Monday, October 24, 2011

Comics 967 and 968: Both A Comic AND Terrible

Comic 967. This one mostly made me think that I do not want to experience what it is like to be Randy. It sounds awful.

Comic 968. Holy shit, this is fucking awful. I don't think I've ever seen a punchline telegraphed from so far away. He starts out with panel 1 saying "hey this comic is going to have a punchline which humorously* subverts the notion that I am in love with you! Here are a couple of ways in which I don't love you." Panel 2 then goes on to say "in case you weren't reading the first panel, or maybe you're just into thoroughness, here's another way I don't love you! And an explicit statement that I have many things besides you I'd rather pay attention to. But I mean, you're interesting, so remember, the punchline is going to be a humorous subversion of things like the ones I just listed. Be prepared to have your mind blown! I am pretty sure I have given you adequate time for preparation." Panel 3: "Wait for it, wait for it... here's a humorous subversion of various 'I love you' cliches! BET YOU WEREN'T EXPECTING THAT!"

It's not inherently a bad punchline, but the setup for it is utterly appalling. Much humor, and in particular this punchline, relies on subverting your expectations. The only way this could possibly fall under that category is if Randy somehow hoped that you were expecting a subversion and then the utter lack of one was funny. Even in that case it has failed, however, since it seems so clear he's trying to be clever here and just failing.

The setup for this is so distractingly bad that I can't bring myself to say anything else about it. I can envision a world in which that punchline is used in a comic that doesn't suck, but this comic is so far from that world, describing it probably qualifies as science fiction. I guess, if there is anything good to say about this comic, it would be useful as a writing exercise for students of the comic arts: "find a way to make this not suck." The resulting comics would probably not remotely resemble the original, but there might be a gem or two in there.

*please note that I in no way feel that this is actually humorous in any way, this is the result of a recent thought exercise in trying to experience what it is like to be Randy. I have avoided writing out all the milky thoughts I have had, though I may eventually scan the grocery receipts cataloging my milk purchases this week.

81 comments:

  1. Randall Munroe is both Carl and Rob.

    The people must be warned.

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  2. This comic is clearly just more of Randall trying to convince himself he wasn't actually in love with Megan, he was just interested in her from a "scientific" standpoint. Actually, given the doubt I have about Randall's ability to "love" anyone the way normal human beings define the term, this may or may not be true. Either way, I am disappointed that you didn't make lots of references to the obvious Megan-character in this comic, Rob. That it is implied with the milk joke does not count.

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  3. didn't come off that way to me. that and the setup to the punchline was just so fucking bad

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  4. Randall "Shakespeare" MunroeOctober 24, 2011 at 4:17 AM

    But be contented when that fell arrest
    Without all bail shall carry me away,
    My life hath in this line some interest,
    Which for memorial still with thee shall stay.
    When thou reviewest this, thou dost review
    The very part was consecrate to thee:
    The earth can have but earth, which is his due;
    My spirit is thine, the better part of me:
    So then thou hast but lost the dregs of life,
    The prey of worms, my body being dead;
    The coward conquest of a wretch's knife,
    Too base of thee to be remembered.
    The worth of that is that which it contains,
    And that is this, and this with thee remains.

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  5. "Much humor, and in particular this punchline, relies on subverting your expectations."

    I thought this was the very definition of humor.

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  6. Let's discuss something more interesting than these xkcds.

    What's the difference between a geek, a nerd[,] and a dork, anyway? Some people really take these distinctions to heart, but to me they're pretty much the same, geek and nerd especially.

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  7. i think it depends on which word the person in question was called the most often. if he was called a geek, it must mean clever but socially functional. it's a way to turn insults into positives and i agree with the xkcd comic about it

    i use them interchangeably

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  8. I don't think 968 was supposed to be funny. Poignant, maybe (although it fails at that, too), or a critique of the idea of all-consuming love or love being all that's worth living for or something like that, but not funny.

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  9. My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
    Coral is far more red than her lips' red;
    If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
    If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
    I have seen roses damask'd, red and white,
    But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
    And in some perfumes is there more delight
    Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
    I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
    That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
    I grant I never saw a goddess go;
    My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:
    And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
    As any she belied with false compare.

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  10. I was just confused by 968. W... was there supposed to be a joke? It seems like he's setting up a scenario where the typical signs of love are just morbid curiosity... and that's it. He didn't go anywhere with the idea, he just... had an idea.

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  11. Comic 968 is a bit like "A Softer World".

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  12. Am I the only one here who finds Shakespeare hard to read?

    I mean, it's the epitome of excellent technical execution in writing (even if some of the storylines are monarchist pablum) but I find it quite hard to even parse quite a lot of the sentences without assistance.

    Is xkcd popular because it requires absolutely zero thought to comprehend? What I mean to say is... is it that most humans find good stuff as difficult as I do but they aren't prepared to make the effort so instead they huddle together and giggle at what comes down to a steaming pile of turds?

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  13. 9:43, watch http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0107616/ that is much ado about nothing in movie form, but one of the best shakespeare-plays-turned-movie i've ever seen. the actors do a good job of putting across why you can't simple read shakespeare; most of the punch comes from the way the actors emote. you are pretty much always better off watching and not reading shakespeare

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  14. Sloth is the most accessible sin.

    Captcha: brock. You're thinking of Pokemons, aren't you?

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  15. Comic 967. This one mostly made me think that I do not want to experience what it is like to be Randy. It sounds awful.

    Comic 968. Holy shit, this is fucking awful. I don't think I've ever seen a punchline telegraphed from so far away. He starts out with panel 1 saying "hey this comic is going to have a punchline which humorously* subverts the notion that I am in love with you! Here are a couple of ways in which I don't love you." Panel 2 then goes on to say "in case you weren't reading the first panel, or maybe you're just into thoroughness, here's another way I don't love you! And an explicit statement that I have many things besides you I'd rather pay attention to. But I mean, you're interesting, so remember, the punchline is going to be a humorous subversion of things like the ones I just listed. Be prepared to have your mind blown! I am pretty sure I have given you adequate time for preparation." Panel 3: "Wait for it, wait for it... here's a humorous subversion of various 'I love you' cliches! BET YOU WEREN'T EXPECTING THAT!"

    It's not inherently a bad punchline, but the setup for it is utterly appalling. Much humor, and in particular this punchline, relies on subverting your expectations. The only way this could possibly fall under that category is if Randy somehow hoped that you were expecting a subversion and then the utter lack of one was funny. Even in that case it has failed, however, since it seems so clear he's trying to be clever here and just failing.

    The setup for this is so distractingly bad that I can't bring myself to say anything else about it. I can envision a world in which that punchline is used in a comic that doesn't suck, but this comic is so far from that world, describing it probably qualifies as science fiction. I guess, if there is anything good to say about this comic, it would be useful as a writing exercise for students of the comic arts: "find a way to make this not suck." The resulting comics would probably not remotely resemble the original, but there might be a gem or two in there.

    *please note that I in no way feel that this is actually humorous in any way, this is the result of a recent thought exercise in trying to experience what it is like to be Randy. I have avoided writing out all the milky thoughts I have had, though I may eventually scan the grocery receipts cataloging my milk purchases this week.

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  16. Dicksmash McIroncockOctober 24, 2011 at 11:12 AM

    Ladies, I have a special treat for you!

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  17. RE: it would be useful as a writing exercise for students of the comic arts: "find a way to make this not suck."

    Challenge Accepted!... to the Editsmobile!

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  18. "I thought this was the very definition of humor."

    it's the commonly accepted one but I don't like it as an actual definition because (a) not everything that is unexpected is funny (b) sometimes humor doesn't rely on being unexpected

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  19. Rochambeau O'AwsomeOctober 24, 2011 at 12:10 PM

    Fat Robby McObeseton, how is it possible that you missed the fact that 968 is a softer world's ripoff???!!!

    God I miss Ugly Carl Repulsivovic...

    You suck! i'm gonna create the blog xkcdsuckssucks.blogspot.com when I recover my internet connection.

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  20. kcdsuckssucks.blogspot.com is not only registered, it's linked in the sidebar to this site

    Also, I agree that this comic wasn't really supposed to be funny. It's basically saying, "I am not really a romantic but I am quirky." Which is... ok? But not funny.

    There were a lot of sappy "I love love" comics early on in the comic, which were generally pretty annoying. This isn't any better, of course. It makes the sort of halfhearted point that absolute devotion isn't necessary for a relationship, which is not particularly insightful.

    Also, Shakespeare did not write closet dramas. The plays are meant to be seen, not (only) read, although when you read them they are still fucking fantastic because Shakespeare is pretty much uncontroversially the best writer in the history of the language.

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  21. Totally not StalinOctober 24, 2011 at 4:25 PM

    >Implying Our Premier Josef Stalin couldn't write better english than anyone ever

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  22. The punchline in 968 wasn't "telegraphed" because there wasn't one. I'm not sure what that comic was supposed to be, but it obviously wasn't supposed to be funny.

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  23. LOL @ the hoity toity Shakespeare snobs with their tickets to performances. Fuck you, my mind's eye can do a better job with the text than any cocksucking so-called actor.

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  24. No it can't, 7:02.

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  25. I think we should take him at his word until we actually see his mind's eye.

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  26. " Fat Robby McObeseton, how is it possible that you missed the fact that 968 is a softer world's ripoff???!!!"

    I kind of took it as a given. I've written about ASW ripoffs so many times here, mentioning it is kind of old hat.

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  27. On the forum, people are liking this for inexplicable and incomprehensible reasons.

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  28. @Anon 7:02
    I'd pay to see a dramatic performance of this comment thread. The mind's eye does not do it justice.

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  29. I think people who read shakespeare are making it hard for themselves. Spend a bit more and go watch it acted by the royal shakespeare company. Its much easyer to see why hes great then.

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  30. "Its much easyer to see why hes great then. "

    ets prity ez 2 c y ur NOT grate than

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  31. For me there are 3 types of xkcd comics.
    1) Those that make me think and in the process realize something about myself.
    2) The ones that make me laugh.
    3) The ones that do both.

    That said, this site also makes me think and laugh so I guess it's a win-win situation :) I can definitely see why people think the two guys are the same person but I guess no one is THAT crazy hehe.

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  32. Rob - you mass of redundant protoplasm, why can't you at least include the comics so I don't have to actually visit the hellhole that is xkcd and drive up his site views? It's one line of code, you flatulent asstard. I know it would take time away from your three-page long reviews, but I think we could sacrifice one milk joke for the sake of images.

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  33. What makes you think Rob would spend time on anything?

    Sorry, but that just sounded like something he'd say.

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  34. I happen to know he has a pony in his back yard on which he spends the better part of the day grooming and stroking.

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  35. Dear Rob,

    Where is your comic?

    Love,
    Anonymous

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  36. Disregard that, I suck cocks.

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  37. Disregard that "Disregard that," I totally don't.

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  38. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts. I'm so fresh you can suck my nuts.

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  39. >implying freshness is prerequisite to potential to have nuts sucked

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  40. you forgot swag, mongrel

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  41. I don't think 968 was supposed to be humorous at all. Like some of Randall's earlier comics, 968 seemed like it was meant to be a consideration of some aspect of love. Honestly, while its message is a bit predictable in the overall scheme of Xkcd, it seemed a bit more sophisticated than most of Randall's recent fare.

    Of course, if it was meant to be funny, then it's a mountain of boringness, but whatever.

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  42. So, what do you guys think of the use of "a bit" as an intensifier in criticism to pull punches?

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  43. even if it's not meant to be funny, the setup still leads up to a letdown. as Rochambeau or someone pretending to be him noted, this was an ASW ripoff comic--he even managed to get the number of panels right (though not the brevity). and ASW, even when it's not a joke, follows the format of one.

    the way the punchline is presented makes it seem like it was intended to be an unexpected turn of phrase, or somehow surprising or subversive. and the thing is it would have been, if only he hadn't spent two panels telegraphing his intentions just before.

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  44. Rob, why don't you capitalize your sentences?





    You ignorant blob of fuck.

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  45. it's an aesthetic decision stemming partly from the fact that when I use proper caps on IM chat it is kind of off-putting, whereas failing to use caps tends to convey a more relaxed tone.

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  46. he ate all the capital letters

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  47. Rob only has use for three capital letters, and those are OGC.

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  48. If only he had drawn a Bagger 288 in the last panel.

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  49. but rob you fat piece of shit you use caps to write "IM". get your shit together

    on and by the way:

    "because he didn't have any body to go with"

    i'm in australia bitch hows that for a punchline being telegraphed from far away (yes i am using a telegraph machine)

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  50. ha you dumb fuckers are still on the 25th i thought i was a loser for a second there

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  51. She would make a death-truck.

    How....crazy?

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  52. So has Randall ever missed updates before? Not that it matters, but he makes a point of saying that xkcd updates 'without fail'. And it's 8:52 UTC with no update yet.

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  53. xkcd updates with fail

    captcha: haterr . am i?

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  54. no you are a nigger

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  55. Randall is TARDY. Let's hope Princess Celestia sends him to the magic kindergarten. Or to the moon.

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  56. I normally agree with this blog, but 967 was pretty funny. And in the very least, in uses intro level college physics, rather than highschool/middleschool physics. So it is slightly less pandering.

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  57. Dicksmash McIroncockOctober 26, 2011 at 6:23 AM

    Guys, if Randall discontinues xkcd, can we still all be friends?

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  58. Megan must of died. What do we don now xkcd sucks, what do we do now?

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  59. Does 969 have a joke other than if you dropped the wardrobe in the ocean Narnia would get flooded?

