Snark and Gripes Forever

Will ya get a load of Dinkle’s friend’s wife? Talk about “hair in a color that only yarn comes in“! “Busy Harry” Dinkle has taken a break from writing books that no one reads, and has squeezed into his old uniform to conduct the annual July 4 concert. Sadly, the music ensemble from Bedside Manor has been decimated by Covid-19, leaving only Mort Winkerbean on trombone and some new guy on sousaphone who, judging from all the notes above him, is really wailing.  It is here in the park that this guy casually informs his wife of his decision not to retire.

Miscellany: Does anyone else see Act I Les and Lisa in the audience? Has the time pool opened up again?

31 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

31 responses to “Snark and Gripes Forever

  1. William Thompson

    Be that as it may, Dinkle’s personality should be retired.

  2. Epicus Doomus

    Yes, because band directors are a special breed and band directing is in their blood and etc. We know. Like how all pizza is mediocre and writers are the only real artists, it’s just one of those things regular FW readers take for granted.

  3. Doghouse Reilly (Philadelphia)

    Well, I’ve made a Fourth of July Resolution to try to be less critical and make only positive statements about things, including FW, so here goes: the detail work on the cloth/plastic straps on those folding lawn chairs is very realistic and well done. There, day one complete.

    • Epicus Doomus

      Good luck, but re: FW that’s gonna be tough…real tough. You could be humming along for a few weeks, commenting positively on the symmetry of the panels and the consistency of Batiuk & Ayers signatures, then all of a sudden Les will show up, smirking and smugging all over the place and, well, you know.

    • Y. Knott

      Ayers draws well in general. He really does. Things look appropriately cartoony, but there’s lots of little touches that show me he puts real time, effort and skill into his work. I’m not saying he’s Rembrandt, but I think it would be fair to say that you could find something positive about Ayers’ contributions that you could genuinely compliment every day. Even the FW smirks are well-drawn for what they are — the author very fervently believes that heavy-lidded smirking is clearly the only way to effectively deliver any kind of “joke” or “witticism” that he may come up with, and by god, Ayers makes sure that the authorial intent is honoured.

      The challenge would be to say something genuinely positive every day about the *writing*,

      • Mela

        It’s frustrating isn’t it? This is a nice strip today-decent artistic detail, very feel good. I like it. Yet the journey to get to it this week was maddening. We have no idea why this guy was even considering retirement, and Dinkle never asked him. Did he feel he was getting too old? Was he tired of the kids? Was he scared that he wouldn’t know what to do if he retired? Harry leads a community/retirement home band, which is a wonderful thing to do. He could have suggested that this friend could most certainly retire from his day job, yet still find a way to stay busy sharing his love of music with others in the community if he desired. Instead, we got nine volumes of autobiography, band candy selling as a dream job, wrapped up with this guy deciding not to retire because the guy who DID retire implied that he was a wimp if he did the same.

  4. billytheskink

    And if you DON’T have a retiring personality then you have no business being a syndicated cartoonist. And yet here we are…

  5. Banana Jr. 6000

    God, this is so much empty bullshit that thinks it’s deep. And actually rather hateful, if you think about it.

    “Harry said a retiring personality has no business being a band director.” This guy went to Dinkle for advice on retirement, and that’s what he came away with? Retiring makes my entire career a lie? Wow. This is supposed to be uplifting? Did Dinkle shame this guy into not retiring?

    Yes, I realize “retiring” can also mean shy or non-confrontational, but that meaning makes no sense either. It may be true that band directing isn’t good for certain personalities, but you consider that at the beginning of your career, not the end. And what does it matter anyway? If I spend 45 years doing something Harry Dinkle thinks I wasn’t well-suited for, I still get my pension.

    • Epicus Doomus

      This is a great point, an angle I totally missed at first. Deeply conflicted over the possibility of retirement, Unnamed Band Director Guy seeks the counsel of his old and esteemed colleague Harry Dinkle, who then, despite having retired himself many years ago, advises him that “real” band directors never retire, thus implying that retirement somehow diminished the craft and makes the retiree a big fat quitter who never really attained true Legendary Band Director status. UBDG wife’s thoughts on the matter are, of course, never even considered. She agreeably grins as her husband resigns himself to band directing until he dies, all based on the advice of a certifiable weirdo who made a name for himself by setting his students on fire. In that context it is indeed pretty sick.

