Thoughts and Ayers

Hope you all enjoyed yesterday’s respite from the boringly toxic (or rather, toxically boring) Melinda-Holly relationship, because we’re back for (checks calendar) WEEK 3?! of it in today’s strip. Things between these two are so bad that Holly will ignore good advice that is widely known by nearly every adult who has ever engaged in athletic behavior just to spite her nagging mother.

This strip has everything! Needless exposition! Falling leaves! Absolutely nothing likable! References that would have been topical 3 decades ago! References to death! And more word and thought bubbles than you can shake a baton at!


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

48 responses to “Thoughts and Ayers

  1. William Thompson

    Today’s link leas to the Sunday strip. Thank you for sparing us whatever horror Batiuk used to make this particular Monday worse than others.

    ED: fixed.

    • billytheskink

      Well, I tried. No wonder TB doesn’t like editors…

      • Epicus Doomus

        BatYam would hate our crack SoSF proofreading team, sticklers as they are. He wouldn’t last a minute in our pressure-cooker environment. Nonetheless, getting Batty himself as a guest host would be quite a coup. Seems unlikely, though.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          The only way to edit today’s strip would be to throw it out entirely. Along with the rest of this non-story. What is this even about? What is the plot? I defy anyone to tell me.

          You know what this really is? It’s Lisa’s Story: The Movie again. A full-grown adult is doing something they don’t want to do, because they’re too spineless to say “no.” So they go along with it, but passive-aggressively snipe the whole time. And the strip is trying to pass this off as some kind of “slice of life.” If this was a slice of my life, buddy, I’d jump off a tall building.

  2. Epicus Doomus

    Wow, so Holly can actually hear thought bubbles. Too bad Pete, Boy Lisa, Flash and Phil aren’t there, as that would be a cool superpower. I wonder if she can actually see sepia-toned flashback panels too?

  3. newagepalimpsest

    This is terrible, but it’s still way better than whatever the hell is going on at Atomik Komix or Les’ Cancer Worship Oubliette.

  4. billytheskink

    Common sense says that Melinda is right here, but Holly did this with no practice just a few years ago.

    She also teleported herself to the Starbuck Jones set in Cleveland for that performance (seriously, there is no context as to why she is there in any prior or following strip), so she is indeed a woman of many talents.

    • Hitorque

      1. Of course that’s a staff and not a baton, but why talk about details?? And if Holly could do THAT, then why was her flaming baton show always a disaster?

      1a. Yeah, keep on telling me that Holly isn’t a pyromaniac and this shit turns her on…

      2. And don’t get be started on a $200 million dollar movie not being able to hire a stunt choreographer… Yep, some of my all time greatest rants were during that endless movie shoot…

      • hitorque

        3. And I’m sorry, but shouldn’t Holly, you know, be practicing her routine with the alumni band?? Did Dinkle teach these clowns nothing about rehearsal and coordination? And why isn’t Dinkle out here mobilizing the troops like a drill sergeant and marching them in the rain until midnight??

  5. J.J. O'Malley

    Yessiree Bob, you really get a feel for the deep love, mutual trust, and well-established respect that cements the Budd mother-daughter relationship in today’s presentation, don’t you? The shared happiness and joy just leaps off the page…er, screen. “Why don’t YOU try stretching your lower lip over your mouth and let me injure myself, Jack LaLanne!”

    Someone PLEASE tell me the Homecoming game is this coming weekend. I’m not sure I can take a fourth week of this nonsense!

  6. Mr. A

    I’m trying to decipher the logo on Holly’s T-shirt. What is that thing on the left? A severed horse leg?

    • William Thompson

      It bears a vague (what else, in this strip?) resemblance to the pizza and chef’s hat in the Montoni’s logo.

      • ComicBookHarriet

        To mash up both comments, I would totally believe that Montoni’s would get the Kentucky Derby special on ‘low fat grass fed sausage’.

