Thursday, September 9, 2010

Comic 790: Control Freak

control + z[Alt: Which, at one point, led to a study showing that LSD produces no more hallucinations than a placebo.]

I find this comic incredibly boring. The joke is that the results would be wrong! That sounds like a joke that is only funny if you spend most of your life in a lab.

I particularly like the "treatment group" fellow and how he is just straight up telling the scientists what his results are. How conveniently he stands there, providing a contrast to the LSD girl!

And the question marks above the scientists' heads. Look how confused they are! They are 3 question marks worth of confused. That is so confused!

I think that drugs aren't as funny as some people think they are. Sure, sometimes, they are funny. But there is a sort of middle or high school mindset, where you've learned what drugs are, and seen them on TV or in movies, but not in real life. At that point, drugs are the funniest dang things in existence. And even funnier are people who are on drugs ! Maybe that guy is on drugs! Do you think she is on drugs!? I bet she is! oh my god that is so funny. Here! look at me, I'm a guy on drugs! "durrrr.rrrrrrr....rrhuh huh, heh, Ahm on Druuuuhhhgs." laughter, laughter.

Anyway, this comic seems to stem from that same mindset - throw drugs into any situation, and bam! it is immediately funny. I think part of the reason I say this is the completely stereotypical behavior of the drugged person: "oh god spiders!" Has he ever been in a room with someone on LSD?



wait i forgot, the joke is that medical science is not a real science, all those med students can write you angry letters because they aren't spending time on getting a real education.

111 comments:

  1. guy in the last comment section is right, this comic suddenly becomes hilarious if you interpret it as the girl having six arms.

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  2. This comic becomes funny if you pretend that you didn't see it and instead think really hard about something that makes you laugh.

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  3. Carl, add a "zing!" to that last sentence, or else you'll come off as an elitist douche!

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  4. and of course medical science is so beneath him that he doesn't understand how it works at all

    which is cool, w/e, doctors don't work for NASA so screw 'em

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  5. @7:03
    I laughed so hard.

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  6. "wait i forgot, the joke is that medical science is not a real science, all those med students can write you angry letters because they aren't spending time on getting a real education."

    QFT. Every time I read XKCD, I hear Randall saying "Like, if I didn't have this comic strip business, I could totally be NASA's top scientist ... if I wanted to."

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  7. This comic is funny if you don't read the caption underneath it.

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  8. @Most recent:

    What a trite joke. Wasn't the same basic thing said by Ned Flanders on The Simpsons, the one when Maude died?

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  9. Why do the men have scoliosis in this one?

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  10. Randall, the last thing you said joke is SO FUCKING OLD

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  11. Randall semi-competently rehashing a staggeringly old joke is a lot better than when he rehashes it really incompetently... bleh. Still preferable to him trying to come up with his own jokes.

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  12. Ugh, the new one's just bad. It has the worst possible flow. The "punchline" (if you will) is really the opening line -- haha, it's funny 'cause the last thing he said to him/her was about cat vomit -- and each line thereafter gets less funny (to the point where, at first glance, I thought it was trying to be one of his lame sweet/depressing comics. Nope, just depressingly unfunny).

    But, of course, you're not reading the very first line of the comic w/in the context of it being the last thing he might say to him/her, so it just seems like a banal comment.

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  13. idk, one of my Dad's favorite drug stories is the time his girlfriend was tripping on LSD and flipping the fuck out about snakes on the windshield.

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  14. UndercoverCuddlefishSeptember 9, 2010 at 10:49 PM

    god damn i have literally not had anything to say about any of the recent comics

    xkcyaaaaaaaaaaaawwwwn

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  15. I thought the guy was also in the control group, and was hallucinating his rash.

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  16. i used to do this to my grandmother, after my grandad died when i was 6. i didn't think it was funny then either.

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  17. I keep imagining that the girl is actually a balding old man, with a beard and a ponytail.

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  18. @12:07 - and now so do i. you bastard.

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  19. Worse still, I now imagine every girl as a balding old man with a beard and a ponytail. Crap!

    captcha: herster - female hipster

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  20. o_o I thought it [i]was[/i] a balding old man with a beard and a ponytail!

    ...I just realised how incredibly bad Randall's art can be. Took me long enough, eh?

