No Hurricanes

Cidu Bill on Sep 29th 2017


Are those supposed to be mushroom clouds in the background (in which case Bassett is already dead)?

Filed in Bill Bickel, CIDU, Flying McCoys, comic strips, comics, humor | 30 responses so far

30 Responses to “No Hurricanes”

  1. Lisah Sep 29th 2017 at 09:53 am 1

    Good News - no hurricane coverage; Bad News- he’s being assigned to cover nuclear testing (or war)

  2. James Schend Sep 29th 2017 at 10:18 am 2

    Eh he just needs some lead underpants and one of those dentist x-ray vests, he’ll be fine.

  3. mitch4 Sep 29th 2017 at 10:40 am 3

    Those diagonal lines on the window — are they just reflections, put there to help us understand there is a window there, or are they rain (or “fallout” debris) so we can see the conditions are already bad right at the station?

  4. James Pollock Sep 29th 2017 at 10:45 am 4

    Nuclear explosions are not the only ones that make mushroom clouds, any sufficiently large explosion will do so and the effect is easily created with conventional explosives (and even sometimes with things that have exploded that are not supposed to explode.

    Something (or rather, two somethings) under the cloud deck have exploded unexpectedly. Grab the Channel One Action News Van and go check it out, Bassett!

    Yes, I know, the artist INTENDED them to be thermonuclear explosions. But with a window facing the clouds, Bassett would have noticed the flashes. He’s far enough away that the glass isn’t even cracked, but the flash would have been noticeable.
    (If anyone thinks I’m just being a know-it-all here, I’ll point out my military occupation specialty: Aircraft Armament Systems Technician.)

  5. Kilby Sep 29th 2017 at 12:12 pm 5

    If you can see The Bomb, then The Bomb can see you. As JP noted @4, the flash should have fried (or at least blinded) anyone watching. However, since the cartoon perspective makes judging distances impossible, it is (at least theoretically) possible that the shock wave has not (yet) reached the building, meaning that it is high time to “Duck, and Cover!

    P.S. The situation reminds me of a sci-fi short story (possibly by Asimov) in which the moon’s brightness suddenly increases, causing the main characters to (correctly) infer that the sun’s intensity has grown to lethal proportions, so that they have just a few more hours to live.

    P.P.S. The story’s premise was well-constructed, but I still wonder whether temperature and pressure effects (both in the atmosphere and the oceans) might have produced waves and/or winds on the night side of the Earth that would have been just as deadly as the radiation on the sunlit side.

  6. Winter Wallaby Sep 29th 2017 at 12:16 pm 6

    Kilby: That sounds like Niven’s “Inconstant Moon,” although in that story the main characters eventually realize that they might live (and they do).

  7. James Pollock Sep 29th 2017 at 12:41 pm 7

    Definitely “Inconstant Moon”, which won awards, and was adapted to the new Outer Limits TV show. (OK, newER, both iterations of Outer Limits are old now.)

    The characters originally thought the sun had gone nova, they eventually decide that it was “only” a massive flare.

    I don’t think it’s possible for a mushroom cloud to form before the shockwave reaches you, if you’re in line-of-sight with no horizon effect. However, the setting of this cartoon is clearly high up in a skyrise; they’re above the cloud deck (Although I have seen fogbanks that were only about 20 feet high. In Astoria, OR, there is a bridge that crosses the Columbia river. It has one section that rises way up over the channel, so that shipping can pass under it, the rest is at water level. So you start out on dry ground, go around a spiral to get higher and poof, suddenly you’re above the fog, then you drive a bit and dip slowly back into the fog for the rest of your crossing. Eerie. Anyways, if the building they’re in is tall enough to counter the horizon effect, it’s vaguely possible that the flash happened and nobody noticed it, the mushroom cloud formed. Someone noticed the mushroom cloud, decided to take action, decided to assign Bassett to it, went into Bassett’s office, and said the dialogue, all before the shockwave hit them. But (there’s always a but) there’s not even any ripples in the cloudbank.

