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’Shaft to the future

Crankshaft, 7/20/09

Oh ho. Oh HO HO HO. Remember a few years ago, when beloved comic strip Funky Winkerbean killed off one of its main characters and then leapt pell-mell a decade into the future (of internal narrative space, not of absolute time)? Of course you do, because you’re all comics obsessives, but even if you weren’t, chances are you might have heard of it because there was actual coverage of this event by the legitimate media. And here today, in Funkyverse sister strip Crankshaft, we appear to have the exact same chronological discontinuity happening, which, as near as the Google can tell, has been mentioned exactly nowhere. Ha ha, Crankshaft, nobody likes you, just like nobody likes your title character!

You’ll forgive me for chortling just a little at the sight of Crankshaft’s slumped, broken form slouching semi-consciously in a wheelchair, kept alive by machines and underpaid but still perky nurse’s aides. Normally I’d only have the deepest sympathy for someone whose body and mind have been ravaged by time until they’re only a shell of their former self, but since Crankshaft is (a) a fictional character and (b) a colossal dick, I’m not feeling too guilty about my terrible glee.

Anyway, in the absence of any sort of Big Event-style coverage, I’m guessing that this is a temporary thing, a brief glimpse into the ’Shaft’s terrible future — or, if the middle panel is any indication, his future and his past, like Slaughterhouse Five with less firebombing and more groan-inducing puns. Eventually we’ll settle back on the present, in which Crankshaft is old and cranky but not senile or wheelchair-ridden. The journey will have made him more sympathetic to us, right up to the first time that he opens his mouth.

Gil Thorp, 7/20/09

Wait, are we sure that Shep Trumbo isn’t behind this? Because the sinister message on that baseball appears to be written in text-speak, and if there’s one thing I remember about the Shep Trumbo storyline despite my best efforts to purge it from my memory, it’s that it involved texting in some way. (Though I guess a full-on text-stalker-ball would read “U O M3.”)

Anyway, I just thought of someone else from the past who could be sinisterly stalking Gil: Brent Raptor! Or, better yet, Brent Raptor’s mom! Brent was a pudgy white kid who played baseball for Gil a few years ago and loved the rap music, thus earning the nickname “Rap-Dog,” which was probably meant to be insulting and/or ironic but he adopted it because it was the only affection anyone ever showed him. Brent’s life was made a living hell by his trashy, overbearing mother, out from under whose thumb Gil tried very hard to extract Brent, eventually succeeding by arranging for her to take a trip to Phoenix (really!). Anyway, since obviously nobody has ever done anything in return for a trip to Phoenix, I’m guessing Gil made a dark, secret promise to Mrs. Raptor, and now she’s come to collect … in blood. Or in off-brand corn chips and menthol cigarettes, which would seem more her style.

Mark Trail, 7/20/09

Jack Elrod knew he’d come under fire from religious and cultural conservatives for his latest work, Virgin Mar(k/y): Pieta. Fortunately, his editors at the syndicate knew that the newspaper comics were the last venue where uncompromising art like this could be showcased, and published it without fear of the consequences.

Archie, 7/20/09

The funniest thing about this Archie — other than Reggie getting punched in the face, obviously — is the lava lamp decorating the floor of Archie’s makeshift ashram in the first panel. Because meditation = the ’70s = lava lamps, obviously! Ha ha, the AJGLU 3000 has no idea what year it is.

Slylock Fox, 7/20/09

More proof that Shady Shrew is an unlovable loser: as his yellow bandana indicates, he was considered insufficiently cool to join either the Bloods or the Crips, and instead had to affiliate himself with a lesser gang, the “7th Avenue Insectivore Crew.”

Beetle Bailey, 7/20/09

Oh, Beetle, we know you yearn for Sarge’s abusive attentions, but you should really try being at least a little subtle about it.

144 responses to “’Shaft to the future”

  1. odinthor
    July 20th, 2009 at 3:17 pm [Reply]

    GT. — “U OWE ME” is actually an anagram of the real message, which is E[uropean] U[nion] MEOW. The fact that this message was placed on a baseball indicates the provocative political stance being set before the reader. The fact that the baseball with this message was placed in the mailbox of Gil Thorp indicates the politico-existential despair of the perp. Bravo, say we, to this devastating indictment of human socio-political aspirations!

  2. tb4000
    July 20th, 2009 at 3:20 pm [Reply]

    BB: Was that a subtle jab at the illiteracy level in our current military or something?

    Murdershaft: My God, that first panel is just chilling beyond all comprehension. As much a hideous individual as Crankshaft is, watching him go the Scrooge route is verily off-putting.

  3. crazyjerseygirl
    July 20th, 2009 at 3:21 pm [Reply]

    Wait, that’s not Crankshaft!
    It’s not his hat!
    Dude’s hat is red and white, this one is black.
    Maybe it’s his formal mourning hat?

  4. bman
    July 20th, 2009 at 3:26 pm [Reply]

    What kind of a mother names their child “Shady?” Surely she knew she was dooming him to a future where cops and neighbors regularly bust down his door with the flimsiest of accusations.

  5. Hogenmogen
    July 20th, 2009 at 3:27 pm [Reply]

    Archie is funny, because the AJGLU3K thinks that there’s actual lava in that lamp.

  6. Digger
    July 20th, 2009 at 3:29 pm [Reply]

    When is Slylock going to decide that it’s not worthwhile to enter Shady’s disease-ridden shit shack just to retrieve a lousy bag of vegetables?

  7. Hogenmogen
    July 20th, 2009 at 3:29 pm [Reply]

    After being mind-fucked by the hands-down, laziest, lowest-performing, sack-of-crap private in the unit, Sarge goes back to his bunk, hugs his dog and has a good cry.

  8. cvk
    July 20th, 2009 at 3:30 pm [Reply]

    Are we to believe that Reggie and what’s her name are actually able to see that image in Archie’s thought balloon? Because it looks like they’re both reacting to it.

  9. malignoramus
    July 20th, 2009 at 3:31 pm [Reply]

    i’m a little more concerned that reggie and betty appear to be able to see into archie’s thoughts, considering their horrified reactions. at least, that makes the strip a little more worthwhile to me as they realize they can now stare into the deep dark abyss of archie’s mind, and they don’t like it one bit.

  10. malignoramus
    July 20th, 2009 at 3:32 pm [Reply]

    oh, damn you, cvk.

  11. Deena in OR
    July 20th, 2009 at 3:35 pm [Reply]

    ::Pops out of lurkdom::

    Off topic-I’m here, but very busy at work, and trying to use my time better at home. I will respond if addressed ;-).

    Posted because some people had expressed a concern-thanks for worrying ;)

  12. Chyron HR
    July 20th, 2009 at 3:36 pm [Reply]

    Better Gil Thorp messages:

    “U R HOT”
    “O NVR MND”

  13. bats :[
    July 20th, 2009 at 3:36 pm [Reply]

    Hey, Josh, I grew up on 7th Avenue (well, it was in Phoenix, so I think our homies were the “7th Avenue Sewer Roaches”, or something like that).

    yCalico: sorry! sorry! This just took me a little bit…

  14. Sequitur
    July 20th, 2009 at 3:37 pm [Reply]

    10. malignoramus
    Well, at least you knew Betty’s name.

  15. UncleJeff
    July 20th, 2009 at 3:38 pm [Reply]

    Sorry, Josh. That can’t be the Cranker.
    I think it’s Fidel Castro. And the upcoming plot will be how Fidel is going to take one last crack at avenging himself on the remaining members of the team Crankshaft led to Cuba.

  16. Eau de Plugger
    July 20th, 2009 at 3:39 pm [Reply]

    Wait…maybe that’s not Crankshaft. As @crazyjerseygirl pointed out, the hat is black and not red and white. Maybe this is a parallel universe and this is an evil…no, no that can’t be right.

    Also, what do you want to bet that the woman taking care of him is one of the girls he ogled from the ice cream truck?

  17. Hogenmogen
    July 20th, 2009 at 3:40 pm [Reply]

    Shady’s version of a “long letter” appears to be a hastily jotted down post card. Since shrews lack opposable thumbs and are generally illiterate, even this pitiful effort may have required a great deal of time. Or, Shady could be referring to an email letter, in which case Shady would not only have the letter, but the time it was sent as proof. Either way, I’m still in Shady’s corner, as he has obviously been eating an apple, not carrots. The apple is fresh, because if it had been there for a while, it would have oxydized and turned brown. And, call me a stickler for incriminating evidence, but I don’t see a goddamn bag of carrots in the shrew’s apartment. I’m getting the vibe here that Shady got Rachel drunk one night and gave her the old “shrew screw”. The next day, however, it was the cold “shrew screw you”.

  18. Calico
    July 20th, 2009 at 3:41 pm [Reply]

    Crank – Oh Jeezum Crow.

    I really am sorry that Batuik’s Dad passed away recently. XO

    I think I’ll just take a vow of silence and sit back for a while.

  19. Storm of Loyalty
    July 20th, 2009 at 3:42 pm [Reply]

    Wait, Mark is a virgin? I thought he had Andy.

  20. Calico
    July 20th, 2009 at 3:46 pm [Reply]

    #13 – Oh, wow-thanks so much! Nice one.
    I have to admit – I think Wolverine in S-M is kinda cute in a Wolfman Jack kind of way. I’d love to see him hitting on her highness Mary Worth. : )

    (I now am officially hooked on Bats’ mashups.)

  21. Deena in OR
    July 20th, 2009 at 3:47 pm [Reply]

    Calico-Jeezum Crow???? I know where you got that ;-)

  22. malignoramus
    July 20th, 2009 at 3:47 pm [Reply]

    14. Sequitur

    that’s not much of a consolation, but i’ll take what i can get, i s’pose.

  23. AirForbes
    July 20th, 2009 at 3:51 pm [Reply]

    Another better Gil Thorp message:


  24. Hogenmogen
    July 20th, 2009 at 3:54 pm [Reply]

    So I’m wondering who is supplying all the baseballs for Gil’s summer league. I count four so far at least. They generally go for 3-4 dollars each, and you know we have several more coming down the pike.

    I also have to say that not only do I hate terrorists, but I just can’t fathom how they think their methods will work. Gil has no idea who is doing it or why, so even if he wants to pay what he “owes”, he has no way to do it.

  25. cj
    July 20th, 2009 at 3:55 pm [Reply]


    At first glance, I thought Archie really did rocket punch Reggie. When I realized it was only in his head, I imagined Archie punching himself, symbolizing his self-discipline (very Buddhist). Then I realized I hate Archie and all he stands for.

  26. JC Lisbon
    July 20th, 2009 at 3:56 pm [Reply]

    Slylock sure is quick to jump to conclusions, huh? “Nevermind this plate with some sort of small animal bone and syrup, or the half-eaten apple on his desk! That pencil couldn’t have been sharpened recently, he MUST have gone out to steal other people’s snacks!”

  27. Hogenmogen
    July 20th, 2009 at 3:57 pm [Reply]

    #22 – malignoramus – I hate to brag, but I mentioned it at Y118.

  28. Chip Whittle
    July 20th, 2009 at 3:57 pm [Reply]

    So nobody else is looking forward to Poopcrank Pappy setting off for the Eighth C in half of his son’s school bus and getting the magic baseball with the location of all the world’s gold hamburgers thrown overboard by that Mom character who’s so upset when her children accomplish anything?

    Rabbits Against Magic plays with the nature of time, space, and Scott McCloud today, tossing out the very idea of linear narrative. Only on purpose, so it’s not like Dick Tracy.

    Non-curmudgeonly, I like the position of Rover’s thought balloon in today’s Red and Rover, which is one of those touches that makes it so hard not to smile at the strip in general.

  29. Calico
    July 20th, 2009 at 3:59 pm [Reply]

    #21 – Well, I did live in Burlington, VT for 22 years, where I still have a bit o’ property. And I am waiting for a new post from AB as well, though I know she is busy with her new book. : )

    GT – Maybe it’s the infamous “Asterix Ball” in the mailbox.

  30. Perky Bird
    July 20th, 2009 at 3:59 pm [Reply]

    Why, look! It’s a painting of St. Mark of the Trail! He’s the patron saint of clean-shaven men and homely, gap-toothed young children. He’s also the founder of his own monastic order, whose monks are indentified by their crisply-pressed khaki robes.

  31. Steve S
    July 20th, 2009 at 3:59 pm [Reply]

    Today’s thing I’m surprised to learn about Crankshaft: making the title character senile to the point of coma doesn’t actually make the comic any more repulsive.

  32. IrinaChesek
    July 20th, 2009 at 4:05 pm [Reply]

    Any bets on whether the evil brother will get a haircut in the hospital and suddenly join the ranks of the follically-groomed good guys?

  33. Hogenmogen
    July 20th, 2009 at 4:07 pm [Reply]

    So Crank wakes up to find he’s a prisoner guest in the alzheimer prison wing of that hospital that RMMD’s naughty nurse is subbing at? I thought we were supposed to read RMMD and feel sorry for the patients, not empathize with the evil managers.

  34. ChristianPinko
    July 20th, 2009 at 4:08 pm [Reply]

    Josh, are you suggesting that Shady Shrew team up with Ruben Bolling’s Dinkle, the Unlovable Loser? Because I think that has potential.

  35. One-eyed Wolfdog
    July 20th, 2009 at 4:09 pm [Reply]

    Squishy seems to have derived her aesthetics of allure from prolonged exposure to Bratz dolls — which in her world are probably Batz dolls. Or Ratz dolls. Or, outside chance but I like it — Wombatz dolls. Whatever. The main point is that I saw a tarted-up amoeba on the comics page today, which is just the sort of thing they warned us would happen under the new liberal administration in this country.

  36. Hogenmogen
    July 20th, 2009 at 4:11 pm [Reply]

    Whoops, actually Dean Booth beat me to it.

  37. OMJulie
    July 20th, 2009 at 4:15 pm [Reply]

    16 Eau de Plugger: Maybe this is the parallel universe where we get to see the GOOD Crankshaft. Unfortunately, debilitating disease is even more common here than it is in the world we’re used to.

    Gil Thorpe Baseball: “U LOSE PLYDWNS” Alternatively, “U OWE ME” could just refer to the cost of the lost baseballs. Man, the only thing worse than a baseball stalker is a really cheap baseball stalker.

    I just had this image of Tom Batiuk standing on his front lawn with a sheet tied around his neck screaming “I AM THE MASTER OF TIME!!!” It made me feel weird, and then I read Calico’s comment at number 18 and it made me feel kind of guilty.

  38. Uncle Lumpy
    July 20th, 2009 at 4:16 pm [Reply]

    For my meditation technique, I empty my head of all thoughts of Archie, and repeat the phrase,

    “Ed Crankshaft is a colossal dick.”

    Zero to nirvana in 8 seconds flat.

  39. Old School Allie Cat
    July 20th, 2009 at 4:18 pm [Reply]

    Shaft! – I somehow think this is him. It’s a Mudhens hat, and I think the change in color could denote that he’s gone from curmudgeonly bus driver in a truckers hat, to a chair-bound, narcoleptic old man.

    Something isn’t right…

    Like the fact that I actually care about Crankshaft, for starters.

  40. Old School Allie Cat
    July 20th, 2009 at 4:19 pm [Reply]

    GT – Also, I think it’s Marty Moon, who decided to get a tan and drink daquiris all summer, who left the ball in GT’s mail.

