Mars Needs Rodents

Buy the new book, "Beaucoup Arlo & Janis!"Today's "Arlo & Janis!"
This comic strip ran here a couple of years ago, but I thought I’d show it again, because it seems every other day now, the Mars rover Curiosity is sending back images of what seem to be crabs, women, the golden arches of McDonald’s. Well, at least that last one is feasible. I came across an effort to explain this the other day. It seems our brains are wired to perceive patterns in an effort to interpret our immediate environment. That should make sense to us. Every day I create a weird pen doodle, and you think, “It’s a homely man with a big nose!”

111 responses to “Mars Needs Rodents”


  2. Dom, speedy recovery.

    JJ, does today’s offering mean that A&J has gone commercial? If this is not a paid product placement you might be missing an important revenue stream, product placement in cartons.

  3. I like the line from Contact. “The universe is a pretty big place. If it’s just us, seems like an awful waste of space.” Since we are all pretty far away from each other, maybe God intended it that way so we don’t mess up each others worlds. Still, in spite of the cost, I wish that we would develop the resources to keep man (and woman) in space. So much good in technology came out the the race to the moon.

  4. Wow. And I thought I’d had a bad week. Glad to hear things turned out as well as they did, domaucan1. Very bad things things often happen in roll-over accidents.

  5. domaucan, I’m glad to know that you are safe! And yes, miracles do happen.

    Steve, I think most people who say we are alone in the Universe expect someone who looks just like us, while I say with such varied forms of life just on our little planet, who’s to say what the inhabitants of other planets will look like.

    And if I may harken back to the kilt conversation:

  6. RA/WP: I don’t know what those (apparently) old terms mean, either! Thus, I’m uneducated not only in modern electronics, but also in older electronics! If we reverted to electrical circuitry – before transistors, say – I’d have a chance of understanding.

    Dom1: WOW! You have, indeed, been blessed! Do well with this second life you’ve been given.

  7. If we are going to express gratitude for more miracles I will add mine. I had a plaque particle go through my left eye while pulling my boat through Dallas traffic yesterday afternoon. Thanks to being on right side of four lanes and with access off I got into a shopping center lot before I lost vision. No, I didn’t call 911.

    This is not my first TIA just first in Dallas with a boat in tow. I am in my own bed with a dull headache and slightly blurred vision. Dickens licked and kissed me all night to ensure that I was alive.

    Smartphone suggested “sweet and sexy” instead of alive. I have NO idea why.

    Will call cardiologist, have had these now for 20 years so I don’t panic. He did carotid bypass long ago when he first met me. He may be between wives, maybe should have hair done?

  8. Anonie

    Prayers with your vision – we can’t not have your travel reports.

    dom – you are blessed – miracles happen every day, we just have to recognize them
    and give thanks to the bestower.

  9. British police warned in August of a brand-new sex crime based on the iPhone app AirDrop. The app sends text or photos instantly to nearby AirDrop users (who choose to receive from “contacts” or from “everyone”). Thus, perverts can “flash” strangers by posting nude pictures of themselves to reach AirDrop users set carelessly (or purposely!) to “everyone.” [Charlotte Observer, 7-21-2015] [BBC News, 8-13-2015]

    Were I a vice squad member I’d definitely monitor that app for flashers in my vicinity!

  10. That was cute Trucker! I always dressed my girls in kilts and they still complain bitterly.

    I thought I saw snowflakes this year on a mountain pass but it turned out to be ash from the forest fires.

    Smartphone just changed ash which I typed to “ashamed”. Who sets these things?

  11. Steve: Whenever I read about the possibility of finding “life” elsewhere in the universe, I always mentally add “as we know it”. Seems to me there’s a certain arrogance in thinking that ours is the only possibility – maybe we’re just the rough draft.

  12. Just read the daily A and J and I went into a McDonalds somewhere on meanderings like western or southern states, everyone was really obese in line. Ordered an egg McMuffins for dinner. They said they didn’t have them except for breakfast. I replied that I thought promotion was “breakfast at any time.”

