May-June turnover

A One Big Happy from yesterday (May 25), on conversational organization; and then three from this morning’s (June 1st) crop: a Bizarro with an ambiguity introduced by truncation; yet another meta-Zippy, this time on reports of Zippy’s death; and a Rhymes With Orange with a pun from the Black Lagoon.

1. Interrupting one conversation with another. The course of conversation, which often seems aimless to most people, is in fact substantially regulated in complex ways (which scholars of conversation have been studying for decades). The cartoon, in which Ruthie interrupts her mother:


Ruthie interrupts her own litany of aggrieved complaint to ask about her mother’s hair, which Ruthie seems just to have noticed. That puts Ruthie and her mother into an embedded exchange — on a separate, side track, as it were. Ruthie’s mother completes a subportion of the conversation by answering Ruthie’s question. (The pairing of question and answer is one of those regularities.)

At this point, Ruthie could “pop out” and up to the larger conversation by returning to her tale of grievance. Instead, she latches on to the mother’s-hair topic by complimenting her mother — and so generating an obligation on her mother’s part to finish a pair-exchange by responding to the compliment.

This achieved, Ruthie again has the option to return to the larger conversation. This time she takes it — rather startlingly, by dipping back into complaint mode in full force, so that panel 4 continues panel 1 as if panels 2 and 3 hadn’t happened.

2. Chewable Flintstones.The Bizarro depicts some Tyrannosaurus rexes out on the prowl for meat, devouring characters from the Flintstones animated cartoons. One T. rex serves as spokeslizard:


Crucial background fact:

Flintstones Chewable Vitamins are supplemental multivitamins for children based on the animated sitcom The Flintstones. They were introduced in 1968 by Miles Laboratories and taste faintly like candy. Miles Laboratories was acquired by Bayer in 1979. (Wikipedia link)

Then from chewable vitamin we get, by truncation, a new noun chewable (I’ve commented often on nouning by truncation).

Flintstones chewable is then potentially ambiguous, between ‘Flintstones chewable vitamin’ (the truncation reading) and ‘chewable Flintstones’ (with Flintstones chewable treated as having the adjective chewable as a postmodifier). The cartoon depicts the second, or gory, reading.

3. The death of Zippy. Griffy appears, as so often, as a character in this Zippy:


Along the way, we get some Zippy obsessions: taco sauce, Hostess products (especially Ding Dongs), and Judge Judy, in particular.

Griffy explains that he was “just kidding”, as part of a campaign to boost readership, but (he goes on) that his a aim was higher than that, involving satire … or irony … or parody … or uh, some kind of figurative language.

Yeah, sure.

4. A cartoon from the Black Lagoon.We start with the Creature from the Black Lagoon:

Creature from the Black Lagoon is a 1954 monster horror 3-D film in black-and-white, directed by Jack Arnold and starring Richard Carlson, Julia Adams, Richard Denning, Antonio Moreno and Whit Bissell. The Creature was played by Ben Chapman on land and by Ricou Browning underwater. (Wikipedia link)

There were two sequels and several spin-offs. A Creature poster:


The Rhymes With Orange punning version:


The peanut — note that to appreciate this cartoon you need to be able to recognize Mr. Peanut — is botanically a legume (like peas and beans and an assortment of other plants). So: legume for lagoon.

One Response to “May-June turnover”

  1. Saturday monster puns | Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] 6/1/14 “May-June turnover”, cartoon #5, with “Creature from the black legume” (with Mr. Peanut), plus information on the […]

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