Yes, Summer, by all means, climb the snow and ice-covered diving board hanging over the abandoned swimming pool. Remember, this genius has ten years of college under her belt. What an idiot. Again we see something that happened in high school resonating through history, yet college seems to make no difference one way or the other. If she slips, falls, and ends up freezing to death in that abandoned pool, this whole thing will have been quite worthwhile.
Great Moments In FW Arc Recap History
September 20 – October 4, 2015
Crazy Harry finishes transferring (and ostensibly watching) the hours of Lisa tapes. He informs Summer that he found “a couple of Easter Eggs” on the tapes, which he burns to separate DVD’s marked “For Les” and “For the Other Woman”, and Summer presents these to Cayla. Cayla’s starts with a lecture from Lisa about how to handle her duties as Les’ wife (before devolving into threats that Lisa will haunt Cayla if she ever hurts “our Les”).
The “Other Woman” Easter Egg arc, definitely one of Batiuk’s weirdest Lisa fantasies. And, of course, Cayla just sat there with a stupid look on her face, content as always with her role as Les’ good-natured doormat. Cayla was one of Act III’s least-believable characters. Being attracted to Les wasn’t enough, so over the course of Act III he neatly excised her already-barely discernible personality and turned her into Cayla Tyler Moore, always ready, willing and able to indulge Les and his demented Lisa nonsense. This arc SHOULD have ended with Cayla lobbing those DVDs into the fireplace with middle fingers extended, but she just sat there grinning stupidly instead. Yuck.
175 responses to “Off The Deep End”
The Westviewcrumb Tinies
(With apologies to Edward Gorey.)
A is for Ann, so unhappily wed
[art: Ann sprinkles rat poison into Fred’s Ensure as he feebly looks out the window at the snow]
B is for Bull, who lost his own head
[art: Bull’s head, still in its helmet, with a frozen look of terror, sits on Linda’s mantel as she makes out with Buck]
C is for Crazy, in coffee he drowned
[art: Funky, Les, and Holly look the other way as Cory jams Harry’s head into the full urn of boiling hot coffee behind the counter]
D is for Dinkle, who can’t hear a sound
[art: Dinkle smirkingly conducts St Spires’ choir, oblivious to the screams as the 1300-lb crucifix behind him tears off the wall and topples toward his head]
E is for Ed, who took it too far
[art: Crankshaft cackling obliviously as Keesterman, behind him, swings at his head with the splintered 4 x 4 that was once his mailbox post]
F is for Funky, mind blown in his car
[art: Funky, head smashed and bloodied, slumped over the wheel of his car. Turns out he did die in that accident]
G is for ghost, who somehow died twice
[art: Phil Holt slumped down in his drawing chair, Rapidograph pens plunged into his eyes]
H is for Holly, who got bad advice
[art: Melinda Budd laughing maniacally as she eggs on Holly, engulfed in flames, still holding a flaming baton and wearing her cheerleader uniform]
I is Inertia, which flattened the town
[art: Summer moping listlessly past lifeless streets, withered trees, and darkened windows]
J is for Junebug, who never was found
[art: “In Memoriam” placard on school reunion board, explaining, “Declared dead in absentia, 1985”
K for Kablichnik, who said we’re all doomed
[art: Kablichnik lies crushed by an enormous classroom globe; above his body is a whiteboard on which is scrawled “Climate Damage Will Kill Us All!”]
L is for Les, with Lisa entombed
[art: Cayla, by moonlight, has dug up Lisa’s grave and nudges Les’ bloodied corpse into the hole with her foot]
M is for Mason, so aptly named Jarre
[art: Mason’s head, hands, and organs, pickled in glass jars and neatly labeled, line a cobwebbed shelf]
N is for Nate, who should have run far
[art: Newspaper with photo showing bloodied body covered with sheet, headline reads “‘Love Principal’ Slain by Mob of Jealous Husbands”]
O is for organ, which killed Elenor
[art: Elenor slumped over the St Spires organ, note still hovering in air]
P is for Pete, who is moping no more
[art: Pete has hanged himself from the rafters of Atomik Comix. Pinned to his shirt is his note, “Don’t cry for me. I got out of Westview for good.”]
Q is for queer — glimpse ’em once, then they’re gone
[art: ghostly, fading figures of gay prom couple’s shadowy arms and Rolanda’s barely discernable, dissolving silhouette]
R is for Ruby, who ran the long con
[art: Vladimir Putin nods with grim satisfaction as an intelligence chief shows the film of Ruby, their unreliable asset, being “neutralized” — gunned down in the streets of Westview]
S is for Summer, a deadbeat now dead
[art: Summer’s twisted body is frozen, snow-covered, at the bottom of an empty pool, where she’d climbed on the slippery diving board and fallen in]
T is for Tony, it “reined” on his head
[art: A reindeer fallen from the roof of Montoni’s has crushed Tony to death; sprawled on the sidewalk with the broken reindeer, he looks as if the antlers were growing out of his own bloodied head]
U for unnatural, how Mort met his fate
[art: Mort in his underwear, bound and gagged in the back of the Bedside Manor van, which is being pushed off Nobottom Road by a dozen enraged old ladies]
V is for violence, now Lillian’s “the late”
[art: Lillian is crushed to death in “The Village Booksmith” as the Blonde Twins, giggling, push over a towering pile of remainders of “Murder in the Bookstore”]
W is for Wally, met his greatest fear
[art: RRRRRRR siren sounding as a shell falls on Wally, blowing him to pieces]
X for X-rated, we can’t show that here
[art: black panel]
Y is for youth, aged and withered and died
[art: Rows and rows of headstones with the names of all the FW cast — except one]
Z is for Zanzibar, the one who survived.
[art: Zanzibar reclining in a leather wing chair, in a smoking jacket, enjoying a cigar and cradling a snifter of cognac, grinning at the reader. A gun sits on the side table.]
Ma’am. I stand in line.
Brilliant stuff here. 120% more creative than Batiuk has been all month.
Outstanding! Well done; thank you so.
D is for Duck. THE Duck.
U is for Unheralded creative genius
C is for Class act every day in the comments section
K is for Kaboom! Mind is blown by the first- and best-ever FW primer.
Thanks, Duck of Death!
This is great! I especially loved the art notes.
I’m imagining your work with Edward Gorey illustrations.
Ursula Upvoter wishes she could give you a thumbs up for each individual letter! Well done, Duck!
I take off my hat and stand in line.
Three cheers and an engagement tiger!
Wonderful simply wonderful
I wish I could draw well enough to illustrate this. Again wonderful
This is the content I have come to expect from the erudite commenters of SOSF. Bravo!
I would definitely buy the illustrated book of this…
This is glorious-loved every letter! I also stand in line!
