CIDU’s and Don’ts: The FAQ

Cidu Bill on Jan 1st 2013

  • New address for submissions: CiduBill at

  • We mostly discuss individual daily comics here. Comments such as “I hate this comic strip and its artist should never be allowed to work in this business again” are not welcome. The CIDU page is a place for people who love comics, and the artists deserve respect.
  • Whether a particular person understands a particular comic can sometimes be incredibly subjective. People send me between 10 and 20 comics a week, and most of them I can easily explain. Then I might come across a comic I don’t get (and I’ll put on the page), which will be glaringly obvious to everybody else. Sometimes (rarely) when this happens, I’ll get a comment along the lines of “Hey, are you stupid or something?” My response is generally along the lines of “No, I just didn’t understand this particular comic. Leave and don’t come back.” I really hate to ban anybody, but I have no use for anybody who will come into my (virtual) home to insult me. I’m not keen on my houseguests insulting one another either. Thread drift is fine — in fact it seems to be fairly routine — but personal attacks are not.
  • If you post a message that contains more than one link, it won’t appear until after I’ve okayed it — which generally happens very quickly, since I pretty much live online. The purpose of this, of course, is to keep spam from taking over the site.
  • For those of you who are new here, we’ve moved a bit beyond just explaining comics: We also have special sections for the Arlo Page (comics you don’t want to explain to the kids) and the related Arlo Award (comics that appeared in mainstream newspapers which somehow slipped by the syndicate’s censors — this being one of the more blatant examples).By the way, the Arlo Page is named after Arlo Guthrie. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.Other special categories we have here include the Ewww Files (fairly self-explanatory), Comics That Made Us Laugh Out Loud (a Sunday morning hall of fame for comics we really, really got a kick out of) , and the ChadWatch. ChadWatch are comics that attempt to mine humor from the 2000 presidential elections, usually by making references to hanging chads. I began this section back in December of 2000 in order to try to pinpoint the very last chad-related gag (because seriously, the joke was well past played out by the time Bush took office). I never suspected that more than 15 years later, we’d still be collecting them. Sometimes we’ll notice two comic strips using a nearly-identical gag on the same day for no apparent reason. When that happens I’ll post them both, noting the synchronicity. Just because. These rarely call out for explanation.
  • The site is updated with a new CIDU every weekday at 12:02am Eastern Time — except for an indefinite period following both “spring forward” and “fall back,” when WordPress is still trying to figure out the time change. Then the comic could go live either an hour earlier or an hour later, pretty much randomly. Don’t ask.

    Saturday morning is reserved for the Ewww Files, and Sunday is the aforementioned LOL collection. Other posts might be scattered throughout the day, but the 12:02am update is a constant.

  • I run the website for Crime, Justice & America magazine, and I link to any articles I think might appeal to the people visiting CIDU. These always include “CJA” in the subject line (except when I forget).
  • We don’t encourage artists to explain their own comics, because they’ve already had their chance to make us understand. Also, it’s more fun this way.
  • Finally, if you have anything to send me — a comic you don’t understand, an Arlo or ChadWatch candidate, a suggestion, whatever — please e-mail me at cidubill at Even if you know my personal address, please use the CIDU address for submissions: less likely to get lost in the shuffle.

    When you’re submitting a comic, please (if possible) give me a link to it, and attach it — because sometimes attachments don’t survive the trip, and sometimes links don’t work. Just for the record, if you send me a link that contains, it will not work. I don’t ignore anything, but I’m not as good at keeping current with my e-mail as I might be. This site is my “fourth job,” after all.If you send me something and you don’t want your full name used, sign the e-mail with your first name, or the nickname you commonly use here. Or if you want to be absolutely sure, just add “Call me Bob.” Please don’t expect me to remember from a previous time, because I’m lucky if I remember my own kids’ names.

