How much of that is Mickey? (bonus post)

Since we previously dropped in on “Arlo and Janis, The College Years”, here is the current chapter.

The CIDU matter is, What-all is going on in panel 3? The red must come from the Mickey phone, and by panel 4 we see it has been swept to the floor on the other side. But the panel 3 scene doesn’t simply show the phone partway through its flying path — there are lots of twist indicators or something.


  1. That’s the phone, viewed from the back and upside down. I had to stare at it a bit to get it.

  2. I thought I saw two subtly different shades of red in panel 3 (but can’t find my simple color-picker tool to look at their values), and for a while thought one was from the soda-cup cover. But more likely the phone base and Mickey’s shorts?

  3. Phil Smith III, thanks for clearing up the twisted yellow strips, which must be from the phone cord. A comment on GoComics admiring the retro furnishings mentions that the hanging light globe would have been made from corrugated cardboard; and I was for a while imagining that the flying phone had smashed the lamp and those curls were shreds from the lamp.

  4. It’s clear enough that he’s sitting there expecting/hoping for her to call. But it wouldn’t hurt to see the setup for that in yesterday’s strip.

  5. @narmitaj that is also how I would imagine it.

    In any case, I don’t think a collision with the lamp was part of the phone fling.

  6. Yeah, I just took it as he was so eager to hear from her that he yanked the phone across his body. Then played it cool.

  7. If you don’t understand the cartoon with panel 3, you can still get the joke without it — that is, just by reading panels 1, 2, and 4.

    The joke without panel 3 is that Arlo is glued to his phone, waiting for Janis to call. And when she does, he rips the phone off the receiver and cooly responds “I’m not doing anything. Just sitting here! (Certainly not waiting for your call or anything!)”

    So, about panel 3: That’s the Mickey Mouse phone flying through the air. In his haste to grab the receiver in panel 2, Arlo overlooked the fact that the cord is quite springy, and a quick pull one second can cause something else to come flying towards you the next. That’s something Arlo forgot in the heat of the moment, and something that many of us (now used to our candybar-sized pocket phones) can easily forget as well. (Or maybe have never even experienced…)

    Anyway, panel 3 just adds to the humor of Arlo’s calm response in panel 4. He just got attacked by Mickey Mouse, but that’s the last thing he wants to think about. Instead, he’s thinking: “Don’t act desperate or high-strung, and whatever you do, don’t say anything weird.”

  8. is anyone else having problems with gocomics? the last 2 days no comic images are showing for me. not on the home page, nor the comic landing (preview) page, or the click-in-to-Read-Now page 😦

  9. GoComics has tightened up its response to ad blockers, so if you’re using one to avoid ads on the site, that’s probably the reason.

  10. If Arlo is storing vinyl records on those block-and-board bookcases, he’s doing it wrong. They need to be vertical, otherwise they will take a permanent bend. Ask me how I know…

  11. @Mark H – the problem with learning by experience is the knowledge you acquire arrives just a little later than when you needed it.

  12. Phone cords. Something kids today will never have to worry about.

    I’m curious if new house builds include traditional phone jacks anymore?

  13. I think the images issue was my fault. I set FF to block tracking, and I guess some of those images have tags that get tracked.I reset it to Normal (or Standard?, whatever)

  14. I’m curious if new house builds include Ethernet wiring. WiFi is good enough for some people, but gamers want wires.

  15. “Experience is a marvelous thing. It allows you to recognize a mistake when you make it again.”

    The unit we live in was built about twelve years ago. There are cable, Ethernet and telephone jacks in all the bedrooms, and living room, plus a few extra phone jacks here and there (the kitchen, for example). I would gladly trade the phone jacks for USB charging ports. Ha! Talk about your first world problems. Of course, I’m old enough to remember when there was only one phone line in the house, and it was a wire coming out of the wall and hard wired into the phone.

  16. “gamers want wires.” So do the tinfoil hat brigade.

    But even though I’m not in the slightest extent one of those, I do espouse the general principle of never using wireless for anything if wired is a reasonable alternative. Cables go further, with more capacity and better security.

