DTWOF episode #513

October 2nd, 2007 | Uncategorized

513 detail

Here’s the latest.

159 Responses to “DTWOF episode #513”

  1. kate mckinnon says:

    Somehow I never envisioned Mo on top. I like it that the leaf looks like a little horn on her head.

  2. chriso says:

    “Family Values Senator Found in Missionary Position with Own Wife” totally wins!! I cracked up when I read that. I always love each new episode and seeing what happens to all the different characters. But sometimes it’s the little details that really make each one extra special.

  3. EGA says:

    Thank God, somebody’s experiencing a flickering moment of joy!

    And when you can’t have joy, awkwardness is good too – I love the look on Clarisse’s and Gloria’s faces in the penultimate panel.

    I also love the headline in that panel.

  4. Brazenfemme says:

    I gave my undergrad students an article to read last week and one commented that she needed a dictionary to get through it. My vocabulary has improved today- thanks, once again, to AB’s work. Love that M and S are back on track – I am assuming the apple metaphor to be intentional.

  5. BlueShoes says:

    Mo and Sydney have word geek foreplay! Eeeeee!

    Seriously, Richard should lock the two of them up with a Scrabble set and send them an invoice.

  6. Duncan says:

    Like, omigod! Mo and Sydney are totally having sex in public!!! how can you reinforce the negative stereotypes of gay people with this shameless display!? And there are, like, children within a quarter mile of them who might find them using foul language in the bushes!!!! “Syzygy” indeed! This is why we can’t get our rights!!!!! This is why decent people look down on us!

    …. Seriously, I think this is a fine episode, Alison. Despite or because of the details anguish you’re going through, you’re doing some very good work. (Though, when I read Mad Magazine back in the early 60s, “Kowabunga” was spelled with a “K” if I remember right.)

  7. K.B. says:

    I love the P alliterations, all the way from planet to paroxysm. Almost as good as Mo’s legendary Fiona pickup line…

  8. jewelsjoyce says:

    And here I was hoping that Mo would dump Sydney in exchange for a sweeter, more sensitive partner. Guess old habits die hard. LOVE LOVE LOVE my Dykes to watch out for, still, after all these years! Thank you.

  9. Aunt Soozie says:

    You’d probably crochet an antimacassar. I guess our gals are more adept at vocab than handcrafts…of a sort.
    The change in S and Mo’s facial expressions from sad, tired, hopeless to those palpable sparks and little smirks in the fifth panel is beautiful.
    and yeah, the “missionary position with own wife” shocker is hilarious!!

    I love it all.

  10. Jeffster83 says:

    “Cowabunga” is properly spelled with a C. It is a surfing term (the ocean kind, not the Internet kind) shouted while one runs into the water holding one’s board over head. This week’s and last week’s _For_Better_or_for_Worse_ uses the K spelling. Perhaps that’s an acceptable Canadiish variant, especially since it seems to accompany the action of throwing a teddy bear at someone else’s head rather than surfing. I don’t know how much surfing people do around Toronto.

  11. K.B. says:

    According to wikipedia, Cookie Monster used Kowabunga as a “K” word in Sesame Street.

  12. gatheringwater says:

    What’s wrong with knitting antimacassars? (And yes, some of them *are* knitted.) No wonder I don’t trust Sydney…even if she does look cute in her (knitted) Aran sweater. Anyway, I’m glad Mo and Syd rediscovered something they like to do together. A bright spot in my week.

  13. Huh. I initially wrote it as Kowabunga. But then I changed it because a quick check revealed that in the Simpsons, it’s spelled with a C.

    Who’s more reliable? Bart or the Cookie Monster?

  14. Aunt Soozie says:

    I’ve just never seen a knitted antimacassar…only the tatted type. I suppose you could knit one though…

  15. Oh, yeah, and it was probably in my head because of the annoying storyline going on right now in For Better or For Worse.

  16. Anonymous says:

    While I’m generally a fan of the idea that Mo should have dumped Sydney ages ago, their bit here was one of the most amazing scenes ever. Wow. (It also sent me heading for the dictionary.)

  17. Junio says:

    Shockingly, we were discussing antimacassars chez nous just last week. And I TOTALLY have that sweater. My sister, are you hooked up with the whole CIA domestic surveillance thang? (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

  18. Dr. Empirical says:

    The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles spelled it with a “K”. However, I believe Adolescent Radioactive Blackbelt Hamsters used a “C”.

    I had to look up “dirndl”.

  19. Megaphone says:

    1. Awesome strip.

    2. I love that we can have intellectual conversations regarding the spelling of Kowabunga referencing Bart Simpson, Cookie Monster, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Classic.

  20. shadocat says:

    I’d go with Bart on the spelling–I think he really put the “Cow” in “Cowabunga!”

  21. Deena in OR says:

    re: dirdl. Unfortunately, I didn’t have to. Not a skirt style I’ll *ever* put on again….

  22. Jana C.H. says:

    At first I thought it was a squished spider. Then I spotted the apple in the middle, and figured out someone was holding an apple while biting into it. But until the last moment I had the nose and chin reversed, and was trying to interpret Mo’s turtleneck as squinty eyes.

    Alas, I didn’t recognize that it had to do with sex, though I should have. All those Rorschach panels have to do with sex.

    Jana C.H.
    Saith Oscar Wilde: Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.

  23. mysticriver says:

    Time intensive detail disorder doesn’t seem so bad after all. This strip is gorgeous.

    I keep getting drawn to the second to last panel, it’s so charming in every way. The expressions are priceless.

  24. OnlyAnne says:

    Speaking of details, I love the muffintop w/crack on the woman in the background of the third panel.

    That fad’s worse than a thousand dirndl skirts.

  25. 'Ff'lo says:

    omg — maybe the best word sex scene i’ve ever seen!

    snoopy, btw, in peanuts, spelled it cowabunga with a “c” too. i had a poster of him surfing and saying that. :]

  26. Deena in OR says:

    Honest to goodness…At work,we have a 300 pound maintenance man who constantly wears low riders. He has a side business doing home repair. He’s had t-shirts printed up with the name of the company on the back, which he wears to work. The name of the business……

    The Bottom Line

  27. Kassie S. says:

    Alison–Yes, isn’t FBOFW tedious?! I am intrigued–what other daily comic strips do you follow?

