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I DON'T WANT ANY PETS IN THIS HOUSE!

Dec. 9-15, 2002

By Scocca & MacLeod | Posted 12/18/2002

DEP'T. OF CORRECTIONS DEP'T.: At least two different Alert Readers have pointed out that former In Living Color Fly Girl Jennifer "J-Lo" Lopez is in fact heading toward her third marriage, not her second. Funny Paper would like to regret the error, but is in fact vaguely proud of ourselves for not knowing that.

DEP'T. OF CORRECTIONS DEP'T., PART II: Alert Reader "Zeke" noted that Funny Paper, despite claiming an obsessive-compulsive hangup about grammar, failed to flag Mary Worth for using "Here, here" for a Thanksgiving toast. There, there, "Zeke." Actually, what Dr. Drew said was, "Here! . . . Here!" as he brandished his wineglass. Maybe he was just asking somebody to top him off.

DEP'T OF CLARIFICATIONS DEP'T.: Very Alert Reader "Byort" points out that last week's Family Circus gag about Billy not knowing that Treasure Island predated Walt Disney's Treasure Planet was all about the subtext: The character designer for Treasure Planet was Glen Keane, firstborn son of Bil Keane. Cartoon Billy, that is, was giving a shout-out to the real-life "Billy." Or was cartoonist Jeff Keane--aka "Jeffy"--taking the opportunity to taunt his Hollywood brother about the box-office failure of Treasure Planet? Oh, the tangled web of false identity and misdirection that is the Keane Family Circus!

TURN USED TEETH INTO CASH! ASK ME HOW! DEP'T.: Thursday in Hi & Lois, Ditto asks the elderly neighbor for a spare set of false teeth. "I want to put them under my pillow and see how much money the tooth fairy leaves me." Saturday in Family Circus, Dolly eyes a display of giant lollipops. "I only have a dollar," she tells Jeffy, "but I have another loose tooth."

SORDID SUN CROSSWORD TALE DEP'T., RATED "L" EDITION: LATINLOVER, LADIESMAN, LEER, LITHE, LASS, LAID, PATERNITYSUIT

SORDID NEW YORK TIMES CROSSWORD TALE DEP'T.: TRENDY, CHASTE, NEEDY, TEENAGER, INTERN, HOOKY, STAG, MOVIE, SEXY, HEMAN, TABOO, ITCH, PEEL, PILLOW, HAVEANICETIME, INTO, TOYS, TIGHTASADRUM, PROUDASAPEACOCK, BONE, AROSE, ORAL, SHAG, SLAP, YAMS, EPIC, GOINGFORTHEGOLD, REST, PEE, NICOTINE, GASP, RASH, EXTRACHEESE

RANDOM LEFTOVER SORDID SUN MATERIAL DEP'T.: MATERNITYWARD, GIN, COVETS, SPLATTER, WAD, TAPIOCA, DNA, BRIDALSUITE, BEACH, AROSE, LINCOLNLOGS, POPUP, MINOR, CRY, DOG, UPAGAINST, HER, PERT, HID, BONE, LAY, PIG, YAWNS, SHE, KNEES, FRATERNITYHOUSE, RIDDEN, DAB, PITS.

SUN OREO WATCH: Wednesday, 60 across: "triple-layer cookie. Saturday, 36 Across: "Circular snack."

NEW YORK TIMES CROSSWORD SHAQUILLE O'NEAL WATCH: Wednesday, 1 across: "Nickname in the NBA." Hey, you can't fit BIGARISTOTLE in four spaces. Nor THATGUYWHOUSEDTOBEFAMOUSBEFOREYAOMINGCAMEALONG.

