Saturday Morning CIDEwww: “Almost full”??

Cidu Bill on Aug 12th 2017


Filed in Barney & Clyde, Bill Bickel, CIDU, Ewww, comic strips, comics, humor | 40 responses so far

40 Responses to “Saturday Morning CIDEwww: “Almost full”??”

  1. PeterW Aug 12th 2017 at 12:20 am 1

    Not sure what’s not to get.

    Also singular they appears in the works Shakespeare. Victorian prescriptivists decided it was bad, but it’s been filling the gap for hundreds of years.

  2. Treesong Aug 12th 2017 at 12:34 am 2

    It’s number one. Seems perfectly possible that someone could (almost) fill a bottle.

  3. Kilby Aug 12th 2017 at 12:41 am 3

    There’s nothing not to get about the intended joke (of course it isn’t “T”, it’s “P”*); the mystery that remains is why anyone would bother to bottle “their”(**) stuff.

    P.S. (*) - This one should have been awarded a “P” in the headline, just like the other CIDEwww that was posted today. Synchronicity? Or will there be nothing for us to Ewww about next Saturday?

    P.P.S. (**) - Both for physiological and psychological reasons, I think we can safely assume that the perpetrator was male.

  4. Kilby Aug 12th 2017 at 12:46 am 4

    P.P.P.S. @ Treesong (2) - Baldrick was able to fill two.

  5. Cidu Bill Aug 12th 2017 at 01:02 am 5

    PeterW, a CIDU because why would somebody walking through the woods use a bottle?

  6. Brian in STL Aug 12th 2017 at 01:26 am 6

    Out in the woods, most guys anyway would just find a convenient tree. Bottles are more often a resort when in the car.

  7. Brent Aug 12th 2017 at 03:55 am 7

    The fact that it’s singular “someone” makes it clear that that’s the singular “their”, not the plural one. It’s not a minor infraction… singular “they” has been in use for a long time. Despite the grammarians that oppose it (and they wouldn’t count it as minor).

  8. James Pollock Aug 12th 2017 at 05:33 am 8

    ” It’s not a minor infraction…”

    Correct. It’s not an infraction at all.

    Singular “they” is a direct, simple substitute for “him or her” and variants.
    Usage says that “they” is a perfectly workable word for this. It turns out that “they” is perfectly capable of being singular, plural, or an indeterminate state between the two.

    This does not bother normal people. If this bothers YOU, well… They is out to get you.

  9. Ignatz Aug 12th 2017 at 08:15 am 9

    Correct grammar is determined by usage. It isn’t as though English was the model of consistency after all. Grammarians determine the “rules” by examining how people speak, they don’t (or aren’t supposed to) invent rules.

    Singular “they” has been used for a long, long time, and it is becoming more common. “His” is gender-specific and assumes maleness as the norm. “His or her” is cumbersome and people don’t naturally speak that way. Ten years from now, singular “they” will not only be common, but almost universally regarded as correct.

  10. Andréa Aug 12th 2017 at 08:34 am 10

    “Ten years from now, singular “they” will not only be common, but almost universally regarded as correct.”

    I hope 1) to be around then; and 2) that it won’t be, or I’ll be the lone voice in the wilderness (and I won’t use a bottle, either).

  11. Terrence Feenstra Aug 12th 2017 at 08:38 am 11

    I’m with STL Brian. When I’m outside I just aim for the ground and let gravity do the rest.

  12. Dave Van Domelen Aug 12th 2017 at 11:10 am 12

    English is several other languages stacked up and wearing the flayed corpse of Latin as a trenchcoat.

  13. Treesong Aug 12th 2017 at 11:18 am 13

    CIDUB @5: Malicious prank. That’s why it was left in such a prominent position.

  14. larK Aug 12th 2017 at 11:36 am 14

    Terrence Feenstra: Richard Feynman once peed standing on his head to settle an argument about whether it’s gravity doing the work or not…

  15. larK Aug 12th 2017 at 11:51 am 15

    “English is several other languages stacked up and wearing the flayed corpse of Latin as a trenchcoat.”

