Mobius Briefly

Bizarro is brought to you today by Sexy Weatherman.

I got lots of mail on this cartoon about the mobius strip steak. Most people wrote to say they liked it, but a few wrote to tell me that I got the shape of the strip wrong; that it wasn’t a mobius strip. If you don’t know what one is, check this out.

If you are familiar with a mobius strip, you’ll know that it is a shape that only has one side. Sounds impossible, but it’s true, in a mathematical sense. If an ant crawls along one of the flat surfaces it will traverse all sides without ever changing sides, as shown famously by M.C. Escher. You can make one by cutting a long strip of paper, turning one end of it halfway around and taping it to the other end. It makes a twisted loop that actually only has one side. If you then start to draw a dotted line down the middle, both sides of the paper would eventually have dots without your ever having to turn it over, so to speak. It sounds complicated but it is much easier than making an origami toilet.

The confusion on this drawing is the question of what happens when the strip crosses behind itself. If you see it as twisting again, it is not a mobius strip. My intention was that it does not twist in the blind spot so it is a mobius strip. In the diagram below I show what happens in the obscured areas.

I probably could have drawn it better by adding less fat in the area where the red arrow is on this diagram, as show below on this ever-so-slightly revised version.

Oh well, these things happen. This cartoon was one of my colleague, Wayno’s ideas, by the way. Here’s his story about it.

Our next cartoon was the idea of a friend of mine in Los Angeles by the name of Jeff Topper. We tossed around this idea of the meaning of “debriefing” for a while before coming up with this version. I’ve never been in the service but I’m guessing this kind of thing happens all the time. I, for one, feel sorry for our men and women in the armed forces for having to endure this kind of invasion of privacy.

These and many many more Bizarro cartoons can be found on products of unlimited description here.

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21 Responses to Mobius Briefly

  1. cinders23 says:

    Just so you don’t have to suffer a debriefing while going through security at the airport!

  2. Kelly Watson says:

    I always love your comics for your sense of wit, including this one. But I can’t believe you missed the chance to include a segue way line like…” Meanwhile, back at Commando headquarters”… (get it? going commando?)

    Don’t get me wrong, I love it the way it is and laughed my head off! I just think the extra joke could have hit it out of the park!

  3. Kevin Farrell says:

    Wow, tough crowd. I thought the mobius steak joke was well done (pun intended).

  4. Lucy Parker says:

    Hmm, Sexy Weatherman’s thunderstorms seem to be rising right over Tulsa. That explains a lot of the atmospheric pressure around here.

  5. Piraro, you plagiarizing bastard. You borrowed the TARDIS, you journeyed back to 1970, you hung out at my school when I was learning to draw, and you stole my goddamn’ debriefing gag.

    But, hell, at least one of us had the nerve to actually publish that stupid gag where large numbers of people could see it. What’s really sad is that at 54, I still think it’s funny.

    The Moebius Strip Steak was awesome, too — which reminds me… do you remember a cartoonist named Ed Subitzsky who was in the National Lampoon back in the early/mid ’70s (back when National Lampoon was still worth a damn)? He had something in the Lampoon’s Funny Pages section one month called a Moebius Comic Strip, which, as I recall, you were supposed to cut out and tape together so that you had a comic strip with panels on both sides, and where the last panel led narratively to the first, so that there was no punch line. I was about sixteen when that came out, and I thought it was a stone-cold riot (of course, I’d also just started smoking weed about then).

    • Piraro says:

      The Moebius Comic Strip in Lampoon was a classic. I remember it well. Oddly enough, I was just at National Lampoon’s offices in Los Angeles last week because an acquaintance of mine offices there. The magazine is long gone, of course, but I think one or two small offices are still occupied by the guys who started it decades ago. There are posters for their movies in the hallways but that’s the only thing that would tell you it was their building. Kind of sad. Such a great magazine. One of my fathers-in-law, Chris Browne, used to do cartoons for them occasionally, too, I believe. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

  6. BA says:

    My eyes are going bad from watching online lectures on how to pass the bar exam and reading too many uninteresting words. Plus I like big, colorful, shiny things. So maybe this is just me, but I am jealous that Wayno’s pictures are bigger. When one click on his Mobius Strip Steak it pops up at least 50% bigger than when one clicks on your Mobius Strip Steak.

    Despite my complaint, these are both excellent. In college I had a poster of M.C. Escher’s ants crawling on my wall. It really turned chicks on.

    And I’ve always said that I, myself, am like a lost ant wandering the mobius strip.

    • Piraro says:

      I keep my online cartoons small so that people can’t get a good, high-res print of them for free. A small part of my moderate income is from selling prints. :o)
      I like your reference to being an ant lost on a mobius strip. I’m stealing that. :o)

      • BA says:

        Feel free to poach my beautiful phrase. It was a line in a hip hop sonnet I once constructed, but my dreams of being the next Sir-Mix-A-Lot have dissipated. Enjoy.

  7. mjs says:

    Both cartoons are excellent! Perhaps the two relevant gags could have been combined into a “Mobius Strip Search”–maybe in the TSA line at M.C. Escher airport? Too obscure, I’m afraid. Oh, well.

  8. Ira says:

    Try this for fun: take your Mobius strip and a scissors and cut along the center line you drew all the way around it. Think it will produce two separate strips? Think again!

  9. justin says:

    It’s Sergeant, not sargeant (at least in the U.S. Arm

    y anyways).

  10. Pingback: La banda de Möbius | Series divergentes

  11. Dominic says:

    Man, this is brilliant – what more can I say!!

  12. Big Onion says:

    This is so incredibly awesome. Just a couple days before you posted the cartoon I had actually posted a link to an actual mobius steak I had made (using meat glue, obviously). It didn’t hold up to cooking, but it was a fun little processes.

    A friend of mine directed me to your page, and I all but died laughing. Love your work, by the way!

  13. Sean says:

    I really like the steak comic but I’m not sure why this would be a problem. Cut it once across any narrow section, and you’ve got a normal (yet long) strip of steak.

    Just as it’s simple to make a Mobius strip, it’s very simple to unmake one.

  14. Kathy Demaio says:

    Fantastic blog article.Really thank you! Great.

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