The newer collection of Oopsies, Quickies, We-can-improve-its, Semi-CIDUs, Mysteries, and flops (11th Series)

This is just a blah. But can we improve it?

Sure, there’s a fix just calling out to us! Change the thought balloon to “Can I come up with the atomic symbol for Sodium?” and the bottom caption to “Na, he can’t.”

Other improvements from y’all?

And on this train of thought, for those with trigonometric inclinations, “Can he remember the sixth of the basic circular functions?” and the answer “No, of ____ __ ___ “.

This Breaking Cat News comes from Andréa as a problem of the physics. “Won’t the eggs fall out if they’re in the holder like this? I’ve not dyed eggs for YEARS, but I distinctly remember putting the egg in the holder small end DOWN . . .”

Here’s a new sub-category. It’s not LOL material, there is no joke to be understood, and it’s not a comic flop either. It’s just something you gotta see!

Okay, the joke here isn’t that far away from easy understanding — it’s that she’s at home, not in a hotel lobby or restaurant waiting area, yet her remark is appropriate only to the latter kind of situations. But the furnishings are not that different from what a public place might have. So how is the casual reader to know this is her home (the regular reader might be expected to recognize the furnishings and decor).

A “quickie CIDU” because it is entirely opaque while misinterpreting the artwork; then becomes a clear and simple joke the instant you re-interpret the artwork.

I think we’ve argued this point before: If a question is posed which is not answered within the comic itself, and is not clearly discernible after thinking about it, can we say “Well there isn’t meant to be an answer, but that’s part of why it’s meant to be funny”? On this one I just don’t get it.

Oh but wait! This was the 4-19 panel so of course it was a 4-20 joke. Ermmm.

Well this one might be called a second-take CIDU. I thought I had gotten it, or enough for a chuckle, when originally reading it – the guy hanging on the wall is a (baseball) catcher, and is the ideal one for the husband/fan-guy, so is his “dream” catcher. But the offstage wife takes that phrasing to mean a “dreamcatcher” wall hanging, whose proper placement she issues a reminder about. I didn’t give any significance to the nickname “Pudge” which the husband bestows on the catcher.

But then now Mark M sends it in and notes some complicating factors: I’m thinking if you’re not a MLB fan AND a geezer, this comic will be confusing.  I’m both and it’s still confusing.  Pudge was a nickname for Carlton Fisk, who played as a catcher some 50 years ago.  A very good player, so “dream catcher” is a great pun.  Maybe this belongs as an Oy or LOL.  But the CIDU part is the response in Spanish.  Fisk was born in the U.S. and had no Latino connections that I’m aware of. And then there’s maybe even more to this if we start to worry about him saying “This is how it works” which may go on only some readings.

(P.S. A few days later, he got down from that wall, and the husband caught him rifling in their liquor cabinet, and strewn about him were several bottles of this family’s favorite kind of American distilled grain whiskey. Which made him the catcher in the rye.)

Further adventures of Oopsies, Quickies, Semi-CIDUs, Mysteries, and flops (10th Series)

In the lane of “I guess I get the intended joke point, but the execution is unsuccessful” we have this “powdery math” example from zbicyclist. “I’m lost here. He’s eating one donut, and has another on his plate. That’s two donuts. So how is it 50% less sugar than two donuts?” I guess the *one* donut Leroy is waving around does have 50% less sugar than the two he has altogether, since it’s 50% less donut.

I thought at first it was going to be the funnish kind of percentage mistake coming from inconsistent base. We’re going to increase your supply of widgets by 10%. But now you have too many, so we’ll reduce your supply by 10%. That should put you back where you started …. eh?

Why even begin to use the Jeopardy setup? Then not use their layout? And if we grant that eating triple bacon cheeseburgers presents a risk to a heart, does that require that answering a question about them also does?

The main-punch of this charming joke is clear enough — curiosity may be fatal to cats (as in the common saying) but not to these patients. But what is it that the vet has diagnosed as a case of curiosity? And is it supposed to be clear why he speaks in the singular, and which one of the dogs is the patient?

I dunno, maybe the problem is that the top section looks like a “throwaway panel” but actually it’s essential that it appear right above the scene with the cars. Because it’s the upper-storey window and sign for the gym? But we still have to pin down the connection between weight-lifting and how that extra car got where it is.

