November 3rd, 2009


And now, back to your regularly scheduled wombat…

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Discussion (34)¬

  1. AnonyGirl says:

    And today, *I’m* all caught up on my first read-through of *Digger*. Welcome back from vacation, Ursula!

    “Dragging Destiny around behind her like a screaming toddler” — Fantastic turn of phrase :))) . That could be a one-panel comic on its own, or a whole strip. Heh-heh.

  2. Vinnie D. says:

    And Herne pulls the classic “That’s it. Screw you guys. I’m going home!”

  3. Sabreur says:

    Digger, you know it’s a bad day when the man who ate cursed herbal supplements is more pragmatic than you are. 🙂

  4. JewelWolf says:

    “And now back to your regularly schedualed wombat.” was the part that got me. Has anyone here noticed the strangeness of this? It’s a WOMBAT!!!

  5. Phyrbyrd says:

    JewelWolf, this is an Ursula site. Wombats are par for the course. I’m just amazed there haven’t been any echidnas yet.

  6. Hunter says:

    Yay! It’s back up! And darn. Herne was one of my favorite characters. I hope he shows up again.

  7. Hawk says:

    And next week…ECHIDNAS

    WB from vacation Ursula! Hope you had a blast!

  8. Marrock says:

    But… but when things start to explode is right when the fun begins.

  9. Chris says:

    You know, when people say things like “I’m gettin’ out of here while it’s safe.” in most fiction, they end up walking into something just as perilous. Good luck, Herme.

  10. TekServer says:

    And the Lord said, Let there be Wombats!”
    And the Wombats said, “Oh no you don’t. We were already here. Quit trying to take credit for us!”
    “Sheesh! That’s the third deity this week. What did you do, Digger?”


    (Apropos of nothing; it just popped into my head … )

    See ya later, Herne! (I’m fairly sure of it … )


  11. Bear says:

    Hmm. Anyone else google “Herne”… interesting.

  12. Gramina says:

    Sabreur — I suspect that the current pragmatism and the previous herbal supplements may be closely related 😉

    (“Good decisions come from experience; Experience comes from poor decisions…”)

  13. Rowanmdm says:

    @ Gramina I’ve never heard that quote before, but I really like it.

    I’ve liked Herne, but I didn’t love him until this page. ~sigh~ Now I’m really going to miss him!

  14. NigaiAmai Yume says:

    Is this an error?

    Digger in last panel: “Would that that were an option.” (double “that”)

    I’m not entirely certain how to properly phrase this with the world provided (I’d have gone with “if that were an option”). It’s a common optical illusion that double words on separate lines are skimmed past, like here, but the use of “would” confuses me.

  15. mouse says:

    NigaiAmaiYume – i’m not enough of a grammarian to explain the language, but “that that” is a valid construction. “would that” sort of means “if only that were possible” – as in “would that I could” or “would that it was so”. the second have “that were an option”, of course is clear. “would that” has a sort of wistful feel to it – “would that there were unicorns” or “would that i had a million dollars”, while “if” is so much more pragmatic. true, digger is a pragmatic type, but i think in this context, the more wishful fill is more appropriate.

  16. mouse says:

    drat, no edit button – second _half_, not second _have_.

  17. JewelWolf says:

    GAH!!! Too much GRAMMER!!!!

  18. wolfofsilver says:

    Mouse, you got it. 🙂 I’m no grammarian either, but I did have Linguistics as a minor for 2-3 years. The words themselves make the person (AKA, me) slow down to contemplate the sentence closer. Not sure if it’s a natural turn of phrase, but I like the idea that Digger is wistfully contemplating it. lol

    On another note, I love how Herne’s head in that last panel is the only thing showing. If we didn’t know, it looks like a deer walked into the panel and spoke up. Very cool. I will also miss Herne; I’m hoping he comes back in–Destiny plays it’s hand, and he comes grumbling and growling back, wondering why the hell Destiny has to smear itself all over him.

  19. TekServer says:

    I have no formal training or certifications in Linguistics, but I am currently proofreading a friend’s papers for his Doctoral program. And he’s getting A’s, so I must be doing something right. 😉

    Anyway, I agree that mouse’s explanation was spot on. “Would that” is equivalent to “I wish”, but with a more wistful feel and a connotation of less likelihood that the desired outcome will come to pass. (This connotation is reinforced by the second half, “that were an option”, which implies a desired but unlikely objective with the use of the subjunctive mood – “were” instead of “was”.)