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  60. @Dicksmah McIroncock

    That's a good question. I hereby propose that we transition xkcdsucks into some other kind of community, so that it can outlast the inevitable demise of Randall.

    I propose that we become a book club or a site reviewing amateur porn. Or both. We can have a video of lesbian sex (the best kind of homosexual activity there is IMHO) at the top, and a comment thread underneath devoted to discussion the contrast of Will and Tom Hamilton from East of Eden, and whether the difference in their fates was due more to chance, or the inevitable product of their core personalities.

    This is just a jumping off point. If anyone has a better idea or combination of ideas for the site just jump on in.

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  61. @969

    The joke is that Randall is an evil man who would be willing to drain the oceans, destroying all their life and all interdependent life on land, if it would mean drowning to death everyone on a parallel world.

    What a fucked up comic. What a fucked up man.

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  62. @ 6:53

    That post was mine. Meant to have directed it at 6:40, not comic 969. Freudian slip. And yeah, that means I want to have sex with the comic.

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  63. Jesus fuck does 969 suck.

    Main concept: Imaginary portals can teleport things. If you put in many things they will teleport them all.
    Math joke: There's a formula for the flow of a liquid through a hole! It can be used in this context but it adds absolutely nothing.

    Alt text: HAY GUYZ WHAT IF YOU COULD SHOOT A PORTAL THROUGH ANOTHER PORTAL CRAZY HUH? STRANGE NOONE@S THOUGHT OF THAT AND THAT THERE WEREN@T A FUCKDOZEN EPISODES BASED ON THAT CONCEPT>

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  64. Randall's calculations are wrong, since he doesn't take into account the velocity of the wardrobe.
    Consider: if the wardrobe hits the water with 0 velocity, the water will take its sweet-ass time to drip in. If it hit the water with infinite velocity, obviously the flow in it would be infinite liter/sec.
    tl;dr fuck off randall, you don't know anything about physics you barely-undergrad piece of shit

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  65. Was I the only one to giggle at the mental image of the White Witch being hit with a wardrobe-size and fire hose strength jet of water?

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  66. @ apologist

    probably

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  67. But we still love you, apologist :)

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  68. http://xkcd.com/244/

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  69. In today's comic, Randall learns maths!


    No, wait, let me correct that: Randall fails at maths. Or physics. Or common sense. Or whatever the hell made him think to only start counting Water Jet Velocity when the cupboard is 2km underwater!

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  70. Oh waaaait, now I get it! Sorry, I was thinking of the witches of Oz. Y'know, who die by water.

    Okay, so the joke is not "Haha, overkill!", but really "Haha, Narnia gets... some water?"


    Goddamnit.

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  71. @Semicolons (way up there about Much Ado About Nothing): That movie was great, but Kenneth Branagh himself overacted like a fucking spastic in some scenes. That turned me off a bit, especially in the revelry scene where he has the mask and pretends to be someone else. UGH.

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  72. @Anon 6:50

    Xkcdsucks can become a tech blog where we mock people for their obsession with Apple's products. And they'd all be like "If you don't liek it, why do you use a MacBook Air??"

    Basically it's just the same concept, except with a different kind of fandom: Apple fanboys! And Fandroids don't have to be left out either. I hear the guy who coded Ice Cream Sandwich has a lactation fetish.

    I can hear it already...

    "If you don't think DarkyROM is good, then why don't you code a better one? Where's your custom ROM?"

    "But Linux is not supposed to easy to use. The quality of a user interface is subjective, and maybe you're just not getting it."

    "Wow, you really have nothing better to do with your time than write bad three-line reviews of Apple products that you wish you had."

    "CHILL OUT, NO ONES FORCING YOU TO USE GOOGLE!"

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  73. "But some operating systems aren't SUPPOSED to be functional!"

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  74. @Plasma
    The joke is that he thinks he can destroy both worlds with a little application of SCIENCE (it works, bitches). Narnia will flood. Earth will lose half its oceans. And Randall Munroe will be crowned king of both worlds for his unique application of genius.

    What he fails to consider is that this will take thousands of years, and natural processes of decay and hydraulic action will take their toll on the wardrobe much sooner, breaking the portal within. If not that, then the Earth military will drop a depth charge on the infernal sucking device. Or Aslan will roar and make it all better.

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  75. Yo Rob, I want to send you a guest review for 969. Do you accept PDFs?

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  76. i prefer plaintext. or even better, do the HTML coding for any links and images for me

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  77. Some dude quotes some Shakespeare sonnets and then some other dudes start saying that this stuff is supposed to be experienced in performance, as intended. Further proof that xkcdsucks is a cultural black hole?

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