THE PHANTOM: Its hydraulics wrecked by thoughtless swordplay in close quarters, the latter-day Crusaders' escape plane turns and lumbers back toward Mawitaan Airport. The Phantom gets on the horn with President Luaga so they can explain things to each other while the crippled aircraft fights to stay aloft. "A mystery plane gets away, then suddenly turns back . . . !?" the president says Wednesday. "I guess you might be aboard!" It's a grammar crisis in the presidency! "About those fingerprints," Luaga continues Thursday. "My chief archaeologist was a special weapons police commando in Germany . . . my muesum director--a top aide in the French defense ministry." While they palaver, the engines fail. "Crusaders' weapons will be lost at sea, if we break up in the air," the Ghost Who Doesn't Fly So Good explains on Saturday, ". . . destroyed by fire if we make the airport . . . " Lost at sea? When the weapons were lost on land, the Knights of the Livonian and Teutonic Orders had the time and money to spend a decade training their agents for deep-cover missions as an archaeologist and a curator of antiquities. But no way are they gonna spring for scuba lessons.

Sunday, the storm-tossed party from the Mori canoe and "Raz" Rakowski's getaway boat heads inland. "Down there! Some sort of temple!" one of the thugs says. As they head inside for shelter, though, the Mori spy a snake-wreathed idol and their faces go slack. "Anuga!" one exclaims. "Woe on us!" another chimes in. "We're on the Island of Anuga!"

BEETLE BAILEY: It's cartoon convention vs. cartoon convention on Monday, as Sarge uses a butterfly net to round up the cloud of Z's over the head of the snoozing Beetle. Tuesday, Spec. Gizmo lies on his cot, apparently wide-eyed. "Those aren't his eyes," Beetle tells Killer, "they're screensavers." At least he wasn't using that old crawling-worms one. Friday, the nameless supporting-cast GIs of the motor pool chew a platter full of abbreviations: "He's RQ-ing a TTV for a BBQ at HQ?" Saturday, a jealous Sarge looks out the window as his weary men stagger off the shuttle bus back from town. "What does the town have that I don't have?" he asks. Shopping, Sgt. Snorkel. It's got to be the shopping.

FAMILY CIRCUS: Friday, Jeffy asks a mall Santa if he oughtn't take off that stuffy fur suit. Sunday, Bil Keane eschews the Santa gags to do outright sacrilege. "The stable looks great!" Daddy says. "But, I don't remember reading that Spider-Man was in Bethlehem that Christmas." And lo! There's the web-slinger, standing across the manger from the Three Kings.

CLASSIC PEANUTS: What's the true meaning of Christmas, Charlie Brown? Despair! "Santa Claus never brings presents to tiny, nondescript, nobody birds," Snoopy thinks, contemplating Woodstock on Thursday. Friday, Snoopy considers taking Woodstock with him to the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm for the holiday. "But how can you go home for Christmas when your home has been replaced by a six-story parking garage?" he ponders. The thought depresses him so much, he slides off the ridgetop of the doghouse into a rarely-seen diagonal position along the roof slope.

FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE: Deanna and the baby go shopping with her horror of a mother, who is by turns materialistic (Monday), belittling (Tuesday), ignorant of safe childrearing practices (Wednesday), possessive (Thursday), and prudish about breastfeeding (Friday). For worse!

SALLY FORTH: Sally drags Ted to the office Christmas party. Ted eats hors d'oeuvres.

BARNEY GOOGLE & SNUFFY SMITH: Monday, Sheriff Tait tells prisoner Snuffy that he's "gonna take a bite outta yore crime!!" as he tongs a drumstick out of the jailhouse stewpot. Now that's how you goof on McGruff the Crime Dog, not like idiot Mike Peters did last week. Tuesday, Doc puts the shaft of his putter in Snuffy's mouth, in lieu of a tongue depressor.

JUMP START: Monday, Crunchy explains that he never buys a Christmas tree. "Every year my cousin Victor chops down a tree and drops it off at my place," he says. "It's a tradition." "Where does he get the trees from?" Joe asks. Crunchy is at a loss. But easy come, easy go: Wednesday, Crunchy announces that it blew away in a windstorm. By Friday, the wind has delivered the tree to the front door of a needy family. From the specter of pilferage, Robb Armstrong spins a heartwarming holiday tale.

