Ding Dongle

Oh yay, more obsolete technology for Batiuk to fetishize through one of his characters. Was Funky’s record player or eight track player broken? Crazy Harry will be so sad. And this seems like one of the silliest possible times to be using a Discman. The whole point of the things is that they’re portable. Listening to one when you’re by yourself in a room in your own house seems to defeat the whole purpose. Does Funky somehow own a Discman but not a stereo that can play CDs? This strip is mind-boggling sometimes.

Oh, and apparently there are still several companies that make portable CD players you can buy, at least on Amazon.  They’re not Sony Discmans, but still.  I also have a strong feeling that when Discmans debuted, Batiuk probably loudly proclaimed that his portable tape player was way better.  And knowing him he probably did comic strips about it.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

30 responses to “Ding Dongle

  1. Epicus Doomus

    He does this all the time. He starts with a premise then starts spinning off on different tangents until no one even remembers what the original premise was. Funky was struggling with the urge to drink during the pandemic lockdown…a WEEK ago, mind you…and today he’s doing gags about obsolete Discmans. How did we get here? I don’t know and neither does anyone else.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      The nested absurdity is just insane, he bought doughnuts to bring to AA, to talk to AA about the pandemic, to talk about exercising during the pandemic, to talk about using a CD player while exercising. This discman on the treadmill nonsense doesn’t NEED to be a pandemic flashback at an AA meeting, but such is the ‘skill’ of the author.

      • William Thompson

        But look at how brilliantly Batiuk shows the passage of time! That one remaining doughnut in the box tells us that enough time has passed for these people to eat eleven doughnuts. If it weren’t for that the readers would swear that Time itself had died of boredom and would never move again.

        • ComicBookHarriet

          ” If it weren’t for that the readers would swear that Time itself had died of boredom and would never move again.”
          I wanted to let you know that this made me laugh out loud, by myself, in my apartment. I will be stealing this line to use later.

        • LTPFTR

          And you know “The Last Doughnut” will be the title that Batty uses when he collects these strips into an anthology.

        • Sourbelly

          In panel 2, it looks like time really has stopped. It’s just a static image with no hint of movement or action. It’s a perfect depiction of how dynamic this arc is.

      • Charles

        It’s obvious that Batiuk just used AA as a pretext to have Funky complain about mundane things, as we’ve pointed out time and again that this little lecture has gone into things that Funky wouldn’t be talking about in AA. There’s no reason why this had to happen in AA, except it lends unearned “gravity” to Funky’s earlier complaints and later allows him to filibuster without Les or Crazy or whoever staying uncharacteristically silent.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Worst of all, Batiuk has written a scenario where this would not be allowed. Funky would be told to stop talking and sit down. And if he’s the group leader, he would soon be relieved of that position. But nothing matters except what the main characters want. Next week, I expect Les to waltz in and start talking about Lisa.

  2. William Thompson

    What next? Do we learn that Funky listened to the collected works of Gene Autry? That he fantasized he was working on the Radio Ranch to the scintillating sounds of “Here Comes Peter Cottontail, Hopping Down the BunnyTrail?”

  3. J.J. O'Malley

    Gentle readers, can we pause for a moment of silence on behalf of the lone confection lying in solitary seclusion in an otherwise-empty donut box?Behold the poor, looked-down-upon powdered sugar donut. Too sugary to be taken for plain, bereft of any icing or filling, always the last to be picked, it is truly the Funky Winkerbean of the bakery world.

    Speaking of His Winkerness, is he still droning on about parts of his life that have nothing to do with coping with alcoholism? He’s moving on to his shampooing regimen tomorrow, isn’t he?

    Also, I thought “dongles” was what Holly called his wedding tackle when they were in a playful mood.

  4. Lord Flatulence

    I want that donut!

  5. billytheskink

    Since TB is going to ignore the fact that single dongles are sold that can convert just about anything that carries noise into a basic headphone jack for the sake of this “joke”… Would it not been cheaper just to buy new headphones?

