Saturday Morning OYs – August 13th, 2022

Thanks to Le Vieux Lapin for this one, which is some sort of word-play on language-related terms, so what is there not to oy?

For Argyle Sweater, one bad pun deserves another. The actual Pony Express is famous, but only existed for a short time, from from April 3, 1860, to October 26, 1861. Pricing didn’t help (The initial price was set at $5 per 12 ounce, then $2.50, and by July 1861 to $1. Normal mail service was $0.02 then.). The service continually lost money, and closed two days after the transcontinental telegraph connected Omaha with Sacramento.

Now we’ll segue into some that miss a bit. Kilby reminds us that Segway ceased production in June, 2020. One might ponder the various reasons why the Segway, introduced in 2001 to great fanfare, was a failure (and by the end, so out of mind it might have merited a geezer alert), while now e-bikes are flying off the shelves and electric scooters are commonly seen.

Well, there are some judgement calls here; let”s see if you agree. The “just ok” is enough to qualify it as a pun or Oy; but isn’t especially good, or enough to make it a funny Oy. However, the second shot, using the idea of “settling for [smthg]”, does make it work, and earns at least a chuckle. (No comment on the squirrel’s addition.)

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is screenshot-2022-08-02-175249.jpg

For those of us who’ve served as executor of someone’s estate that wasn’t tied up very well, this will bring back painful memories. Painful OYs here.

And just when we were making plans to officially retire the Synchronicity category, this pair comes along within a week of each other with the same double pun. One factor is that this one was already published here, in last week’s OY list:

But this one is fresh:


  1. I liked Funky Winkerbean back when it was a funny “comic” strip, but wasn’t able to read it that often, because it didn’t appear in the newspaper that my family subscribed to. I quit looking for it at all after it became a cancerous “misery” strip, but now I’m shocked to see that Funky has “suddenly” mutated into an overweight retiree.

    P.S. If Hilburn is using a computer font, he needs to replace it, because tHaT oNe HuRtS tHe EyEs. If his letterer is suffering from PaRkInSoNs, then perhaps he should consult a doctor.

  2. Well, giving it a little leeway, if what the lawyer is going to prove is that the investigating officer had no probable cause, then the resulting evidence is inadmissible, and if you have no evidence against his client, you have to let him go. Just being in a “murder of crows” is indeed not sufficient probable cause to gather evidence against any member of said murder, so, barring parallel construction, any evidence gathered solely on that basis will have to be thrown out.

  3. As for the @!#$ing squirrel, in neither instance does his comment make any sense, let alone add to he joke: early settler? Does he mean he “early adopter“? Either way, he’s done the “settler” joke already, this is just beating a dead horse. And “Pun Apologies”? If that’s supposed to be a pun, I don’t get it, and if it isn’t a pun, why are you even bothering?? And “in advance”?! It’s not in advance, it’s afterwards, so it’s just a standard apology, as in “don’t ask permission, just beg for forgiveness” — there’s no “in advance”!

    The !@#$ing squirrel must die, indeed.

  4. @Kilby The old Funky strips are being rerun on Comics Kingdom, and yes, they are a lot funnier. I wasn’t reading during the years when the strip evolved, and it is a much different strip now, with the characters largely unrecognizable to me from the early years. But at least he’s not just recycling the same gags from decades ago (like some strips we could name).

  5. larK is so correct about the intrusive squirrel, and thanks for the reminder that this site is formally godaddyandthesquirrelmustbothdie even if you don’t see it written out that way often. It’s particularly galling that anybody would think it necessary or appropriate to apologize for a pun in the comics anymore.

  6. Stephan Pastis doesn‘t “apologize” for his dastardly puns, but he usually offers the reader the vicarious pleasure of watching the author being punished for those linguistic sins.

  7. P.S. @ zbicyclist – Thanks for the tip (the relevant keyword for searching is “vintage”), but a pox on King Features and their unreasonably mercenary policies. I thought the limit was “at most two weeks back in each feature”, but it actually turns out to be “no more than fourteen strips per month, counting across all features on the entire website”.