  41. wagmore barkless
    July 20th, 2009 at 4:24 pm [Reply]

    I don’t think that’s Crankshaft. I think that Batiuk has finally accepted that his plots suck, his attempts at humor are lame, and no one cares about his characters. So he’s just decided to invent a new format, where he gives us a daily glimpse into the ordinary lives of random people who are down on their luck, suffering from debilitating disease or otherwise miserable. Call it “downer-a-day.”

  42. Smokehouse
    July 20th, 2009 at 4:24 pm [Reply]

    Joey appears to have gone into rigor mortis immediately after being shot.

  43. Anonymous
    July 20th, 2009 at 4:26 pm [Reply]

    #17 – Hogenmogen:

    I’m with with you. Again, Slylock’s barely concealed racism and classicm are the primary source of his “clues.”

    I imagine Slylock’s interrogations go something like this:

    “What’s that? A sharp pencil? There’s no way a dumb shrew would think to periodically sharpen his pencil while writing a letter! Explain yourself, Shrew!”

    “What? A mere postcard? But you’ve been at this for hours! You should’ve had a 30-pager by now! You’re just can’t stop from digging that hole, eh, Shrew?”

    “Carrots? You expect me to believe you bought those at the grocery store with the money you earned as a menial laborer? Or are you going to say that you grew them yourself in your own garden? I don’t see any shovel, and are you expecting me to believe you dug your garden with nothing but your little hands? What do you take me for, Shrew, some kind of dumb shrew?”

    Slylock Fox – laziest detective ever.

  44. Comrade Denny
    July 20th, 2009 at 4:26 pm [Reply]

    #43 c’est moi.

  45. Naked Bunny with a Whip
    July 20th, 2009 at 4:27 pm [Reply]

    SFox: I’m glad to see Rachel got the carrots back in time for our date.

  46. One-eyed Wolfdog
    July 20th, 2009 at 4:27 pm [Reply]

    Should have been, ‘Shady Shrew snatched a sack of snacks she stashed at her shack full of Slick Smitty/Slylock slash.”

  47. Eau de Plugger
    July 20th, 2009 at 4:28 pm [Reply]

    MT: What do you want to bet that Joey’s undertaker gives him a respectable haircut?

  48. Little Guy
    July 20th, 2009 at 4:30 pm [Reply]

    GT: I’m leaning more to Japanese horror, more to the point, Dice-K, whose arm was ruined because Gil talked to the WBC Japanese team into using him.

  49. Katya
    July 20th, 2009 at 4:36 pm [Reply]

    I must be really dense or something, but I have to confess that I seriously don’t understand today’s Beetle Bailey.

    Is Beetle so defeated by Sarge that he expects to be yelled at just when he’s trying to do something pleasurable?

    Or…is Beetle subconsciously communicating that he really hates to read and he’d love to have Sarge yell at him so he wouldn’t have to do so?

    I have no idea.

  50. Dr Josh
    July 20th, 2009 at 4:37 pm [Reply]

    I love Comics Crumudgen. I read it everyday. I especially like Mary Worth, the neurotic Spiderman and the super-punchy Mark Trail.

    My partner in crime, Kidcraig, and I do an internet radio show that you might find funny if you like this blog.

    If you want to try something new, here are the details:
    Tonight, July 20, from 7pm to 9pm on – you go there and click ‘listen’ and it’ll stream on your computer using whatever media player you have.

    Bad words, crazy news stories, some music, adult themed jokes, the odd rant, and a contest where you have to identify hot celebrity chicks (not Brooke) (on the associated website where you can win a prize!

    Hopefully you’ll check it out.

    Dr Josh

  51. Mr. O'Malley
    July 20th, 2009 at 4:39 pm [Reply]

    Plugger’s dilemma: Either
    (1) let your medical problem wait until the doctor you want comes back from vacation, or
    (2) see a doctor other than the one you wanted to see, because you have a medical problem that needs immediate attention, and have to stop complaining that socialized medicine won’t allow you to choose your own doctor

  52. Dingo
    July 20th, 2009 at 4:41 pm [Reply]

    Josh, that ain’t no lava lamp; it’s a butt plug and, from the size of it, the $80 model. You’d need extreme dexterity and relaxation to get that all the way in and it seems that Archie is gonna show the gang how it’s done.

  53. zerowolf
    July 20th, 2009 at 4:43 pm [Reply]

    Shady’s even shadier defense lawyer: “Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, two words: pencil sharpener.”

  54. cheech wizard
    July 20th, 2009 at 4:43 pm [Reply]

    3 & 16 – That is Crankshaft’s hat – he played for the Mudhens as a minor leaguer. Maybe he’ll get a deathbed visit from an angelic Hank Greenberg, whom he struck out in an exhibition game. Right before Ty Cobb drags him off to Hell.

  55. McManx
    July 20th, 2009 at 4:44 pm [Reply]

    Archie — What is with Archie’s hideously deformed club feet? No wonder he looks so unconfortable in the lotus position.

    Mark Trail — What’s going on? Uh, Joey’s been shot, Mark. Did you think the “POW” in the first frame was caused by Joey farting out that “Jack Elrod” gas bubble? Then again…

    C’Shaft — I’m not sure if that is Crankshaft in the first frame, or the Cryptkeeper. Then again, maybe Crankshaft is the Cryptkeeper. It would explain a lot…

  56. Ralph
    July 20th, 2009 at 4:45 pm [Reply]

    I am thoroughly amazed by Joey Williams. Not only does the bullet from that high powered rifle leave no exit wound, but Joey appears to not be bleeding at all. What, is his skin made of Kevlar?

  57. Mdgoldrush1984
    July 20th, 2009 at 4:46 pm [Reply]

    Good God, Crankshaft may be the bleakest thing to ever be written. ‘Shaft’s comotose state reminds me of Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, but hopefully, there will be more suffocation/shock therapy in this strip.

  58. Bryan
    July 20th, 2009 at 4:49 pm [Reply]

    Gasoline Alley: My grandfather was a preacher. You can ready-made sermons of all kinds in the sort of magazine preachers get, and that was back in the 70′s. Reverend Whoever probably gets them too. Heck, these days you could plunk “sermon” into Google and find all the sermons you need. These yokels wouldn’t know the difference. Just don’t crib any of the Reverend Wright’s more florid prose.

    Luann: Oh, Toni. What’s that line from The Simpsons? “It’s right here that you pull his heart out of his chest.” Nice job breaking it, hero.

    Rose is Rose: So, who’s up for some Good Rose/Evil Rose slashfic? No one? Well, fine.

    Sally Forth: Now this is more like it! Ted Ascendant! Ted’s going to become a murderous, brooding vigilante much like The Punisher! Or maybe more like Charles Bronson in Death Wish.

  59. One-eyed Wolfdog
    July 20th, 2009 at 4:49 pm [Reply]

    Panel 1 today marks the first coherent, sensible, and plausibly human-sounding thing I have ever seen Dick Tracy say. Granted, if they went along with his suggestion, they’d be headed into Spiderman territory (minus spandex, plus oddly angled anatomy), and that’s seldom a turn for the better. And torching a circus will keep him from gunning down the pizza delivery guy, who has a tough gig by all accounts anyway, so it’s probably for the best. Bring on the clown-slaughter!

  60. mvg
    July 20th, 2009 at 4:54 pm [Reply]

    Maybe the black Mudhens cap substituting for C-shaft’s normal red hat is meant to clue us in that this is an alternate-history plotline to show us what Cranky’s life would have been like if he’d actually gone from the Mudhens to the majors. Perhaps we’re going to learn (in some sort of awful “It’s a Wonderful Life” parody/ripoff) that fulfilling his dream would have led to an existence that was actually MORE embittering & hateful (or at least more pathetic) than the C-shaft we all know & loathe.

  61. Wayne
    July 20th, 2009 at 4:55 pm [Reply]

    Crankshaft: Perhaps we’ll learn that the entire plot line of Crankshaft (and maybe FW, too), was all in the head of a senile old man on his deathbed. Something like the final episode of St. Elsewhere.

    We can only hope.

  62. Katya
    July 20th, 2009 at 4:55 pm [Reply]

    #44 — Comrade Denny:

    C’est vous (or “toi,” if I may be so bold)? Vraiment?

    What I don’t get is why I see this happen occasionally with various posters. Perhaps you will be so kind as to help clear this (admittedly completely minor) matter up for me. Thanks! :)

  63. Hogan
    July 20th, 2009 at 4:56 pm [Reply]

    I think Betty and Reggie’s horror is caused by staring into the deep dark abyss of Archie’s shirt.

  64. Crankenstank
    July 20th, 2009 at 4:58 pm [Reply]

    Hats off here to Batiuk, by the way, for an impeccably good rendition of Gate C at Municipal Stadium, aka the late rarely lamented Mistake on the Lake, where I too took in my first professional game the summer of the first moon landing. Honestly, it’s an excellent rendition.

  65. buckyswife
    July 20th, 2009 at 4:58 pm [Reply]

    49 Katya–I’m with you. I’ve tried to puzzle out today’s BB with various scenarios, both plausible and im- , and not only is none of them humorous, none makes a lick of sense, either. And this from a strip that, in both the humor and making-sense departments, routinely falls short—today’s doesn’t even approach BB’s normally low bar.

  66. DavidMac
    July 20th, 2009 at 4:59 pm [Reply]

    MT: MT: Wasn’t the report of the sniper’s rifle “WHAM” on 7-18? Now it’s “POW” today (7-20). WTF? Or maybe it’s some sort of weird echo, like “WHAM – POW”. Or maybe it’s a translation as in “WHAM” in Lost Forestese means “POW” in American-English dialect.

    My head hurts from all the noise.

  67. buckyswife
    July 20th, 2009 at 4:59 pm [Reply]

    56 Ralph: Adamantium.

  68. Crankenstank
    July 20th, 2009 at 5:01 pm [Reply]

    BTW, clearly ALGU 3000 runs on Unix and has developed the year 2038 problem. It has rolled over to January 1, 1970!

  69. Dr. Weird
    July 20th, 2009 at 5:04 pm [Reply]

    Y102 CanuckDownSouth

    There was a call for Torchwood to investigate the non-linear time flow in FBoFW. I think that’s far too dangerous… the Torchwood cast might get involved in same-sex kissing with the FBoFW cast, and no one wants to see that, I’m sure.

    Better they investigate the mysterious disappearing virus on Rex Morgan’s cruise ship, then June Morgan and Tosh can lock lips for some reason. That Jack and Rex will be greatly interested in each other is too obvious for words.

  70. TheDiva
    July 20th, 2009 at 5:21 pm [Reply]

    I’m pretty sure Crankshaft is pulling a bait-and-switch with us. Still, the thought of Ed Crankshaft wasting away in a nursing home (where his family abandoned him after one grill explosion too many) with only a forcefully perky aide for company, is a refreshing one.

  71. AMC
    July 20th, 2009 at 5:22 pm [Reply]

    MW – Today we finally get an answer to why Delilah is at Charterstone. Sex tourism. Apparently, it’s a long time hobby that her husband barely tolerates – not for reasons of jealousy or fear of disease, but because she takes off at random times without leaving him a note.

  72. Violet
    July 20th, 2009 at 5:25 pm [Reply]

    I’m intrigued by the fact that Archie feels the surest route to inner peace is to have your contemplation intrusively spectated by one of the chicks you’re two-timing and a guy you want to punch. How zen!

  73. RShini
    July 20th, 2009 at 5:29 pm [Reply]

    Encylopedia Brown’d!

    Bad form Shylock. Some people are quite obsessive-compulsive about keeping their pencils sharps, and a few (like me sadly) would have multiple pencils.

  74. zooby
    July 20th, 2009 at 5:29 pm [Reply]

    Crankshaft is merely displaying Batiuk’s laws of emotion:

    1. A body at slump remains at slump and a body in non-linear storytelling misery remains in non-linear storytelling mistery with constant downward spiralling until rock bottom is reached.

    2. Misery applied on a body is directly proportional to the rate of grouchy petulance of the body.

    3. Every happy action in Funky’s universe (Wally’s return) has an equal and opposite unhappy action in Crankshaft’s universe (general bleakness, the ravages of old age, Alzheimers, etc).

  75. Old School Allie Cat
    July 20th, 2009 at 5:29 pm [Reply]

    #70 – TheDiva – friggin’ Batuik did something similar with Funky Winkerbean, leading us to believe that Wally died in combat when he was actually playing a video game.

    Perhaps this is new version of The Sims franchise -

    The Sims – Droolin’ Old Skool!

  76. Comrade Denny
    July 20th, 2009 at 5:34 pm [Reply]

    #44 – Katya:

    Oh, us paranoid types like to set our privacy settings to delete all cookies/private data every time we close down Firefox, and sometimes I sometimes forget to reenter the name/email fields when I go back to Comics Curmudgeon, which I do every five minutes to see if anyone’s validated my genius.

  77. Comrade Denny
    July 20th, 2009 at 5:38 pm [Reply]

    I’m glad to see a number of commenters defended the much maligned Shady Shrew. It’s bad enough that this noble Soricidae is persecuted by that sloppy Slylock, but for Josh to get in on that vile Vulpes’ hate-fueled act is truly disheartening.

  78. Katya
    July 20th, 2009 at 5:42 pm [Reply]

    #65 — buckyswife:

    Whew — glad I’m not the only one who didn’t get Beetle Bailey. Maybe I’m not as dumb as I feared for a moment I might be. Ha, ha!

    By the way, I’m beyond thrilled at the “…is none” and “none makes…” in your comment! Maybe there’s hope for the English language yet, with people like you around. :)

  79. Comrade Denny
    July 20th, 2009 at 5:45 pm [Reply]

    #74 – zooby:

    Don’t forget the concominant Laws of Funkydynamics:

    0. If the misery of two funkydynamic systems are equilibrium of misery with a third, then their misery is in equilibrium with each other.

    1. Misery can neither be created nor destroyed. It can only change forms.

    2. The misery of an isolated system not in equilibrium will tend to increase over time, approaching a maximum misery at equilibrium.

    3. As the humanity/likability of characters approaches absolute zero, the creativity of the author approaches a constant minimum.

  80. Anonymous
    July 20th, 2009 at 5:46 pm [Reply]

    I validate the genius of #76!

  81. Les of the Jungle Patrol
    July 20th, 2009 at 5:47 pm [Reply]

    #51 Um, but you can pick your own doctor with socialized medicine, they just need to be near your residence and be accepting new patients . . . which is not so unlike requirements one has with unsocialized medicine. Not that a Plugger would know that. Maybe they identify with BB’s please to be interrupted while reading.

  82. NotThatGuy
    July 20th, 2009 at 5:48 pm [Reply]

    MT: Joey’s been shot? Where’s the blood? I think he just tripped and fell hard. Or maybe got knocked over by a passing giant sound wave.

  83. Katya
    July 20th, 2009 at 5:48 pm [Reply]

    #76 — Comrade Denny:

    I validate your genius! And, uh, your paranoia…

    Actually, a good part of your genius is probably being smart enough to be paranoid. I, sadly, lack that good old survival instinct, I guess. Oh, well. :)

  84. NotThatGuy
    July 20th, 2009 at 5:52 pm [Reply]

    MT: “What’s going on? Joey! Joey! You can’t be hurt, you don’t have the facial hair for it!”

