The newer collection of Oopsies, Quickies, We-can-improve-its, Semi-CIDUs, Mysteries, and flops (11th Series)

This is just a blah. But can we improve it?

Sure, there’s a fix just calling out to us! Change the thought balloon to “Can I come up with the atomic symbol for Sodium?” and the bottom caption to “Na, he can’t.”

Other improvements from y’all?

And on this train of thought, for those with trigonometric inclinations, “Can he remember the sixth of the basic circular functions?” and the answer “No, of ____ __ ___ “.

This Breaking Cat News comes from Andréa as a problem of the physics. “Won’t the eggs fall out if they’re in the holder like this? I’ve not dyed eggs for YEARS, but I distinctly remember putting the egg in the holder small end DOWN . . .”

Here’s a new sub-category. It’s not LOL material, there is no joke to be understood, and it’s not a comic flop either. It’s just something you gotta see!

Okay, the joke here isn’t that far away from easy understanding — it’s that she’s at home, not in a hotel lobby or restaurant waiting area, yet her remark is appropriate only to the latter kind of situations. But the furnishings are not that different from what a public place might have. So how is the casual reader to know this is her home (the regular reader might be expected to recognize the furnishings and decor).

A “quickie CIDU” because it is entirely opaque while misinterpreting the artwork; then becomes a clear and simple joke the instant you re-interpret the artwork.

I think we’ve argued this point before: If a question is posed which is not answered within the comic itself, and is not clearly discernible after thinking about it, can we say “Well there isn’t meant to be an answer, but that’s part of why it’s meant to be funny”? On this one I just don’t get it.

Oh but wait! This was the 4-19 panel so of course it was a 4-20 joke. Ermmm.

Well this one might be called a second-take CIDU. I thought I had gotten it, or enough for a chuckle, when originally reading it – the guy hanging on the wall is a (baseball) catcher, and is the ideal one for the husband/fan-guy, so is his “dream” catcher. But the offstage wife takes that phrasing to mean a “dreamcatcher” wall hanging, whose proper placement she issues a reminder about. I didn’t give any significance to the nickname “Pudge” which the husband bestows on the catcher.

But then now Mark M sends it in and notes some complicating factors: I’m thinking if you’re not a MLB fan AND a geezer, this comic will be confusing.  I’m both and it’s still confusing.  Pudge was a nickname for Carlton Fisk, who played as a catcher some 50 years ago.  A very good player, so “dream catcher” is a great pun.  Maybe this belongs as an Oy or LOL.  But the CIDU part is the response in Spanish.  Fisk was born in the U.S. and had no Latino connections that I’m aware of. And then there’s maybe even more to this if we start to worry about him saying “This is how it works” which may go on only some readings.

(P.S. A few days later, he got down from that wall, and the husband caught him rifling in their liquor cabinet, and strewn about him were several bottles of this family’s favorite kind of American distilled grain whiskey. Which made him the catcher in the rye.)


  1. That’s not Carlton Fisk; it’s Iván “Pudge” Rodríguez, Hall of Fame catcher who retired after a 20-year career in the majors in 2011.

  2. Thanks, Fuzzy. (And Powers.) Besides recency, can we figure that also makes his use of Spanish more fitting?

  3. In German. the word “Na?” is a flexible (slang) interrogative, usually referring back to an issue that was previously discussed, and roughly equivalent to “Well, what do you think (now)?” This might offer any number of possible solutions for a translated version, except for one problem: the German word for “sodium” is “Natrium” (same as in Latin), which means that there really wouldn’t be any excuse for not knowing the chemical symbol “Na“.

    P.S. Andréa is absolutely correct, those eggs are being held up only by cartoon physics.

    P.P.S. I think there is a pretty good joke hidden in Duffy’s “Lugnuts”: he has scribbled out all the appointments in his calendar, and then used the grid for a better purpose, to create a fairly impressive piece of artwork. Since he’s going to ignore all those appointments, he will no longer have to wait (at least on those twelve days). I for one would like to see the other four columns of that calendar.

    P.P.P.S. If editors at King Features actually let a “420” (marijuana) joke squeak through, then that panel should be a candidate for an “Arlo” award. Not every censorship issue is based on sex (although the ones that Arlo encounters almost always are).

    P.P.P.P.S. The correct identification of the hanging catcher shows that the comic is only 11 years out of date, instead of 29.

  4. @ Deety – One would not guess it from looking at a picture of Fisk as an adult, but the answer is yes. The same goes for Rodríguez, although he called it “short and stocky“.

  5. Ah I didn’t think about Pudge Rodriquez. The Spanish dialogue makes more sense as he’s of Puerto Rican descent.

  6. “Can ‘e name the last of the six circular functions?”