  28. jesse says:

    I *do* love the word unctuous, and I love that it’s part of geeky foreplay here – how wonderful.

    A friend once stumped me for a good long time trying to guess her favorite word, the letter pattern of which was: 12323.


  29. Josiah says:

    I’ve been a FBOFW defender until recently, but even I have to admit that structuring all the strips around “photo album” reruns has made it excruciatingly boring. It’s turned the strip into a clip show, like sitcoms used to do when they ran out of money to pay the writers.

    Personally, I’m pro-macassar. At least, I’m pro- the capital of Sulawesi, if not the hair oil that used to be exported from it. (I wonder if you can still buy macassar oil somewhere?)

  30. jen in WI says:

    The voting at Urban Dictionary clearly favors “cowabunga.”

  31. LA says:

    Don’t have a cow, Alison but I would tend to go with Bart! Cowabunga dude!

    Cheers from Tucson, AZ. I am still grinning from your visit and reading of “Fun House” downtown at the library. BTW, there is this super cool art deco building downtown that was originally a mortuary. It’s been vacant since the early ’90s. (And to think that when I went to Cafe Poca Cosa which is across the street, with my parents, that I thought some really nutty person lived there and had a vintage ’59 Caddie Hearse and was excited cause I thought they were a person after my own little warped, grew up in ’70s Hollywierd Heart!) Anyhow some guy bought it and wants to turn it into a restaurant. Wild stuff.

    The weather in Tucson is finally becoming good again and not where you go out to the car in shorts only to get 3rd degree burns on exposed flesh that meets hot surfaces. Hope you come back – preferibly while it’s good and cool!


    LA and the 4 pooches

  32. kate mckinnon says:

    Hi LA, I’m from Tucson as well. That is the Reilly funeral home you describe, and the last elderly Reilly sister just died this summer. Poca Cosa tried to buy it. Ha! I thought of Alison for sure.

    I thought the detail up top was a squished mosquito, and I didn’t get that Mo was having “sex in the missionary position with own wife” too.

    SNOOPY says Cowabunga with a “C” when he surfs.

    And now I see that Mo isn’t the only one with a little leaf horn, is she?

  33. Ellen O. says:

    How appropriate that they come together (so to speak) on “syzygy.”

    Jana, I also thought the out-take was an rotund insect!

    Nice new sweater for Mo. I like that it ends up beneath Sydney’s head.

  34. Ellen O. says:

    Is the dove flying with the stars above the leaf pile a fortuitous sign?

  35. van says:

    LMAO! “Meanwhile in the bushes” indeed!

  36. born-again rhetor says:

    Hey LA, I grew up in Tucson, and I know what you mean about the excellent winter weather.

    PS, Easily the highlight of the semester.

  37. Gil in mexico city says:

    Isn’t the whole FBOFW super teddy crap absolutely appalling? I miss the old strips with Lawrence coming out and that sort of stuff…

  38. Yatima says:

    Syzygy! Our faves are plinth and silage. And I got quite hot and bothered when he whipped me at Scrabble the other day.

  39. Anonymous says:

    Why?? Why do Mo and Sydney stay together?? I have been waiting forever for either one of them to recognize that theirs is an unstable, unhappy relationship that survives because of disproportionately few moments of ‘connection.’ Because, sure, if the sex is good and nostalgic, there must be something going right. Fine. It’s the years of their life they’re wasting.

    Brokeback Mountain called. They want their lesson plans back.

  40. shadocat says:

    yeah, I want Mo to dump Sydney too–but it just ain’t gonna happen…

  41. elisgem says:

    i want mo and sydney together. in a way, i have been waiting for something like that happening for a long time, and you made the scene just perfect. thank you!

  42. moroccomole says:

    Antimacassar! Yes!

  43. Ian says:

    Wonderful episode and well worth all the agonising over detail.

    I have to say I’ve never read FBOFW. My favourite comics (apart from DTWO4, natch) at the mo’ would be Doonesbury and the one-panel political satires of Steve Bell which can be found on the Guardian website. Bell’s depiction of Bush as a chimp is an insult to chimps worldwide, but very funny nonetheless. I also follow Alex, which parodies Britain’s global capitalists very well. I grew up with Peanuts and Andy Capp and still love them now.

    My favourite words aren’t in English, although I’m quite fond of ‘rumbunctious’. Mine have to be the endearment ‘cariad’ (heart) in Welsh and ‘albondigas’ (meatballs) from Spanish.

  44. Maggie Jochild says:

    Dirdnls, sailor dresses, and culottes, may they all disappear from the earth. The public schools I attended forbade anything resembling pants for girls until my senior year, when we were allowed to wear matching pantsuits.

    Notice how when Mo and Sydney were right on the edge of actually discussing who they were with each other, they colluded on diving into the old standby, intellectualism and sex-as-avoidance? The apple as a symbol for knowledge is quite ironic here.

  45. Jo says:

    Hihi, Dirndl..

  46. Emma38 says:

    Oh, a happy strip at last, thank you! And one of the few to (almost) convince me that Mo & Syd have anything in common.
    Is anyone else finding the psychological undertows of the Clarice-Toni scenes almost too much to unravel? Whew. (yes – i know that’s the point. ambiguity and so on)
    But I don’t think they’re having sex as avoidance; I think their sex still brings out the best in them. Mo has never been so much fun as when she is actually having sex with Syd.

  47. Dr. Empirical says:

    Back when I still did science in an actual lab, I would treat synaptosomes with heterobifunctional alkylators. Then I’d aliquot the precipitate.

    After centrifuging the oligodendroglia, of course.

  48. Ginjoint says:

    Oooo, Dr. E….you’re going to give us all an attack of the vapors…

    Picking apples? Now that I did not see coming. Mo wouldn’t love me, because I didn’t know antimacassar. It’s a damn doily, right? Or is it only a doily when it’s under an object on a table, not someone’s head? My mother has a Queen Anne-style Victorian home, and I’ve neatened those things a kajillion times. I cannot wait to throw this word at her – she loved it when I said someone had untied the portiere.