Thanks to Blinky the Wonder Wombat for providing a better definition for the Arlo Page than I’d been offering

Filed in Arlo Page, Bill Bickel, CIDU, ChadWatch, Ewww, FAQ, comics that made us laugh out loud, lol, synchronicity | 22 responses so far

22 Responses to “CIDU’s and Don’ts: The FAQ”

  1. warren main Oct 19th 2009 at 06:07 pm 1

    My problem is I do understand what is going on here with the public service push by several cartoonist. At one time I asked one nationally known cartoonist about the fact that sometimes a couple comic strips will follow the very same agenda and he replied that it would just be chance for two people to pick the same subject. This push of the White House agenda flow into sitcoms on television and of course certain television news outlets. The problem is that by putting the white house agenda in a subliminal way in the comics, these cartoonists are taking the sacred trust we Americans lay at their feet and making what should be a vollenteer function into an almost required function.

  2. Suzii Oct 20th 2009 at 04:54 am 2

    Actually, “Make A Difference Day” has nothing to do with the White House. It’s a newspaper-created and -promoted event, which is a big part of why cartoonists who want newspapers to buy their product would cross-promote it:

    However, if one of the strips you’re thinking about is Stone Soup, Jan Eliot is sending Gramma off to Thailand to build a Habitat house because that’s where Eliot herself is going to be pretty soon, and she wanted to get the most she could out of the experience: — clearly, that’s going to take months, and the coincidence of the beginning of the story with last week doesn’t mean much.

  3. Lisa J Oct 25th 2009 at 04:48 am 3

    “Make a Difference Day” was Oct 24th, so what was up with all the comic strips about volunteering on Oct 23rd? Just in my local paper, ‘Family Circus’, ‘Garfield’, ‘Dilbert’ (as a carry over story), ‘Blondie’, ‘Pooch Cafe’ (as a carry over story), ‘Snuffy Smith’, ‘Hagar’ and ‘Hi and Lois’ were all about volunteering… The current storyline of ‘Non Sequitur’ could somewhat fall into the making a difference category as well.

  4. Lisa J Oct 25th 2009 at 04:49 am 4

    I guess that was them giving us one day’s notice to volunteer on Saturday…

  5. John Small Berries Oct 28th 2009 at 12:25 pm 5

    “…these cartoonists are taking the sacred trust we Americans lay at their feet…”

    I withdrew my sacred trust in cartoonists when Tom Batiuk decided it was his mission to inflict his personal sense of soul-crushing despair upon his readers.

  6. MrKenneth Nov 3rd 2009 at 10:52 am 6

    Not sure how to send something to you but this does not seem to be in the Ewww archives:

    Huge laugh on this one for me.

  7. Lihtox Jan 5th 2010 at 08:57 am 7

    In this FAQ, you should explain HOW people can send CIDU and Arlo’s etc to you. Is the name of the comic and the date enough, do you want a link to the comic’s page, an attached image, or what?

  8. Greg Jan 26th 2010 at 06:29 pm 8

    I doubt that very many Americans got this Chuckle Brothers cartoon. It did take a second look before I realized that the family was made up of Robertson screwdrivers.
    In Canada, square drive screws are referred to as Robertson Screws and they have been in common use there since after WWII. Their usage in the US has never really caught on.

  9. madkaugh Apr 21st 2010 at 10:06 am 9

    Non Sequitur Weds, April 21, 2010 - “OK, one of us is having the mother of all hallucinations.” - While the intended joke is clear enough, it is somewhat incorrect. Either the speaker is having the mother of all hallucinations, “OK, I’m having the mother of all hallucinations.”, which is likely, or two of the individuals are having the mother of all hallucinations, not just one.