D is for Duck, whose poetry’s ducky;
Would that we all were so gifted and lucky!
Incredibly well done. I love the idea of a FW/Gorey crossover.
Wow, and I was happy at just remembering one little limerick.
Don’t do it, Summer! The fall could leave you horribly injured! Jump from a higher place so you can be sure of killing yourself!
(Yeah, I know, I tried to off myself a few years ago. But I can’t feel any sympathy for a character who wants to win a Darwin Award.)
We’re glad you’re still here, I can’t bear to think of the hilarious comments we would have missed.
Thank you! I’ve enjoyed everything here, your work included.
“Go ahead on and get it over with then
Find you a bridge and take a jump
Just make sure you do it right the first time
‘Cause nothing’s worse than a suicide chump”
True. After my little DIY project I decided to leave it to the pros. Of course, if Summer wants any advice I’ll be glad to help out.
Razors pain you,
Rivers are damp,
Acids stain you,
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren’t lawful,
Gas smells awful.
You might as well live.
— Dorothy Parker
Seriously, I’m glad you’re among the living and able to laugh with us at at least some of the wretched absurdities in life, starting with this dumb comic strip.
And in a few weeks I’ll be able to say “I outlived Funky Winkerbean!” That’s a pleasure worth living for.
I’ll be missing these barbs, William. You should be awarded your own Purr le Merite!
Meh. Rodney Dangerfield did it better in “Back to School.”
Off topic and self-referential so begging your pardon but… Happy memories of Back to School. The pool scene was filmed in LA but most of the rest of the movie was shot at the U of Wisconsin-Madison during my freshman year. Got to watch Dangerfield and cast as they worked, and he always took time to talk to students. Some friends were extras, but I have too much stage fright to even do that. Thanks for letting me share.
Were any of your friends in the famous Sam Kinison classroom scene?
LOVE that scene!! That was filmed in LA, as far as we know, since Kinison was never in Madison.
There were several public events with the crew and main cast before shooting began. Dangerfield was at these but never Kinison.
The movie premiered in Madison. It was great fun to see our campus on film and to see people we knew walking around in the background.
I had a chance at a similar experience. This dream sequence was filmed at the university I went to at the time, and I remember seeing campus ads for extras.
That movie is three years newer than Back To School. But man, did that joke age poorly.
Oh, Cayla didn’t just sit there smiling. She strongly implied she found the entire situation rather….arousing.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Cayla does not mind the Lisa thing. Cayla, for whatever reason, gets off on femcucking a ghost.
EW. Ew, ew, ew. YUCK.
I wonder if they did it with the dvd playing? Cancer Lisa gets them all turned on.
She was willing to marry Les, she clearly has some WEIRD fetishes.
Yuck. Obviously I blotted that one from my mind immediately. The whole thing with Les and his two wives was always so disturbing. It was like some sort of warped wish-fulfillment fantasy wrapped around a dearth of real human interaction, and a complete misunderstanding re: how any woman would actually act. Blech.
So what about *Mister Moore and His Two Wives,* Senhor Amado?
I shall stick to Dona Flor and her two husbands, thank you.
Have seen that arc before and it leaves me feeling dirtier every time. FW since the 90s, at least, sure gives the impression that Batiuk’s moral compass is from another planet. It sure isn’t aligning with this planet’s poles.
Is Centerville about to become the new home of Lisa death porn?
I hope the new syndicate’s editors impose two rules on Crankshaft:
1. No Lisa.
2. No comic books.
I won’t even say “no Les”, because he has appeared in Crankshaft in the past as an advisor to Lillian McKenzie. You know, because pulling best-sellers out of your ass and then having to promote them is just soooooooo hard. So I wouldn’t blanket ban him.
However, my third rule would be “no more book publishing stories.” Which would negate any reason for Les to appear.
Oh you silly, you think Crankshaft has no comic books.
Comic books are the only thing that kept Jeff Murdoch sane while tortured by his abusive mother.
Of course, his mother’s death causes him to realize that the ghost of his inner child is still trapped in his childhood home, and he goes on a mission to free him.
Because, of course, Jeff is just another Batiuk stand-in. His life experiences pulled directly from Batiuk’s own.
“During my time in elementary school, I also encountered the movie serial that would spin my head around. Every Friday afternoon, my elementary school in Akron would show old movie serials as a reward, I suppose, for having put up with another week of the drudgery and horrors of second grade. Whatever, it worked for me. For a mere dime, we were exposed to wonders that made going to school totally worth it. On one rainy Friday afternoon, we were treated to the first chapter of a serial that was unlike anything I’d ever experienced before. It was The Phantom Empire, starring Gene Autry, the Singing Cowboy, a serial so unique that it almost defies description.”
From the Burn This Dreck to Volume 1 of The Complete FW.
Trapped by the inner child that’s trapped within him- that sure sounds like our Tom.
I must admit. Ghost Kid Jeff has been around since at least late 2005/early 2006. He started appearing when Jeff had to temporarily live with Rose for some reason. I thought it was done pretty well back then, but these days…
It’s remarkable how much better the writing, and especially the art, is in that arc, compared to what we’re subjected to today. At the very least, there was an attempt to explore some normal human emotions, and there was some narrative coherence. And no one looked like they were melting.
I wonder what “horrors” Batiuk endured in the second grade. I know damned well that there are teachers (and parents) who should never be allowed anywhere near children, but he sounds like a narcissist. Maybe the teacher didn’t praise him enough when he gave the right answer in class.
The ghost of Jff’s childhood refused to leave back in 2006. I’m guessing because elder Jff didn’t remember that the spirit was tied to the Starbuck Jones decoder ring horcrux buried under the floorboards of his closet.
Grandma Rose always messed with my brain. Because she was so much like my recently deceased grandma. My grandma had the Lawrence Welk obsession and the nice antiques, and the 60’s housewife socialite tendencies, and even the occasional blunt prickliness…but…you know…was not literally the second most irredeemable and toxic character in the entire Funkyverse.
oh for. The Phantom Empire is BAD. It’s REALLY REALLY UNWATCHABLY BAD.
Phantom Empire is so crazy outdated that it’s hard to even call it “good” or “bad”. It’s interesting just for being a window into an era that’s rarely revisited in modern media. Even ancient classics like Wizard of Oz and It’s A Wonderful Life seem positively modern compared to it.
Oh, MAN, this one was awful! Apparently, nothing says “aphrodisiac” like a video lecture from PolterLisa! x_x
Also, as much as we’d like to, we can’t forget that Lisa’s Tape for “The Other Woman” included advice on what to do if Les calls out the wrong name when… *hurk* sorry, I think I just threw up. (Though it does raise the question: did Les say the wrong name when with Lisa (ew, and whose name would it have been), or did Lisa realize Les would be so hung up on her that anyone else would merely be Les’ “Replacement Lisa” (in which case… well, she was right). And I REALLY don’t want to have to think about this anymore.)