If your thing is to visually or linguistically play off some familiar phrase or saying that almost everybody surely knows …. there’s going to be trouble when you use some that nobody knows. (All right, I know about “disruptor”. But that’s about it.)

Okay, let the anatomists explain from the configuration of fingers (and additional hand in panel 2) that the hand doing the artwork in panels 2 and 3 has to be Nancy’s. Even so, what does it get her? And if it could possibly be Fritzi’s own, does that mean her panel 1 nag about “the expression on my face” was just a fancy prank setup?

Once more unto the Oopsies, Quickies, Semi-CIDUs, Mysteries, and flops? (8th Series)

Maybe it’s a genuine CIDU? But I think that punch line is all there is.

I think we all can sympathize with Duane’s motivations for his … little prank. And that’s the main joke, which is not in need of explication; so this isn’t quite a CIDU. But if we wanted to get into it a little, we could ask whether he’s getting revenge more on the kid or on the mom. And at the practical level, what does it mean that he still has the barber’s customer-apron as he’s leaving?

I guess this Working Daze fits an offshoot of the “CIDU-Quickie” category, where the joke is utterly incomprehensible until you are shown (or realize you already know) an instance of something-that’s-going-around, and then that entirely exhausts the mystery.

Linked here is a compilation of what lies behind the joke. (I can’t watch this all the way thru.)

Again with the Oopsies, Quickies, Semi-CIDUs, Mysteries, and flops? (7th Series)

A CIDU-Quickie is like a Minor-Mystery — it seems like it will work out to a good joke, but there’s that just-one-thing we can’t understand. But it’s so close, obviously once someone makes a good suggestion there will be nothing to discuss; so it can’t be expected to be a standalone CIDU to satisfy a whole day’s spot.

Thanks to BillR for this CIDU-Quickie from Bizarro, about which he writes “No idea what the x-balls are.” Well I had an idea – but it wasn’t very good. Then BillR wrote back that his wife had a better idea – and yes it was better. But still not certain. So, what say you?

(Did this already get posted separately and discussed?? I thought so but can’t find it.)

This is a case of what some defined the “oopsie” for – a possibly good joke, but something about the drawing is wrong, or as in this case, tiny, scribbled, and indecipherable, to the extent that the joke is quite lost.

So the anticipated encounter is …. “Hold on! Where are you going with that ape” … “No, this is my kid! Look, here’s our tickets, that proves it.”

Pardon my implausibility

Thanks to “👓 caren” for sending it in, and saying “my friends and i have only the slightest idea what vic might have ingested to publish this…  perhaps we need a little to understand it…  :)”

This started out for me as simply a complete CIDU:

But a comment on the Comics Kingdom site clarified the basic “what’s going on, what’s the main intended joke?” issues: he’s lost his shot glass inside the patient.

But that just raises soooo many more new questions! Does the Assisting Surgeon (the person speaking) seriously think loss of the shot glass is the only reason the Surgeon is trying to recover it? Wouldn’t he be hugely in hot water when the glass shows up on some X-Ray someday? And what was a shot glass doing in the OR anyway? And did he seriously have just one good one, important enough to make a good birthday present?

Even More Oopsies, Semi-CIDUs, Mysteries, and flops (6th Series)

Is it just that the guy is so shook up he books three appointments a day? Is that all there is? Is it weird that the receptionist builds on the standard “Your three o’clock is here” instead of, maybe, using his name (which she must be familiar with by now)?

This was going to be a standalone CIDU, with the question-blurb of The slug has eaten some salted snack and is having a toxic reaction?? There was another fly, and the frog scooped him up with his tongue?? Do you have another?

But then I realized the item hanging out of the frog’s mouth is not his tongue (which would be thin and ready to flick) but a wing tip, matching the wings we see on the speaking fly at the left. Well, that answers which of the explanations it was.

But I didn’t know whether to feel cheated of a mystery, or ready to applaud the skilfully delayed punch. Anyway, that landed it here!

“Love” – “Confess” – “Surf”

Those are the titles I can make out among the items displayed at this newsstand.

Okay, the joke is that this soldier (is he “Killer”?) is really just interested in eyeing the pin-ups and girlie publications, while prolonging his visit by asking for various small-town papers the newsstand does not carry.

