Tag Archives: dead trees

Stump Speech

Link to Today’s Strip.

Yesterday I did something relatively unorthodox in these parts: I found something to praise Tom Batiuk for. Of course, the overly-long post ended with me screaming at Batiuk in all caps, but that is part of the reason I did it. I never want to get to the point in my beady-eyed nitpicking where everything is a bug to me. Because when I force myself to admit what is good, what is acceptable, and what is innocuous, then when I am confronted with the unbearably bad I can nail it to the wall with confidence.

Today is really really bad guys. Just so bad. This is worst-case-scenario Les Moore at his most insufferable. Self-pitying, sarcastic, complaining, self-absorbed, quipping without being clever. The strip is worse than pointless. It’s not funny. It does nothing to further any ongoing plot, or even advance the conversation in a meaningful way. And the only way it develops character is to further metastasize the tumorous-asshole side of Les’ personality.

And it’s a shame. Because the art today is kind of interesting. One, Les is in pain in panel 2. Which is always nice to see.

And two, he’s putting a pumpkin on a stump.

I can only assume that it’s the stump of the large maple tree in their front yard that was cut down back in 2015.

And before we have our normal reaction, ‘Ah, a relic of Dead St. Lisa, of course it is fetishized,’ the tree was also a favorite of Cayla’s, who wanted to be married under its branches, and felt like the tree was ‘part of the family.’ Plus, Summer grew up eating the fallen leaves from under that tree.

I understand grief at the loss of a tree. Emerald ash borer beetles came through my state a couple years ago and took out seven massive beautiful ash trees on my parents’ farm. It makes me sad in a very Batiukian way, wandering across the acres of yard at home, and so many sentinels of my childhood are missing. Nothing left but weed filled dimples where oceans of shade once marked out the borders of fantasy continents.

Les and Cayla left the stump of the tree they were married under. They’ve left it for years. They decorate it in the trappings of fall it can no longer produce. Because they’d rather have the reminder of the tree for a while longer, than a pristine yard. And all of this is told visually. It develops their characters much better than the awful dialogue on display today. It rewards long time readers. It gives the strip a continuity of place. And there’s that word again, continuity.

When Batiuk chose to have his strip move forward in time, he subjected his strip to the harsh and beautiful realities of continuity. In the measured compliments I’ve given the strip the last couple days, I hope I’ve pointed out how continuity can lead to deeper and more meaningful storytelling. But Batiuk wants all the blessings of continuity, without paying the price of its restrictions. He’s not shy about how little he cares. In fact he revels thumbing his nose at it, like an edgy atheist in Sunday School. And that is why his storytelling so often fails, because we don’t trust it any more.

But still. I would miss that tree too. It was a good tree. After all, it once trapped Les high in its branches, to the joy of all the neighborhood children.

And the very first thing it did upon being introduced to Les Moore was smack him right in his dumb smug head.

Our Leafy Hero.

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What reams are made of

Today’s strip begs the question, if Lefty has to print 47 pages of things not to do for her band students, why is she taking them all to Columbus for the Ohio Music Educators Conference? Or rather, why is she taking any students at all to the Ohio Music Educators Conference? I guess they make preferable company to her typical OMEA companion Dinkle, but so does a moldy dish towel. I would take bets on whether or not the kids’ presence at the conference ultimately gets explained, but I cannot find any casino willing to give me odds on “yes”.

And don’t forget to tune in tomorrow, same time… same station, as spacemanspiff leads us all through what is hopefully something other than a return to Funky at the eye doctor. Frankly, I hope tomorrow’s strip is something other than a lot of things, including but not limited to: Les, Lefty and Dinkle, the Lisa movie, Cindy complaining about her looks, and Batom comics remembrance.

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Plum Nasty

Apparently Dinkle has suffered from these band turkey dreams nightmares leading up to Thanksgiving every year, even unto a decade or more into his retirement. Harriet knows that, now that Thanksgiving’s behind them, Harry’s PTSD (Post Turkey Sale Dementia) will start to lessen. Unfortunately, her “sugarplums” reference has triggered in Harry’s dream consciousness a truly nightmarish scenario, in which the box he carries door to door is crawling with large spiders!

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He’s A Capricorn And She Had Cancer

Link To Today’s Strip

Get a load of Pulitzer (nominee) Boy, shamelessly using Christmas to plug his dusty old cancer book again. Who are the people at this event? Does “Lisa’s Story” have some sort of weird cult following or something? And assuming that these weirdos are die-hard “LS” fans, wouldn’t they have already heard this cheesy gag dozens of times? I know I have.

This is Dick Facey at his most dick faciest. Smug obnoxious gloating, sub-moronic wordplay, a snide remark AND that f*cking “Lisa’s Story” banner…he touched all the bases today. I wish I could bludgeon him with a “Trilogy” then strangle him with that conveniently-placed wreath. I don’t think this sudden year-end burst of Les bodes well for 2020 at all, my friends. We’ve been very, very fortunate over the last few years regarding Les arcs but I have the sinking feeling that run is coming to an end soon. It’s gonna be horrible, too.

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