    I think we’ll all agree that Ursula is every bit as much a linguistic artist as she is a visual one.


  20. Viridis says:

    Oh, Herne. I’m pretty sure you’ve been with this motley crew too long already, and Destiny already has its claws in you. You may try to play it safe and get out now, but you’ll probably be dragged back in whether you like it or not. I mean, a human with a deer’s head? Clearly the weird of Ursula’s world has already marked you. There’s no escape after that. >D

  21. kat says:

    Herne… you’re awesome. We’re gonna miss you, man.

    Good luck with that head-of-a-deer thing.

  22. Mark Antony says:

    Wow…was it really that confusing? I see that construction all the time. I USE that construction all the time. Not that that’s indicative of very much, I suppose….

  23. Lucius Appaloosius says:

    Would that the subjunctive mood were as well respected elsewhere as it is here…….. 7@=e

  24. Otookee says:

    Of course, this produces a mental image of a chibi Destiny from the Sandman comics, complete with hooded robe and teensy little book, being dragged behind Murai…

  25. David. says:

    Mark Antony–I think it’s likely that NigaiAmai Yume isn’t a native English speaker. Those who grew up immersed in a language, internalize its rules in a way that non-native speakers have to struggle long and hard to understand. (Just for practice, try putting into words exactly under which conditions you’d say “I was” vs. “I have been” vs. “I had been.” But if you’d learned English in school, that’d be pretty basic stuff.) So it’s not surprising either that you are not at all confused by the construction, or that Yume is baffled by it.

  26. c0ntrary says:

    screaming toddler, I’m guessing that is a result of the recent trip to Dizzyworld?

  27. KNO3 says:

    Welcome back Ursula!

  28. Alec says:

    It will be interesting to see if Herne actually gets away. It seems like destiny in epic stories is pretty contagious. If pragmatic Digger caught it the man who _already_ has a deer head is probably doomed.

  29. DanFM says:

    “Would that that were an option” sounds more like something Murai would say than Digger. Maybe she overheard their conversation?

  30. TekServer says:

    I was = happened in the past
    I have been = started in the past, continues to present
    I had been = started in the past, happened for a time, then ended in the past

    Yes, I’m a grammar geek. Actually, I’m a multifunction geek – I have many geeky elements to draw on …


  31. NigaiAmai Yume says:

    Actually, David, I’m a native English Speaker (Non-Quebec Canadian). I have encountered “Would that”, but very rarely, so the “Would that that” still sounds VERY weird to me.

    Thank everyone for the great grammar lessons – Now I have to use them in some of my own stories, to prove I can learn. ^-^

    And @Otookee – I want that fan art!! ^-^

  32. Rags says:

    (”Good decisions come from experience; Experience comes from poor decisions…”)

    Hence, good decisions come from bad ones…

  33. BunnyRock says:

    I think that my poor dyslexic brain just jumped ship at some point during that grammar session.

    As for the ”Good decisions come from experience; Experience comes from poor decisions” Line i like it, but it seems a little too cut and dried. A lot of the time you never get to find out if your decisions were good or bad, hence the hell of indecision and the deeper hell of “could have been” and “If i had done that different”. I have always been deeply suspicious of people who say “sometimes its better to be decisive that to be right” as it implies that any decision is better than none. They are right, indecision can very often be more dangerous than any of the posible decisions but the fact that they are right is no reason to let them get away with it. Using the fact you are right to avoid thinking or becoming better ranks up with “Using the truth in a way more damaging that lies” and “using the rules to do exactly what the rules are in place to stop you doing without technically breaking any” and in my personal lexicon of sins. Just below “following a health and safety procedure because the rules say you have to but doing it so half arced that you’ve done nothing to decrease the actual risk and just wasted my bloody time” and “That grin the Buggers always give you when they have done one of the aforementioned and know that because they’ve technically broken no rules you are not allowed to go over and give them a good kicking, and know you know this”

    This is why it’s better to by the cook than the foreman. Foremen and supervisors and teachers have procedures for dealing with idiots and sloppy workers. The cook has control over the contents of everyone’s sandwiches, and grants access to the tea and biscuits. And when you’re on an archaeological dig on an uninhabited island or a field miles from any alternate source of lunch then that, my friends, is power. Plus there is a lot of competition amongst archaeologists to be the supervisor or teach the new diggers, but no one tries to stop you if you volunteer to cook, and you can still do all the good archaeological bits and teaching as well on the side.

  34. Lord the 22nd says:

    Destiny, thy name is dangerous and annoying..