But why do I feel like that raises gaps in the story that ought to have been dealt with? Like: is he making the towns and papers up, or are they supposed to be real within the fictive world? Is the “Nope” answer the basis for him to keep going, with possible second or third choices? Or might he have gotten them all, if commissioned by several guys back at the platoon to bring them back their respective home-town papers? And does this newsstand in fact carry regular newspapers and general-interest magazines, and the pin-up material is just what gets most prominently displayed? Or is that all they sell?

Hmm, something missing? Oh yes – the generator that would be hooked up so that the exercise bike powers the fan! Or go old style, and show some belts and pulleys making a mechanical connection. Otherwise, what’s the joke?

Here we have just one of those unanswered little mysteries, not any critique. Just what did he mean to say instead, eh?

P.S. It doesn’t answer that question, but the next day’s strip is from the same therapy session, and picks up the theme of slips.

Even More Minor Mysteries, Ooopses, and Not-Quite-Rights

Did they slip up here on legal knowledge? Is this a criminal or a civil proceeding?

Why do I want to call this an Oy that almost works? The fact that there really is something called a hiatus hernia (or apparently more officially a hiatal hernia) does not, for me, make this a success — it’s too much “on the nose” and not a typical Crankshaft malapropism. And I don’t know if it helps or hurts that, as a little medical googling seems to reveal, bad lifting is more likely to result in an  inguinal hernia  than a hiatus hernia.

But the main issue is casual acceptance of hiatus as a general synonym for time during the covid lockdown. I don’t doubt some people use it that way, but mostly it seems restricted to an organization or project where some ongoing process had to be suspended.

This Bizarro from Boise Ed is a semi-CIDU. We agree the nickname mentioned must be “BigFoot”. But then how have normal size eight footprints been called Big for these many years? Or is he just among the first of his species to accept socialization with humans, and is younger or simply smaller than most of them? Does he always go on TV in the nude, or is that just to display his b̸i̸g̸ ̸f̸e̸e̸t̸ normal sized feet for discussion?

P.S. Later (how time flies), Wayno’s blog for that week has appeared, and this is what he had to say: “If Sasquatch were being completely honest, he’d admit that he’s an eight extra wide.”

And more: Dan Piraro, on his blog, comments “This one left some readers scratching their heads and asking what it meant, which made it all the more satisfying for those who got it by themselves. If you’re having trouble with it, it’s probably because you think it’s a monkey. It’s actually Bigfoot, who is not as tall as we’d assumed.” Hmmm, not entirely explained; or is it?

For me it was a mystery who/what that Thing is, but getting an answer turned out too easy to let this be a standalone CIDU. But after answering that, there wasn’t much of a joke, and asking for explanations didn’t promise a long or interesting discussion thread. (But I did toss it into an old Sisyphus thread.)

So the cave painters recorded the story of a hunt; and also one of the cave dwellers being felled by a falling stalactite. Oh look, there it is, the base still hanging from the ceiling and the fallen point still lying on the ground. And undisturbed after all this time – while the probable skeletal remains have been scattered or swept up. So the joke is what?

And here’s one from Le Vieux Lapin, who asks “Adam?  What am I missing here?”. Did the writer just get Noah’s name wrong? Nobody could do that. And Todd is no better a name for a scene like this. Just sayin’, It’s not canon!

And finally, let’s circle back to Pros & Cons:

(All right, I didn’t know their names but looked them up.) In the 2nd panel, when Samuel the lawyer calls himself a canary in the coal mine, is he using the image / metaphor correctly? I think basically yes, even if not entirely. (Does he expect to succumb to the dangerous outgassing sooner than others, and thereby provide a warning to all? Not exactly.)

And in the final panel, when detective Stan tries a twist comeback, does it work? Well, we get what is probably his point — *everybody* exposed to social media is already suffering from the dangerous atmosphere. But does that mean they/we are all canaries? Or that it’s too late for a canary-warning and it’s already hurting the miners, which is all participants. In the story of the traditional practice, even if you are a bird lover, the canaries are the sacrificial population and the miners are the protected population; if the gas is getting to the miners, the warning system has already failed, which I take it is most of Stan’s point.

More Minor Mysteries, Ooopses, and Not-Quite-Rights

This Wrong Hands is almost a good Oy, playing on “usher” being both a family name and a role in a wedding. But do we make sense of the different kinds of dwelling the two people have?

This Pardon My Planet is not really wrong. But it’s not right, either.

(Not repeating in full the discussion from before on the issues of whether and how to use Far Side comics, but as before this will be not copied nor embedded but just linked.)

