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December 30, 2007


Filed under: Arlo and Janis, Bill Bickel, CIDU, comic strips, comics, electric blankets, humor — Cidu Bill @ 12:02 am



  1. Electric blankets, especially older ones, have a reputation (earned or otherwise) for shorting out. The snootier names seem to be an attempt to distance the things from that old rep.

    Comment by Dave Van Domelen — December 30, 2007 @ 2:28 am

  2. “Ol’ Sparky” is a nickname for the electric chair. I have no idea how that relates to this cartoon, but for some reason I think there’s a connection intended in the punchline.

    Comment by SatchelFan — December 30, 2007 @ 11:14 am

  3. I think Arlo is thinking that initially it was a novelty and manufacturers included the word electric in the title. Now it is so commonplace that the blankets can be called warming or automatic. Therefore, electricity (Ol’ Sparky) is progressing beyond a novelty and “coming up in the world”.

    Comment by DSkinner — December 30, 2007 @ 1:33 pm

  4. Perhaps the answer is a combination of comments one and two. That the reputation of electric blankets have turned them into something of a nighttime electric chair. The new names are a way of moving them up from being a defacto electric chair to a luxury item.

    Comment by Nicole — December 30, 2007 @ 1:36 pm

  5. Could it have something to do with Charles Schultz and Linus?

    Comment by panelist — December 30, 2007 @ 8:09 pm

  6. Also – a few years ago there was a big scare about the dangerous electrical field that was supposedly generated by electric blankets (supposedly like those generated around high-voltage electrical lines). My mother was so hysterical that her cells were going to be mutated by this field that she would only turn the blanket on to pre-heat the bed, and would turn it off before getting under the covers. She seems to have conquered that fear somehow.

    Comment by L.B. Wylie — December 31, 2007 @ 11:14 am

  7. It must be just me then. I immediately thought Arlo page. In the last panel it looks to me like he is peering under the blanket at his “Old Sparky” coming up.

    Comment by Unbeliever — December 31, 2007 @ 11:52 am

  8. Electric blankets not only used to short out, but bent or broken wires could actually spark and ignite the blanket – hence “old sparky.” (I had one that sent up a little smoke signal that caused me to rip it off the bed and toss it outside in a hurry.)
    But it sure does look like the last panel is a veiled reference headed toward the Arlo page…

    Comment by Sparkle — December 31, 2007 @ 6:00 pm

  9. Having had an electric blanket catch fire while I was sleeping under it, I can really relate to the industry trying to distance themselves from the “electric” name. I haven’t used one in decades because of that incident.

    Comment by src — January 2, 2008 @ 1:32 pm

  10. My thought is that the names are more euphemistic, leading one to believe that they are better, or more expensive than they actually are.

    What we called the Garbageman as kids became the Trash Collector, then (somehow) Sanitation Engineer, which sounds like it is a much more exalted position.

    Bet they didn’t get a big raise to go with that “promotion.”

    Comment by arik1969 — January 3, 2008 @ 1:55 am

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