Cidu Bill on Nov 1st 2012


Filed in Bill Bickel, CIDU, Norm Feuti, Retail, comic strips, comics, humor | 28 responses so far

28 Responses to “U 9HMCX”

  1. Kilby Nov 1st 2012 at 12:38 am 1

    The obvious solution was to put it into a ROT-13 filter, but “H 4UZPK” doesn’t help a whole lot. Then I tried squinting: with a little free-form phonic association, it could be interpreted as “you schmucks“, but I doubt that this reading is what the author intended.

  2. Arthur Nov 1st 2012 at 01:10 am 2

    I’m not familiar with the strip. Lunker doesn’t seem to be too swift.
    My guess is that the actual tweet is meaningless. But it *will* generate
    quite a lot of comments.

    And yes, I also tried rot-13 first.

  3. Molly J Nov 1st 2012 at 03:39 am 3

    I’m with Kilby. “You schmuck” is the first thing I saw.

  4. Proginoskes Nov 1st 2012 at 03:44 am 4

    I think Arthur got it.

    It’s a jab at the fact that just about any abbreviation means something.

  5. mitch4 Nov 1st 2012 at 06:59 am 5

    Yesterday morning, waiting to give a ride to student worker going on an off-site job, I received the following text from them:


    Nobody here recognizes that as some semi-familiar internet abbreviation or acronym. Does anyone on CIDU recognize it or have any clue? I never made contact back … have to interpret that as “I’m stuck out of town in storm-damage area where cell service is universally garbled.”

  6. Frosted Donut Nov 1st 2012 at 08:45 am 6

    I know it’s cheating to chase down the author’s explanation, but it helps keep me from obsessing about it…

    It has no meaning. Just a random series of letters. You can watch the joke get written (in real time!) by looking at the Sep 17 entry on the comic’s Facebook page:


  7. Seth Finkelstein Nov 1st 2012 at 09:14 am 7

    @mitch4 - It reminds me of old stories where the “secret message” was from someone using a typewriter but touch-typing in a way that the result was shifted on the keyboard. Maybe something similar was going on here - “touch-texting” but holding the phone wrong, so it the wrong keys were struck.

  8. Daniel J. Drazen Nov 1st 2012 at 10:26 am 8

    Reminds me of how I still have trouble with the ALT and SYMBOL/SHIFT keys on the querty keyboard of my cell.

  9. Judge Mental Nov 1st 2012 at 10:48 am 9

    I pretty much took this one on face value that the characters were random gibberish. If I would have tried to translate it, I would have experimented with the “off by one keyboard location” approach, but I wouldn’t have even considered ROT-13. Not only would that be out-of-character, but the “9″ would have immediately suggested to me that wasn’t likely.

  10. J-L Nov 1st 2012 at 11:58 am 10

    This cartoon is a comment on how people who use typing shortcuts think they’re “L33T” (elite) using them, but in reality the actual meaning of the word is lost on many people.

    For example, I once read a post where someone asked, “Has anyone played GOT? What do people think of it?” The response was, “GOT? What is GOT?” The reply was, “I think he’s talking about Game Of Thrones.”

    I find it funny how people will readily use an abbreviation/acronym/shortcut without ever stopping to think that others (especially those new to a topic) will have no idea what they’re talking about.

    Because of this, I believe that if you want to use a shortcut, you should write it out (in parentheses) the first time you use it. So if the poster doesn’t want to take the trouble to write the whole thing out, then the poster shouldn’t be using the shortcut.

    (The worst-case scenario is that you expand something someone already knows; the best-case is you educate someone on what an obscure shortcut means.)

    Back to the comic: Lunker sees a lot of these shortcuts, but doesn’t know what they stand for, or even that they’re supposed to mean anything. (And who can blame him? They’re way overused.) So he acts by sending something equally nonsensical, giving those who use shortcuts with abandon a taste of their own medicine.

  11. fj Nov 1st 2012 at 02:18 pm 11

    Interestingly enough, the URL http://is.gd/9hMCX leads you to an article on “10 important social media metrics”

  12. minor annoyance Nov 1st 2012 at 02:29 pm 12

    Like the Far Side cartoon of “Cow Tools,” showing a cow standing behind a table of what Larson intended as random non-functional objects.

    Or Douglas Adams declaring the Ultimate Answer was 42.

  13. James Pollock Nov 1st 2012 at 02:35 pm 13

    More correctly, the Answer is “Forty-two”. And it makes perfect sense once you learn what the Question was.

  14. J-L Nov 1st 2012 at 03:40 pm 14

    While the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything was revealed to be forty-two, we never got to learn the proper question to Life, the Universe, and Everything.

    A lot of people don’t realize this, but several faux questions were given in “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”:

    * What is six times seven? (Rejected for being too factual.)

    * What is yellow and lives in a tree? (Rejected for making no sense.)

    * How many roads must a man walk down before you can call him a man?

    While the last was probably not the correct question, nevertheless it was the one the white mice settled on.

  15. Kilby Nov 1st 2012 at 04:45 pm 15

    @ fj (11) - Even more fascinating is the location where the URL http://tinyurl.com/U9HMCX leads to.

  16. Elyrest Nov 1st 2012 at 06:19 pm 16

    Very tricky, Kilby, very tricky.

  17. James Pollock Nov 1st 2012 at 08:59 pm 17

    In “The Restaurant at the End of the Universe”, the Question is revealed to be “What do you get when you multiply six by nine?”

  18. Powers Nov 2nd 2012 at 07:26 am 18

    No, James, that question was determined to be in error; remember, the Earth was blown up just before the correct answer was determined, so Arthur only got a slightly incorrect question.

  19. J-L Nov 2nd 2012 at 11:19 am 19

    James (#17), “What do you get when you multiply six by nine?” confused a lot of people, but that wasn’t the ultimate question. (I myself was confused about that until I read the radio script.)

    Since Arthur was one of the last living Earthlings, it was thought that inside him lay the ultimate question, so that all they’d have to do is cut open his head and retrieve it (something Arthur wasn’t too keen about). But in the “Restaurant at the End of the Universe” we learn that humans weren’t descended from native earthmen after all — humans were descended from a race of bumbling telephone sanitizers.

    To verify that Arthur’s head didn’t hold the ultimate question, Ford and Arthur tried a little experiment: Arthur pulled out tiles from a Scrabble bag to see if what he got “synched up” with the answer. Arthur pulled out “What do you get when you multiply six by nine?” whose answer is obviously not 42.

    Because of this, we know that the ultimate question is not hidden in the recesses of Arthur’s brain, or any of ours, for that matter. To find the question, we’d have to find a native earthman/caveman, which is unlikely since they’ve been extinct for thousands of years.

    I agree with you if you think that “The Restaurant at the End of the Universe” didn’t make that very clear.

  20. Folly Nov 2nd 2012 at 11:56 am 20

    “Arthur pulled out ‘What do you get when you multiply six by nine?’ whose answer is obviously not 42.”

    What base are we working in? ;)

  21. J-L Nov 2nd 2012 at 12:06 pm 21

    The ultimate question to Life, the Universe, and Everything is never revealed in any of the books, but the next best thing we’re given is “How many roads must a man walk down before you can call him a man?” (which comes from the song “Blowin’ in the Wind” by Bob Dylan).

    That’s better than anything I can come up with.

  22. James Pollock Nov 2nd 2012 at 01:24 pm 22

    “Arthur pulled out “What do you get when you multiply six by nine?” whose answer is obviously not 42.”

    “I always thought there was something wrong with this Universe” - Arthur Dent.

    The Earth wasn’t completely destroyed until book six of three, which, by coincidence, I happen to have started reading earlier this week, having not known of its existence until I saw it on the library shelf.

  23. Pete Nov 2nd 2012 at 10:14 pm 23

    Powers #18, you are incorrect. It’s not blowing up the Earth that garbled the question, it’s the fact that the Golgafrinchans arrived and replaced the natives

  24. Kilby Nov 2nd 2012 at 11:03 pm 24

    @ Hitchhikers (12-21) - This is like reading a talmudic discussion about the Gospel according to Douglas.

  25. James Pollock Nov 3rd 2012 at 01:23 am 25

    Part of the problem of discussing HHG is that Adams re-wrote parts of it every time it was adapted to a new media. So each version is slightly different… radio, book, TV, LP, and game. (There were also co-authors involved in several of these.)

    There are a couple of unresolved issues, like why the mice didn’t do anything about the Golgafrinchans if they actually disrupted the program, or why, if the Vogons want to destroy all the survivors of the Earth, they’re chasing after the Nanites but not the dolphins. Or why, since time travel is possible, why the mice don’t go back in time and file the necessary paperwork to keep the Vogons from destroying the planet in the first place.

  26. Kilby Nov 3rd 2012 at 04:17 am 26

    @ James Pollock (25) - I think the primary problem is simply expecting surrealistic satire to be self-consistent.

  27. Mark in Boston Nov 3rd 2012 at 08:48 pm 27

    For sheer inconsistency, you can’t beat Gargantua and Pantagruel by Rabelais. Sometimes Gargantua and Pantagruel are immense giants; sometimes they are normal-sized. Nothing is constant.

  28. Futabakun Nov 7th 2012 at 11:08 pm 28

    If anyone is still following this thread, the definitive origin of this particular strip is given on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150970725351139&set=a.10150463848696139.358666.658331138&type=3

Comments RSS

Leave a Reply