Cutting Corners

Editor’s Note: Hey all, it’s TFH. With great power (the ability to peep upcoming strips) comes great responsibility. As pointed out in the comments, I got mixed up and provided a link to Thursday’s strip. Apologies to spacemanspiff85 and all y’all. As has also been mentioned in the comments, it really doesn’t affect the “narrative” all that much. The actual strip for today, Wednesday, Dec. 29th, is here. Feel free to snark on either or both. Thank you and happy holidays!

Is it me, or is today’s strip especially annoying, even by the standards of Batiuk? With no buildup at all you have a totally random guy who is apparently travelling with Harriet, asking her if they can cross a street to somewhere for some reason. Despite the fact that there’s obviously a parade like twenty feet away, but he somehow thinks they can just cut in front of it. And also despite the fact that I’m pretty sure the streets would be roped off so people couldn’t just wander into the road in front of the parade.
But it’s all worth it for the punchline of naming a street on the parade route. I don’t think anyone does more of a half-assed job of these “shout outs” than Batiuk. I really doubt anyone associated with the parade would read this and be thrilled that he knows the name of a street.
It’s like when a band calls out the name of the town they’re playing in, except instead of “Nobody rocks like . . . Springfield” someone just holds up a card with the name of the city, and it’s misspelled and upside down.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

57 responses to “Cutting Corners

  1. William Thompson

    Well, the current link (to a DC comics site) is almost but not quite as annoying as anything Batiuk ever did. But then it isn’t Batiuk’s work so it has the advantage there.

  2. Y. Knott

    The “today’s strip” link leads to what appears to be an ad for some sort of DC Universe subscription product launch.

    Which is admittedly almost certainly more compelling than whatever FW strip it was actually supposed to link to. So maybe you’re just taking pity on us?

    (Link Fixed! E.D.)

  3. Epicus Doomus

    Yes, it is annoying…very, very much so. I guess in marching band circles, “Colorado Boulevard” is sacred ground, like how 42nd Street used to be for prostitutes. Why someone would need to cross the street DURING a parade is a question best left unanswered. It’s pretty sad if THAT was the only way he could work “Colorado Boulevard” into the strip. I honestly don’t see a way where you could make this strip more terrible, unless Les showed up.

    • Colorado Boulevards are for Rose Parades, and football fields are for band practice. GOT IT?

      • Epicus Doomus

        And, as usual, the cornerstone of the story isn’t about the history or the pageantry or the honor, it’s about the street you walk on. “Wow! I CAN’T BELIEVE I’m walking on COLORADO BOULEVARD!”…it’s the most mundane and boring aspect of the entire experience. It’s like going to Vegas and marveling at the escalators or visiting The Louvre and raving about the velvet ropes.

        And I just realized that B Guy said “we”, like they’re together. Which is strange, as we have absolutely no idea who this person is, or even if they’re anyone at all. Again, I can’t believe that THIS was how he worked “Colorado Boulevard” into the story. It’s almost unfathomable.

      • So it’s really just a shout-out from Tom Batiuk to Tom Batiuk.

      • Rusty Shackleford

        Yep, I immediately thought of this. Just a lame reworking of a decent gag from back when this strip was more genuine.

        At least he didn’t use that stupid “roses in December “ line.

    • spacemanspiff85

      I think he figured naming a street the parade is on would be the kind of gritty realism the strip is known for, like showing the Brown Derby restaurant constantly. I’m a little surprised he didn’t just do a single panel of a street sign, to be honest.
      I do like how two of the past three days we have random people who have never been shown before and will probably never be shown again, one to carry a box and one to allow Harriet to name a street.

      • Epicus Doomus

        Also consider how incredibly quickly this story has progressed. He only got the box full of letters two days ago, then we immediately skipped to rehearsal and now, apparently, the parade itself is already underway. Sometimes these characters need a week to open and read a piece of mail, other times he just blasts through days at a time in mere seconds.

