Chock Full of Crap

I’m assuming nobody else has heard this phrase, although I could be wrong. I Googled it briefly, and apparently it’s a phrase that World War II pilots used, so I’m assuming Batiuk either heard it on a serial or read it in a decades-old comic book. Which doesn’t explain why this would be Holly’s immediate reaction upon seeing a scooter. I wonder exactly when Batiuk gave up on making his characters unique and different and just made them all stand-ins for himself.
Did the doctor not give Holly one of these? Or recommend one? That seems odd. Although given that the medication Holly clearly has her high out of her mind, clearly she doesn’t have a great doctor.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

59 responses to “Chock Full of Crap

  1. Epicus Doomus

    Is it just me or have there been a lot of multi-week arcs lately? This one has already gone on for way, way too long, but it’s not over yet. It took me a minute to get this one, as my WWII fighter pilot lingo is a little rusty these days. But yeah, whatever, at least someone is genuinely happy for once. It’s just so jarring and unfamiliar is all.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      It’s perfectly ordinary banter. Top-hole. Bally Jerry, pranged his kite right in the how’s-your-father; hairy blighter, dicky-birded, feathered back on his sammy, took a waspy, flipped over on his Betty Harpers and caught his can in the Bertie!

      • I say, could you say that slower?

      • Anonymous Sparrow

        Sorry, old chap, can’t understand your banter! Could you sing “Anything Goes In” instead?

        Anything goes in
        Anything goes out
        Fish, bananas, old pyjamas
        Mutton, beef and trout

        Love those Pythons as much as John Lennon loved those Goon Shows.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          Oh, gladly. It warms my heart how many people said “got the reference!” on that one. It’s an obscure bit as Monty Python goes, but it so perfectly satirizes the problem with today’s strip. Which is that World War II jargon is useless when nobody else knows what the hell you’re talking about.

    • Suicide Squirrel

      There are presently multi-week arcs in both Funky Winkerbean and Crankshaft.

      To spare anyone from having to look it up, the Holly-Majorette-Injury story “epic” started back on Monday, September 13th. Four weeks and there’s no sign of ending anytime soon. Eat your heart out, War and Peace.

      The Crankshaft Centerville Sentinel epic started a week later on September 20th. It also continues this week.

      May God damn us all and save us in the same breath.

  2. William Thompson

    I’ve heard it. “Chocks” are wedges (normally wooden) that are placed on either side of the tires on a parked aircraft, to keep it from rolling around. The pairs of chocks are hooked together on one side by ropes, so members of the ground crew can quickly pull them away. Useful things in an era when aircraft didn’t have parking brakes. They kept a plane from rolling around if the wind blew hard enough, or from moving while the engine was started and revved up.

    • J.J. O'Malley

      Given that they grew up in the 1960s and ’70s, the only Chocks the Winkerbeans should be familiar with are the chewable vitamin tablets that were popular with kids (or, at least, their parents) before they came out with Flintstones vitamins. One can only assume that Holly recently watched “Twelve O’Clock High” with Gregory Peck. Incidentally, that film contained more laughs than today’s strip.

      • William Thompson

        It mentions that a man lost an arm, so Batiuk my reference it as this week drags out. And will Holly and Fungy exchange such witty comments as “Switch off!” and “Contact!” Will she refer to one of her controls as a blip switch? Or did the Comics Code allow characters to use jet-engine terms like “blow job?”

      • Suicide Squirrel

        Chocks chewable vitamin tablets. There’s an unpleasant memory.

        I also remember Kaopectate. It’s somewhat interesting that the taste of many of my childhood medicines resembled flavored cement dust.

        Does anybody remember orange-flavored Aspergum? Yuk.

        • be ware of eve hill

          I always thought Kaopectate and Pepto-Bismol tasted like plastic. The cherry flavored Aspergum sucked too. Double yuck.

          Remember Vicks VapoRub? It smelled nice, but your pajama top got gooey and stuck to your chest.

        • J.J. O'Malley

          No, but I’m still taking orange-flavored St. Joseph’s “baby aspirin.” From my childhood for fevers to my dotage as a low-dose part of a heart regimen; the more things change…

          • be ware of eve hill

            I remember St. Joseph’s children’s aspirin. Actually, I don’t think they tasted too bad, comparatively speaking.

