November 8, 2022November 8, 2022 by zbicyclist Should he be riding side-saddle? CIDU Bliss, Harry Bliss, Steve Martin 22 Comments I don’t get why a giant ground squirrel is funny. I don’t get the caption at all. Is there a tree around that produces giant nuts? Why a ground squirrel? If you’re going for humor, it’s hard to beat a jackalope. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Related
I think both the drawing and the choice of animal are perfectly fine, but I don’t like the caption’s obscure reference to “side-eye”. A simple “…everybody would be staring at us” would have made the comic easier to understand (the joke being that in the country, squirrel-riding is “normal”, but in the city, of course…
P.S. Although jackalopes do “exist” (in legends), using a legendary creature would ruin the whole point of the comic, since they would (presumably) be the object of stares no matter where they go. On the other hand, for true silliness, it would be hard to beat a basselope:
It is a chipmunk, for what that’s worth. I think it is just a surrealist sort of pieces. For what that’s worth.
Targuman is correct on both counts.
Perhaps this panel is simply a continuation of his “trip” from October 22nd:
From all the informal tourist signage I absorbed while in Oregon for the Apoceclipse in 2017, that is a classic ground squirrel: a chipmunk, we were told, has two stripes on his head. Of course, if you believe that, then Chip ‘n’ Dale are also ground squirrels….
(So, I just found the top two returns on Duck Duck Go for “chipmunk vs ground squirrel” are contradictory: (1) “While both are striped, only 13-lined ground squirrels have stripes that extend to their heads. Only the bodies of eastern chipmunks are striped.” (2) “The most striking and obvious difference in both of these is the existence of stripes on the chipmunk’s head.”)
The signage in Oregon was of the second camp, and they made a big deal of it, and considering that the most obvious animal on display was your classic cute “chipmunk” (I took a picture ), they were obviously on some type of crusade to educate you against what you know:
Ooh, I think it’s actually a federal plot: I don’t know how the state of Oregon feels about it, but the National Park Service is definitely pushing the “it’s not a chipmunk, it’s a ground squirrel” narrative; see this page, where they have a nearly identical chipmunk picture, which they definitively label as ground squirrel. They also add: “This ground squirrel is often mistaken for a chipmunk because of its resemblance. However, it is larger and has no stripes on its head. The tail is also shorter.”
And in the first post, I meant “informational tourist signage”, not “informal”…
lark quotes “This ground squirrel is often mistaken for a chipmunk because of its resemblance. However, it is larger” If there is one thing that’s clear about this Bliss comic, it’s that the animal is large!
It’s not a squirrel, it’s a bushy-tailed rat!
Zbicyclist says “If there is one thing that’s clear about this Bliss comic, it’s that the animal is large!” But it might be that the guy has become small — as Kilby points out, in a recent Bliss cartoon he was the same size as a hummingbird (at least in his perception).
For what it’s worth: The “side eye” reminded me of the stereotypical New-York-resident reaction to anything out-of-the-ordinary: At best, a shrug, but usually, no reaction at all.
I have been to that jackalope!
Scientific taxonomy vs. common names, which can be colloquial. More than 20 Tamias species in the U.S. and none look to me like Alvin. BTW, our total eclipse was ethereal with roosters, frogs, et al going crazy. I imagine the chipmunks were going nuts.
@Kilby. And the Assquatch has encroached the Jackalope habitat throughout Appalachia. Hence, a side-eye red-eye ? (sorry, can’t upload pix with iPad)
Hey, let’s just ask the animals how they identify.
I thought the artist DID draw side-eye, because that’s the way squirrel’s eyes are drawn. Did he draw it in the city?
The squirrel’s eyes as drawn aren’t mobile enough to express side-eye.
I think the use of “draw” to mean “attract” is the problem here, not so much the term “side-eye” itself, even though the competing interpretation breaks the fourth wall.
(And around here chipmunks do have stripes on their heads; used to have a bunch living by the garage, which they got into occasionally.)
Regardless of official taxonomy, it may be worth mentioning that chipmunks are, in fact, ground squirrels. They’re sciurids that live on the ground. QED.
If there are ground squirrels, what distinguishes them from all the water squirrels and sky squirrels?
Does your meatloaf recipe include much ground squirrel?
My dad says that as a teenager, he went out regularily to hunt for squirrels; the objective back then was meat, not fur, but I don’t think he was ever successful: he says that on any given afternoon, he sees more squirrels in his tiny urban backyard than he ever glimpsed in all the years he went hunting them way out in the rural sticks.
The ground squirrels here in Northern California are nearly the size of tree squirrels – two or three times the size of the largest chipmunk I ever saw – and uniformly gray of back, not a stripe to be seen. Furry tails but not nearly as furry as a tree squirrel’s – but almost as long as their bodies, much longer than any chipmunk I saw. But yeah, taxonomy vs popular names…around here we have white egrets (who are also known as snowy herons), Great White Herons (who are egrets) and Great Blue Herons (who are herons). Depending on who you ask…