Saturday Morning Oys – July 16th, 2022

I think this counts as a pun, even without doing a pun-joke.

The above sent by Andréa, who particularly notes Tom Waits getting mentioned, saying “Never thought I’d see HIM in a comic – made my day!”. And one of your editors had the pleasure of taking a couple classes from Professor Lance Rips, who liked to point out that his name constitutes a complete sentence.

Meant to post this earlier.

And the award for the best re-use of old toy parts goes to …

I learned the word prodigal in the context of the Parable of the Prodigal Son, and thought it meant something like all the characteristics of the guy in the story – wandering, absent, returning after a long absence and acting all entitled, etc, all packaged in that one word. Only much later did I start seeing contexts that wouldn’t support all of that meaning, and learned the base sense spending money or resources freely and recklessly; wastefully extravagant.

And then discovered that was what it meant in the Parable, too. But there had not been enough help from the context to make that choice clear! And this fits the philosopher’s point that, if your informant points to a rabbit and says gavagai, maybe they are telling you the word means rabbit — but maybe it means finger.


  1. A friend and I, when it is time to go, like to say “Let’s make like a tree, and leaf”. It’s less rude than “Let’s make like an ice hockey team, and get the puck out of here”.

  2. Would someone explain the ceramic figurine one to me please? I have no reference…

  3. Commonly heard (dare I say, “clichéd”?) phrases like, “the prodigal returns” seem to indicate that to most people, “prodigal” means something like “missing” or “absent”, or maybe “wayward”.

  4. larK, yes there seems to be a widespread pattern of taking the primary meaning to be as you describe, something like “missing” or “absent”, or maybe “wayward”. But it’s clear from dictionaries that the ‘wastrel’ , ‘profligate’ senses were earlier, and for some standard dialects are still the main meanings.

    The Man Overboard from Andréa is apparently using both meanings, but making a point of bringing in the ‘profligate’ meaning early, in the old man’s dialogue in the first panel, “Wot happened t’ that money I guv ya?”. The Eric Scott in the post seems to be using neither type of meaning!

  5. Is Ronnie Wood-Rip related to Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones? If Ronnie Wood-Rip is torn, is Rip Torn?

    And here’s another parable, as it should have gone, and probably how Jimmy Christ would tell it: The kingdom of heaven is like a good shepherd who lost a sheep. And the shepherd left the flock on its own and went in search of the lost sheep. And the shepherd found the sheep and came back to the flock, and behold, in his absence the wolves had slain and eaten all of the rest of the sheep.

  6. Well, I can see the word ceramic, and I can see the words “fig” and “urine”, and I can see the ceramic figurine, but, like Susan T-O, I could see nothing to bring this together into a coherent joke. However, I did come to the conclusion that this was the intended meaning. That just left me with the thought – “Hmmm, I wasn’t aware figs could micturate.”

  7. Add me to those who don’t get the first one at all.

    “Sat there” really doesn’t work for me as a pun on Sartre. I guess maybe if you have the sort of accent that turns “wash” into “warsh”, but even then it’s too big a stretch for me.

  8. Thank you Danny Boy – London Derriere. I never would have connected those dots. The joke isn’t nearly so amusing as the commercial where they divide the word “artisanal” into three parts that come in together to form the full word. The first two parts are “art” and “is.” I’ll leave it to you Gentle Readers to figure out the third (or you can google “artisanal cheese gif” if you want to see it).

  9. Your thoughts on “prodigal” remind me of the Good Samaritan. The word samaritan has evolved to mean “a stranger who helps someone in distress”, but I’ve spoken with people who seemed to think that’s what it meant even in the Bible.

  10. But it’s clear from dictionaries that the ‘wastrel’ , ‘profligate’ senses were earlier, and for some standard dialects are still the main meanings.

    Those will be the dialects known as literacy.

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