Keeping Score

Link to today’s strip.

(Sorry about the preview earlier, folks, WordPress’ scheduling system is as bad as Funky Winkerbean.)

Ahem–as I was saying earlier…

Just so you know, Tom Batiuk, having your characters acknowledge that your jokes are terrible doesn’t make them not-terrible. Are we supposed to identify with the people in the last panel, who are thrown into a panic by these mal mots? No–we’re not. Because these puns aren’t terrible enough to elicit that kind of response. Mostly these stupid, underthought puns would just make people grimace sourly, hoping that they might get a sale, but otherwise waiting until the “punster” moved on to the next booth.

Now, the actual presence of Dinkle would make people scream for mercy before he could even open his mouth. Because he’s damned terrible. Plus, he’s the worst.

So, we look forward to another week of Dinkle defecating witticisms, and telling everyone how awesome he is. What a charming character. Let’s introduce him to Wilbur Weston.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

54 responses to “Keeping Score

  1. Y. Knott

    If the picture on the floor was of an actual treble clef on a musical staff? Instead of a single eighth note? Then this strip would have been … well, okay, not funny. But at least their puns would have been triggered by something that was actually there, making this at least not quite so unutterably stupid.

  2. William R Thompson

    With the discordant notes those two strike they may as well beat it because they’ll never score.

  3. J.J. O'Malley

    Considering how Becky wound up having to pin up her sleeve before stepping out, would she really be one to crack wise about driving off a cliff? The only thing worse would be if she and Dinkle were making these “jokes” in front of the Widow Bushka.

    • Holy shit, that was completely lost on me until I read your comment, J.J.! Teenaged Becky lost that arm when Wally drunkenly drove their car “off a clef.”

      • Gerard Plourde


        Great job finding that strip. This raises a serious question – Does TomBa remember how Becky lost her arm or was that arc such a throwaway that the connection to today’s strip doesn’t register?

      • be ware of Eve hill

        Did Becky’s accident occur at the infamous No Bottom Road?

        Somebody ought to put up a warning sign. That corner has claimed Bull Bushka and Becky’s arm.

      • I love that there’s an arrow leading from the name of the strip to panel one. “First read the title, and what you need to do next is–“

      • hitorque

        WELL GODDAMN!!

        He drove that shit off the cliff at full throttle like he was an action movie stunt driver or playing a video game!! Now **THAT** is a proper Thelma-and-Louise “WE DIE TOGETHER!!” suicide attempt… “Accident,” my ass!!

      • Suicide Squirrel

        There used to be a double arrow sign like the one the car is crashing through near Batiuk’s beloved Luigi’s. Somebody added some black paint to make it resemble the Bat-Signal. The altered sign was there for quite a while, and I thought it was somewhat of a landmark. It was removed at about the time when the Northside Lofts were built.

  4. Banana Jr. 6000

    This is why OMEA Week is the worst recurring arc in the Funkyverse: it’s an annual tradition, but it’s also the filleriest filler there is. TB brings it up every year but has absolutely nothing to say about it.

  5. Sourbelly

    Is there even a pretense of Westview students attending OMEA this year, or is it just Dinkhole and Becky cracking wise and pissing off fellow attendees for a week? Maybe Batdick’s marketing panel of band directors reacted negatively to the mere presence of students last year. I guess it doesn’t matter for us. We’re all in for a week of Deep Hurting.

  6. billytheskink

    Well, this strip fell flat.

    It also sucks.

  7. be ware of eve hill

    By the end of hour two, the presenters had enough. Both Dinkle and Becky we’re promptly clubbed and skinned.

  8. Tom from Finland

    Maybe Batiuk was trying to explain why Dinkle is always with Becky on the OMEA trips and the dialog in the last panel was originally reversed, but he got caught by the editor.
    That namely would explain a lot of things:
    Dinkle is not on Beckys staff since he is retired.
    The cliff thing could be something that you say to comfort a loved one that once has driven off a cliff
    And finally that would explain the horrified expressions of the people at the table

  9. robertodobbs

    With so many cars going off cliffs you’d think FW was drawn by Jack Chick.

