Jewish World Review Oct. 14, 2003 / 18 Tishrei, 5764

Jeff Elder

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Consumer Reports

Origins of comic strips and hush puppies; a college football quiz; dogs that don't bark | Q: How did comic strips come about and which strip was the first? - Todd Cromie

A: Todd, in a great "Peanuts" strip from 1973, Linus is watching TV when Lucy walks up.

Lucy: What are you watching?

Linus: "Citizen Kane."

Lucy: I've seen it about ten times.

Linus: (intent on the film) This is the first time I've ever seen it

Lucy: (exiting) "Rosebud" was his sled.

Why'd she reveal the ending of perhaps the greatest American movie? Because Charles M. Schulz understood big sisters.

(If you've never seen "Citizen Kane," shame on you - and there's still plenty of reasons to see it.)

If you REALLY wanna get grassroots, paleolithic cave paintings are the origins of sequential art. But it's not like cavemen were reading "The Adventures of Monty the Mammoth" while they ate their Mossies breakfast cereal.

Comics historians say American newspapers developed the comic strip toward the end of the nineteenth century to draw customers to the Sunday edition. (Not much has changed, has it?)

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Richard Outcault, an illustrator for Joseph Pulitzer's The World, created the first strip in 1895. It was a one-panel cartoon called "Down Hogan's Alley," featuring a character called the Yellow Kid.

The strip helped to usher in a new sensationalized era of scandalous journalism. And the strip is where we get the term "yellow journalism."

Rudolph Dirk's "Katzenjammer Kids," which appeared in 1897, is considered the first modern strip because it contained multiple panels and in-panel dialogue using "word balloons."

SOURCES: Comics historian Richard Halegua,

Q: Why they call `em hush puppies?

A: Why do they call fried corn meal balls - often served with catfish and barbecue - hush puppies?

Mmmmmm. Hush puppies.

When they're really good, there's nothin' better, if ya ask me.

John Egerton's "Southern Food," and other sources say the term comes from cooks tossing a little fried dough to the dogs to quiet down their barking as fish or meat was cooked.

When they threw the fried dough balls to the barking hounds they'd holler, "Hush, puppies!"

Makes a good story, anyway. Hey cook, toss me one!

Q: What's the type of dog that doesn't bark? - Layne Thompson

A: That's the Basenji, Layne. But even though it doesn't bark, the Basenji is not mute.

It yodels.

"These sounds are like music to the ears of the owner because they are the sounds made by a happy or excited Basenji," a Web site devoted to the breed informs us. "Each and every owner waits expectantly for their dog to yodel for the first time."

Ummm. I LOVE my dogs. But I cannot imagine waiting expectantly for them to yodel. Not unless it was gonna make me a million bucks. Then maybe.

About this yodeling. Do these dogs wear long blonde braids, their furry Adam's apples bobbing as their warbling fills the Alpine valleys?

No. Basenjis are small, short-haired dogs from Africa. They were prized by the pharaohs of Egypt as hunting dogs.

You can listen to them yodel at


  • All the toilet seats were stolen from police headquarters.

    The cops have nothing to go on.

  • Hear about the antenna who got married?

    The reception was great.

  • A priest, a rabbi, a blonde and a dog walk into a bar. Bartender sez, "What is this, some kinda joke?"


    This time on college football:

    1. What great Gamecock wide receiver went on to play for the Packers and to be an ESPN analyst?

    2. Stanford is known for its great quarterbacks. Name three.

    3. What Texas Christian star of the `30s was named Sports Illustrated's quarterback on its team of the 20th century?

    4. Who's the all-time Division I-A leader in career touchdown passes?



    1. Sterling Sharpe

    2. Frankie Albert, John Brodie, Jim Plunkett and John Elway are four.

    3. Slingin' Sammy Baugh

    4. Ty Detmer of BYU with 121

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    Jeff Elder is a columnist for The Charlotte Observer. Comment or try to stump him by clicking here.


    09/24/03: Why do snooze alarms go off every 9 minutes?
    09/17/03: Glad You Asked: Fun with college football
    09/09/03: What's so great about Wiffle Ball?
    09/03/03: What kinda wine goes best with heartache?; What did people do before alarm clocks were invented?; which has more caffeine: coffee or tea?
    08/26/03: These inventors were just toying with us
    08/12/03: Why do wheels appear to turn backward on film?; showdown over high noon
    08/07/03: Wood'n you know it? Money doesn't grow on trees; all we are is dust in the wind
    08/05/03: Where have you gone, Calvin, Opus and Cow?; fine feathered friend pecking on itself
    07/31/03: How a dashing hero became a notorious traitor
    07/29/03: Little red caboose rolling outta sight; From my 'I'll be a monkey's uncle' file
    07/24/03: Road scholar: A lesson on asphalt; when identical twins marry
    07/23/03: The sweet science of Life Savers' sparks; how do Pop Rocks work? ripping newspaper

    © , The Charlotte Observer Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.