    They replied “Only the demand items”. Well, egg McMuffins are only item I’d demand so I walked out. They also no longer had grilled chicken wraps because they didn’t sell well.

    Some of the nods to health on part of fast food is just that, a nod.

    Stupid phone here changed that to McDuffie up there after I fully typed it. Someone thinks it is Big Brother.

  13. Ruth Anne The word is either arrogance or ignorance. We got stranded in a small town in Nebraska and about the only movie available was Men In Black II. I was surprised to enjoy the movie but in the last scene Will Smith opens up a locker and the inhabitants say “Hail, All hail J”. Sort of a benign ignorance as they seem happy.

  14. Dear Anonymous,

    Never forget that when a food chain drops something from its menu it’s almost always due to one factor: Too few people were buying that product. The company has no obligation to spend its way into bankruptcy to provide products that too few people want to buy.

    During your business career didn’t you have to make similar choices?

  15. TruckerRon – No snow in town yet but we woke to snow only about 600-700 feet up the sides of the mountains overlooking us. Most of this will be gone by the weekend, I imagine.

  16. Trucker I agree that restaurants need not lose money due to our poor eating choices. However I am not going to eat what they offer if it isn’t what I want. Ironically I am now running into truck stops along the way to get fruit, vegs, healthy sandwiches, soups with calories counted.

    Go figure.

    The move to offer breakfast all day was McD trying to increase the only meal showing monetary gains in their repertoire.

  17. So far today I’ve had calls supposedly from Austin TX and Seattle WA claiming to be the IRS and threatening me with a lawsuit. I could barely understand them through their thick accents. Time to break out a whistle and use it on them?

  18. Trapper Jean–Oooohhh, aaaahhhh…. Sean Connery in a kilt…. Any and all of those photos. Drool…. I don’t know who Bruce Campbell is, and he just can’t compare. Sorry, Bruce.

  19. NK in AZ, Bruce Campbell appeared in several independent movies, such as Army of the Dead.

    Anonymous, figure the truck stops aren’t into major ad campaigns for the most part, so can spend money improving food and service to attract more customers. Too bad McD’s dropped the chicken wraps, they were pretty tasty. According to an article on The Consumerist website the franchisees aren’t happy with the all-day breakfast idea. Corporate has put way too many items on the menu trying to please everyone. Result: overcrowded food prep areas, too much expensive equipment to buy/lease, slower and less accurate food assembly with more customer complaints. All of this is what the franchise owners had to say to corporate.

    A, glad to hear your attack hit you near an exit and in a major city where medical attention should have been easy to find.

    Domaucan1, glad to hear you made it out in relatively good shape. Also glad to hear you blessing the source of your protection. Good for you all the way around!

  20. Bruce Campbell starred in “The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.”, a quirky Western I loved, which only lasted one season and is one of the reasons I ultimately gave up on episodic TV shows. (Almost any series I liked would only last one season.)

    Among many others, he also appeared in the show featuring this little slip of a girl, who played a “warrior princess”, whatever that is.

  21. But you can’t see pokies through it. And in cold weather, bet that metal bra would create pokies for sure. Wouldn’t want to bend over a campfire in it, either. Why is someone supposedly Greek carrying a katana?

  22. Shouldn’t go here but I managed to pack a set of six bras, all identical from same brand, marked my size but too small. I never try things on, my fault. Ended up wearing SAME black bra with everthing, it fit, no matter what color clothes were.

    Thought of Arlo, Jimmy and Ghost all last week, every day. I also discovered body parts don’t fall of from wearing things more than once. And Texas was hot, so it doesn’t take cold weather.

  23. Ruth Anne, thanks for the link. Though I need to upgrade my Netscape 1.01 browser and MS DOS 3.6. Think they are giving me bad links to some of the postings here. The lass in the kilt appeared like a toddler. And not sure about the battle wench.

    Back later, need to unplug my modem so I can be ready to get a fax.