  49. Dr. Empirical says:

    I love a blog that gives me an excuse to use the word “oligodendroglia.”

    The leaf on Mo’s head is a horn, but the one on Clarice’s is more of a jackass ear.

  50. cpd says:

    So Clarice & Mo are both wearing leaf horns. = cuckolds?

  51. oceans 111 says:

    Antimacassars are the doily objects that lie patiently, waiting to spring, along the backs of sofas and chairs. So-called because their purpose was to prevent the leaking of hair-oil onto the furniture (not unlike AB’s grandpa’s hair oil in Fun Home, come to think of it).

  52. Em says:

    Unlike most, it appears, I am actually rooting for Mo and Sydney.

  53. Ginjoint says:

    Yeah, oceans, I know that now…I’ve neatened them, washed them (people still use lotsa “product” in their hair) and ironed them. They exist to annoy. I just never knew they had a name other than “damn doily.”

  54. pie says:

    I just learned what a szyzgy is – this is fate! The geek foreplay is wonderful. I’m rooting for Mo n’ Sydney too!

  55. Bizzard says:

    Other people know about “syzygy?” And have commentary on FBorFW? How amazing is this group! Syzygy has been my favorite spelling word forever…how lovely to admit I even have one and I secretly read FB or FW, and it has been so dull lately (better today, though…grandpa may be dead).

    How about Zymurgy? Another really good one.

  56. Bart says:

    I first came across the word “antimacassar” in an Edward Gorey story. My favorite obscure word is “gynotikolobomassophilia” which means a proclivity for nibbling on women’s earlobes. You could probably work that into a story line somewhere.

  57. Leslei says:

    that’s a pretty hot scene.
    i think Clarisse is not very aware?

  58. boltgirl says:

    Good lord, we Tucsonenses are coming out of the woodwork these days. I must say that the last panel of this installment just might make me think of things other than apple pie next time the GF and I trundle over to Wilcox for some U-pick action. Of course, it won’t actually result in anything more sordid than a giggling fit in the middle of the orchard, but hey…

  59. born-again rhetor says:

    boltgirl, might get better results if you say the word “syzygy.”

  60. leisaie says:

    I kind of think that performativity has problematized itself here. On the bright side, we’ll always have paroxysms.

  61. kellan says:

    Having just come from Oktoberfest in Munich, I can say that the dirndl as a fashion statement has come a long way lately…but maybe I’m just saying that because I was lucky enough to escape the curse of having to wear lederhosen.

  62. Alex K says:

    1) Mo wears stripes under stripes.

    2) “Batrachophagous”, describing the French. (Usage perhaps restricted to the UK.)

  63. Al et al says:

    I’ve always loved “defenestrate”. Simple, but elegant.

  64. 'Rora says:

    Paradise Lost!

    I can just see Satan in snake form whispering, “‘Unctuous,’ ‘isthmus,’ ‘syzygy!’ such words are yours if only you will taste. (And a woman live, not breaking at your touch like that wat’ry mimic-image you admired before the grasping arms of Adam ever reached to hold you from your flight.)”

    Fortunate fall indeed!

    And I love the pair of glasses together in the last panel.

  65. Sophie says:

    One of my favourite words is Italian: “farfallina”. It means a butterfly, and also a woman’s… well, you know.

    “Syzygy” is a new one for me. It even has a French equivalent: “syzygie” (fem. gender), and a mystical, some would say Jungian interpretation: Alchemical androgyny, or realizing the symbiotic union of cosmic opposites within oneself. Wow.

  66. berlina says:

    Clarice is the only woman I know who still wears an Afro like that

  67. Jana C.H. says:

    Dolichocephalic and brachycephalic. I use them when trying on hats.

    Jana C.H.
    Saith JcH: I can’t wear this. It’s too brachycephalic for me.

  68. inktellectual says:

    I’ve ranted in a blog about most weekly comics, especially FBOFW. The females are total conformist mom-bot brood mares or the girls are either ‘unpopular’ or are in soap opera relationships while the son/brother has ‘normal’ relationships & successful jobs. The one gay (male) in the strip was paraded around for +/- 6 weeks & gently but firmly shoved back into his closet.*inktellectual chews on the comics section a la old school Mo* Gnarrr!
    & my fave word is rastibidious, which is me from top to toe…

  69. alexis says:

    I never thought of it, but yeah, the afro has gone the way of the dodo, although I do have one friend (older) who still sports a modified ‘fro

    Am I the only one who thinks Clarice is being a bit of a jerk? Her cynical remarks on the phone sounded almost nasty and certainly bitter. Staying around and being miserable because of housing costs is BS, life is too short.

  70. Ed says:

    For a wonderfully wry look at comic strips, go to http://joshreads.com. That includes you, AB. You “For Beter or Worse” sentiments are vindicated at the strip.

    That said, i so hate firewalls at work. ic an read the blog but the Flickr site is blocked and I need to wait until I get home. I do love reading the comments and trying to see what i can guess about the latest strip. I assume Mo and Sydney are raking leaves and accidentally become entwined. Hilarity ensues!

  71. pram in the hall says:

    Mo And Sydney seem so much like AB and her college girlfriend Joan reading the Oxford Eglish Dictionary together 9remember the “os” scene in Fun Home?).

    I’m glad to know others can’t give up FBOFW either, insipid as it’s become. I think Grandpa Jim died this morning.

  72. boltgirl says:

    I also like Clarice’s odd-(wo)man-out status being emphasized by her white button-down shirt–she’s in the center of a group of people wearing matching black pullovers, but she clearly doesn’t belong. Should I go further and muse about not only the distinction in hue, but also the disjuncture between her staid shirt and the attempt at spontaneous, fun-loving action that put her in that uncomfortable situation?

  73. Mojave66 says:

    Ed- Alison has actually met Josh (http://joshreads.com/?p=1132) and apparently he’s a big fan.

    I heart The Comics Curmudgeon.

  74. martinet says:

    Oh, that’s beautiful; the business with Clarice’s shirt hadn’t registered with me, but it’s so obvious.

