A squirrel in the hands is worth one on the dog

To finish up a (sort-of) week of synchros, we have this interesting pair from Mark in Boston, who says “I can’t say as I have seen much squirrel-carrying at all, ever, in the comics, until this past Sunday.”

Mark also sent a scan or picture of his physical paper, showing these actually adjacent. The Rose is Rose is good material for the discussion earlier this week about differences in layout and “extra” panels. And the Bliss is also an interesting case of oddities of publication schedule: this one was on GoComics and Bliss’s own site as 1/8, a date which can also be (more or less) made out in the drawing itself. But the newspaper for some reason printed it on 1/16 — and we have confirming evidence of that! —


  1. Perhaps the comics editor in the paper noticed the synchronicity well in advance and scheduled them together deliberately. Perhaps he or she has been checking in here since Sunday to see it CIDU catches it.

  2. Mt. Pleasant (on GoComics) has also been running a squirrel-carrying sequence, but it did not start until Monday.

    I always wonder how these synchronicities start. I have a mental image of cartoonists getting together at a restaurant, talking and joking, then going home and being inspired by the conversation.

  3. I’ve only had one dog that actually caught squirrels, and that was an Irish Setter whose (only) talent was timing the squirrels up when they were on the ground between trees. Then she’d “play” with the squirrels, until they broke, which made her sad. Very briefly.

  4. Comic synchronicity happens all the time, even without any direct author to author contact. Even if the candidates are restricted to the strips that run in a single newspaper, The Washington Post (just as an example) runs over 40 daily strips in the fishwrap edition, and nearly 90 online. That leads to 780 potential topic matches for every single day, or nearly 4000 per day if we consider all the online strips. Clearly there aren’t very many (if any) people who read every single online strip every day, but there are many readers out there, each reading a different subset of the strips, so it is quite likely that a large percentage of the possible combinations do get read by someone or other. Whether any of these people read and submit strips to CIDU is a completely different question.

  5. Thanks for the suggestion of Mt. Pleasant.

    Here’s today’s strip, featuring the not-ready-to-be-a-pet squirrel:

  6. padraig, a dog that can catch a squirrel is a good dog indeed.I had a tortie who actually caught a squirrel, once, sort of, but the squirrel turned around and jumped onto, then sprang off of, her head. She was not pleased.

    One of my feral cats catches mice all the time. My neighbors complain about all the rodents, but during the summer I liked to go out in the yard in the evening and watch her play. A live mouse is the awesomest cat toy ever. SO disappointing when they wouldn’t play any more and just lay there. Once when I went out, I found four dead mice and one dead rat in the yard. Fortunately, we also have a possum living in the colony, and he came along after dark and cleaned them up for me.

    zbicyclist, I saw a squirrel throw two junior squirrels off a branch. They fell 30 or so feet and made a thud on the sidewalk. About a minute later, they shook themselves off and scurried back up the tree.

    I miss the out-of-doors so much.

  7. Basically anything the size of a squirrel or smaller can fall from any height without injury — it has to do with both terminal velocity and surface area to volume convergence rates, that after a certain point (about the size of a squirrel), the maximum speed you can attain failing through the air multiplied by the mass of the body in question is less than the force necessary applied over the surface area of the body to cause any significant injury. It works the other way too, limiting the maximum size any animal can be without breaking itself just standing (and why the biggest creatures ever, blue whales, live in the ocean, where buoyancy in water can stretch those limits a little farther).

    Thinking about it, I realized this is not the same as the effect of scale, ie: if you, a six foot tall person, were suddenly 6 inches tall, you could easily fall the scale equivalent of twice your height (12 feet) without any damage, because, in reality you are just falling 12 inches, 1 foot, not 12 feet, and gravity only accelerates you for the one foot, so you only fall for about a quarter of a second, instead of falling for nearly a whole second at full size, which means you are moving a lot slower at the end of the fall. So when a mouse (or squirrel) falls for the equivalent of twice its height it ends up being a lot less force it hits the ground with than if you fall for the equivalent of twice your height, but that’s not the effect that allows the squirrel or mouse or whatever to fall from any height — that has to do with terminal velocity being reached — that in air, after a certain point, gravity can’t accelerate you any faster because of wind resistance, and if you’re small enough, this maximum speed is below that which would cause you injury.

  8. @LarK & zbicyclist, squirrels do indeed fall out of trees. After a light snowfall one was up in a tree over my head taunting my Schnauzer. The branch broke and the squirrel hit the ground totally flat right between me and the dog. All four legs out, perfect road-kill position. I don’t know who was more surprised, but the squirrel recovered quickly enough to scramble back up the tree before the dog got it. There was a little bare “squirrel angel” spot in the snow where it had splatted.

  9. Headline today: On Squirrel Appreciation Day, the furry critters cause power outage in California town (Patterson)

  10. I will leave finding them as an exercise for the readers, but there’s a guy on YouTube who has posted videos of some very impressive obstacle courses he built in his back garden to test the agility, fall surviving, and problem-solving skills of squirrels.

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