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Funny Paper

"Bob's Infected Thighs"

March 17-23, 2003

By Scocca & MacLeod | Posted 3/26/2003

PADDY WHACKED DEP'T: It's March 17, everybody! Anybody? In Blondie, a forlorn Dagwood wonders why a four-leafed clover doesn't protect him from overwork and abuse. That's the only thing on the whole comics page that could be construed to be a reference to the holiday. What gives, cartoonists? Where are all your jokes about forgetting to wear green? About luck and leprechauns? About green-tinted food and beverages? And where, oh, where are all the drunks? It's Evacuation Day, Gen. Halftrack! Who will lead the troops? Even Leroy Lockhorn is sober. Aye yi yi.

YO . . . AN S . . . AT AG . . . HELLO? HANG ON . . . HOW'S TH . . WAIT . . . HEL . . . ARE YOU TH . . . HEY, NO, I THINK IT'S THE C . . . [BEEP . . . BEEP . . . BEEP] . . . GODDAMN SPRINT . . . YOU C . . . Y . . . CAN S . . . YOU CAN SAY THAT AGAIN! DEP'T.: Monday in Family Circus, Dolly watches as Thel hollers for the boys. "You wouldn't hafta do that, Mommy," she says, "if we all had cell phones." Monday in Sally Forth, Hilary asks, "Mom, Dad, can I get my own cell phone?" For Bil Keane, that ends the topic. Francesco Marciuliano gets six more days out of it.

YOU CAN MEANDER THAT WAY AGAIN! DEP'T.: Saturday, Blondie's Young & Lebrun pay homage to the joyous dotted-line wanderings of Billy in Family Circus, sending Dagwood on a looping dotted-line jaunt from window to window on "Restaurant Row." Sunday, Family Circus' Bil Keane pays homage to the joyous dotted-line wanderings of Billy by sending Thel on a looping, three-dimensional dotted-line trudge from basement to bedroom as she does all the end-of-day household chores.

YOU CAN SAY THAT AGAIN, GENIUS! DEP'T." Wednesday, Ziggy reads "Mensa for Dummies." Meanwhile, in Mother Goose & Grimm, Attila wonders why an overweight package needs more stamps. "But won't that make it heavier?" the cat asks. "My buddy, the Mensa candidate," Grimm smirks. Because Mike Peters doesn't trust the reader to get the joke that the cat is being stupid, see? But yes, that would make the package heavier.

NEW YORK TIMES CROSSWORD PUZZLE SNICKERS DEP'T: LOB, CABOOSE, WHOLE, COWPOKE, PIT, RATHOLE, GRANDPRIX, NUTS, ANIL, TITO, HEAD, BREST, RAMSES, PEACOAT, KATIECOURIC.

SUN CROSSWORD PUZZLE CAUTIONARY TALE DEP'T.: BIBLECLASS, MISS, TEEN, BIG, ASS, TEASE, OKAY, FELLA, UNDO, ACHY, AROSE, ELONGATE, ICE, MELT, GOD, HOO, AIMEDAT, DEPTHS, MOAN, ERRED, NONO, LOSTIT, SCARED, CRIB, ODDS, FLUKEOFNATURE, EGG, SCRAPE, RID.

FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE: Elly tells Deanna to stick the goddamn kid in day care if she's gonna sulk around getting all Henrik Ibsen and shit. Only she says it in a very nurturing, nonjudgmental way. Sunday, Baby Meredith gets her eat on: "Aagl? PBTOO . . . FWABL . . . SPLAP BLURB BLFFT SQUISH squap DROOL BLB glaah SPLAT splat." For better!

MARK TRAIL: "You're pretty good with that axe, Amanda!" Trail says, trying to cozy up to his 16-year-old camping companion Monday. It's in the blood, she tells him: "I never knew my father, but my mother said he was an excellent axeman . . . She said he often participated in sportsmen shows and lumberjack contests!" Mark Trail: where everything's natural but the dialogue! Wednesday, the camping party goes out to photograph bears. Rusty, who looks exactly like Kyle MacLachlin in the middle panel, asks if their photography blind is good enough. "Grizzlies have poor eyesight, but they have a great sense of smell . . . " the tripod-toting Trail explains. "Luckily, we are downwind!" Here's hoping Rusty didn't eat those green berries he was supposed to stay away from!