    There’s a woman at my workplace who has an even larger fro than Clarice’s, although I think it’s meant to be defiantly retro. I just get the sense that doing anything else with her hair is too much of a change for Clarice, or would take too much commitment. (I’m always amazed by the effort and expense that African-American women put into their hair; I don’t know if I could ever do it. Even more amazed by the patience of the little kids who get the elaborate braided dos; I KNOW I couldn’t have done that.)

    I was a bit stunned by FBoFW this morning–it felt like Lynn Johnston was stealing Tom Batiuk’s thunder. Seemed weirdly insidious for one “stripper” to pull that on another. Then it just seemed like too much death in the comics for one day, and I had to have a little cry in the shower. I did like the Comics Curmudgeon’s (link above) take on it, though.

  75. berlina says:

    I think the fro should go. I’d like to see Clarice move out of the 1980’s and be a black woman!

  76. bean says:

    my favorite words all tend to be food words. what’s better than “dumpling,” for instance?

    i’m on the side of “mo should dump syd and date me, or at least someone who will be nicer to her and appreciate her.” but this is a comic, not a soap. i think the idea is that sydney provides an interesting foil for mo.

    finally, among my favorite comics are Ernie Pook’s Comeek, and i REALLY think Lynda Barry, who is not a cartoon character but an actual human being, should date me. or maybe marry me. i like redheads just fine, and i suppose i could learn to like dogs if i had to. i could maybe even learn to like the midwest. so that only leaves the problem of her husband…

  77. Al et al says:

    How about “sesquipedalian”? It means tending to use long words.

  78. Grisha says:

    Is there a subtle relationship betwen the report of the Senator in the missionary position in the 7th panel and Mo and Sydney being in it in the 11th?

  79. mysticriver says:

    Why all the hating on FBOFW? Lynn Johnston’s series, Doonesbury, and DTWOF are some of the only serial newspaper strips out there in which characters age and even die, very brave for the comics world. It’s such a rich world with fully developed characters and decades of backstories we sometimes only see glimpses of. Read Johnston’s prose commentary sometime, it’s amazing how detailed the stories are behind the daily episodes we get. (Who knew that Lawrence, “the gay male” was the love child of a passionate affair his mom had with a doctor while volunteering as a radiologist in a clinic in South America?)

    (Oh yeah…and I’d love to see Clarice in a new do, too…look how hot Sparrow became after her breakup with June! The poor woman is due.)

  80. Yeah, Grandpa Jim totally bit the dust today in FBOFW! It made me feel bad for whining about the dopey superteddy stuff earlier.

    How many daily strips have had someone die ON-PANEL? Go Lynn Johnston!

  81. Deena in OR says:

    Now wait-we don’t know that yet for 100% sure. Unless you have the inside track with Lynn, Alison. But yeah, I’d say things aren’t looking good for our hero…

    From what I hear, Lynn is having a rough year personally. I’ve noticed a distinct decrease in the amount of interaction on-panel (thanks for the term of art, AB) between Elly and John.

    Didn’t Garry Trudeau have somebody die in Iraq a while back? A secondary character, sure, but I *think* I remember it.

  82. Ianscot says:

    FBOFW’s artist has semi-retired, yes? She’s meant to be just reframing old strips now, with no aging of characters or novel plot points. I’m not sure if today’s was a repeat of Grampa’s stroke or whether some new event has truly occurred.

    Should he have passed away, we should be in for a classic case of comic “stink lines.” That’s in a just world.

    Sadly, I’m guessing the daily strip world is either not ready for Ms. Bechdel or too confining for her needs. We love the pace of DTWOF as it is right now.

    (My fave daily strip is “Frazz.” Sort of reads, and even looks a little, like Calvin of “Calvin and Hobbes” grew up to be a wryly well-adjusted, wiseacre school janitor.)

  83. Bookbird says:

    I’ve been rooting for Mo and Sydney, so it’s great to see them actually having fun together!

    But I’m wondering who Clarice is talking to…

    On a side note (FBorFW), Lynn Johnston’s husband left her this spring, which probably accounts for the abrupt decrease in happy Elly-and-John banter.

  84. Dr. Empirical says:

    Boltgirl- I didn’t pick up on the shirt thing, but you’re right!

    Ianscot- FBoFW is soon to transform into a “clip show” format, with the characters ceasing to age and reminiscing about past strips to cut down on Johnson’s drawing commitment. I’ll miss it , but that’s the solution that works for her.

    Take care of your oligodendroglia!

  85. Dr. Empirical says:

    Almost forgot what I logged on to tell y’all.

    In DC Comics’ Countdown #30, which came out today, Harley Quinn jumps off a boat into shark-infested waters, armed with a spear. On the way down, she shouts “COWABUNGA!”

    With a “C”.

  86. D.F. says:

    FBOFW also has been doing a nice job of telling the story of age-related permanent disability, and how this unfolds in relationships with partner and family. I was really appreciative of this; it’s not a reality reflected much *anywhere*

    I’m sad – and shocked – that Grandpa Jim died!

    It must be hard to keep up a strip called “for better or for worse” when your husband’s left you. That explains a lot; thanks for the info.

  87. j.b.t. says:

    Wow! A new sweater for Mo!!! Other than the occasional bathing suit, have we ever seen Mo in something besides her striped t-shirts/turtlenecks?

    Thank you , Allison, for another wonderful strip.


  88. Aunt Soozie says:

    Actually the afro has been making a bit of a come back…
    Clarice is a trend setter.

  89. lb says:

    That last panel sums up exactly what I want in a relationship.

  90. shadocat says:

    Soozie-Maybe a TWA (teeny-weenie afro) I do think it’s time for Clarice to jazz things up a little

  91. cally chef says:

    please give Clarice a new do!!

  92. Cin-dizzle says:

    I think it’s sad that Clarice refers to Raf as “the kid” and not “my kid”.

  93. Cin-dizzle says:

    Oh, and is Toni getting thinner?

  94. Gaudior says:

    Yay Mo and Sydney YAY!

    They work. Together. They’ve always had a relationship that was at least part conflict, and that’s what gives it as much charge, and I think that for them, it works.

    Szygzy! Yay!

