Tag Archives: knowing smirks

Let Mr. Sponge Be Your Guide

Yay. We’re now at the part of the arc where one fictional character is telling other fictional characters how great they are, without giving any hint of a reason for why they feel that way. I’m sure I’ve probably said this at least ten times, and I know many other people on here have said it, but it really does amaze me how Batiuk has shown basically nothing of these comics, despite Funky Winkerbean itself basically revolving around them at this point.
I really do not know what the point of this is. So two minor characters produced comics, decades ago, that one person apparently centered his entire life around? How? “When the Amazing Mr. Sponge used his super sucking powers to vanquish Mr. Tea, that inspired me to become a janitor?” I like comics more than probably 99% of the population, and at times have found inspirational material in them. But saying they’re your “north star guiding you through life” is just pathetic, especially when you realize these are cheesy Silver Age comics.
Oh, and notice the speaker is addressing “you two”. I wonder if Ruby is still standing off to the side, or if she’s wandered back to the airport by this point.

59 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

Landing at Bore-mandy

Blah blah blah today’s strip… blah blah blah Phil Holt… blah blah blah comic books… blah blah blah The Subterranean… blah blah blah yackity smackity…

Meanwhile… *stupid cloud bubble panel border that TB inexplicably thinks should indicate an in-strip shift from one place to another*

Everyone’s 5th favorite Stooge, “Curly-Joe” DeRita, and Darth Vader himself are hanging out at Ye Olde Comic Shoppe. What’s that all about? Spacemanspiff85 is going to be our guide as we find out (provided we do in the next two weeks). Thoughts and prayers, man, thoughts and prayers.

40 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

The Mindy Projection

Mindy may be front-and-center in today’s strip, but we all know she isn’t the real star. The real star is…

26 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

The Pub-Lush-ing Industry

I think a considerable amount of time has passed between yesterday’s strip and today’s strip, because I’m pretty sure everyone today is three sheets to the wind and that Chester is holding the group’s 17th bottle of color-changing champagne (Also, Durwood changed his shirt). The only other explanation for “hobnailing” is that Flash is going full Crankshaft-mode here, and I refuse to believe that because the mere thought makes me physically ill. There is no explanation for everything Pete is doing regardless of the circumstances.

40 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

Quid Mus Sumit?

Link to Today’s Post.

The punchline of today’s strip is church mice.

Last week faithful and valued commenters William Thompson and Maxine of Arc got on the subject of church mice, specifically questioning why they would be quiet or poor. I promised them an explanation, so today here it is.

Why are church mice quiet?

Church mice are quiet because in the 20th century two idioms got smashed together. “Quiet as a mouse.” Which has been around since the 16th century, and “Poor/hungry as a church mouse.” which has been around since the 17th century.

The quietness of rodents is pretty self explanatory. But why are church mice poorer and hungrier than other mice?

Transubstantiation.

For any of you who didn’t have to sit through three years of confirmation or multiple years of religious history in college, transubstantiation is the Catholic belief that communion bread and wine become, in reality, the actual body and blood of Christ. Not a remembrance or a symbol or even just inhabited by the the spirit or essence of the body, (Lutheran consubstantiation.) The substance has been transformed into actual Godflesh.

So Catholics take a lot of care that any excess communion bread left over after a Mass is protected; and the place they put the extra, either a tabernacle or an ambry, often has kneeling rails for private devotions or eucharistic adoration.

Even before transubstantiation became a set idea, early Christians didn’t want little mice gnawing on communion wafers.

“Let all take care that no unbaptized person taste of the Eucharist nor a mouse or other animal, and that none of it at all fall and be lost. For it is the Body of Christ to be eaten by them that believe and not to be thought of lightly.”(Hippolytus, Apostolic Tradition III:32:2 235 AD.)

But what would happen if a mouse DID eat communion bread? Medieval theologians were fascinated with the idea, and used the question ‘Quid Mus Sumit?‘ ‘What does the mouse eat?’ as a thought experiment to explore the idea of The Eucharist. What is it? What does it do? What would it do to someone who ate it without knowing what it was? At what point does it stop being body and blood?

“Even though a mouse or a dog were to eat the consecrated host, the substance of Christ’s body would not cease to be under the species, so long as those species remain, and that is, so long as the substance of bread would have remained; just as if it were to be cast into the mire. Nor does this turn to any indignity regarding Christ’s body, since He willed to be crucified by sinners without detracting from His dignity; especially since the mouse or dog does not touch Christ’s body in its proper species, but only as to its sacramental species. Some, however, have said that Christ’s body would cease to be there, directly it were touched by a mouse or a dog; but this again detracts from the truth of the sacrament, as stated above. None the less it must not be said that the irrational animal eats the body of Christ sacramentally; since it is incapable of using it as a sacrament. Hence it eats Christ’s body “accidentally,” and not sacramentally, just as if anyone not knowing a host to be consecrated were to consume it. And since no genus is divided by an accidental difference, therefore this manner of eating Christ’s body is not set down as a third way besides sacramental and spiritual eating.”

Summa Theologiae, Thomas Aquinas. 1273 AD.

Of course all this Catholic rodent obsession was eventually used by Protestants during the Reformation as a big old ‘gotcha’ when lambasting Catholic ‘idolatry’ of the communion. Some of it got downright vicious and definitely disingenuous. And it’s from about this time that ‘hungry as a church mouse’ became an idiom.

Excerpt from The Works of John Jewel who was Bishop of Salisbury from 1559-1571.

So there you have it. Church mice are poor because they can’t get any communion bread, and we joke about it because of leftover anti-Catholic sentiment.

Many apologies to anyone who came to this blog today expecting comics criticism instead of a theological deep dive, but I wanted to end my shift talking about something I actually find compelling, rather than dance the Dinklepolka.

It’s been an interesting couple weeks. I mean in terms of the straws I grasped at to try and find something to say. Those straws were kinda fun to braid together. The strip was boring as mud. Actually, I take that back. Mud is much more interesting. I think I’ll research that next.

Join me again in a couple months as I regale you all about INTERESTING MUD. For example. Did you know all baseballs used in MLB are rubbed with special mud harvested, prepped, and packaged by a single man from New Jersey who gathers it in a secret location every year along the Delaware River?

Until next time then. TF Hackett is taking over tomorrow. Good luck good sir. You have my sympathies.

38 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

Black Cat Familiar

Link To Today’s Strip

Yes Dinkle, we know. We know you know all about mascots. Just like you knew all about playing music and directing and fundraising. You’re a former high school band director. WE ARE PAINFULLY FAMILIAR WITH THE CONCEPT.

And who isn’t familiar with mascots? Was he being ironic? If so, why did we need an entire panel of him imagining a school logo?

And in what universe does this exchange not come across as extremely dickish? Lillian was explaining that the cat was the mascot, she wasn’t asking if Dinkle knew what a mascot was.

It would be like showing a friend your new Jeep and having them roll their eyes and tell you that they are familiar with the concept of internal combustion engines.

And Dinkle is imagining the school logo. He didn’t even have the decency to remember the actual live goat he bought to stand on the sidelines and nibble chemically treated turfgrass while watching the Scapegoats lose. Paul deserved better.

Our Funkistorian Billy The Skink posted these back in 2018. But for any of our more recent readers, a little journey back in time.

FW9-26-83
FW9-27-83
FW10-1-83

32 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

There Were Some Bats Who Had A Cat…

Link To Today’s Strip

The knowing smirks exchanged by the characters today signaled to me that there was supposed to be a joke somewhere in here, even though I didn’t see it on first glance.

After hours of careful study and research, I’ve decided the joke was that the cat is actually named Bingo because St. Spires, like many churches, supports itself with organized charitable gambling.

Which lends weight to St Spires being Catholic. Church Bingo tends to be a Catholic exercise, though in big cities, it might be Jewish. Back in the heyday, Protestant ministers would lambast Bingo as a vile and immoral game of chance, really no better than the indulgences that had once funded the papacy. Even today, some churches struggle with the morality of making their money from hosting gambling, often by people outside their congregation.

But back in the Great Depression, Bingo kept many parishes from shutting their doors. Edwin Lowe, the man who first sold the game under the name BINGO, claimed he was approached by a Catholic Priest only months after he first started selling Bingo. It was because of the concerns of this priest that Lowe contacted Columbia University math professor, Carl Leffler, to create thousands of unique Bingo cards, so there would be less repeated winners. According to legend, the math professor subsequently went insane.

Of course, Lowe only improved and named an already existing game. The first attestations of a bingo-like game date all the way back to Italy in the 16th century. And the word ‘Bingo’ also predates association with the game by centuries. Lowe claimed that he chose the name after a player of ‘Beano’, the game’s precursor, shouted ‘Bingo!’ when she won. In the 1920’s, the word ‘bingo’ had become an expression of surprise and success.

The semi-nonsensical word had been circulating for a long time. Before most of us have ever played a game of Bingo, we are taught the nursery song about a farmer’s dog. And that song is older than the US Constitution. The earliest printed version of the song with a dog named Bingo was listed in The Humming Bird songbook in 1785.