  8. larK Sep 29th 2017 at 12:59 pm 8

    So those are not trees? I thought they were trees. And I thought the reddish coloring on them was supposed to indicate Global Warming ™ that was happening… suddenly… and shockingly… and somehow preempting hurricanes…

    Yeah, it doesn’t make any sense. But really, neither does the atomic bomb mushroom cloud scenario for all the reasons that have been pointed out. They might as well be trees…

  9. larK Sep 29th 2017 at 01:07 pm 9

    So after all my attempts to get Wordpress to do superscripts, imagine my surprise when simply putting the letters “t” and “m” inside parenthesis causes them to be converted to the trademark character. It’s not really a superscript, and really, as it’s an html entity, it should be done that way — but no, Wordpress in its infinite wisdom randomly converts non-standard markup, while ignoring actual, standard markup. (throws up hands) (shakes head) (santa)

  10. Joseph K. Sep 29th 2017 at 02:18 pm 10

    It’s a glass half-full kind of thing.

  11. Kilby Sep 29th 2017 at 03:34 pm 11

    I’ve read a fair amount of Niven (albeit years ago), and from the description in Wikipedia it seems certain that “Inconstant Moon” is in fact the story that I referred to @5. However, I have no memory whatsoever that the main characters survived; I was sure they had been toasted.

    P.S. @ larK (9) - I’ve used superscripts and subscripts on occasion here, but the side effects that Wordpress produces in aligning the text make them seem fairly ugly. However, the main reason for this experiment is to find out whether the “parenthesis” ™ is turned into exactly the same character as the HTML “token” ™ character.

  12. Kilby Sep 29th 2017 at 03:39 pm 12

    P.P.S. - I remember getting them to work before, but just now @11 the “<sup>” and “<sub>” tokens were ignored.

  13. Brian in STL Sep 29th 2017 at 03:44 pm 13

    Part of Inconstant Moon was that the protagonist had figured it out, but it didn’t seem to be all that common of knowledge for a time. He leaves a big tip at their restaurant, because why not make her happy with money that will be useless soon. I don’t know that it was plausible even at the time, now the net would be lit up with “What’s up with the moon?” and “Why is no one from Europe answering?”

  14. billybob Sep 29th 2017 at 04:30 pm 14

    Actually it seems that in Inconstant Moon, the back story was that EVERYBODY ELSE knew what was happening, and were partying like it was 1999, but the main characters hadn’t turned on a radio and found out; and when they did find out, they were the only ones able to figure out it was survivable, and get up far enough to escape the tidal wave.
    Excuse me in advance if I misread that part of the story.

  15. Scott Sep 29th 2017 at 04:51 pm 15

    If those are mushroom clouds, they are the worst drawn mushroom clouds ever. They look like trees to me. And the streaks look like rain. So, my guess is that it is storming out there, so Bassett doesn’t have to go to the hurricane, the hurricane is coming to him.

  16. Harvey Sep 29th 2017 at 05:00 pm 16

    I definitely agree. Those are trees not mushroom clouds. The two people outside are looking up at the rain, not at the “mushroom clouds”. Basset doesn’t have to be sent out to another location to cover the hurricane, he just has to go outside and cover it.

  17. Winter Wallaby Sep 29th 2017 at 06:10 pm 17

    My recollection of the story agrees with Brian’s.

    Gosh, maybe those are trees.

  18. James Pollock Sep 29th 2017 at 08:14 pm 18

    The main character of Inconstant Moon is a scientist. He notices the too-bright moon, calls someone else to talk about what it means, and they come to the conclusion “nova”. This is obviously wrong, because the earth is an inadequate shield for a nova, but the important part of the story would be blown if the scientist thinks it out. The two of them groupthink to nova and the main character doesn’t check with anyone else. He figures that the world ends with dawn, and proceeds accordingly. He calls a woman he had a relationship with, they have a romantic date (I recall that they wanted to get expensive food to go eat on the roof and watch the moon, but the store is closed, so they break windows and leave money.)
    Anyways, the main character finally figures out that it’s NOT a nova, it’s a flare. They shift to survival mode, gathering food and supplies, and holing up on a top floor of a highrise building, because the waves that are coming will be substantial.
    There is mass devastation in the end, with most of the population caught unprepared, but the main character wonders if his children’s children will someday colonize Asia, Europe, or Africa.

    The story has stages. First, most people assume that the moon is just a little brighter than usual, no biggie. Then, there’s a rising panic as people start to discover that communication links are down. Then everybody in LA is underwater, and we don’t get their opinion on that.