  10. TimP

    I don’t think this was your intent but seeing Dinkle throw himself off the top rail of a third rate cruise ship while proclaiming himself king of the world (or Westview) would be a Funky strip I would be here for. It would almost be better than the time what’s his face got imaginary killed while attempting pen piracy or the one with the talking murder chimp.

    • Maxine of Arc

      DRUNK talking murder chimp. #neverforget

    • Gerard Plourde

      I think that Zanzibar The Murder Chimp is the greatest Act 3 character created. He deserves his own strip (but authored and drawn by someone other than TomBa and his team).

      • Maxine of Arc

        I refuse to let TomBa just drop that bomb and walk away. Never forget.

      • The Duck of Death

        A cigar-chomping, booze-swilling, sharp-shooting Golden-Age-of-Hollywood Murder Chimp deserves a whole universe built around him, with movies, comic books, and fan conventions.

        Tom has only created one character that showed true greatness, and he didn’t even recognize when his own work was good, so he tossed Zanzibar aside without comment.

        Come back, Zanzibar, we hardly knew ye!

  11. Banana Jr. 6000

    Rule #1 of self-deprecating humor is “don’t deprecate yourself for something you’re actually bad at.” It just looks like you have a massive self-esteem problem. Tom Batiuk owes his entire career to terrible wordplay; he really should not be doing strips where “my wordplay is terrible” is the punchline. Especially when he’s got two comic strips and one this is the biggest offender of the two.

  12. Perfect Tommy

    When walking on ice, you want to “C” sharp or you’ll “B” flat.
    Sorry. I couldn’t help myself.

  13. hitorque

    1. Can the OMEA please ban these two fucks? What have they ever brought to the discussion? They’ve been attending for years on the school’s dime and they haven’t once learned anything they can take back to their students or done something productive or at the bare minimum shut the fuck up and let someone else at the convention run their yaps for a little while… Why isn’t the self-proclaimed “World’s Greatest” hosting his own seminar at the convention so he can impart his wisdom and philosophy to the lowly peons from lesser high schools? God knows Mrs. One-Arm and the Big Dink love to strut around the main hall the entire day like they’re a couple of celebrities… Two ‘legends’ in their own minds.

    2. At the OMEA, Batiuk only gives us three basic kinds of comic strips:

    A. “The Big Dink loves music/The Big Dink is great/Let’s run down the Big Dink’s illustrious Hall-of-Fame resume!”

    B. Really shitty unfunny puns about music or marching or dumb students or fundraising that wouldn’t even make a seven-year-old kid laugh…

    C. “Things sure were different back in the olden days/That newfangled innernette sure is a game-changer for the industry!!”

    • The Duck of Death

      Don’t forget variations B1 and C1: The same, but on placards outside breakout rooms/seminars, which Dink and One-Arm walk by while chortling.

  14. The Duck of Death

    Every time I see that profile I wonder why Batiuk doesn’t sell Dinkle-face bottle openers at the OMEA. That profile, in stainless steel — that maw could grab any bottle top and flick it right off. Plus I bet the folks at the OMEA are big drinkers. I sure would be.

  15. Dood

    Does Dinkle saying he’s on Becky’s staff explain how he’s able to enter this convention? Dinkle’s grift and con skills certainly haven’t retired.

  16. Banana Jr. 6000

    You won’t believe what nonsense is on the Funkyblog today:

    Because of the isolated nature of the work, Lisa’s Story became a piece removed from time, adrift from any temporal shore.

    Batiuk, you jackass, you’ve been lecturing us this entire book about how important it is that time progresses naturally in your comic strip!

    I made a big deal in my previous introduction about how the decision to allow my characters to age had introduced time into the strip’s equation.

    It was necessary, however, in order for the work to unfold in a more naturalistic time frame as befitted what I was now trying to achieve.

    You can use time to more fully resonate with your readers on a real and believable level while you begin to discard the gimmicks that threaten that bond.

