No, not the character from Rocky Horror!

Thanks to Boise Ed for sending this in! He says We have a dry desert and a guy and his dog, looking over the ridge at another guy who apparently reeks and is holding a magenta rectangle. I can see the reeking guy attracting the dog, but what’s with the magenta rectangle?

To slightly disagree, I don’t think the guy is supposed to be reeking. Those wavy lines are probably heat or visual distortion — appropriate if he’s in a mirage.


  1. Is it possible that’s a magenta water bowl? I don’t know why that guy would have one, but there could be water drops coming out of it?

  2. The magenta rectangle is a weak rendition of a water bowl (note the droplets), and might have been easier to recognize if the colorist had chosen red. At this point only the dog can see the mirage, so the image is canine-specific.

  3. It’s the common comic trope of someone crawling through the desert, thirsty, and whispering ‘water’. They see a mirage of a waiter with a nice cool glass of water.

    Lassie is a dog. Her mirage is her master with a dog bowl full of water.

    The wavy lines indicate that it is a mirage, not a real person. And note that it is her master, without the beard that grew in the desert.

    This is a misunderstanding of what a mirage actually is.

  4. @ Powers – “This is a misunderstanding …
    Well, of course, but it’s a pretty standard rendition of the “mirage” meme as seen in countless movies and other comics. It has no relationship to “real” mirages (either simple heat reflections that appear to be open water in the middle of the desert, or rare refractions allowing the viewer to see things that are much farther away). As far as scientific accuracy goes, this is on a par with those cartoon chameleons that can mysteriously “vanish”, even when they have variable backgrounds as seen from different directions.

  5. P.S. @ Pete – My apologies for the mistaken attribution, I had a separate post open at the same time.

  6. @ Powers – Just “Ditto!” for the misattribution. I didn’t have another comment in the pipeline, it was just having seen two names beginning with “P” in short succession, my fingers tripped and I typed the wrong one. Ooops.

  7. Okay, now I see that the magenta trapezoid could be a bowl, but drawn as seen completely side-on, with no visual hint of curved edge or concave center.

  8. In psychology class, the teacher told us the difference between a mirage and a hallucination.

    If other people can see it, it’s a mirage. If only you can see it, it’s a hallucination.

    Now I’ve heard that extreme stress in the desert can cause hallucinations. Lassie’s master behind her doesn’t see what Lassie is seeing, so poor Lassie is seeing a hallucination, not a mirage, even though she sees water.

    But I don’t see why it’s funny.

  9. Okay, the head shape and shirt seem to corroborate that being the dog’s owner, which in turn corroborates the mirage/hallucination idea. (BTW, MiB, I like your description of the difference!) I suppose that lends credence to the badly drawn water-bowl, too. I’ll also concede that not all dogs named “Lassie” have to be collies. “Funny” is something I’m still working on, though, but years of seeing New Yorker comics have convinced me that “funny” is not required.

  10. Evokes: The Little Prince, so less “weird” funny or “something off” funny, but certainly “makes me smile” content.

  11. I had the same thought as Chak. Dog is seeing a mirage of his owner with a water bowl (or a hallucination of same).

  12. And as for the other Magenta – Robert instituted “Friday night midnight movies” in November. (Matches “Saturday night movie date” which we have had since Covid started on our kitchen TV, but since last April on the small, big screen TV he bought and set up on an Ikea table (in our “Colonial Revival” decorated living room).

    Of course the first “midnight movie” was “Rocky Horror Picture Show”. And, yes we did all the sing-alongs and comments same as we used to do back in 1973 when it first started to be show. One day we will remember to watch the British version of it which is also available.

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