  24. Anonymous, I hope you saved the receipt, or that they will let you exchange without it.

    And the sizing battle goes on. I bought two pairs of cargo pants in my normal waist size, but labeled as loose fit. They weren’t kidding. If my belt ever breaks, am I going to be embarrassed!

  25. Anonie: If they are unworn, ebay. If worn, I’m sure there are some sketchy sites out there where they would command an even higher price.

  26. Actually I donate stuff because. They aren’t worn but I separated sets and took off hangers. These are these they label tee shirt bras that are supposed to prevent pokies poking through.

    You know something? I am getting tired of this dang phone!

  27. Ghost Rider 6, Ghost Rider 6, you’re not on a clear channel.
    I repeat, you’re not on a clear channel.
    Check frequency and retransmit last.
    sandcaslter™ standing by.

  28. sandcastler:

    My favorite German word is beschwendekeitsbegrenzung.

    I picked it up when I was a college freshman and was a woebegotten chem major who had to take a year of German.

  29. Anonymous, there should be a way to turn off that **** spellcheck/predictive typing. Spellcheck isn’t always to blame. Now they have something called predictive typing where the software guesses what you want to say based on the first few letters and puts it in by default. That’s backwards to me. If it wants to make a suggestion, fine, but your own entries should be the default with you having to tell it to use the alternate word. Are you still a customer of the Death Star phone company? If you want to tell me the make and model I can try to find the instructions for changing those settings. Just email me.

  30. Mark, good luck assisting. I am running a third-party keyboard, beta version because I enjoy pain. I am getting an every expanding set of emoji, none of which I can show off in here. 🙁

    Okay, back to the hockey game. 🙂

  31. Predictive typing. That would explain why today I wrote that Dickens kept licking me all night to make sure I was alive and the phone put in sexy and sweet.

    Dickens is my ten pounds Adventure Dog who was very concerned about that TIA, not my date. In fact I have never written ANYONE that I was sexy and sweet, so why would it predict that?

    Mark I will email you later, I am tired. Being very old school, I went and had my hair styled and my nails done, just in case I had to go to hospital. And no, I don’t have blue hair, it’s natural ash blonde, and no, I don’t have a weekly do. I show up when I hit town.

  32. If I ever got stopped by a traffic cop and tried to plead that I didn’t know what the Geschwindigkeitsbegrenzung was, I’d probably quickly find myself out of the car, walking a straight line and touching my nose with my eyes closed.

    That would be an advantage for Arlo…he’d never have a problem finding his nose with his eyes closed.

  33. Many rather strange posts showing up the last hour or two. I think you guys are getting punchy. But you are always amusing, entertaining, and helpful, sort of.

    Dear Domaucan, VERY glad the roll-over was no worse, and most thankful that you escaped bad injury. Should I ask about the car, or doesn’t it matter so much. Totalled?

    Dear Jackie, you are so courageous, I don’t know how you do it. I am most thankful that you are okay after the latest misfortune! What was it exactly that flew into your eye? It said “plaque” (I ALWAYS have trouble spelling that word.) Try to take it easy and recover as carefully as possible. I guess the word “careful” isn’t in your vocabulary.

  34. Charlotte dearest, I got severe atherosclerosis at the early age of 50 thanks to my lifelong lupus. I began having TIA or what some call mini-strokes. So far I have sustained no permanent damage to brain, vision or facial paralysis.

    Who could tell with me?

    Seriously, I had 99.9 % blockage of one carotid artery and about 60% on other side. They roto-rooted out the blocked one a decade or so ago, replacing it to work. The other one they watch. This isn’t as easy as a stint for the heart.

    What I had was a piece of plaque break loose from an artery and travel through my left eye. I have had a number of these but not driving. You temporarily lose sight and sort of lose coordination, brain funstion, it is a stroke that if you are lucky does no damage, your vision and brain returns to functioning.

    I was afraid for others but not for me. I looked at my hand on gear shift and it was an out of body experience, sort of how it must be for pilots flying and blacking out from lack of oxygen.

