41 Comments

  1. I don‘t understand the first one at all, and the subtitle (about “huff”) is also a mystery to me.
    P.S. @ Olivier – If the psychic had a few nascent feathers, it could be a “tad Pouletergeist”.

  2. You have to take “drove” literally, hence the Toyota. I think Huff made custom cars.
    If there were lots of feathered psychics, it would be a “tas de poules tergeist”

  3. Also, maybe “Jäger Meister” (= master hunter, in German? Also some kind of alcohol) and shot form a second pun.

  4. OK, but who’s Monica, what’s this about dunes, and why can’t I see the Huff, even though I’m not on a phone? Is this a literary/pop culture reference?

    As per Groucho, I took a full minute and an huff before I gave up trying to figure it all out.

  5. “Dysfunctional” belies their handle and spots that the huff is a Groucho joke originally — probably the one that goes
    You can leave in a taxi. If you can't get a taxi, you can leave in a huff.
    rather than the leave in a minute and a huff they allude to.

    And then in turn (or going backways?) we can understand the wordplay in the cartoon on the same model, as Olivier suggests. It’s just different meanings of “drive”. (Well, usually we say something drives somebody to drink, but it’s not wrong to think of her being driven by drink and going to a party.)

    I’m going to drive off in a Duff now!

  6. Pete, thanks for that clip!
    I wasn’t doubting that Groucho had said “minute and a huff”, I was just suggesting that the “if you can’t get a taxi you can leave in a huff” part was of more immediate relevance in this explanation.
    And indeed, I didn’t realize they were two parts of a single bit, not separate things. This is even better.

  7. I went to vote but realized I like seeing both. If I have to pick, color barely edges out black and white.

  8. “If you are on a phone, you may not be able to see the Huff.”

    And New York City has a population of more than seventeen?

    Sure I get the joke “Q: What drove Monica to the the dunes? A: A Toyota”

    (a pun of answering a question of motive, with a literal description of how it was physically done)

    but to add in “A shot of Jagermeister” is to undercut that because answering what “what compelled you” with “I was loaded” is a legitimate answer and to further hide it in an obscure surreal panel of a surreal coming in the middle of a story with a seeming turn of phrase with no context just make it inscrutable.

    I suppose the comment of driving off in a Huff could be a Grouchoesque pun. But the phrase to “drive off in a huff” by itself isn’t a pun unless it’s compared to driving off in a vehicle. …. which I guess the point of seeing the huff was trying to convey that but as you can see people get snitty in their change of posture and facial expression it isn’t a valid contrast. And to say it’s because we are on a phone is just out of the blue. (I presumed this was, graphic are sometimes rendered hard to see when viewing a web page on a smart phone). But it’s weird because we can’t see it if we aren’t on a phone because it isn’t there.

    Unless the comment was sincere… the was a huff in the cartoon but it wasn’t rendered in the image and somehow the phone version of the image was loaded to the workstation version of the web page.

    In which case I can’t see it if I’m not on a phone either.

    Which makes the statement you can’t see it on a phone true…..

    …just like the population of New York City being more than seventeen is true.

  9. What a great movie that was! In memory , anyway. I do have a sort of shadow memory of watching it again later and being a little disappointed.

  10. I previewed this post on a tablet and on a phone , and this image was the only one that did not auto adjust properly. So I was noting for phone users that unfortunately they wouldn’t be seeing the whole image. Sorry that my way of putting it, which I thought was mildly good-humored teasing, did not in the event sit well with some.

  11. Thanks Jon. I don’t think we can realistically plan to always include both!

    I think I mentioned I have gotten the Bliss / Martin book. Really enjoyed it! Almost all the cartoons are in b/w/gray. There are many I have not seen in GoComics feed. (I don’t know about NYer). Thinking over ethical/legal issues of plugging in my little scanner and uploading a couple now and then. Hmmm.

  12. So, all this and still no answer to:

    Who is Monica?
    Why is she naked?
    What are “the dunes?”

    It’s almost as if “what drove Monica to the dunes” is part of an old joke like “Where was Lincoln shot’ or “What happened when Jesus went to Mount Olive,” but the reference, if it exists, is escaping me and some others in this thread.

  13. I remember Mad’s Dave Berg did a strip about driving, probably in the 60s and part of something like The Lighter Side Of or Looks At. Some teenage kid at the end of a birthday party asks his father if he would drive his friends home, and Dad says, “Sure, son” and then raises his arms at the expectant bratlings and yells “OK YOU GUYS, LEAVE NOW! GET OUTTA HERE!”

  14. Unlikely that he was specifically thinking of the Indiana Dunes (State Park and Natl Park), widely called just The Dunes. But anywhere that you have dunes along a waterfront you probably have a deep, rolling beach. With opportunity for swimming, volleyball or other beach sports, and of course sunbathing, subject to local clothing customs. So it’s appealing to go to The Dunes to beat depression and dry out from hangover.

  15. Yeah, those kind of puns require a sensible alternate interpretation. “Drove her to the dunes” doesn’t make much sense in a psychological sense, unlike “drove her to drink” or something. So I don’t get this as a joke.

  16. @ Olivier – I think your connection of “shot” to “Jägermeister“(†) is an excellent idea, but a little too elevated for the joke in this comic. (Given what she is not wearing, I initially thought “huff” might be a typo for “buff”.)
    P.S. (†) Germans have a peculiar taste for nasty herbal liqueurs, which are allegedly an aid to the digestive system. Every single one I’ve ever tried has tasted horrible, I have no idea how “Jägermeister” got popular in America, unless it was just among the “I don’t care what’s in the glass, as long as I get smashed” crowd.
    P.P.S. There’s a French variation called “Chartreuse“. I was once offered some of it (decades ago): I don’t remember how it tasted, but I do remember not wanting to repeat the experiment.

  17. FWIW, you can drive off in a Hough, a piece of earthmoving equipment. It is pronounced “Huff”.

  18. Oh, and overall the first comic kind of reminds me of something B. Kliban might have done.

    I’d like to add I don’t understand the Psychic University comic, and don’t have a strong preference as to which version I prefer. The color one appears to be simply the original grey art colorized. Reminds me of the digitally tinted classic B&W photos that populate Facebook. (I’m not very fond of those.)

  19. Pete’s link gives a nice picture of what dunes are like. AND is a good match for the first cartoon, modulo that artist’s own style. So I think the “what dunes?” question is answered: the ones shown behind her in the drawing.

    There is an Italian liqueur called Strega (“the witch”), which is similarly unpalatable if you ask me. But I on the other hand really enjoy a Campari, a milder herbal aperitif whose fundamental taste is still bitter (from the 4 or 5 fundamental tastes). But serve the Campari in a lowball glass with sparkling water and a little fruit, say an orange slice, for a bit of sweet to set off the bitter. It’s a real “palate cleanser”.

  20. I’d like to add I don’t understand the Psychic University comic

    How much is the “intuition” rather than “tuition”. Intuition is considered important in parapsychology.

  21. Oh, and I agree up to a point with Grawlix on the psychic university. It isn’t a perfect match for “intuition” as what you would expect to obtain there. Which in turn undermines the attempted pun on “tuition (fee)”.

  22. To be fair, this kind of fencing is not specific to Santa Monica: it can be found all over the world.
    I think it’s used to prevent people from destroying the vegetation growing on the dunes and holding them in place.

  23. @ Olivier – Santa Monica(†) has a particular need for the fences because it is overloaded with residents and tourists who don’t pay attention to signs warning them to stay off the dunes.
    P.S. (†) – Speaking of “Santa Monica“, I would rather not wait untile Thursday to post this:

  24. There’s a VERY old joke: “You’ll drive me to my grave!” “Sure, just let me warm up the car…”

  25. Both Chartreuse and Jagermeister come from the digestif tradition, as do most European liqueurs. The concept is that you have various herbs, usually bitter, which were historically supposed to be good for you, extracted in alcohol, and then with enough sugar added to hopefully make them palatable. The resulting bitter-and-sweet-together experience is what connoisseurs are looking for.

    I didn’t used to like them; Campari made an ad which was so incredibly awesome that I forced myself to learn to like it, which got me into the rest of the bitter-and-sweet liqueurs. Even so, I never was able to make myself like Chartreuse, which just tastes like you dumped your entire spice cabinet into alcohol. It’s just way, way too much.

    Jagermeister is …. better … but is still basically popular among underage drinkers, barely-old-enough-to-drink drinkers, and people who are trying to hold onto their college days, who drink it to prove how tough they are.

  26. There’s a VERY old joke: “You’ll drive me to my grave!” “Sure, just let me warm up the car…”

    Yes, that’s the way to use the phrase.

  27. I think the difficulty with the University of Psychic Studies one stems from a split in the modern usage of tuition , which affects the pun with intuition. It can mean both “instruction” and “money charged for instruction”.

    At lexico.com (a partnership of Oxford Dictionaries and Dictionary.com, and my current favorite for free quick-and-easy online dictionary) both definitions appear, for both the US dictionary entry and the UK dictionary entry, though with reversed precedence.

    And I think there may be some US speakers for whom that “North American”-marked meaning, about the fee, has become so strong as to make the underlying one about the teaching itself almost unrecognized. But you can see how it must have derived. If you get a bill which line-itemizes “Room & board” and “Tuition” , the names of the services you are being charged for can become names for that channel of charge.

    Not as thoroughly, but you can see signs tending to a similar replacement, with some other terms. I don’t think there is anyone who doesn’t first of all take admission as “getting in somewhere or to some event” (I’m ignoring other kinds of meaning, like acknowledgement of a fact against interest) and then also as a shorthand for admission charge or admission fee. When an event is free, posters or announcements may say “admission is free” or “no admission charge”. But I have actually seen “No admission” used for that, with admission fully replacing admission charge — even though it makes it look like “You’re not going to get in!”.

  28. Re: leaving in a Huff, I was unable to find the clip, I think from “International House”, in which George Burns is a doctor and Gracie Allen is his nurse.

    Gracie: “A man just drove up and he wants to see you right away.”
    George: “Does he have a rash?”
    Gracie: “Oh, I don’t know much about these new cars.”

  29. Who actually submitted the Monica cartoon as an Oy? One must presume that person understands the joke. Can they please explain it to the rest of us?

    The editors accepted it and entered it as an Oy. Can they explain why?

  30. That’s alright, Pete, just let it all out! 🤪

    I’d go along with the earlier comment that compared it to Kliban. This isn’t the strop where Duffy uses continuing characters and a storyline (of sorts). It’s the one where he has some glimmer of an idea, and draws a grotesk to go with it.

    The oy element is just (as the tag clues us) the zeugma on “drove”, and the picture is what he came up with when thinking about who would get driven in a Toyota and by drink. And why shouldn’t she have a name?

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