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  21. use your mind's eye to swap the beard for a low set balding patch of hair and the ponytail for a high set beard

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  22. 12:07 I can't see it like that no matter how hard I try. And I don't mean I can't register it as being that, I mean I really can't see how it could look like that. Unless, like, you think beards are normally up to someones ears, and only get higher as they wrap around the persons face.

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  23. http://i52.tinypic.com/2zq8l6p.png are you seeing a beard like this? Does this make sense to you, 2:25?

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  24. or is http://i52.tinypic.com/2ezlq8h.png closer to your view of the character?

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  25. Most recent comic: I finished reading it, I thought, "Huh, it's a subversion of the old 'she died and the last thing I said to her was something stupid!' thing." And then I thought. And then I realised that no, it is that, exactly that. Not only is there nothing new, there isn't even anything funny.

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  26. Ok last post I promise.

    http://i51.tinypic.com/2nim99x.png

    A friend made this and I find it hilarious.

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  27. I'm ashamed to say I had a brief moment of GOOMH with the last comic, but thankfully my brain rebelled and made me realise that a) there is no way in hell that sort of irrational fear hasn't struck the vast majority of people in a long-term relationship before and b) he still fucks it up. If he'd changed the last line to something a normal person might say (such as, oh I don't know, "I love you"?) it wouldn't be entertaining but it'd be so much less awkward than it is now.

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  28. okay... maybe i'm stupid (probably am) but can someone explain how this joke is saying that medical science is beneath him?

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  29. Carl, you're wrong. I work in a pharm lab and I don't think anybody there would find this funny.

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  30. > They are 3 question marks worth of confused. That is so confused!
    I laughed hard enough at this statement alone to make up for almost every shitty xkcd.

    Except 631.

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  31. Wow. The woman really has six arms.

    I feel bad commenting on how bad xkcd art is but... it is! I know the intention was to have this Megan flaying her arms wildly but... it doesn't work. It just doesn't. XKCD is so fucking static this sort of "multiple frames of movement in one picture" doesn't work right. But again, here's the mantra: Randall doesn't really care, he just needs a comic done in the next 5 minutes, damn it!

    Oh, and here we have again Randall being an asshole for fun. Because having innocent people experience hallucinations without even knowing what hit'em is funny, and will not have any sort of negative consequences at all. Yes.

    Finally, who the heck says "my rash has shrunk about 20% today" WHAT THE FUCK. Is this guy measuring his rash's total area? Granted, it can't be that hard when your body is one-dimensional, but seriously: people don't act like that! "Comics: art + writing" and all that! I'm tired of repeating myself.

    And I don't think I want to see today's comic, so I'll be back by Monday.

    Mole

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  32. *I* just cleaned up cat vomit! GOOMHR!

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  33. Well, -I- thought it was funny.

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  34. So I assume it is a study about skin-rashes, of which 90% are treated with a topical cream, and not some sort of pill. How could he "sneak" LSD into a study like that, seeing as LSD is usually in a crystalline powder.

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  35. it's a drug anon it just works goomhr are you jealous or something

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  36. Pretty sure that the rash guy was also a member of the control group...

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  37. Professional Mole: Yes, PEOPLE don't act like the guy in the experimental group. Randall does though. That guy is totally Randall. He is a scientist, so he must dispassionately quantify everything. Well,actually he quantifies everything because he's autistic, but he's a scientist as well.

    And now I am reminded of how terrible xkcd 701 was. In science, "you can't withhold [results] because they're not the ones you wanted". Sure you can. It happens all the fucking time. In fact, you usually can't get studies that don't falsify a null hypothesis published even if you wanted to. Even if you were to find that a prospective treatment for rashes doesn't work better than a control, while noting that it seems to have antipsychotic side effects, you'd have to design a new study to test the antipsychotic effects. The first study would still be unpublishable.

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  38. Anon615 has a point: how the heck does this work? Randall fails at many levels, people...

    Sepia: Randall is a scientist... right. He always seems to me more like a "science admirer" than a scientist. And now I am also reminded of how horrible 701 was. That damned graph made no sense, and this man practically makes graphs for a living!

    And, for a completely unrelated topic, I've read the new Cracked infograph on summer internships, and Randall Munroe sprang to my mind as I read the left column.

