Tag Archives: woman with receding hairline

It belongs in a mausoleum!

Today’s strip appears to be the latest installment of one of TB’s most recent recyclable story concepts: “old person has a Lisa flashback in front of Summer”. Of course, it’s also the latest installment in his most overplayed story… but we all knew we would be back here eventually.

Just how many Lisa tapes are there? We can see 5 or 6 peeking out of the top of the box Crazy is carrying today, meaning there are probably at least 10 total in the box. The box Summer brought to him close to seven years ago was about twice as deep, also with about 5 or 6 tapes visible out of the top. This suggests that there are about two dozen tapes, over two full days worth of Lisa video assuming she recorded a full 2 hours in SP mode on each tape.

Regardless of how many of these tapes there are, they can’t be much more than conversation pieces now given that Crazy baked them when converting them all those years ago. Not that Les wanted anyone conversing about them despite having 7 or more of them on prominent display in his living room.

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The Charlie Brown Cosplay Caper.

Link to this Sunday’s Very Special Episode of Funky Winkerbean.

Most of you in the comments seemed okay with me at least touching on the subject of this arc.

I wish the subject of this arc was this amazing article of clothing

What Batiuk wants this week to be about is racial profiling and ‘shopping while black’. Which is why Cayla, of all people, has been called in to interfere. (At least her being at the mall fits one of her two known character traits.)

Racial profiling in retail is, of course, a real thing that does happen. Like this case in Missouri in 2018 where cops were called on three black teens shopping for prom because a customer had accused them of shoplifting. The teens calmly let the officers check their bags and receipts and were let go. (The store later formally apologized.) So I’m not going to argue with Batiuk that what he’s depicting today is something that never happens. This isn’t a legal immigrant with a pro-bono lawyer on her side being deported immediately without recourse only to be saved by Bill Clinton.

But today is extremely muddled, because it isn’t clear that the cashier is racially motivated.

When I’m not working on the world’s ugliest tan, I work part time at a gas station to earn fun money for robot conventions and my raging caffeine addiction. During my shift, I am the only cashier in the store, and I have to watch for shoplifters. You know who I watch for? Kids.

And I won’t even be egalitarian about it. I’m especially sharp-eyed, right or wrong, when it’s a group of three or more boys between the ages of 12 and 16 unaccompanied by an adult. The only people I watch closer than a group of unchaperoned adolescents, are the few poor ghost people every town has, no matter how small. Scraggly familiar faces, just coming down off a high, who scrape together cans and change for just enough to self-medicate their demons with high-gravity beer and bargain cigarettes.

Is this kind of profiling wrong? I don’t know. Maybe. I try not to be too harsh with it. I try to joke with the kids, and smile kindly at the tweaked out.

But nothing puts me on guard faster than the kid who is always looking over his shoulder to see if I am watching THEM. That’s when I watch them even closer. And I have seen, many times, that my stare makes the kids act weirder. And I’ve known in the back of my head, that maybe they never were intending to fill their pockets with Twinkies. That maybe they’re acting weirder now simply because I’m watching them.

So what do we have here? Actual racial profiling, or a feedback loop of suspicious stares?

If Batiuk wanted to make this clear, he failed. Big surprise. But I’m guessing in most real cases of this scenario there isn’t someone shouting slurs and saying, “You people!”

But if Batiuk wanted to leave it ambiguous, to tackle the issue as it really is: Where it’s often unclear where racism ends and justified surveillance and suspicion begins… well, that might be a bit too ambitious for old Tom here.

He should just go back to thugs nonsensically hating on Chinese food.