      • Rusty Shackleford

        Wasn’t Batty going to name this strip Three O’clock High? I assume that name was derived from the movie 12 O’clock High.

        • Gerard Plourde

          Yes he was, And in addition to the Gregory Peck movie, “12 o’Clock High” was also spun into a tv series starring Robert Lansing in the early 1960’s (around the same time that WW2 series “Combat!” and “The Gallant Men” were airing).

          • Anonymous Sparrow

            MAD satirized the TV “Twelve O’Clock High” as “Twelve O’Crocked High.”

            It had almost the same number of episodes (78) as the original “Star Trek”
            series (79), but it didn’t seem to have a future in syndication. I didn’t grow up with its re-runs on Channel 5 or Channel 9 or Channel 11.

            Robert Lansing’s “Twilight Zone” episode, “The Long Morrow,” gets a reference on “The Gilmore Girls.”

      • Anonymous Sparrow

        And the laughs keep coming, because “Twelve O’Clock High’s” plane “the Leper Colony” gave a name to Major Kong’s aircraft in “Dr. Strangelove.”

        Perhaps we should borrow the alternative title from “Dr. Strangelove” (“How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb”) and rename this site “How We Learned to Stop Nitpicking and Love Tom Batiuk.”

    • billytheskink

      My dad always used wooden wheel chocks as an additional safeguard beyond the parking brake to make sure the family cars stayed in place when being worked on. I have a set too, but they make them out of rubber.

      I long assumed everyone called them chocks because my dad did… but I guess his use of the term was influenced by the fact that his father was a pilot.

      • Epicus Doomus

        Well, I definitely knew what she was talking about re: chocks, it’s just that a) chocks are one of those things that only very rarely comes up and b) I knew it had to be some sort of old cultural reference, as Batiuk loves those. Somewhere there’s an eighty-eight year old getting quite a chuckle out of this one. I’ll go on record as saying that this is probably the first and last use of the word “chocks” in all of comic strip history.

        (Cue billy posting a month long series of “Crankshaft” strips from 2006 about Ed losing his special antique school bus wheel chocks in 3…2…1.)

        The gag might have played better if he invested a little time in showing us how bored and restless an immobile Holly was, but too late now, I suppose. Still though, seeing a FW character genuinely getting really excited over something is just so rare.

        • Rusty Shackleford

          The gag may have worked if Batty used realistic dialogue. As someone pointed out yesterday, Batty is a stand in for all of the characters. I prefer to see them all as Batty’s hand puppets.

        • batgirl

          The phrase may have been used in the Buz Sawyer strip (1943-89), since he was a Navy pilot. I’d put more money on the TB connection being the 12 o’Clock High tv show, but both may be too recent for TB, who yields only to Brooke McEldowney in his conviction that post-1940s media is beneath attention.

  3. Banana Jr. 6000

    And this makes Holly’s injury even more confusing. Even an ordinary broken ankle would take a couple weeks of rest and elevation before she could get on a cart.

  4. Sourbelly

    I DON’T get the reference. Who is this strip written for (if anyone)? A strip this shallow and lame shouldn’t require its readers to Google its references. This isn’t Zippy the Pinhead we’re talking about.

  5. billytheskink

    I have mixed feelings on these scooters, because they are clearly a great help to the injured folks who use them but they also look ludicrously silly. I was only given crutches for my two broken legs, though maybe you’re not supposed to use them with a broken femur.

    I worked in food service with the second broken leg, the scooter would have gotten in the way in a way crutches never did. I’m guessing, though, that Holly isn’t going to set either foot in Montoni’s until TB has forgotten her ankle was ever broken.

  6. Banana Jr. 6000

    BOTH of these stories are still droning on? Crankshaft and one-armed Skip are sitting in goddam Montoni’s, telling us things we already know. “Thanks for bringing in that penny sock. I remember when you played baseball in the 1940s.” I would say “get on with it” but I don’t even know what “it” is.

    • Gerard Plourde

      Re today’s Crankshaft –

      Two things:

      Crankshaft: “I’m afraid my ball-playing days are numbered.” – What? The only sport we’ve seen him playing in decades is bowling.