  35. Good morning Villagers….

    And it is a good morning when you hear positive results from accidents like Dom’s and Jackie’s TIA attack. I believe in Angels, and God’s guiding hand, both were you two. The Good Lord has much more in store for you both….bless you both.

    There you are Miss Charlotte….you been doing OK?

    Ya’ll have a blessed day…..

  36. And the long grind continues.

    As of this morning, I have lost 39.5 pounds. I weighed in at 173.

    I don’t know if I will ever reach 170 or my higher goal of 165, but I will keep trying.

  37. Good work on the weight Rick! Be careful that you don’t “back-slide” as we call it in the South. I’d lost 40 pounds post transplant, but regained almost 15 pounds from “stress eating.” The biggest problem was that I was drinking several sweetened soft-drinks a day (4-5!) but I was also constantly snacking.

    I’ve forced myself to only one coke a day, and I’ve substituted fresh veggie snacks. I’ve started reversing the upward trend and have reduced about 5 pounds of the recent gain. Once I get some of the stressors under control it should be a little easier to manage the continued weight loss. I need to drop about 6o pounds from my pre-transplant weight in January to get to a healthy point. That would be 100 pounds from my all-time high weight of 325 pounds a few years ago, just before my first kidney transplant failed completely. My excuse then was the prednisone that I took as anti-rejection medication…

  38. “Tempolimit, sign of invasive English, cc’d. from one of the above links:

    “Geschwindigkeitsbegrenzung f ?(genitive Geschwindigkeitsbegrenzung, plural Geschwindigkeitsbegrenzungen)
    1.speed limit

    Synonyms[edit] Tempolimit”

    Wonder if Germans worry about that as much as l’Academie Francaise does? [Sorry / that missing cedilla. (Speelczech accepts cedilla.) ].

    Peace, emb

  39. No expert, but I’d surmise that the most widespread example of invasive English might be “OK”. Probably few places in the world where that would not be understood.

  40. Good morning all, my sleep patterns are messed up. I seem able to sleep in hotels but not my own bedroom. Dickens worries so about me and starts trying to get me up. That is annoying and endearing at the same time. He works do hard, all ten pounds of him.

    Yes Debbe, the Guardian angels have been hard at work for 71 years. There must be more than one assigned I decided long ago.
    My life has been inexplicably saved so many times.

    On one such occasion I remarked to a devote Christian friend that I hoped I didn’t have to go to Africa because I’d be lousy at it. She replied that I was already a missionary here, that every day of my life was a witness to the Lord. I try to remember those words.

    I am not the saint my dogs and friends would have me be.

    Hang in Rick and David, we didn’t put this weight on overnight so we shouldn’t expect to lose it that way. Keep drinking water and substitute healthier food choices on all we put in our bodies.

    You know what Kenny Chesney sings, “Our bodies are temples or so they say, I treat mine like an old honky tonk, greasy cheeseburgers and cheap cigarettes” OR close enough to the words. Persevere.

  41. Nancy Kirk, for Bruce Campbell go to NetFlix and watch Burn Notice. It is a neat little show. And Ghost already mentioned Brisco County, Jr, which I also liked. 🙂

    As to the “warrior princess”, I think the second picture is someone doing a very good Zena cosplay. On the first one, I got nothing.

  42. Otto Korreckt, the Spelling Nazi. I like it. 🙂

    OW: Actually, “Hello” could be first, since several languages (ex; Spanish, Portuguese, German) have very similar words for the greeting.

    A few years ago there was a pink Breast Cancer Awareness t-shirt that caused a bit of controversy…the one that read “Save the Boobies”. I had to run an errand during the noon hour and ended up in line behind a young lady with a t-shirt with a small logo of The Hard Rock Cafe on it and the message, “Rack On.”

