Author Archives: comicbookharriet

Food Poisoning

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As usual, the Sunday strip wasn’t available for preview. Normally I would try to tough it out till midnight, just to make sure whatever horrors Sunday brings are properly commented on. However, the strain of trying to find amusement in drying paint has finally broken me, and I’ve come down with the Westview flu. Not as deadly as the Spanish flu, maybe, but virulent in it’s ability to sap me of energy, leaving me with a headache, and slightly nauseous. So pretty much what you would expect after spending two weeks with Les Moore.

Here’s hoping that it’s not able to be transmitted through the interwebs, because Beckoning Chasm is taking over for me tomorrow, and I’d hate to think I had contaminated the controls.

Goodnight, and Good Luck.

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Ducking the Call.

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Les finally stopped grilling hot dogs. I’m guessing so his depressed resigned expression could be seen by all the people who refused to take over the responsibility Les was attempting to relinquish. And they’re just smirking at him. They probably refused because they hate him, not because they don’t want to go to DC with a bunch of high schoolers.

yellowskyGuys, I’m starting to worry about Cayla. She hasn’t smiled once in two weeks of being in the strips. Either she’s in the midst of a major depression, or she’s become the audience avatar: bored, depressed, and tired.

I’m depressed because the sky in the strip has been colored oppressively yellow all week, and I don’t know why.

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Drain Damage.

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Now I am really really disappointed we didn’t get to see any of this water balloon competition. Because it sounds like it was a no-holds-barred water war waged both inside and outside the school. Can you imagine the water damage? Even if they were barred from classrooms and computer labs, all those corkboards and vaguely inspirational posters on the walls are toast. And those tile floors would have gotten dangerously slippery, I imagine everyone who participated has bruised tailbones and skinned knees.

But I’m guessing there isn’t anything in the student handbook preventing the teachers from running through the halls with firehoses, water pistols, and, balloons. Nate’s hands were tied.

Why is Les still grilling hotdogs? We see food in front of these people, so they’ve mostly all gotten all they were going to eat already. Unless there’s going to be a hotdog eating contest later. Billytheskink was joking at the beginning of the week about Dinkle being able to eat a banana sideways. Now I’m picturing him shoving hotdog after hotdog into his mouth sideways like a machine, lips closing over his entire fist down to the wrist every time and sucking the digits clean.

But more likely Les just doesn’t want to listen to anyone elses’ speechifying.

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ALT vs STEM, SS6 wins.

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They had a water balloon competition this morning, and instead we’ve been saddled with a week of bland speechifying?! I would LOVE to see the faculty of Westview in a no-holds-barred water balloon fight. My church growing up used to have a water fight every summer, and one year it ended with our pastor on the roof of a van with a super-soaker screaming “TASTE AND SEE THAT THE LORD IS GOOD!” and hosing down the first-grade Sunday School class.

Water Balloon competition sounds so much more banal though. I’m guessing it was a series of water balloon egg-tosses. Followed by bland science-type experiments involving water balloons with parachutes being dropped from the second floor windows. Of course STEM would win over the arts. The arts probably tried to protect their balloons with committee designated ‘safe-spaces.’

The ‘Super Soaker Six’ is either a reference to DC’s The Secret Six so obscure only I got it, or I’m too much of a basement dwelling nerd to figure it out. Please let me know in the comment what this is referencing.

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Textbook Case of the Smirks.

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There is barely any continuity of which people are in the tables in front of Nate, as pointed out yesterday by Gerard Plourde and Eldon of Galt. (Who, when mentioned together, sound like some kind of awesome adventuring duo from a fantasy novel.) Linda has become Klabichnik, and the tables have completely changed orientation between panels.

Also in the background, right under Nate’s nose, is a teacher I don’t think we’ve seen before: The Invisible Man. I know that Batiuk has toned down a lot of the more whimsical elements of his strip since the early days, but we are still in a universe with a sentient 1970’s era computer, so I guess a see-through man isn’t out of the realms of possibility. Must have been a diversity hire.