      • Mr. A

        Ahh, that makes sense. I thought she had manifested an official Westview High Alumni Band t-shirt through the power of unacknowledged time-skips.

  7. spacemanspiff85

    If someone was intentionally trying to write a comic strip from the perspective of someone who had never had any contact with humor, affection, mother-daughter relationships, or actual real comics, it would be extremely hard to do better than today’s strip.

  8. Sourbelly

    A joke about Jane Fonda’s workout videos. And then something about thinking loud. OK. That’s a strip.

    • spacemanspiff85

      I don’t know why he even puts that amount of effort in anymore. Just have a single panel of Holly holding a baton. Or have Funky asking her “what’s that in your hand?” so she can respond “a baton” and he can spend the whole week recapping the past two weeks. It wouldn’t be any worse than this.
      Hell, he could put a little bit of time in and make out note cards with fifty or phrases like “Lisa’s Legacy Run”, “Starbuck Jones”, “I like Flash comics”, “Batom Comics”, and “I like Montoni’s pizza” and have them put over reprinted art at random and nobody would notice the difference.

    • hitorque

      Nevermind the fact that “Jane Fonda Workout Video” jokes have been off the pop culture radar since what, 1986?

  9. Mela

    A nice Sunday strip with memories of department store adventures with (presumably) fond times with her mother sandwiched between three weeks of pushy, overbearing mother. Kinda bizarre.

  10. be ware of eve hill

    Batty was kind of vague about the flaming baton routine. Holly said, regarding the routine, “they stopped doing it.” Holly appears crestfallen as she mentions the news to Melinda.

    That can be interpreted in one of two ways:
    1.) The flaming baton trick has been banned. Holly is disappointed she will not be allowed to perform the trick.
    2.) No majorette has dared to perform the trick since Holly graduated. Holly is disappointed no one has kept up the tradition. No majorette followed in her footsteps.

    I figure, as most of us probably do, the routine has been banned. On the other hand, I’ve been fooled too many times by the vagueness of Batty’s craptacular writing.

    Here’s hoping Holly goes rogue, defies Dinkle’s ban, and performs the routine anyway.

    Announcer: The field is on fire and it’s spreading rapidly! The visitors’ grandstand has burst into flames! Get out of the way! Get out of the way! It’s burning and it’s collapsing! It’s crashing terrible! Oh my, get out of the way, please. It’s burning, bursting into flames and it’s — and the light supports are collapsing on the parking lot! The vehicles are catching on fire! A fleeing vehicle has crashed into the school! The school is on fire! All the folks agree that this is terrible. This is one of the worst catastrophes in the world.

    And oh, it’s…burning, oh, about a hundred feet into the sky. It’s a terrific fire, ladies and gentlemen. The smoke and the flames now and the fire is approaching the concession stands. Oh, the humanity and all the fans screaming around here. I told you. It’s — I can’t even talk to people whose friends are out there. It — It’s….I — I can’t talk ladies and gentlemen.

    Honest, it’s completely a mass of smoking wreckage. And everybody can hardly breathe. It’s hard, it’s crazy. Lady, I — I — I’m sorry. Honestly, I — I can hardly breathe.

    The main grandstand has burst into flames! I — I’m gonna have to evacuate the announcer’s booth. It’s terrible. I – I can’t….Listen, folks, I — I’m gonna have to stop and flee for my life. This is the worst thing I’ve ever witnessed.

    Good night everybodyeeeeee!!!

  11. Hitorque

    Holly’s mom needs a fucking hobby ASAP because this isn’t healthy or normal by any stretch…

  12. Oliver from Utica

    Okay, listen, you can fume about Jane Fonda’s politics, but NO ONE deserves to be mentioned in this strip. That’s just inhumane.

  13. The Duck of Death

    The famous Jane Fonda workout tape came out in 1982, so the reference is actually forty years old.

    Sincerely, B.D.I. D’Nitpicker.

