Tag Archives: Lillian

Lisa’s Story, The Cure for Insomnia

As an avid reader, I do kind of like this strip, just because I like bookstores and seeing people read. I would really like to know what they’re reading, though. It’s extra funny if you assume they’re reading part of Lisa’s Story and that’s why they fell asleep. I would like to know what time of day it’s supposed to be, because if it’s first thing in the morning and they’re already passing out, that’s very different then if it’s night time.
I do like Funky’s expression in the third panel-“Yeah, that’s right, I have a credit/debit card! Aren’t I awesome?”.
I am very tired of these little crossovers. It’s funny how after years of these strips somehow being ten years apart and taking place in the present day at the same time, he’s just given up on it making any kind of sense. I won’t be surprised at all if somehow Sunday’s Crankshaft involves the title character and the annoying newspaperman being waited on in Montoni’s by Adeela.

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Return Of The Jerk Guy

Finally! Dinkle and the alumni band show up in today’s strip… though Jerome T. Bushka A&L Automotive Stadium looks suspiciously like St. Sprires church and the alumni band doesn’t have any instruments (though they all look to be about the age I would expect). Weird.

After the throwaway panels, you almost could have convinced me that a computer wrote this. Former marching band director plays music from famous composer. You could generate this gag, such as it is, with a UNIVAC… though I think the UNIVAC would spit out dialogue with a little more flair.

And with that, I’m out. Tackling tomorrow’s tantalizing strip and taking to task the next two weeks will be the incomparable Spaceman Spiff.

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The Death of Sense.

Link to Today’s Strip.

Comic Book Harriet, back in action. Ready to dig through the comic muck of this Inedible Pulp to, hopefully, stab at the heart of this horrifying nonsense.

First of all, I want to thank Spaceman Spiff for easing us through the shock and awe of the first ‘back from the dead’ soap opera moment I think we’ve had since Wally Winkerbean came home.

While some of you have been frustrated and angry at just how baffling the decision to retcon Phil Holt’s death is, I’ve actually been relishing the absolute stupidity of this arc. Unlike Batiuk’s biffing of Bull’s Suicide, the morally dubious resolution of the Adeela ICE arc, or the callous insensitivity of the LA Fires, the crazy on display here has no offensive real-world victims unless you find it libelous to Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, or Joe Simon.

And today, I finally get the answer to the most pressing question raised by Phil Holt’s ‘resurrection’: did he fake his death, or have a near death experience? Hanging on this question, was the interpretation of this strip from three years ago.

Spoiler Alert: Phil Holt wasn’t already dead.

With the retcon, and the knowledge that Phil was completely fine at the time, there is only one explanation for these ghosts. Darin was imagining Phil and Lisa’s spirits having this conversation as they looked on approvingly at the auction. It was a fantasy that he concocted for his own gratification.

Furthermore, this suggests that every time we see ‘ghosts’ in strip it’s just the daydreaming of a living character, comforting themselves with a lie, roleplaying a no longer possible conversation, or expressing an internal anxiety, sometimes all at the same time.

Like when Lillian was visited by ‘Lucy’ coming back from the grave to lead her on a guilt purging journey of taking an undelivered letter to a demolished building, where Lucy and her old boyfriend Eugene could finally spiritually be together (even though Eugene was still alive at the time.)

Les of course is the worst offender of this. Lisa constantly pops up around him, encouraging him, praising him, agreeing with him, and smiling while watching him make out with his hot new wife.

But even Les seems to realize that this is just him projecting what he imagines Lisa would say. And that Lisa only lives on inside his mind as a fractured reflection of his memory. She sleeps forever, in the oblivion of death.

If I could ask Batiuk a personal question, I would ask if he believes in an afterlife. Because I don’t think he really does. I think he wishes there was something after death, but has been convinced that the only immortality we actually get is the lingering echoes we leave in the hearts and minds of others.

And, in time, those people will pass away, and so then passes even memory. Life has meaning, but only temporarily.

And so all metaphysical experience is really just human consciousness and awareness fractured and reflected back on itself. When we try to conceive of or reach out to God, or dead loved ones, or eternity, the only thing that can reach back is a part of yourself.

