Thursday, November 30, 2006

Toilet Humour II

In today’s For Better or For Worse, we are still on the subject of the Patterson toilet. I would like to say I was distressed the artist seemed to be unable to find a toilet as a model and that continues with tomorrow’s strip also, since the artist seemed to be unaware that toilets connect to the water source of the apartment and don’t just drain into the floor. It’s just another indication the artist doesn’t care. I dropped off a Michael snark, which was the easiest to do. Jeremy Jones worked off the use of snake as a slang word for penis. Constable Paul Wright floundered without much to do with this one.

Then I launched Howard into his next defence witness, Warren Blackwood. I was trying to think of situations where Liz had tried to intentionally stir up trouble and there was none better than the Constable Paul Wright and Warren Blackwood confrontation from last December. Honestly, Liz is lucky both men took the situation so passively. They both had good reason to be very angry with Liz. Paul for Liz ditching a meeting with his family to go off with another guy, and Warren for having taken the time to transport Liz only to have her shove this other guy in his face.

After that, I looked over the Warren strips to see if there was another occasion which merited the same consideration and it occurred to me the graduation did. Let me run this down for you.

In 2002, Liz breaks up with Eric.
After summer break, 2002, she’s on the bus and meets Warren. Nothing happens.
April, 2003, she’s on the bus and meets Warren again. Warren takes her on the helicopter ride.
May, 2003, Warren graduates from helicopter school and takes a job. That is only 2 months of dating.
May, 2004, Warren reappears in time for Liz’s graduation.

For the very first time at the graduation, Liz and Warren appear as though they are more than just friends. She hugs him. Her parents are dumbfounded and really they should be, because when I read all the Warren strips back-to-back, there is virtually no development of Warren as a boyfriend. When Liz was considering men to take to Anthony’s wedding in 2003, Warren’s name did not even come up. In fact, April told Anthony, Liz had broken up with him. If had been Anthony, I would never have invited her to my wedding. Inviting ex-girlfriends whom your future wife clearly hates, is in excessive bad taste. But then I thought, what if Elizabeth returned the favour and invited Anthony to her graduation, but then invited Warren to show up in his helicopter to show Anthony up. It’s not out of the question for her to do that, since (1) her behaviour toward Warren was so different than it had been before and (2) she had already taken Dennis North to Anthony’s wedding to show him up.

When I was trying to form a defence for Howard, my thought was it would be necessary to show that Elizabeth or Anthony had deliberately set up situations where an emotional and possibly violent reaction could occur. This would cast doubt as to whether or not Howard had actually tried to rape Elizabeth, or if he was an Elizabeth love interest who had fallen astray of Elizabeth or Anthony. The surprising part was how easy it was to find those situations. Elizabeth is pretty violent. There are more to come with witnesses in the future, assuming the monthly letters don’t give the verdict away tomorrow.

What I would really like is for qnjones to take her psychology background and make up a Candace Halloran as a Howard defence witness testimony analyzing Liz’s propensity for setting up violent situations and ultimately choosing a man based upon whether or not he reacts violently and wins the fight (which is where Anthony is going to be as the only one of Liz’s boyfriends to get into a battle and win it.) qnjones could write it either as Candace or as Becky observing Candace. I thought about writing it up myself, but qnjones knows the ins and outs of the profession much more than I do. If you’re over the stomach flu, qnjones, that’s my special request.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Toilet Humour Part 1

In today’s For Better or For Worse, Robin speaks for the first time. I didn’t believe it could be only the first time either, but then I went and checked back through the strips, just as Mike and Dee did in my Mike post, and it is, in fact, the very first time he talks. The next question in my mind was why is Mike so distraught over having lost a sock, so I concocted his favourite socks using my usual “Mike and Weed” indirect relationship reference.

So, I’ve read tomorrow’s strip and I am not sure where this plot is headed. I thought we would be going down the Mike’s novel route, but it looks like Robin’s need to go is going end up with Mike visiting someone else in his apartment building. We haven’t seen Weed and Carleen in awhile, so they would be good choices. You know, maybe Mike visits and finds that they are going to get married, or Carleen is pregnant, or Weed’s parents have died leaving him a fortune, or finds they both smoking pot or are drunk as skunks and Mike is embarrassed his son has to see his friends like that. There are all sorts of possibilities. But with Mike the theme is always, “the Kelpfroths are evil” or “I need to move”. So I expect we will be visiting one of those two ideas.