  95. --MC says:

    K and I, our word is “creature”. You have to roll the Rs outrageously, like Cloris Leachman in a Mel Brooks film. We’ll sit there saying “creature” in funny voice all day.
    “Antimacassar” — thanks to Martin Gardner’s “Annotated Alice”, I know that Macassar Oil was a popular brand of hair oil in the Victorian era, and spoiled enough sofas to warrant doilies to catch the hair leakage. (The Lewis Carroll Society is meeting in Seattle this week!)
    Grandpa Jim died??

  96. Virginia Burton says:

    Well, Grampa Jim didn’t die, but at least we’re not having to read the boring flashback stuff. Personally, I’d rather have something amusing with my breakfast cereal and save the serious stuff for later in the day. I guess that dream died when afternoon papers went out of business. I’ll never cry as hard over a character dying as I did when Farley died.

    And as for Frazz, am I the only one who thinks he’s a closeted pedophile?

  97. Andrew B says:

    This is a fun strip. But I can’t help wondering, whence the sudden attack of vulnerability on Sydney’s part? Why admit that Madeleine is not what she wants, instead of making the antimacassar remark with a sneer? Not that I’m unhappy with the change — just puzzled.

    And it’s good to see Clarice make a move. Any move. Disconnect the phone from her ear, disconnect her eyes from the screen, and go do something. Anyway, that funeral party needed interrupting.

    Forget Vanilla Leather Love. Mo’s favorite stroke book is the OED.

  98. boltgirl says:

    Ah, a reprieve for Grandpa Jim today–he’s not dead, he’s just potentially in a vegetative state. Meanwhile, Lisa from Funky Cancerbean is definitely dead and running off with the Phantom of the Opera, and, to complete the dark trilogy accompanying my Cheerios this morning, the new turtle in Baby Blues also went belly-up. Literally.

  99. mlk says:

    Virginia Burton, I was going to comment on how jazzed I was that Ianscot introduced me to Frazz, then read your entry. ouch! gave me pause.

    after reading all of 5 strips or so, I think Frazz is an underachiever who cares about kids (in a non-sexual way!). his interaction w/kids in the strip has a mentor feel to me. but my experience w/him is limited.

    what I loved most about Frazz is that he DOES look like a grown up Calvin, the drawing syle is similar to Calvin and Hobbes (which I miss!) with fewer details, and I can see a slacker like Calvin growing up to be a janitor. I expect Jef Mallett didn’t conceive the strip with this in mind . . . or maybe he did? when I checked Wikipedia, it says there’s controversy around this and Mallett denies that his characters are based on Watterson’s. I *believe* him when he claims that his strip is based on his own school experiences, teachers, etc and also believe this doesn’t preclude his concept being, in part, a tribute to Watterson’s work. Calvin & Hobbes was a delight!

  100. mlk says:

    I apologize for the rudeness of posting about someone else’s strip before commenting on Alison’s latest. it’s kinda hard to add to what’s already been said!

    I’m repeating myself here, but *any* positive interaction between Mo/Sydney and Toni/Clarice sparks my hope that these couples can somehow work out their difficulties. yes, I want to see them in happy relationships and, perversely, believe they can find that with their current partners.

    I’m w/those who want to see Clarice w/a short ‘fro. I’ve always found twa’s on women are very sexy. Alison’s characters tend to get new hairdo’s after a breakup (I buy new sheets!) and seems that Clarice is trying to make some changes. a new ‘do might help her get on track?

    I also noticed the dove in the mix when Clarice collided with G and S. my favorite detail in the strip! when Alison figures out how to make it happen, I expect these T & C to reconcile and the same for S & M.

    don’t know if Mo could make it through another bout of being single, anyway. or if we’d want to go through that with her! as I remember it, Mo single is every bit as agonizing as these troubled relationships.

    as always, Alison, you’ve done a super job!

  101. mlk says:

    that should be “I expect T&C” in para 4. guess I should have read what I wrote one last time.

    I’m done posting for now . . .

  102. Jana C.H. says:

    Mo has matured and mellowed out with the years. I don’t think she would freak out at singlehood the way she used to. I can’t see her fixating on getting laid or moaning over why no one loves her. I think she’d pick herself up, dust herself off, and start all over again. Lois could drag her out to the pound to pick out a new kitten before Virginia dies, then Mo could fling herself into fresh political crusades for privacy and freedom of information. Think of the ranting possibilities!

    All rants to be followed, of course, by a relaxing glass of champagne with Jennifer. I can see Mo maintaining her friendship with Jennifer after a break-up, and being far more supportive than Sydney in helping Jennifer through Paul’s decline.

    On the other hand, things are looking good for Mo and Syd sticking together. Only AB knows for sure, and she may not be absolutely positive.

    Jana C.H.
    Saith Penn Jillette: You should wear your intellect like James Dean wore a leather jacket.

  103. Virginia Burton says:

    Oh gosh, sorry to upset you, mlk. I was sort of joking about it, but I do sometimes get a creepy feeling about Frazz. I like the strip a lot and think it’s very clever. But there’s something that just seems…not right. Sort of like the “uh-oh” feeling that teachers always tell children to pay attention to.

    Part of it may be that as an ex-school teacher, I know that if anyone were to have that level of intimacy with such little kids, s/he would be suspect. When I was a teacher, back in the 60s, it was okay to hug kids and even let them sit on my lap (they were second graders), but not now. Newspapers are full of stories about trusted teachers, coaches, scout leaders, etc. who seduced children with friendship.

    Of course, it’s just a comic strip. But then so is D2WO4 and aren’t we all passionate about that?!

  104. Gil in Mexico City says:

    Hey people, Grampa Jim did not die, he just had another stroke. Iris seems to be wanting him to die, though, which isn´t that far off, considering Elly has left her to take care of the old man all by herself.

    Re: Lawrence, he came back when Michael and Deanna got married (Deanna´s mother had some choice words about his homosexuality), but Lynn Johnston had two sets of strips drawn, one for the progressive papers, one for the homophobes. He is MIA except for a few stints as Elisabeth´s summer job boss at his garden center. A graphic-novel eunuch, if I´ve ever seen one.

    Re: Mo and Sidney… Mo is trapped in a bad relationship with a person who can´t commit emotionally or physicallly, and who has a history of emotional cruelty (remember Thea?). DTMFA, as Dan Savage would say.