    “No, of co’se ‘e can’t!”

  7. Here’s a trivia question for the German & Chemistry nerds: ignoring the elements that have a “Latin” symbol (such as “Na” for “Natrium” and “K” for “Kalium”), what is the only element that takes its symbol from German?

  8. @DannyBoy – Yes! That’s the intended answer. I have to admit it takes a stretch to accept it; and there is maybe something arbitrary in saying cosecant is the last one of the basic six.

  9. ♫”I wish that I knew what I knew then, now that I’m older. I wish that I knew what I knew then, now that I’m bolder.”♫

  10. @ DBLD – Since Mitch’s reply conflates the answers to two questions, here’s separate confirmation that “Wolfram” is the intended element (no stretch needed, that was probably for the trig question).

    P.S. There’s a German lightbulb manufacturer called “Osram“; the name was telescoped from “Osmium” and “Wolfram“. The company still exists, even though the majority of their products no longer contains either of those two elements (Germany banned all incandescent bulbs – except for specialty purposes – several years ago).

  11. Oh, sorry, I meant to be replying only on the trig question. I didn’t in fact know if Danny’s answer on the element question was correct. (And I was still thinking about Rhenium. Of course Rhine [or Rhein] is a name, but is Wolfram not?)

  12. (Replying to Kevin A)

    Not unlike “My Back Pages”! Ah but I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.

  13. I was still thinking about Rhenium. Of course Rhine [or Rhein] is a name

    I was mulling Einsteinium for the same reason, but then I rationalized that with “ium” ending, it is quasi-new-Latin…

  14. “Breaking Cat News” is a continuity strip, so saying you don’t understand one comic without following the arc is like saying you don’t get today;s “Judge Parker.”

  15. BREAKING CAT NEWS is (usually) a continuity strip for Monday-Saturdays, but the Sundays are not (or rarely) in thecontinuity, and this is a Sunday strip. (In the current weekly continuity, the humans are off visiting somewhere leaving the cats alone in the place, so they throw a huge party culminating in a WWE-style “Tusslemania.”)

  16. Teacher: Elmer, can you tell me who wrote “Critique of Pure Reason”?
    Elmer: I can’t.
    Teacher: That’s the only correct answer you have given me so far this year.

  17. @Mary McNeil: I never said I didn’t understand it; I said the physics of the eggs in the holder is incorrect. And yes, also what Shrug said.

  18. I didn’t notice the egg-holder problem initially, nor recall anyone in comments remarking on it. Looking back there were a few remarks.

    The comments there are very friendly and rarely critical of the strip. Not like, say, “Dick Tracy”.

  19. @Mitch4 Yes!, I’ve really liked that one line; always thought provoking. I went to listen to “My Back Pages” and, as I thought, that’s the only line I know of the whole song, even though I know the whole tune. (I didn’t even recognize the name of the song.)

  20. Rhenium is named for the Rhein, but through the Latin form of the name: Rhenus. This also applies to hassium (named for Hesse).

  21. One assumes the secret ingredient is “love,” which is why the other witch looks horrified.

  22. @ Mitch – The name of the element “Wolfram” has nothing to do with any person’s name, it was derived from its behavior as a mineral contaminant in the process of smelting tin ore: supposedly it “gobbled up” material “like a wolf”; the suffix “ram” is an early German word for “soot”, referring to the dark color of the mineral. Tungsten come from Swedish, it originally meant “heavy stone” (referring to another ore, not the element).

  23. Max, that is a touching thought! But I think pretty clearly marijuana was intended, since this almost (or “should have”) appeared on 4/20, and 420 in various forms is a longstanding “code” for the weed.

    Yes, it was one day off — that’s due to the sharing arrangement of Six Chix where they each keep a consistent weekday and rotate on Sundays. Since this artist, Bianca Xunise, has Tuesdays, April 19 was as close as she would be getting.

  24. MiB, or others, can you identify that figure further back on the left? The foreground is surely meant to be Wittgenstein, and the two on the right are Nietzsche and Sartre.

  25. Thanks Darren!

    How could I mistake her for Wittgenstein? He used to be my favorite of all! I sort of turned against him on a biographical basis, which I know is not proper but sometimes can’t be helped. The turning point was a bio essay on Ramsey, showing LW as a rather mean-spirited bully. Still, I think of LW as the first one to give a good answer to Cartesian skepticism/solipsism. (Where Descartes’s own answer is nothing more, really, than trust in a deity.)

    “Existential Comics” brings in philosophers of all eras, but your identification of the two at the left makes it fitting that all in that picture are actually Existentialists by designation or predecessors who are often counted among them by some kinship of thought even if they did not carry membership cards.

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