Mary Sue Sweetwater, oh, my sweet Mary Sue Sweetwater…
Ah, I had forgotten that it specified that detail. (But then, I would rather have forgotten even more, and I was NOT going to go try to find the strip.)
To quote Edmund Blackadder”No! NO!”
And seriously the only wrong name Les was likely to call out was his own
Allan Felix called out the names of baseball players in “Play It Again, Sam,” didn’t he?
Isaac Davis in “Manhattan” emulated God, because he had to model himself after someone good. Les would shout out his own name because he’s the best person he knows.
(Nick Carraway is the most honest person he knows.)
Hat tip to billytheskink for coming up with the “chair jammed in a diving board ladder” post tag. Whoda thunk that tag would get used as much as it has?
Since joining Twitter, @tbatiuk hasn’t been posting anything in the way of new content, but he sure reads what others have to say! “I’ll admit, it’s been rather priceless watching twitterdom losing its collective mind over my time-traveling custodian.”
So it’s true, Batty is online reading tweets. I never thought I would see that. What did he get like 1 compliment and a few complaints?
And he admits to having the FW collection for reference but it doesn’t seem like he uses it. CBH finds way more interesting details than he does.
Have there been tweets about this? Really? People outside of SoSF (and maybe Comics Kingdom) actually are bothering to comment about this?
They seem to be showing up in the feed the SoSF twitter is noticing. If nothing else it make people take notice with how ridiculous the plot has been.
No. Batiuk has had zero interaction on Twitter, and hasn’t posted anything new in awhile. And some intern is managing the account anyway. The SOSF Twitter account keeps an eye out for, and retweets, comments about FW. There are rarely any at all, and none of them speak positively about Funky Winkerbean.
When he points fingers at “twitterdom”… he means Son of Stuck Funky. The real Twitterdom is far too busy tying itself in knots over Elon Musk, or just continuing on as normal. “Twitterdom” is just Tom Batiuk closing his mind and trying to characterize all his criticism as “hidebound literalists” or “beady-eyed nitpickers” or whatever lame characterization he can think of. He has zero understanding of who criticizes him or why. Nor does he care to learn.
If you checked the SOSF twitter, it was retweeting a decent number of tweets from non-SOSF accounts confused by the Time Travelling Janitor. Josh at CC, Willis at It’s Walky, and others. Maybe not all of twitterdom. But it did get the comicsphere gabbing a tiny bit.
I do check it. Compared to the number of tweets I get daily about some obscure stuff I follow, it doesn’t seem like much.
It’s not much. It was between 15 and 20 random people talking about what was currently happening in Funky Winkerbean at once.
For Batiuk, sitting at his table in the empty bookstore at Kent State, it must have seemed like he was a bumblebee at the height of the Amber Heard trial.
50 years is a lot of content, I get it, but needing to reread your own books for research as regards to a “witness” is a very bemusing thought. And I’m glad he’s entertained, but it still doesn’t count the headaches it introduces as far as needing to ensure things happen, the creepiness that exists regardless of that “mission” or the fact he turned the Moore family into even more of a messiac archetype by making them so damn important to history. And the “dream” solution is a copout that turns the retrospective into a waste of time and just shows a lack of commitment that was there when he at least made sure John Darling stayed dead, “or is it” or not (and how the heck could you forget Holtron’s full-on Trek-induced craziness for pete’s sake).
As for that jammed chair, given what we talked about yesterday, ten bucks says that’s another “quirky” thing he saw in real life at an abandoned pool he just “had” to adapt into it.
Yeah, the idea of Les as a world-historical figure makes me want to, as Batiuk might put it, hurl chunkos.
Everything we’ve said about Lisa and Cayla, plus: Les is a jerk to his students, and, despite its bottomless patience for his self-absorbed “grieving” he never gives back to his community. We’ve never seen him tutor a struggling student (or display anything but contempt for them) or give his time to anyone but Lilian b/c she has been called to the life of the word.
To put it on “rather eloquent” terms, Les is a jerk.
If it were me, I’d have been keeping good notes through the years, especially during acts 2 and 3. Batty brags about how he could spread his wings and dig deep during those acts, but he never did any of the necessary pre-work.
The number of tags I never believed I’d use again only to use them many times. If I had a nickel for each one I could… well, it’d go a long way toward paying for the dryer that broke last night.
I don’t believe for a nanosecond in this cavalier tone — “it’s been rather priceless watching twitterdom lose its collective mind.”
There are people who love to troll and who have impermeable skin; insults are fuel for them. Puff Batty is not one of them. He’s thin-skinned, and until now has probably been cloistered away from the harshest of criticism. He writes about his favorite straw men — how people told him he couldn’t tell serious stories in comics, etc. But he never acknowledges the actual criticisms, the ones you’d read here, or on Joseph Nebus’ blog, or on the Comics Curmudgeon. Or, very occasionally, on Twitter.
Notice the vague circumlocution, that “twitterdom” lost its “collective mind.” No one lost their mind, and none of this even rose to the level of a blip on Twitter’s radar. All that happened was that a few people ridiculed the gobsmacking stupidity and amateurishness of it all, and the chickensh*t cop-out of “it was all a dream.” If he actually did read any of it, I’ll bet it stung.
His rants about twitter, and his comment about the “horrors” of second grade, make me think he’s a narcissist. They can’t take criticism, can’t understand that people might not worship them and blow every problem out of proportion. (I’m not disagreeing with your theory that he’s autistic; I’m looking to see if there’s a way to differentiate between the two problems.)
(Congratulations, Batty, you’re a mildly interesting lab specimen! Quit squirming while we dissect you.)
I think he’s unquestionably a narcissist. How much of this is his personality and how much of it is tied to possible neurological conditions, I won’t speculate.
That’s actually BJr6K’s theory, that he’s autistic. My theory was that he’s suffering some neurological impairments that he didn’t have 10 or 15 years ago (dementia? ministrokes?). Now we add the narcissism theory into the mix.
They could all be true. I have a strong feeling they all are, at least to some degree. And there could be even more factors. Who knows?
Well, at least I got two good theorists mixed up.
There’s no way to know, short of having a competent psychiatrist audit Batty. But it’s fun to speculate.
And there’s no reason they ALL can’t be true. A combination of narcissism and undiagnosed autism, coupled with more recent cognitive decline issues? It would still all fit within the evidence we’ve seen.
So… Batty can’t tell the difference between Twitter and a blog?
This just makes me scream silently into the void:
“Along with that, I now had a raison d’tre [sic] to revisit past events in the Funkyverse.”