  8. One thing the settler forgot to mention was that he was on Holliday. And the crow’s lawyer couldn’t use the Sanity Claws becaws there’s no such thing. Finally, how many guys would agree to be vetted in order to be fixed up with a date?

  9. According to Wikipedia, “the gang” in Funky Winkerbean graduated high school in 1988, which makes Funky roughly 52 years old. So why does he look like he’s in his late 60s here?

  10. Funkyverse time is strange. They are supposedly a number of years later than “Crankshaft” but both strips seem set in current time.

  11. I think the Reality Check cartoon might have worked a little better if the second sentence had been “It’s just … all right … I guess” instead of “It’s just … OK … I guess.” No need to repeat “OK” which is the name of the corral and part of the joke, when a synonym is available.

  12. Apparently it was once indicated in “Funky Winkerbean” that Funky was born March 29, 1964 … which would mean he was born the exact same day as Elle Macpherson. Not only has he aged extremely badly, he seems to have aged even beyond his years; I think he competed in the over-65 division of a race a couple of years ago.

  13. We figure our estate (if we leave one) will go to whichever niece/nephew is taking care of us – if any of them are.

    When my niece was relatively young she asked how Robert’s niece was her cousin. My reply was “well you are not really cousins, but if we had children you would both be their cousins” which I figured was better than “one day you will all be together deciding what to do with us when we are old”. The crowd of them now ranges from 12 to early 30s. 2 are blood relatives, one is a step-nephew and two are adopted. 2 are Jewish, one is Protestant, and two are Roman Catholic (and from China).

  14. I went to high school with the brother of the fellow who invented the Segway. He has been involved in making things which help people who have Diabetes since his brother does (and his poor brother would be sent to all the health classes to explain about Diabetes and show the needle and other equipment he used). Dean Kamen has invented several things to help Diabetics (in addition to other items).

  15. I remember the huge hype around 2001 preceding the unveiling of what had been called the “It”; from enthusiastic celebrities up to Steve Jobs. Followed by a response from much of the public amounting to “All of that for a scooter??”

    Personally I took a prejudice against it because of the name Segway, which I saw as enshrining what I maintained was a mispronunciation of the word segue, a noun and verb having to do with making a transition in a narrative, and as I believed, adopted from French rather than Italian or Latin and thus pronounced as a monosyllable. And indeed, at the college radio station the tech trainer who showed us the technique of making a segue in a tape by simultaneously turning up one pot (volume control) with one hand while turning another down with the other hand for the other overlapping track, always called it by the mono syllable. (ETA: some 30 years earlier)(Further edited to correct typo; thanks Kilby)

  16. @ Mitch – I never cared for that fancy two-syllable pronunciation, and I am pleased to find someone else who prefers the monosyllablic version. However, I cannot confirm the spelling with a “Q”: all the references I can find list “segue” with a “G”.

  17. Thanks Kilby, for your agreement on the pronunciation, and for pointing out my typo, which has been corrected. Many days at this hour my eyes are still too gooey to distinguish a q and a g. (And smart of you to identify by capitals)

  18. I find no source that supports a single syllable version of the word, so I don’t see it as a “preference”. I’m not even completely sure what pronunciation you use. Does it rhyme with “vague” or something?

  19. C’mon Brian, I don’t understand your criteria for calling something a “preference”. Can it not be my preference to pronounce some given word in a totally idiosyncratic way, not supported by any authority? Can I not have a preference to be wrong?

    I think the monosyllable pronunciation of segue should be pretty clear. Your suggestion that it might rhyme with vague is not quite what I would say, but that might be a difference in our accents; I would tend more to rhyme with beg, peg, leg, segg.

    Though I have no authority backing my preference, I do have the makings of an argument. Which also happens to be wrong — since it did enter English from Italian, not French. So I’m left saying that’s how I learned it, in the 1960s, and a contrary tradition has not convinced me to change!