Dead St. Lisa was only a part of imagination. She’s no more or less real than that heatstroke robot Funky imagined when running, or Jeff’s Inner Child avatar, or Les’ depression cat.

But, then again, apparently the depression cat is real and crazy old film producers can see it.

And Dead Lisa did call into an airport and talk to customer service, then Les, then called in a phony bomb threat…

The only evidence of life after death in Funky Winkerbean.

Strap in folks! It’s gonna be a fun week!

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Pity Me, I Read You

Link to today’s strip.

And I’m pretty sure this is another witticism that occurred to Tom Batiuk, and he thought, Yep, there’s one for the strip. I think I’ll make it a Sunday one.

I suppose it’s kind of funny, though if someone said that to me I’d probably smile in a kind of “It’s not worth arguing over” way. It also seems like it would be spoken by someone who would insist on knowing that you found it hilarious, by repeating it and going “Huh? Huh? Pretty good, eh?”

The art is okay, and the consistency with Harry’s hands is nice, but why did we have to have Lillian and her “friend” shoved into this? Yuck. Please leave the Crankshafters in the Crankshaft Universe.

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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.

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Give ‘er a Ring!

Link to Today’s Strip.

I want to thank everyone in the comments yesterday for completely ruining what I was going to post today. I was going to go on and on about how Dinkle has learned all about online fundraising multiple times over the past few years, and pull up the strips to prove it. But our crack commenters Billy the Skink and Banana Jr. already discussed it in depth. Jerks.

I mean, what am I supposed to talk about today? The fact that Dinkle couldn’t wait to call his wife over his viral cat video epiphany, and is postponing practice to do it? The fact that he apparently called his wife on a Playstation Vita? The fact that Lillian is now carrying the pineapple laptop around one handed, and it made me question if she’s been doing that all week?

While going mad trying to scrape together something passing for an amusing thought, my eyes were drawn to the wedding rings Dinkle and Harriet are wearing. It’s an interesting detail to include when the art so often seems quarter-assed. Scrolling through the strips this arc, the ring is inconsistent. It showed up Sunday, but the art on the Sunday strips is always higher effort. It showed up on Monday April, 12. But after that, it was nowhere to be seen, even when the hands were in focus.

Slipping off the ring to pick up chicks? What a sly lad.

And scrolling through archives, there are more disappearing wedding rings than last call at a dive bar. Wedding rings tend to appear when the person’s marriage is either being discussed, or the spouse is in the strip, and be absent otherwise. It’s like the rings exist in some kind of phantom zone and magically phase into being when contacted with an unseen magical matrimonial energy field.

This is best exemplified from Funky’s AA exercise rant from last month. Remembering his wife causes Funky to magically manifest his wedding ring mid-speech.

I don’t even know what I’m trying to say with this, just something weird I noticed.

Even weirder, did you know that Lillian magically manifested a ring yesterday in service of a crappy joke?

The Mystery Continues.

This has been your daily dose of Nitpicking News! Finding something to say about nothing since 2010.

Join us tomorrow as we veer off on oblique tangents to keep from going mad with boredom and frustration, and watch with baited breath as we wait to see if the downvote fairy will visit again tonight and slip us all a little present under our comments while we sleep.

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“Clink!”

Link to today’s strip.

Many many apologies for the late post tonight. I was working late on the farm, trying to get a field of mown hay chopped before forecasted rain. I was out there till 10, well after dark.

As I was driving the tractor back and forth across the field stubble, watching the windrows emerge from the inky black and enter the pool of tractor light. As I jogged from machine to machine in the chilly night air, a golden Cheshire moon sinking into the horizon, the Big Dipper above me at the very apex of the sky…I had a lot of time to think over this week. And I came to one conclusion.

It is dumber than dumb that dumb Tom thought that we all were too dumb to remember the dumb name of the dumb crowdfunding site, so he had to list it by it’s dumb name three dumb days in a row, and then he expects that we’re all smart enough to remember that dumb Dinkle wears a dumb medal under his dumb shirt because he showed us a month ago.

Dumb.

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Addition and Subtraction

Link to today’s strip.