      And wouldn’t Skip have taken a buyout from the paper years ago? Most newspapers are unionized under the NewsGuild (formerly called Newspaper Guild) and staff reductions are usually negotiated through buyouts.

      • J.J. O'Malley

        Please, Big Business can’t buy off an intrepid and dedicated newspaperman like Skip Rawlings with mere money. It takes a confused school bus driver with a sock full of pennies for that. No, we’re supposed to compare Skippy to Humphrey Bogart in “Deadline U.S.A.,” or Gregory Peck in “Gentleman’s Agreement,” or Rosalind Russell in “His Girl Friday”; you know, journalists…aka WRITERS! The most noble profession of all!

        • Anonymous Sparrow

          The French title for “Deadline U.S.A.” is “Bas Les Masques,” which means “Down with the Masks.”

          Does this include Mr. McDeath?

    • hitorque

      Wait… That looks quite a bit different to the Westview Montoni’s…?? Or is there more than one location in the region?

      Oh, and once more yet again we see characters going to Montoni’s and only ordering a soft drink, a cup of coffee or a glass of water…

  7. Mr. A

    I rate this strip “mildly amusing”. I like Holly’s enthusiasm.

    On a side note, where is Melinda?

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      This comic strip is almost really good. Because it captures something real. When you’ve been healing a broken bone for weeks, it’s very exciting to do ordinary tasks again. Even if you need a silly contraption to do it. So Holly’s enthusiasm for the cart makes a lot of sense. It is, dare I say… funny.

      The problem is that we never saw Holly being disabled for any amount of time. As has been said before, her whole timeline is confusing. She went straight from a mild-looking slip-and-fall to urgent ER surgery to home in the same night to up and moving around. Possibly in less than 24 hours total. None of this is realistic, in a world that constantly insists upon its realism.

      I realize you can’t do three weeks of strips of Holly lying on the couch. (And if any cartoonist can, it’s Tom Batiuk.) But he could have easily cut to another story, and then come back to this one. Three weeks from now, after Holly has had some implied recovery time, this is a Grade A strip.

      Hell, it dovetails perfectly with one of Tom Batiuk’s rules of cartooning. Stories shouldn’t be longer than three weeks. This one had reached three weeks, so it was a perfect time to cut away and come back later. But no, the story drones on some more. Batiuk can’t even follow his own rules!

      In a world that’s supposed to be a quarter-inch from reality, Holly’s injury doesn’t feel real at all. Nor does Melinda’s disappearance from the story. When one of my arms was broken in a tackle football game, the kid who tackled me felt HORRIBLE about it! Even though it was a clean play, a complete accident, and I didn’t fault him at all for what happened. So why doesn’t this incident have Melinda rethinking her actions a little bit? She badgered her own daughter into doing this dumb stunt, and it got her seriously hurt, at an age where this can have lifelong repercussions.

      All of this is what happens when you write the gags first, and the story second: the story rings hollow. Write the story first! If you’ve created a real and believable situation, the gags will flow naturally from it. Instead of all feeling forced as they are in the Funkyverse.

  8. Dood

    From the Comics Kingdom website: “His graphic novel based on his character Lisa and her struggle with breast cancer was a Pilitzer finalist in 2008.”
    My emphasis added.

  9. The Duck of Death

    Ha! And to think, some doubters here said the ramp in front of Montoni’s served no purpose! Well, prepare yourselves for some HAWT scooter-on-ramp action! We’ve been waiting, what, a year and a half? to see that ramp be used for anything other than turning ankles, so this gon’ be GOOD!

  10. be ware of eve hill

    A sinister part of me hopes Holly goes overboard zooming around the house and breaks her other leg. Extra bonus points if she destroys anything installed during the kitchen “reno.” Triple bonus points if she damages her unihorn, and it requires a cast of its own.

    A scooter inside a house sure seems like overkill to me. Just how far is it to traverse Château Winkerbean? What’s wrong with a simple pair of crutches? I’m guessing Lumpy… I mean, Funky doesn’t want to wait on Holly hand and foot.

    Why didn’t Funky get a motorized scooter? Holly could pop wheelies and burn rubber.

    • Gerard Plourde

      I know that when I broke my ankle in the 1960’s I had a walking cast which had a rubber tip attached to the bottom. I would think that in the 21st Century a higher-tech version of that exists.

