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Perhaps she got highlights done while Greg fed pennies into the machine that distorts and stretches them into "commemorative coins," which I believe is against Federal Law....

(From Real Life Comics. Click on the thumbnail for full sized rotating lunch!)

I've been up the Space Needle more than once. It's just one of those things you do when you live in Seattle, which I did for several years. It's a nice place, it's a great view, and the restaurant is indeed both high quality and "tourist priced." But then, I was more likely to go to Beth's for breakfast for dinner (Greg and Liz take note -- you must go to Beth's for food. 12 egg omelets. Hash Browns to die for. Some of the only decent drip coffee in a fucking city of espresso drinks. And crayons at your table) to begin with.

So, I'd like to extol this strip's accuracy and humor, but I'll be honest. I'm distracted by the fact that apparently they opened up a hair salon on the observation deck of the needle, since in the last strip they were about to ride the elevator up, and now they're there, and Liz has gone from redhead back to blond.

Unless, of course, the prices turned her hair grey, but it hadn't quite finished the process yet. You can't rule that out.

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Hey! Elongated pennies!

I remember my dad's Coin Club used to always have those. One of the members had one of the machines himself, in fact. Actually, he has a Webpage listing the locations of such machines.

I don't remember the URL, though.

And sometime since you posted, Liz's hair colour has changed back to red.

I should mention, I really like the coloring he does for her hair, too. It's got cool highlights and all.

And, with her hair changed back, I can go back to extolling the humor and accuracy. And the view through the windows. That's some good matching up.

IIRC, the defacement of U.S. currency is, by habit of interpretation if not by law, only illegal if done with intent to defraud.

Not so with Canadian currency. Canucks, it apparently is illegal to use those penny-smashing machines on Canadian money. Something about defacing a portrait of the Queen or something? Hm.

Indeed, it is illegal in Canada. I'm from the US, but I remember when the dollar coins first came out in Canada, and the center pieces were falling out, people were getting in trouble for punching out the center and turning the coins into a necklace.

I was never able to afford a single meal at the space needle when I lived there. It's "tourist priced" in a city where your average meal is twice what you pay where I'm from - which is Rochester NY, so it's not like we're comparing to the midwest. Plus, I was told the food wasn't gourmet or anything. If you want to pay a ludicrous amount of money for meals in Seattle, I recommend Dahlia Lounge (I think I'm spelling that correctly) - the food there was amazing the one time I got taken. It's near Icon Grill, which is cute but the food there was really only so-so and definitely not worth the cash.

Personally, I'm more of a Hurricane guy. I was just really sad that their shake machine didn't get fixed until two days before I left.

God, I loved the Hurricane. Sure, it looked like a bomb went off in there, but the food was good and the waitstaff was cute and surly. Though their drip coffee was typical Seattle "you... don't want espresso?" drip coffee, badly made and a little boiled down. Beth's knew how to make a basic cuppa joe.

My personal theory was that she stuck her head out of a window and all the red ran out in a downpour... ;)

Colour me unsurprised. When I visited Seattle in 1998, I checked the price of admittance to that silly tower and immediately turned around and rode the monorail back to my hotel. The weather was sunny and unpleasantly hot too. I think "cold" and "rainy" must have different meanings in American English.

As a side note, Greg appears to havce changed Liz's hair color to red in the strip now.

Yeah, there are a few hazards of doing the comic the way I do. 1) I do it at work, where it's easy to get distracted, 2) I reuse certain bits of artwork, and 3) Did I mention I was easily distracted? So, I'm putting the comic together and laying everything out how it's supposed to be, telling myself I'll fix the hair color when it's all laid out, then when the comic is finished, I just hit save and go on my merry way. It's the same reason the dates in the lower right are sometimes off for a few months after the new year. After a while, I'll build up enough of a backlog of strips with the new hair color that I won't encounter that problem anymore. :)



Glad you enjoyed the strip, though. :D

Funny, I figured it wasn't an issue. When I looked at one of those "coin squeezers" while on a trip as a young teenager, I concluded that there was nothing in there to compress coins and that it was just feeding out pre-stamped copper slugs at a price of a penny each.

I may be wrong, but it just didn't look legit at the time.

All those penny smashing machines I've come across had windows and you could watch the penny get smushed. Plus, when you look at them (post smush) you can still see a distorted Lincoln/Lincoln Memorial on the back, and when the come out, they're hot from the release of energy. Also there's some sort of legal loophole, that makes those machines okay....they used to have the exact law printed in the little blurb.

It's not a "legal loophole" so much as that the law simply doesn't cover it. The law in question is Title 18, Section 331 of the US Code (18 USC 331):

▀ 331. Mutilation, diminution, and falsification of coins

Whoever fraudulently alters, defaces, mutilates, impairs, diminishes, falsifies, scales, or lightens any of the coins coined at the mints of the United States, or any foreign coins which are by law made current or are in actual use or circulation as money within the United States; or

Whoever fraudulently possesses, passes, utters, publishes, or sells, or attempts to pass, utter, publish, or sell, or brings into the United States, any such coin, knowing the same to be altered, defaced, mutilated, impaired, diminished, falsified, scaled, or lightenedˇ

Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

Since the alteration to the coin isn't fraudulent - in other words, penny-smashers aren't trying to make pennies look like nickels, etc. - it doesn't fall under the purview of the law.

Indeed, it is illegal in Canada. I'm from the US, but I remember when the dollar coins first came out in Canada, and the center pieces were falling out, people were getting in trouble for punching out the center and turning the coins into a necklace.


^actually, you're referring to the Two-dollar coin, not the one dollar coin. There is no way to smash the centrepiece out of a one-dollar coin because they have no centrepieces.

"Toonies" (the two-dollar coin) do have two pieces. When they were first introduced, people discovered that by freezing them in the freezer for a few days, the centrepiece could easily be punched out. The government mint then switched the glue or something. And no one really does it anymore.

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