*from*

__Our Kampf____Amazon__or

__Powell's__or

__me__

**• • •**

"Mike and Jon, Jon and Mike—I've known them both for years, and, clearly, one of them is very funny. As for the other: truly one of the great hangers-on of our time."—Steve Bodow, head writer,

*The Daily Show*

**•**

"Who can really judge what's funny? If humor is a subjective medium, then can there be something that is really and truly hilarious? Me. This book."—Daniel Handler, author,

*Adverbs*, and personal representative of Lemony Snicket

**•**

"The good news: I thought

*Our Kampf*was consistently hilarious. The bad news: I’m the guy who wrote

*Monkeybone*."—Sam Hamm, screenwriter,

*Batman*,

*Batman Returns*, and

*Homecoming*

## January 02, 2010

### Happy Subtly Creepy Cartoon New Year!

If you figure out how old the father and son are in this cartoon (found here), it actually shapeshifts from something depressingly unfunny to a small masterpiece of alarming creepiness.

Unless I've forgotten 10th grade algebra, the son is 22 years old and the father is 79. I find the most unsettling thing not the way the son looks or the fact he's still apparently in second grade, but the bizarre difference in their heights.

—Jonathan Schwarz

Posted at January 2, 2010 07:10 AMGoing in a different direction with the blog this year, I see. I guess opposing totalitarian doom is pretty futile.

Maybe the cartoonist doesn't know the answer. He seems to be bitter against math.

Posted by: Marcus at January 2, 2010 09:03 AMi wonder who knocked out the son's teeth.

also i find algebra just confuses me, so i don't use it. i never in my life have been able to cancel properly. we know that two of the factors of the father's-age-in-5-years are 3 and 4, since he says the number is (ostensibly without fractions) the result of multiplying other numbers by 3 and 4. since we know that the gap in the son's ages is 7 years (from -1 to +6), that means another factor of the father's-age-in-5-years is 7. multiply the three known prime factors (3*4*7) to get 84, the father's-age-in-5-years.

Posted by: oops at January 2, 2010 09:14 AMYes, I get son = 22, dad = 79 too -- though perhaps we've both forgotten algebra.

I suppose that if I were in a more charitable mood I'd call it "a tedious bit of surreality" rather than "a small masterpiece of alarming creepiness," but I'm not in a charitable mood at the moment, so creepy it is.

Nice catch!

Yeah, I thought that couldn't be right the first time I went through it. lol.

And in the spirit of loling at bad math skills, I'll show my work:

4x = 3(x+7)

where x is the son's age minus one

divide both sides by three

1/3x + x = x+7

divide both sides by x

1/3x = 7

multiply by three

x = 21

and one to get the son's age

multiply by 4 and subtract five to get the father's age.

At once I feel both immensely clever and just a tad bit stupid. Yay, me!

Posted by: Svlad Jelly at January 2, 2010 10:04 AMThis is a systems of equations problem, where A = B, B= C, therefore C = A and we can eliminate one of the variables.

First statement:

5+y = 4(x-1)

Second statement:

5 + y = 3(x + 6)

Therefore:

3(x + 6) = 4(x -1)

Solve for X, then plug back into either original equation to get Y.

x=22, y=79

Posted by: kylem at January 2, 2010 01:12 PMI didn't get these numbers, and now I see why - I interpreted the father's second statement differently.

I too get 4(x-1) = y + 5

Y is current dad's age, x is current son's age.

Second equation:

3(x+6)=y

Because I thought he was saying the "in five years" part applied only to equation 1 because it was in the first speech bubble. So my second y is a stand alone y, not y+5. But I see how you could read it such that the "in five years" should be distributed to both equations. I wasn't sure about that and now I see that the default interpretation was not the one I chose.

Otherwise, you get 27 for son, 99 for dad, even worse!

Posted by: magoo at January 2, 2010 01:55 PMJon, what compelled you to work it out?

Posted by: Aaron Datesman at January 2, 2010 03:24 PMNo. It's just depressingly unfunny. An exaltation of the new age of the gleefully uneddicated....

Posted by: 99 at January 2, 2010 05:56 PMFrom the same site, I liked this one better:

http://randomfunnypicture.com/funny-pictures-animals/hamster-loves-sweeping/

Posted by: mistah charley, ph.d. at January 2, 2010 06:49 PMTrack, Trig, Trip.......Trooper. Whoa... I get it.... It's a trick question. It's not his son-- it's his son's son, according to Andrew Sullivan.

Next case.

Posted by: Sherlock at January 3, 2010 06:20 AMTrack, Trig, Trip.......Trooper. Whoa... I get it.... It's a trick question. It's not his son-- it's his son's son, according to Andrew Sullivan.

Next case.

Posted by: Sherlock at January 3, 2010 06:21 AMoops

Your method of solving part of the problem with factors fascinates me. Were you taught that, or did you pick it up on your own? If the latter, do you remember how? (But don't you still need simple algebra to determine the son's age?)

mistah charley

I prefer that mouse cartoon too. cute and vulgar is one of my favorite combinations

sherlock

I bet that's a good andrew sullivan joke that I don't get, which is a bummer (to date myself).

Posted by: N E at January 3, 2010 11:20 AMTo see it on a graphing calculator:

Y1=((x+9)/4)

Y2=((x-13)/3)

Happy New Year!

The kid is 9 and dad is 32.

Posted by: shadou at January 3, 2010 01:52 PMThat's right! Just throw out all the math and everything the dad says in the third panel and look at them pichers... except... I can't remember... are kids still missing any front teeth at nine?

Posted by: 99 at January 3, 2010 06:46 PMThis is really beginning to remind me of Hofstadter's MU Puzzle... except I don't think that was the cartoonist's intent....

Posted by: 99 at January 3, 2010 06:51 PM