    A bit more subtle, I think. And btw, hers were definitely worth saving. 😉

  43. Wow, Anonie; three perfect posts in a row. You must have banished the Spelling Nazi. And if you must buy lots of clothes, buy sheer ones. 😉

    After thinking about it, I believe the controversy about the “Save the Boobies” shirts stemmed from a cheerleader squad that wore them at a high school football game. That’s understandable…everyone knows high school students are much too innocent to be exposed to the word “boobies”. Or to the idea of “boobies”. Much less to “boobies” themselves.

  44. Actually I have started rereading to see what idiot phone has changed my words to say. And still he gets past me.

    Decided not to go to NC right now, I’ve decided to hang out at home awhile and rest, relax, sleep, cook some of my produce in garden, puLL a few weeds after I slather myself in mosquito repellent. They like that toasted sugar smell of cookies I wear.

    Yes, I smell like the Archangel Michael in the movie, like fresh baked cookies. It’s a fragrance and body lotion. Body wash, etc.
    Ran into my dog groomer in grocery and she noticed. She would.

  45. David: Backsliding is something that I fear greatly because I know how often it happens. I’m trying as hard as I can and keeping up with the exercise.

    I was unaware that you had had a transplant. You have my deepest respect.

  46. Everyone:

    Thanks yet again for the encouragement – it helps to keep me going.

    I am hopeful that I will be able to report Friday morning that I am 40 pounds lighter.

  47. In her last posting I believe that Denise hinted at doing some traveling so for now I will not worry and assume that she is away having fun, for now. I’ve been having some long busy days and have not had a chance to get back to, but I will.

  48. On the road again this weekend. A couple of hours away from home I realized I’d left my portable WiFi puck at home. Might have access with the friends we’ll be with for the next two nights, but it’s iffy once we get to my sister-in-law’s. Her late husband set up their system and she swears she doesn’t know the password.

    Tomorrow night should be interesting – a tour of a Macon cemetery with actors (including one of our friends) portraying city notables who are buried there. Then Sunday we’ll be at a baby shower for our niece; we skipped having kids ourselves but get to be “grands” anyway!

  49. Jerry, I hope you are right about Denise. I don’t even remember when she last posted, so it’s been quite a while.

    Do you think that Oscar Wilde is really posting from The Great Beyond? Nice if he could do it.

    Jackie, I apologise for wandering off (mentally; I was home all day) and not looking for your answer to my question about what happened. You explained it perfectly and now I understand what the problem was — and is ongoing. How you have the courage to go on and forge ahead in spite of poor health — you are an inspiration to the rest of us; surely to me. Your 10 lb. Adventure Dog is a dear, so concerned and loving.

    You are doing the right thing, to stay home, rest and relax. Dickens can use the R and R, as well.

  50. Oscar Wilde certainly had his problems, but he was funny. I finally dragged out my Mark Twain book “Joan of Arc” yesterday and I think that I read about two pages so far. Is it supposed to start in the middle of the story or am I missing a volume?

  51. RA, I recently acquired one of those portable 4G LTE “WiFi pucks”…très pratique. It’s nice not to have to depend on the kindness of strangers for InterWebNet connectivity for my laptop and tablet when I travel, plus it’s a great backup when my home WiFi gets contentious, as it has done several times lately.

  52. Those of you have made the decision to strive to reach a healthy weight…I salute you. Those of you who need to make the decision to strive to reach a healthy weight…I encourage you. All of you I remind to have realistic expectations and remember that slow and steady wins the race. (The latter is something my sister constantly reminded her Weight Watchers students.)

    When I started back attending WW classes after a hiatus, I immediately realized, from her remarks and overall attitude, that we had a young lady in the class for whom the program would never work. Two weeks ago, she announced she was dropping out, because she had “only” lost six pounds in three months. (Those pounds were part of what she had spent the last eight years gaining.) I myself have actually gained two pounds over the last three weeks. (No surprise there…two of those weeks were The Period of Time Formally Known as The Past Two Weeks from Hell™, and my gym schedule paid most of the price for that.) But rather than getting discouraged, I recognize that is a normal part of a long-term process, and I fully expect I will lose those two pounds, and possibly more, in the next week. Hey, it’s not like it’s the first time I’ve the same pounds more than once. 🙂

  53. Jerry no not the reason.
    Mark Twain = 2 fathoms = the old leads mans call = clear sailing.
    More likely from his California newspaper days so the people he was poking fun at
    could not find him for retribution.

    Oscar – A.G.Bell thought the proper telephone greeting should be “Ahoy”

  54. Good morning Villagers….

    Go, Rick, go….with you positive attitude, I am sure you will reach your goal.

    David…good luck too, anti-rejection medication can be curse when trying to loose weight, but it is necessary in your case….take baby steps.

    Jackie, like Miss Charlotte, it is good to take a break. Besides look at the work you put into your garden. Now is the time to harvest your investment.

    Re: today’s real time strip, have any of you tried making pumpkin pie from scratch and not the can? I don’t think I would have the patience. I buy it already made 🙂 From the Amish County Corner…and it is good. And their cinnamon rolls are to die for. Sorry weight watchers, I’m getting carried away here..I have the opposite problem, I’ll take those 36 pounds Rick.

    Jean, good name…..

    Jerry, I think you are right, Denise maybe traveling. She’ll pop back in sometime. She has gone MIA before and returned.

    Ya’ll have a blessed day………..

  55. I will enjoy this for at least today.

    As of this morning, I have now lost 41 pounds.

    I weighed in at 171.4.

    My weight usually yo-yos a little during the week. For example, because of a trip to DC for a wedding this past weekend, I wasn’t able to exercise as strenuously as I usually do, but I still ate as I should. Result: I started Monday morning at 177.8.

    A steady diet of healthy food and the important hard workouts do it for me.

    JJ: Thanks for telling us several years that you lost 25 pounds in a short while just by greatly reducing carbohydrates. I have always kept that in mind.

  56. Y’all will say there is nothing left to eat but I eliminated Fried foods, potatoes, rice, pasta, most breads, sugars, desserts, most salts, most meats except chicken.

    I am left with vegetables, fruits, whole grains, some dairy, eggs, fish, chicken, water, unsweetened iced tea and Diet Coke. I need to lose that Coke.

    I seem to end up with a lot of food on my plate and I don’t work out hard at all.

  57. We’ve discussed this here a couple of times previously…”jack-o’-lantern” pumpkins are not the same as “pie making” pumpkins. Not that I’m being pedantic. I firmly believe that facts should never be allowed to ruin a good joke. Jay Leno made a career of that.

    Anonie, I read just the other day that Diet Coke sales dropped 8% in 3Q, on top of sharp drops in the first two quarters of this year. The suspected reason is that people are concerned about the possible health effects of the aspartame used as an artificial sweetener. But the article also noted that Coke Zero sales are up 8% for the same period. I think I may see the problem.

  58. Thanks a lot. I just cleaned up after one of the kitties threw up their breakfast. It is funny. Ghost, muscle weighs more than fat. The best shape I was ever in I weighed 20 pounds more than I do now.

  59. Ghost Sweetie, I’ll see your Tasteless Photo and raise you an Even Worse Video!

    To the weight watchers, hang in there! I have watched my sister do the diet rollercoaster thing for years. She has gone to Weight Watchers meetings on and off for a long time, and even when not going tries to follow their plan, but if she gains a pound gets discouraged and binges on an entire bag of Oreos or Publix cupcakes or the like, gains even more weight, rinse, repeat. Even when she can stay on the program she drinks Diet Coke with Splenda, which isn’t all that good for her. I wish I could help her, but she’s a grown-up so there’s not a lot I can do.

  60. Debbe
    America’s Test Kitchen found the canned pumpkin is just as good as scooping it yourself.
    Because of the water content I (their suggestion) spread it on several layers of paper
    towel and covers with several more. That dries it so it just peels right off and batter is not too wet.

    The artificial sweeteners in diet soda/pop/tonic/cola/coke/sodapop send wrong messages to body so might actually inhibit weight loss.

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