Another Griffithian mantra

Today’s Zippy strip returns to the hypnotic pleasures of mantric repetition, a favorite theme of Bill Griffith’s:


First, it’s parsed as

[ Cosmic Catnip ] [ alpine scratcher ] ‘alpine scratcher with Cosmic Catnip in it’

where Cosmic Catnip is a commercial brand of catnip and an alpine scratcher is a kind of slanted scratch toy for cats. Second, it is indeed a real thing. And third, the name is an excellent line of trochaic tetrameter, eminently usable as a meditative mantra when repeated, ideally at least three times.

The object. The herb, as packaged for cats:


And the scratcher toy: on, the OurPets Cosmic Catnip Alpine Scratcher (aka Alpine Climb Cat Scratcher):


The excellently poetic name. Cosmic Catnip Alpine Scratcher is a perfect line of trochaic tetrameter: SW SW SW SW. Even better, it’s highly assonant, with accented vowels:

/ a … æ … æ … æ /

The satisfaction, and lure, of repetition. The cat toy would have been perfect if only Zippy had bought three; then he and Griffy could have said Cosmic Catnip Alpine Scratcher three times, rather than only two.  Three would have been better.

Previously on this blog about the found mantras of the Pinhead world:

on 9/30/09 in “Phrase repetition disorder”:


Every so often, Zippy and Zerbina get into a groove of repeating phrases. This time it’s Zerbina, stuck on the remarkable phrase “post-prandial sneeze disorder” [front-accented tetrameter: S SWW SW SW]

on 3/3/10 in “Mantra of the moment”:


Zippy and his acquaintances are given to picking up and chanting “found mantras”, expressions that they find satisfying to repeat — in episodes of what Bill Griffith calls onomatomania (or phrase repetition disorder …) [remote control bathtub jet ski – tetrametrical WS WS SW SW, half iambic, half trochaic]

… In earlier Zippy postings on this blog we’ve experienced people shouting “Grundy Gulch” three times (here), and also the attractions of “nuclear Obama-lama-ding-dong” (here).

on 10/3/17 in “Repetitive phrase disorder”:


A phenomenon that Bill Griffith returns to from time to time, under a series of names. Today it’s repetitive phrase disorder, manifested in the tetrametrical mantra turtle-headed sea snakes [front-accented tetrameter: SW SW S S]

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: