Tag Archives: Dinkle's house

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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Park Your Carcass(es)

I’m pretty sure a sales fundraiser in which you wind up with a garage full of unsold merch is kind of a bust, no? What exactly is Classic Dinkle’s plan here in panel 1? Even if a polar vortex were to descend on Westview tonight, and linger through Christmas and New Year’s, no poultry (especially organic) would still remain edible. Those “Sam ‘n’ Ella’s” turkeys would soon be living up to their name. If “next year” means “next Thanksgiving,” then the premise becomes even more absurd.

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You Took the Bird Right Out of My Mouth

Now I know meatloaf is typically not gluten free, especially the way I make it, and the way I make it is different every time (my pièce de résistance is my heart shaped, bacon wrapped Valentine’s Day meatloaf).  Pizza may be the most ubiquitous foodstuff in the Funkiverse, but I was just thinking back to a little over a year ago, to the last time we saw a wife preparing a meatloaf.

Back at the Dinkle home (which has been repainted at some point in the last three weeks) we find Harry and Harriet joined by daughter Halle, and some fella whom we’ve not met. From the way his right arm seems to disappear behind Halle, he’s either her amputee fiancé or a heretofore off-panel conjoined twin. The last place Halle Dinkle was spotted was at her parents’ 50th anniversary pizza party, but the character was created by Batiuk for the National Association for Music Education (she’s a music educator like her dad). This most niche of comics heroine has her own shrine here at SoSF.

On behalf of all of us who bring you Son of Stuck Funky, here’s to a peaceful and joyous Thanksgiving to you and yours!

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As Alike as Two Bothers.

Link To Today’s Strip

Only now, at the end of the week, do we get a name for our little future Motzart. Robbie even has a brother. A brother in Mopey Pete cosplay.

I wonder if Alex and Robbie are intended to become recurring characters? I mean, regardless of intent, we probably will never see them again. Because even when Batiuk seems like he’s carefully introducing another actor into this slice of life drama, he invariably forgets about them. But it would be interesting if Batiuk figures piano lessons are a good way to milk the remaining Dinkle market?

As for the art, Dinkle’s huge flesh-toned couch is hideous. The little specks on it give the appearance that the furniture has been molded from sand.

But Dinkle’s face in panel 3 makes this whole week worthwhile. The man is scrumptiously morose; hunched over, tired , his lips pursed into a thin line as he tastes the bitter defeat coating his tongue. Never has disdain looked so exhausting. When Ayers delivers, he delivers, and he always puts that effort into envisaging misery.

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The Ultimate Racketeer.

Link To Today’s Strip

Potted plant is back!

I wonder if we’ve been a little harsh in our criticism of the bland offering of jokes this week. I showed the strips to a friend and they got a mild chuckle from her.

Our palates have really been ruined by consuming and analyzing EVERYTHING Batiuk provides in his greasy spoon buffet. When you’ve gagged over creamed corn that’s been congealing under a heat lamp for eight hours, it becomes so much easier to find problems with the innocent loaf of off-the-shelf white bread splayed out in slices at the end of the table.

I think it’s easy for us, deep in the lore, and with years and layers to our disdain for some of these characters, to forget that a week of strips like this is probably the only enjoyment casual readers get out of these comics, smiling half heartedly as they accidently let their eyes drift over Funky Winkerbean while searching for the obituaries.

Can you imagine being an average Joe, not a weirdo commenting obsessively over a comic strip online, and opening your local fishwrap to randomly read a strip from the L.A. Fire arc? Or Bull’s suicide? Or Zanzibar the talking murder chimp blessed be his name? Your brain would spit that wad of nonsense right back out to protect itself, like slamming the door on a Jehovah’s Witness.

But today’s strip? This is the kind of strip destined to be cut out of the paper and put on the fridge by kindly little old music teachers who paid for their grandkids’ Christmas presents with piano lessons. It’s a stolen joke, told with a microgram of charm, that will get a few smiles.

I talked earlier this week about Batiuk’s immortality. And, as much as he’d like it to be cancer or PTSD or teen pregnancy, it’s really one-off Dinkle type gags. I remember Dinkle strips posted in my own music teacher’s office. Tom’s real legacy isn’t massive volumes of collected comics, it’s yellowed strips of newsprint taped haphazardly to a filing cabinet beside a pile of music stands.

I can imagine, fifty years from now, a kid opening a cupboard in the attic of my old band room, where the retired uniforms and broken instruments are left to rot, and inside are a pile of dusty worn out band shoes, a few tarnished majorette hats, and, pasted to the door, a browned and crumbling clipping of Harry Dinkle, screaming at children in the pouring rain.

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Mr. Whole Note Takes a Week.

Link To Today’s Strip

Thanks to our glorious leader TF Hackett, who brought up yesterday that “Mr. Whole Note.” is, in fact, a song/training exercise for learning piano students. The excerpt he posted of ‘The Complete Funky Winkerbean Volume 2.’ is simultaneously infuriating and fascinating. So, I’ll let you all expertly dissect Dinkle’s non-joke in the comments, and look forward to your hilarious analysis. I’m going off on a tangent again.

Like a lot of mouth breathing nerds, I am a huge Tolkien fan. Like, I’ve read The Silmarillion more than ONCE kind of Tolkien fan. If you really start digging into his work, you find out that the man was a persnickety and easily distracted procrastinator who created reams and reams of unfinished material that his son, Christopher, carefully collated and annotated into multiple volumes. The famous Silmarillion is just the tip of the iceberg.

Reading through something like “The History of Middle Earth” series, and seeing his son deconstruct the evolution of his father’s work in parallel to his father’s life is to get a window into the creative process of a man. The single world that Tolkien invented is so complex, with thousands of years of history and dozens, if not hundreds, of complete stories and sagas he never thought finished enough to release. And his son spent his whole life studying and writing about his father’s work, carefully breaking down the evolution of concepts and characters. I feel like all the weird asides, and life commentary, written in the margins of The Complete Funky Winkerbean attempt to achieve the same thing for Batiuk’s massive world.

But, unlike Tolkien, who hid his unfinished material away, and really didn’t like the idea of psychoanalyzing authors to find parallels in their own work, Batiuk is compelled to write the deconstruction himself. He has to be the one to break apart and explain this weird, paper-paste, universe he’s spent his life creating, and tie it together with his own experiences. Writing paragraphs on his musical education and family life with serious self-importance, probably because there is no one out there obsessed enough to do it for him.

It’s really kind of sad. Tolkien was a deeply religious man, assured of his own immortality and humble in his act of subcreation. Even if you don’t share his belief, you can tell how his faith comforted him. His only self psychoanalysis of his work is a wonderful short story, ‘Leaf by Niggle.’ In it he writes a parable of painter that ends with the realization that even if the massive work of art he was trying to create was never finished, and never appreciated, and ultimately never remembered by anyone on this Earth, that somehow it would exist forever and finally be perfected in the world to come.

Tom Batiuk, meanwhile, has the Kent State University Press printing out an entire Midrash of Funky Winkerbean, trying to scrape together enough interest and importance for a hint of earthly immortality. And, it seems, the only ones who care enough to spend any time at all engaging with his world are a tiny cabal of beady-eyed nitpickers who he disdains.

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Always Enjoyable?

Link To Today’s Strip

Oh goodie! I get a Dinkle arc. Having to scrape together some kind of humor or commentary for Dinkel arcs is ‘always enjoyable.’ But it gets tedious trying to remember everything that has happened to Dinkle in Act III that has slowly morphed him from a unique and bombastic caricature of a passionate band director into just another bland, smug, Westview Pod Person.

Please note, while Dinkle claims that teaching piano is ‘always enjoyable’ he doesn’t look like he’s enjoying it today, and…spoilers…he doesn’t seem to enjoy it all week long. Maybe in Westview the words ‘always’ or ‘enjoyable’ mean something very different than what’s listed in the dictonary?

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