  85. Katya
    July 20th, 2009 at 5:53 pm [Reply]


    Is that you, Comrade Denny? I’m thinking it might be. It’s just sort of a feeling I have.

  86. Lael
    July 20th, 2009 at 5:53 pm [Reply]

    #58, it is quite surprising for anyone to actually honestly admit all of that. Did finally making out with Brad make her realize that she can’t continue the facade anymore and must get out somehow? before he touches her butt again?

  87. Charterstoned
    July 20th, 2009 at 5:54 pm [Reply]

    MT – WHAT is going on here? If the sniper was standing so close to Mark and Joey so as to overhear Joey trying to spill the beans, HOW was he able to avoid detection considering that screaming orange outfit he was wearing, and WHY did he need a rifle at such close range? Couldn’t a snubbed-nose revolver done the job? As a LoFo hit man, couldn’t he have worn something more appropriate, like a gangster suit? WHO was he trying to hit, anyway? Mark? Joey? Or, could we have been fooled all along and this is really Ken out there trying to finish the job he started when he shot Bucky?

  88. Josh
    July 20th, 2009 at 6:05 pm [Reply]

    Katya #78 — Hope I don’t come across as a jerk, but let me quote Fowler’s Modern English Usage at ya, under “none”:

    It is a mistake to supposed that the pronoun is singular only and must at all costs be followed by singular verbs or pronouns. It should be borne in mind that none is not a shortening of no one but is a regular descendant of Old English nan (prounoun) ‘none, not one’. At all times since the reign of King Alfred the choice of plural or singular in the accompanying verbs, etc., has been governed by the surrounding words or the notional sense … Verdict: use a singular verb where possible but if the notion of plurality is present a plural verb has been optional since the Old English period and is in some circumstances desirable. The type None of them have finished their essays is better than the clumsy …has finished his or her essay.

    Snipped from the middle of that above quote is a long list of high-status users of English who deploy “none” with the plural, including T.S. Eliot and the Daily Telegraph.

    Anyway, sorry if I’m coming on strong — I don’t been to be confrontative! It’s just, well, as an editor/writer/someone interested in language and lingustics, English “rules” that reflect neither the language as it’s been spoken for centures nor the internal logic of the language are a big pet peeve of mine.


  89. Dr. Weird
    July 20th, 2009 at 6:06 pm [Reply]


    The bait-and-switch is a possibility… is Crankshaft’s father’s fate known? He might be who we’re seeing.

  90. queek
    July 20th, 2009 at 6:11 pm [Reply]

    58: I’ll read it if you write it. Biker Rose is the only reason to glance at that sucrose-laden waste of space strip, and she no longer shows up enough to warrant the effort of glancing these days.

  91. buckyswife
    July 20th, 2009 at 6:13 pm [Reply]

    88 Josh: I agree about the usage point; I actually don’t enforce this “rule” with my students for just that reason (I have an “if ‘real’ writers do X, then you can, too” policy for my classes). But for myself—well, old (and old-fashioned) habits die hard….

    July 20th, 2009 at 6:14 pm [Reply]

    I like how Archie is envisioning changing into a long sleeve shirt before he punches Reggie in the face. Though perhaps it’s not Archie at all, but Mark Trail making a crossover appearance. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve pictured Mark getting all punchy on someone who’s pissed me off. Well, actually I never have, but I probably will now.

  93. Joe Blevins
    July 20th, 2009 at 6:15 pm [Reply]

    Why does Reggie continue to hang out with people who despise him? Whatever his motivations, I’m glad he does because he has been — since childhood — my favorite Archie character. Just look at the range and versatility he shows in just three panels here. The man’s emotions turn on a dime, I tell ya! Look at him laughing haughtily like an anime villain in panel two, when just a split-second previously he was staring at Archie in wide-eyed, lip-pursing, utterly uncomprehending awe. Even the fantasy Reggie avatar in Archie’s thought bubble knows how to convincingly take a very-abstractly-rendered punch. Get this man his own digest: Reggie’s A-Hole Antics!

  94. Bryan
    July 20th, 2009 at 6:20 pm [Reply]

    28, Chip Whittle: Non-curmudgeonly, I like the position of Rover’s thought balloon in today’s Red and Rover, which is one of those touches that makes it so hard not to smile at the strip in general

    I know it’s just a Calvin & Hobbes knockoff, but Red and Rover has grown on me immensely. The expressions on Rover’s face are some of the most realistically “doggy” expressions I’ve seen in the comics. I liked today’s thought balloon too.

  95. Wasabi Jane
    July 20th, 2009 at 6:23 pm [Reply]

    Also, Shady’s mother has been dead since ’87.

  96. Comrade Denny
    July 20th, 2009 at 6:26 pm [Reply]

    #85 – Katya:

    I wish I had that kind of self confidence!

    DT: Was that a joke? Did Dick Tracy just crack a joke? And not in immediate response to the gruesome mutilation of a suspect? Did Crankshat’s [sic] soul transmigrate into another strip?

    FC: Jeff Keane reveals that Bil, Sr. was really the genius behind Warhol. Bil, knowing that marketing was everything, knew that coming from an L7 like him, his loving yet sarcastic take on pop culture would never go over in the trendy New York art scene.

    MW: And now we know why Del and Dr. Larry are having troubles. You see, Del has done this before – gone on long trips “visiting old friends.” Sure, Lawrence is gone for long periods of time, and Del probably times her trips to coincide with his so that she can have some companionship while he’s away, but you see, he doesn’t want to be on the road. It’s just business, Del. It’s what you gotta do to get ahead in the philosophy biz. Hopefully Mary will convince Delilah of how selfish she is to not want to rattle around the house while her famous philosopher husband is solving the is-ought problem and bangin’ the Sophomore coeds.

    Pluggers: Pluggers don’t know what a paradox is.

    Popeye: Oh, good! The new insanity begins! I’m perpetually amazed by this strip’s delightful ability to top itself. As a gardener who’s having trouble getting his run-of-the-mill cherry tomatoes to ripen, I can only congratulate the Sea Hag’s success in finally growing a rare Evil Tomato.

  97. buckyswife
    July 20th, 2009 at 6:31 pm [Reply]

    #78 Katya–Notwithstanding my comment at 91 above, I accept the compliment!

  98. Birthmark Hal
    July 20th, 2009 at 6:32 pm [Reply]

    In the North east gold and black are the gang colors of the Latin Kings. Maybe it’s time for Shady shrew to move up to some felonies.

  99. Violet
    July 20th, 2009 at 6:34 pm [Reply]

    The body language in Slylock Fox is quite evocative. As far as I can tell it reads:

    Rachel Rabbit: There he is! There’s the creepola what stole my carrots!
    Slylock: Stand back! I’ll make short work of this carrot-thieving neer-do-well!
    Max: Why you dirty carrot-stealing so-and-so! I oughta moidelize you!
    Shady: Duh…what’s a carrot?

  100. zooby
    July 20th, 2009 at 6:37 pm [Reply]

    You know what? Unless that baseball in the coach’s mailbox was mailed magically by Keanu Reeves two years in the future, I am not interested. WHERE ARE THE RIDICULOUS GIL THORP PLOTS OF SUMMERS PAST?

    Also: “Either someone sent us a baseball or our unknown friend is at it again.” Either/or? It’s clearly both, you moron!

  101. Violet
    July 20th, 2009 at 6:59 pm [Reply]

    MW: I think Lawrence must have a really fast metabolism. I’ve never seen someone go from belligerently drunk to excruciatingly hungover in the space of just one panel before.

