1. Just because today’s strips are mostly funny(†) doesn’t mean everything is clear. Can anyone explain the second “Wrong Hands” panel? Wikipedia say that “Trains are a motif … [in] several major plot points” (of “Anna Karenina”), but I wasn’t able to discover anything instructive in the plot summary, other than that I would never want to read another Russian monstrosity like that. Suffering through the first third of “Crime and Punishment” was bad enough.

    P.S. (†) – The “matzah” comparison was my favorite; I’ve never been able to develop a liking for “Brewster Rockit”, and this strip was no exception (YMMV).

  2. Well sure, that’s always the case with these weekend listy posts. I was making an appreciative comment, not proferring an explanation. (So let me know a better way of signaling that.)

    While I’m back here, I should probably retract inherently substitute. Was carob in use on its own before someone decided it could stand in for chocolate?

  3. I didn’t know about the 18 minute goal for matzoh, but looked it up and learned something.

  4. @Kilby, the relevant “major plot point” involving trains is that Anna dies by throwing herself under one.

  5. Silly Carl. We can make CIDUs out of anything!

    I’m not entirely sure what the holes in the term paper refer to. Even in the days of hard-copy, many students didn’t use punched paper, although would if putting it in a binder or something. That’s not shown in the comic at any rate. The drawing has a few instructor’s marks, so perhaps that has something to do with it?

  6. I was serious. Holes in the argument isn’t really shown. If that’s what was meant, it would have been better to have the marks reflect that better. It does have a ? which could imply that I suppose.

  7. I never heard of carob until carob brownies started appearing.

    A long time ago there was a non-alcoholic beverage generically called “near beer.” Some wag said “Whoever called it ‘near beer’ was a mighty poor judge of distance.”

    Whoever said carob “tastes just like chocolate” needs to get a COVID test as soon as possible.

  8. Brian in STL, I say there is a hole in your position! The cartoon checks off a half-dozen attributes that both a matzoh and a last-minute term paper can be claimed to have. Sometimes the attribution applies in different ways for the two cases, or applies in some way that is not immediate — and all that is where the humor comes in.

    There are illustrations for some, but not all, of the attributes; and the illustrations by no means cover all the aspects. For instance there is nothing at all showing the 18 minutes one. So I don’t see how “the attribute needs to be shown in the illustrations” becomes a criterion.

    Yes, the holes in the matzoh are shown, I guess, inasmuch as the matzoh itself is shown. But even that doesn’t seem to me to demand that the holes in the term paper equally needed to be shown.

  9. For those purists who think that instant coffee is bad, they should have tried the “Kaffee-Mix” substitute (containing bean flour and chicory) that was inflicted on East German consumers during a coffee price & availability crisis in the late 70s and early 80s. It was universally detested, and led to humorous comparisons between the DDR’s Kaffee-Mix and the American neutron bomb: “both devastate the population, but the difference is that people are allowed to protest against the neutron bomb.

    P.S. I’ve never been a fan of imitation meat, and I’ve always hated powdered “creamer”, but on the few occasions when I ran into it, I don’t recall carob being that bad.

  10. I like carob very much. It’s delicious. And aside from being sweet and brown, it has basically nothing in common with chocolate.

    What’s really funny is that carob is not lower-calorie or more healthy or anything than chocolate. Why/how it became the substitute of choice…

  11. I always thought it was the substitute of choice for those with an allergy to or intolerance of chocolate?

  12. Carob isn’t chocolate, but it’s better than biting into an oatmeal chocolate-chip cookie and finding out that it’s actually an oatmeal raisin cookie.

    Now oatmeal raisin cookies are delicious if an oatmeal raisin cookie is what you are expecting….

  13. Well, I would find oatmeal raisin more in the “adequate” category under the best of circumstances. For me, better than peanut-butter cookies but way down on the list of of ones I’d choose. The last one I had was while I was still a productive member of society and that was the best option from one of the cookie trays that would show up at Megacorp events.

  14. Mark in Boston – I first heard of carob when I was a kid in Hebrew school. It is something which would appear for what was then Succos (now in new translation method Sukkot). One of the many week long (8 days) holiday. It is in the fall and involves building a sort of hut outside and decorating it. It is in memory of the years the Jewish people (as a unit) spent wandering in the desert (old joke – because none of the men would ask for directions). They would build temporary housing wherever they stopped.

    One of the foods we were given in Hebrew school for this holiday was called “Boxer” (This is a phonetic spelling from memory of the word.) I presume it is the Hebrew name as I later learned that it is carob.

    And, yes, as a child it was terribly disappointing to be told it was like chocolate (especially for a chocolate addict) and then eat it – as it is nothing like chocolate except that both are dark brown.

  15. Oatmeal cookies (or biscuits, as I prefer to call them) are actually made out of loft insulation.

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