October 11th, 2010

Snarky Candiru2

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

In today's strip, second graders Mike and Lawrence ask third grader Gordo why he wants to hang around with them; his answer tells me that he's more or less got no choice. How odd that down the line, the difference of a year in age looks like a difference of a generation.

(Strip Number 182, Original Publication Date, 13 October 1981)

Panel 1: Having welcomed Space Trooper Seven, Mike realizes that he doesn't know what his name is; he remedies that and reminds us that Lynn is a wildly hypocritical language snob by saying "New, huh? What's yer name?" The new kid says "Gordon."

Panel 2: Having noticed that he's a third grader, Mike asks Gordo "Aren't you in Grade Three?"; Gord says "Yeah!"

Panel 3: Lawrence sets up the punch line by asking "Wow! We're only in Grade Two! Howcome you wanna play with us?"

Panel 4: Gordon reveals that he's either occupying the lowest rung on the social ladder or (as howtheduck said) been held back a year by saying "You gotta start somewhere."

Summary: I'd originally thought that the rest of the third graders have reacted to the new kid's presence by shunning him like a leper before realizing that he might, since he graduated with Mike and Lawrence, been held back a year. (The reason for his isolation would than be that the kids he used to pal around with don't want to deal someone who flunked the year.) Lynn's notes won't mention that, though; what they'll probably be is more of the same sort of self-centered rubbish we dealt with yesterday. Hell, they won't even mention the sad fact that Lawrence is right to fear Gordon's advent because, as we all know, the kid with the glasses did end up replacing him as Mike's bestest best friend.
Snarky Candiru2

Canadianisms 101.

The thing I've noticed is that certain Canadianisms that I, like Lynn, use every day tend to confuse the American members of this community; since most of us are American, here's a guide for the perplexed:
  • Hydro: Short for "hydroelectricity". The electric companies in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec have "Hydro" in their names so "hydro" is what a lot of people here call them. Used in the phrases "hydro bill" and "hydro pole."
  • Shreddies: Breakfast cereal similar to flattened Wheat Chex. 
  • Grades One through Eight: The Canadian expression for first through eighth grades.
  • Grade Nine: Freshman Year of High School.
  • Grade Ten: Sophomore Year of High School.
  • Grade Eleven: Junior Year of High School.
  • Grade Twelve: Senior Year of High School.
  • Grade Thirteen: Obsolete year of schooling in Ontario designed as a means of giving honors students a leg up in post-secondary education.
  • CEGEP: Term used in Quebec to refer to a post-secondary institution; graduation from such a school is mandatory for those Quebecois who wish to go to University after high school.
  • A bag of milk: For some reason, Canadian dairies sell milk in plastic bags. Since this practice never caught on South of the border, some of the plotlines make little sense.
  • Ratepayer: British term for 'taxpayer' we kept.
  • Sweet Dick All: Nothing; examples of the phrase is "Elly knows sweet dick all about how children think so didn't see the need to lock the gate" and "Elly did sweet dick all to prevent April's near-drowning."
  • Smarties: In Canada, the brand name for a candy that's a lot like a chocolate M&M; the difference is that there's no letter M on it.

There are others, of course; feel free to point out any word that baffles you and I'll tell you what it means and why we use it.