  17. VooDoo Chicken – Our phones are still plugged into the same wall outlets as before – even after we were forced to change to fiber optic service. All the fellow did was install a huge box in our basement (which takes 12 D sized batteries which will last for less a day when our phone service goes out for a week or so, and will cost us a fortune to keep replacing). The wires in the outside box did not last a year – before they had to come and replace them because they frayed and we lost phone service.

  18. Meryl – I can’t think what that box could be except an analogue-to-VoIP converter.

    But then I can’t think why it would be either huge or battery powered. Nor what it would do if your “phone service goes out”. Curious to know what you mean by that.

    Does the box have any maker or model name on it?

  19. MikeP: It sounds like Meryl is describing your average Optical Network Terminal (ONT,, although ours isn’t that big. We have an external battery for ours: power goes wall-battery-ONT.

    Verizon spent a lot of money calling people and harassing them to switch from copper to fibre 5+ years ago. The pitch always included “improved reliability”, at which point I would stop them and asking if they were threatening to degrade my 100% reliable copper service; that always flummoxed them.

    But they succeeded: I dropped Verizon, got cheaper landline service through my cable provider.

  20. The box also plugs into the wall and is, what makes the fiber optics system work as it has to plugged into AC electricity. The batteries are the back up for when we lose the electricity – such as a storm, the electrical transformer on local pole blowing (yet again), etc. We can change the batteries ourselves per the installer so it will run longer – but at what cost for a dozen D cell battery a day?

    When they made a big deal that the service was going to be the same price I pointed out that It was cost us more for the electricity this system uses. He made a big deal of how little electricity it will use – which is about the cost of a 13th month’s phone service for the year.

    Phil Smith – we did not change when they pushed us to do so. We did not get calls about switching – or if we did, they did not leave a message on our answering machine (actually answering machines – bedroom one always on, if in office or kitchen we turn on the one in there when the phone starts ringing as too lazy to stand in a hall and hear the one in the bedroom). We don’t answer the phone until we hear who is calling and based on that is whether or not we answer – generally we don’t as it is spam or a message that our prescriptions are ready to pick up.

    In mid 2020 Verizon sent notices that they were discontinuing the old service and if we did not switch by Oct 31 we would only be able to call them and 911 and only they would be able to call us. In addition to needing to change service to one we did not want – it was especially upsetting to have someone come in the house due to Covid (and for us – we don’t even have our families in the house since we had bedbugs). The fellow came in Nov 2020 and changed it all over.

    In mid 2021 we lost our phone service. After an hour and a half on the phone over 3 phone calls to Verizon – first problem each time with their computer was that my cell phone that I was calling them on was not the problem I was calling about and that it was a different phone number that had the problem. (If it was the cell phone – how would I be calling on it)and them asking for all sorts of proof of who we were – such as the exact day the account was opened with them (which was in 1979 and we have switched homes and whose name the account is in since then) or our code number (huh? never had one that we know of), they made an appointment for a week later! And before they would make the appointment they made us go through everything we had already done several times to “see if that fixes the problem as we will charge you for the service call if it is your (our) fault” as we did not find the problem by checking it out – and what if we did own a second phone to plug into the system to check? We had the old lines on and in the house for the 30 plus years we have lived here and they are same wires the people who owned the house before us had – lines never frayed. The fiber optic line in the outside box frayed in less than a year.

  21. Oh – and cable provide phone service was never considered before the changeover as it was the same problem with loss of electricity – even worse, no battery backup. Plus we it would cost more than our Verizon service.

    We have the cheapest service they have after the service for people on welfare or such. We get no minutes with the service and use it for incoming calls and 800 number calls going out plus we had been using it for fax machine on rare occasions when a fax needed in or out (and fax machines are hard to find to buy these days), but the fax machine in now on a Magic Jack line that husband has for when a client in his online counseling practice (VERY SMALL PRACTICE) wants to talk instead of chatting.

    After the service was switched to fiber optic we were being billed for 1 to 3 conference calls a month which we did not make – and, as I pointed out to the Verizon employee each time – “if we have not made any calls, how did we make conference calls? (We did get them removed from our statement – but it was another annoyance from them.)

  22. @Meryl

    And even though you actually wrote about it being a fibre-optic service. I think I should stop doing stuff late at night. 😳

    Strange concept, though – being forced to go full fibre. It’s the opposite here – there are loads of people gagging for FTTP who can’t get it. Not sure I’m that bothered, FTTC & does what I use the interwebby for. And even if I had it I’d be loath to have it instead of a copper wired analogue phone line.

    The company which owns the infrastructure did announce plans to stop providing battery backup for their ONTs – I don’t know if they did implement that or not. They have a bit of a history of pushing too hard and too fast for changes, for example they announced plans to completely end the analogue phone service in 2025, but then had to backpedal because of consumer backlash.

    This is what happens when the people making the plans and decisions only and always use mobile phones.

    But I’ve not heard any suggestions that there are plans to abandon copper wiring to houses. New builds they might, I guess, but no rip and replace. Hard to do that when millions of people can’t get full fibre when they want it.

  23. @Meryl

    Sympathy re bed bugs, our son brought some back once from a shonky Airbnb he stayed at. Right little bu***rs to get rid of – in the end we had to get a professional exterminator in. One of the worst moments was noticing that Teddy was infested. He spent some time in the freezer, the oven, and then a long period of isolation in a ziploc bag. He’s never forgiven us.

  24. Aha! The “how they got together” sequence seemed to end, not inconclusively but not really wrapping everything up. And then this other story took over, in present time: cleaning the house for surprise guests, shopping for a good filet for Arlo to grill, slipping in the guests’ names Wednesday.

    But yesterday and today, the reveal: These were parts of the same story, Murray and Cassie were their friends in college. They had their roles in getting A & J together, and here we see that Murray and Cassie found each other thru the same context.

  25. Mike P – My sympathies to Teddy. Now imagine a room filled with Teddys and their friends (Cabbage Patch Kids and the like). We call it “the Teddies room” (and that is separate for the most part from the Teddy Village which consists of figurines and small toy bears).

    We have no idea where we got them. We had not traveled in the year before (which, until the pandemic) was an unusual thing for us to do. My best guess is that I had a client who ran various apartment buildings and his office was in one of same in Queens, NY. I used to park my car in his basement garage.

    We had a firm come in and heat the house. It took us weeks of preparation as we have a lot of stuff in the house and much of it had to be sealed in plastic bags with bug strips in the bags and put in a shed in our backyard as anything which could melt, burn or explode could not be in the house (and it is amazing what we found what could do those things). Our worst day of dealing with it was when Robert was sitting and deciding which video tapes would be thrown out ( rule was if we have on VHS – Beta goes, if we have on DVD – VHS goes, except for special things – such as James Bond movies where everything stayed) – while he was sorting the roof started to leak right over his head – we also needed a new roof. We also had to be sure that anything which could break could not be blown over the heat engines (A lot of figurines and such were stored in plastic boxes wrapped in socks or towels.)

    The house is still not completely back together after over 10 years. Since then we no longer have family or friends in the house and we don’t go to their houses. We bought a Class B RV to travel in. (Don’t think big RV as in the movies – it is a Chevy Van conversion – very “cozy” – I can put my feet on the bed while seated on “the throne” as it is all so compact.) People traveling in it have to be VERY good friends.

  26. MIke P – Yes we were decontaminated completely and the house checked within a month or so of the treatment. Putting everything which was bagged and stored away in the shed took about a year (due to general laziness and concern).

    We still think of it when doing things away from home and it affects what and how do we things. This happened a couple of years after husband quit his job and the process of getting rid of them and replacing items which tossed out (either as could not treat or grossed us out that it been infected and we could not use any longer – though oddly, we have still the same mattress and box spring). We both work with fabric and have bolts of same in the basement and cut pieces in 2 dressers in our studio – and I had to heat all the lose pieces in the dryer. We bought a device called a Pack Tite. It is a large softsided suitcase shaped thing and the idea is to put suitcases in it when one returns from traveling to kill any bedbugs that one might have picked up. We no longer use suitcases when traveling (take clothes out to RV in laundry bags, use one laundry bag for dirty clothes and one to take back into the house the unworn clothes), but we heat all sorts of soft or paper items which come into the house in it.

    I still have have scars on my forearms from the bites and it is has been over a decade.

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