For the Howard Bunt trial, I decided to launch into the defence witnesses, since I have no idea and the strip has given me no idea about the other victims of assaults by Howard who would called by the Crown, except for the mysterious untestifying Howard relative I set up as cousin Kayla in prior weeks. I had to answer the question, "Who in the strip would be called by the Defence?" and first up was Ross, the only person at Lakeshore Landscaping to be mentioned by name in the last 3 years, when Nelson was mentioned. I know Nelson of 3 years ago doesn’t look anything like the guy with glasses who wanted to punch Howard out last year, but I figure he has simply suffered as most males do in Milborough, with a change in appearance over time. This gave me an opportunity to scan over all the Lakeshore Landscaping strips and yes, Elizabeth Patterson is the only woman to be featured. Some may say this indicates she is a strong and unique individual to hold her own among men. I say it means all the men are gay. Looking over the Howard attack strips also made me remember how much Anthony touches Liz just after the attack. Over a year later, and it still creeps me out.

Lynn Johnston Opens the Floodgates

Today’s For Better or For Worse ignited a storm of fury on the For Better or For Worse message boards. The FOOBiverse’s Journal in particular was inundated with more posts than I have ever seen it get. April’s Real Blog was affected insomuch as eeknight was motivated to drop in for an Anthony post. I was in the middle of writing up the “Anthony is cross-examined” post yesterday when I ran out of time and had to put it off until today. So, I was pushed into revisions by eeknight’s post and also my desire to incorporate John Patterson’s statements about Anthony from today's strip into it. Neither was expected. I was pleased with the final result, but it was a little long.

The storm of Foob-hate was such that I really had to write up Constable Paul Wright as a complete innocent in contrast and it was surprisingly not that difficult. Elly and John’s comments about Anthony don’t specifically say “Anthony should be your boyfriend and not Paul.” They hinted around it enough, so Paul could easily reinterpret it.

Howard Bunt: He gets a reprieve of sorts and doesn’t go to prison this week. Liz and Anthony hearing the verdict will almost assuredly be in the strip, because it provides yet another opportunity for them to get together. Even if the monthly letters announce the verdict, I will wait until the strip shows up and go with the monthly letter, only if I am sure it is not going to arrive in the strip. Based on tomorrow’s strip, it won’t be happening this week. It looks like we are about to march into the “Mike’s novel” plotline and introduce the idea that it is finished and headed off to the publisher. This leaves Howard the opportunity to write up what his lawyer, Mr. Benis, presents as his defence in the interim. Lynn Johnston is too chicken to write it up, but I am not.

Jeremy / Zeremy Jones: After the Gym Jam, and Jeremy did not physically appear, I think he is done as far as For Better or For Worse goes. Actually, I am not sure what else Lynn can do with the “April in School” storyline, because the “Becky is Evil” story has dominated all the school activities for the last (yes, it’s true) 3 years. Of course, Becky hasn’t been punished for taking work from other students, so there could be more “Becky is Evil” to come. But after the beatdown Becky took at the Gym Jam, it would be just flogging a dead horse. Jeremy’s purpose from here on out, is just to take his usual acerbic look at the plotline and help drive susannamoodie and the_berserker’s plots with Zandra Larson and Duncan Anderson, which I enjoy quite a bit.

Constable Paul Wright: I have in mind his denouement. I think he will bow out in the next month, which is too bad, because the non-ARB posters who have commented on ARB seem to like his character and style. I hope Lynn doesn’t make him into too much of a villain, that he can’t continue, but you know how she is about those things. I expect him to grow fangs and horns in the next month.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Love Will Keep Us Together (and by that, I mean in close proximity)

In today’s For Better or For Worse, Liz and Anthony are practically falling into each other’s arms while John and Elly watch approvingly. Of course in tomorrow’s strip they step from silent admiration of Anthony to the most overt demonstration of support for Anthony I have ever seen them give in the strip. That’s quite a step for the normally passive Pattersons.

We have seen a pretty consistent theme of relationships destroyed by distance in this strip and established by convenience of location. Michael Patterson married Deanna who went to the university he did, and broke up with Rhetta who went to a different one. Anthony Caine, upon discovering that Elizabeth had moved in with Eric Chamberlain, not only took up with Thérèse, a girl who worked for his father, but proposed to her, in middle of his second year in university in 2001 and married her 2 years later before he graduated. School is tough enough to add that kind of complication in. Aside from Eric Chamberlain, each and every one of Elizabeth’s relationships is going to be ended by her moving some place else. We also saw Uncle Phil’s relationship with his dad damaged when he moved away. It just goes to show that when you are a Patterson, the only people who matter to you are the ones who live close to you.

