More likely, you'll glare coldly for a second, then huff, say 'ANYWAY,' and continue with your diatribe. I mean, let's be clear about the stakes here.
#623; We’ve Had this Conversation a Million Times




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MISSIVES. (see all)

Check out: My segment on the language radio show ‘A Way with Words’

I’m a big fan of the public radio show A Way with Words, produced in San Diego and airing on KPBS radio there & elsewhere (though it’s produced independently).

I listen to it as a podcast! (The show has a Facebook page too.)

In the show, callers ask about weird words they’ve heard or (often) that members of their family use, and hosts Grant and Martha share whatever etymologies and regional histories they can dredge up about that term.

Recently I called in and asked a language question of my own! It is about a thing my mom always says, which is “piffle”. She uses this word in place of a swear word.

Mom, I can feel you preparing to write a response to me right now, and yes, I already told them the thing you are about to tell me, which is that you like the reaction it gets out of people when they hear you say it. It’s all part of the conversation I had on the show!

My call aired on the most recent episode, “Happy as Larry,” from January 20.

If you want to listen to the whole episode, here it is (my segment starts just before minute 40), or, they also have it posted as a separate segment of just my bit.

I could also have asked my mom directly about the origin of her use of the term, but this way, I got to be on a radio show. Mom, you can call in and fill them in with all the details if you like, and I will hear it on some later episode!



2017 Errata

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Occasionally here at Wondermark, our crack team of japists are made aware of a factual error in one of our comic strips. Here is our annual attempt to set the record straight. (Previous years’ entries.)

#1299; The Ever-Watchful Eye of Everyone
The YouTube video shown in the final panel has its slider all the way almost to the end of the video, but the counter displays the current time as “0:00”. The correct time should be “2:57”.

#1321; My Dad’s Salad
This is a biggie, considering this comic originally ran in 2011 at Saveur.

The salad recipe in the comic, which has now been corrected, originally called for various ingredients including “about a cup of olive oil.” I have since realized that is way too much olive oil.

I have never actually measured how much to use! I always just drizzled it over the salad before tossing. It’s about 4–5 seconds of drizzling, which probably comes out closer to 4–5 tablespoons. Please update your handwritten index cards in their recipe box accordingly.

#1301; In which a Gänger is doppeled
Dukey actually borrowed the twenty bucks in question in 1994, not 1993. It was to buy a ticket to see D2: The Mighty Ducks at the Ferblangville Cineplace 13.

#1314; Home Among the Primitives (Part 2)
While not an error per se, it may be unclear in the final panel whether time traveler Jordal Bumpskern, when describing mailing an epithet-filled envelope to “the sun”, is referring to:

  • Sol, the star at the center of the eponymous Solar System,
  • The Sun, the British tabloid,
  • The Sun, the American literary magazine, or
  • The Sun (previously Sun-Telegram), the daily newspaper serving San Bernardino, California.

It is the first of these.

#1336; In which Much remains Unheard Of
A better punchline in the final panel would be: “Well…I listen at 2x speed, so”

#1285; In which Tax is a Team Sport
The comic posits a clever way to make federal tax collection comport with the human desire to not be forced to monetarily support policies that one opposes.

In doing so, the characters describe how their tax money is collected and then used to fund certain programs. While this is a popular conception of the role of taxation, and while it is indeed true for state and local taxes, it may be incorrect with respect to federal income tax.

As explained by economist Stephanie Kelton, “Modern Money Theory” posits that a more useful way to think of national monetary policy is that the federal government issues its sovereign currency into the economy when it spends its budget, thus creating that money by fiat, and then removes currency from the economy when it taxes citizens.

That money “collected” by taxation doesn’t exist in any real sense once the government instructs banks to deduct it from your bank account. As the issuer of the currency, the Fed is the stadium, not a player, and it simply increments the scoreboard.

And the money spent by the government does not come from a pool of taxpayer dollars; those specific dollars did not actually exist before they were spent — a government check here being the equivalent of an instruction to a bank to increment an account to the positive.

Thus the purpose of taxation is to create a demand for sovereign currency (since you have to pay taxes, you have to work to earn dollars, which are the only thing the government accepts as payment) as well as control the overall money supply to limit inflation.

Under this theory, budget “deficits” do not represent a shortage of spending money available to the government; rather, any budget deficit on the government’s part is a surplus on the part of the recipients of that spending, i.e. individuals, companies, or state and local governments.

And under this theory, the question of spending priorities thus should not be driven by deficit concerns, but rather by choices in social policy — i.e., which injections into the economy will result in greater well-being and prosperity among the citizenry.

So if that is true, then the premise posited by the comic is incorrect. Taxation does not “pay for” anything; in fact, any taxation at all begins to seem like a waste, because those dollars are just being deleted. The grudging sacrifice for the greater good the comic takes for granted is thus a misapprehension.

Taking all this as a matter of economic fact, the comic’s premise is therefore wrong (at least with respect to the federal government).

But as a behavioral economic concept, to get people to feel like they are active participants in and have a stake in the government, I think the “allocation” checkboxes are still a good idea. In fact, in the last panel the Congressman outright admits that the allocations would be simply a useful fiction.

JUST LIKE MONEY ITSELF, AM I RIGHT

#1288; A Real Stand-Up Friend
The rhinoceros is definitely not going to stop doing that.

Wondermark regrets the errors.



2018 Wondermark Calendars — shipping now!

Pleased to announce that this week we’re finishing shipping all outstanding orders for the 2018 Wondermark Calendars!

Thanks to everyone who’s snagged a copy; if you don’t have yours in hand yet, you will have it very soon.

And because I launched it later than usual this year, we still have some copies available! The last few dozen of the limited run.

If you haven’t already claimed one, you can place an order right now and we’ll ship it without delay!

Here’s what the finished, printed thing looks like:

There are a lot of pages and they all have delightful illustrations on them!

This year, the calendar is the Santarelli & Sons Expert Thingsmiths’ Catalog of Contraptions, filled with strange devices and impractical contrivances to solve your everyday problems.

Let Edouardo Santarelli and his competent sons Drachma and Leopolt show you their peculiar wares, all year long.

“But David,” I hear you saying, “it’s already 2018! It’s MULTIPLE DAYS INTO 2018! Don’t calendars go bad if you don’t open them right at the start of the year? Isn’t part of that calendar NOW UNUSABLE, with days that have past into the black mist of eternity and already been utterly forgotten by me and anyone else who might look at this calendar??”

How right you are! That is why I am willing to credit you the value of ONE FULL 2018 WEEK with your purchase of a 2018 calendar.

Simply use discount code ITSJANUARY at checkout, and you will be given a discount of 1/52 off the price of the calendar.

Any calendar stand you have from any previous Wondermark calendar will also work with this year’s cards! You only need the refill cards.

BUT, as you can see in the pictures, we have a new stand design this year! You can get one of them if you choose; we have modified the base design this year to better match the theme of the 2018 calendar.

An optional upgrade if you like!

Every individual copy of the calendar is signed and numbered by me:

And of course every order ships with a unique Wondermark Cast Card! This one features Mr Santarelli himself – and if you are a calendar patron of 5 years or more, simply mention so at checkout and we’ll include a special Calendar Ace card as well.

That is all! I just wanted to share these nice pictures with you.

Again, thanks very much if you’ve already ordered yours and there’s still a little bit of time if you haven’t! I’ll probably shut up about this in a week or so.