JUMBLE: THE COUNTER, THE "LOWDOWN," RODE "BAREBACK," "HEMMED" IN, A "SEA" OF TROUBLE, A MEDIUM.

HI & LOIS: Friday, Chip takes possession of a postcard that the Taylor family sent the Flagstons from Peru. "I'm keeping a scrapbook of places you've never taken me me!" he declares. Because every teenager wants to go to Peru.

NON SEQUITUR: Thursday, Wiley doesn't make the gag--he makes the gag lamer. "I don't care what your lawyer said," Moses hollers down at an Israelite, "they're not called the Ten Recommendations." See, even Wiley senses that the old "Ten Recommendations/Suggestions/Etc." routine is played out. So he's freshening it up by turning it into . . . a lawyer gag. Whee. It's, like, old wine in, um, old bottles. Or mathematically speaking: (half-assed gag) X (half-assed gag) = (1/4-assed gag).

Friday, two bears squat in the woods just off the sidewalk, watching a pedestrian stroll past a trail of certificate-type papers. "Dang . . ." one bear says. "They're not going for the stock options anymore." Are the ursines supposed to be generic carnivorous animals? Or are they symbols of the Bear Market? Nobody takes stock options in a bear market, right? Or are they the bears shitting in the woods? That's probably it. Wiley is shitting in our newspaper.

MOTHER GOOSE & GRIMM: Monday, "Carrie: The High School Reunion." Didn't the whole class get killed? You could have the reunion in an ashtray. Wednesday, it's "Because of 'Don't ask don't tell,' the spork was kicked out of the Swiss Army knife." Way to get political, Mike Peters, comparing homosexuals to useless goofball utensils. The spork is halfway between a spoon and a fork, right, just like a queer is halfway between a man and a woman, so the Army don't know what to do with it. Your thank-you note from GLAAD is in the mail.

KUDZU: Monday through Wednesday, Ida Mae mauls the Christmas songbook in the name of political correctness: "O Come All Ye Sincerely Open but Unconvinced." "We Three Royalty." "Joy to the Third World." "I'm Dreaming of a Diverse Winter Solstice." Even Doug Marlette can't possibly think this P.C. routine is funny or pointed anymore. You're going through the motions, Marlette, and the motions weren't much to begin with. Saturday, a smirking Rev. Will B. Dunn officiates at an Eskimo wedding. "You may now rub noses with the bride," he declares. "Diversity--ya gotta love it!" he adds, mentally. Yeah, Marlette, you've learned a fuckload about diversity, you cracker-ass bigot.

B.C.:Monday, the "Skool"-house ants are studying the names of Disney's Seven Dwarfs. Is this outcome-based education?* Shouldn't Johnny Hart have the kids memorizing the Seven Deadly Sins? Thursday, Wiley's Dictionary defines "winsome" as "the second word of a concession speech." Saturday, the "Midnight Skulker" weights in on the Atkins Diet: "If fat ain't good for you, how come no one wants to live off the lean of the land?" Funny Paper can't get over the disturbing habit the Midnight Skulker has of laughing uproariously at his own witticisms. If we wanted a laugh track, Johnny, we'd watch Eight Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter.

(* The decidely non-outcome-based-educated Funny Paper will see your seven and raise you all 13 dwarfs from The Hobbit, without checking: Balin, Dwalin, Fili, Kili, Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, Oin, Gloin . . . hang on . . . Dori, Nori, Ori, and Thorin Oakenshield. Yeah. Funny Paper ain't afraid to flex a little nerd-muscle now and again.)

APARTMENT 3-G: It's a jump-cut extravaganza: Monday, Pete and Lu Ann stand in an alley. "This is where they kidnapped Marcella and me," Lu Ann says. Tuesday, it's back to the apartment, where Margo is snooping in Lu Ann's diary. Wednesday and Thursday, it's the alley. Friday, the apartment. Saturday, alley. You know, Bolle & Trusiani, if you'd just moved all the action one panel over, so the scene-shifts happened during each day, this would have been the most thrillingly avant-garde week in 3-G history. Alas, even the day-to-day shuffle is too much for B&T to handle, as Sunday brings a time warp: "This is the alley where they kidnapped you, isn't it?" Pete demands. Yes, it is. Like she said it was. Back on Monday.