Friday, Elrod does a meticulous splash panel of a massive grizzly yanking a salmon from the frothing rapids. "Look at that . . . " a voice whispers from the shrubbery. "I wish I could catch fish that big!" Who's that talking, Rusty? Faced with the majesty of wild nature up close, Rusty wishes he could catch a dying salmon in his teeth. Why don't you go ask the goddamn bear for some of the fish, then?

Saturday, in a further display of wilderness savvy, the party eagerly hunkers down to see the newest ursine arrivals. "There's a mother bear with a cub . . . " Trail says. "We don't want to spook her! She senses something is wrong. Don't anyone move!" Yeesh, Trail. The mother-bear-and-cub routine? Some outdoorsman you are. Why not chuck a cigarette butt on the ground and start a forest fire while you're at it?

Sunday's featured animal: The decorator crab, master of camouflage. "It carefully snips off bits of vegetation and applies a sticky substance from its mouth to the frayed ends . . . Then it transplants them atop its shell, where they soon take root." More like the landscaper crab.

MOMMA: Thursday, Francis and his latest bride-to-be say they plan to "register with McDonald's." Don't worry, Momma--he never marries any of 'em.

APARTMENT 3-G: Margo moons over her medically-minded mystery man.

MARY WORTH: Silas and Connie jabber at each other. Upshot: Silas may want to buy back his chophouse after all. Even with the drinkin' and cussin' that came earlier, this may be the most boring Mary Worth plotline Funny Paper has ever seen. Oh, no, wait. That thing with the environmentalist guy, who looked like Penn Gillette . . . and the old lady with the property she wanted to develop . . . and wasn't there a long-dormant marriage or something? But they rode motorcycles . . . Motorcycles are more interesting than restaurant finances . . . but not once they started talking about the technical specs of motorcycles . . . Wow, was that boring!

LUANN: Luann very subtly lets Tiffany know that she and Aaron plan to do more "work" in the library. Tiffany finds them there and contrives to bend over in her short cheerleader skirt and show Aaron her ass. Take a cold shower, Greg Evans. Friday, a goggle-eyed Aaron can't remember the name of the play they were working on: "'Bob's Infected Thighs' . . . Legs . . . Nose."

THE PHANTOM: The Ghost Who Savors the Dramatic stalks the Rhodian interlopers. Tuesday, he steals their rifle. Thursday, he lurks in the backseat of their helicopter as they scramble nervously aboard. Friday, he claps a hand over the copilot's mouth as the pilot settles into the seat. "I don't want that guy creeping up on us again!" the pilot declares, as his helpless companion rolls his eyes in terror in the background. Saturday, as the pilot tries to radio in his coordinates, the Phantom quits with the drip-drip-drip and blasts the radio out of his hand with a large-caliber revolver.

Sunday, the Phantom finishes off "Raz" Rakowski and his last henchman with a right cross to the henchman's jaw and a backhanded karate chop to the Rakowski larynx. The imperious mystery woman, who introduces herself as the priestess of the snake goddess Anuga, is unimpressed. "No questions! Your presence angers Anuga . . . ! Leave this island at once!"

JUMBLE: A COAT OF "ARMS," TAKE "NOTES," A "DATE" LINE, A "BRIGHT" IDEA, A BEEF BEEF, A "REIGN" CHECK.

JUMBLE THE GODFATHER, PART III CHARACTER NAMES IN THE JUMBLE CLUES WATCH: CUNEO.

CURTIS: Barry plants soap in Curtis' lunch, only to have the prank strike Derrick and "Onion" when the bullies steal the meal. Sunday, Curtis gives up his seat on the subway train to an elderly, funny-talking Hasid. "Ah, you are goot boy," the dark-hatted, huge-nosed man says. "You make your family proud." He continues dispensing heavily accented wisdom till he gets to his stop. "Plan ahead -- it wasn't raining when Noah built the ark," he concludes, patting the boy on the shoulder, "--and you will do well." Curtis reclaims his seat with a smile. "I made a friend!" he says. See? Black children can get along with Jews. Look out, Jim Moran!

MARMADUKE: Monday, Marmaduke places his head, forelegs and sternum between the femur and iliac crest of a woman seated on the couch.

HAGAR THE HORRIBLE: Thursday, Helga, scrubbing the floor, warns Hagar that the floor is wet. "Okay, I'll try to avoid the wet spots," he says, tracking mud everywhere. Friday, Lucky Eddie shows up for a party with a mermaid in his arms. "He wants to know if she can use our bathtub," Hagar says. Lucky Eddie is all about the wet spots.