  14. Rusty Shackleford

    I’d actually prefer another strip like yesterday’s instead of this crap.

    It’s about to get a lot worse over on Crankshaft as Batty makes up a story about evil hedge funds. This should be good. And by good I mean ham fisted, nonsensical, and totally detached from reality. I can’t wait!

    • Gerard Plourde

      “Mordor Financial”?!

      I’ll admit that I’m flabbergasted that he’s using a Tolkien reference.

      • Anonymous Sparrow

        I would have gone for “Palantir Financial” myself. Or named the hedge fund after Theoden and Denethor. (King and Steward Financial…nah, too subtle…)

        Is there any truth to the rumor that Amicus Breef will be going to work at the prestigious law firm of Boyd, Dewey, Cheatam and Howe?

    • hitorque

      Believe me, as a former newspaper reporter who got squeezed out and had to start a second career (which I hate), and seeing how horribly the content and quality of our once-respected local paper has fallen off, I feel this guy’s pain… Hell, without the thick beard and missing arm he reminds me of my old mentor at the University of Kansas (r.i.p.):

      But I don’t understand what he’s doing here… The issue of soulless corporate entities based a thousand miles away buying out and strip-mining the assets of highly-respected local newspapers has been a crisis for 20 goddamned years… FWIW, I got let go from my last full-time job at a major daily in 2005(!)… I don’t want to be “that guy”, but Mr. One-Arm (which is clearly a heavy-handed Batuikian metaphor for the state of print journalism) should be thanking whatever gods he prays to that his career has even lasted this long, and despite the ending being bittersweet he’s still been able to draw a paycheck all this time…

      So is he writing an editorial? An actual news story? A tearful farewell letter to the community for the Sentinel’s last issue? One final kick in the balls to his corporate masters before turning out the lights? It seems to be a messy mix of all these with some shitty unfunny one-liners thrown in. I mean, even the yokels in Centerville like Woody “Krankenschaaften” Hayes could plainly see what’s been happening to their local paper and its employees over the years, and if not they damn well should have…

      This is why billionaires and philanthropists are jumping in to preserve the last 5-10 papers of record we have left in the entire country (which is a whole nother discussion). Newspapers were once a de facto public trust and were treated as such by their readership, or at least they used to be… Case in point: There was a great story 2-3 years back profiling some small community paper serving a Westview-ish community in the Pacific Northwest closing up after 120+ years. The town mayor who had been in office 30 years had all these tearful anecdotes about how essential the paper was to him when it came to announcements about important council meetings, knowing the managing editor personally and proudly putting in the announcements of his wedding, the births of his kids, their high school graduations, to their own weddings and the births of his grandkids; the town’s Chief Firefighter for 20+ years had wistful recollections about using the paper for important announcements about severe weather or disaster prep, including the time the county got flooded or whatever and electricity was out and the paper using a skeleton staff and an emergency generator was able to publish and distribute the Fire Chief’s lifesaving information and how proud it made the town feel to still see the paper published that day in impossible conditions, and then the town’s Police Chief had his own stories, (***you get the picture***)…

      And in a twist of irony so stupid even Batiuk would blush, the reporter near the end of the piece remarked that “Neither the mayor, the fire chief nor the police chief actually subscribed to the paper…”

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        But…. hedge funds? I was a journalism grad myself, so I know a little about the subject. But I’ve never heard of hedge funds being a primary villain of the decline of newspapers. Tom Batiuk sure thinks they are, though. One of his The Flash book reports says:

        Much like the hedge funds ravaging of newspapers, DC is being throttled by an entity (AT&T) that doesn’t give a flying fig about comic books. They only care about the juice they can squeeze from DC before nothing is left but the shriveled husk.

        And, as all we all know, DC Comics was shriveled to a husk and dropped out of the popular consciousness years ago. (eyeroll)

      • Gerard Plourde

        Are you familiar with the way the Philadelphia Inquirer is set up as a public benefit corporation under the auspices of a non profit foundation? Do you have any thoughts about the pros and cons of that arrangement?