  102. Mooncattie
    July 20th, 2009 at 7:00 pm [Reply]

    MW – I can’t really see where this story is going, apart from an increasingly bizarre series of spontaneous walks. Perhaps that’s the lesson I should be picking up on here – that only by taking a healthy evening constitutional will I ever have a chance of meeting the worry-scarred, poorly-drawn halter-topped girl of my dreams.

  103. Mighty Sam
    July 20th, 2009 at 7:07 pm [Reply]

    Oh, that’s a Mudhens hat. At first I thought it was Trogdor, and thus a sign that Crankshaft would soon die and be burninated, much like the Cuyahoga River.

  104. Katya
    July 20th, 2009 at 7:07 pm [Reply]


    Don’t worry about seeming confrontational. I can take it. Ha, ha!

    So…let’s discuss this, shall we? My position is not hardened in stone and perhaps you will teach me something new.

    I admit that I do view “none” as a contraction, if you will, of “no one” and therefore singular. I am not familiar with Fowler’s Modern English Usage and so cannot know what level of credibility to lend to it.

    I did, however, find the paragraph you quoted rather strange and even contradictory in places. I will certainly concede that “none” may derive from the Old English “nan,” but then how Fowler’s defines that word is troublesome to me. What does “none, not one” really mean? I know you are trying to tell me that what is being said is that “not one” means “more than one” here, but that’s not necessarily so. Looked at from another perspective, “not one” could mean “nothing.”

    So we’re back to the singular or plural controversy. Let us now skip ahead to Fowler’s authoritative and intimidating “verdict,” ‘k? Guess I’ll just go ahead and quote here:

    “Use a singular verb where possible but if the notion of plurality is present a plural verb has been optional since the Old English period and is in some circumstances desirable. The type “None of them have finished their essays” is better than the clumsy “…has finished his or her essay.”

    Okay, I have a couple of problems here. First of all, obviously, according to no less an esteemed authority than Fowler’s, a singular verb form following “none” should be used “where possible.” I differ with them, though, on the issue of the optional (their word) plural verb form when a “notion of plurality is present.” They seem to be admitting that one really should always use a singular verb form but that under certain circumstances, such usage might sound…well, a bit “clumsy.”

    I strongly beg to differ. I think their example of a “clumsy” sentence is lousy. Anyone worth his salt is aware that “their” is plural. Duh. Double duh. But…doesn’t anyone remember, before the days of political correctness, when “him” or “his” was understood to include both genders???

    I therefore submit that “None of them has finished his essay” is a perfectly acceptable sentence. In fact, it’s more than that.

    It’s correct.

  105. Who Was Phone
    July 20th, 2009 at 7:15 pm [Reply]

    I believe that it IS the Shaft’s dad, and that the flashback is to the father, Shaft’s dad, instead of the son, Shaft.

  106. Josh
    July 20th, 2009 at 7:37 pm [Reply]

    Katya, Fowler’s is a fairly standard usage guide (which I use in relation to my work as a professional editor). Admittedly it’s British but it is generally pretty good about breaking down when usages are unique to US or Commonwealth English. I admit Fowler’s example sentence is ill-chosen because it drags in the whole their vs. him or her morass.

    The point about the derivation of none from “nan” is that most people treat “none” as a contraction of “not one,” and use that as a justification for always using a singular verb with it. If you trace this back, though, that’s not how it’s been historically used. It can also mean “not any.”

    More to the point, what does it mean to say that “none are” is an “incorrect” usage, when it has been freely used over literally a thousand years of written and spoken English? The rule was originally thought up from a misreading of the derivation of “none.”

    If you want other authorities, try the Miriam-Websters:

    “Function: pronoun, singular or plural in construction”

    or the AP Stylebook:

    “none: It usually means no single one. When used in this sense, it always takes singular verbs and pronouns, None of the seats was in its right place. Use a plural only if the sense is no two, or no amount: None of the consultants agree on the same approach. None of the taxes have been paid.

    (That last sentence is particularly instructive: would you ever say “None of the taxes has been paid?”)

    Or Strunk and White:

    “With none, use the singular verb when the word means “no one” or “not one.”

    [incorrect]: None of us are perfect.
    [correct]: None of us is perfect.

    A plural verb is commonly used when none suggests more than one thing or person.

    [correct]: None are so fallible as those who are sure they’re right.”


  107. Katya
    July 20th, 2009 at 7:42 pm [Reply]

    #91 — buckyswife:

    Well, the first order of the evening is, why, just so obviously obvious! Big congratulations on your COTW! Yay!

    Also just wanted to say that I’m sorry to hear that you don’t “enforce” (I envision you in some sort of uniform and wielding a baton or something when I write that) certain rules of the English language with your students.

    I don’t know what level you teach (I’m assuming college, ‘cuz you’re so intelligent), but I believe that everyone should learn how to speak and write correctly. Then we can go from there.

    Absolutely and undeniably, when people become “real writers,” they are free to tinker with language for the sake of their writing; in fact, that’s absolutely necessary. There would be no such thing as creative writing without such leeway, would there?

    Oh, well…sigh…I don’t know how I became the language police, anyway. I wasn’t even an English major (Foreign Languages). Guess I shoulda been born in France, where they take their language very seriously. Ha, ha, ha!

    Congrats, again!

  108. teenchy
    July 20th, 2009 at 7:45 pm [Reply]

    Crankshaft is a bad muthashutyomouf: Wow, this far into the comments and no one picked up that it’s a Toledo Mud Hens cap? Or that the stadium in panel two is Cleveland Municipal? This should offer some clues to those of you who read the strip and/or give a damn, of which I am neither.

  109. sugarpie
    July 20th, 2009 at 8:06 pm [Reply]

    105 Who Was Phone That makes sense, as much as anything in this strip does. I’m still pissed about the McKenzie sisters Alzheimer’s story, and it doesn’t surprise me that Batiuk has decided to conjure and torture another poor soul about to die.

    He really does seem to enjoy creating characters only to have them undergo the indignity and pain of their last days in a comic strip. ( Also, he seems to get an warm’n’fuzzy award for it each time, so that must be part of the attraction, too.) It’s a cruel world he wallows and delights in. Yes I know they are just fictional characters in the funny papers but that doesn’t make it right. Someone (friends? editor? family?) must be giving him some positive feedback while he developes these story arcs. Why?

    And if it is the Crankshaft himself, it makes even less sense-Batiuk has given his imprimatur to the ‘Shaft’s bad behavior over the years by the simple act of writing the strip every day. Its a little late, and wildly inadequate, to be staging some nursing home retribution now.

    What a repellant slug. (/rant)

  110. teenchy
    July 20th, 2009 at 8:10 pm [Reply]

    Apologies to Mighty Sam @ 103. That’s what I get for searching the page for “Toledo” and not “Mud.”

  111. Iris notIris
    July 20th, 2009 at 8:36 pm [Reply]

    Katya, buckyswife, and Josh, I thank you and congratulate you on this edifying discussion, although it has nothing whatever to do with comics. Seriously! I am a writer/editor myself, so I dig this sort of thing. I don’t comment often here, but I have been a reader for a long, long time now, and the thing that keeps drawing me back is the “smart” quotient of the commenters. I don’t know any other blog on the Web where the comments comprise Fowler, Strunk and White, Shakespeare, Andy Warhol, Beavis and Butthead, obscure songs from the mid- to late-twentieth century, Greek and Roman mythology, musical theatre, wedding attire, and recipes. We all have the occasional spelling malfunction or grammar lapse, but we are by far the most erudite rabble on the Web!

  112. Reader Rabbit
    July 20th, 2009 at 8:39 pm [Reply]

    I think Collosal Dick Crankshaft would be a good name for a bad guy wrestler. Or a porn actor.