REX MORGAN, M.D.: Rex, June, and the ailing John head out into the blizzard seeing medical care. "Hello, my name is Sasha . . . " a mustachioed cabbie says Wednesday, "welcome to my taxi!" Oh, boy. We've got a feeling we know where this is going. Yep, there it is on Thursday: "Could you please turn up the heat a little?" "Yes, yes, of course, I am sorry . . . very thoughtless of Sasha!" If Sasha is named Sasha, shouldn't Sasha be wearing one of those Russian fur hats on Sasha's head instead of a turban? Sunday, emergency breeds comedy. Sasha: "We must get to a hospital!" Philly cop: "You're not listening . . . you can't get through! There are fire engines blocking the street!" Rex: "Officer, I'm a doctor . . . we must get this man to the emergency room!" Philly cop: "You can't, doc . . . the hospital isn't taking patients right now!" Rex: "Why is that?" Philly cop: "Because it's the hospital that's on fire!" Har! Rex Morgan, comma, Straight Man!

HERB & JAMAAL: Tuesday, Herb refuses to take a custom order at the restaurant. "Eula says there's only two ways her catfish was meant to be cooked . . . her way, or no way." Funny Paper will be having the catfish sashimi, then.

GASOLINE ALLEY: Joel and Rufus' adventures at the North Pole in the toy workshop continue. Thursday, dead celebrity guest writer Samuel F.B. Morse taps one out in boldface: "Do either of you have claustrophobia?" the jolly old elf asks. "No!" Rufus says. "We ain't scared of you, Santy Claus!" It's like, Claus-trophobia, see? Ho, ho, ho. What hath Scancarelli wrought?

THE LOCKHORNS: Tuesday, Leroy holds out an envelope. "We have enough address labels to paper a room," he says. For real! Half of Funny Paper is relating to the Lockhorns! March of Dimes, Paralyzed Veterans, Chesapeake Bay Foundation. We could paper a room, yes, indeed. Come on Leroy, let's go down to the tavern for some scotch to wash the taste of those address labels off our tongues. They're self-adhesive? Some scotch to melt the glue off our tongues, then.

GARFIELD: Monday, Garfield slugs back the eggnog with two fists.

MARY WORTH: Joy Tully keeps stalling in telling the story of Silas Smedlap. Tuesday, narrating a phone call, the Widow Tully makes with the thumb-and-pinky-extended "phone" hand signal. Wednesday, she still won't get the point: "After hearing my story, it might take a while before my guest feels like putting anything in her stomach!" Sunday, Mary finally loses patience with all the foreshadowing. "What, specifically, did you want to warn me about concerning Silas Smedlap, Joy?" Well, it turns out he uses people. No fucking shit. Mary had already figured out she was being played like Monopoly, no? So we just wasted two weeks on nothing. Saunders & Giella would seem to be the real manipulators here.

LUANN: Bernice sends Zane a pining e-mail, then pounces when the inbox pings Friday. Alas, it's from "Nigerian finance minister Kareem Salammi." Hooray! Funny Paper has something to do with the names we been collecting. Still waiting for one from President Luaga, Mawitaan.

WILLIAMS MNCUBE Subject: BUSINESS INTENT

Mr.Funsho Russell Subject: Private Business Proposal.

Dr SUNDAY MOMO Subject: help

DROLUWILLIAMS Subject: Joint Business Investment.

JOHN ABU Subject: WAITING FOR YOUR RESPONSE

Christopher Koladeh Subject: Confidential

Azuka Mbongo Subject: Urgent Assistance

larry@thecrapshooter.com Subject: December Craps Newsletter

Guess which proposal FP is going for.