    I say this as a guy who keeps a Walkman plugged into the auxiliary audio input in his car because it is far less expensive to listen to Peter Wolf’s Come As You Are on my old cassette than to buy it on a rare foreign-issued CD. Oh, and I also play Little Feat’s Waiting For Columbus even though it is not that hard to find elsewhere, that tape is my night time traveling music.

    • spacemanspiff85

      That’s what I was wondering too. He’s bragging about still using a Discman but someone doesn’t have headphones that fit them? They still make headphones that plug into regular audio jacks, Tom . . .

  6. Gerard Plourde

    I started to write “Surely TomBa knows that 3.5 mm earbuds are still made, so dongles wouldn’t be necessary”, then remembered the volume of gaps in common knowledge that has been catalogued here. Add this to that list.

    And if this interminable rant is standard for AA meetings he attends, it’s no wonder that there are only about six attendees. And when did they move from around the table to sitting audience-style in front of Funky?

  7. Hitorque

    1. “Discman?!” What, is Funkmeister’s circa-1982 Walkman not good enough for him anymore?

    1a. I promise you Funky couldn’t tell us what a “dongle” is even if there was a gun to his head… Just another word he heard somewhere and wanted to blurt it out so he’d sound smart…

    1b. We have never, ever seen a piece of workout equipment in goddamn Funky’s house. He runs in the park with Les (badly), he runs at the track over at school (badly) with an imaginary robot, and he works out (badly) from time to time with his ballstomping dominatrix personal trainer… It’s clear for decades that Funky hates to run and it’s clearly doing nothing for him, but he LOVES to fuckin’ complain so he’ll never stop…

    2. And are we still talking about alcoholism and mental health during a global pandemic? Dr. Funk seems to have lost the plot here…

    3. 30 years ago, we had a treadmill in our house… Luckily it was one of those newfangled models with wheels on it so I could slide it into our den in front of the TV and watch MTV videos during my workout… Audio AND visual stimuli secured, and I was all of 14 years old when I figured this out…

    4. If there was any justice in the world, the audience would openly start comparing and debating the latest fitness trackers and apps just to make Funky’s blood pressure skyrocket…

    • Hitorque

      5. Monday: Teases the “dangers” of keeping fit…

      Tuesday: “You know what’s dangerous? Making a Discman work!”

      6. I’m hoping tomorrow Funky weaves his meaningless tapestry of constant complaining full circle and starts bitching and moaning about the wifey and expensive kitchen reno…. And then I hope Funky snaps out of his trance only to discover he’s been talking to an empty room…

  8. none

    Last week, he is not “well to-do”. Today, he owns some kind of magical earbuds which do not directly utilize nor adapt to a 3.5mm jack which, as far as I know, each and every portable CD player ever made currently has. Today, he can afford these magical earbuds while still clinging to a twenty year old audio device on which to use them.

    I defy him or anyone else to name a pairing of a portable CD player and earbuds which require more than one adapter to use in tandem. Name me one pair. Any pair.

    By the way, is this one of the “dangers” of exercising to which he alluded towards yesterday? Yes, needing to use adapters to connect an audio playing device to earbuds is surely harrowing. What horrific torture you endure. How emboldened we are to hear of you overcoming these insurmountable challenges.

    And it’s only Tuesday. God damn.

  9. Mr. A

    Watching a guy daisy-chain some dongles together: dull. Listening to a guy tell some strangers about that time a few months ago when he daisy-chained some dongles together: doubly dull. At least we got to see an object that exists outside the AA room, even if it is floating in a white void.

  10. Banana Jr. 6000

    Mr. Winkerbean, how many different kinds of an asshole do you need to be at once?

