More Oopsies, Semi-CIDUs, and flops, including Carl’s Corner

(Fifth batch of these.)

Okay, sometimes CIDU comes down to “I don’t understand how one cartoon can make that many mistakes”.

Carl’s Corner

Carl Fink sent in this Loose Parts and says:

1) I for one read right through the joke on the first pass. I’ve been
reading numbered lists for so long, I don’t actually notice the numbers
any more.

2) Counting is not arithmetic!

And Carl also on this Off The Mark:

Painting with … antigravity pigments?

So would a real painter glue the palette to his hand and then hold it
vertically like that? Wouldn’t the paint run off it? I say “glue”
because he clearly doesn’t have a thumb on the other side, so he can’t
grip it.

Also, why is he wearing a lab coat? That doesn’t look like an artist’s
smock to me.

This Reply All Lite could probably count as Unintentional Arlo Award. Either the artist does not know a very widespread vernacular sense of Johnson, or does not think her readers would make that association and attribute it to these characters.

Pardon my objectionable sick joke! (Which may not be instantly evident, thus the semi-CIDU category.)


  1. I think the painter’s thumb is sticking through a hole in the middle of the palette… the pink “paint blob” has a thicker outline matching the fingers. Most palettes have some sort of thumbhole, though usually the hole is nearer the edge and the palette itself is a more curvy affair, as per the linked image, to provide gripspace for the fingers. If he is painting with oils then there’s no worry about the paint dripping off as it is pretty stiff stuff. But he could easily smudge his smock.

  2. I don’t see a problem with the Reality Check. “To Serve Man” is a well known 1950 sf story by Damon Knight, later a Twilight Zone episode, in which an alien document titled “How To Serve Man” turns out not to be a guide on how to aid and uplift humanity but a cookbook. In this cartoon, the humans get the cheffy meaning immediately, but aliens state that most of humanity can relax, they only eat vegan (ie, vegans) – but that’s no comfort to the hipster.

    I see my earlier comment on the visible thumbhole in the painter’s palette has gone into moderation, presumably due to the linked image.

  3. I’m not sure why it is said “he clearly doesn’t have a thumb on the other side” when, to me, he clearly does.

    If that (and the “lab coat” smock) are the only complaints here I think the level of nit-pickiness is getting out of hand.

  4. I don’t get that last one at all. Nothing remotely is even clicking with woks and quasimodo.

  5. I don’t get Quasimodo either – except that maybe his “hunchback” is a wok underneath his shirt, and he is using it to press his shirt from the inside?

  6. The Quasimodo one took me a bit, too. He needs a wok to iron his shirts. His shirts are tailored around his hump, so he needs something of the same shape to put under the shirt while ironing to get it to lay right when he’s wearing it. The salesclerk is unaware of that, so is making small talk about cooking you can do in a wok to help make the sale; Quasi just wants to be able to continue to dress well.

  7. I take the point that learning arithmetic would not solve being unable to count, counting is a prerequisite for arithmetic, but I take exception to claiming “arithmetic is not counting” — I would say arithmetic is nothing but counting, counting in fancy new ways, but counting: counting forwards, then counting backwards, then counting forwards and backwards in groups, and then grouping and counting those groups… OK, arithmetic is nothing but counting and grouping, but arithmetic is counting…

  8. arithmetic is nothing but counting

    At a certain point in my graduate education I transferred from a department in the Humanities Division to the Computer Science Department, and needed to take a couple of low-level math courses as requirements. In the college Algebra course, Mr. Abdulali told us “Algebra is always about solving equations”. And used that to motivate linear algebra, eigenvalues and cosets, group theory, fields, rings, ideals, Galois theory, of course the rationals, reals, and complex numbers, and extra credit for quaternions.

  9. I agree with Ian Osmond’s explanation of what Quasimodo wanted a wok for — a support form for ironing or pressing his special shirts. I’m not sure what to make of the salesclerk, a regular PMP character. Maybe she’s just giving the same spiel she would with any potential customer for a wok; or maybe she was flustered by seeing the real purpose and didn’t know how to talk about his physical features so fell back on routine.

    Anyhow, when I (indirectly) called this possibly an “objectionable sick joke” I was taking this overall as coming rather close to laughing at his condition. But maybe not.

  10. On the Reality Check, I was unsure whether the cartoonist expected that the audience would or would not be familiar with “to Serve Man” (whether as written fiction or the Twilight Zone). It’s pretty darn famous! But the cartoon doesn’t depend on that, as there is no bait-and-switch, the “be of service” meaning is skipped entirely and the dining meaning is almost directly jumped to. And the dining/eating sense is itself only indirectly given, in the alien’s line. And the last thing that I saw as potentially a problem was relying on the leap from “eat vegan” to “eat vegans” — which, really, is the joke, and is handled awkwardly.

  11. The selection of woks seems to be all flat-bottomed ones, rather that the more traditional round ones that Quasimodo would likely want. I have one of the latter. Anyone remember the old infomercials for “The Hand-Hammer Wok” promoted by a British guy named Wally? That’s what I have. I use if almost every Sunday for stir-fry and frequently prepare stir-fried vegetables at other times.

  12. So how do people iron the shoulders of ordinary shirts? Do they iron them on the hanger or something?

  13. I’ve no idea in what universe “low-level math course” includes cosets, Galois theory, and quaternions, even for extra credit.

  14. Ted, college Algebra is not high school Algebra. Because I was transferring into a department in the Physical Sciences Division, I was expected to have completed the two beginning series of math courses, Calculus and Algebra. I say beginning because these were also the courses given to the incoming undergrads. There were different levels of those series, sorted for incoming first-years by testing, but understood as meant for non-science students, likely science majors, and likely math majors. The ones I took were the middle option, so perhaps low-level was not the best chosen term. But also these were first sequences for incoming undergrads, so that was what led me to say low-level.

  15. I was in a burger bar once – big sign behind the counter



  16. We have a Johnson here, in a prominent role. Not only is he aptly named, he has a history of not keeping his zipped away.

  17. There are many artists, including many cartoonists, who don’t use canvas or pen and ink any more but do their art on the computer. Conceivably, autocorrect could affect them.

  18. My great-niece is a budding artist and fashion designer. These days she uses a pad for drawing. I’ve seem some amazing videos of people using art programs, especially Procreate for iOs.

  19. MIB – There are also long thin boards that can be inserted into entire sleeves. You’ll often see them at taylor shops or dry cleaners. The one I had would swing under the back of the regular board when not in use. It’s around here somewhere but I’d probably have to get a permit to excavate for it. I doubt that I’d ever have gotten the Quasimoto one on my own.

  20. And of course that suggests a literary association: “Mr Leopold Bloom ate with relish the inner organs of beasts and fowls.” … And we picture him spooning some kind of pickle or spice relish onto the kidneys.

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