Fear Not, in these trying times, Compu-Toon is still baffling


So I know everybody’s having a hard time of it, except for those of us having an impossibly hard time of it. Thus I would like to reassure you all: Charles Boyce’s Compu-Toon is still baffling. Here’s Thursday’s strip.

Woman looking at her phone, which looks like it has a stubby antenna rather than being a modern smart phone, and thinking: 'I need less space for that adjective to work.' Caption: 'Six feet texting can cause big gaps.'
Charles Boyce’s Compu-Toon for the 9th of April, 2020. Also I think some of her texting problem might be that she’s trying to text using an AT&T Cordless 5500 from about 1993.

This one hits a real sweet spot for being baffling. I think I can work out what neighborhood the joke should be in. My guess is Boyce wants to make some comment about the physical distancing that’s needed for public physical health, and the computer-aided socialization that’s needed for public mental health, and then … from there I lose the thread. But I think I’m looking in the right place. If someone has a better idea, please, let me know.

And, again, I don’t want to slag Charles Boyce too hard here. From what I can make out, he seems to be a kind-hearted and well-intended person. And he’s that rarest of things, the cartoonist who’s older than Gen X but who still likes the Internet. At least as a concept. It’s just, sometimes, the idea in Boyce’s head doesn’t make it onto paper recognizably. I know that pain.


Also, since this is the weekend people would like to know, here’s my little guide to what color eggs the various Paas tablets are. Good luck with your own eggs.

What Does This Compu-Toon Even Mean: 4 October 2017 Edition


I hope I don’t seem like I’m picking this comic. It’s a small comic, and from everything I can work out the cartoonist is someone who’s trying with a thoroughgoing earnest kindness to make the world a little nicer. But, I mean, what am I even looking at?

Drawing of a kid in striped beanie cap looking at his phone. The caption: 'A bully's bullying doesn't mean much when his friends count is well over eight-hundred.'
Charles Boyce’s Compu-Toon for the 4th of October, 2017. Don’t think I’m not bothered by the superfluous space between “is” and “well” there, either. Also baffling: there’s (as I write this) five people who’ve favorited it on GoComics.com.

I think it’s supposed to say that the pain of being bullied is lessened by having a wide and supportive network of friends online? And I’ll agree that sort of thing makes things a little better. But it’s still bizarrely worded. I don’t think I’m reading the caption uncharitably, but I have to force myself not to read the antecedent to “his” as being “a bully” and that’s all wrong.

Also I have no idea how non-celebrity people get like 800 followers. I’m not sure I’ve had non-casual encounters with 800 people in my whole life, and when I think what fraction of them would figure they haven’t had about as much of me as really improves their lives? No way.

I guess also since I haven’t mentioned this since Monday: I talked about some other comic strips on my mathematics blog. Includes a Mutts, which you might or might not like, but is awfully cute. So there’s that.

Compu-Toon Gives Me Pause Today


I’d like to say a word for my mathematics blog which had some more mathematical comics to review the other day, so, here: Tintinnabulation. Thank you.

I’ve gotten out of the habit of showing off Charles Boyce’s earnest yet strangely off panel comic Compu-Toon lately. There’s not a lot to say about it except, well, it’s baffling and not exactly funny but the cartoonist seems too sincere about his mission to really mock. And then this week he turned up this comic.

Two people on a desert island. 'Are you sure we are not the result of a cut and paste function?'
Charles Boyce’s Compu-Toon for the 16th of November, 2016. I was curious about whether the art was used for an earlier guys-on-a-desert-island cartoon but not curious enough to actually do it. It’s too close to Thanksgiving. I’m having trouble doing anything that doesn’t involve rolling over and digesting. I mean I’m digesting other things, not that I’m being absorbed by a pile of sweet potatoes covered in marshmallows, however much it feels like the other way around. And worrying excessively about whether it should be dessert. No, a dessert island would be different, right? More playful?

Deep down, I suspect Boyce just figured “cut and paste” is a computer term so he could put it at the bottom of any old panel. But as a riff on how guys-on-desert-islands is a weirdly omnipresent panel strip premise it’s pretty good. I just need some help understanding whether to enjoy this ironically or not.

