Blackburn Ordinances

Today’s strip is a serious reach. I mean, given that this is a band Holiday Concert I assume this is all instrumental, can’t Lefty just alter the program to say “The Christmas Song”, as us beady-eyed nitpickers (and everyone who bought a Christmas record ever) know to be the true title of “Chestnuts Roasting”?

Not that I expected this gag to match some absurd reality in Ohio, but for what it is worth, the Ohio EPA’s open burning regulations allow for “barbeques, campfires, and cookouts” provided these conditions are met:
– Wood stack no larger than 2 ft. high x 3 ft. wide.
– Use clean, seasoned firewood or equivalent.

Nothing that would prevent roasting chestnuts, of course. Also, big kudos to the Ohio EPA for titling their pamphlet on how your local fire department needs to be involved should you decide to raze a structure you own using fire “Burning Down the House: How Your Fire Department Can Do it Properly”.



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

35 responses to “Blackburn Ordinances

  1. Let’s be fair: they DO live in the same state as Crankshaft,* and they don’t want to give him any ideas.

    *Yes, he’s wheelchair bound now, but why take risks until he’s cold in the ground?

  2. SpacemanSpiff85

    Here’s a fun game:
    “Funky Winkerbean should be removed from the paper because…”

  3. So much for “Funky Winkerbean is a reality-based comic strip”. Also, the state-permitted 2X3 bonfire represents almost a Crankshaft-sized conflagration.

  4. SpacemanSpiff85

    I can’t wait to see what Nate has to say about “don we now our gay apparel”.

  5. Epicus Doomus

    Well, bear in mind that Principal Nate is a VERY “by-the-book” kind of guy, as evidenced by his incoherent, cowardly yet fair ruling during the huge SSC prom controversy a few years back. He has every possible ordinance, covered, every rule and law cross-checked and filed away. NO ONE is breaking any rules on Nate’s watch.

    I know, I know, I’m beating it to death but damn man, that sleeve just bothers the hell out of me. Why does he always have to draw her so it’s front and center all the time? Not that I have any issue with amputees, mind you, that’s not it at all. It the way he always has to remind you that she is one, that’s what drives me so crazy about it. Can’t she ever just be Becky, the band director and not Becky, the one-armed band director?

  6. Funky Winkerbean is to newspaper comics what the Cleveland Browns are to the NFL.

  7. Rusty Shackleford

    He draws that sleeve cause that is all he’s got, his characters are so bland otherwise and so he uses cheap gimmicks to give the strip depth.

    In actuality, that butchered arm is symbolic of his plot development.

  8. So not only did Batiuk botch yesterday’s strip (in which he somehow got the idea that Faith of Our Fathers is a Christmas carol, it is definitely NOT) but he forgets the name of The Christmas Song and thus makes a stupid, unfunny punchline based on his ignorance.

    Tom Batiuk, please spare yourself further humiliation and just come forward as either a lazy, disinterested agnostic or a cafeteria Christian. You know nothing of what you are talking about here.

  9. @Epicus Doomus: All I want to know is who gives Becky a hand with her sleeve-pinning-upping, as her children have all been retconned out of the strip, and DSH wastes his time running a comic book shop no one goes to.

  10. Huh huh huh, more exaggerated political correctness you never actually see except in miserable old comic strips.

  11. Hah! Nathan, there were so many fans in that Ravens/Browns game that looked like the could belong in this strip.

  12. billytheskink

    Didn’t Nate just establish yesterday that he/the school finds “Faith Of Our Fathers” was discriminatory against mothers? Lyrics apparently do matter, as today’s strip would indicate, so how does he reconcile this opinion with “And every mother’s child is gonna spy” and its failure to mention a father?

    Really, The Christmas Song is a gold-mine of TB-level PC-offensive gags:

    “And folks dressed up like Eskimos” – insensitive cultural appropriation

    “Tiny tots with their eyes all aglow will find it hard to sleep tonight” – offensive to child insomniacs

    “And so, I’m offering this simple phrase to kids from one to ninety-two” – not inclusive of newborns and many nonagenarians

    I… I just spoiled tomorrow’s strip, didn’t I?

  13. SpacemanSpiff85

    @Nathan Obral:
    I’m amused by the craptastic job Becky (or maybe John) did with her nametag. I’d think it was intentional, but Batiuk really loves things like that being askew. Just like at anything that’s taped up in his strips.

  14. Rusty

    I was afraid it would be a week of lame gags about song titles, and here we are. Why does he even bother drawing anything when he is so in love with this crap wordplay?

  15. I was always under the impression that chestnuts were “roasting on an open fire” on some kind of grill in the home’s fireplace, because people were going to eat them. I had no idea people just built a gigantic bonfire of chestnuts as part of Christmas tradition, and that flame had to be carefully contained because it was a pleasure to burn. Now, I guess I know better, so you can say I’m now Westview-educated!

  16. Epicus Doomus

    SpacemanSpiff85: “And because the WHS handbook doesn’t explicitly forbid “gay apparel”…I’m going to allow this.”

    BC: And in Olde Westview Towne, “Jack Frost nipping at your nose” requires a trip to the ER and a biopsy.

    Note how he avoids taking a real jab at “today’s delicate sensibilities” by making everything as stupid and unbelievable as possible. He’s the king of avoiding the story, the master of dodging the issue. All talk, no substance, just fluff. I mean seriously, seeing Becky just reminds me how he hasn’t lopped off a limb or killed anyone in years.

  17. @billytheskink, “Faith Of Our Fathers” is not a song that would be sung in any public school to begin with. It’s not a Christmas song but a traditional Catholic hymn that is very, very explicit about its Catholicism. Westview High School would have been sacked with an anti-discrimination lawsuit against those who aren’t Christians that attend the school… not from annoyed strawmothers like Oh Boy Roberta.

    Batiuk’s incompetence is mind-numbing. Usually when comics or sitcoms (or South Park) tackle PC-issues, the goal is to offend. Instead, I’m sitting here wondering how in the hell Batiuk drew this a year ago and went through absolutely no editors or peer reviews in the interregnum.

  18. SpacemanSpiff85

    Seriously, think about how stupid Becky’s pinned up sleeve is. Every single day she has to fold it up just so and pin it up. Instead of maybe cutting the sleeve off and sewing it up, or maybe actually BUYING THE SHIRT WITH JUST ONE SLEEVE, WHICH IS A THING THAT ACTUAL AMPUTEES REALLY DO.
    But if Batiuk did that he wouldn’t get to rub her one arm so obviously in everyone’s face. And the way his art is, I’m sure a lot of people would assume she had two arms, but one was just out of view, or that Batiuk just flat forgot to draw one. It wouldn’t be too hard to believe.

  19. SpacemanSpiff85

    Ugh. And she used to wear a prosthetic, but stopped because John liked her just the way she was, stupid pinned up sleeve and all. Because of course the only reason a female amputee would wear a prosthetic is to look hot for her man, and if he doesn’t want her to wear it then of course she’s not going to want to.

  20. Like I said, his non-handling of the issue is very stupid. Also, that fetishism as regards that pinned-up sleeve is probably both offensive and infuriating to amputees.

  21. Not sure if it’s FW infecting my brain or just bad handwriting in today’s strip, but at first I thought the program in Nate’s hand read “Holiday Cancer.”

    That would be the arc that keeps on giving.

  22. Hannibal's Lectern

    Prediction: tomorrow and Friday we’ll see more lame attempts at “humor” derived from the lyrics to songs being proposed for an all-instrumental concert. Saturday wlll be the wrap-up: the revised program for the concert, which will be include Allais’s “Funeral March for the Obsequeties of a Deaf Man,” Schullhoff’s “In Futuram,” the second movement of Klein’s “Monotone/Silence Symphony,” and finishing with Cage’s “4’33”.” (These are, of course, works consisting of nothing but dead slience.)

    Nah. Batty would never go to the effort to look these works up.