“The farmer’s dog leapt over the stile,
his name was little Bingo,
the farmer’s dog leapt over the stile,
his name was little Bingo.”

But WHY was the dog named Bingo? Well, the answer may be in the forgotten second verse.

“The farmer loved a cup of good ale,
he called it rare good stingo,
the farmer loved a cup of good ale,
he called it rare good stingo.”

The farmer was a raging alcoholic.

See, the song was originally a drinking song.

And some of the earliest attestations of the word ‘bingo’ list it as a slang term for brandy.

So if the cat isn’t named after gambling, she’s definitely named after booze.

29 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

Ominous Donut Box

So today Batiuk takes a shot at PBS for being obsessed with the pandemic, for some reason. I’m guessing it’s solely because it was low hanging fruit for what qualifies as wordplay to Baituk. it I would have gone with “Coronavirus News Network” myself.

This is very odd too, because it seems to be implying that the news was covering the pandemic too much? I mean, maybe some were, to a certain extent, but the vibe of “Stop talking so much about the pandemic that’s brought the entire world essentially to a screeching halt for over a year” is very strange to me. I really think Batiuk wrote this in early March last year and assumed the virus would blow over in a month.

The first panel is kind of hilarious to me. “I tried to avoid the news as much as I possibly could…but it just kept chasing me down and forcing me to watch it!”. If you don’t want to watch the news, don’t watch the news.

This arc really makes me feel that “recovering addict” is the perfect character type for Batiuk’s style of melodrama. You can milk a ton of cheap drama and pain out of it without anything really having to happen. Funky will never drink again, because that would be drama, and that doesn’t happen in this strip. But he will moan and complain, you’d better believe it.

28 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

The Taking Of Boredom 123

Today’s strip goes beyond TB’s regular “tell, don’t show” philosophy into, well, “tell, don’t tell” territory I guess. We get a couple of 35 cent metaphors and learn NOTHING. Not a thing. In fact, you could swap the order of yesterday’s and today’s strips and it would make exactly as much sense as the present order. The Flash #123 made this big impact on this author avatar who went on to become a cartoonist… yeah, we knew that yesterday (or, 12 years ago, if you’ve ever read TB’s blog). Shouldn’t we be on to the why? The how? No, don’t bother with that, we need to hear a few more flowery words that restate what has already been restated ad nauseam.

This is beyond Herb and Jamaal‘s dopey non-specificity, which muddied the gags but didn’t keep the reader from recognizing that they existed. This glacial garbage muddies a complete lack of any substance to begin with. There is nothing here. Nothing. At all. No conflict, no suspense, no character development, no dispensation of information real or fictional. We’re waiting for a man to pay for a comic book. WE ARE WAITING FOR A MAN TO PAY FOR A COMIC BOOK. I’ll put up the $5.99 or whatever the #123 reprint costs just to get Batton the heck out of there.

59 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

It ain’t EZ being EZ, no.

Link To Today’s Strip

Oh those WIVES amirite? Always wanting their faucets not to leak, and their tub seams not to be stained black with mildew. Needing grout that hasn’t been haphazardly sealed with crazy glue, drywall not patched with bondo and tempera paint, linoleum sans the packing tape, light fixtures with actual covers still intact. What a bunch of absolute spendthrift divas.

Or maybe the Winkerbean bathroom and kitchen isn’t in such a state yet. Maybe it’s just my poor parents who have been putting off a kitchen/bathroom remodel since the Clinton administration because it’s easier to fantasize about the dream kitchen they’ll put in, forever perfect in its nebulousness, than it is to bite the bullet and finally rip out the Brady Bunch orange counter tops.

Anyway, this strip is either a tolerable lead in to a new arc of Funky misery, or the start of a very unappealing adult film. The dialogue says the former. But Holly and the Handyman’s bedroom eyes tell a different story. And what kind of real contractor just wanders around with a giant ‘EZ’ plastered on his hat and shirt. I’ve seen sexy nurse Halloween costumes with more believable ‘names’ on the lapel.

It’s been a fun couple weeks. The Dinkle arc was a bit of a slog to end on, but it’s not every shift that I get to talk about Batman. Thanks to everyone for the kind comments! TF Hackett will be taking over the exciting renovation action tomorrow. Please remember to thank him and Epicus for giving us all our cozy, internet safe-space where we can join together in mocking the final death throes of the slow entropic decay of a fictional universe.

Stay warm and Funky everyone! Comic Book Harriet signing off!

12 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky