Spread The F Word

F Minus is the daily comic strip by Tony Carrillo
Visit www.FMIN.us for more information.
www.GoComics.com for today's comic.

Feb 28, 2011


I make a special cameo appearance in F Minus once in a while, usually as a criminal of some kind.
I do the same thing for the local news.

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Feb 15, 2011

My Disappointing Ellen Evening

Since I was a kid, I had an innate ability to spot the difference between authority and fake authority. When a police officer tells me I need to stand behind the yellow line, I stand behind the yellow line. When a guy wearing a yellow polo shirt and an I.D. card on a lanyard says stand behind the yellow line, the trouble begins. The following is an example of how this tendency plays out in my life, and why I get on TV so much.

Today I was on Twitter, thinking about how annoying Twitter is, when someone retweeted a tweet (ugh) from the Ellen TV show. Apparently representatives from her show were going to be at ASU giving away HUGE prizes.
I needed something that started with an A, S, and U. I grabbed an Afro, stuck it on my Skeleton, opened an Umbrella, and dashed out the door. One of the perks of working at home is the freedom to drop everything at a moment's notice and rush off to try to win some fabulous prizes. I'll have to stay up late to finish, but it's still nice to have the option.
When I got there, I saw a giant truck loaded with new cars, with Ellen's face plastered on the side. My '98 Corolla has served me well, and refuses to break down, but it would be fun to put the F Minus license plate on a new car. Unfortunately, a huge crowd had already gathered, including several people with umbrellas. I felt a little disappointed, until I noticed a news crew setting up to interview a guy in a shark suit. I decided that if I was going to win a car, I needed to get interviewed and get some attention.

This is where ignoring fake authority comes in handy. I strolled over to where the news crew was setting up. A security guy (this one was in a purple polo) said, "Hey, you need to stand over there behind the rope."

"I'm going to be interviewed." I said confidently. He scratched his head, looked around, and waved me on.

Confidence will get you everywhere kids. If you act like you know what you're doing, most people will think you do. That's how I managed to sneak into the VIP section at a celebrity football game without a pass, and sit in a section with a bunch of Playboy Bunnies and Wee-Man.

So I stood next to the guy in the shark costume. When the anchor turned around, I was standing there smiling. Within minutes I was on live TV. I don't remember what I said.

After the interview, the security guard tried to usher me away. I acted confused and shuffled around the staging area. This works because technically, no one has the specific job of making sure Tony Carrillo isn't in the staging area.

I ended up in the front row using the "confused dork" method. Things were looking up. The Ellen show was going to be recording live, and some of her minions were choosing who was going to be featured on the show.

As the title of this blog suggests, I wasn't picked. They chose the nearly naked college students over me and my skeleton. I know. Shocking. But as it turns out, the prize was only $5000. Sure, that's still a great prize, but after they paraded those new cars in front of us, it was kind of a let-down. No one got a car. What's the deal, Ellen? I spent the rest of the night irritating the security guards by not standing on the curb when they asked me to stand on the curb.

Even though I didn't win, it was still a fun evening. You might see me in the background of Ellen tomorrow, or being interviewed on Channel 12 news tonight at ten if you're in AZ. Remember kids, don't respect the polo.

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Feb 7, 2011

Hate Mail! A History of Nonsense

On Super Bowl Sunday, while everyone else was enjoying the company of friends, family, and barbecue, someone was crafting an email.

But before I get to that, I have to take you back four years. In January of 2007, I received an email from a gentleman (we'll call him Norman) pointing out a discrepancy in this comic:
Norman said:
"If the guy has 75 cents and only three coins, the only possible combination would be three quarters. Therefore, all three coins in his hand should have at least to be the same size..."

I replied:

"Are you making the assumption that this is American currency they are dealing with?"

Norman- "Are you telling me that it's not?"

Tony- "Anything's possible! Plus there could be some smaller coins hidden beneath those larger visible coins in his hand. Or they could be small stones made of some valuable mineral, with a black market value totaling
75 cents. The sad thing is that we may never know the truth...
Thanks for reading F Minus!"

Norman- "If your editor made the same observation, would you give him the same line of B.S.?"

Tony- "I dunno, they don't usually make pointless observations... but yes, I guess I would!"

Norman- "I guess a "pointless" observation is only fitting, given the equally pointless
nature of your strip."

At this point, the conversation ended. I can't remember why I didn't reply again, or why I neglected to post this exchange for you to read.

It doesn't really matter, because I got a reminder on Super Bowl Sunday, 2011. This email refers to this comic from a few days earlier: "I've let a lot of your strips pass by without comment since pointing out how the coins in a character's hand, based upon relative sizes, did not conform to the aggregate amount that was supposed to be represented thereby. (Your response to this was pretty dismissive, so I'm not expecting much more in ths case.) However, Your panel of January 31st, while very funny on its face, contains yet another jarring inconguity that detracted from the intended humorous effect.
The panel plays off the fact that the word "dolly" has multiple definitions, one of which is a girl's plaything and another is a piece of hardware most typically employed by movers. The problem is that the hardware pictured in the panel isn't a "dolly," but a "hand truck."
But I don't blame you exclusively (now or previously), because I know that cartoonists also work with editors, who, in my opinion, bear the greater responsibility for ensuring some measure of accuracy or verisimiltude (where appropriate). So feel free to forward this to him or her."

I set down my potato salad and registered my reply:
"Good to hear from you again, Norman. First of all, please do not hesitate to point out any incongruity you come across in my comic. I value your input. As to the matter at hand, it's true, the hardware pictured is most commonly known as a hand truck. However, it is known by several other terms, including dolly, two wheeler, stack truck, trolley, trolley truck, sack barrow, sack truck, tea-bagger, bag barrow, dung porter, goat roller, and a "poopsie". These terms vary based on region and time period. For instance, "poopsie" is a seventeenth century term.
Clearly the character in this comic is from a region and era in which referring to this tool as a dolly is common. It is likely the daughter learned this from her father. I'm not sure where the father learned it. To be honest, I haven't developed the character enough to be certain, but I'm thinking he may have got it from his uncle.
Incidentally, I did forward your email to my editors, per your instructions, and they asked that I let you know that you misspelled "incongruity", "verisimilitude", and "this". Don't feel bad, this is what they do.
Stay vigilant,
-Tony Carrillo"

This morning he wrote back:
"Clearly, you have WAY too much free time!"

No arguments there, Norman.

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