    I like the sentiment Dave, but I’d be hard pressed to come up with any similarities to Latin, imaginary or not: I mean, English is strongly word order dependent, Latin is not; English is hardly inflected at all, latin is heavily inflected; Latin has more cases than English (OK, some people insist on trying to shoe-horn the English cases to be equivalent to latin cases, but I’d say that is more a problem in German than English — who calls the possessive “genitive”?); English has articles, Latin does not (OK, so in this case English is more “pure” than Latin because all Ur-Grammars were based on Greek (thus obviously the most perfect language), so really, already there is a lot of shoe-horning going on in Latin to make it fit its Greek trenchcoat…); Latin has genders, English does not…. I like the metaphor, but I just can’t see anything nearly as substantial as a trenchcoat; its more a case of a feather in a hat being macaroni, really.

  16. larK Aug 12th 2017 at 12:01 pm 16

    I should add a disclaimer to: “I’d be hard pressed to come up with any similarities to Latin” along the lines of: “given that they are both Indo-European languages” (yes, I understand that English and Latin are more alike than either is to say some Inuit language).

  17. Kilby Aug 12th 2017 at 12:30 pm 17

    @ larK (13) - I’d love to know where that anecdote came from, I’ve never heard it before, despite having read his biography (and having had to suffer through his textbooks, but that’s another story).

  18. Carl Fink Aug 12th 2017 at 12:59 pm 18

    Kilby, I’m pretty sure it’s in Surely You’re Joking.

  19. ty Aug 12th 2017 at 01:20 pm 19

    Number two is Number One.

  20. James Pollock Aug 12th 2017 at 01:25 pm 20

    re: English and Latin

    It’s less common now than it used to be, but learned people used to start sentences in English and finish in Latin, to show off their learnedness. Particularly prone to this affectation were the professions and academia. It’s just so annoying to be reading English and then, for no particular reason, switch to Latin even though it’s entirely possible to express professional and/or academic thoughts fully in English. That’s what we do now, we write the whole sentence in English, and we leave out the Latin. I think the ONLY reason to do this is to show off, and res ipsa loquitur.

  21. James Pollock Aug 12th 2017 at 01:26 pm 21

    The moderated comment just prior shows that Wordpress agrees with me.

  22. r2t Aug 12th 2017 at 05:10 pm 22

    it could of been left in the bottle as a jerk move trick

  23. Kilby Aug 12th 2017 at 05:23 pm 23

    @ Carl Fink (18) - That’s possible. Although Feynman’s anecdotes need to be taken with a grain of salt, it was many years ago when I read the book, so I certainly don’t remember everything he put in it, and I don’t have it here to check.

  24. Kamino Neko Aug 12th 2017 at 05:33 pm 24

    English is several other languages stacked up and wearing the flayed corpse of Latin as a trenchcoat.

    Nah. English is German, wearing a French jacket, jewelry from several other languages, and trying to wedge an ill-fitting Latin hat on their head.

  25. Cidu Bill Aug 12th 2017 at 07:39 pm 25

    And this, of course:

  26. larK Aug 12th 2017 at 07:44 pm 26

    Kilby (17): “I often had this problem of demonstrating to these fellas something that they didn’t believe—like the time we got into an argument as to whether urine just ran out of you by gravity, and I had to demonstrate that that wasn’t the case by showing them that you can pee standing on your head.”

    (search for ” pee”)

    I’m pretty sure the Genius biography mentioned this incident too, but I have no reference for that.

  27. Mark in Boston Aug 12th 2017 at 08:02 pm 27

    You can also swallow standing on your head, if you did the experiment described in “Mr. Wizard’s Science Secrets”.

  28. Usual John Aug 12th 2017 at 09:55 pm 28

    Getting back to the original question: Barney and Clyde is set in an urban environment, and this is almost certainly a city park, so simply using the great outdoors may not be a viable option. Perhaps someone had to go while driving to the park. Then he (”they” would work, but I’m pretty sure it’s a “he”) left it there instead of throwing it in a trash can because he’s a jerk.

  29. Brent Aug 13th 2017 at 03:35 am 29

    @larK (15): It’s not about English being Latin like. It’s the fact that some early prescriptionists decided that Latin was a superior language for discourse and that English should follow it… and then made up a bunch of silly like “not splitting infinitives”, just because Latin didn’t or couldn’t do it. So it got this Latin heavy coat forced over it for quite a while… the fact that it’s not like Latin is kind of the point.