Another story that appeared in 1997 was inspired by a completely different source. A Vietnamese couple had moved to our town and opened a restaurant on the site of a former Red Barn. Cathy and I enjoyed stopping in there, and one time while waiting for an order, I read a yellowed newspaper article that was framed on the wall by the door. It told of the young couple’s escape by boat from Vietnam and the harrowing journey they undertook facing pirates and being stranded and abandoned at sea until finally making it to a hoped-for life of freedom in the United States. I started getting some ideas for a story. One of the advantages of getting ahead on the strip like I had at that juncture was I could take the time to let an idea have a longer gestation period. I could keep rolling it over in my mind, examining all of the facets and considering various possibilities until I felt it was ready. And when it was, a young Chinese couple moved into the space next door to Montoni’s and opened a restaurant called the Jade Dragon West. Zhang Li and his wife Liu Lin were political dissidents from Hong Kong who, fearing a crackdown when Great Britain handed Hong Kong back over to China, made the decision to escape to America. They met their good neighbors Tony Montoni and Funky Winkerbean, but soon the couple also experienced the racism that lurks in the American shadows. In the course of telling their story, I made use of a number of elements of the tale I found in the yellowed newspaper clipping (I seriously doubt if that would have happened with Grubhub, and I’m glad that the nascent internet hadn’t grown big enough to ruin that opportunity for me). Go out to dinner . . . come home with a story. Nice when life works that way.

From The Complete Funky Winkerbean Volume 9

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Comic Malpractice

It’s great to be back here, like always. I’m happy to have another fun installment of this strip to comment on. “Doctor asks an injured woman if she’s being abused at home” is yet another of the many many Batiuk strips where I read it and am just amazed that he thinks it’s funny. And it sure seems to me that literally every time someone goes to a doctor in either this strip or Crankshaft, they inevitably act like a jerk when someone asks them a super basic question.
Is it me, or is it super amusing how everyone is all of a sudden wearing masks again? After multiple strips of people talking about the pandemic like it had passed, suddenly everyone is wearing masks. I wonder if Batiuk had the artist draw them on after the fact or what.

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Dej-UGH Vu

We can only hope that today’s strip marks the end of this story arc and the depiction of this unhealthy and unsettling Melinda-Holly relationship for some time (infinity is a time, right?).

With that, I will focus my commentary on Holly’s use of term “EMS Vehicle”. So, did TB just not like the way “ambulance” fit in the word balloon or does he have a thing for using awkwardly bland language? I mean, its not an incorrect term of course, but if Holly calls an ambulance an “EMS Vehicle” then Melinda ought to have said “medical facility” or something like that yesterday instead of “hospital“… y’know, to maintain this strip’s reputation for exceeding consistency.

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Grosstalgia

As someone who has ridden in an ambulance with a parent after breaking a bone while competing in a sport, I found there to be nothing at all redeeming about today’s strip. At least yesterday we had some America’s Funniest Home Videos visuals, solid work from Chuck Ayers for once, but today… today… just get out of here with this tripe!

No one wants to see Holly apologize to her mother for, um, for breaking her ankle?! What?! No one wants to see this whole cruel and miserable experience turned into a nostalgia trip. No one wants to know what kind of hairspray Holly uses that has kept her terrifying hair claw intact despite spending extended periods in a driving rainstorm.

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By Invitation Lonely

Oh, so Melinda wasn’t thinking of entering Holly in a pageant! No, as we learn in today’s strip, she was thinking about hijacking Westview High School’s homecoming and subjecting the crowd to Holly’s flaming baton trick and its subsequent collateral damage. Duh. I don’t know where Holly got the idea that her mother was trying to get her to enter a pageant, it’s not like Melinda led into this homecoming performance idea by talking about pageants or anything…

It was smart of Holly to suggest inviting a bunch of band alumni into this scheme. Not because making this an actual alumni event rather than a single woman’s vainglorious showcase means the school would likely be more accommodating. Not because it will place anyone not related to her who might be interested in seeing her performance out on the field instead of up in the grandstands. Not because it will give Wally a chance to break out his trombone again. Not even because it seems to deflate her conniving mother.

No, it was smart because Holly knows as well as anyone that misery loves company.