GASOLINE ALLEY: Wynston the Angel tries to retrieve the Trump of Doom from Joe Pye's hobo camp. Pye, after a malaprop-laden I-don't-want-to-sell-it sales pitch, demands "25 dollas" for its return.

REX MORGAN, M.D.: Jeff Hampton--if that's his real name--rings off with Heather the nanny and starts talking to his sinister handler, a man with a devil moustache, heavily striped Eurotrash suit, and heavily Ben Day dotted skin. "Keep your libido in check, Jeff . . . " he says. "We have a job to do!" Sigh. Poor Heather. Secondary characters never can find true love.

KUDZU: Monday, a letter writer asks the Rev. Dunn, "Can God make a rock so big He can't lift it?" Can George Carlin have told a joke so long ago Doug Marlette can't lift it? Evidently not. Funny Paper would like to drop the hypothetical rock on Doug Marlette, in the hopes of freeing up space for Bill Amend to put FoxTrot into The Sun.

NON SEQUITUR: In other theological news, Wiley presents "How Fate Really Works" on Friday, showing a bearded, glowing figure sitting at a Photoshop-type computer setup with giant "Create" and "Delete" keys, flipping a coin. So by "fate," you mean "God"? Way to take a position, Wiley.

ONE BIG HAPPY: Monday, Rick Detorie veers dangerously close to old Rose is Rose territory, as Ruthie tells her father that Grandma is cooking with some kind of cheese that's "not zarella." Tuesday, Lucille's yard sale includes a digital clock that she claims is a valuable antique. "It flashes Roman numerals!" she says. Funny Paper would pay up to $124 for a digital clock that flashes Roman numerals. Thursday, Ruthie rehearses for her performance as a rat in the school play.

YOU CAN WITH BEAKMAN & JAX: "Dear Beakman, What's happening when our ears pop?" asks Amanda Smith, of Roundtop, New York. Wait, let us answer that one! Is it because of the shockwave from the nuclear device?

DOONESBURY: Duke dreams of ruling a conquered Iraq. Get in line behind Richard Perle, buddy.

FAMILY CIRCUS: "Know what I'd do if I had a billion dollars?: Jeffy asks Tuesday. "I'd buy some gum.: Yeah, you probably would. Which is why when you grow up and accidentally strangle a nine-year-old girl, you'll be able to dodge the lethal injection. Unless you do it in Texas. "I'd buy some gum.: The more Funny Paper reads this one, the funnier it gets. It's a pretty good dum-dum gag, in fact. Replace "gum: with "beer,: and it's worthy of Willy 'N Ethel. Funny Paper tips our dunce cap to Bil Keane.

Thursday, Billy tells his father, "I wanna be just like you when I grow up, Daddy. But with sloppier clothes." Hey, that's not comical kid-speak! That's something an adult would pretend a kid would say, in the name of making a joke about inferiority of the younger generation. This violates the bedrock rules of Family Circus gag writing. Sell it to Kudzu, Keane.

B.C.: Monday, Johnny Hart drags a gag to its death. "Hey, Dad, are we rich class, middle class or poor class?" the young ant asks. Dad plucks his pipe from his mouth. "We don't have any class?" he says. "I'm talking financially," the ant-child replies. Why the extra note? Why not quit after the second line? Scientifically speaking, of course, they're working class. And Dad is really the kid's aunt. Friday, Curls tees up a shot with Cute Chick as his caddy. "How far is this hole, caddy?" "See that yellow flag sticking up over that hill?" "Yeah?" "It's that far."

HI & LOIS: Speaking of not knowing when to stop: "My pants feel tight!" Ditto announces Monday. "That's because you're growing, Ditto," Hi says. "Does it happen to you?" Ditto asks. "It did when I was your age!" Hi says. "Still does!" Lois says. "Oooh . . . mom hits below the belt!" Chip adds. You know what would make that even funnier, Walker & Browne? If you just wrote "HAHAHAHOOHAHAHAHAHA" all over it, like they do it on TV.

HAL FOSTER'S PRINCE VALIANT: The trireme rides the spring winds toward Camelot. A slavering, shipwrecked Emperor Justinian chases goats. Finally, a pirate crew seizes him as a galley slave.

ZIPPY: Wednesday, a Coney Island custard-shop sign tells the pinhead the solution to his "socio-politico-religio crisis": "Th' answer is in 'The Lockhorns,' Zippy!"

THE LOCKHORNS: No, it isn't.

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