Tom, you mean reason. You had a reason to revisit past events. It’s a perfectly good English word, and it’s the right word.
If you don’t know how to use, or spell, “raison d’être,” why trot it out? Do you not own an English dictionary? You’d find the phrase, its correct meaning, and its spelling in there. Lord of language, my ass.
“Raison d’être” means a reason for being, the driving purpose of one’s life. Past events in the Funkyverse are all Batty cares about, besides comic books and a truly awful old serial, so it’s entirely possible his usage is correct.
Yes, but you can’t have a raison d’être to do something, because “to exist” is already in the expression: it literally means “reason to be/exist.”
If he wasn’t so smug about being the Lord of Language, and if he’d deigned to consult Webster’s like the rest of us do, he could have phrased it:
“I now had a raison d’être: to revisit past events in the Funkyverse.” Although it would be pretty sad to admit that for 75 years his life had no purpose, until he dreamed up Timemop.
Well, this is a guy who used “Deja View” as a pun in today’s Crankshaft.
That pun is as old as the Norman Conquest, but I’d prefer ancient chestnuts to batshit fugues.
“ Remember, this genius has ten years of college under her belt. ”
Yes, but she spent them at Kant State.
“I’ve been going to this high school for seven and a half years. I’m no dummy.”
Don’t you think it’s a little strange that your boyfriend is 22 years old and still in high school?
Not that it’s any of your business, trollop, but he is here by choice.
So it’s his choice that he’s a fourth-year senior who can’t pass any test he takes?
His. His, with a capital H. If God wanted him to graduate, then God would have given him the right answers.
[laughs] I’m sorry, but you gotta be shittin’ me, woman.
From “Easy A” (2010)
Better Off Dead would have been a great model for a Funky Winkerbean movie. A 1986 Funky Winkerbean movie, when the strip was actually funny, and about high school. Better Off Dead was the perfect mix of hilarity and over-the-top meanness, while also having something to say about high school life. And young John Cusack could have been a great Les Moore.
Willy Wonka: no, lisa. don’t. stop.
This comic strip is terrible. I hope it’ll last.
Oh, this is priceless.
“Then it occurred to me that it would be fun if Harley had not only seen things happen, but had somehow influenced events in the strip from behind the scenes. However, the deeper I got into that, the creepier it became. That was when I came upon the rather elegant solution of having Harley be from the future and on a mission to return to the past to make sure certain events happened as they should.”
Wow. So he recognized that Timemop was creepy, then settled on a course of action (mind control) that made him EVEN CREEPIER? That was certainly a choice, Tom.
(Also, “elegant”? I don’t think that word means what you think it means. That was by no means “elegant”.)
Anyhoo, Girl Les’ great “pattern-recognition” ability sure is on display here. Whereas we mere mortals might think going up on that icy diving board is insanely idiotic, The Divine Prophet is just gonna go ahead and do it. The savior of humanity, ladies and gentlemen. (We’re f***ed.)
See this is what happens when you don’t have an editor.
“a mission to return to the past to make sure certain events happened as they should.”
If he’s traveling from the future and knows how events turned out, doesn’t that imply that they did happen as they should? His meddling could cause a change of the timeline which would alter the future, making things NOT turn out as they should, unless changing the past is impossible.
On this subject of the theoretical plasticity of past events, C.S. Lewis, in his introduction to his book, The Great Divorce, referred to a science fiction story he had read in which the protagonist traveled into the past and “found raindrops would pierce him like bullets and sandwiches which no strength could bite — because, of course, nothing in the past can be altered.”
I side with Lewis on this, so, though I doubt TomBa intended it, we may have proof that Harley is an idiot (he did lose his time helmet and has made no effort to retrieve it) and was sent back to Westview so that his contemporaries wouldn’t have to put up with him.
Yeah but any time-travel story has foundational logic problems behind it. “Going back to ensure history turns out right” at least has some successful models. There was Voyagers!, which you know from my childhood as the most awesomestly awesome show EVER before Automan. There was Quantum Leap. For an animated comedy version there was Time Squad. Arguably, Doctor Who fits the mold, although there what’s going wrong is an unauthorized monster is eating people during the Great Exposition of 1851. Bit different from ‘the Yankees fail to sign Babe Ruth’ or ‘Francis Scott Key drops the envelope he wrote some verse down on last night’.
I think none of those shows had any explanation for how history might be going wrong (I guess Quantum Leap had something for a while with an Evil Leaper? But who wasn’t responsible for most of the stories, just a particular storyline?). But it’s all excuses to put your heroes on the Titanic.
Anyway the idea wasn’t the problem here.
“It’s all excuses to put your heroes on the Titanic”? Hey, that was the first episode of 1966’s “The Time Tunnel,” still the best time-travel series on American TV. I was eight when it debuted, and it was the first time I ever heard of the Titanic.
Michael Rennie is very good as the Captain on that “maiden voyage” which proved to be the final one as well.
Clearly, he wasn’t ill as he was on the day the Earth stood still (but he told us where to stand…).
I came to “Rendezvous with Yesterday” (the title of “The Time Tunnel” episode: though I am not a cockeyed optimist, I am a beady-eyed literalist and a hide-bound nitpicker) through my pleasure in Rennie’s performance as Bernadotte in “Desiree” (the other Marlon Brando/Jean Simmons movie: “Guys and Dolls” is more famous).
Tom Batiuk probably feels Rennie should burn in hell for portraying the Sandman on two episodes of the 1966 “Batman.”
Klaatu barada nikto! Happy Beethoven’s birthday!
Not familiar enough with the other shows to comment, but in Quantum Leap, the idea was that the things Sam had to fix were things that had gone the wrong way all along. Sam then “put right what once went wrong”, causing a better version of events to have happened. It wasn’t a case where he had to make sure everything turned out exactly the same way it always happened; heck, until Sam changed whatever needed changing, they didn’t even know the ultimate end results (but which never turned out to be bad things that only happened because of Sam).
The important thing to remember about Quantum Leap, though, is that its take on time travel was both wildly inconsistent and utterly nonsensical. But series creator Donald Bellisario also knew all the flaws inherent in the premise and felt that audiences would willingly play along as long as the stories were good enough. “Don’t examine this too closely” was his motto for the series.
audiences would willingly play along as long as the stories were good enough
That’s what Tom Batiuk really, really doesn’t get. He is so hung up on his rules for how things should work, that he’s forgotten he’s supposed to be telling a good story.
The “Superman spins the world backwards” bit is one of the stupidest things I’ve ever seen in a movie. It’s also one of the best things I’ve ever seen in a movie. It showed how far Superman was willing to go to save Lois Lane, and raised real tension by making a superpowered character try something he might not be able to do. I don’t care that it would have caused continent-sized earthquakes and spun the atmosphere into space. It was a great payoff to the story.