With Constable Paul Wright, his great deficiency is not getting his job transfer. And at the same time, Michael Patterson continues to work at Portrait Magazine, even though his wife wants him to quit. Obviously, the issue is not work. The issue is distance, and the implication is that Constable Paul Wright is not trying hard enough to transfer and he never planned to. Elly and John’s slam of Paul in tomorrow’s strip automatically shunts him into Warren Blackwood territory. What is not so clear is how Lynn can draw Elizabeth and Anthony, obviously flirting with each other, and expect her readers to have any sympathy for her. If Paul had been there in Milborough, would Elizabeth have done that full body hug with Anthony, or touched his chest, or said the things she said about him always being there? The answer is no, and yet it is OK, when he is not there.

A real-life Elly and John would say to Elizabeth in tomorrow’s strip, “Liz. You have a boyfriend, and you know Anthony still carries a torch for you, since his marriage ended because of his fixation with you. Flirting with him like that, is just being plain mean and cruel both to Anthony and to your boyfriend Paul. We know that Eric Chamberlain was unfaithful to you, but that is not a good reason to run around ruining people’s lives.”

Well, in other news, eeknight on the FOOBiverse's Journal bowed out of doing Anthony posts for right now due being busy with his actual business of being a professional writer. This is a shame because he is a lot funnier than I am, and nobody snarks Anthony like eeknight. So, I took it upon myself to write the Anthony testimony. It won’t be as a good as eeknight’s but there is really no other character to write it up than Howard. In tomorrow’s strip, Elizabeth says she plans to come back for the verdict, so this means the strip can wander off and do something with Michael for a week, and then come back for the verdict and more lovey-dovey with Anthony and Liz. If we follow the Mike – Deanna – Rhetta pattern, I predict:
1. A week of Mike and Deanna discussing Mike’s upcoming bestseller and its title. It will be something gloriously awful.
2. Liz and Anthony back at the courthouse for the verdict, which will be “Guilty” and some ludicrous number of years sentence, given by the sunglasses-wearing, sashless judge.
3. Liz will finally admit to herself she is in love with Anthony, and feel some remorse that she wants to break up with Paul.
4. Liz has to be relieved of her guilt in ditching Paul somehow. The only question is whether she is going to travel to visit him and find him with Susan, or whether she is going to call him up and find him with Susan. Based on the Mike/Deanna/Rhetta pattern and the theory that Lynn Johnston has no original ideas left, my money is on phone call.
5. Proposal on New Years Eve

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Who Let the Dogs On?

For today’s For Better or For Worse, I researched training dogs, specifically training them to get off couches. There was quite a bit of internet literature on this subject and oddly enough, a number of them said the use of reward systems or means of making the couch unattractive, but pointed out ideally the dog owner wants to be able to use a nonverbal system to communicate to the dogs that being on the couch is wrong. Ironically, a nonverbal method, unless you count exclamation points, is what John Patterson used. Why he felt the need to get up and down from the couch so often or why the sleeping dogs would immediately leap to the couch before he even left the room is a mystery, set in place for comic effect no doubt. It was also ironic that the person in the house, who has demonstrated the least competence with animals, is the one trying to give John instruction.

The other issue that came to mind was the use of the term “couch” instead of “chesterfield.” This was clearly done to assuage the United States / English audience. As near as I can tell from researching Canadian language use for chesterfield, the term is uniquely Canadian, and appears to be in wide use. Some internet web sites indicated that some Canadians do use the term sofa or couch, but point out that chesterfield is used more often. Given the statement being made by Elizabeth, “There are more effective ways to keep the dogs off the couch.” which is made after 7 panels of showing John shooing the dogs off the chesterfield, I think the average reader would have picked up that chesterfield meant couch. I am not sure why Lynn Johnston feels the need to use United States English so much. Andy Capp uses British terms instead of ones from the United States, and I don’t have any problem making the word use connection. I wish Lynn would take as much time to show pride in being Canadian as she did in researching last year’s pow-wow strips.