  19. Carl Sep 29th 2017 at 08:32 pm 19

    “Inconstant Moon” is as Brian described.

  20. Powers Sep 30th 2017 at 11:08 am 20

    I’m convinced from context (in particular, the lady who seems to be praying, and the man gawking) that those must be mushroom clouds, but they’re really badly drawn.

  21. Greybeard Sep 30th 2017 at 11:18 am 21

    I think the cartoonist watches NBC Nightly News, which almost always seems to include Miguel Almaguer standing up to his knees in water, mud, or (probably) lava. It’s a running joke in our household.

  22. Ted from Ft. Laud Sep 30th 2017 at 12:31 pm 22

    In Inconstant Moon, the person the main character calls initially is the same woman he ends up with later in the story. He figures out that it might be survivable, but she doesn’t know at that point - they get whatever they can (fancy food from a late night liquor store - no broken windows) for a picnic in her (14th floor) apartment. It isn’t until they are there that he explains his thinking - that the event is survivable, and her place is their best shot. Through much of the story, most people are asleep (the story starts at 11:30 at night) and many of those the protagonists do encounter are in a good mood because of the shining moon. However, a few people have clearly figured it out (as an end of the world scenario), but I don’t think there was any general panic in the story - for one thing, not enough people out and about for that. After they get to the apartment, the storm (from atmospheric shock and water boiled(?) into the atmosphere in the day side) gets really bad, but abates, and the main character assumes that most things on the day side were devastated, ending with him wondering as James Pollock quotes. He also assumes things would be bad around where he was, but that it would be far less bad (he saves some liquor to use as trade goods). He of course doesn’t know what the outcome was anywhere.

    And I don’t think those are intended to be trees - you wouldn’t get the reaction you get from the characters at the window if so.

  23. Craig T Sep 30th 2017 at 11:03 pm 23

    Other two people are staring into the sky, so I doubt those are mushroom clouds. So what are they looking at? A UFO? A meteor? Rodan?

  24. James Pollock Oct 1st 2017 at 12:31 am 24

    “Other two people are staring into the sky”

    They’re looking to see if there’s any more coming?

  25. Berber Oct 1st 2017 at 12:27 pm 25

    Darn you all! I was “forced” to spend $4.99 to purchase Niven’s Madness from the Inconstant Moon, including the story in question plus author’s comments. And the ad blurb says “soon to be a major motion picture”. (Always thought I’d buy a book that was honest with itself - ” soon to be a summer B grade small budget flash!) :^)

  26. BeckoningChasm Oct 1st 2017 at 12:58 pm 26

    Those are trees, angry alien trees that have decided to march on and destroy the city. They’re too brown to be mushroom clouds.

  27. BeckoningChasm Oct 1st 2017 at 01:00 pm 27

    The thing I remember most from “Inconstant Moon” was that there was (in story) a lunar mission in progress, and the protagonist wondered how gruesome their deaths would be.

  28. James Pollock Oct 1st 2017 at 05:51 pm 28

    “They’re too brown to be mushroom clouds.”

    Mushroom clouds can be any color.

    I went to college in the Willamette valley. The major industry in the mid-valley is the production of grass seed. After the seed is harvested, the practice was to burn everything remaining in the field. This produced mushroom clouds, bent and twisted by any prevailing winds.
    The field-burning practice was changed not because of concerns over health from people breathing the smoke, not because of concerns over the fire(s) spreading beyond their containment, but because one year, there was some kind of air inversion that trapped all the smoke at ground level, and it got dense enough over I-5 that there were several motor vehicle fatalities and a considerable disruption in commerce because the highway was engulfed in dense smoke thick enough to reduce visibility to mere feet.
    The smoke from these fires can be white, gray, brown, or black.

  29. Mary Ellen Oct 2nd 2017 at 01:53 pm 29

    I thought they were trees, and this was a very, very untimely joke referencing that movie “The Happening.”

  30. Meryl A Oct 3rd 2017 at 02:38 am 30

    There are two trees outside the window.

    The lines on the window are rain outside the window.

    He does not have to go and cover the hurricane - it is coming to where they are and he can cover it from “here”.

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