  105. --MC says:

    Oh, and sometimes we sit around saying “Recidivist .. vole .. erogenous zone..”

  106. April says:

    Crisp.. asset-strip… eulalia… uxorial… hudibrastic… peripatetic… dormancy… ambilineal… bradawl… anchorage… devilish!

  107. an australian in london says:

    O wow! I am so enjoying autumn in the Northern Hemisphere and reading this so soon after its printed gives me an exciting little sense of frission and BELONGING! Mo and Sydney in autumn at the same time as me! And they are having sex! this strip has really cheered me up and made me feel optimistic about life and my relationship too! (I think I identify a little too much with the strip, then.) But it just goes to show ya, the power these strips have over our (at least my) self perception as a lesbian. And the commentary is so lighthearted and happy. Thanks everyone, for contributing to a really great day!

  108. Anonymous says:

    Another Tucsonan here.

    Dirigible! Echolalia! Atrabilious!

  109. April says:

    Ooh I love atrabilious! Apothecary, nomenclature, plebescite, scrimshaw, dolorous, pituri, synaesthesia, Tashkent!

  110. Tabby says:

    Calvin totally grew up to write software for video games.

  111. Okay, I was a little hasty about Grandpa Jim’s demise.

    I hadn’t heard about Lynn Johnston’s husband leaving her! How do you people know this stuff? Anyhow, I feel bad for her. Though it sounds like she’s doing just fine–here’s more info if you want it.

    And thanks, everyone, for all the rampageous, runcible words!

  112. Rick says:

    Wait–Clarice and Tony broke up?! What rock have -I- been under?!

  113. definitely NOT Aunt Soozie says:

    I totally adore the foreplay of the brain.
    Nothing is hotter.
    But don’t you also love when the brain
    (finally… mercifully…)
    gets over-ruled,
    and quiet,
    and focused,
    and it’s all about proprioception?

  114. BJ says:

    I just realized they actually did have their pants down, and found myself shocked. DTWOF has been pretty free of nudity for a while…

    And I am so glad that the two of them are finding things in common again. I love Mo and Sydney. I want to find my own Sydney. (Except I have the sneaking suspiscion that I should probably be looking for my Mo.)

  115. LondonBoy says:

    I love this strip. Once again Mo and Sydney are me and my partner ( mutatis mutandis ). Like some others, I suspect AB has a hidden camera watching my life…

  116. holli says:

    It isn’t english, but I’ve always loved quamquam.

  117. Blushing Girl says:

    For what it’s worth, I live on the coast in California, and don’t give a fig about the spelling of “cowabunga,” or for that matter “dude”(dooode?). But “antimassacar”… now that got me hot. I haven’t heard that word since I renovated my first Queen Anne cottage. AB, you know how to give a girl goosebumps!

  118. mk says:

    Always thought the mo-syd relationship was the most interesting of the DTWOF gang.

  119. Deena in OR says:


    You’ve been getting fresh in an apple orchard????

  120. Jeffster83 says:

    Calvin was too much of an anti-intellectual to have grown up to be Frazz. No, Frazz is not a pedophile. Dammit! Women don’t like men who are cold, distant, unfeeling and cruel to children, but any man who is friendly to children and takes an interest in their intellectual and moral development (as any long-time fan of Frazz can tell you, he is the best teacher at that school) is labeled a pervert. I write as one who knows.

  121. Deena in OR says:

    Jeffster…as bitter experience has taught me, lesbians who teach preschool don’t fare too well, either. I was told that my presence at the school was “a detriment to recruitment of new students”. Yeah.

  122. straight european says:

    Just to give you all a feeling for how varied the DTWOF readers’ crowd is, here’s an actual conversation I had yesterday at dinner:
    Me: “The word syzygy plays a role in the latest DTWOF!”
    MyHusband: “Syzygy? Does it have a meaning outside mathematics?”
    Me: “Yes, in fact of them. Weird.”

  123. straight european, nice syzygy theorem link. But there was something wrong with the formatting of your second link and it was starting to turn everything on the site orange so I had to undo it. Sorry.

    #%$@in’ WordPress.

  124. Keith says:

    I think that AB has started something–I’ve never come across the word “antimasscar” and twice this week I read it two of my favorite cartoons. (It appears in today’s Sylvia by Nicole Hollander.)


  125. Ellen O. says:

    And today’s Dictionary.com’s Word of the Day is “paroxysm.”

    (Enter Twilight Zone music.)

  126. LondonBoy says:

    There are very few orchards in central London, alas, but there are plenty of other indoor and outdoor locations where naughtiness can happen if you and your partner(s) are so minded. Many London squares have beautiful gardens… Or, for the literary, may I recommend some of the quieter departments of Foyle’s bookstore… 😉

  127. oceans 111 says:

    Hey, antimacassar was in “Sylvia” today!

  128. LA says:

    Antimascassar – could it really be making a comeback? Another good word is “masticate.” Very fun to use in passing just to see if anyone is really paying attention. Of course I also enjoy using it with my dogs, “Don’t bother your sister right now. She’s trying to masticate…” Try saying that to the Jack Russell – he doesn’t listen!

  129. --MC says:

    Proprioception! Proprioception! Proprioception! Proprioception!
    A new word makes me feel like Zippy the Pinhead.

  130. Aunt Soozie says:

    straight European,
    Did you mean to say…
    “yes, in fact MANY of them?”
    Maybe your second link was to the general syzygy wikipedia page? I can’t believe how many applications are listed for syzygy. Cool. (I don’t know how to post a link but if you click on str8 euro’s link and then click on the word syzygy you’ll get there)

  131. ready2agitate says:

    MC: Hee-har Bwaaaahaha!!! (laughing out loud) 🙂

  132. Hariette says:

    First, can’t believe I just noticed that there was a new strip. I knew no good would come of this 12 hour work day thing.
    Second, it appears that I’m the only person left who still likes FBOFW. No, not every episode is thrilling, but life isn’t a thrill a minute either. Pushing my luck & risking the wrath of this board, not every episode of DTWOF is thrilling either but I still enjoy reading (and re-reading) them.
    And finally is there anyone else who hates the word “muffintop” when it’s used to describe anything besides part of a yummy breakfast baked good? In the fashion police use it’s only directed towards women and it insinuates that any amount of excess on the body should be openly ridiculed. I can’t wait for the style to return where waistbands actually sit on people’s waists again.