      • be ware of eve hill

        Back in the early 1970s, a friend of my little brother broke his big toe kicking a couch. I believe he had a cast similar to what you’re describing. His cast covered his ankle and whole foot. There was a rubber tip in the heel that he could put pressure on go walk.

        Some people call the orthopedic boot like I wore a “walking boot.” Mine was calf-length but some go over the knee.

        • Gerard Plourde

          What you describe your brother’s friend as having is exactly what mine looked like except that my cast went midway up my calf (probably due to the different location of the break).

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      I think that type of unpowered one-leg cart is standard for ankle injuries nowadays. One of my neighbors had one for a long time, and recently got off of it. So I’ll give Batiuk a point for realism on this one.

  11. hitorque

    1. God damn it, Funkman… Next time why don’t you get her some matches and a pint of liquid butane to play with instead?

    2. What pisses me off the most is we haven’t heard a single word about how The Great Dinkle and his Alumni Marching Band looked during their triumphant return to Scapegoats halftime, nor has Dinkle even bothered to call or check on the recovery of his alltime favorite baton twirler…

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Re #2: I don’t mind in the slightest. Because of that stupid Rose Parade, we’re going to get so much Dinkle we’ll all be begging for LIsa’s Story III. After Montoni’s Pizza Box Monster week (because you know we’re getting that again too), I expect the fall to be almost entirely Dinkle stories.

      • Mr. A

        As a premise, the Pizza Box Monster has solid comedic potential. It’s a simple, Looney Tunes-esque formula: Monster comes in to get pizza, Funky tries to unmask Monster, Monster thwarts Funky and runs away laughing. But it’s been unfortunately botched in the execution. (My personal pet peeve—and I may have brought this up before—is that the Monster never visibly receives the pizza that it orders, which means its annual “victory” over Funky is really more of a stalemate.)

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          For me, the most interesting thing about Pizza Box Monster has always been: how does that suit work? Someone actually built that, and can walk around in it? That’s genuinely impressive. I get that Funky Winkerbean is not Dilbert, but can we have a better story than “OMG it might be a girl”?

  12. be ware of eve hill

    Unless Holly is planning on hopping around in the shower on one leg, a couple of products Holly can really use are a shower bench and a handheld shower head. When I badly sprained my ankle last year, I had to wear an orthopedic boot for a couple of weeks. Those products were a godsend. I could remove the boot, hop into the shower, sit on the bench and take a shower. Sorry for the mental image.

    I don’t know how long Holly will have the cast/boot on, but I imagine she’s going to be pretty ripe after several days. I’m sure Holly’s horny medical sugar daddy will declare Holly’s playground closed for repairs.

    • be ware of eve hill

      When I was seven, I broke a bone in my forearm after launching myself from a swing at its highest point. Being a child, I only required weekly baths. I remember mom sealing my cast in a watertight bread bag to keep it from getting wet in the bathtub.

      What do you do when you break your leg? Seal your limb in a kitchen/yard garbage bag? Just leave it hanging over the tub surround?

      Sponge baths? I suppose medical sugar daddy might enjoy that option. Once again, sorry about the mental image.

      • The Duck of Death

        I had major orthopedic surgery, complete with bone sawing and numerous screws, on both feet, one after the other. That’s how I know everything in this strip is total bunk. Batiuk pretty much didn’t get one thing right.

        The short answer to how you shower is:
        1. As seldom as humanly possible.
        2. When you need to shower, yes, you wrap the limb in plastic.
        3. You buy a shower seat, and carefully hobble into the tub and onto the seat with many contortions and possibly help from your partner, who does NOT expect a medal or Hollywood biopic for assisting you.
        4. You use a handheld shower spray.
        5. It’s utterly exhausting and it sucks and when you’re done you hobble back into bed totally wasted.

        6. There’s nothing remotely fun about the scooter. I can’t really fault the strip — it’s a comic strip, and it’s finally doing what it’s supposed to be doing, ie, showing (not telling) a distinct personality trait and emotional state in a character. It’s exaggerating for effect. But I can assure you that my first attempts on a scooter were anything but fun. Also, standing upright allows blood to pool in the healing limb, which is extremely painful.

        • be ware of eve hill

          That sounds horrible. If I may ask what happened to your feet?

