Piroggen’ is German for pirozhki (or pierogi). I puzzled for some time which kind of dish Mr. Neibiesler should suggest and, after some research, the decision fell in favour of pirozhki. What we learn about Mr. Neibiesler today, aside from the odd Germans/cannibalism angle, is that he’s actually quite competent in his job – he knows a lot about food and it’s preparation, and would be able to produce the tastiest of treats for the hungry students. The reason that his cafeteria kitchen only turns out semi-digestible hogswill is an old German believe that bad food helps you concentrate. That, and economics.
That eating salt will return a zombie (of the hypnotized type) to normality is indeed part of Haitian folklore, although it’s not present in all versions of the myth. At a time, some scientists believed there could be a grain of truth to the whole myth, and various wild theories were advanced as to the chemical nature of ‘zombie powder’, and how salt could somehow counteract it. (The book the Professor is reading in panel one, ‘The Serpent and the Rainbow’ by Wade Davis, holds one of those viewpoints.)
Knowing the Professor, I guess it comes as little of a surprise that he has a stockpile of human body parts for research purposes. Take note that he acquired all of those parts 100% legitimately – they are from people who voluntarily left their mortal remains to science. Some are from convicted criminals, also. And the balance is from students blown to pieces in lab accidents. The Professor would like to emphasize, however, that he has never staged any such accidents just to replenish his stock of body parts – he really *did* believe it was possible to create a new kind of shower gel based on sodium. (Uh, as it turned out, it was not possible.)
Mopey’s comment about fetching a criminal brain is, of course, completely superfluous. As any student of B-movie science knows, whenever a scientist sends his assistant to procure a brain, they unfailingly return with a criminal one. Part of this problem might be that Dr. Waldmann, at the beginning of Frankenstein claims that there are clearly visible differences between a ‘normal’ and a ‘criminal’ brain, but fails to point them out precisely. (In the defense of that movie I should add that in the thirties, many scientists still supported the idea of congenital neurological and other physiological differences between ‘normal’ persons and ‘born criminals’.)
In other news, looking at today’s strip again, it strikes me as very odd how everyone’s allways pointing upwards. Perhaps I was in a singularly up-beat mood when I originally drew it. More on Monday, and please vote.