went in both directions. Remedial classes were at -0.5, regular was +0.0, college prep was +0.5, honors was +1.0, AP was +1.5. So straight-As went from 3.5 to 5.5. You were given both a base rank and a weighted rank; highest weighted rank was valedictorian, and highest base was salutatorian.

    This could lead to weird results in that there were certain classes that you had to take four years of, such as gym and English. If you skipped years, you had to double-up, So, if you skipped your first year of English, like I did, you had to take two years of English in your last year. Which meant that you needed to pick up a class like Creative Writing. Which was a basic-level course. Meaning that, if you skipped years at the freshman level, you had fewer slots to fill with honors and AP classes, meaning that the top end of your potential weighted class rank was lower. But, given that they reported both unweighted and weighted class ranks to colleges, this didn’t seem to cause problems. In any case, at the time, there seemed to be a limit to the amount that class rank and test scores matter to admission to elite universities. It seemed like you need to be above a certain point to be considered, but it didn’t really matter how much you cleared that threshold by. After they threw out all the applications that don’t hit the minimums, they then chose on extracurriculars and externals. So if you were significantly above 4.0 weighted, it didn’t matter all that much if one or two of your classes only went up to 4.0. Sure, they would drag down your average a little, but it wouldn’t drag you below the threshold.

    Also, the “four years of gym” thing meant, if you wanted to graduate in three years, you had to pick up a sport for at least one year, since playing on a team counted as a phys ed credit. Which also meant that everybody who graduated in three years had a sport-based extracurricular, which made them more well-rounded for consideration by elite colleges. You didn’t have to be GOOD at the sport, but you had to at least be there and try. And some of them, who would never have thought of hanging out with the jocks otherwise, found that they really were better at it and enjoyed it more than they expected, Everybody who finished off all the AP courses had doubled up on English and science at least once and probably twice, AND had competed in cross-country running, swimming, football, baseball, or whatever.

  8. I’m surprised no one mentioned the 1-5 scale. At my university, straight As was a 5. There was no extra for A+ or AP. I ended up with a 4.9something, mostly because physical education courses gave grades based on tests of the rules. Rules I could do. The actual physical stuff, not so much.

  9. Chak, ditto for me on getting ok grades in P.E. because there were written tests on things like rules.

  10. There was a strip years ago where Walt mentioned Jeremy being a 4.0+ student. It was in the course of good-natured envy over Jeremy being a good student, now better than him at basketball, etc.

  11. Two or three years of my high school tenure were more than half AP classes with weighted five-point grade, I considered myself an excellent student, and I’m pretty sure I my high school GPA was a 3.8 or 3.9. I don’t know what happened, but I don’t think I can entirely blame the semester I got a D in gym because of some form they said my grades wouldn’t count until I returned it and I didn’t return it until after midterm.

    If I recall correctly, in college with no weighted classes and two semesters of placement credit, my GPA was 3.6. That includes a “World History” class that covered almost the same scope and less depth than my AP European History class that I didn’t get placement credit for because there was “no analogue in the curriculum”, which I reliably slept through and got an A.

  12. “But what exactly is going on in the aftermath scene that is puzzling the General? Has the grass in general been painted an odd color, but not inside the helmet outlines where it was shielded?”

    Yea, I think that’s it. The General was unaware of the helmet painting situation, and he just came across this odd pattern on the ground. Because so many absurd things happen at Camp Swampy, he’s wondering what on Earth could have led to this. The humour lies in the dramatic irony; he’s imagining something weird and wacky has taken place, but there’s actually a relatively innocent explanation. I think.

  13. We did not have weighted classes in high school or college and they were on a scale of of up to 100 (not sure what the lowest number was, but bellow 65 was failing – not sure if it went all the way down to zero.

    I have heard the term “perfect 5.0” in terms of grades so I figured that was a perfect or highest score in single digit grading.

    I was a solid “B” level student. If I opened a book to study or at least read it I would have done better. (Robert – we were dating at the time and for some years after – when we were in college and I had oral book report due in 3 hours – “What are you doing – haven’t you read the book yet?” Me “I read the first chapter, the last chapter and a couple of chapters at random in the middle of the book.” Him – “You mean you haven’t read the book yet and you are going to read a few chapters and give a report?” “Of course.” – Got a B.)

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