  6. Charles

    That tag on Red Shirt in front of Guy-Who-Didn’t-Merit-a-Name just annoys me. Of all the details to include….

    I would think that’s early Les and Lisa were it not for one thing: Les is sitting with early Act III Cayla instead, and we all know that simply would not happen.

    • Epicus Doomus

      Oh yeah, early Act III Cayla. That was back when she almost had character traits and a personality of her own. Then he generic-i-fied her by around 100% or so until she became the affable doormat we all always forget about today. Good times.

  7. Paul Jones

    A lot of build-up to a weak joke and we still don’t know this guy’s name. Just another week we’re not getting back.

  8. Dood

    “Talking with Harry convinced me not to retire … So, suck on it, Gen X’ers, Millennials and Gen Z’ers.”

    My god, I loathe this strip.

  9. Double Sided Scooby Snack

    “I’ll talk over the music to inform you I’ll never retire. They’ll have to carry my cold, stiff body out of that band room in a bag!”

    “But Pat, what about our plans to retire to the Island of Lesbos?”

    “Nah. There’s no way for me to block some recent Kunt State band graduate‘s career from there. I gotta keep band directing until the day I die.”

    “Well, fine. I guess this way I don’t have to listen to all your idiotic band puns all goddam day. I’ll now smirk my approval of your dumb decision, like all the wives in this town, even the ones that aren’t career lesbians.” (Smirk)

  10. Double Sided Scooby Snack

    “He also told me if you have a vagina you have no business being a band director.”

    “Um… did you tell him…”

    “Oh, no no no no no no noooo…”

  11. Gerard Plourde

    If Mr. Nameless is a band director, why isn’t he directing his band on the 4th of July instead of sitting in the audience of Dinkle’s concert?

  12. batgirl

    Canadian here, so maybe this is a US terminology thing, but is ‘band director’ a different position from ‘music teacher’?
    If they are aspects of the same job, had Dinkle ever identified himself as anything but a band director? And if not, does this signify that he is crap at teaching music?

    • Mela

      Music teacher is a broader term. One can be a music teacher in music appreciation classes that don’t involve teaching kids to play instruments. Or he/she can give private instrument lessons but not lead an ensemble. A band director picks up the baton and directs the entire group. And if that band director is also teaching the kids to play the instruments (bless all the upper grade school/middle school band directors out there), then absolutely he/she is a music teacher. So a music teacher isn’t necessarily a band director, but a band director is a music teacher. At least that’s my take on it.

  13. Perfect Tommy

    Today makes me think of a Sunday Fourth of July strip from ‘97 or so where a young Nate is in ‘Nam launching a flare into the night sky to mark an LZ. I’m not going to lie, it was pretty good. Blind squirrels and all that I guess.

  14. Melissa Jones

    In addition to the lady’s unusually-colored hair, I noticed the irregularly-shaped blotch on her right cheek. I wonder if it’s a birthmark or a deep dimple.

  15. Of course, Unnamable decides to hold this conversation while the music is playing. Brilliant.

  16. AmigoLupus

    So wait, is Dinkle over there directing the band from Westview High? Are we supposed to think he’s cool for stealing Becky’s job from her?

    • Westview Radiology

      Becky is keeping an arms length away from Dinkles these days. Oops …. sorry Becky…

  17. Rusty Shackleford

    Ah, another week of butt kissing his band director friends. Looks like Batty will be invited to the next OMEA convention. Maybe they will not put his table by the restroom this year.

  18. AmigoLupus

    Also, can we talk about how fucking stupid the “you can choose NOT to retire” sentiment is? There’s a law that says teachers get mandatory retirement when they reach 60, not to mention that the school is the one to decide if they want to fire you and hire someone younger to take over the job.

    If this nameless dingus gets a heart attack from the stress of pushing on as the band director, it’s all on Harry’s head.

  19. ian'sdrunkenbeard

    Happy 4th of July, funksters!

  20. Westview Radiology

    In front of young Les is pre Caucasian Cayla.