    You’ve exceeded your speaking time. You’re derailing the entire meeting. You start talking about health after you fed everybody donuts. You say you’re “fortunate” to have what looks like an expensive, modern treadmill in your McMansion. Which you don’t even use, because a machine like that would have a headphone jack and music capabilities. And you’re just now “starting” an exercise program anyway. You say how lucky you are to find dongles to make your out-of-date hipster electronic equipment work. And we know from previous weeks that you’re spending big bucks cataract surgery, major house renovations, and other things.

    I feel like I’m watching a particularly smug investment commercial.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      And I even forgot to mention him downplaying his wealth and complaining about the difficulties of a pandemic that didn’t affect him at all. And didn’t happen at all in-universe.

  11. Maxine of Arc

    Are there facilitators at AA meetings? Someone who can, say, gently move it along when some bloviating boomer has long since lost the plot of his rambling anecdote about nothing? Or is Westview full of churches without pastors, schools without principals, meetings without facilitators, teams without coaches…

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Yes, but Funky buying donuts for the meeting suggests that he is the facilitator. Ideally, someone would complain to AA or the local chapter about his behavior.

    • Westview Radiology

      Many meetings ask a person to be a timer, say 3 minutes of share time and then their iPhone to chime to say okay you’re finished unless someone is outing their hearts out and contemplating a drink there and then.

  12. Don

    Funky is using “dongle” wrong – I don’t know if that was intentional or that TB doesn’t know what a dongle is either. (A dongle is something you stick into a port (usually joystick or RS-232; USB dongles may exist, but by the time USBs were universal, dongles were out of style), usually as a copy protection device; the software won’t run unless it detects that the correct dongle is attached.)
    Also, this may be the first time “Discman” and “earbuds” were used in the same sentence; I don’t think anybody was using earbuds, as opposed to headphones, when the Discman was popular.

  13. Professor Fate

    God I wish one of the others would say: “And this is going to inspire us to stay sober how?”
    And Funky’s petty difficulties getting his exercise set up perfect does not make for gripping story telling.
    Again to delve into the mind of one of the other folks there “It’s a good thing i come to these meetings half in the bag, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to stand his insipid droning. “

  14. newagepalimpsest

    I can’t believe that a single comic strip inspires me to be irritated at people striving to overcome alcoholism, cancer victims, cancer survivors, teen mothers, orphans, amputees, war refugees, pizza restaurant workers, old people who are young at heart, teachers, veterans, and therapy dogs.

    Also, this is a little nitpicky, but what happened to Funky’s MP3 player? The one he was listening to while recovering from cataract surgery? Discmen are terrible to run with anyway, even on a treadmill.

  15. Gerard Plourde

    “what happened to Funky’s MP3 player?”

    The quick answer is that it doesn’t fit into the strip TomBa wrote for today. It’s clear that Beetle Bailey shows more continuity than this strip.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Beetle Bailey at least has a reliable set of stock characters. All the characters in FW can be anything or nothing at all times. Funky’s interest in exercising at home with a Discman is completely contrary to his past behavior, and no explanation is given for the change. But we all know what it is: Batiuk thought a treadmill/vintage CD player story at an AA meeting would be rip-snortingly hilarious, so into the strip it goes. Then he goes back to his blog and congratulates himself for drawing the donut box correctly.

  16. So he’s telling us that Funky is clinging to a 30-year old device to listen to music on, but he’s invested in a pair of wireless ear buds, that would require an accessory blue tooth transmitter to work? (I’m assuming that is what the “dongle” is, since I can’t imagine any other way you’d actually need any kind of adapter to connect ear buds if they had a standard cord).

    So here’s Funky talking about the hardship of running on his personal treadmill in the exercise room of his McMansion to a room full of people who are probably unemployed and have been waiting 3 months for their stimulus checks, and just came to the meeting for the free donuts and coffee.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Whatever he’s doing, I can’t imagine it would take more than one adapter. This headphone-to-USB adapter took me all of 60 seconds to find. Both male and female versions are readily available.