1. Normally I would have thought that hamster “pellets” would be strewn all over the cage, but I suppose the other kind is also sold in pet shops. However, for the pun to really work, there should have been at least five of them in a lozenge-shaped formation.

  2. Two of these, I don’t really get.

    Polaroid. Yes, they are at the North Pole, and it’s a Polar bear. But where does the -oid come from? And what is the connection to photography?

    Pellet-on. I’m guessing this is a pun on some American brand that I’ve never heard of, am I right?

  3. Pete: Peloton makes exercise bikes and treadmills, yes.
    I’m with ya re Polaroid: I’m missing something.

  4. I’m with Mark H. on the polaroid. I think he’s meant to be pointing to the bear’s backside, although this isn’t really clear in the drawing. I’m not sure how it would make sense otherwise.

  5. @ Pete & PS3 – Originally, the word “peloton” is the French term for the principal pack of bicycle riders in any major street race (such as the Tour de France). However, if it’s also the name of an American manufacturer, then that makes the joke work for even just one hamster on the wheel.

  6. The Polaroid one puts me in mind of a William Tenn short story I just read, “The Ghost Standard”:
    I’m not sure the story entirely works for me, the ending almost seems like it’s a whatchamacallit, not a shaggy dog, one of those that is a whole long thing for a bad (good) pun at the end, but it isn’t that, so I don’t quite know what to make of it. But apropos there is an whole spirited discussion of the usage of “oid”…

  7. According to my dictionary,

    -oid | ɔɪd |
    1 Zoology forming adjectives and nouns denoting an animal belonging to a higher taxon with a name ending in -oidea: hominoid | percoid.

  8. At first I thought medical, and then I was much happier with the mathematical shape, He’s not quite spheroid; he’s polaroid. Folly’s thought has made me wonder what the “aster” in asteroid means. I always thought spheroid meant sphere-like.

    Then someone brought up Kodiak Bear and my mind is now debating away without any will from me.

  9. The bear just doesn’t look quite right for a polar bear. It looks a bit like a polar bear, but who knows what it really is. An asteroid is something that looks like a star but is not a star. An android is a robot that looks human but is not human. So this is a polaroid. Whether this is the artist’s intention or not, I don’t know. If he meant a polar bear and this is the best he can do, I apologize.

  10. Do y’all remember the development of factoid? Originally coined (by a celebrity writer??) to follow in the “Like an X but not really an X” pattern that Kevin, MiB, and others have been exploring. Later used for small and probably insignificant true statements, the sort of thing to be collected into listicles.

  11. The Kliban comic is just a play on the POLOROID camera name. Poloroid/Polar bear. Perhaps not an LOL type of pun, but I think this is just Kliban being a little absurd in his deadpan manner. The fish is just an amusing little flourish. His comics often have whimsical things going on in the background that aren’t necessarily part of a regular punchline.

    Have you folks never seen a Poloroid camera? Poloroid was instant photography before the advent of digital cameras. The company went bankrupt in the early 2000s, but enthusiast have rebooted the brand, reissuing the film and offering cameras. The name would have been instantly recognizable to the original readers of the comic, but even younger folk today have been apparently embracing the brand.


  12. Grawlix may I make a spelling correction? The instant camera brand was not Poloroid as you are writing it, but Polaroid – just as the cartoon has it, and relating it a bit more closely to the term “polarized”. (Sunglass lenses that were polarized to reduce glare were marketed with the name Polaroid also, though I never understood whether they were related to the camera company.)

  13. Polarizing filters, used in photography and in sunglasses, were invented by Edwin Land. Land co-founded Polaroid Corporation to make the filters. Land later invented the instant film camera, also marketed by his company.

  14. That’s what I get for posting late at night. Sorry for the confusion.

    Mitch4. what was that last word in your comment regarding the essay?

  15. Grawlix, my apoplogies, I also was posting at not-really-awake-o’clock. I was apologizing for not yet reading the whole essay, but I had been impressed by what I had been able to sample.

  16. “Factoid” was coined by Norman Mailer in his 1973 biography of Marilyn Monroe.

    I hope the Kliban kontroversy doesn’t get our little group too polarized.

  17. MiB: “It looks a bit like a polar bear, but who knows what it really is.”

    Maybe it doesn’t know either, because it’s a bi-polar bear?

  18. There are lots of Bipolar Bears in pop culture. There’s a rock band named “Bipolar Bear” for instance.

  19. “Kodiak Bear” and “Polaroid” make me think of a very old limerick. You have to know that to take pictures before Kodak, you had to deal with view cameras and glass plates and darkroom chemicals. Kodak’s slogan was “You press the button. We do the rest.” Also before the standard two-letter state codes, North Dakota was No. Dak.

    There once was a woman in No. Dak.
    Who photo’d a bear with a Kodak.
    The button she pressed;
    The bear did the rest.
    He caught up with her down in So. Dak.

  20. MiB: I would question the NoDak and SoDak parts of that limerick, except that I live near SoCal, so I can buy into the locals using those names.

  21. Grawlix – When I was in college I had 3 jobs at different times of the day/week (worked for dad and worked in a store) one of them was working in the ID room at college making ID cards. The photos were taken with a Polaroid camera – something I had never actually seen or used before starting there.

    I found out the hard way that there is some sort of acid in the process – I found this out when I found small holes all over my jeans from the photos. (Robert just informed this that was the “stuff” one ran over it, he joined me doing this our last year at college – but I don’t remember that detail.) I also learned a good number of local zip codes – but that is not related to this.

  22. I seem to remember ND and SD being No. Dak. and So. Dak. in mailing addresses. Pennsylvania was Penna., Massachusetts was Mass. There were jokes about bisecting Massachusetts on an east-west line so you get High Mass and Low Mass. New York was NY because everybody knew that NY stands for New York, but ND would have been a puzzler. New … what? Delhi? New Delaware?

  23. @Kilby: Interesting. Two of my former cow-orkers went to a startup that does data aggregation/analysis/something for other companies, and Peloton is their flagship customer. I suspect if Peloton DOES go down, so will they. So this is even more interesting to me than you’d expected!

  24. I didn’t hit a paywall, but the site was so cluttered that I went into Reader View anyway. That being said, my takeaway from the article was more “temper expectations” rather than “likely doom”.

  25. Phil, I heard that they underestimated the demand, accumulated too much inventory, then stopped making them for a while. The impression was that they will continue to sell them and then resume manufacturing when the inventory has shrunken.

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