“Farley”, the dog said, “get me a slice”

Three cartoons in today’s feed: a Bizarro with a talking dog; a One Big Happy with a slice that OMG might grow into a pizza; and a Zippy riff on Farley Granger and They Live by Night:


(If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 4 in this strip — see this Page.)



Annals of animal communication. #1 is a goofy variant on Wittgenstein’s “If a lion could speak, we could not understand him” (Philosophical Investigations, p.223). Well, you could teach a dog to talk, but then you’d have to live with the dog’s preoccupations, like smelling things; signing chimpanzees were, after all, largely fixated on bananas,

The dangers of a slice. Two things about #2: Ruthie thinks of pizzas as living things, the fruits of the pizza tree (an idea that she combines with a childish fear of swallowing seeds — a bit of childlore that, in my own experience, centered mostly on watermelon seeds, which you were never ever to swallow); and the lexical item slice (in pepperoni slice).


(postcard from Zazzle)

From NOAD2 on the noun slice:

a thin, broad piece of food, such as bread, meat, or cake, cut from a larger portion: four slices of bread | potato slices; a single serving of pizza, typically one eighth of a pie: every payday we’d meet at Vinnie’s for a beer and a couple of slices.

The NP a slice, standing on its own, is then understood either as ‘a slice of (something)’, where the whole that the slice is part of is supplied by context; or specifically as ‘a slice of pizza’, even when there’s no pizza in the context — as in the NOAD2 example above, or in I really could go for a slice right now.

On the lam with Farley Granger. The title of #3, “Grangers on the Brain”, is an elaborate pun on the title of one of Farley Granger’s most famous films, “Strangers on a Train” (1951); on the movie, see my 12/31/15 posting “Zippy’s Eve”. From the Wikipedia article:

The film has … been the inspiration for … film and television projects with similar themes of criss-cross murder, often treated comically. [with a long list]

On Granger, from Wikipedia:


FG posing in a swimsuit

Farley Earle Granger Jr. (July 1, 1925 [in San Jose CA] – March 27, 2011) was an American actor, best known for his two collaborations with director Alfred Hitchcock; Rope in 1948 and Strangers on a Train in 1951.

Granger was first noticed in a small stage production in Hollywood by a Goldwyn casting director, and given a significant role in The North Star, a controversial film praising the Soviet Union at the height of World War II, but later condemned for its political bias. Another war film, The Purple Heart, followed, before Granger’s naval service in Honolulu, in a unit that arranged troop entertainment in the Pacific. Here he made useful contacts, including Bob Hope, Betty Grable and Rita Hayworth. It was also where he began exploring his bisexuality, which he said he never felt any need to conceal.

His bisexuality (manifested in a number of affairs with famous people of both sexes), was covered in juicy detail in his autobiography, written with “his longtime romantic partner Robert Calhoun” (from the NYT obituary, discussed in my 3/31/11 posting “partners”):


The 1948 film They Live by Night came between The Purple Heart and Rope. From Wikipedia:


They Live by Night is a 1948 American film noir, based on Edward Anderson’s Depression era novel Thieves Like Us. The film was directed by Nicholas Ray (his first feature film) and starred Farley Granger as “Bowie” Bowers and Cathy O’Donnell as “Keechie” Mobley.

The movie is the prototype for the “couple on the run” genre, and is generally seen as the forerunner to the movie Bonnie and Clyde. Robert Altman directed a version using the original title of the novel, Thieves Like Us (1974).


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