We Have a Funeral Coming Up – It’s Yours

Link to today’s strip.

I realize that every episode is a waste of a day, but this one really lives up to the strip’s reputation. We’re apparently going to get an entire week of this Reverend asking Dinkle if he can provide music at a funeral. And just the asking part, I’ll wager.

There’s an old rule about doing presentations for the public – Tell them what you’re going to say; say it; and then tell them what you’ve said. Batiuk has really taken that one to heart, to the point where he’s added several more copies of the same steps. The last step, of course, is to tell everyone how brave and innovative and deserving of praise you are.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

45 responses to “We Have a Funeral Coming Up – It’s Yours

  1. William Thompson

    “Fine, send him off to New Orleans, and go along to make sure he doesn’t get lost! You know how dead guys are!”
    Peter Sellers requested that they play Glenn Miller’s “In The Mood” at his funeral, because he hated it so much. I don’t know why that came to mind, but this strip might have been detectably funnier if it had come to Batiuk’s mind.

  2. The Duck of Death

    Scott Joplin? To my knowledge, neither he nor his compositions have ever been particularly associated with New Orleans. And what’s the connection with “Just a Closer Walk With Thee”? If you were fixated on New Orleans jazz, wouldn’t you think you’d have some Louis Armstrong or Dr John or Allen Toussaint, maybe?

    Presumably this is one of those strips where Batiuk comes up with some flimsy excuse to namecheck a song, or comic, or some other piece of pop culture that he enjoys. Not because it makes any sense or fits; simply because he can, and for him that’s reason enough.

    • Mr. A

      And what’s the connection with “Just a Closer Walk With Thee”?

      According to Great-Aunt Wikipedia: “Performed as either an instrumental or vocal, ‘A Closer Walk’ is perhaps the most frequently played number in the hymn and dirge section of traditional New Orleans jazz funerals.” I pulled up Bunk Johnson’s version, and it fits perfectly.

      As for Scott Joplin…yeah, that makes no sense.

      • ComicBookHarriet

        Really, ‘Just a Closer Walk With Thee’ is the ONLY one of the listed songs that feels appropriate for a Christian funeral. And preformed right it is a RIGHTEOUS BANGER.

        Walking to New Orleans…I mean.
        “You used to be my honey
        Till you spent all my money
        No use for you to cry
        I’ll see you bye and bye
        ‘Cause I’m walkin’ to New Orleans”

        None of that screams Jesus Saves.

  3. Epicus Doomus

    “Bang! Pow! Boom!”, “Boogie Woogie Wu”, “Miracles”…these are Insane Clown Posse songs!”

    “Apparently he was down with the clown and wanted a real Juggalo send-off.”

    Of course the deceased favored music from thirty years before he was born, because why wouldn’t he? And of course the area’s local “music guy” will know exactly what to do, because Dinkle = music. Sure is an odd tangent, though.

  4. Y. Knott

    Ah yes, that well-known trad-jazz number “Walking To New Orleans”! (It’s actually an R&B ballad with an innovative-for-the-time string section.)

    I’m not sure if Harry is puzzled and saddened that someone would choose to play these tunes at their funeral, or that he will apparently have to learn these songs.

  5. J.J. O'Malley

    Well, there’s no mention of “Can’t Get Started” by Bunny Berigan, so the big surprise won’t be that Ralph didn’t survive his hernia surgery over in The Other Strip (since one has to assume now that events somehow happen simultaneously). Imagine: Just last week Lillian the Lizard was helped Crankshaft electrocute some leaves, and now she’ll be singing “Maple Leaf Rag” at a funeral. To Battyuk, this probably constitutes irony.

    Also, half of the songs mentioned are instrumentals, aren’t they? How will this involvethe choir? To be fair, though, the list isn’t the worst TB could have come up with, although I personally would prefer “Joe Avery,” and “When the Saints Go Marching In” is conspicuous by its absence. All we can do is sit back and watch how a three- or four-day arc gets drawn out and watered down to six days (and a Sideways Sunday?).

    • Y. Knott

      Maple Leaf Rag is. South Rampart Street Parade was written and performed as one, and is usually performed that way. However, decades after it was written and recorded, the odious blowhard Steve Allen set lyrics to it, and would go around claiming he “wrote” South Rampart Street Parade. I mean, he’d brag about having written literally 8,000 songs, and rhyme off a list of his compositions, and South Rampart Street Parade would invariably be one of them.

      It’s like if Allan Sherman insisted that he actually wrote Dance Of The Hours.

      • Mr. A

        Even for the songs that aren’t instrumentals, the singers need accompaniment. Dinkle can play the organ as jazzily as he wants, but I still find it difficult to imagine a “New Orleans-style send-off” with no trumpets.