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

In the return to trading after the holiday shares shot considerably up. The mainstream index rose from 85 to 93 on rumors that something really big was up. Nobody’s willing to say what but I just bet it has to do with that elevator incident a couple days ago. All the pieces are just fitting together too well.

93

Nothing Is Happening In: Is Something A Thing?


So this past week in Karen Moy and Joe Giella’s Mary Worth, Mary and her darling little imprinted foundling Olivia talked with each other about how wonderful they are with each other and how other people can’t understand them. Um. Well, I guess that’s exactly the impression you get reading the comics. It looked like they did a lot of eating, although I guess that was just the same meal shown over a couple days. Hm.

Well. Ah. In Tony DePaul and Paul Ryan’s The Phantom, the Ghost Who Walks did that thing where a superhero walks around in his civilian guise while the real authorities try to figure out who tied up all the criminals. Then there was yet another weirdly over-specific Jungle Saying (“There are times when The Phantom leaves the jungle and walks the streets of the town like an ordinary man”? That’s nice and catchy, right up there with “On occasion The Phantom searches all over for his car keys and finds he left them in the refrigerator, in the vegetable bin, which is weird because they’re supposed to be either in the tea kettle or embedded in a stick of butter”.) Then he edged as far away from contact with his kids as he could … oh, that’s all what anyone would get from the strip anyway.

Well, Mark Trail didn’t literally punch the radiation poachers this week but … Bah. I give up. You can’t just pick out anything and snark on it. You have to have some attitude and some hope of building it into something better, even if it’s just writing your own story to make sense of it. I can’t turn Fridays into a review of this week’s baffling Compu-Toon panels. There’s not enough meat to them and the guy who draws them seems way too earnest. I’m doomed, I know it.

This Week’s Baffling Compu-Toon Comic Strip


I don’t want folks to think I’ve stopped reading Charles Boyce’s Compu-Toon, although I admit that’s not the worst thing people could think about me. That would probably be in the lowest quartile of worst things people could think about me, a little worse than “has an inflated opinion of how good he looks playing Dance Dance Revolution” but better than “has a couple people he keeps trying to make nicknames happen for, despite the abundant evidence that they will not”.

Anyway, the point is, believe it or not I do still read Compu-Toon and that doesn’t mean I really quite get this Sunday’s installment. I think it’s supposed to get at the reasonable fear that your online friends hang out somewhere repulsive or a least disappointing, possibly with their own friends. The one thing the Internet has taught us is that under no circumstances should we ever interact with the friends of our friends, because it ends up in horrible fights and a sense of dread that people like that are allowed to drive cars and hold down responsible jobs and breathe and all that. But a “wolf in sheep’s clothing web site”? That’s just 44 moribund and two active DeviantArt communities.

'Murphy was stunned that some of his friends have a link to a wolf in sheep's clothing web site.
Charles Boyce’s Compu-Toon for the 5th of April, 2015.

In the meanwhile, I’ve had two mathematics-comics roundup posts: the Closing Out March edition, and then the Little Infinite Edition, built around a couple of name-drops of infinity. Please enjoy, if you like that sort of thing.

Math Comics Plus a Compu-Toon I Found Funny


It’s only fair to say when Charles Boyce’s Compu-Toon is not a strange and baffling comic strip with humor only vaguely discernable, so, here it is: the strip from the 6th of November, a panel I understand and find funny. There’s still nothing happening in Apartment 3-G, but it’s a different kind of nothing from what wasn’t happening before, focusing on different characters who aren’t doing anything.

'In order for Irving to defeat a slimy non-vertebrate monstrous beast, he had to become one,' which is unmistakably a joke.
Charles Boyce’s Compu-Toon for the 6th of November, 2014.

Meanwhile, over in my mathematics blog, there’s a bunch of comics reviewed, and two of them even include pictures.

Compu-Toon Is Compu-Toon Today. Also: Math Comics


Really, all that the Compu-Toon of November 5th needs to be perfect is for Charles Boyce to have spelled it with an “h”.