Final textbook tallies? Wat. I mean, I guess that the teachers would have to check to make sure all the students had turned in their textbooks by the end of the year, but Nate wants all of these tallies turned in to him directly? Is he going to stay up late into the night, pouring over the numbers, checking and rechecking to make sure every single battered tome has been returned to him? Does he have a name for each one, put it in it’s little nook for the summer, then sit on the floor then gaze up at them, whispering softly at his ‘friends’. That is very unlike the lassiez-faire attitude Nate has displayed previously.

But laughing about an art error, and trying to go off on some kind of wild tangent about a crazed Nate having a secret obsessive, possessive, text-book hoarding alter-ego that only comes out when he’s alone in the dark, are literally the only ways I can make this milquetoast strip amusing, even to myself.

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Bell Pepper Curve.

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First of all, there is an absolute horror show of a human in the background. A literal dickhead emerging from a shirt made of pubes. The guy is smug as shit too. No doubt having just eaten an entire plate of the grilled processed meat tubes that he has descended from in some kind of twisted Westviewian evolution.

Does Westview grade on the curve? That’s a horrific thought. Because while some teacher claim that pretending that the smartest kid’s 85% correct on the test is the new 100% is ‘grading on the curve’, what it really means is the draconian application of the bell curve to the entire class. Every student ranked, in direct competition with the other students for the limited number of A’s, 40% of students doomed to C’s regardless of what actual percentage of the material they got correct. All your A or B tells you is that in Mrs. McGiggins 2005 Fall semester of Pre-Calculus you did better than 15 other people.

My junior year of high school, the calculus teacher was gone the entire year on maternity leave. For the first semester, they gave the advanced math students taking precalc and calc a teacher they had previously relegated to teaching remedial general math because she was so inept, despite the fact she was technically qualified. Because of her I never learned the difference between cosine and cosign.

When the most gifted kids in the school started struggling and complaining to their parents, the principal had the audacity to come to the class, pull out a bell curve and try to explain to us that, really, most of us SHOULD be getting C’s in the class.

I shot my hand right up and explained to the class that ‘the bell curve’ was both old-fashioned and unfair. We were supposed to be graded on the percentage of the material we got right, not in competition with other students for limited number of A’s. The fact that most of us were getting C’s meant that, as a class, we were understanding barely half of what we were being tested on. He fumbled around for a bit, but didn’t really have a good response. He was talking to the smartest kids in the school, and our GPA’s, and thus our college prospects, were on the line.

They pulled an old math teacher out of retirement for the next semester.

I remember the impotent frustration, the despair, and the eventual fatalistic resignation that we, as a class, felt that semester. So many of us just gave up trying. There was no reason to attempt to succeed on our own, because that would only hurt our classmates by driving up expectations. So most of us sat through every day of math class that semester, silent, sullen, and unresponsive.

What I’m saying is, I’m guessing that Westview grades on a curve.

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Please, peas?

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So was Sunday a one-off as usual, or was Batiuk just really hungry so we’re going to get weeks of unrelated food strips? Or are we in for an entire week examining Les and Cayla’s weird aromantic relationship?

Yes, a black and white and sepia flashback, with old timey scrapbook corners, really takes me back to 2011. Makes me remember when Cayla didn’t look like someone dipped Cindy in chocolate.

Why is Bill Nye surprised someone is grilling hot dogs at a picnic? He is asking Les this, when the only possible alternative interpretation of the scene is that Les is about to skewer his wife with a hot poker. For a science teacher those are some top notch observation skills. I imagine he wanders about asking similar questions.

Enters his classroom. “So, you’re the students who are working on your science projects in my science class today?”

Standing in the lunch line. “So, you’re the the school cook, who cooks and serves the food to the students?”

Entering his bedroom. “So, you’re the man who’s been sleeping with my wife?”

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