The other “unrealistic” ending I adore is the end of Toy Story. In two lines, it ties up both main characters’ emotional arcs.
Minor point: Superman didn’t make the Earth spin backward. What he was doing was flying around the Earth, increasing his speed until he was going fast enough to travel back in time. (Comic book physics.) What we’re seeing is the movement of the Earth from Supes’ point of view. First, he’s going so fast that he’s experiencing time distortion, and the Earth appears to be slowing down. Eventually, he hits the point where time seems to stop, and then as he goes even faster, and he starts going back in time, the Earth’s rotation appears to be going backward. But it’s not REALLY going backward, it just looks like it to Supes.
The physics are, of course, utterly absurd (an object with mass hitting relativistic speeds in near-Earth orbit would probably do even more damage than actually changing the rotation of the planet), but we don’t watch Superman movies for anything resembling real-world physics. (Just like we don’t read Funky Winkerbean for anything resembling real-world human interactions.)
I thought I was the only one who remembered VOYAGERS!
Futurama also did numerous successful time-travel episodes. Certainly they were helped by the fact that their writing staff included several mathematicians. But the key to time travel stories for this non-mathematician reader is simple: Explain enough, but not too much. Explain away the obvious in-your-face questions, but no more. Because the more you explain, the more potential contradictions you introduce, and the more you then have to explain. And explanations are boring, and let’s face it, time travel can’t really make sense.
But that’s absolutely fine. Let your reader/viewer suspend disbelief. Let them believe in your world where time travel is possible. Let them enjoy the journey.
Or, try the Puffy method: Bog them down in smug explanations that get more idiotic with each iteration, and ultimately boil down to “it’s turtles all the way down,” and also make sure that nothing interesting happens and nothing is at stake and no one has any emotional reaction and nothing changes and it was all a dream.
In “Kindred,” Octavia Butler gave one of the best explanations ever for how time travel works: she didn’t explain anything. It just happens. The story is so strong it doesn’t need to waste time explaining how two people from 1976 jump back and forth to the antebellum South.
I recently read a book called “Look Who’s Back.” The premise: Hitler comes back to life in modern-day Germany. The book (written from Hitler’s perspective) opens with him waking up, alive and unharmed, in his uniform, on the site above where the bunker used to be. There is no explanation of how this happened, and Hitler doesn’t waste too much time wondering about it. It works as a device, because the reader knows he’s the real Hitler but no one in modern-day Berlin believes it; they think he’s some kind of performance artist or something.
As a reader, I didn’t care why or how Hitler was still alive. I wanted to get to the story. The author was right to present it as a fait accompli.
no one in modern-day Berlin believes (he’s the real Hitler), they think he’s some kind of performance artist or something.
Which is a real thing, by the way: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emin_Xhinovci
Speaking of ‘The Great Divorce’, you think that in the afterlife Les would have a similar reunion with Lisa as Frank and Susan Smith? (Not THAT Susan Smith) You know, where he shrinks down to nothing and slumps of to Hell when he realizes Lisa didn’t miss him ‘enough’.
“”And now!” said Les with a hackneyed gesture of despair. “Now, you need me no more?”
“But of course not!” said Lisa; and her smile made me wonder how both the phantoms could refrain from crying out with joy.
“What needs could I have,” she said, “now that I have all? I am full now, not empty. I am in Love Himself, not lonely. Strong, not weak. You shall be the same. Come and see. We shall have no need for one another now: we can begin to love truly.”
But the Tragedian was still striking attitudes.
“She needs me no more-no more. No more/’ he said in a choking voice to no one in particular. “Would to God,” he continued, but he was now pronouncing it Gud-“Would to God I had seen her
lying dead at my feet before I heard those words. Lying dead at my feet. Lying dead at my feet.””
One of my favorite Lewis books, as it reconciles the seemingly-incompatible concepts of universal (availability of) salvation and eternal (self-imposed) damnation—God never gives up, but there is the possibility that some people never give in. And this scene… yeah, a perfect description of Les.
I think applying that bit in the Great Divorce to Les and Lisa is a great idea. It fits beautifully, especially in the idea that like that the Tragedian, Les thinks that he is only dedicated to the memory of Lisa, but really is primarily dedicated to himself. But of course, the focus on himself is the primary characteristic of Les.
I think there is another bit from Lewis (in The Screwtape Letter that applies here)–“She is the sort of woman who lives for others–you can always tell the others by their hunted expression.” Everything Les does is ostensibly for other people, from the Lisa Run, to teaching, to anything and everything else. But in the end, it is all about Les.
“Then it occurred to me that it would be fun… I came upon the rather elegant solution of having Harley be from the future and on a mission to return to the past to make sure certain events happened as they should.”
To put it another way, “I was engaged in idle mental masturbation when I came up with a couple ideas which I am quite certain are unique to my writing and have never been used before. Now somebody give me an award.”
That’s our Batty. No research. Not even a cursory look at Grandpa Google.
I have a fat volume on my shelf called “The Time Traveler’s Almanac,” a collection of classic time travel stories. Plus plenty of other time-travel books. Lots of different riffs on the fact that the math predicts time travel is possible but the world we observe values causality, most of which are far more interesting than the simplistic “Sound of Thunder” model Batty uses (only one time stream, anything you change in the past immediately changes the “present” you return to).
I’m pretty sure there are no such books on Batty’s shelf. Then again, I suspect his bookshelves are filled to bursting with unsold copies of “Dead St. Lisa’s Story.”
The situation Batiuk describes in that post doesn’t remotely resemble what actually happened.
I came upon the rather elegant solution of having Harley be from the future and on a mission to return to the past to make sure certain events happened as they should.…. and then he immediately it-was-just-a-dreamed it, rendering his “elegant solution” moot.
So I basically introduced a little science fiction into the strip. ….which he immediately cancelled. And science fiction has been in the strip many times.
I now had a raison d’tre to revisit past events in the Funkyverse. …which were: Lisa, time helmet, time helmet, time helmet, Summer’s book, Lisa, Susan Smith, Lisa, Lisa, Lisa, Summer’s book, Lisa. And he wasn’t “revisiting” these events, he was retconning them.
And they’re all events that were revisited earlier this year, are revisited constantly. Not one word about Funky, Holly, Dinkle, Bull Bushka, Crazy Harry, Roland/Rolando, Lavinia, Holtron. or any of the other dozens of characters and tropes that had decades-long presence.
twitterdom losing its collective mind over my time-traveling custodian… as has been said, this is a very self-serving and ill-fitting way to say “the few people on the internet who pay any attention to Funky Winkerbean have been making substantive criticisms of my poor storytelling choices.”