Lynn Johnston was apparently on CBC radio in Northern Ontario and she mentioned that she plans to have the characters stop aging in Sept. of 2007. The comic will keep running after that, but it will be a mix of old material and new, comparing the Patterson kids when they were young with Michael’s kids. This sounds like framing sequences, like Greg Evans does occasionally, when he draws new Luann talking about an old strip sequence, and then shows the sequence, whenever he wants to take a vacation. It makes sense in a certain way. The Making of a Comic Strip shows Lynn Johnston is the key plotter of the series and the no-headed woman on this page of the Making of the Comic Strip sequence is probably the ghost penciller, since there were no pictures of Lynn Johnston actually drawing, and it is plain to anyone viewing older For Better or For Worse strips that the penciller is not the same as she used to be. No-head can continue by drawing in the framing sequence, but with no original plots being generated, Lynn can retire knowing her characters are not being tampered with. This also allows the For Better or For Worse to stay on the comics page which will make the syndicate happy and continue to generate the revenues which keep the rest of the staff employed. Everyone is happy, except for the cartoonists who have original material which could have taken the For Better or For Worse spot.

Tomorrow’s strip: We don’t get to see Anthony in the courtroom. Well, Lynn Johnston, @#$%^&*!!!! It looks like the Pattersons are going home. If we can’t see Anthony testify, there is no way Lynn Johnston is going to show anyone else testifying. Our only hope is that on the way home, John Patterson will spill the beans on the Anthony testimony, but I doubt that will happen. susannamoodie, I think you hit the nail on the head in your comment yesterday. We are going to find out the verdict for this trial in a monthly letter. Lynn has played up the “I can’t wait to get done with this” angle so strongly on the part of Liz, I can’t imagine her going back to see the judge give Howard his judgment or the sentencing. In the meantime, I could write up my version of the Anthony testimony from the Howard perspective in imitation of eeknight 's (April's Real Blog poster for Anthony) style, but I would much rather eeknight do it. So, I am going to wait a bit, in deference to the venerable eeknight.

In case, my well-informed anonymous Canadian legal expert is reading, was what John Patterson said about the witnesses not being allowed to discuss the case with each other after they testify, correct?

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Trial I Didn’t Get To See

This week in For Better or For Worse, I faced the prospect of having a the plotline I have been waiting to unfold for more than year turn into a “Tell and Don’t Show” plotline, where Elly and Elizabeth wax philosophically about the Canadian Justice System and rapists, while the real action is taking place in the courtroom with Anthony’s testimony. eeknight posts as Anthony, and I really would like him to rip Anthony a new one in the way that only eeknight can. However, I couldn’t just sit for days without having Howard make some comment about the Anthony testimony, since that is where he is supposed to be. My anonymous legal poster to the Howard Bunt Blog pointed me to a lovely website, where among other things it included the procedure for swearing someone in. So I opted to take that particular statement and treat it in the eeknight / Rex Kwan Do / Anthony style. The quotes are taken pretty much verbatim from the Rex Kwan Do dialogue, so I hope eeknight approves of this handling of his character. This leaves the whole actual testimony in the hands of eeknight, should he choose to write it.

As for Thanksgiving, I had my sister and her family (husband, 2 kids), mom, dad, step-mom, step-dad, step-brother, and my wife’s mother over for Thanksgiving. It was our first time to host it and my wife informed me that one of my main jobs was to stay out of the kitchen. So, I ran about, taking people places, and cleaning up dishes. The dishwasher decided to go belly-up during the course of the festivities, so there was a lot more dishwashing than I had hoped. All things went fairly well. It did mean a minimal response to April’s Real Blog, only during the course of the late evenings, but I suppose it was better than last year, when I wasn’t there at all.

Next week should be the conclusion of the Howard Bunt trial. Hopefully, we will get to see why it is that Anthony is taking so long in the courtroom, and the ultimate verdict. Judging from this week, we may only see Elly and Elizabeth talking about it. Lynn Johnston apparently has realized she knows next to nothing about the Canadian Justice System, and is taking the safer way out by just not showing it at all. Considering Elly has likened Howard to a rat trying to escape from a trap, I have a feeling Howard is going to get some serious prison time.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


It's Thanksgiving in the States, and my house is filled with relatives. I am afraid this means my snark on For Better or For Worse will be limited for the next few days. So sorry.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Howard’s Back!!

Today in For Better or For Worse was another lonely day. Just me and aprilp_katje again. The strip was a reference back to the lines from Elly’s November, 2006 monthly letter:

I end up getting involved in all sorts of things, like the community theatre fundraisers, book sales and things of that sort. I must say I'm very fond of our amateur theatre. The "Dreamweavers" are mostly of high school age, but they have tackled some very sophisticated stuff. Their last performance was "Cats" and I think every child in town had a part to play - somewhere!
April's keyboard player was in the orchestra and so was Annie's niece Karen, who plays the violin. I love being involved with the theatre any way I can!