    Life is fun

    Mole

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  39. The new comic would be infinitely improved by moving the cat vomit panel to the end, deleting all PPD, and having him say the last part first. So:

    Sometimes when people leave, I'm seized by a sudden fear that they'll die while they're out, and I'll never forget the last thing I said to them.

    "Hey, while you're out, can you pick up some spray cleaner that works on cat vomit?"

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  40. Professional Mole: You're right, he's not a scientist. But in his head he is. He's a "science fan" per SMBC 1777. And the attitude in 701 also seems more science fan than scientist. Real scientists are human. They can make jokes, be sensitive, or get involved in stupid rivalries and backstab colleagues. They're not perfect.

    "Former NASA roboticist" is back in Randall's biography on Wikipedia. It was gone for awhile. Seeing it back makes me feel stabby.

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  41. Xkcd is boring as fuck, so in other webcomic news:

    For those challenged folks who can't grasp the difference between saying "a story arc in achewood is crappy" and "achewood has gone downhill", today's strip is a nice frosty mug of shut the fuck up.

    Gryffilion might disagree but I think beef and teodor's financial analysis was the funniest part of the strip.

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  42. anon 6:15

    Actually I had a weird rash a month ago and the doctor prescribed me a bunch of pills. The rash is often caused by allergy to something and you eat pills to suppress the allergy.

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  43. I could be wrong, but isn't the alt-text incorrect? The control group in a study testing LSD against a placebo would take LSD, so he's just giving them MORE LSD and the placebo group remains unaffected.

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  44. No, because the control group is the basis that the actual test is compared to. They're not testing that the placebo does anything (it's a placebo solely because it's supposed to do absolutely nothing); they're testing that the LSD does something. Therefore, the placebo is the control group.

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  45. The placebo group IS the control group.

    The placebo effect is the variable you're controlling for.

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  46. to clarify, the "placebo effect" refers to the strange phenomenon of a fake drug having effects similar to the real drug, if the recipient of the fake drug expects the effects of the real drug.

    For example, if you have a minor headache, and I give you an inert sugar pill, telling you it's aspirin, your head would probably feel better if you took it (assuming you believed me when I told you what it was).

    Obviously, this can present problems when you're testing the effects of a new drug, since you can't be sure if the drug is having any real effect when the test subjects report improvements in whatever condition the drug treats.

    You control for this variable with a control group, which receives an inert pill/injection/whatever, without knowing it. If the real drug works better than the placebo, you can be pretty sure that the drug works.

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  47. Ah. My bad then. :oops:

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  48. Anyone else think xkcdexplained would have been funnier if they had replaced "being white" with "being a nerd"?

    Otherwise I think they nailed it.

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  49. UndercoverCuddlefishSeptember 10, 2010 at 12:12 PM

    randy is probably racist so i have no qualms with calling attention to his flagrant abuses of white privilege

    nobody except a twenty something white autistic kid could make comics as mediocre as these and still succeed in life

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  50. UndercoverCuddlefishSeptember 10, 2010 at 12:20 PM

    oh yeah and most nerds probably would not find themselves in this situation because they lack basic empathic traits

    randy is pretending to be a real person but as you can tell from the awkward and stilted closing line "you are in my heart always" he does not actually know what somebody would say in this situation

    the illusion is a transparent one randall you can stop trying now

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  51. Who the fuck was his target audience in that comic? 34 year old Mom's with two kids aged 9 and 7?

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  52. The last 791 was brilliant, insightful and hilarious.

    It is not at all a concern that we've all heard before in life an on television, and merely expressing that concern is enough to be hilarious.

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  53. The goatkcd for 790 is fantastic:

    http://goatkcd.com/790/sfw

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  54. What the fuck is Randall the Retard trying to say here?

    Oh, right. That's he's a sad-sack talentless hack who's lonely, pear-shaped and every bit as interesting as a ball of lint. Guy must be a blast on a first date:

    "Did you decide what you're going to order? I like your sweater. Can I perform cunnilingus on you?"

    What a pathetic toolbox.

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  55. A joke about LSD told by someone who hasn't the slightest first-hand experience with LSD -- HIGH CHANCE OF UNFUNNY.