Oscar was having trouble writing his blog page that was neighboring a blog site about marijuana. No, honest, that's what the caption says.
Charles Boyce’s Compu-Toon for the 5th of November, 2014.

Since there is so much nothing that can possibly be said about that let me point readers over to my mathematics blog, where I talk about some mathematics comics that let me get out of the usual rut and into things like infinity, the continuum, cross products, and animal legs. Enjoy, please.

Comic Strips I Don’t, Do Understand


I haven’t mentioned Charles Boyce’s Compu-Toon, the technology comic strip for that aunt you love but who wants you to stop making Google’s logo change into weird stuff for holidays or the birthdays of logicians or stuff, for a while but please be reassured that it still exists and is a thing that carries on. As proof of this I offer the installment from the 19th of October, which clearly means something, although I don’t know what. My best guess is very specific subsets of furry fandom.

Murphy was stunned that some of his friends have a link to a wolf in sheep's clothing web site. ... *What*?
Charles Boyce’s Compu-Toon for Sunday, the 19th of October, 2014.

Since it’s kind of dismal to talk about nothing but comic strips I dislike let me bring up Michael Fry’s Committed, which ended years ago but is rerunning something from 1999 and that hasn’t aged a day in the past fifteen years. OK, it’s funny in the way people from 1964 dissing the Beatles as this month’s flavor of boy band is funny, but it kind of makes me wonder what’s going wrong with pop culture that kids are still into Pokemon, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Power Rangers. I know they have some new stuff that wasn’t around back then, but, I mean, we’d thrown out pretty much everything from 1984 by the time 1999 rolled around.

In 1999, Pikachu is warned of his pop-cultural ephemerality by a Power Ranger and a Ninja Turtle.
Michael Fry’s Committed, originally run 1999, rerun on the 27th of October, 2014.

So if that’s all things I don’t understand, fine, but let me share some things I do understand, in the form of comic strips that discussed mathematical topics, and that I discuss over on my mathematics blog. Enjoy, won’t you please?

Compu-Toon, Math Comics are Compu-Toon, Math Comics


I grew up watching mostly cartoons, heavy on the Warner Brothers and Tex Avery catalogues, with probably too big a helping of Hanna-Barbera’s stuff from the 60s and 70s. That’s my way of saying that I’m kind of pre-adapted to laugh if a wrecking ball appears on screen, even if it isn’t doing anything wrecking just yet. I know its time is coming.

'Upgrading can sometimes be misleading', which is why a wrecking ball is following this guy.
Charles Boyce’s _Compu-Toon_ for the 17th of August, 2014.

So this is why Sunday’s Compu-Toon has me baffled, because the idea that someone puttering around his computer would get a wrecking ball for his trouble ought to be funny and then the caption goes and confuses me. I feel like I can almost work out the joke, that an upgrade always breaks stuff and sometimes it’s just worse than just leaving things like they were, I guess, but then … I don’t know. On the other hand, a guy looking warily at a wrecking ball pursuing him ought to be a pretty easy giggle.

Meantime, there’ve been a bunch of comics, mostly Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, that talked about mathematics subjects, so I talked about them. They don’t talk about me.

Math Comics and You Know What Else?


Once more my mathematics blog has gotten enough comic strips to talk about that I’m talking about it over here so you can go read my talking about it there. Does that seem fair to you?

Attached to these kinds of posts lately I’ve put up a bunch of comics to point out how Compu-Toon doesn’t make sense, or maybe some other comic strip does. I don’t want you to think I’m turning into one of the estimated every blogger in existence in reading the comics and complaining about them, though, so I offer you instead some space here in which you may consider the meaning of comic strips and what their significance in the modern information economy is. Please let me know if you turn up something interesting. Here goes:


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Anything come up?)

Statistics Saturday on a Tuesday: June 2014 In Humor Blogging


Now if I may my monthly post on how the daily posts are doing. In June 2014 I didn’t have quite as good a month for being read as I did in May: the number of total views dropped from a record 571 down to a second-best 495. The number of unique visitors, as WordPress defines these things, dropped only from 186 to 181, which is pretty much getting lost in the noise, which means the views per visitor went from a record 3.07 to a less recorded 2.73. That’s actually also a second-best-on-record for me, so I’m not too hurt by all that. I swear. And I reached my 6,478th page view that WordPress will tell me about. Between WordPress and Twitter there’s allegedly 498 people following the blog, although they probably don’t all check at once.