Sent in by Max C. Webster, III, who says “I assume Old Jake is the dog, and the familiar sight is his boy, but as for the joke . . . huh?”

This one from Ken Berkun.. The zombie could have said something about “Brains!” and the scarecrow may connect to the Oz Scarecrow who felt the lack of brains. But do those line up right for a “I hear that”?

Wait up, I’m still stuck on “I hear that”. Does that somewhat less common expression offer any advantages (besides maybe shortness) over the more modern / natural sounding “Now you’re talking!” or “You said it!”?

Crankshaft often uses a pun or attempted pun as the punch. Can it be that “processing” is meant to work that way here?

I guess this is meant as a critique of how some people think of the process of teaching and learning?

Minor Mysteries and Oopses

These are non-CIDUs or semi–CIDUs, where the joke or main point isn’t seriously in doubt, but some specifics of the writing or artwork seem somewhat off, or incomplete, or in need of explanation or correction. (Yet we don’t want to get into the territory of mockery or purely complaining.)

This first one is from Chak who calls it an Oops, and comments “The oopsies I’m thinking of are about well-drawn comics that slipped up”. In this Fastrack, the custom paperclip seems to change position without physical cause.:

Here was a Between Friends that seems to be illustrating a familiar saying with a situation that shows something different. In the picture, isn’t it more someone who has gone down and may not come back up?

The Far Side

We have been getting plenty of submissions or suggestions for The Far Side cartoons by Gary Larson, both classic and recent, some scanned from books and some copied off the 2019-established web site. Some suggestions were meant as classic solo-CIDU posts, but others might fit into one of these quasi-CIDU categories.

But there’s a big problem, that Larson has made a public point of his wish to not have his cartoons reprinted without permission and not under his control. There are people who doubt that this would have legal force if he tried to enforce it; but it doesn’t seem entirely right to defy the wishes of someone whose work we appreciate and want to enjoy.

So generally we have been responding to submissions and suggestions with a reminder of those constraints.

But thinking about Internet standards, short of copying and reposting something, and short also of the middle ground of embedding something by link, there is the fundamental WWW action of linking. That is well established as not infringing anything.

It’s also pretty inconvenient! Hard to have informed discussion threads when the item being commented on is not visible in the same window or tab! Still, it’s not beyond our abilities, CIDUers.


Sent in by Findus as an artwork/layout question rather than overall CIDU, this linked Far Side cartoon raises for them the question “what’s with the lovingly executed reflection in the mirror that is not a ‚mirror image‘? Is this intentional?”


And from Brian R we have this linked Far Side cartoon, which he suggested as a CIDU – but then understood fine the next day!

There actually is a certain amount of good sense to the now-classic bit about tech support asking “Have you tried turning it off and then on again?” as made famous by “The IT Crowd”. Now here in Lard’s World Peace Tips, it is cited in the wrong order. Is that the joke? Or was it accidental? Or intentional but supposed to be meaningful here, where the kite in the picture seems to be “off” since it is not flying, so is poised to be turned on, i.e., launched? My gosh that was long-winded!

Down the Garden Path Dept. Can you convince me this Loose Parts does not at all involve people getting squeaky voices from inhaling Helium?

Sunday Funnies and Minor Mysteries – LOLs and Semi-CIDUs, October 10th, 2021

Eats, shoots, and leaves.

Minor Mysteries

These are comics that somebody thought were pretty good, or even full LOL, and not baffling but a little hard to pin down. Like, you can think of a rather plausible explanation of the chuckle — or maybe two! — but there’s nothing that clinches the case that *this* or *that* just has to be the key to what’s going on.

For example, with something like this Andertoons, we might think of the minor mystery as expressed in terms of providing the missing caption. Is it about the odd feeling you’re being watched? Or more like “Oh, where did I set down my glasses?”. It could be either, do you agree?

A Minor Mystery from Darren, who says “I can’t tell if Watson’s jarns need to be interpreted as a specific term.  I’m flummoxed.  Apparently the squirrel is as well?”

Okay, the joke here is that the threatened punishment will involve a cannister vacuum cleaner (in what seems to be a photo clip?) rather than a conventional physical beating or the like. But it’s an unanswerable mystery just what the threat is. Torture by exposure to noisy motor, like a household pet? Being inhaled altogether? Having some portion of his body inhaled?