    A better LSD joke:

    TV writers, they often use "acid" as a kind of a shorthand for "wacky" — they'll say something like "This sitcom, it'll be like Terry And June ON ACID! Imagine what that'll be like!" Yeah, I can imagine what that'll be like — that'll be Terry examining the floral pattern on a plate for four days...
    — Bill Bailey, Part Troll

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  56. Because xkcd is always boring as shit, I have nothing productive to say about 790. It is shitty. Boom, done.

    Instead I will observe that the past 10 or so goatkcds have been fucking amazing.

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  57. whoa Ves that sass ain't in the main dogg

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  58. (your 0844 sass man I should have specified that in my first comment stupid stupid STUPID)

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  59. My version of 791, based on the comments so far (and my personal opinion)

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  60. GUYS! I'VE FIGURED IT OUT!

    WHEN THERE'S AN UNFUNNY COMIC.

    READ IT SARCASTICALLY! THEN IT'S FUNNY!

    ALMOST!

    For example, with this comic read sarcastically he's implying he doesn't actually love her and wants her to fuck off and get more sammich materials.

    Meanwhile she's saying "CAN DO" not "WILL DO" because she's being sarcastic and in fact she's not going to get the cat vomit cleaner! Instead preferring the guy to suffer with cat vomit.

    I AM A GENIUS.

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  61. UndercoverCuddlefishSeptember 10, 2010 at 8:09 PM

    proper use of sarcasm implies at least a basic grasp of the situation at hand and i do not think i am prepared to give randall that much credit in any context

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  62. I don't know why I keep coming to this site to read what people have to post... Probably for the same reason I keep reading XKCD.......

    ~Daniel

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  63. Here's my edit:

    http://i55.tinypic.com/vgoj8z.png

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  64. I hate you guys. Once again I was tempted enough to read the current xkcd. Because I had to see if this was really true:

    "You are in my heart always."

    Well, what the hell, it is. "You are in my heart always". From a native Enlgish speaker. The only excuse for this alien sounding construction that does not involve Randall being either an alien, a robot or borderline autistic is that "You are always in my heart" would be too wide for the space he had reserved in the comic. It's a bullshit of an excuse, by the way, because all he had to do was either get rid of the "uh...", break the text in a few lines or even both.

    The theme of the comic... it's sweet, I must say. The alt text kills the mood, though, so I'm not sure if he was trying to be funny or deep. I'll just ignore the alt-text and have a sweet sentimental comic.

    And then... "You are in my heart always"... Can't Randall Munroe not ruin anything he touches? I'm afraid not.

    Seriously, that's so bad it's taking over my mind!

    You are in my heart always -- I mean, Mole

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  65. I think I improved 790.

    http://i286.photobucket.com/albums/ll119/qqwref/control.png

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  66. "You are always in my heart" sounds more awkward than "you are in my heart always".

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  67. @anon 8:37

    I don't think ripping off SMBC is what Randall needs to do.

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  68. Why is the vomit in #791 happy? It's all ^_^, only retarded-like.

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  69. You guys are good at seeing what XKCD does right, but 99% of your edits and suggestions are just awful. The only decent suggestion I've seen in weeks was swapping the last two panels of the tumbleweed comic. Swapping the panels of 791, or otherwise trying to put the cat vomit dialogue at the end, does NOT improve it.

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  70. God dammit, I need to proofread.

    You are good at seeing what XKCD does WRONG. Not right. WRONG. Fuck me.

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  71. Moving the cat vomit line to the end does improve it... but not enough to fix it. I like Andrew R's edit of 791 that puts the cat vomit line at the end because it ALSO puts the premise of the "last thing you said" right up at the top.

    Having that at the bottom is awful. It's not a punchline, it's setting the scene which should help you understand the punchline. Having at the top instead, you start forming expectations already, that he's going to go "WAIT-! ...I love you." or something, but instead it's "WAIT-! ...I almost forgot I need to clean up this cat vomit."

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  72. Better way to improve 791.

    1. Gory traffic accident scene. The corpse of Person B is seen laying in the pool of blood. Person A is standing by, grieving.

    2. Flashback: Person A says to Person B: "Hey while you're out (blah blah blah) cat vomit"

    3. Back to present. We get a closeup of Person A's face. You can almost feel his regret! But wait...

    4. Flashback 2: Person A also says "Wait! You're always in my heart!" before Person B leaves.

    5. Back to present. Person A breathes a sigh of relief and smiles awkwardly.

    Fin.