And in the end, it was all a dream… wasn’t it? I don’t know, Tom, was it? YOU’RE supposed to be telling US that, not asking us about it passive-aggressively, like you think we didn’t study for a final exam.
This is exactly what “twitterdom” is “losing its collective mind” about. Batiuk rewrote the entire strip’s history, then cancelled it with a lame cop-out, and then wouldn’t address it or advance the story, then moved onto Summer wandering around in the snow for no clear reason.
“Which do you think it was?” asks Lewis “Dodo” Carroll.
Ummm, THAT, my good friends, looks like a very good way to break your neck and die! If she’s trying to prove something, why didn’t she do so when it was…summer? (HEH.) Unless…are Funky and Les already dead? Is the whole town dead? Is she trying to join them? Is this how it ends?
That would be a good twist. Summer returns from “clearing her head” and finds out 100 years has passed. Or the nuke landed and she’s the only survivor. Or the entire cast has become zombies. Or the Russian army has invaded. Or a new ice age has started. Or MY GOD ANYTHING AT ALL WOULD SOMETHING PLEASE HAPPEN.
It would be HILARIOUS if Girl Les did accidentally kill herself on that diving board, then we cut to Timemop thinking “wait, wasn’t there something I was supposed to do today…? Oooohhhh crap, I think I just doomed humanity”.
Hell, a shocking death would inject a lot of energy into this deadbeat arc. And generate a little ironic goodwill. “Good ol’ depressing Funky Winkerbean couldn’t resist adding one more body to the death count on its way out the door.”
I still wonder how he’s going to end it all. Massive explosion? Everyone gets shot? All a dream? Only time will tell!
Summer falls to her death. Les spends the rest of the month pretending to mourn while he accepts sympathy from everyone else. Secretly, he’s glad she died. She no longer threatens to outshine him and he can write another book in the Lisa’s Tragic Legacy series.
If she starts doing dance-kicks in the edge while trying to take a selfie, I just might forgive the whole Custodian thing.
“Your dad would spend a long time on that diving board trying to jump in the pool. WHAT THE HELL DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH ANYTHING???!!!
I stand in line at the sheer pointlessness of it all. This isn’t even pretending to be a story. What on earth is Saturday’s strip going to be? What logically follows from three week conversation with time traveling janitor was a dream/wander in snowstorm to clear head/climb diving board your dad wouldn’t dive off of?
A stupid pun, delivered with a smirk?
(For a Batiukian value of “logically”, of course.)
A smarter, better, author would find a way to tie Les’ inability to jump off the high dive with the fact that Summer had been in college FOR A DECADE changing her major constantly.
She’s been standing at the precipice of adulthood, but failing to launch, for so long that she’ll have her first grey hair before she has her first real job.
A master of metaphors he ain’t.
Since I can’t reply to your post above with the young Jff strips, I must say that young Jff’s bed is the most pubic-y piece of furniture to grace this piece-of-shit strip lo these many decades. It’s like 90% pubes! The typical Batiukian sofa is like 60% pubes tops. So…way to go Tom.
Clearly we didn’t get enough suicide baiting with that random Susan flashback (though if this leads to her showing up here to encounter Girl Les that would be kinda smart I admit), now we have to have Summer reenacting the music video to All American Reject’s “Move Along” (which I was introduced to by, of all things, LEGO BIONICLE. Funny story to that, google “Free the Band”)
I’ve said it before, but the Lisa Tapes is arguably the most unique hook to Lisa’s Story as far as how it may be seen in-universe (as far as a typical “woman got cancer and died”, nuances of hospital screw-ups and reconnection w/ rape child aside, as opposed to the IRL gimmick of “cancer in the funny papers”), and I could see a movie milking the heck out of it as far as a story for the widow(er) and kid(s) using them to try and keep her presence going as they try and move on. As handled in the strip they were squandered by the nature of the Act 3 time skip & vastly overstayed their welcome in being seen as a “necessary” guide for Les & Summer that many years on, with stuff like this “easter egg” feeling overboard, and that really dumb coda this year with “it was CRAZY’S idea all along!” Plus with the tapes co-existing with imaginary/real Ghost Lisa throughout most of the early Act 3 years, it was way more Lisa than was needed or expected of a dead woman, and of course tarnished the Cayla romance by implicidly needing Lisa’s influence in the first place (“She’s a keeper!” my ***)
There’s a forgotten Michael Keaton movie, My Life, where video tapes recorded by someone dying of cancer were a major plot point. But this is someone who suddenly got cancer, and would die before he got to meet his about-to-be-born child. So it made a lot more sense there. And it wasn’t even the “A” story: that was about reconciling with his family.
A good story about Lisa tapes could be told, but Lord knows Funky Winkerbean isn’t it. It thinks it’s milking so much emotion out of the mere idea that a dead person can record messages for a living person. It’s just not that powerful or interesting a concept. But that’s all it is.
Lisa badly overstayed her welcome as you said. And then the tapes became a cheap writing crutch for Batiuk to keep Lisa at the center of everything, long after she died.
“I See A Man Sitting in a Chair, and the Chair is Biting his Leg.”
Robert Sheckley was basically the proto Douglas Adams.
Are you going to be posting little recommends of much more skilled and more interesting authors until the end of this nonsense?
Because I am HERE for it.
That was when I came upon the rather elegant solution–> Has BatCrazy grown more arrogant over time, or has he always been full of himself? If there’s ever been anything approaching elegant in his writing, Space Janitor sure isn’t it.
I have the feeling Batiuk has always been overproud of his abilities. Even in act I, whenever a character would react to a punchline by doing a fourth-wall frown? That seems to be Batiuk saying, “Yeah, I know I’m way above this crap.”
Is Batiuk trying to vent about the syndicate in Crankshaft this week?
He brought Phil the weather reporter back from oblivion and
Phil is ranting about having been a victim of age discrimination.
Thursday’s strip is typical Batiuk: the character with whom we’re supposed to sympathize comes across as an entitled jerk and the antagonist is paper cut-out villain who says something no real villain would actually say. Phil looks like Lillian’s male twin, which is to say he doesn’t look a day under 80.
TB is the antithesis of self-aware, so yes, he’s most likely venting at the syndicate over in ‘Shaft.
I do suspect that this was triggered by the cancellation. How intentional it is I’m not sure. I think TomBa often reacts without thinking. This dialogue may be further evidence of that tendency.
Thanks for the confirmation, billy and Gerard. As usual, he makes his point in sophomoric terms of black-and-white, “good” (whatever he believes) vs. evilest 0f evil.
In Batiuk’s childish mind, the world should allow both for people to do what they love for as long as they like, and for young people just entering the field a full-time job. Economics be damned.