    It’s ironic because the Roman’s had similar beliefs about Greek… that Latin was incapable of doing the job of proper discourse and that Greek must be used. Until Cicero decided to fix that… and did it so well that all of Europe eventually thought the same of Latin until the 20th century. Now you hear similar things about English (I had a scientist tell me that she didn’t think that Italian was adequate for scientific papers now… only English is evolved enough to do the job).

    @Cidu Bill (25): I’m obligated to point out that that originated in a Usenet post by James Nicoll, and has often been mis- or non- attributed since.

  30. larK Aug 13th 2017 at 10:01 am 30

    Brent: My point is that the silly proscriptions like to not split an infinitive (see what did there?) et al hardly make up a coat — silly headwear, maybe, but not an all encompassing heavy coat. A coat would be if you tried to get rid of articles in English, because Latin doesn’t have them. A few silly rules that pedants fall over themselves trying to enforce (because clearly no one sticks to them) hardly bundles and confines the language…

  31. Treesong Aug 13th 2017 at 12:00 pm 31

    Brent @29: Nicoll is also misquoted, as here. English ‘goes through their pockets for loose vocabulary‘. It takes in words freely, grammar almost never. As Kamiko Neko @24 says.

  32. guero Aug 13th 2017 at 04:14 pm 32

    Well, as long as we are getting into it, here is (to the best of my knowledge) the original quote from James Nicoll. In my opinion, it is much more elegant and colorful.

    The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that the English language is as pure as a crib-house whore. It not only borrows words from other languages; it has on occasion chased other languages down dark alley-ways, clubbed them unconscious and rifled their pockets for new vocabulary.

  33. Kilby Aug 13th 2017 at 04:29 pm 33

    Very strange: I just received an e-mail from Wordpress because a comment had been added (@31) to this thread. The odd thing is that I never checked the box for updates - and if I had, it would have been eight comments back (@23), but none of the other seven comments since then have triggered any e-mails. Has anyone else experienced spontaneous registrations to CIDU threads?

  34. Dave in Boston Aug 13th 2017 at 08:25 pm 34

    I never have, but I never check the box myself either.
    … my belief remains that the database wordpress is running from is corrupt; it’s the best explanation for all the strange behavior.

  35. Cidu Bill Aug 13th 2017 at 08:30 pm 35

    And y’all know better than to ask me about any of this, right?

  36. jajizi Aug 13th 2017 at 09:18 pm 36

    I’m OK with the idea that someone peed in the bottle, even if I don’t know precisely why they (he) did that instead of going in the woods. What I don’t understand is what was Barney doing with the bottle? In the middle two panels, he is holding it, then at the end, he replaces it in apparent disgust. He thought it was an open bottle of tea. Was he contemplating drinking it?

  37. Brian in STL Aug 14th 2017 at 01:21 am 37

    Yes, James Nicoll stills produces content for (the much reduced) rec.arts.sf.written. I have followed the newsgroup off and on since the 1990s. I thought that the “purity” comment was originated there, but Wikipedia said a different newsgroup and indeed it would seem that this is the original:

    The King’s English

     The problem with defending the purity of the English language
    is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don’t
    just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages
    down alleyways to beat them unconscious and riffle their pockets for
    new vocabulary. I have a friend who has a wonderful tirade about
    the incorrectness of trying to
            1: Map Latin grammar onto English
      He’s an English teacher, BTW. I don’t think he’s likely to win
    mass coverts, alas.

  38. Brent Aug 14th 2017 at 05:46 am 38

    @larK (30): It only doesn’t seem like a coat now, because hindsight is just as shortsighted as foresight. There was a point where prescriptionists had near complete power and it was a straitjacket.

  39. larK Aug 14th 2017 at 08:56 am 39

    @ Brent (38): please point out any writing from when that time was, showing how constrained and confined it is, and that this stiffness is from trying to conform to Latin rules. (And no, pointing to Newton’s Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica and the like doesn’t count, because it’s actually in Latin.)

  40. Ted from Ft. Laud Aug 16th 2017 at 09:00 pm 40

    Brian in STL - unfortunately, all of usenet is much reduced. The only group I still follow with any regularity at all is (coincidentally…) rec.arts.comics.strips, which James Nicoll also used to be a regular in, though I don’t think he’s been there in a few years. (Not many of the old crew are left, but then there’s not many newer crew either…)

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