1. @ narmitaj – I agree that it really isn’t very complicated. I would bet that 99.44% of CIDU readers would instantly see all of the following just from the song’s lyrics, but besides making the “eels” to “moray” connection, there’s also the final (microscopic) hop to “amore” (Italian for “love”). Not one of Hilburn’s more subtle cartoons.

  2. I was once in a computer-graphics-for-the-web class where the instructor, talking about textures, said that “moiré pattern” was called that because it resembles the skin of a Moray eel. (And he did pronounce it just the same.) Luckily I didn’t shoot my hand up to offer a correction, as at that time I would have said something also incorrect — that it was named for a person, a certain Monsieur Moiré who developed it, or first observed it when overlaying two pieces of silk.

  3. And it immediately brings to mind Dick Biondi – now, THERE’s a geezer alert! Anyone else?

    During our scuba diving/snorkeling days, this was a popular song with our dive group, as we always saw moray eels. Even I, as the only non-diver in the group, would see them whilst snorkeling, especially off Roatan, Honduras.


  4. Getting back to the suspension of comic disbelief in Hillburn’s strip, those two delivery guys must be incredibly strong, and the tank itself must have been made of unobtainium. A rough estimate shows that the water alone would weigh about 800 pounds, enough to break the backs of those two movers, and more than enough to shatter a tank like that (recalling the incident at the Aquadom in Berlin, back in December).

  5. I had to look it up:

    “That’s Amore” is a 1953 song by composer Harry Warren and lyricist Jack Brooks.

  6. @ LF – I remember reading a sci-fi story that mentioned transparent aluminum, but I have no idea who wrote it or what it was called. Personally, I figured that before they started building spaceship hulls, Niven’s “General Products” had started by making aquariums as a “proof of concept”.

  7. P.S. @ L.F. – I have no idea why, but the reference just dropped into place: In Star Trek IV (The Voyage Home), Scotty offers a formula for “transparent aluminum” to a plexiglass company, in return for some massive sheets of plexiglass, in order to build a tank for a humpback whale.

  8. To work out the weight, back-of-the-envelope style (or comment-form text box style) — a liter masses a kilogram, or in English units “a pint’s a pound the world around”. Okay, a gallon is 8 pints, so 15 gallons is 120 pints, an in turn 120 pounds. Yes, too much for Paige, but not out of bounds for a strong person, or two average people working together, especially with good harnesses and gear.
    The one in this “Moray” cartoon does look bigger, though.

  9. @ Andréa & Powers – While that strip was originally published in 1999, it was repeated in the normal Foxtrot in 2002, before rerunning again in the Classics in 2010. I have no doubt that it reappeared later in Foxtrot Classics (perhaps multiple times), but the GoComics search engine is very limited, and doesn’t always produce all the possible instances.

    P.S. @ Mitch4 – For my guesstimate of 800 lbs, I used 60x20x20 (in inches) for the length x height x depth, but I actually performed the calculation in metric (150x50x50 cm) = 375 kg, which was a heck of a lot easier.

  10. When the weight discussion first popped up, I looked at the artwork again and thought, yeah, that thing is about as long as one of the guys, so that’s a lot of liters/kilos — but then interestingly I thought, what if that were an ice block? It wouldn’t be that out of character for what you see old timey ice delivery services hauling out with those cool ice-carrier tools, would it? I know ice is less dense than water, but how much so? Surely not all that much? So what’s wrong with my perception of how big those old timey blocks of ice were?

    Anyway, without looking it up, I still have no perception of how much less dense ice is than water. I know water is at its densest at 4˚, but that doesn’t help. Probably it’s not all that much at all, making it very unmemorable, like a cubic decimeter of ice weighs .98 kilos or something like that…

  11. @ larK – The simplest comparison is that icebergs are roughly 90% underwater, with only 10% showing. Therefore, the density of ice is (roughly) 90% of the density of water (Wikipedia lists it at 0.917 g/cm3, which is the same as kg/liter).

    P.S. Looking up “icebox” and “iceman” at Wikipedia produced several pictures of typical ice blocks (I don’t think they will embed well, so see the links).

    I estimate the typical block dimensions to be about 90x45x15 (cm), or 35x18x6 (inches), with an (approximate) weight of 55 (kg), or 120 (lbs). Definitely not easy to lift, but possible, especially for a team of two.

  12. P.P.S. @ larK – That’s exactly the picture I wanted to offer, but didn’t want to risk embedding.

  13. P.P.P.S. I also remember that when we visited them in summer, my grandparents would sometimes order a block of ice, and they had a “shaver” device that we used to make home-made snow-cones. I don’t remember the dimensions of the blocks, but I do know that they weighed 50 pounds when delivered.

  14. @Kilby: Icebergs! I like that! Thanks! (And you’d think ~10% would be easy to remember regardless..)

  15. A block of ice such as the iceman used to deliver looks to me to be about the same size as a 5-gallon bottle of spring water that the spring water man delivers, so I guess about 40 pounds, within the weight a delivery person is usually expected to be able to manage.

  16. One thing I notice is that the “real” blocks aren’t much like the ones old-time movies and such, like the Three Stooges would have. Those were much more cubical.

  17. @ Andréa – Thanks for revealing the solution to the Foxtrot rerun riddle (over in the “contexts” thread). I actually skipped all the way back to find a third repeat of the arc (in Oct. 2020), but my skips were too large, so I missed the latest one. It is strangely appropriate that the specific strip that I was hunting for showed up on April Fool’s Day (2023):

  18. P.S. @ Grawlix – Probably fairly difficult, especially when it contains an enraged moray eel.

  19. I’m sure we’ve taken this one up before, but I can’t find it Maybe it was before the server meltdown.

  20. @ Dave in Boston – Thanks very much for leading me to a fascinating detour. Like you, I had a definite impression that this strip may have been discussed in a previous post. The problem is that it was originally published in 2012, and there is no way to tell when it might have appeared at CIDU.

    Since neither of us were able to find it anywhere in the current CIDU server’s archive, I decided to search the “Argyle Sweater” category in the “comicsidontunderstand.com” URL as archived by the Wayback Machine. Unfortunately, the relevant “Page 3” of that category list (covering the original publishing date) was never scanned, so I still came up empty, but the experience proved that some “pre-meltdown” CIDU content (and comments) may still be available, depending on what one is looking for.

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