It’s hard to care about Phil. At his age he should have a decent nest egg and pension plan, considering how long he was at the station, and they would’ve bought him out, anyway.
Come to think of it, it’s hard to care about Batty for the same reasons.
If a TV news person complained on-air about his employer, he’d have been fired again before his report started. You just don’t do that. Hell, no company discusses H.R. decisions with random employees, like we saw yesterday. Max and Whatsername are more or less running the station at this point. Just what the Funkyverse needed: more “talented” people with media jobs.
Speaking of Cayla Tyler Moore, I was digging through my underused and overpriced webspace files the other day…
Is that Darnell Hillman? He had the biggest ‘fro in the history of basketball.
YES! That is, indeed, Darnell Hillman. Good eye.
I read the book Loose Balls by Terry Pluto about the old American Basketball Association, from which four current NBA teams emerged. It talks a lot about the style and personality the league had relative to the staid NBA. Hairstyles had a lot to do with it, and Hillman is widely regarded as having the most impressive ‘fro. And there was a lot of competition for that title. Check out these pics.
Hillman was also a great dunker. He won the NBA’s first slam dunk competition in 1977, though the format was a lot different. Supposedly, Hillman could jump so high he could take a quarter of the top of the back of the backboard. Someone asked him if he could really do that, and he said “put a $100 bill up there and see.” Sadly, no one ever took him up on that offer.
Loose Balls and Pluto’s book on the early NBA Tall Tales are tremendous oral histories (hey, remember when Summer was writing an oral history?), funny, dramatic, and altogether interesting. I’ve read both several times. One of my favorite bits from Tall Tales is one of the league’s first referees winningly noting that there were a lot fewer 7 game series in the playoffs after the league started paying refs a flat rate per series rather than by game.
I’m glad the Remember the ABA is still up, it has been on the web for quite a long time. A few pages over from those great shots of Hillman’s afro is Summer’s one-time doppelgänger John Roche.
My favorite bit was about the bikini-clad “ball girls” the Miami team had. If the game was on TV, none of the players wanted to sit next to them. If the game wasn’t on TV, all the players wanted to sit next to them.
I’ve read both books, and “oral history” is exactly what they are. 99% of the books are interleaved quotes from the people involved, with little commentary from the author. He just lets his subjects tell the story in their own words. It’s a great writing style.
If Summer’s dumb book was in any way a real project, this could be a fun style to adopt. And hey, Terry Pluto is a northeast Ohio guy; maybe he’d do it. I’d love to read a chapter about what the townspeople *really* thought of Les and Lisa Moore.
FUNKY WINKERBEAN: Les was my friend in high school, but he… changed.
HARRY KLINGHORN: God, I hated that smug little prick.
LINDA LOPEZ-BUSHKA: He used to call me his “work wife.” At work! In public! Right in front of my face. As if he didn’t already have enough wives.
MASON JARRE: Having to wrangle that little shit was the most exhausting experience of my career. Pink Productions needed to lose money for tax reasons, so they asked me to help make a movie that would be a sure-fire money-loser. Of course, I picked Lisa’s Story, and it was my job to keep Les out of everyone’s hair.
I even set up this dog and pony show of these Hollywood people ‘rejecting’ Lisa’s Story to his face, and saying things like “oh, we can’t make this because it’s too beautiful.” One time– (laughs) — I hired these two improv guys to play “Mixmaster Studios” in an office we rented out that week. Not even good improv guys. I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing when they started talking about “banking in China.”
CASSIDY KERR: So we had to take Les to Chateau Marmont so we could “buy” his movie. He made a big show of pulling out his cell phone in the middle of the lunch, so he could text a quiz to his English class. Twice. Harvey Weinstein happened to be there that day, just before he went to jail. He was asking me who the asshole was.
MASON JARRE: Of course, the movie wins a friggin’ Oscar, then makes millions in new rentals. Gave Pink Productions even bigger tax problems that basically ruined the studio. Les Moore can’t even fail right.
My mistake was not letting him write the script. I thought it would feel more realistic if Hollywood imposed some limitations on him, after that “kill fee” stunt. I should have let him write the script.
Dang, forgot her hair was a triplicate. “Standard” afro to “i gotta look young and hip for Les” to “tamed it flat”. Also colorist let her get whiter, of course.
Next Summer is going to the gym at Westview High to see both her state title trophy and the rope that her Dad could never climb
Then because she’s feeling extra nostalgic, she will visit the Post Office where her Mom was blown up. All kinds of fond memories…
If she doesn’t die in the pool, maybe she can get the climbing rope wrapped around her neck. Sadly, we won’t get to see what happens when everyone comes back from Christmas break Jan. 3 and she’s still there.
Principal Nate: There’s nothing in the school handbook saying you can’t hang yourself in the gym.
She’d have to do it at home. Bull gifted Les the climbing rope back in 1999.
And Les’ behavior at Bull’s funeral just keeps looking worse. With Batiuk, all horrible things are possible…
It only goes with you if you are dumb enough to carry the baggage around with you.
I can barely remember being in high school.
At least Bull grew up when he graduated, Les remained a petulant child.
For Pete’s Sake LES you were best man at Bull’s WEDDING!
That means he considered you his BEST FRIEND, you ungrateful, miserable, asshat!
You have it all at your fingers’ ends.
Though if she goes to the Post Office and starts chanting “USA! USA!”, I’ll forgive a lot of Batiuk’s sins. (But I know that ain’t gonna happen, so…)
The Post Office bombing was- for those counting- the first time Lisa lost all her hair and ended up bald and sick in the hospital In FW tragic things happened more than once
Suddenly it makes sense.
Hardly returns to the future. “How did it go?” the Time Lords ask.
“Perfectly. By all the gods, Summer Moore was gullible beyond imagination! She believed every lie I told her about manipulating the past so she could write that book–“ Harley turns his head and spits “–and how it would lead to a ‘perfect’ human civilization.”
“Was that wise?”
“No, but effective. She had her father’s ego, and her mother’s too. She wanted to believe that she was predestined to write that book–“ another turn-and-spit “–and her egomania grew like a cancer.”
“She felt herself immune to danger?”
“M’lord, I don’t think she remembered there was such a thing as danger. You wouldn’t believe the stupid actions that led to her death–”
“We believe. Time has changed, and you have earned the Order of the Diving Board for your service to human freedom and dignity.”
Order of the Diving Board!! 🤣😂🥲
Can I buy a replica ODB pin in the SoSF? Is the decoder ring sold separately? (Spoiler alert- the code word always starts with “c” and ends with “r.”
* in the SoSF gift shop. (Complete sentences free with any purchase of a replica OFB pin?)
