Tag Archives: medical professionals

Cut the Bull

I want to thank the commenters who’ve shared their very personal stories about cognitive dysfunction and depression. It looks like Batiuk has once again drawn a response from his readers by addressing another thought-provoking and sensitive topic…and getting just about everything wrong.

The North Carolina reference in today’s strip led me to Grandpa Google: I read about a study, being conducted by UNC, of 2,500 former NFL players, investigating “the potential long-term neurological effects from concussions.” Maybe Bull’s “cup of coffee* with the [St. Louis] Cards” qualifies him for such a study, but the majority of his “repeated concussions” had to have taken place during his high school and college playing career. One could hardly fault the NFL for refusing to pay for his care.

* “A ‘cup of coffee’ is a North American sports idiom for a short time spent by a minor league player at the major league level. The idea behind the term is that the player was only in the big leagues long enough to have a cup of coffee before being returned to the minors. The term originated in baseball and is extensively used in ice hockey, both of whose professional leagues (MLB and the NHL) utilize extensive farm systems; it is rarely used in basketball or American football since neither the NBA nor NFL have implemented a true farm system.” —Grandma Wikipedia

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I’ve Got A Feeling I Don’t Want To Know

Link to today’s strip (eventually).

Sunday’s strip was–surprise!–unavailable for preview (although this is normal on Sundays.  Or perhaps I should say, “normal.”)

This marks the fourth time I’ll have to spin something from nothing during this stint.  How lucky can a guy be?

Using my precognition powers, however, I can preview Monday’s, and I’m going to issue a big red alert, WARNING: LARK’S VOMIT.

As for today’s, I assume that the “AK gallery showing” wrapped up with Saturday’s episode, because otherwise Batiuk would have to *gulp* *choke* show something happening.  Horrors!  So what will Sunday be?

I’ll guess “unrelated to anything else,” because that seems to be the go-to move these days…though Batiuk does enjoy “shaking things up” now and then, by which I mean, making them more boring, so who really knows?  It’s been so long since we’ve seen Funky and Les running!

Of course, since he really loves showering praise on his awful characters, it might be a recap of the “Dullard’s art is so awesome it should be in a museum” blech.  Excuse me while I vomit.

I’m back.  Anyway, no matter what, we know what it won’t be–funny, insightful, well put-together or interesting in any sense.  Wow, Tom Batiuk…you’ve really let yourself go.

PS: The titles of my last several Sunday entries are lines from the Velvet Underground’s “Sunday Morning.”  Today’s is frighteningly apt.

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Compare and Contrast

Link to today’s strip.

Just like yesterday, Funky actually comes up with some wordplay that’s kind of clever.  It reflects on the “doctor” and “snapshot” ideas, and uses them both to play off their varying definitions.

And of course, he has to be excoriated for this offense against the holy wit of Les Moore.

Let’s compare: today,  here’s Funky telling a joke, and here’s the reaction he gets.

People so disgusted they have to support their scowls with their hands.  I mean, WOW, that’s pretty disgusted, right?

Yesterday, we had something similar.  Funky tells a joke–

And gets this reaction for his troubles:

Yeah, Funky’s a jerk.  I’m not going to argue that one.  Whadaya think I am, stoopid?  But let us cut a little closer, let’s move in to this strip’s guts.

Compare the last couple of days’ offerings to a strip of a couple of years ago.  Here’s Les offering up his own version of wordplay.  He was talking about hauling a typewriter onto Montoni’s roof to write his first failed book.  (As if Les Moore is capable of that kind of manual labor–that’s a funny joke right there.)

Have you ever heard anything so utterly childish?  Don’t tell me that Funky’s puns from the last couple of days suffer in comparison.  Les’ kind of wordplay…that’s the sort of thing a three-year-old would say he’s grown out of.  But here it’s presented as the height of hilarity.

Let’s take a closer look at the reaction Les gets.  Is he called a jerk, and groaned at?

Oh hell no:

Of course, I’m not sure what can be expected from a strip that has a character who says this, in 2013:

Who then, over the course of a couple of years, matures to the point where he now says this, in 2016:

To quote Jack Nicholson, in Mars Attacks! (1996): “Yikes!”

Given what we have, in a strip like this, it’s apparently perfectly understandable that Les’ “roof draft” joke would get this reaction:

These two people have never heard anything so funny in their entire lives.

In fact, they’re–

Why, they’re almost–wait, what’s this?  Oh my God, what the Hell–

“God help us, in the future!” (Criswell)

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Ballistic Mrs

Link to today’s strip.

You know, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Funky’s wordplay is actually kind of clever.  It’s certainly far superior to anything Les Moore has ever come up with.

And I guess that’s the reason why he has to be insulted.  How dare you do something that Les is incapable of doing–providing some amusement, however dim.  Telling, isn’t it?  If it’s not Funky running himself down, it’s everyone around him–including his creator.   It’s times like these–strips like these, I should say–where I don’t wonder why Funky has the grim, fatalistic attitude he has.  What kind of life is it where the only response you can expect from a little joke is disgust?  Just because you weren’t born with the name “Les Moore”?

