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Posted at 8:30 AM ET, 02/13/2009

Five Burning Questions: Take the Official 'Riffs Quiz

By Michael Cavna

Morning, Cartoon Nation...

So many head-scratching characters, so many unanswered puzzlers. Each and every day, if you're reading carefully, the comics seem to raise as many quirky questions as they answer.

So today, 'Riffs will wade into these choppy waters to address the Five Burning Questions O' Skewed Logic that bedevil me to no end (or at least till suppertime, tops). To wit, the five tongue-in-cheek brain-teasers for your perusing pleasure (correct answers worth five points each -- not that I KNOW the correct answers, mind you):

1. If Kryptonite is the only substance that can alter your superhuman faculties, what's even the point of quaffing a cold brew?

Looking at today's "Rhymes With Orange," I can say: I "get" why Batman would want to knock a few beers back, but Superman? What could possibly be the point? Either Superman drinks some sort of Krypto-Lite that just gives him a swell interstellar buzz, OR...Superman just takes some perverse glee in drinking Bruce Wayne under the bar night after bleak, embittered, thankless night. (No wonder Batman is recently "dead" yet again -- Clark vanquished his liver.)

2. Can Agnes not afford stems for her spectacles -- or was she simply born without actual visible pupils? (a.k.a. "Little Orphan Annie's Disease.")

The thing is, if Agnes indeed requires corrective lenses, she is not alone: "Blondie" tightwad Mr. Dithers refuses to shell out for eyewear stems, too. What is wrong with these freakpeople? (Cannot their cartoonists afford the extra six cents a week of India ink?)

Then again, these lens-demented characters could also go completely nuts and -- pulling a "Speed Bump" -- wear stems that have absolutely NO bridge.
Somewhere, an Optometrist to the Comic Strip Stars is having the last laugh.

3. Are Keane's kids so controlled that they are even forced to walk in lockstep unison?

This is just sad, really. After nearly five decades of hitting their cues, the tykes are like little child-star soldiers. ("Von Trapps, meet the Keane Kids. Kids -- the Von Trapps.")

Next up, the VH1 special: Behind the scenes with the misbehavin' "Keanes." (Episode One: "Jeffy -- The Lost Years.")

4. Who's more secure in his manhood: (a) the "Judge Parker" fella who poses panther-like on a stool in front of this boss, arm akimbo and clutching a manly brew; or (b) the milquetoast dude who sits meekly behind his ginormous tie, mumbling weightless statements that are empty as those office-romance rumors that imply Ted has testosterone.

Actually, given Sam Driver's "need" to drive oh-so-flashy sportscars, this one isn't quite so clear-cut.

5. Does Mark Trail ever -- ever! -- actually look another human being square in the eye?

"You never LOOK at me, Mark!" we can just hear Cherry Trail complaining on occasion, behind closed panels. It's not personal, though, Cherrybaby -- given the funky perspective, Mark rarely looks right at ANYONE. Our best guess -- chalk it up to his ultimate Nature Tip: Never look an agitated bear, cougar or deer-stealing blond whackjob directly in the eye.
Actually, that's pretty good advice, come to think of it.

Have you got a comic-strip stumper for the band? We're all ears, if not funky-spectacled eyes.

By Michael Cavna  | February 13, 2009; 8:30 AM ET
Categories:  The Morning Line  
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Yeah, you've gotta wonder whether Clark Kent keeps any booze at home, and if so, why. It's like the old joke: "What triggered Clark and Lois's first fight as a married couple?" "She went to cook dinner, and she discovered that he didn't own any pot holders or an oven mitt."

Posted by: seismic-2 | February 13, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

This Mark Trail story arc is just ...... so ...... bizarre

Posted by: JkR- | February 13, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

1. Superman drinks to forget, except he always forgets that alcohol has no effect on him.
2. Agnes has no stems because that would mess up her lovely hair.
3. Family Circus- stop analyzing what your puny mind can never understand-B.K.
4. Ted in Sally Forth wins since he at doesn't feel the need to always wear an outfit taken off a dead ranger, unlike...
5. Mark Trail- who once looked a yellow bellied marmot in the eye and still is in counseling over it.

Posted by: Montanan | February 13, 2009 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Dithers wears pince nez and Agnes has no temples because Dennis has no neck.

Posted by: jimbo1949 | February 13, 2009 8:16 PM | Report abuse

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