    However, in a rather parallel case, the argument actually is valid, and the relatively unpopular monosyllable pronunciation actually does have support in dictionaries and And that item is forte in the sense of “strong point of a person, that in which one excels,” — not the musical term for a degree of loudness, which definitely takes two syllables. (The monosyllable sounds just like the word fort.) Here is on this point:

    In the sense of a person's strong suit ( He draws well, but sculpture is his real forte ), the older and historical pronunciation of forte is the one-syllable /fɔrt/ or /foʊrt/, pronounced as the English word fort. The word is derived from the French word fort, meaning “strong.” A two-syllable pronunciation /ˈfɔr teɪ/ is increasingly heard, especially from younger educated speakers, perhaps owing to confusion with the musical term forte, pronounced in English as /ˈfɔr teɪ/ and in Italian as /ˈfɔr tɛ/. Both the one- and two-syllable pronunciations of forte are now considered standard.

  20. Since we are thinking of the two-syllable pronunciation of “seque” I can tell this anecdote.

    I was eating lunch with my friend Chris at a small lunch counter in Harvard Square.
    Chris said, “I was going to order a negue but I didn’t see it on the menu.”
    I said, “What’s a negue?”
    Chris said, “About two ounces.”

  21. If I tell you that pronounce “walk” as “way-lick” you probably wouldn’t think that was just my preference.

  22. If I tell you that pronounce “walk” as “way-lick” you probably wouldn’t think that was just my preference.

    Certainly I would think that it was your preference! And that your preference was for a very eccentric and incorrect form!

    Okay, maybe I wouldn’t agree that it’s just your preference — but this is the first that the just is rearing its head.

    Also I would be more surprised about encountering a very discrepant variation of a core term like walk than anyone should be surprised about encountering discrepant variations of severely down-catalogue terms like segue and forte.

    … Though in fact I met a guy who had a nonstandard pronunciation of “says” and “said”. Instead of / sɛz / and / sɛd / he had forms that seemed to include the base / seɪ / (“say”) with a z or d added on. Like / seɪz / and / seɪd / . There was something charming about it. I believe he was from Indiana. This was a bit before I moved to Illinois and had plenty of opportunity to hear Indianans say “sez” and “sed” with hardly any “say-z” and “say-ed”.

  23. Y’all Emmerikuns haf it fer tuu EZ. Try living in Germany for a change, where multiple dialects can turn sloppy pronunciation and all sorts of vocabulary and grammar offenses into the “correct” way to say something (at least regionally). I can deal with northern “Plattdeutsch“, but only in small, moderate amounts. Pure “Platt” is about as far from German as unadulterated Highland Scots is from English. The “Pfälzisch” and the old “classic” (but not modern) “Berlin” dialects have some charm, but “Kölsch” (from “Cologne”) and (much, much worse) the Bavarian dialects are just ugly. Luckily, I don’t have to deal with them very often.

  24. I thought Kilby was going to go in the direction of non-native speakers and some of their quirky “preferences” — because while with any native speaker, their “preferences” have to almost by default be accepted as “correct”, foreign speakers are a tougher case (especially if you are charged with teaching them). Germans have all kinds of “wrong” preferences which no amount of correction seems to be able to beat out of them, like misusing “since” (I live since two years in Berlin) or “Let’s make a pause”, or “handy” for cell phone. Of course it’s not just Germans — my wife is forever trying to get the French she works with to say “i-dee-ah” and not “eye dee”, and I just heard one yesterday from a Brazilian on the radio yesterday that particularly irks me because some Brazilians I know insist on using it, despite knowing it’s “wrong” — something I feel deep down they don’t have a right to do as non-native speakers — which is to say, “Thanks God” instead of “thank God”.