    3W 3MO ()

  113. Katya
    July 20th, 2009 at 9:02 pm [Reply]


    Are you by any chance baiting me? (Don’t ban me, please, please; I’m really a nice person!)

    Anyway, how about:

    “None is so fallible as he who is sure he is right.”

    (Are we speaking about you or me here? Ha, ha, ha!)

    Your response was very interesting, and I thank you for it. But when you say that “most people treat ‘none’ as a contraction of ‘not one,’ and use that as a justification for always using a singular verb with it,” I just about fell off my chair laughing!

    As I see it, that’s the problem. Hardly anyone uses “none” with a singular verb form in this country today. That was what started this whole thing — my astonishment at reading “buckyswife’s” what I consider proper usage.

    I think I’m beginning to see your main point, though. If I’m reading you right, you believe that since “none’s” apparently (news to me) been used with plural verb forms for, by your estimation, and I’ll take your word for it, over a thousand years of written and spoken English, it’s effectively earned itself an honest place at the table.

    As for your several examples, I say that, yes, I absolutely would use all of them with a singular verb form. Even the “taxes” one. Like, there’s this particular individual tax, and that one, and so on…

    Now Strunk and White, esteemed though they may be, defy all logic here. First of all, they helpfully instruct us, ” With ‘none,’ use the singular verb when the word means ‘no one’ or ‘not one.’”

    All well and good…until we come to their examples, that is. Since when does the word “us” imply “no one” or “not one?” Never, of course — it’s a plural pronoun. So why, logically speaking, would one not then say, “None of us are perfect” and consider it correct? Logically, that does make sense.

    However, there is in the end that pesky little rule that I don’t think we can and from which I don’t want to get away: always use a singular verb form with the word “none.”

    Well, you’ve “taxed” me to my limit, and “none” should be allowed to do that! Gotta go — it’s been fun, and you’ve inspired me to delve a bit into the origins of our language.


  114. Comrade Denny
    July 20th, 2009 at 9:03 pm [Reply]

    #112 – Reader Rabbit:

    Colossal Dick Crankshaft would be a fabulous heel, but I’m afraid he wouldn’t be much more than a jobber for Krazy Koach Kaz, a face if there ever was one.

  115. Katya
    July 20th, 2009 at 9:08 pm [Reply]

    #111 — Iris notIris:

    “Erudite rabble” That was so clever and funny and, speaking only for myself, of course, I definitely consider it a great compliment! :)

  116. the angry black woman
    July 20th, 2009 at 9:18 pm [Reply]

    uh… you people sure do like your English language fistfights!


    I don’t understand what the hell is going on in Mary Worth. I also don’t understand what’s going on with the art — did Lawrence look THAT bad the last time we saw him?

    Anyway, Delilah is sneaking out of the apartment to… call her husband which is what Mary wants her to do so, clearly, she must hide this. Also, Lawrence is tired of her being gone from the house when he is?

    Fuck this shit: bring back Charley!

  117. Josh
    July 20th, 2009 at 9:28 pm [Reply]

    Katya, I shan’t go further with you on the subject, but I do promise that I wasn’t baiting you! “None are so fallible as those who are sure they’re right” is a direct quote from Strunk and White, who, I’m reasonably sure, are baiting their readers, of either opinion, who are looking in their book for erudition on this contentious point.


  118. Katya
    July 20th, 2009 at 9:35 pm [Reply]

    #116 — the angry black woman:

    Well, I’ll have you know that it was Josh who started the whole thing. Can you believe it? I’m torn between feeling picked on and honored.

    And really, it wasn’t a fistfight at all. Nothing of the sort. Was it, Joshie?

    Hee, hee.

  119. Comrade Denny
    July 20th, 2009 at 9:38 pm [Reply]

    #116 – the angry black woman:

    As I understand it, Lawrence is on the road a lot, but that’s fine because he’s a big shot philosopher. Delilah doesn’t like it, but she ought to suck it up because of True Love or sumshit.

    Meanwhile, Delilah (as we learn in today’s strip) takes frequent trips too, but apparently for her own enjoyment, recreation, and to assuage the loneliness of being left home all the time, so she better cut that shit out before Lawrence rubs a whole clean through to his pineal gland. He’s been patient enough you see. He’s a big shot philosopher and has his needs.

    Mary Worth – Defending the Patriarchy Since 1940.

  120. Katya
    July 20th, 2009 at 9:50 pm [Reply]

    #119 — Comrade Denny:

    Hey, Comrade Denny, just want to validate your genius one more time. (Saw that you were a runner-up for COTW.)

    Whenever you need validation of the brilliant genius that you so obviously are (but sadly lacking in confidence), just drop a note and I will definitely remind you of those genius qualities.

  121. Comrade Denny
    July 20th, 2009 at 10:03 pm [Reply]

    120 – Katya:

    Hey, thanks. That warms the cockles of my heart. I don’t know what cockles are, but they sound kind of dirty.

    Also, re: Mary Worth, Delilah, & Lawrence, I posted a bad link. This is the good link.

  122. Comrade Denny
    July 20th, 2009 at 10:20 pm [Reply]

  123. Carly
    July 20th, 2009 at 10:42 pm [Reply]

    I guess the Y2K bug got to our favorite comics-writing computer.

    Meanwhile, no one in SF has ever heard of a pencil sharpener. If all else fails, couldn’t they get Busy Beaver or Britney Beaver or whatever her name is to gnaw on it?

  124. Carrie
    July 20th, 2009 at 10:48 pm [Reply]

    Shady is clearly lying about being a shrew. Unless his front door is 100 feet away from the table and the perspective is seriously messed up, he ought to be about half the size of Max Mouse and he ought to be constantly stuffing his face with food instead of writing letters. Hell, he should be EATING the letters in a frenzy of tiny shrewlike metabolic rage. And the apple core. And the coffee cup. And maybe the table.

    If a shrew stole the carrots he’d have eaten them right there on the spot, not wasted several seconds bringing them back to his house.

  125. scott
    July 20th, 2009 at 11:17 pm [Reply]

    Since the writers have taken over, I would like to offer my Memorial Limerick to Frank McCourt:
    There was an old teacher named Frank.
    Who needed some money in the bank.
    So he wrote a memoir, cause that’s where the cash is.
    And he titled it “Angelas Ashes”.
    About his family who just drank and drank.
    I still don’t quite see the Crank in the wheelchair, but I can understand the why some do.

  126. Soundman
    July 20th, 2009 at 11:35 pm [Reply]

    Yes, Brad, well done. When a woman, or in your case girl, starts to talk about “feelings” the correct thing to do is change the subject to her huge butt.

  127. Jason1981
    July 21st, 2009 at 2:34 am [Reply]

    Luann 7/21: …..Well, I kinda didn’t expect THAT. Maybe there’ll eventually be a strip where Brad’s mom will see that he’s an adult.

  128. Vince M
    July 21st, 2009 at 7:39 am [Reply]

    122: Comrade Denny – Sam Peckinpaugh’s ‘Mary Worth’? I think that’s something we’ve all wanted to see.

  129. thestuckduck
    July 21st, 2009 at 8:17 am [Reply]


    I’ve never commented before, but I feel compelled to. Josh has largely given up commenting on fborfw (understandably so) but somehow attention must be drawn to the fact that in today’s strip, Connie and Elly sit around talking about how perfect their lives are, and wondering who “writes” them. Seriously, wtf?

  130. blammers66
    July 21st, 2009 at 9:07 am [Reply]

    I’ve always suspected Mark Trail’s voice sounded suspiciously close to TV Batman Adam West, but with the two recent panels, I’m convinced. WHAM! POW! “Strange … two separate sounds for what appears to be one event … and a man leaking some strange red liquid from a round hole in his chest … something isn’t right here … TO THE BAT CAVE – uh, I mean … TO THE HOSPITAL!”