Oh look. Like so many of you guessed, adding a cat video will instantly lead to millions of dollars.

Sigh. I mean. I guess things are moving quickly. I wouldn’t have put it past Tom to subject us to a full week of Dinkle and Lillian sitting as they were on Monday, brainstorming ideas they won’t use back and forth, complete with bad wordplay.

But the writing today. Was he getting paid by the word? The letter?

It reminded me of an old ‘Between Friends‘ strip I used to have pasted to my door. (Between Friends is by Sandra Bell-Lundy. The art is simplistic, but the writing is great.) In the comic one woman spouts an unwieldly word-zeppelin. The other woman looks up at it, pulls out a pencil, and erases most of the words, simplifying the sentence.

The first woman looks at it and comments, “That’s what I said.”

The other woman replies, “No, that’s what you MEANT.”

A little something like this.

Or maybe something like this.

But, really, I think today’s strip is best with a little New Yorker magazine flair.

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Video Doesn’t Lie.

Link to Today’s Strip.

At this point Lillian is a popular mystery author, with a writing career 110% more successful, meaningful, and productive than Les Moore’s. Due the self-promoting nature of her job, she is probably more tech savvy and better equipped to navigate a crowdfunding site, than say…literally anyone I know over the age of 75.

But I don’t know if I would trust her cinematography and video editing skills.

I’m picturing a blurry image, in portrait mode. Seven elderly women in a poorly lit choir loft. The video begins halfway through the first words of the song. The audio is muffled by Lillian’s finger over the mic, as the whitebread midwestern ladies mumble their way through ‘Swing Low Sweet Chariot’.

The phone is obviously trembling in Lillian’s weak hands, jarring the autofocus every few seconds. Blurry, then sharp, then blurry; background then foreground. She awkwardly zooms in and out from each choir member, and when the camera zooms, the shaking is magnified, so each woman looks like she’s having her own personal earthquake. Lillian’s arms dip in exhaustion, abruptly cutting the entire choir off at the head, before she corrects herself.

Before the song even ends, she tries to shut the phone off, but fails. The last minute of the video, (Which Lillian uploads in its entirety, unsure of how to edit.) is the interior of her purse in the dark. You can distantly hear the muffled voices of the choir members gossiping viciously about the parson’s granddaughter. Six months along they say. With twins. She’s even moved in with the cad, and you know that he smokes in the house. And they say the divorce from her first husband isn’t even finalized.

“It makes you wonder…” Minty Pete says, “I mean, I’ve seen it on Maury once.”

“What’s that?” Poodle Headed Lisa Reborn asks.

“Heteropaternal superfecundation”

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And Your Chicks For Free.

Link to today’s strip.

This is plot seems familiar. Barring the possibility that Lillian is suggesting some kind of racy ‘OnlyFans’ account, ala Banana Jr. 6000 excellent porn parody of the St Spires Choir a few weeks ago. (In the comments of the April 3 post, ‘Septic Schlock’, if you haven’t read yet.)

Tell me today’s strip it isn’t a thematic copy of the strip below.

November 28, 2017

The whole story of the St Spires Choir is a hack job repeat of everything we’ve been through, years before, with the Bedside Manorisms. The only difference is the arcs are crammed closer together, and the Bedside Manorisms actually got to perform for people, (Concert, Christmas Concert, 4th of July Concert).

1.) Harry introduces himself to music group of elderly people.
2.) Harry forces elderly people to practice well into the night.
3.) The music group has a project they need to fundraise for.
4.) Dinkle sends the elderly people to sell candy door to door

And now we have today’s strip. 5.) An elderly music group member has the idea to crowdfund online rather than try to sell more candy.

So where will this parallel storytelling lead us? If the past is prologue, then soon Dinkle is going to drag a busload of infirm people on a wacky road trip for a nonsensical adventure in another state all in service of Dinkle’s ego. And, indeed, Dinkle has already dreamed of the future we’re likely heading towards.

‘Future.’ ‘Past.’ Meaningless words. A meaningless cycle of forgetting.
Speaking of forgetting. Batiuk has totally forgotten that Becky is supposed to be the Community Band Director now.

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