          When I first looked at today’s strip I didn’t notice the scooter has brakes. That should help control it and prevent Holly from destroying the house.

          Isn’t the riding position on the scooter uncomfortable to the knee?

          I have a neighbor who lives a ways down the road. Some days he uses a kick scooter to pick up his mail from the kiosk. I always thought that looked like fun. Sometimes he uses a hoverboard. Other times he uses a skateboard. He’s a young guy in his twenties.

          • The Duck of Death

            It was horrible. The surgeries were Lapidus bunionectomies, procedures to correct bunions. I had to wait about a year between feet because that’s how long it took to return to more or less normal walking.

            Let me tell you a little story. My feet have always been kinda messed up and they got worse over time. Eventually I had bunions that hurt so much they hobbled me. So I went to an excellent orthopedics hospital and a very talented surgeon performed these elective surgeries on me.

            At no time did I whine, cry, lash out at the surgeon and staff in a paranoid frenzy, bitch, moan, wring my hands, etc. I was actually very grateful that I live in a time and place where this kind of surgery is available to restore me to full function. And I was thankful that I had the means to have it done, and a family to help me recover, and access to top-notch surgeons.

            Compare and contrast this to Funky’s insane response to his cornea surgery. I’ve had cornea surgery, too, btw. I got a local anesthetic and the ophthalmologist poked holes in my cornea. You know what? It wasn’t as fun as a day at the beach, but it wasn’t all that bad, for Christ’s sake! And it solved my problem and improved my life immeasurably!

            Sorry, I still get irritated thinking of Funky complaining so bitterly about health care he’s lucky to have access to and should be grateful for.

          • Gerard Plourde

            I think the confusion lies in the fact that the position Holly is taking is not how a knee walker scooter is actually used. As The Duck of Death stated, the user is actually standing upright when using the device, so that it’s really more like a rolling stand.

          • be ware of eve hill

            To Duck of Death

            I’ve heard of bunions, but never really knew what one was. I seem to have confused bunions with a foot corn. A Lapidus bunionectomy sounds awful. I hope you are pain free now.

          • be ware of eve hill

            To Gerard Plourde

            I would think the position Holly has taken in the third panel would lead to a tired back, as well as knee pain.

            When I was in high school, a student had an accident with her horse and broke her leg. She sat in a wheelchair with her leg elevated on a small platform. Her leg pointed straight out and resembled a battering ram. Oddly enough, she used the broken leg to push open doors. Not the best idea one would think.

  13. Maxine of Arc

    I spent last week at the beach without internet. I see I have not missed a damn thing.

  14. Perfect Tommy

    Sheepishly, I must report that TB has used this phrase before. It was in a Crankshaft some years ago. It was the first day of school and he yelled it out from the bus before his first run of the year. The dross that lodges in your brain.

    • Epicus Doomus

      If it was ever used in a comic strip before it just HAD to be “Crankshaft”. Or maybe “Peanuts” in one of Snoopy’s Sopwith Camel gags.

  15. It should have been rocket-powered. Then Les could take his old hall-monitor’s machine gun out of mothballs for some epic target shooting.

  16. Gg83

    I know the phrase from the movie Chicken Run (from the same folks who brought us Wallace and Gromit). Spoilers for a 21-year-old film…

    The chickens, in their attempts to escape the farm in which they’re imprisoned, make a plane out of whatever junk they can scrounge up. When the pilot shouts “Chocks away!” some of the other chickens pull away the triangular blocks in front of the wheels. It’s also a great and subtle visual pun, as the chocks are Toblerone-style CHOColate bars (called Tasty-Choc).

    (It’s actually only my second-favorite visual pun in the film. My favorite is when Rocky is just barely too late to stop Ginger from falling down the metal channel into the pie-making machine and he says… well, I won’t spoil it here. My point is that I certainly don’t hate puns and cheesy jokes, but I do want them to be *good*. Ahem.)

  17. Charles

    Why does Funky look as he does in panel 2? He has this weird look of befuddled bemusement, as if he doesn’t understand what Holly’s doing at all or why she’d be doing it. It’s not him being startled, or amused. He doesn’t appear concerned that Holly might hurt herself by assholing around. There’s no reaction to suggest any kind of joke. He looks as if “fun” is a foreign concept to him.

    …I know.