    (I think this one particularly irks me because having specifically taught English to Brazilians for three years, this one emphasizes a particular deep rooted assumption that English is “easy” because it doesn’t have particularly complicated verb conjugations and such (which Portuguese does), and so the idea that you should be able to learn English fluently in three months is pervasive, and this kind of mistake reenforces this flawed idea by ignoring the complexities of conjugation of the actual phrase and instead substituting a simpler form, thus completely brushing off the actual complexities of English, and leaving you with a silly, almost childish meaning, but which you cannot convince the student is wrong. Student: “Graças a Deus” –> “Thanks, God!” wham, bang, move on! Me: No, you see, what you’re saying is more like, “Obrigado, Deus!” S: Yes? So, close enough! M: No, no, what you want to say with that phrase is something closer to “there but for the grace of God go I”… S: Right! Thanks, God for saving me! I got this. Moving on; English is easy, I pretend to learn quickly! M: Indeed…

  25. Kilby – I occasionally view some videos from a German woman living in the US and she will discuss the various dialects and even how English gets incorporated into the language. The latter comes up in a few videos where she listens to some German speakers in America, like the “Pennsylvania Dutch”.

  26. @ larK & Brian – I’m only rarely worried about difficulties faced by anyone learning English as a foreign language (I remember quite well how difficult it was to learn German as an adult). However, I am frequently amused by systemic (widespread) errors. These are often not simple mistakes by an individual speaker, but fundamental cognative effects that can be very hard to overcome.

    For example, many Germans have trouble differentiating the (English) sounds for “W” and “V”. This is compounded by the fact that while the English “W” does not exist in German, the “V” sound does exist, but the symbol for the English “V” sound is the German letter “W”. The result is counter-intuitive: many Germans pronounce the English “V” as an English “W”. To get an idea of how weird that sounds, try pronouncing “very well” as “wery vell“. I have even encountered German speakers (more than once) who could not “hear” the difference between those two versions.

  27. P.S. If you aren’t interested in German vocabulary you should skip this comment (and the previous one, too).

    One thing that does drive me up a wall is when English contamination starts to deteriorate (or destroy) perfectly good German words and expressions. One classic example is “to make sense”, which has been imported as “Sinn machen“, instead of the usual “German” expressions for this concept.
    I can ignore “Handy” for “mobile phone”: there is an obscure but justifiable etymology for the term, but the main problem is that the word is extremely well-established, and nothing is going to change that anytime soon. I’m also not expecting anyone to introduce a German word for “Frisbee“.

    Now for a different example: the best (most correct) German translation for the English word “realize” would be “begreifen“. Unfortunately, there is also the German word “realisieren“, which does not mean “realize”: it means “to turn into reality”, or in other words “construct” or “implement”. However, the English word “realize” has changed all that. There are many (possibly most) otherwise intelligent Germans who now say “ich realisiere…” when they really mean”ich begreife…“, and I have even witnessed parallel (reverse) mistakes by German speakers in both languages.

  28. Unfortunately, there is also the German word “realisieren“, which does not mean “realize”: it means “to turn into reality”

    Of course, that’s one of the definitions of “realize” in English as well.

  29. That does demonstrate a parallel for the “correct” meaning of “realisieren“, but it doesn’t form a justifiable bridge for the contaminated import meaning.

  30. I mentioned in another thread that Robert has been reading a series of fiction books about the Amish by an “English” woman who grew up with them in Pennsylvania. (She is not Amish – English to them is anyone who is not one of them.) He likes the stories, but even more, he likes learning more about the Amish which information she includes in the story lines.

    He keeps noting the various words used so he can keep them in mind when we are in Lancaster and speaking with someone who is Amish. The language is similar to, but distinct from German (as well as some Yiddish). So he will read me something and or ask me what I think a word means – generally from either of the little I actually know of these 2 languages I often can figure out what the Amish word means.

  31. @ Meryl – Shortly after I first learned German (long ago), I chanced to pick up a book written in a “strange” language (this was in a giftshop near Seattle). I was very surprised to discover that I could piece together about 75% of the text by combining my knowledge of English, German, and other cognates. I was wondering if it was supposed to be a parody, but after about a page and a half, I asked the cashier what language it was, and discovered that it was a Netherlands giftshop, so all their books were in Dutch.

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