      • The Duck of Death

        Well, turns out there is a very little-known vocal version of “Maple Leaf Rag,” wherein another composer put words on Joplin’s work. It’s awkward, to say the least, and hearing a chorus of old biddies try to sing it might give mourners something to grieve about. There are a couple attempts at it on YouTube, but none are very good.

        In addition, Wikipedia informs us that the song is associated with the city of Sedalia, Missouri, not New Orleans or Louisiana.

        What’s more, rags are a somewhat specialized form of music due to their complexity and syncopation. But of course, I guess Dinkle was born knowing how to rock a rag.

        Organs are not the best instrument for a rag; the hard attack and tinnier quality of a piano actually serves the music, and the organ drains some of the sharp syncopation out of it. But here’s a guy who’s doing about as well as anyone can. Close your eyes and picture Dinkle…..

        • Mela

          I do love the Maple Leaf Rag and wouldn’t have a problem with it being played at my funeral. This is a great version, although maybe a bit too fast.. I’ve read that Joplin himself used to complain his rags were played too fast by others, as they were meant to be quick but stopping short of breakneck pace. But anyone who can pull off Joplin on an organ gets a thumbs up here.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      I was thinking of Ralph when I read this strip. Heck with the way Batty plays with time these days I can see Ralph getting killed off in one strip, only to show up living in the other. And with all the screwup’s lately, I can see both strips running on the same day!

      Then we will get a long winded and confusing BattyBlog post explaining how he doesn’t abide by those rules for cartoonists.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        That “Cartooning Commandments” stuff is a real window into Tom Batiuk’s mind. On his blog, he presents them like they’re some kind of immutable truth handed down from the gods. Then he violates them anyway.

        He also completely misses the point of them. The point of a rule like “a story shouldn’t run longer than three weeks” is to inspire you to keep your stories short and breezy. Which of course is a massive failure of Funky Winkerbean. Stories drone on forever, and are padded to meet an arbitrary week-long length. This week’s plot of “Dinkle needs to arrange New Orleans-themed funeral music” could probably have been told in 2 days. But Batiuk thinks as long as he’s under three weeks total, he’s golden.

        He also misses the point within the point. Which is: the audience doesn’t complain about the length of stories they’re actually enjoying.

        • The Duck of Death

          Three of the best vintage strips on CK, Buz Sawyer, Apartment 3-G, and Johnny Hazard, regularly have storylines that last for months. And they are generally fantastic. They have a quick beginning with brisk exposition, a suspenseful middle, and a satisfying, conclusive end.

          Thimble Theater, aka “Popeye,” also has months-long arcs (though in keeping with the surreal quality of the strip, they aren’t quite so linear). Long arcs have been the norm at least since the 20s.

          Where on earth did he pull these “rules” from? They’ve never existed. It would be like a rule about how long a written story should be. The answer is: As long as it takes. There have been brilliant short stories only a few pages long, and brilliant novels many hundreds of pages long.

          There’s some strange wiring in that guy’s brain. “If I get the story to The Proper Approved Length, that means it’s a great story!”

          • ComicBookHarriet

            Batiuk is addicted to unresearched ‘truthiness’. He just spouts off his perceptions and experiences as if they are immutable facts. It’s like people who pretend like they know what people thought like in the Middle Ages because they saw a cartoon, without ONCE reading a primary source from the era.

  6. billytheskink

    Nothing says “New Orleans Jazz” like a choir full of white octogenarians…

    Gotta love the minister’s expressions, though. No one has been this happy about an impending funeral since Wall Street Kid hit the NES.

    • The Duck of Death

      It is traditional to tip the pastor for officiating at a funeral. Sorry ol’ Phil is dead and all, but hey, a hundred bucks is a hundred bucks.

  7. Rusty Shackleford

    My great uncle was a jazz musician and we played some jazz at the funeral home. He was a drummer and one of his students brought in a drum set and played along to a couple songs.

    I know the Catholic Church doesn’t allow this kind of thing in church. Do other denominations?

    • William Thompson

      Guitar masses are one of the lesser reasons that I quit the Catholic church. I’m surprised to hear there’s some form of music they won’t allow inside a church. Maybe because it’s good?

  8. ian'sdrunkenbeard

    At a New Orleans funeral, the band plays dirges on the way to the cemetery. On the walk home after the funeral, the band kicks it up a notch and jams on those same tunes.
    Here is “Just A Closer Walk With Thee” by New Orleans Stompers from Tokyo. They turn it up at about the 8:00 mark.

  9. Banana Jr. 6000

    The whole point of this is to invent a problem that only Dinkle can solve. 50-50 he ends up with another award and/or recording contract.