      • Y. Knott

        “It’s all part of the METICULOUS RESEARCH that goes into the writing of every strip! Did you know the ROSE PARADE takes place on COLORADO BOULEVARD? This is the sort of information you only get in writing that is HEAVILY RESEARCHED! And how about that sly shout out to Mike Sewell, who my TIRELESS RESEARCH showed was someone the parade was honouring, I think? Or the subtle tribute to Jonathan Waters, who my AWARD-ELIGIBLE RESEARCH showed was never actually criminally charged for anything, so he’s probably okay, right?”

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      Could it also be a play on words? “Colorado” means “red,”and we’re in the Rose Parade, and roses are often red, so, naturally, Colorado Boulevard would be for Rose Parades…

      Truly, my father was right when he said that you shouldn’t have to explain a joke.

  4. There was some discussion last week about who the guy in the masthead was, wearing the ballcap with the embroidered B. There ya go.

  5. William Thompson

    Don’t mouth off to Harriet Cap Man. She’s the terror of Colorado Boulevard.

  6. Gerard Plourde

    “Colorado Boulevards are for Rose Parades.”

    Not according to the Beach Boys, Harriet.

    “And everybody’s sayin’ that there’s nobody meaner than
    The little old lady from Pasadena
    She drives real fast and she drives real hard
    She’s the terror of Colorado boulevard
    It’s the little old lady from Pasadena”

    • Gerard Plourde

      I see William Thompson is on the same wavelength tonight. Hats off!

    • The Duck of Death

      The Little Old Lady From Pasadena was actually by Jan and Dean (doing a remarkably accurate Beach Boys impersonation).

      Also, even by Batiuk standards, it’s gobsmacking that he thinks his current readers will remember “football fields are for band practice,” and even more astonishing that TFH was able to figure out the connection.

      • Believe me, I’m not proud of the fact that I “got” it.

        • The Duck of Death

          “Colorado Boulevards are for Rose Parades” is a fitting sentence as we near the 50th anniversary of FW. In a long, storied history of mangled grammar, puzzling language constructions, and utter incoherence, this is the capstone.

          “Colorado Boulevards.” There are quite a few of these. The sentence implies that ALL of them, categorically, are for Rose Parades, including the ones in Denver, CO, Hannon, ON, and Old Bridge, NJ.

          Since they’re categorically for Rose Parades, presumably no other vehicular or pedestrian traffic can pass on them, including other parades. Must be a big pain to have one of these Colorado Boulevards in your town. If there were one in my town, I’d petition to have it renamed “Ruboroso Boulevard” or “Red Avenue” or “Rocky Mountain Promenade” or something, so it could be used for something other than Rose Parades.

    • Mela

      Thanks for posting the Little Old Lady from Pasadena. I knew Colorado Boulevard was in a song but I couldn’t place it. And I’m embarrassed because I love Jan and Dean (who also covered it).

  7. Gerard Plourde

    I also see that this is supposedly the strip for the 30th.

  8. RudimentaryLathe?

    At any rate, it’s nice to see Ross Perot take some time off to enjoy the Rose Parade. I know he’s been dead for two years but that clearly means nothing in the Funkyverse.

  9. J.J. O'Malley

    I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but y’all have been snarking on the wrong strip. The one up on CK’s site is a different non-joke, with Harriet and B Cap Man having their initial non-cute meet (and Dinkle seemingly marching by them). The “Colorado Boulevard” bon mot must be Thursday’s offering.

    • Epicus Doomus

      Whoops. These things occasionally happen. Please just play along, as it doesn’t really matter anyhow.

    • Y. Knott

      Having now viewed both strips, I can testify that they play equally well no matter which order you read them in. Actually, you could probably just put the six panels together in a random order and have THAT be exactly as entertaining.

      They’re not good, is what I’m saying.

    • Right you are, J.J. Today’s strip is here. Sorry, snarkers!