  15. Gerard Plourde

    Another week of this nonsense.
    Weirdly, the Jane Fonda reference isn’t as outdated as we suppose. In 2020 she did a Tik-Tok video using the workout format to highlight environmentalism. Did TomBa hear about this and make an obscure reference?

    • hitorque

      LOLOLOLOLOL I will pay real American money to watch Batiuk or any other Funkyverse character try to explain whatever they think “TikTok” is…

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      It’s a major improvement! At least it’s a punchline. And Holly is showing some genuine emotion instead of passive-aggressiving everything to death.

      In the actual strip, both the premise and the punchline are contrived. Sometimes you force a scenario to make a joke work, or vice versa. Here, both parts of it are forced. It’s a forced setup to tell a forced joke, and neither supports the other. The whole strip should be cut, because neither part of it is necessary.

      I would also say that it doesn’t advance the story, but there’s no story to advance. Holly doesn’t have a motivation or goal here. She’s just doing this because mommy wanted her to, and hating it the whole time. But the story doesn’t explore their relationship either. Again, I ask: what is story this even about?

  16. So, two deeply unlikeable people doing something trivial and hating every second of it. Sure sounds like Monday.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      And Holly is one of the least offensive characters in Funky Winkerbean. She’s unlikable here because she won’t tell her obnoxious, pushy mother “no,” and is trying to solve the problem by acting like a petulant teenager. Tom Batiuk could make Mr. Rogers unlikable. Oh, wait, he did do that:

      • hitorque

        I can’t even get outraged because I honestly can’t tell what the hell the joke is supposed to be here… Best I can tell, either Fred Rogers lives somewhere with very loose zoning restrictions like Houston, or he’s griping about the “ethnics” or “jungle people” moving into his neighborhood…

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          You’re right, it’s more unclear than offensive. I hate it because it makes Rogers sound like some AM talk radio host, without having any kind of a point. And because John Darling‘s only joke was “Look! Gerry Shamray drew a famous person!” Which he was really good at, but Tom Batiuk’s abysmal writing just destroys it.

          • billytheskink

            Both Shamray and Tom Armstrong frequently displayed their talent for caricature in John Darling, but man are you right that the joke in almost any strip involving a famous person (especially when Darling himself was absent) was simply that Shamray/Armstrong drew them. That’s a great way to put it.

        • billytheskink

          Can’t be Houston, there’s no zoning board there because there is no zoning…

          (There are a spaghetti bowl’s worth of neighborhood deed restrictions and city codes in most of the city, though, so Houston is not quite the nightmare of unfettered development it is sometimes made out to be.)

  17. Charles

    Since Batiuk needs to so Dinkle getting involved in these stupid preparations so he can tell his standard Dinkle “jokes”, and since we’re probably going to see the Homecoming Halftime Show that these shitheads have decided to commandeer, that means we’re going to get *at least* five weeks of this story.

    This is this year’s LA Fire story. It’s this year’s Gay Prom. It’s this year’s Frankie Comes Back to Annoy Darin. This story is what Batiuk considers his strip’s moneyshot.

    You’d think it couldn’t get worse, yet it somehow manages.

  18. Suicide Squirrel

    The year after I graduated, I performed in an alumni band event. The event took place before the Homecoming game, not halftime. There wasn’t a whole lot of practice, and it was only one evening. Here’s your sheet music and t-shirt. Let’s practice playing the tunes. Here’s who you’ll be standing next to. Let’s practice marching out onto the field. See you Friday night.

    It wasn’t a major project, just a simple get-together. It was simplified because most people didn’t have much time to dedicate to the event. Not much was expected of us. We marched out to our places on the field, played a few tunes, and marched off the field. As long as we played the school’s fight song, the crowd was pleased.

    I skipped marching band my senior year to play football, so it was a nice way to cap off my marching band career.