Saturday Morning Oys – February 12th, 2022

Let’s mark this Lard’s as a CIDU-Oy, inasmuch as it does a rather nice word-play joke, but may take a couple beats to figure out.

Not a perfect portmanteau but it’ll do, and we get to treat the cat fans. For those not into cats, you may not be aware that a vernacular name for this sort of tricolor marking is “calico cat”.

And not-a-perfect exemplar of “pun”, but this is certainly word-play!


  1. I wondered why the Dept of Forensic Entomology guys were huddled around a table out in the parking lot, before I realized the “table” was actually a car. Presumably they are investigating the death of a bug that hit its (unseen) windshield? The bug must have had an intense death wish, if so, since it appears there are no other cars in the parking lot for it to splatter on.

  2. @LF, the riddle prompt in panel 2 “I sound like what I am” (using the nice old-fashioned “I am” format for riddling) has the answer “onomatopeia”, as Shrug’s Wikipedia link gives. Panel 4 is sort of the answer, but it is more like an additional clue, as a rough sound-alike. It is a loose match , to get “on-a-mat-up-here” to sound like “onomatopeia”.

  3. @Mitch4 ‘ It is a loose match , to get “on-a-mat-up-here” to sound like “onomatopeia”.’

    Maybe not quite so loose in New England where the “here” can be a bit different. 🙂 (close to northeast Boston, the “mat” may be accented; the people like to be very clear about the situation.)

  4. You need a non-rhotic accent for the onomatopoeia joke to work. It comes off like a Boston accent to me.

  5. I figured out what the strip was going for, but it really didn’t work for me. I spent some time trying to figure out if he was relieving himself on that mat.

  6. Calico cats are almost universally female, a factoid that I carried around in my brain for decades but didn’t think much about until a while back. A couple of youtube channels I follow have calico cats as background characters, females of course. One is named “Bear” so some people in comments think she’s a he.

    I looked it up, and it’s because the genes for color determination are carried on the X chromosomes. The Y chromosome for males is actually a broken X, so they are missing some of the coloring genetic material. The More You Know.

  7. It took me a minute to get the on-a-mat-up-here joke, but I guess I liked it more than most. The expression of the character in the 4th panel tells me that the author knows it’s a groaner. It seems to be taking a page from many of the Pearls Before Swine strips.

  8. I looked it up, and it’s because the genes for color determination are carried on the X chromosomes. The Y chromosome for males is actually a broken X, so they are missing some of the coloring genetic material. The More You Know.

    Well, kind of. By which I mean, no.

    The thing is, in female mammals, each somatic cell has two X chromosomes. Only one X chromosome is active in any given cell. So, in female cells, one is deactivated.

    In us humans, what happens is that one X chromosome is deactivated in the female very early in development, so all the skin (or more to the point, hair follicle) cells have the same X chromosome deactivated, say the maternal one. (To clarify, once a cell has an X deactivated, that cell’s descendants via mitosis have that same X deactivated.)

    In house cats. this happens quite late in embryogeny, after the proto-follicular-pigment stem cells have already differentiated, and split into precursors that will each supply follicular cells to different patches of skin.

    So, when the kitten grows hair, one patch of skin has an active X from the father (one color) and one from the mother (different color). Thus, calico.

    In male mammals, each cell has exactly one X chromosome, from the mother. (We get a Y from the father, which is missing all chromosomes except the few that trigger male development patterns.) Thus, males are never calico, because they only have one set of color genes to express.

  9. I wanted to confirm something, and an article on the topic of X inactivation told me something I hadn’t known: marsupials always inactivate the paternal X chromosome, so daughters (very slightly) resemble their mothers more than therian (non-marsupial mammal) daughters do.

    Hmmm … birds (and some insects) use the ZW sex determination system, where the females carry the heterologous sex chomosomes. Now I’m wondering if they have a similar inactivation system.


    … woah, I had forgotten how weird sex determination is across groups. Monotremes (platypus and echidna) use a five chromosome system. Snakes also use ZW, as well as one specific group of turtles. At least in birds, there’s no evidence of Z chromosome inactivation in males. (Males are ZZ, females ZW.)

  10. Too soon? as they say … Wayno’s blog includes a comment on the Matalico Cat panel, which I won’t quote at length (you can go read it at the link) but will note that he says he received comments pointing out that calicos are almost always females, and that some of that commentary was critical of the cartoon — but Wayno responds that there is nothing in the drawing that specifies the guitarist cat as male.

  11. Well then hopefully it won’t be improper to quote a bit more Wayno on this item… My main concern was whether to use the letter “L” once (as in “calico”) or twice (as in “Metallica”). I decided to go with the shorter spelling.

  12. Correcting myself: the Y chromosome contains few genes, not few chromosomes, which makes no sense.

    It never occurred to me that Wayno’s cat was male. I mean, as he says, plenty of guitarists have the genotype XX.

  13. The Hagar strip is a rip-off of the old joke: A lady goes into a bar and asks for a double entendre. So the barkeeper gives her one.

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