  10. Hitorque

    I’m a lifelong East Coaster, so literally all I know about Colorado Boulevard is that’s where the Little Old Lady From Pasadena did her drag racing in that Super Stock Dodge…

    And no, I’m no great fan of the Beach Boys, but I am a huge fan of any song from any genre that’s about cars…

  11. Banana Jr. 6000

    Oh, fuck you, Harriet. It’s bad enough that you let your disgusting husband use you as a blow-up doll and a prop to practice his “embouchere”, depending on how horny he is. (He’s hornier for the embouchere.) You don’t have to prance around somebody else’s town, repeating his catchphrases and acting like you’re in charge of who does what where. Try that shit in New York, I dare you.

    • The Duck of Death

      Oh, there’s no need. In New York, we have a shockingly innovative concept whereby streets can be used for different purposes. For example, Broadway, 5th Avenue and 6th Avenue all have cars, bicycles, and scooters on them most of the time. They also have some pedestrian plazas. And of course, people walk across the streets as well.

      When it’s time for a parade, the NYPD will put up barricades to clear traffic from the parade route. Then after the parade, the street goes back to being for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians.

      It’s very different from the situation in Pasadena, where Colorado Boulevard is for Rose Parades. I guess since New York is so crowded and Manhattan is so small, we have to have multipurpose streets. Just another crazy New York tradition!

  12. You know who Masthead Guy looks like? He looks exactly like the guy next to Dinkle in the rehearsal strip, except with glasses. I guess he couldn’t take the 2AM rehearsals and got cut.

  13. Gerard Plourde

    I notice in today’s strip that Dinkle has been stuck in the back row and is the only band member not wearing a gray blazer and black slacks. I know that TomBa’s rule is to dress characters so they can be identified, but this time it continues to confirm what a self-important jerk Dinkle is.

  14. The Duck of Death

    Using context from both the Wed & Thurs strips, it appears that the parade is actually passing by as Harriet and UCLA Dodgers Cap Guy are talking. Ever try to chit-chat as a huge parade is passing by? It isn’t possible. Also, who stands and watches a world-famous parade passing by with floats on a huge, wide boulevard, and suddenly asks, “Do you think we can cut across?”

    What? Why? Why does a spectator suddenly want to dash across the boulevard while the parade is passing?

    Also, how odd that Dinkle himself doesn’t figure in these strips, even when we see the Sewell float. You’d think Batiuk would put his star front and center. Instead we get UCLA Dodgers Cap Guy.

    • The Duck of Death

      Wait… I think I see him in the 12-29 strip. A teeny tiny figure in a black uniform. I assume it’s him because he’s the only one in a different uniform.

  15. Well, today’s strip does provide some exposition, and introduces B-hat guy as just some random stranger who is only there to ask stupid questions and give Harriet an opportunity to be smug. It looks like the rest of the week is going to be filled with pointless trivia about the Tournament of Roses Parade.

  16. Banana Jr. 6000

    From the December 29th strip: “my husband is marching in the parade, so I’m a band mom”? No, Harriet, that would make you a band wife. But it is explicit confirmation of what we’ve all said: the role of wives in Westview is to be surrogate mommies for their idiot manchildren as they indulge themselves in activities they should have outgrown decades ago.

    • Margaret

      The Dinkles have a daughter named Halle, who is one of the most disappeared offspring in FW (and there’s a lot of competition for that title). Halle had her own strip for about a week, and while I never saw it, I think she was somehow involved with music as a teacher or something. Anyway, there’s no way any child of Dinkle’s wouldn’t be forced to be in band, so Halle is probably who Harriet is talking about when she says she was a band mom.

    • Mela

      Exactly. May I second your “fuck you, Harriet” from earlier. As a former band mom, this has set off my snark big time. Here’s what real Band Moms (and Dads) do: wash multiple uniforms after contests and football games, help lug music stands over to the football field prior to games, chaperone, develop and manage most of the fundraising items, paint and build backgrounds for the annual band show, chaperone during band camp/walk with the band kids during parades/contests and make sure they stay hydrated and if a kid actually overheats or goes down stays with them and makes sure they are ok. And this isn’t to be self-congratulatory because while I volunteered, there were other parents who gave of their time far more thank I did. Band parents work their asses off because they care about their kids and the activity they elected to be in. You’re a band wife, not a mom and saying Band Mom when referring to your spouse is just gross for all the reasons Banana Jr. already clearly stated.

  17. Dood

    A rolling martinet fest.
    Let’s not forget that Dinkle grifted the residents of Westview — once again — to cover the costs of this latest venture.

  18. Banana Jr. 6000

    Today’s Funkyblog shows us “the third and final Funky banner that will follow the float.”

    Really, Tom Batiuk? You needed THREE goddam parade banners to praise yourself and your creation Dinkle? Three banners that all say the same thing: “we celebrate and honor 50 years of Tom Batiuk’s Funky Winkerbean featuring Harry L. Dinkle The World’s Greatest Band Director.”

    Do you think you were wordy enough there. Tom? Just celebrating or honoring Dinkle wasn’t enough? I mean, you didn’t mention Lisa or Montoni’s or comic books or your Pulitzer nominations at all! And you’ve got the “Band Directors Marching Band” logo on each of them, as if they’re congratulating you. Are they really, or are you just co-opting their event for your own promotional purposes? I think the point of this exercise was to celebrate real band directors, not your fictional one!

    I watched clips of past parades on YouTube, and none of the entries carry that many banners. Not even the corporate-sponsored ones.

    • And here I thought that we were “celebrating and honoring” the late band director Michael D. Sewell. Nothing like glomming on to this event to draw attention to one’s self.

      • The Duck of Death

        You don’t get it. Michael D. Sewell is celebrated and honored by his association with the illustrious TB/Harry L. Dinkle, not the other way round. There can be no better tribute to a beloved band leader than associating him with a heartless martinet whose slavedriving ways sucked all the joy out of music for generations of Westviewians.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        They all deserve each other, don’t they? A zombie comic strip creator clinging to his last shred of relevance; a disgraced, abusive bandleader who was fired for running a university culture that would put Animal House to shame; and a bunch of high school teachers who apparently admire the first two. All united behind the important social message of “salute my career!”

        I’m still rooting for the George Carlin scenario (starting at 1:33).

    • I think “third and final” means revision, not that there will be three of them.

      But it’s interesting and quite telling that the illustration shows Act I Dinkle…almost as if aging your characters and shouting about how innovative you are was a huge mistake.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        The prior blog posts (linked above) seem to suggest that there are in fact three different banners: Batiuk says “Along with the second of the three banners that will be appearing with the band and float” and “as a final component to the entry, it will feature three banners.”

        But we all know that TB don’t English good, so maybe you’re right.

        • WOW. I actually can’t fathom that Batiuk could make some Rose Bowl parade float entirely about himself.

          Actually, I can fathom it just fine, I just don’t want to. Batiuk reveals more and more that the “nice guy” persona he projects in interviews is an act.

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            I don’t think it’s an act, but I do think Batiuk’s idea of what constitutes a “nice guy” is as twisted as his view of human nature in general. He keeps trying to make heroes out of Les, Lisa, Pete, and Dinkle, despite them all being selfish, arrogant, deeply unlikable people.

            And for my dollar, Tom Batiuk’s blog posts reveal a serious lack of three traits I consider central to being a good person: humility, perspective, and a sense of humor about yourself. The man’s perception of his own importance in comic strip history is nothing short of delusional.

            And on some level, I rhink he knows he’s a fraud. People like Charles Schulz and Bill Waterson didn’t need three banners in someone else’s parade entry to proclaim their own greatness. They don’t invite themselves to university bookstores to hand out autographs to a bunch of college kids who never asked for them.

            Tom Batiuk strikes me as a man who needs constant adulation, but does nothing to earn it.

  19. Sourbelly

    So Harriett has been “doing” band mom for more than 50 years? I guess that dialog is English-adjacent.