    It appears I have just reached my kvetch limit for the day. Sorry. 🙁

  133. Aunt Soozie says:

    Normally I don’t read newspapers.
    But, since y’all have been talking it up I peeked at the phila inquirer comics Fri. and Sat. Not only FBOFW but Funky Winkerbean is dealing with death and dying.

    Apparently a main character’s wife just died and now he is being portrayed many years in the future, lying in a shrinks office, discussing her funeral. (what happened to raising money by selling band candy?)

    Geez! How unoriginal. Alison thought of it and now everyone is jumping into the grave with her. well…okay, death has been around for awhile. I guess there’s really nothing new under the sun.

    and to Hariette,
    it’s okay honey. don’t get your muffintops into a bunch over it. you’re allowed to kvetch sometimes.

  134. bongobunny says:

    Hello all.

    Loved the strip! As much as I would like to see Mo dump Sydney (what happened to her Library School babe?), it was fun to see them gettin’ it on in the apple orchard.

    I also have to put in my two cents on the FBOFW controversy. Lynn Johnston has been doing thoughtful and interesting strips for a long time. The storyline with Grandpa Jim and Iris, in particular, is a first for this field. I was surprised at how honestly she dealt with the myriad of emotions a caretaker goes through. The fact that she has alternated this storyline with a “fluff” storyline is probably to balance it out and to keep happy those newspaper strip readers that think comic strips should be funny.

    Her female characters are not “mom-bots.” Sure, Elly is portrayed as a happy housewife, but I think that, as feminists, most of us should want to distance themselves from the stereotype that many people had of feminists as “housewife haters.”

    Ms. Johnston’s main female characters all work (or, in the case of Elly, did until recently), and find joy and satisfaction in the work they do. The moms aren’t two-dimensional at all.

    For the record, I’ve been reading DTWOF for about 14 years, and FBOFW for 21. I have all the books from both series.

  135. WordNerd says:

    Love the word geek hotchat! If you like wordplay, you’ll love the public radio show “A Way With Words.” Visit http://www.waywordradio.org.

  136. Natkat says:

    I completely get Mo and Sydney. My GF have a geek connection. We have Scrabble foreplay. We once had a dictionary derby in the bookstore. We chose a word and tried finding it in our dictionary of choice. The first person who found a word in her dictionary that the other one didn’t have, won. I could never have this kind of fun with anyone else.

    Whenever we hit a rough patch we try and remember what connects us – we are the two biggest dorks on the planet and understand each other.

    They should stay together.

  137. Martha says:

    Wow, wordnerd, you weren’t kidding about the verbivorous hotchat! And thanks for the plug for my radio show about words.

    I suppose I’m partial to “chatoyant” — shimmering like a cat’s eyes. I’ve collected about 300 others here:



  138. corybant says:

    I read Rhymes with Orange daily for the clever pet strips and bad puns.

    Kris Dresen has great style and attention to detail. Her latest, Grace.

    Liliane has been on hiatus from the comic story line, but the archives have days worth of reading.

  139. Cadence says:

    This one made me happy 🙂

  140. JenK says:

    FYI on daily strip character deaths:

    Garry Trudeau has killed off Andy Lippincott (died of AIDS in 1990 – came out in 1976), Lacey Davenport, and Dick Davenport.

    Lynn Johnston killed off Thelma Baird, both grandmothers (Elly’s and John’s mothers) and Farley, the dog. According to Johnston, Sparky Schultz was apparently so upset at the idea of Farley dying that he threatened to have Snoopy hit by a bus to draw readers away from FBOFW. (http://www.cbc.ca/arts/media/johnston.html)

  141. Aunt Soozie says:

    Are you the JenK that I know who just sent me a pre-release of her new book? If so..the book is fabulous and I will write a review asap.

  142. JenK says:

    Aunt Soozie,

    Nope, sorry 🙂

  143. Aunt Soozie says:

    Well…then you must be the JenK I know who posts on Alison’s blog. 😉

  144. Eileen says:

    Calvin has been reincarnated as Danae in Non Sequitur

  145. Lee says:

    Oh thanks for reminding me what those silly doily things on the rocking chair and Victorian chair I inherited from my grandmother are. I knew it had something to do with hair grease and was anti but this strip filled in the blank.

  146. Danyell says:

    What I love about this comic, and the people who read it, is while everyone acknowledges and is thrilled by the sex, we don’t let it distract us from the fun of VOCABULARY!



  147. The Cat Pimp says:

    I’m coming in very very late to say that my favorite word is ungulate.

    That is all.

  148. Hannah says:

    Ok…how about omnipoisis as a word…it means basically how a system maintains itself. It applies across many models – to use a biological model, when a starfish with a missing limb regrows the arm from the cellular blueprint it maintains, that is omnipoisis at work. ( stay with me folks – I am going to relate this to the strip ) When this word is applied in family systems theory, it is the process of a family maintaining itself. Now, we all have latched on to the idea of dysfunctional families. However, what is very seldom discussed is family RESILIENCE. Basically, however screwed up a family ( and interpreting family to mean people who define themselves as family ) may appear from the outside, if it is able to function and continue, it is a stable functional family system. And change is very hard because any system inheres basically to the status quo; that is, any system eventually reverts to a state of negative feedback. Here’s where words stop meaning what they are suppose to mean…let us redefine. Negative and positive feedback in family systems do not mean “bad” and “good” respectively. Negative feedback is esentially no change and status quo maintained. Positive feedback means change has occured that could alter the system. And every system – whatever it may be in good old cybernetics fashion ALWAYS returns to a state of negative feedback.
    Mo and Sydney’s flashes of connection are not isolated moments that one should not hang a relationship on; instead they are are the existing system of their relationship’s pattern of negative feedback reinforcing themselves ala omnipoisis. Claire and Toni’s struggle to actually separate, quite appart from the housing market, is the fact that while their breaking up is an example of positive feedback ( though not nessesarily good-remember the definition! ) the actual process of separating runs counter to negative feedback and omnipoisis and that is why they are so stuck.
    When a system does carry a change all the way through via positive feedback, eventually the new system finds it’s status quo in the new situation and reaserts the negative feedback, to maintain it since as mentioned above EVERY system on earth inherently returns to and maintains a state of negative feedback. ( try applying this to governments sometime. ) A prime example of this being Mo and Harriet’s break up. Their break up was an act of positive feedback carried to it’s ultimate conclusion – and it did not feel positive to either party. However, as time passed and they slowly redifined their relationship into a solid friendship,the system saught out and found an inherent stable pattern that could then reform negative feedback supporting a new status quo.
    Clarice and Ginger both have unfailing cases of procrastination, Mo is loyal to a fault and will ride whatever down in flames, and so forth and so on…all of these characteristics are actually peoples inherent support and attempt to maintain negative feedback in the system they are in.
    If Mo and Sydney want to maintain and strengthen their relationship, they should hunt up a family systems therapist, not just a “couples counselor”. It would be interesting to see what would happen.
    There…hope that wasnt too painful.
    Altho, coming in as late as I have to the discussion, I suspect it will not be read very much.
    Blessings to all.
    PS BrokeBack Moutain is a great example of playing with systems theories. Both men had paradigms in their minds and in their lives that contributed to what looked like a very unstable relationship. Both men found themselves in family systems that claimed their lives apart – and found themselves trapped in negative feedback loops that were being maintained by those paradigms and sociatal expectations. It was virtually impossible for them to make that break and change the system because negative feedback in cybernectics is one of the strongest forces in the universe. It kept one man locked in his system of “wife and children” where he would never fit, and, depending on your interpretation of the book and the movie, got the other man killed when he openly challenged the norm. And not just their system. Have we ever wondered why after all these years of politics and grass activism and change and getting our heads beaten in, why change is so slow to come? Because we are challenging the negative feedback of the system we live in, which adheres naturally and powerfully to maintain the status quo and the schema that most of the world it seems is taught…that anything different by its very defintiion is going to change the status quo and break the negative feedback loop by which a system stablilizes and survives. Gay vs straight, war vs peace, prolife vs prochoice, and on and on.
    However, for those of you who wonder if we ever will change the system, go rent or buy the movie “If These Walls Could Talk 2 “. It is a revelation as to just how far we truly have come.

  149. Miranda Bushey says:

    I thought the drawing style was very nice. I also like how current events are mixed in with the lives of the characters.

  150. Aunt Soozie says:

    hmmm…I’m thinking some teacher out there assigned a whole high school class to read and post on Alison’s blog…? Interesting.

  151. mlk says:

    good word choice, Hannah. once I got into your post found that while it looked intimidating, it’s really quite readable. and on target, IMHO.

    what you wrote explains how it is that even when things change, they remain the same, *sigh*. I’ve lived long enough, now, to know that (some) things have changed very much for the better during my lifetime. seems to me, though, that part of our challenge today is to maintain those gains. unfortunately, improvements for women during my lifetime have also brought such instability in families that some younger folks believe we were better off when families were more stable and women’s sanity/concerns/contributions to society were effectively dismissed.

    unfortunately, some of the patriarchal establishment’s concerns about what would happen if women had more opportunities in the economic system were well founded. I see that as a self fulfilling prophecy, though, as those invested in the status quo have refused to proactively participate in change for the greater good. seems that those in power still believe holding onto that power is more important than using change to realize new — and better — possibilities. it takes my breath away how quickly conservatives/republicans doggedly work to dismantle whatever changes have been made in America when they gain power.

    thanx for the movie suggestion, I’ll check it out.

  152. mlk says:

    and Aunt Soozie, I can hardly imagine what goes through the mind of someone whose intro to DTWOF (and Alison’s blog) occurred with the posting of strip #513 and a class assignment!!

  153. Aunt Soozie says:

    It was only my fantasy…since one person said his teacher told him to post and then there seemed to be some brief posts from some possibly younger visitors…but, maybe it was just that one student? Still… speaking of progress and our times… what a world when a teacher tells a student to check out some dyke writer/artist’s blog… no?

  154. Anonymous says:

    Kowabunga, or Cowabunga, was what the indian chief on the Hoody Doody show would say when he was happy. He would say Kowaboola (or Cowaboola) when upset.
    Basicly, it is a racist term; gibberish standing in for the language of a “savage”.

  155. Kristen says:

    Re: dirndl
    I can’t remember if this scene is in the book, but in Showtime’s Tales of the City Mary Anne meets a little girl and says “You’re wearing a Heidi dress! Can you say ‘Heidi dress’?” And the little girl rolls her eyes and says, “It’s a dirndl.”

  156. ThePedant says:

    This Strip is beautiful.

    Hannah, you seem to be confused as to the meanings of positive and negative feedback, although you are correct in that no attachment of ‘rightness’ is made to either.
    Negative feedback occurs when the result of a process inhibits the continuation of the process itself; in this manner, negative feedback promotes isostasy. The mammalian metabolism appears to be subject to negative feedback: metabolic processes produce heat. To prevent overheating, above a certain temperature, the metabolism slows.
    Positive feedback occurs when the result of a process promotes or is used as an input of the process. This is much simpler than negative feedback: feedback noise, familiar to anyone who has worked with electronic amplification, is a perfect example.
    Positive feedback does not correlate with change: feedback only happens when something, well, feeds back. The female body produces small quantities of testosterone. While artificially introducing testosterone into this system does produce visible changes, the effect does not cascade and become self-sufficient. The transgendered individual must continue taking testosterone his entire life.
    Not all systems are isostatic: Amp feedback and various weather systems are two examples of positive feedback systems. The first simply escalates in volume and frequency until the issue is remedied; the other deals with vectors rather than scalar quantities, so things are rather more complex: as an example, the development from tropical depression to hurricane or typhoon is a case of positive feedback.

  157. Bruce says:


  158. John Cowan says:

    I think it’s great how the title “Fortunate fall” ties up with the Eve and Eve scene at the end.