The element missing was the gym workout, and I snarked mercilessly on that item via Mike Patterson. Using Constable Paul Wright, I snarked the Sunday colour strips out-of-synchedness with the other strips. The Jeremy Jones snarked on the lack of information given during the monthly letters about the actual Junior Theatre productions.

Pretty boring stuff. But tomorrow, Howard Bunt returns and Elizabeth testifies, or at least she THINKS she does. It gave me an opportunity to do something I have never done before, i.e. produce a prepared Blog entry via Howard Bunt.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Shiimsa Again!!

Ever since I adopted the character of Howard Bunt, I have long awaited his reappearance. But this week, as we entered the trial and instead had a week of unrelenting Shiimsa the cat strips, I am beginning to wonder if Lynn's heart is in it. The way she is going, I wouldn't be surprised if we suddenly got an out-of-court plea bargain, and Elizabeth says, "Thank goodness, I didn't have to testify. Howard decided to go to prison on his own. Anthony, you can propose any time now." Shoot, she won't even take the time to show us Liz interacting with Anthony and Francoise, which should be rife with story-telling possibilities. We got that second-hand. I think we will not only get robbed of the Howard Bunt trial story, but there is a very good chance, we will also be robbed of the "Elizabeth and Anthony rediscover each other" story.

This morning I dashed off my usual 4 for April's Real Blog and then the kids and I went down to support Tucson's big annual bicycle race "El Tour de Tucson." Then we went to an Eagle Court of Honor for the Boy Scouts. Then I took the boy around to deliver Boy Scout popcorn to the neighbours. And that was pretty much the day. I was looking forward to seeing all the action on April's Real Blog that had occurred while I was gone, and I must admit, I was a little disappointed it was a single post from aprilp_katje doing April. I guess we must be going through another dry spell.

Tomorrow's strip: We finally see Elly doing the big list of things she said she was doing when she retired back in April, and we will probably never see them again. Enjoy it while you can.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Suddenly Shiimsa

In the midst of the heavy trial sequence, which is mainly heavy because we have to endure another of the endless series of “Liz and Anthony almost talk to each other” strips, comes Shiimsa, the comedy-relief cat. Unlike the mystical Edgar, who always seems to pop up at just the right time to comfort April, Shiimsa’s mystical ability seems to be to prevent Liz from typing e-mails to her boyfriend, Constable Paul Wright. Perhaps Shiimsa realized that Liz is being cruel to encourage Paul, since she is headed so clearly to Anthony Caine, and is trying to persuade Liz to be kind by breaking things off with Paul. What a good kitty.

Her owner does not appreciate this ability it seems, because ever since Vivian Crane taught Elizabeth how to get Shiimsa in a cat carrier, whenever Shiimsa shows off her power, she gets stuck in the cat carrier as a reward. The message boards for For Better or For Worse were universal in their condemnation of using the cat carrier as a means to restrict the cat. And once again, Lynn Johnston has demonstrated she does not know the slightest thing about cats or taking care of them, and has upset her cat-owning fans, who find it more and more difficult to like the character of Elizabeth Patterson. I suppose from Lynn Johnston’s perspective, in this week’s strip sequence, in which Liz shows how she keeps control of her cat and prevents it from violating the sacrosanct kitchen counters, and how April miserably fails at the same task, Lynn Johnston perhaps intends to draw the distinction between the mature cat-handler in Liz and the immature one in April. Lynn has failed to grasp what most cat owners know, which is cat’s hate those carriers with a passion.

I remember years ago, living in a house in Carrollton, Texas, one day in which my neighbours informed me that they saw skunks in my yard. I was mowing my lawn at the time, and sure enough, I found a lovely hole in the ground which went under my house. I went to the Carrollton animal control people and they loaned me (with a deposit) a cat cage, which is about the same size as a cat carrier, and instructed me to put sardines in the cage, and then check it every day for skunk. I did trap 3 perfectly cute little baby skunks, one at a time, and they were relocated to the same place, where skunks can be happy and free and not dig holes under my house. They were a joy to look at in the skunk cage. They were digging their little claws through the holes in the bottom of the cage trying to dig a way down and out, but not quite comprehending that the metal in the bottom of the cage was getting in their way. They were quite demure and cute.

