Title text: I hope that somewhere in the world, "Panamax" is the last option on a "size" drop-down menu on a sex toy site.
A palindrome is a word, phrase, or sentence that reads the same whether you read forwards or backwards, like race car. Normally capitalization, spacing, and punctuation are ignored.
This comic is based on the famous palindrome: "A Man, A Plan, A Canal: Panama", devised by Leigh Mercer, which references the construction of the Panama Canal and is the first mentioned on the Wikipedia page for palindromes at the time this comic was released.
Megan recites a much longer palindrome for Cueball. This palindrome is based on the original, and was posted in this forum thread more than three years before the release of this comic. It is much less logical, and manages to include the word anal (which then refers to the title text and sex toys, see below).
'Nam is an apheresis of Vietnam. See more explanation of the words in the palindrome in the Trivia section. Note that in the original version from the link above there was a comma before tables so it is two items in the list: God's 'Nam, tables, etc.
The title text references the maximum size of ships that can fit through the Panama Canal, which is Panamax. Randall would really enjoy if this was the last option (i.e. biggest size) on a drop-down menu on a sex toy site. For instance such a site could have a banner saying; "If you have a Panama Anus, then try our Panamax Butt plug".
In the game 1608: Hoverboard there is also a reference to the palindrome and the Panama canal with the song that Cueball sings at the ruin to the right. The first four lines of the song is the same as in the original palindrome but with the "A " changed out with Spider-, and then also Spider in front of Panama:
- Cueball singing:
- Gates let in
- Spider boats
- Flood the locks
- Spiders float
- Look out!
- Spiders in both oceans.
Although it is less logical it is indeed a palindrome:
- A man, a plan, a God's 'Nam tables, nitrate, tar, tinsel, Batman's dog: Anal Panama.
- Palindrome, i.e. original sentence reversed:
- amanaP lanA :god s'namtaB ,lesnit ,rat ,etartin ,selbat maN' s'doG a ,nalp a ,nam A
- With no spaces or other punctuation and in all lowercase:
- [Cueball and Megan are walking. She holds up her arm and hand while reciting a palindrome:]
- Megan: A man, a plan, a God's 'Nam tables, nitrate, tar, tinsel, Batman's dog: Anal Panama.
- In the version posted on-line in 2012, there was an extra comma after God's 'Nam:
- A man, a plan, a God's 'Nam, tables, nitrate, tar, tinsel, Batman's dog: Anal Panama.
- This means that it is not God's 'Nam tables, but rather two items God's 'Nam and tables, since it is a list of items.
- The meaning of the words:
- These words are from the original palindrome: Man, Plan and Panama
- But what about the rest, taking the original with the "," as mentioned above:
- God's 'Nam - 'Nam is here short for Vietnam; God's 'Nam would refer to a Quagmire of God's creation. (The Quagmire is a figurative name of the Vietnam War).
- Tables - can either be a piece of furniture or a data table.
- Nitrate - a polyatomic ion with the molecular formula NO3− that are mainly produced for use as fertilizers in agriculture. But as an oxidizing agents it can be used to create explosives where the rapid oxidation of carbon compounds liberates large volumes of gases. Given the end of the sentence it could also be a reference to Amyl nitrite, for which notable side effects includes "relaxation of involuntary muscles, especially the blood vessel walls and the internal and external anal sphincter."
- Tar - is a black mixture of hydrocarbons and free carbon. Originally referred primarily to a substance derived from the wood and roots of pine. But it has also been used in other contexts. For instance naturally occurring "tar pits", actually contain asphalt rather than tar.
- Tinsel - Tinsel, is a type of decorative material that mimics the effect of ice, consisting of thin strips of sparkling material attached to a thread. When in long narrow strips not attached to thread, it is called "lametta", and emulates icicles. It was originally a metallic garland for Christmas decoration. The modern production of tinsel typically involves plastic, and is used particularly to decorate Christmas trees.
- Batman's dog - Ace the Bat-Hound was the canine crime-fighting partner of Batman and Robin in DC Comics of the 1950s and 1960s.
- Anal - relates to anus. Searching for "Anal Panama" will return links to pages with porn. This is because the most used form of Anal is in regard to Anal Sex which is often used in porn. (It is not long since another xkcd comic referred directly to porn - see 1629: Tools).
- The meaning of the sentence:
- There are no obvious meaning of this palindrome.
- It seems it is not of Randall's device.
- The original palindrome was also a list of things that led to choosing Panama.
- A man had a plan to make a canal. He chose Panama.
- This one is also in list form:
- A man had a plan to use the Vietnam war with nitrate, tar and tinsel (maybe some kind of explosives with Christmas decorations), finally adding Batman's dog to get Anal Panama.
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