BLONDIE: Monday, Mr. Dithers turns up his nose at a "Megabucks Coffee" shop. "I'll betcha anything their coffee's up to 50 or 60 cents a cup!" he huffs.

ONE BIG HAPPY: Grandpa switches effortlessly from gagman to straightman. Monday, after the kids explain where their Little League official goes to church, Grandpa declares, "So, he's a Holy Roller umpire." Not funny, but the delivery is killer. Tuesday, he fills in character backstory on Buggy Crispino: "He's a thorn in your side, a pint-sized Lothario, whose middle name is trouble." "Yeah, for show 'n' tell today, he was acting all cool," Ruthie fumes, "showing off those dumb things he gets all the time!" "Restraining orders?" Grandpa asks mildly (that's the trick: mildness). "Fake tattoos," Ruthie says. Thursday through Sunday, Ruthie receives, studies, and rejects Buggy's anniversary gift of a talking pickle he got free on a pickle-factory tour. Friday includes a truly disturbing tip-of-the-pickle cameo on the right-hand side of the frame.

WILLY 'N ETHEL: Tuesday, Willy gets kinky. "Help me with an experiment," he says. "I've poured chocolate syrup over some of Bondo's treats. Come over here, ask me to 'sit' and then give me one. I want the whole experience!" Friday, Willy's nephew laments the lack of "teepees" on his report card. "I never got a teepee either," Willy says. "They're 'A's'!" Ethel cries from the kitchen.

MARK TRAIL: Wednesday, Tom confronts Judy about letting "that blasted deer in the house." "Tom, you can't be jealous of a little deer!" she protests. "I don't want any pets in the house!" he hollers, smashing crockery against the fireplace. "If you bring that deer in the house again, I'll kill it!" And eat it! How far will Dodd & Elrod go? OK, not far. He'll have to wait until deer season, and since it's a girl deer, he'll also have to get a doe permit in addition to his hunting license, and he's gonna have to clean his rifle, and where's my goddamn hunting vest and my Therm-a-Seat Cushion? Or hey, maybe he'll just cut its throat. Thursday, the strife escalates into full-blown domestic violence. "I can't have children and you're gone most of the time, I need something to care for!" Judy says. To which Tom replies, with an open-palmed blow across her face, "I don't want to hear that sob story about adopting a baby again!" Only the absence of a sound effect tempers the rawness. Tom hates deer, he beats his wife, and he hates babies. OK, so he's a bad one.

Sunday's featured plant: the parasitic yet aphrodisiac mistletoe. In the splash panel, the whole Lost Forest family is gathered and Mark is turning his head to spy Cherry standing more or less under the mistletoe. But Elrod can't show him doing the deed. A chick getting all the teeth slapped out of her head, fine. But rather than manly-on-womanly love, we get this weird scene that's supposed to represent romantic attraction. We guess Cherry is supposed to flirtatiously touching her chair, but it looks like she's just woozy, either from the power of Mack Trail or because with the indeterminate placement of the mistletoe, she's fearing the possibility of a four-way homosexual interspecies osculation event.

THE BOONDOCKS: Wednesday, Riley refuses to panic about Total Information Awareness. "Huey . . . I don't buy nothing I can't steal, I don't read, and I don't use computers." Riley lives off the grid. Riley is the future.

HAL FOSTER'S PRINCE VALIANT: Nathan and the Fishburg Resistance launch a psy-ops campaign against Justinian's forces, with a fake-antique mural showing the Imperial naval forces under the title "The Doomed Fleet." "When the mural is discovered, it will astonish everyone: How could this ancient painting show a fleet that arrived only yesterday? And the title will be taken as a prediction, and chill every heart."

MARMADUKE: Thursday, Marmaduke is bedecked in costume jewelry. "No," Dottie says. "You can't get Marmaduke's ears pierced." Now that's a good castration gag. Friday, Marmaduke has his front legs, prosternum, and mandible on the bed.

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