1. Why the past tense? Her dad is still living, maybe talk to him about it?
1a. It’s funny because Summer literally has ZERO friends to talk to, even in her small Ohio hometown where everyone knows everyone else…
2. Whatever happened to Summer’s stepsister whose name I’ve long forgotten?
3. Um… yeah… Public pools don’t work that way! For starters, Lester never would have been allowed to stay on that high board longer than ten seconds with other kids in line waiting to jump… Lifeguard would have blasted his whistle and yelled at Lester to either jump immediately or turn around and climb down (yes, that happened to me as a kid)… Secondly, public pools are closed, locked and secured for the winter with the water drained, and at least in some cases the boards are removed from the tower and put in storage just to prevent whatever dumbassed stunt Blessed St. Lisa’s hellspawn is about to attempt here.
2. Keisha had a brief appearance this year at Cory and Rocky’s wedding, at which she asked about Summer’s relationship status. So we can infer that they’re still besties and leaving together… which further implies Keisha is also still in college at age 32.
I believe this is the old and now-closed pool that Les and Funky stared at for several days back in August. But yeah, despite the short fence and “Do Not Enter” sign (both torn down with little apparent trouble in today’s strip), it’s a tremendous hazard.
Back in August Les made a weird comment about “Summers that have slipped away.” Deliberate foreshadowing or a wacky coincidence? Maybe Batty was already preparing to have FW terminated–naah. When was the last time he took that much interest in this strip’s future?
This is not a fun December… Looks like I’m going to lose TWO longtime internet homes at about the same time — SOSF *and* Twitter if the insanity from earlier tonight is any indication… 😑
I don’t know what stupid thing Summer is about to do. I don’t know why Batiuk fixates on high school. All I know is that there’s a real story, a real way of winding things down that Batiuk is too chicken and too blind to see: closing Westview High School. The businesses can stay but shuttering the high school would be The End Of All Things.
Two different ideas for what’s next.
1. Summer tumbles off the diving board but Harley opens up a time portal into which she safely falls. Waiting on the other side is Wayback Wendy who takes her by the hand to meet St. Lisa who is a Glinda the Good Witch on a different timeline. Together they write The Book.
2. Tomorrow we see Summer walking some more but this time Mary Worth’s head appears in the clouds and quotes a Hallmark card.
Surely you guys agree that these are both “rather eloquent” next steps…
They pass from “rather eloquent” into “Old Man Eloquent” territory.
John Quincy Adams was known as “Old Man Eloquent” in his later years. May we all be able to see the end of *Funky Winkerbean* and echo his final words:
“This is the last of Earth. I am content.”
Or for Dinkle:
“This is the end of Westview, but I am composed.”
As AJ Soprano could tell you, Summer, there are more efficient methods.
We’ve all come up with ways this strip could be ended in a graceful and satisfying way. Between us, there are probably 15 excellent ideas and we could all generate more with no trouble.
But, you know, he didn’t have to “end” it. He could have done what Calvin and Hobbes did, and just have the gang embark on another day, and *scene.* Calvin and Hobbes ended on an optimistic note — on a snowy day, no less — with C & H sailing almost literally off the page into an eternal future childhood.
Yet, as optimistic as it was, it was also poignant because somewhere in the back of our minds, we knew that somehow, sometime, Calvin would have to grow up and lose his childhood innocence, even if we didn’t see it. But Watterson gave us a fond and loving goodbye — fond and loving both to his audience and to his characters.
We’re getting the opposite: A petulant FU to all his readers and all his characters and his whole fictional town and world. What the hell is wrong with this guy?
That was a fantastic ending. And recall that Watterson did no puff pieces, no angry diatribe blog postings. (He did complain about the state of newspaper comics, but did so in a thoughtful and intelligent way.). There were no angry scowls towards the readers, no yelling ITS CALLED WRITING!!
Batty could have done so much with this strip, but I’m glad he didn’t because otherwise this page would not exist!
Holy Marianne Winters at the Hollywood sign!
Jump! Jump! Jump!
“And the Evil Janitor led the Blessed Summer to the top of the diving board and said ‘if you are truly the Chosen One who will make all humanity a single nation, then leap from this board. Dead St. Lisa herself will swoop down and you will not even stub your toe.’
“And the Blessed Summer did this. Alas, Dead St. Lisa was on the toilet with Baal (see 1 Kings 18:27) and did not hear Summer’s supplication. Thus did the Blessed Summer pass on…”
Hannibal’s Lectern, you reminded me of the ending of Jack London’s “Lost Face”:
When this had been carried out, Subienkow lay down in the snow, resting his head on the log like a tired child about to sleep. He had lived so many dreary years that he was indeed tired.
“I laugh at you and your strength, O Makamuk,” he said. “Strike, and strike hard.”
He lifted his hand. Makamuk swung the axe, a broadaxe for the squaring of logs. The bright steel flashed through the frosty air, poised for a perceptible instant above Makamuk’s head, then descended upon Subienkow’s bare neck. Clear through flesh and bone it cut its way, biting deeply into the log beneath. The amazed savages saw the head bounce a yard away from the blood-spouting trunk.
There was a great bewilderment and silence, while slowly it began to dawn in their minds that there had been no medicine. The fur-thief had outwitted them. Alone, of all their prisoners, he had escaped the torture. That had been the stake for which he played. A great roar of laughter went up. Makamuk bowed his head in shame. The fur-thief had fooled him. He had lost face before all his people. Still they continued to roar out their laughter. Makamuk turned, and with bowed head stalked away. He knew that thenceforth he would be no longer known as Makamuk. He would be Lost Face; the record of his shame would be with him until he died; and whenever the tribes gathered in the spring for the salmon, or in the summer for the trading, the story would pass back and forth across the camp-fires of how the fur-thief died peaceably, at a single stroke, by the hand of Lost Face.
“Who was Lost Face?” he could hear, in anticipation, some insolent young buck demand. “Oh, Lost Face,” would be the answer, “he who once was Makamuk in the days before he cut off the fur-thief’s head.”
Hugo Pratt made good use of this story in a *Corto Maltese* sequence.
New BattyBlog post is up and it looks like he ripped off CBH’s posts here.
“the place where Ann Fairgood worked in the period between being riffed from her teaching job”
“Riffed”? What does that mean? “For dark is the suede that mows like a harvest”?
RIF = reduction in force, in corporate double talk. Commonly known as a layoff.
The term’s more common in government jobs than the private sector, I think. I could be wrong.
A good biographer, with enough documents to work with, can anticipate the subject’s thoughts.
After running behind all week, I finally caught up with the blog and comments yesterday evening. Today there are 166 comments. Twice many as yesterday.
You’re killing me.
(High pitched shrieking) YOU’RE KILLING ME!
But it’s with kindness!