Tag Archives: band practice

Rot Fuzz

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Here ya go guys! I hope you like it. Because this fuzzy, disgusting thing is the best joke we’re getting this week outside of our own wonderful comments section.

Actually, truth be told, I laughed when I read this one. I mean, it strains credulity that this girl is only now noticing that something she’s putting in her mouth several times a week looks like a fried caterpillar. But I still laughed. The joke stuck the landing for me, even if the routine leading up to it was as thrilling and challenging as Simone Biles sliding directly across the balance beam on her belly.

But I just don’t care. I’m so worn down by the bad pranks this week, the non-punchlines. This followed a tried and true humor formula: set-up, surprise, and realization. The set up is a filthy reed, the surprise is that Dinkle doesn’t just tell her to toss it, the realization is that making a sarcastic comment about science projects is totally in character for him.

The slimmest weakest of jokes that I can’t bring myself mock. Maybe I’m feeling extra charitable since it’s the beginning of Lent. And as we read in Matthew 12:20 “A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory.”

If he won’t crush the bruised reed, who am I to quash the moldy one?

PS: Thanks to everyone who liked my story yesterday! It’s nice to know that when Batiuk gives me nothing you guys are okay with random tangents and personal anecdotes.

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Jerrymandering Flautists

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Dinkle has had about enough of these pranks, and so have I. None of them are anywhere near the quality or level of execution needed to be more than a time-killer. The true goal of school pranks is notoriety and immortality. Moving the pickled animals in jars from the science lab into the trophy case, welding a car around the flag pole, staging a lunch room flashmob. A beautiful moment of adolescent apotheosis, where you have risen above the rules, the hierarchy, the schedule that has domesticated your youthful exuberance. A good prank is a shock to the system.

I hope you guys don’t mind another dumb slice-of-life CBH story. I’ve just got nothing to work with here.

My little sister is a modern day saint. A sweet, loving, little gem of a girl who sees the best in everyone, and who has never met a soul she wasn’t willing to pray for. The kind of person who, when she got a the flu, said, “Well, if I had to get the flu, this is the good kind of flu. Because I’m really not coughing all that much. And at least I got it over Christmas break, so I won’t have to miss any work.” I haven’t seen her get properly mad in 20 years. The closest she comes to anger is nervous laughter and pursed-lip silence. The only negative emotions she allows herself to feel are sympathetic sadness, and guilt feeling anything else bad. If this were the middle ages, she would have shrines built in her honor, and pilgrims would walk barefoot to have her lay upon hands. Instead she teaches kindergarten at a Christian school.

She was already like that in high school. And everyone in her class knew it, and most loved her, even if they found it hard to relate to so much concentrated purity.

But on the last day of band of her senior year, she kept getting called out by the band director for not playing her flute right. She’d never really been dedicated to her instrument,( I don’t think she’s picked up the flute once since she graduated.), but the teacher had never really picked on her like this before.

Finally he slapped down his baton and said to her, “I don’t even know why you’ve bothered being in band for four years. You’re terrible at it! You are the worst flute player I have ever had!”

And my sister turned bright red, and shouted back, “If I’m such a bad student, maybe it’s because you’re a lousy teacher!”

The band director went stony silent, and said, “You go to the principals office right now. You are out of my band.”

And my little sister stood up and roared, “You can’t kick me out because I quit!” Then she picked up the flute she’d been using, and bent it over her knee. She threw the twisted instrument on the floor and stormed out of the room.

You could have heard a pin drop. My little sister, the sweetest, most kind girl in school, had shouted at a teacher and was headed to the principal.

Then giddy laughter coming from outside the door broke the tension.

It had been her senior prank, planned between her and the band director. The flute had been an old, broken castoff of the department. No one in her class had seen it coming.

My sister is a saint who never really gets angry. But she’s also a pretty good actress.

And that is how you prank the band.

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A Taste of Ohioana

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Quick comment on today’s strip. If this exchange didn’t end with hoodie boy getting a one way trip down to the Principal’s office, then Dinkle’s a pushover. The kid is grossly late to class AND tries to prank Dinkle anyway. With a weird, spur of the moment, nonsense prank. Everyone else seems to have had days to plan all their equipment swapping, but hoodie-boy wanders up late, sees a sub, and immediately drops his trombone right outside the door.

I, and TFH, and perhaps some of the rest of you, took some time this evening to watch The 2021 Ohioana Book Festival 15th Anniversary Poster Reveal via eventbrite zoom meeting, though I was about 20 minutes late getting in. The nice man hosting the thing seemed absolutely flabbergasted that someone was watching from New Jersey and mentioned it several times. And every time I gave a little grin and thought, “That’s our Hackett.”

I took some notes during the panel. So here are the juiciest tidbits. Please, anyone else who watched, give your reports as well!

Tom has had cataract surgery, and talked about being terrified of people slicing his eyes open.

He has some pandemic related strips coming next month, but admitted that doing everything a year out had handicapped his ability to write about Covid. He made it sound like he had realized that it was not a case of ‘better late than never.’ And it sounded like he wasn’t sure about starting a whole pandemicverse a year late.

To come up with the name for Funky Winkerbean, he had kids in his art class write down a bunch of silly names, and then he and his wife picked out the first and last name from the list. He seemed both bemused and rueful about it.

He admitted that Les is the character most like himself. Though he said he puts a bit of himself in every character, (IMO, this is the reason why they’re all so samey wamey.)

He said that before the pandemic he and Ayers would meet at Luigi’s every two weeks to work on the strip.

He claims that the time jumps were to keep his main characters closer in age to himself so he could draw on his own experiences for inspiration. (This is probably why everyone in this strip, from 35 to 95, all act the same age.) He also claims that he didn’t time jump Crankshaft because Cranky wouldn’t have ‘survived’ it. I guess forgetting that Cranky is still languishing in Bedside Manor in Funky.

He got the okay to write Lilian getting an Ohioana Book Festival award. So expect that some time in 2023.

And, most pertinent for our blog, Tom says that cartoonists don’t really retire, they collapse over their drawing boards. He said he feels like he is only now getting good, and doesn’t see himself quitting any time soon. Sorry to anyone holding out for a joint 50 year anniversary and retirement celebration.

Congratulations to Stephanie Banch who got the autographed book! Sounds like the host knew her, and said she was local, so I don’t think she’s a Stuckfunkian.

The poster Batiuk created was cute. Lillian reading to a group of achingly diverse children inside her walk-up bookstore. No complaints there. Tom was genial, and answered questions by giving interesting details without going on and on and on about himself. He never talked over the panel host, and actually refrained from correcting him several times. It was nice to watch and remember that, as much as we rib on him, he is fundamentally a decent guy. A little out of touch, a lot absorbed in his own world, kinda preachy and kinda myopic. But a decent guy who does care about other people. I’d rather be stuck on a lifeboat with him than, say, Quentin Tarantino. A great artist can be an insufferable man. And a good man can create absolutely insufferable ‘art’.

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Key Of (zzzzzzz)

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Blech. As if we needed yet another reminder of how utterly unfunny Lefty is. Why is Dinkle even there? Is he like the official WHS underminer or something? I mean it’s a school, not the local Moose Lodge, you can’t just hang out there all day years after you retired. And wasn’t there just a whole Becky/Dinkle arc just a few short weeks ago? God help us all.

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