    These are all excepts from Volume 10. And that’s not even all of them. But Lisa’s Story was just so super-special that it didn’t have to follow the rules Batiuk himself just established! But he doesn’t draw attention to that either; he doesn’t say “I was violating my own principles on this one.” At least not in any way I can understand. What Batiuk wrote in the past is no relevance to what Batiuk writes now, even when Batiuk is lecturing you about how time has to be treated consistently. He’s accidentally written a mind screw.

    Batiuk may be the worst writer I’ve ever seen. Everything he writes is way too flowery, self-congratulatory, self-contradictory, and conveys no actual meaning.

    • The Duck of Death

      Add to those other incoherent self-contradictions:

      The story of someone’s illness and death inherently involves time and cannot be outside time. How?

      1. It bifurcates their life into two distinct times: pre-illness and post-diagnosis.
      2. The illness progresses over — you guessed it — time.
      3. The tragedy of a young death is (wait for it) the fruitful time that is presumed lost
      4. The family and children must continue their lives, aging without the loved one. Aging implies… aw, shucks, I think you guys know this one.

      Anything that truly resides outside of time — say, a dream sequence, or an alternate reality — also resides outside of real life, which is to say that it has no stakes. Which is to say there’s no reason to give a fuck, outside of pure entertainment value, which Lisa’s Story utterly lacked.

      Without delving too deeply into obscure academic terminology, and if you’ll excuse a quote from one of Voltaire’s more obscure works, I can summarize with the well-known bon mot, “Fuck You, Tom.”

    • Y. Knott

      The overall effect of this blog is just sad. A man in his mid-seventies obsessively relives pretty much the only thing in his life that got him some brief, fleeting recognition (and at that, only amongst a very small subset of a very small community.) The thing that he continually obsesses over wasn’t even a particularly well-done thing, and it certainly wasn’t a thing that 1 person in 1,000 was aware of, even at the time. And it has been literal decades since anyone cared about the thing at all. But he relives his connection to the thing over and over, desperately clinging to that one brief shining moment when he seemed to be …. well, not a success, not yet. He’s never been a success; not the way he wants to be. But possibly for that one moment in time? It’s just dimly possible that he might have been considered someone who might be on the way to success….

      He’s the sad, broken shell of a leading character in a Tennessee Williams play. A minor Tennessee Williams play; one that never gets revived, or maybe one that didn’t even make it out of the trunk. A play that has received little scholarly or critical attention — but what there is of it agrees that the sad-sack leading character is too one-note, and the story is severely underdeveloped.

      Yet still, he keeps posting.

      • The Duck of Death

        Even a character in a play that never left Tennessee Williams’ trunk would have had more depth than Tom betrays in his blog. A Williams character would have some pathos. He would have a fearful inkling that his imagined status is not real outside his own fantasized world. There would be some frisson when reality occasionally threatened to break through his wall of denial, and moments of tension, then tragedy, when he reconstructed his fragile bubble, inside which he is One of the Greats.

        Tom’s blog is just endless self-congratulation peppered with moments of fake modesty in the face of his own self-accolades. No reality ever intrudes.

        • Mela

          That pretty much describes Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman too. But there’s a completely different meaning behind “I am WILLY LOMAN” as opposed to “I am HARRY DINKLE!”

    • hitorque

      That’s why even though I’ve been a daily part of SOSF for about eight years, I HAVE NOT EVER NOR WILL NOT EVER click on TomBa’s blog… My blood pressure just wouldn’t take it…

    • Jeff M

      One of the fun things about the complete “Peanuts” compilations are the introductions to each volume by various authors. Writing your own introductions seems sad by comparison. That’s not even touching on the strips of course.

  17. The Duck of Death


    Lisa Moore has come un-Moored in time.

    It ends like this:


  18. be ware of eve hill

    I wonder if the bearded guy in panel #2 is the same guy who insulted Harry last year. There is a definite resemblance.

    Funky Winkerbean 1/26/21