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Mama Said There’d Be Days Like This

Oh, so we have another week of this… How, exactly, can Melinda Budd tell when the photo in today’s strip was taken? It looks like every other old photo/Act I flashback/actual Act I appearance of Holly.

I guess Holly figures her pageant days are over now that she’s looking more like Gloria Daze… but we all know that’s not going stop Melinda or TB from stretching this story concept so thin you could toss an Oldsmobile Bravada through it.

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Breakneck Rubbernecking

Link to Today’s Strip

Oh THANK GOODNESS. We don’t have to sit through airport shenanigans, car rental shenanigans, or any other kind of travel nonsense. Someone gifted Cayla a Mother Box straight from Apokolips and they travelled halfway across the country via Boom Tube.

Apparently someone also gifted Cayla some cut-rate plastic surgery, because she’s got a late-stage Michael Jackson nose going on in panel 3 here. With the weird lines under her eyes, she looks like some kind of internet horror creepy pasta.

The Face of Horror

I hunted around a bit an was able to find a picture of the front desk of the Marmont. Decent enough approximation in the DRAWING. But I don’t think the entire interior of the lobby is painted in graphite grey like the interior of a parking garage.

Any guesses as to who Cayla is gawking at?

Summer? Cayla hasn’t seen her since Christmas, and even then, she quickly shipped the girls off to minimum wage it as Santa’s Helpers at the mall.

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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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Jerrymandering Flautists

Link To Today’s Strip

Dinkle has had about enough of these pranks, and so have I. None of them are anywhere near the quality or level of execution needed to be more than a time-killer. The true goal of school pranks is notoriety and immortality. Moving the pickled animals in jars from the science lab into the trophy case, welding a car around the flag pole, staging a lunch room flashmob. A beautiful moment of adolescent apotheosis, where you have risen above the rules, the hierarchy, the schedule that has domesticated your youthful exuberance. A good prank is a shock to the system.

I hope you guys don’t mind another dumb slice-of-life CBH story. I’ve just got nothing to work with here.

My little sister is a modern day saint. A sweet, loving, little gem of a girl who sees the best in everyone, and who has never met a soul she wasn’t willing to pray for. The kind of person who, when she got a the flu, said, “Well, if I had to get the flu, this is the good kind of flu. Because I’m really not coughing all that much. And at least I got it over Christmas break, so I won’t have to miss any work.” I haven’t seen her get properly mad in 20 years. The closest she comes to anger is nervous laughter and pursed-lip silence. The only negative emotions she allows herself to feel are sympathetic sadness, and guilt feeling anything else bad. If this were the middle ages, she would have shrines built in her honor, and pilgrims would walk barefoot to have her lay upon hands. Instead she teaches kindergarten at a Christian school.

She was already like that in high school. And everyone in her class knew it, and most loved her, even if they found it hard to relate to so much concentrated purity.

But on the last day of band of her senior year, she kept getting called out by the band director for not playing her flute right. She’d never really been dedicated to her instrument,( I don’t think she’s picked up the flute once since she graduated.), but the teacher had never really picked on her like this before.

Finally he slapped down his baton and said to her, “I don’t even know why you’ve bothered being in band for four years. You’re terrible at it! You are the worst flute player I have ever had!”

And my sister turned bright red, and shouted back, “If I’m such a bad student, maybe it’s because you’re a lousy teacher!”

The band director went stony silent, and said, “You go to the principals office right now. You are out of my band.”

And my little sister stood up and roared, “You can’t kick me out because I quit!” Then she picked up the flute she’d been using, and bent it over her knee. She threw the twisted instrument on the floor and stormed out of the room.

You could have heard a pin drop. My little sister, the sweetest, most kind girl in school, had shouted at a teacher and was headed to the principal.

Then giddy laughter coming from outside the door broke the tension.

It had been her senior prank, planned between her and the band director. The flute had been an old, broken castoff of the department. No one in her class had seen it coming.

My sister is a saint who never really gets angry. But she’s also a pretty good actress.

And that is how you prank the band.

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