I’m not saying you should be ROTFLOL at his joke, but it’s kind of clever and relevant to the situation.  And Funky can’t even get an indulgent smirk.

You can bet that if this joke came from the death-hole of Les Moore, people would be laughingly falling out of their chairs to show how funny they found it…and yet, they’d also be reflecting on how true it all is, and how it has enriched their lives.

(It might be hard to discern that over the sound of readers everywhere projectile vomiting, but it would be there anyway.)

It’s probably good that Funky doesn’t (so far as I know) own a shotgun.  I’m sure he would have gunned down anyone near him before turning the gun on himself–probably many, many years ago.  Necessitating an Act IV, I’m thinking.

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If You Encyst

Link to today’s strip.

Good ol’ Tom Batiuk; you think he’s going to sock you with drama, then he pulls the rug out from under you and says, “Just kidding!”  It’s just like Lucy and the football!

Except I doubt anyone is fooled by this anymore.  We’ve come to expect that nothing will ever change in this strip.  Oh, Wally and Rachel will get married, Cindy will go to Los Angeles, Darrin will, alas, reproduce, but they’ll all come back to Westview because they’re moths, and Westview is the flame.  It’s only the children who disappear.*

And Funky will get older, more out-of-shape, more decrepit…but the sweet release of death will always elude him.  After all, he’s inferior in every way to Les Moore, and that’s an important function in Westview.

It has been speculated that Mr. Batiuk’s resentment toward Funky comes from the fact that his strip has been saddled with Funky’s amazingly dumb name.  It must be especially galling since he re-tooled the strip to be “serious.”   How could anyone take a strip called Funky Winkerbean “seriously”?   That’s not the kind of title that draws award nominations!

My own theory is that the real-life Funky and Les Tom Batiuk had some kind of major falling out.   And Tom Batiuk is the guy who has a syndicated comic strip that he can use as a vehicle for revenge.  Funky is the one person perennially dumped on, and he gets no sympathy from any of the other characters.  At least people feel sorry for Wally.   I’ve never seen this kind of anger from a creator to his creation.

Well, actually I have, now that I think about it.  Hollywood is full of people who achieved fame for one thing, then almost immediately became resentful of that thing and declared that said thing was keeping them from reaching their true potential.  Think of all the comic actors who decided that, damn it, they were serious artists and, by God, they were going to make a movie about a crippled person dying in the gutter if it killed them!    And they end up making a movie like Simple Jack.   (NB:  Not high quality.)

The thing is, I really can’t think of anyone like that who not only failed to achieve the goal of Serious Ac-Tor, but also tainted their earlier, funnier work with the failures of their later seriousness.

Apart from the obvious, I mean.

*If they ever make a Funky Winkerbean movie, this would be perfect for the tagline on the poster.   Great for the trailer, too–imagine that read in some ghostly-whisper voice. *Shudder*

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Doctor Who and UNIT

Link to today’s strip.

Well, Funky certainly looks cheerful for someone who may have just been handed a death sentence.  Of course, such a sentence would mean his eternal suffering is finally about to end; if I were a character in this strip, I’d probably find it a relief as well.  The only question would be, How much time do I have left?  Meaning, Do I have time to buy a gun and kill Les, Dinkle, Dead Comic Book John, Darrin and a good half-dozen others?

Up until a few months ago, it was pretty rare when I couldn’t see a vague punchline in the strip.  In other words, I would think, Well, that’s not funny, but I can see how someone could construct that as a remark relevant to the situation.  It made sense.

Lately, though, it seems as if every strip is trying to outdo its predecessors in being baffling and nonsensical.  I mean, I understand what Holly is saying–I just can’t imagine how it could be seen as “funny” or “romantic” or “poignant.”  It’s presented as the sort of thing a person might say and think, I was very clever to phrase my answer like that.  It just isn’t clever.  It’s like it’s missing some kind of follow-up.   “We’re a unit.”  “Just like a ward in a mental hospital!” {smirk} {smirk}

Any joke fails when you leave out the punchline:

A: Why does a fireman wear red suspenders?

B: I dunno, why?

A: (shrugs) I guess he just likes them.  Maybe they’re a gift from his wife.

B: …huh.

I will add this:  at least in today’s episode, the professional person is being pleasant to them.  I’m pretty sure that’s the first time in a while that this has happened.

 

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Dr. Chill

Three days of strips showing Funky standing in line at the airport; jump cut to Funky’s plane touching down at…home? His business destination? Still not 100% clear on which leg of the trip this is. Well, I’m sure the flight was as miserable and boring as his time waiting in line. No sooner than he’s given permission to use his phone, Funky is rewarded with what surely is more bad news from either his own doctor or possibly his Dad’s. The next cycle of strips won’t appear online before midnight Friday, which means I’m in the dark along with the rest of y’all! It also means the next post won’t show up here until midnight. Stay tuned (yawn)…

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