  10. Dr. Shrinker Jul 26th 2010 at 04:56 pm 10

    Don’t know if you heard, but the brilliant (and twisted) cartoonist John Callahan just died…

  11. Ken Kalitowski Dec 21st 2010 at 10:12 am 11

    For years, Arlo & Janis has been one oour favorite strips that we look forward to reading every day. We love it. Or I should say we did. Now, it may be because we are getting up there in our years, but the last few weeks in the Chicago Sun Times, we just don’t get practically every strip now. They make no sense to us. At all.
    It’s almost like there is a new cartoonist who took over the strip — even the artwork looks different. Is that in fact the case? We hope this is temporary and the Arlo & Janis of old retruns. Thank you for giving us so many years of enjoyment. Ken & Cheryl

  12. Andy Hospador Jun 22nd 2011 at 04:18 pm 12

    I get the pied piper idea.
    Is the “Love Your Coast” something written on barrels for recycled bottles? I’ve never seen that.
    I saw for the first time Sunday, in Seattle, a barrel labeled ‘Landfill” next to one marked “Recycle”.
    So the Pied Piper of Recycle entices bottles to jump into the recycle barrel, I guess I got it.

    PS: I first tried unsuccessfully to send this to comicsidontunderstand (atsign)

  13. Daniel J. Drazen Apr 19th 2013 at 09:55 am 13

    I nominate today’s “Safe Havens” as an Ewww.

  14. mitch4 Apr 19th 2013 at 03:45 pm 14

    Daniel, I think it’s something other than simply literal. She’s saying their rooms are so messy it’s as though they lacked potty-training … not that she actually finds excreta.

  15. Meryl A Jan 29th 2014 at 02:20 am 15

    Hi Bill,

    In our local newspaper there is today’s (January 27, 2014) Bizarro cartoon (substituting for Baby Blues of all oddities).

    The cartoon has a King in a hospital bed in full ermine collared robe and crown attached to an IV and a doctor holding a clipboard and looking at him. The bottom right corner has the legend King George IV”. Now I know who Geo IV is (son of Geo III and his regent, uncle of Victoria), but I really do not get this comic. I tend to think oddly and double checked with husband (who to be fair is not a comics person) and he has no idea either.

    I tried to email the comic to you from Pirado’s site, but whenever I clicked on the strips figure I got a 404 page. Not sure if the strips are hidden somewhere else on his “Bizarro” page.

    Meryl A

  16. Kilby May 12th 2014 at 04:53 am 16

    Hello Bill!

    You might want to add a link to the CIDU FAQ down at the bottom of the menu on the left hand column (under “META”). Sure, readers might be able to find the FAQ with the “search” feature, but that also turns up a long list of other threads, and many of the FAQ links that are provided in those threads are no longer current (producing 404 errors).

  17. mitch4 Sep 20th 2015 at 03:42 pm 17

    Is that big red notice our reminder of the new address? Okey-doke!

  18. mitch4 Sep 20th 2015 at 03:43 pm 18

    Ah, no, now I see a further explanation …

  19. Bill Craft May 24th 2016 at 12:13 pm 19

    I’m trying to word this so I don’t break the rules as listed at the top. This is a generalized comment but hey, the name of this website is “comics I don’t understand!”
    So, here is my 2 cents. Under the category of CIDU, please put my vote for Arlo and Janis. I’ve been reading comics for decades (once owned a collection of 2,000 magazines) and read collection books and at least 3 weekly newspapers. So often, an Arlo and Janis strip leaves me shaking my head saying “huh?” In all honesty, I’ve pretty much quite reading this strip. Maybe some of the jokes are inside between Msr. Johnson and others to which we’re not privy? Anyway, I’ve asked at least one local paper editor to switch it out for something better and he said that they pay a syndication fee and the package they purchased included that strip. Seems to me, a better way to please your readers would be to have a poll asking them which comics they prefer. If A&J don’t make the cut, then so be it. For now, I’ll just continue to skip this one.

  20. jean aldrich Aug 15th 2016 at 03:46 pm 20

    Why does the sweet dog not smack the crap out of the cat once in awhile?

  21. Daniel J. Drazen Dec 15th 2016 at 11:37 am 21


    “Arlo and Janis” for Dec 15, 2016
    “Ben” for Dec 15, 2016.

  22. Kevin A Mar 16th 2017 at 12:28 am 22

    Bill, I had an AOL, an honest spontaneous “Aw..” Out Loud, when I read *your* “do you want to build a snowman?” sub-heading. Up here outside Boston, the contrast and the perfection just got to me.

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