  10. Banana Jr. 6000

    Why is Dinkle so puzzled? Shouldn’t Mr. World’s Greatest Band Director have at least heard of this kind of music? And he only has this job because he instantly adapted from directing a high school band to playing a church organ and directing a choir. So how is this any kind of a obstacle?

    • The Duck of Death

      Oh, it isn’t. Nothing on this Earth or neighboring galaxies is, ever has been, or ever will be an obstacle to Harry Dinkle, The World’s Greatest Band Director.


    • hitorque

      To be fair I don’t think The Big Dink has ever performed anything in the same universal general classification of “soul music” so no wonder he looks like he was just asked to divide by zero…

  11. Maxine of Arc

    There is no point in a jazz funeral outside of New Orleans. None.

    • hitorque

      Unless the decedent and his extended family were all hardcore New Orleans exiles (IIRC, the Katrina disaster displaced what, like 30% of the metro residents to far-flung spots all around the country; even to my community in Virginia) and EVEN THEN, they would have almost certainly hired an authentic jazz band…

  12. Banana Jr. 6000

    And there’s a new ego-stroking blog entry, which is too baffling to even summarize. In addition to the Dinkle promotion from yesterday.

    • Y. Knott

      Ah, the blog. Showing once again that Batiuk has that rare combination of complete self-absorption and a total lack of self-awareness.

      It’s probably a very good thing that almost no one reads Batiuk’s blog, or his comics — and the few that do don’t praise them. A devoted, uncritical audience to reinforce a self-absorbed ego is generally the surest way to turn a human being into a gravitational black hole of narcissism … one which having collapsed in on itself now seeks to ensnare and destroy others. See Morrissey, Tucker Carlson, Donald Trump, The Evil Queen In Snow White, Conrad Black, etc.

      I mean, Batiuk’s still a deluded narcissist, but not a toxic one. (Probably.) So, y’know, he’s got that going for him.

      • Rusty Shackleford

        Overall he does seem like a nice guy. But yes, very narcissistic

        Man those BattyBlog posts sure are something.

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      Strangely enough, I’m reading *The Bible* now. (Somewhere in “Exodus,” if you’re wondering.)

      I hope I’ll have forgotten the blog entry when I come to Ecclesiastes. I’ll keep *Bleak House* close at hand and bookmark to this:

      “It was a maxim of Captain Swosser’s,” said Mrs. Badger, “speaking in his figurative naval manner, that when you make pitch hot, you cannot make it too hot; and that if you only have to swab a plank, you should swab it as if Davy Jones were after you. It appears to me that this maxim is applicable to the medical as well as to the nautical profession.

      “To all professions,” observed Mr. Badger. “It was admirably said by Captain Swosser. Beautifully said.”

  13. hitorque

    Lemme get this straight… One of his parishioners just died and his family and friends (at least some of whom I presume are also parishioners) are in mourning yet the reverend has the biggest shit-eating grin imaginable because reasons… I guess he must be thinking about his choir going viral on social media again, along with how to work the cat into the performance?

  14. hitorque

    This has a very “Stax Music’s Greatest Southern Soul Hits Performed by the Lawrence Welk Orchestra” -vibe about it

  15. be ware of eve hill

    Oooh, that’s the wrong approach, Reverend. You never dictate to Dinkle what songs he’s going to play. With Dinkle, any job worth doing is worth overdoing.

    Despite the family’s requested song list, I fully expect Dinkle to come up with his own song list and most likely perform the instrumental solos all by himself.

    • The Duck of Death

      I assume he can raid Bedsore Manor for a band of nonagenarian Dixieland players who’ll be ready to swing “Basin Street Blues” hot & sweet after one rehearsal.

      • Professor Fate

        Yes – this is sure to be the story, he still has that band going if memory serves. Still when one thinks about Dinkle and music ‘Jazz’ is not the form that first springs to mind. Lightness of touch and swing do not seem his forte.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          The improvisational nature of jazz would also be a huge problem for Dinkle. He only knows to bully people into playing music the way he wants it played, and keeping them until 3 in the morning if they don’t. Can you imagine Dinkle playing in a jazz combo, and someone else does a key change he doesn’t agree with?

          • The Duck of Death

            Or a little bit of extra swing, or a grace note, blue note, or passing tone.

            I can see him yelling through his bullhorn, “STOP THE FUNERAL! This isn’t what we rehearsed!”

          • Professor Fate

            Well Charles Mingus was someone who was very much my way or the highway – there is a story not sure if it’s true about him slamming the piano keys cover done on the hands of his keyboardist when he wasn’t playing what Mingus wanted him to so it’s not like Jazz doesn’t have its share of shall one say difficult people.