The countries sending me the greatest number of viewers were the United States (407), Jamaica (12), and Canada (10), and I could swear that’s the first time Jamaica’s made the top three. It’s certainly the first top-two appearance. Hi, whoever you are in Jamaica. Sending a lone visitor each in June were Ecuador, India, Indonesia, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Romania, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Tunisia, and Venezuela. That’s a fair showing from the “the” countries, I suppose (the Lesser Antilles were nowhere to be seen). India’s the only country to have also sent me a single visitor in May. I admit feeling a little disappointed by this; I mean, there’s more than a billion people in India. I’d think at least two would have happened across my humor blog just by accident, while they were looking for something else. Maybe I’m being vain. Maybe I need to measure per-capita readership since my faithful Singaporean audience would really help my statistics there.

The five most popular posts in June were:

The ones about wanton purchases of pliers and about Dave Barry’s Chuckletrousers Incident were also popular, just, not quite as popular.

Chuckletrousers in various guises were a popular search term, as was the search for Python Anghelo’s crazy backstory for the Popeye pinball game. The several people looking for “sanitarium museum missouri” I hope weren’t disappointed, and, turns out, people are looking for Compu-Toon, maybe because they can’t quite believe what they read either. I don’t know.

Math Comics and a Non-Baffling Compu-Toon


Once again over on my mathematics blog there’ve been enough comics mentioning mathematics topics to bundle them all together. They don’t get into any too abstract territory this time around.

Murphy is attempting to discard his rabbit-ear antennae and there's recycling and there's … I don't really know.
Charles Boyce’s baffling _Compu-Toon_ for the 8th of June, 2014.

To give you folks not interested in mathematics comics something to read in the meantime, here’s a baffling Compu-Toon from two weeks ago that apparently thinks … I really don’t know what about rabbit-ear antennas. I can’t help you there. But rather than give Boyce a bad reputation let me also offer this past Sunday’s, which is a perfectly recognizable and successfully executed spot of whimsy, and the only mysterious thing about it is why the guy’s T-shirt has the International No Symbol over a hand grenade on a cartoon-bomb fuse. I mean, I understand wanting no hand-grenade bombs, but are they a big enough problem to warrant T-shirt prominence?

A water-proof feature for a phone: a cute little umbrella.
Charles Boyce’s non-baffling _Compu-Toon_ for the 22nd of June, 2014.

Comics for your Bafflement


I was a little out of sorts last week (we picked some up — with white chocolate coatings — in a candy shop outside Nevada, Ohio) so missed posting announcements that I had a bunch of mathematics comics with some explanations posted over on the mathematics blog. Two of the actual comics are included because they’re King Features strips and I’m just not positive that the links to those comics are going to be good indefinitely for people who aren’t subscribed.

And then yesterday I had another bunch of these comics, because apparently Comic Strip Master Command ordered everybody to use their mathematics jokes before summer break.

'Fred can't figure out how is online postings were able to jump back toward the board' for some reason.
Charles Boyce’s baffling Compu-Toon for the 15th of June, 2014.

Since I’m aware many people find mathematics talk confusing or intimidating, let me offer for your amusement here Charles Boyce’s Compu-Toon from this Sunday, so that you can look at it and wonder what it’s even supposed to mean.

And Again, Mathematics Comics


I wanted to point out that over on my mathematics blog is a fresh bunch of comic strips getting explained well past the point that there’s much comic left in them. Just mathematics and, maybe, something physics if I’m right in my hunch about one of the panels. I’m probably not right.

And, well, I apologize if this isn’t of interest to some of my readers. For your patience in putting up with this personal cross-promotion I promise in the near future I’ll include some samples of bafflingly not-funny comic strip Compu-Toon so that you can agree with me that this strip is a thing that exists. Thank you.