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  73. @Timofei

    Maybe in a well-drawn comic where you can actually see facial expressions and tell the difference between flashback and present. Even then, "smiles awkwardly" at the gruesome death scene of a friend/lover? We give randy shit for not being realistic you know.

    Seriously. Imagine Randy's stick figures with a face that can make you "almost feel regret", or an "awkward smile". It looks even more horrid than usual.

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  74. Re: "Even then, "smiles awkwardly" at the gruesome death scene of a friend/lover?"

    Well, the premise of xkcd #791 is that saying that he loves Person B before they leave somehow will make their untimely death more palatable. In my version, I take it even further by making Person A actually happy that he avoided the "cat vomit" ending and pleased with how his quick thinking saved the situation.

    I'm also not sure how you can make fun of someone dying while being "realistic" at the same time.

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  75. That's the thing though. It's not making fun of someone dying. It's making fun of the idea that one might try to make the last words memorable every time someone leaves in case they die. One is a morbid situation, the other is someone being irrational and paranoid.

    That's why the original sucks, because it takes something that could be potentially funny (person being irrational) and instead of subverting it (person doing something unexpected) it plays it straight (person makes the "last words" something worthy of being last words). Which is why the general consensus seems to be to move the cat vomit line to the end, because that subverts expectations and creates something that could be considered humorous.

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  76. wow you guys must have no lives at all...

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  77. anon 4:37 - you forgot the "zing".

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  78. Everyone look at the date. Now look at the most recent xkcd. Raise your hand if you think that's a coincidence.
    Normally I'm on xkcd's side, but I think that if Randall is making a joke here it's in very, very poor taste, and if he's trying to be serious and thoughtful he botched it.

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  79. At least Randall didn't do a comic about burning Korans.

    captcha: Uncess. An abscess on your uncle.

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  80. anon 4:37's biting insult hurt me so deeply my mom had to come downstairs to the basement and ask me what I was blubbering* about.

    *I say blubbering because I am very fat and greasy (though not nearly as fat and greasy as Rob).

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  81. Has anyone ever told this Mole douche that it's not 1995 anymore and that it's not necessary for him to sign all his posts?

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  82. "Everyone look at the date. Now look at the most recent xkcd. Raise your hand if you think that's a coincidence.
    Normally I'm on xkcd's side, but I think that if Randall is making a joke here it's in very, very poor taste, and if he's trying to be serious and thoughtful he botched it."

    NEVER FORGET

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  83. Yes. Two people, at least. You can join them by shutting the fuck up, because I don't see why people care so much that I sign my posts.

    And because of that, I'm going to go back to saying good bye in foreign languages. Just to annoy you.

    Sayonara,
    Mole

    CAPTCHA: sutotlyr. It means "fuck you, Anon12:52" in Swahili.

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  84. UndercoverCuddlefishSeptember 11, 2010 at 2:45 PM

    i didnt sign any posts until at least 2001

    love
    undercovercuddlefish

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  85. I love the support. :D

    Now, I had something more important that idiosyncrasies to discuss... oh yes! The date!

    "Everyone look at the date. Now look at the most recent xkcd. Raise your hand if you think that's a coincidence."

    Yes? I mean... we know what Randall did the last time he mentioned 9/11, and it wasn't in good taste at all. This would be something much better in taste than his depiction of the towers exploding in RANDALL-O-VISION. I'm not even sure it is a joke. As I said, I don't think it's neither funny nor meant to be.

    But I digress. What I mena to say is: this must be a coincidence. Now, we might be surprised on Monday...

    Au revoir!

    Mole

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  86. MOLE THAT SEEMS DANGEROUSLY CLOSE TO FORGETTING

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  87. re: #791 -- my sister actually does that, or at least used to, until she got a clue that it was kind of strange to blurt out "I love you" at the end of phone calls or before anyone leaves to go to the store. not particularly funny as far as the "my hobby" series goes.