  23. Rusty

    I am trying to recall Batiuk ever depicting Becky in a short sleeved t-shirt, just so he wouldn’t have to pin it up. But then he would have to depict her stump, and we can’t have that.

  24. No Les. No Dinkle. Just extremely awful word play. I guess that’s the best we can hope for in FW these days.

  25. I’ve been taking it easy on Lefty’s armlessness ever since a snarker named Charlene commented thus awhile back: “The lack of a prosthetic arm is one of the few realistic features of this entire strip…Take it from me: not every amputation can magically be replaced with a prosthetic. You need a certain amount of bone and muscle left, and her stump is just too short.” But as Spaceman Spiff pointed out, Becky indeed once sported a "dress-up arm":

    …although I don’t know if we’ve ever seen it. Maybe she considred it too dressy to wear to work at Montoni’s, where she must’ve been busier than a…never mind.

  26. billytheskink

    It just occurred to me, copies of Could Be A Book Deal Here, The Other Shoe, Strike Four, Football Fields Are For Band Practice, Your Favorite… Crab Cakes!, I Never Promised You A Rose Parade, and the like could fall under the definition of “clean, seasoned firewood or equivalent” and literally dozens of them could fit within the regulatory limits of a 3’X3’X2′ area.

    I’m not saying this needs to happen, just that it could…

  27. Jim in Wisc.

    @Epicus Doomus:

    To your first point, Principal Nate is more bureaucratic than the Vogons in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Unfortunately, while the Vogons were funny, Nate is just sad.

    To your second point, I think Batiuk makes it so obvious because he wants to remind his (few remaining) readers that besides killing off one of his characters, he also is not above leaving them maimed. That’s why he’s a great author and we’re just beady-eyed, nitpicking, hidebound literalists.

  28. Jim in Wisc.

    @beckoningchasm: That’s exactly what they are, either placed directly on top of a grill, or in a large skillet. Of course when I was a kid, we used to toss chestnuts into the fire just to watch them explode. Yeah, we were pretty easily amused.

    @Epicus Doomus & @SpacemanSpiff85: So, I assume Batiuk is trying to ridicule hyper-PC-ism? Man, could he do it in a more passive-aggressive and hamfisted fashion than this?

  29. Bobby Joe

    So Principal Nate is a spineless douche. Donald Trump would of are for his political correctness.


    Well, since we are on the political correctness kick here, isn’t Funky Winkerbean insensitive toward Ohioans?

  31. Rusty Shackleford

    Hey Batty, if you want to see how to do a strip that highlights PC rum amuck, then check out Bloom County this week. This is how you make relevant commentary on contemporary issues with good humor.

  32. Epicus Doomus

    Like I said above, the fact that Becky is an amputee doesn’t bother me at all. It’s the way he always make that fact front and center whenever she’s around that drives me so nuts. I mean come on, change it up a little, draw her from a more flattering angle…anything would be a welcome change.

    Batom is like a homeopathic comic strip writer. He takes an idea and dilutes it and dilutes it until there’s barely a molecule of the original point left. And why doesn’t Becky EVER take a stand of any kind? She’s been the band director there for at least a decade and the guy she took over for routinely imposed his will upon everyone whenever he pleased. Her beleaguered sad-sack routine is downright depressing.

  33. spacemanspiff85

    @Epicus Doomus:
    It’s a family thing. The storyline where Wally came back from Afghanistan ended up being mostly about how John felt like a loser and worried that Becky wouldn’t want him anymore. There was a lot of moping.

  34. Rusty Shackleford


    I have a friend who is in a wheelchair. He once said the worst thing about it is that people over patronize and a$$ kiss over it. This is what Batty does which is why the arm must always be front and center.

  35. Howtheduck

    Slowly but surely Becky comes to realize that her boss is a complete idiot and that the weeks and weeks of rehearsal the band has spent on the concert music were wasted time. The concert will end up being 15 minutes of playing “Silent Night”, offensive to no one because it does not violate any noise ordinances.