  131. mvg
    July 21st, 2009 at 9:24 am [Reply]

    teenchy (108):
    “Wow, this far into the comments and no one picked up that it’s a Toledo Mud Hens cap? Or that the stadium in panel two is Cleveland Municipal?”

    I draw your attention to 60 (Mudhens cap) & 64 (Municipal Stadium).

    If Crankshaft is 85 or older (since he served in France in ’44), his dad would have to be 103 at the very least. And it’d be really odd to introduce his existence into the strip now, since no one has ever talked about him or visited him — although if he’s anything like the spawn of his loins, no one would WANT to visit him & they all probably hoped he’d wither away & croak in solitude & silence. (If this IS Crankshaft Sr., it bodes appalling that such longevity runs in the family; we may never be rid of the horrible red-capped one — perhaps not coincidentally, a Redcap is a species of homicidal goblin in Scots & Irish folklore).

    Damn, all this jabber about “none” has made me hungry for na’an.

    To hell w/Delilah & Charley; I sense things heating up between Katya & Comrade Denny (120). Where’s Mary Worth to pitch a bucket of saltpeter on this budding e-mance?

  132. Danny Lilithborne
    July 21st, 2009 at 10:30 am [Reply]

    Quiet Josh, maybe they’ll kill Crankshaft and then we can finally be rid of him…

  133. donutzilla
    July 21st, 2009 at 10:32 am [Reply]

    Crankshaft – Brilliant move to put Crank on life support. You can’t be 85 years old forever. At first I thought the strip would evolve to flashbacks jumping all over the place. Crankshaft getting a his first bj by a hooker in the seedy part of Des Moines when he played AA ball, for instance. But now I see what’s going to happen. He DIES! His body is FROZEN! He’s thawed and reanimated in the year 3010! It then becomes “Crankshaft in the Future!” He and his cranky buddy Ted Williams learn to deal with the changes of the last century. I love it.

  134. donutzilla
    July 21st, 2009 at 10:34 am [Reply]

    I guess that would be a millennium, not a century. Even better!

  135. Stooges Woman :-)
    July 21st, 2009 at 11:30 am [Reply]

    I’ve seen some speculation that this is actually Crankshaft’s pal Eugene, the one whose wife already has Alzheimers. But those telltale eyebrows would beg to differ (assuming they can talk, which wouldn’t surprise me a bit).

  136. Ginger Yellow
    July 21st, 2009 at 12:14 pm [Reply]

    “However, there is in the end that pesky little rule that I don’t think we can and from which I don’t want to get away: always use a singular verb form with the word “none.””

    Which “rule” has never been consistently applied by educated English speakers/writers, meaning it’s no rule at all. And there’s something rather silly about maintaining a strong prescriptivist position against the prescriptivist’s bible.

  137. Katya
    July 21st, 2009 at 12:14 pm [Reply]

    #131 — mvg:

    Jabber?! Jabber?! I can’t believe you consider discussion of such critical issues mere “jabber!”

    Anyway, I hope you got some. Naan, that is.

    Also, sorry to pitch a bucket of saltpeter on you, but your idea of a “budding e-mance” between Comrade Denny and me is way off the mark.

    My husband would definitely not be down with that.

  138. Dan
    July 21st, 2009 at 12:14 pm [Reply]

    I’m voting for Katya for president. (I think Fowler is horrible.)

  139. mvg
    July 21st, 2009 at 12:30 pm [Reply]


    Well, hubby Lawrence probably wouldn’t be down w/Delilah knocking boots w/stripey-shirt Charlie either, but Del’s got her one-button halter on again today, so magic may be in the air.

  140. Katya
    July 21st, 2009 at 1:28 pm [Reply]

    #136 — Ginger Yellow:

    Perhaps “rule” was the wrong word for me to use. But, damn, by that time I was getting so tired I could barely think straight (some might say I never think straight!), and my writing probably reflected that.

    I stilll hold to my position, though, “educated English speakers/writers” notwithstanding. Perhaps when I’ve recovered a bit from Josh’s jumping down my throat, you and I can discuss the matter a bit, if you’re interested. Or not. Maybe it’s time to let this thing die a natural death, huh?

    One of my pet peeves (since Josh has his) is that I have two sons, one in elementary and one in middle school. I have volunteered quite a bit in their classrooms over the years and, if their teachers are any indication, our educational system is in trouble, big time. They make grammatical mistakes constantly when speaking to their students. How do you like these apples:

    “Is everyone in their seat?” (or: “seats” — they mix things up every which way. No consistent agreement at all.)

    “None of the pencils are sharpened.” (Maybe you disagree with me that this one’s incorrect.)

    “I wish there was…

    “If there was…”

    “Somebody forgot their lunchbox.”

    And please don’t get me started on splitting infinitives.

    I could go on and on (and, unfortunately, on) but you get the idea. Just for your amusement, though, here are a couple of extras!

    When my older son was in second grade, the class had a substitute teacher one day. She was a young student fresh from the university right down the road, working on her teaching credential. Sadly for her, it just happened to be my day to volunteer that week.

    Well, there we were, studying hard, when she decided that it was spelling time! Yippee! All the children gathered on the rug in a semicircle and she began giving them words to spell.

    It went like this: she would think of a word, say it aloud, and ask whoever thought he could spell it to raise his hand. Everything was going along swimmingly until she picked the word “cactus.”

    Perkily she said, “Now, children, I’m sure someone can spell ‘cactus’ for me!”

    One (very smart, I might add) little girl raised her hand and began, albeit hesitantly this time. She started:


    “Yes!” said the teacher, ever so encouragingly.


    “Yes, again!”


    Now you are not going to believe what this woman did (actually, you can probably see it coming a mile away).

    “Yes!” she cheered.

    I forgot to add that she was even writing the letters on the board as the children said them, and she didn’t catch the mistake.

    I no longer recall whether I let this charade continue until the end of the word or whether I interrupted right then and there, but you better believe I set things straight. These are the people who are teaching the next generation??? They’re not even educated themselves, for God’s sake.

    By the way, when I went to the office to let them know of the incident (I told them that the girl was really very nice, but not yet qualified to be in the classroom on her own), they totally blew me off. I don’t know what that says about our educational system, but it ain’t good.

    One more example and then I’ll let you escape my clutches:

    Last year, my fourth grader’s teacher consistently dropped her “g’s.” She was always “goin’ and comin’ and doin’.” It drove me nuts. Sigh…

  141. Katya
    July 21st, 2009 at 1:33 pm [Reply]

    #138 — Dan:

    Dan, darling, you are definitely my friend!

    Oh, my god, what is mvg going to have to say about this? (I confess I added the “darling” just to rile him up.)

    But very seriously, thanks for the affirmation. I needed it…

  142. mvg
    July 21st, 2009 at 1:39 pm [Reply]

    Katya –

    And by “rile” you mean…?

    You aren’t wearing a yellow halter top & fishnet pants by any chance?

    Oh lord, this must stop now before we end up in Luann territory & someone takes a dive to the sidewalk.

  143. Katya
    July 21st, 2009 at 1:53 pm [Reply]

    #142 — mvg:

    Oh, mvg, sweetheart, you know exactly what I meant.

    I may be a lot of things, but a c***tease is not one of them.

    And I would never wear a yellow halter top and fishnet pants. I prefer classy sexiness as opposed to the slutty variety.

    Okay, let’s stop now. Ha, ha!

  144. teenchy
    July 21st, 2009 at 8:55 pm [Reply]

    mvg @ 131, and references therein: Man, I’m really sorry about that. Not only do I stink at snark, I can’t even search the page properly. Good thing I usually stick to lurking. Ah well, back to Uniwatchblog where I pick up on these sports uniform minutiae.

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