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  88. UndercoverCuddlefishSeptember 11, 2010 at 7:48 PM

    @anon7:10 since when is it weird to tell people you love them at the end of phone calls

    guess i should stop showing affection to my family members and girlfriend huh

    and the my hobby series is not particularly funny as far as jokes go but 791 is also not part of the my hobby series so i do not know what point you were making

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  89. nice try undercovercuddlefish but we all know you don't have girlfriend

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  90. I AM NOT FORGETTING, ROB! MOLES NEVER FORGET!

    ...or are those elephants? I always get these things confused...

    Hasta la vista!

    Mole

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  91. UndercoverCuddlefishSeptember 12, 2010 at 1:53 AM

    man ann you got me

    you see right through me

    but who am i

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  92. UndercoverCuddlefishSeptember 12, 2010 at 1:55 AM

    will you be my girlfriend ann

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  93. I'll be your girlfriend.

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  94. I'm not angry about it like that other idiot but I am curious as to why you sign your posts, as it seems kinda pointless to me.

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  95. Come on, guys. It's a day of rememberance. Can't we stop all this bickering and hatred for just ONE DAY?

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  96. Yes, why can't we just put aside our differences and hate Muslims like God intended?

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  97. his post signing makes me fondly remember the days where if someone else told you to "watch your netiquette", you felt chastised and acted accordingly to their wishes

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  98. Newest Abstruse Goose: awful, obviously ("HEY GUYS I JUST NOTICE: CATS ARE MEAN. LOL!"), but could have been worse: from the title, I was expecting it to be "Yes, I have Asperger's. So what? Asperger's is COOL!".

    (disclaimer: i don't think AG guy has Asperger's, but he seems the type to claim he does)

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  99. I'm more disturbed by the fact that the Abstruse Goose character has a body! Of course it is terribly proportioned (as is the cat), but still.

    (though I scrolled back a bit and apparently he doesn't do "disembodied heads" thing that often anymore, so this comment would seem pretty pointless to regular AG readers, of which obviously I am not a part (of?))

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  100. The "You're in my heart always" thing are lyrics from the background song to the game Robot Unicorns. It's a catchy song and the game has become something of an internet meme.

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  101. @1:08, I assume you're talking about Robot Unicorn Attack? If so, that's not in the lyrics.

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  102. @Anon5:59

    Firstly... would you mind getting a name? I can't tell if you're really the same anon as before, or if anyone after is you... you get the gist, right? I just would rather talk to someone I could refer to with a name.

    Now, you're not angry. That's a good start. Why I sign my posts? I don't know. Because once I did and never stopped, in a nutshell. It's also an idiosyncrasy I only exercise here and nowhere else. Why? Again, I don't know. I know I started making it some sort of running gag, first singing out in different languages, then signing with (not always) witty and/or contextual valedictions, and now by saying "goodbye" as many languages as possible until I get tired and change my pattern.

    It also adds some personal voice, but I guess I'm just stretching.

    Anyway, namasté.

    Mole

    CAPTCHA: fulavoct. Must be Klingon for "sure, why not?". Fulavoct.

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  103. I'm in med school and I have a professor who likes to reference ninjas and pirates a lot. It was cute at first, but slowly became annoying as the weeks dragged on. Last week, she sprang xkcd comic number 273 on us during lecture. I vow never to enter her classroom again.

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  104. The only way to drown out Mole's voice is by signing off, too. I'd do it, but I do not have the large pulsing confidence that he clearly does.

    I didn't finish your webcomic but I read about 50 of them and I think I am done, sorry.

    Oh, and Erasure does not say that "you're in my heart always" because that implies he has gotten the frigid chick. But no, he must wonder whether he waits "in vain". You must destroy a monster to achieve love, people, it does not just happen!

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  105. I don't know about anyone else, but I interpreted the setup here as both figures being in the control group that's been snuck acid... It makes it kind of not-terrible, I guess? Did I do it wrong?

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  106. "I don't know about anyone else, but I interpreted the setup here as both figures being in the control group that's been snuck acid..."

    Yes.

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  107. I enjoyed this one. What's the need to be overly critical about someone you don't know? If you don't like his comic, don't read it. The idea of everyone bitching and complaining about a webcomic is asinine. There are other webcomics. GO READ THOSE INSTEAD.

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  108. oh shit! If I don't like this comic, I can just not read it? WHY DID NO ONE TELL ME THAT THIS WAS AN OPTION???

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