On the other hand, the neighbour’s cat was also fond of sardines, and on 2 of the days I went skunk trapping I caught the cat instead. The cat was quite a contrast with the skunks. Raging, snarking, yowling, half-crazed, banging its body vigourously against the walls of the cage without ceasing, in an attempt to try to break the cage with sheer feline force. I let the cat out, and it streaked out of my yard like a shot. The first time I caught the kitty, I was sure it would be smart enough not to fall for the same trick a second time, but I was wrong. I remember very clearly how angry that cat was at being caged, and whenever I see Elizabeth putting Shiimsa into the cat carrier because he is trying to be playful and get her attention it brings back that memory. There is no getting around it. Elizabeth is a real bitch to her cat.

As for animal intelligence, I know people like to poo-poo the intelligence of skunks, but after I caught the 3 baby skunks I asked the animal control man if I should continue and try to catch the momma skunk. He said, “Momma Skunk’s too smart to get caught in a cat trap, but she will leave since her babies have gone.” Sure enough he was right. I had the cat trap out for a few more days, and the mother skunk did not fall for the sardines, plus there was no more lingering skunk smell around the house.

Tomorrow’s Strip: John Patterson enters the fray with Shiimsa using oven mitts, which isn’t a bad idea, except it does not give you much of an ability to grasp something. I was always fond of winter gloves when I had to deal with a cat who was in a really bad mood. No one in the Patterson household seems smart enough to call Liz in on the action (perhaps in fear of being put into a cat carrier for daring to interrupt her “work”), and Elly’s usually method of dealing with the dogs (i.e. screaming at them full tilt) does not seem to be able to convince Shiimsa to jump down. I wonder why. At the heart of this situation is the question: Why is Elly screaming at Shiimsa? She can’t expect anyone to believe she uses the top of the cabinet as a cooking surface, can she? I suppose it is a comfort to know that every single member of the Patterson is an incompetent boob when it comes to cats. Liz’s stupidity is clearly genetic.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Lynn Johnston---Not a Pet Owner

The joke is "hisss and hers". In order to do that with a cat, you have to have the other animal (not Hisss) be a girl. Hence Dixie is the choice, since I doubt the rabbit would be a food threat for Shiimsa the cat. Then you have to back it up to create a reason for the Hiss and to get the male dog out of the way. Once you have it all put together, you create a reason for the girl dog to be eating with the cat by herself, mix Liz into it, and you have comic strip which seemed to be universally derided on every single message board I saw as an unrealistic portrayal of animal behaviour. I don't think Lynn gets it, that in strips which try to make a joke based on slice-of-life situations, the slice of life has to be accurate for the thing to work. Back in the old days, when she was taking instances from her own life and putting them in the strip, they worked because they were real. This whole strip today with the feeding order, is clearly based on setting up the pun, and not based on any real life event, except that some cats will hiss at you if you get near their food.

Yesterday, an article dealing with the end of For Better or For Worse by fall, 2007 showed up, and it was imminently snarkable, moreso than today's strip. Jeremy Jones launched off by snarking the people who mourn young April, which I would count as being only Lynn Johnston, but who knows. Mike Patterson snarked the strip by saying it was one more step for Elizabeth to becoming a wife, with her criticism of John's feeding of animals, then launched into snark of Deanna's November monthly letter. Constable Paul Wright snarked one of the most basic ideas that would keep him apart from Liz, that being the way the children would be raised. I could never see Liz raising her children as Ojibway. Finally, Howard used Fiona Brass to snark more of the end times for the strip article.

Tomorrow's strip: Liz is shown writing an e-mail to Paul, so I guess the whole Skype thing in the monthly letter was baloney. Lynn Johnston has shown the communication with Paul to be all one way, and has not shown Liz receiving anything from Paul in the strip. The implication is that Paul has not been responding, but there is really no proof of that either. Except, when Liz and April used to e-mail back and forth to each other, Lynn showed both sides. The impression left is that Paul has forgotten Liz. I really hope we don't end up with another Warren-style breakup of "seeing is believing" but that is the way it is heading. I really want Liz to catch Paul in the act of being with Susan Dokis. That would be so much more fun than him simply ignoring Liz.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Liz Lies to Herself

In today’s For Better or For Worse, Lynn Johnston has switched the focus from Liz and Anthony (and Francie too) to Liz and her parents, starting first with Elly. Liz is completely dimwitted when it comes to the Howard Bunt trial, which when you think about it is quite strange. Howard was willing to follow her to her house, the same house where she is living now when he attacked her, they are playing him as a serial rapist, and yet Liz seems to be more concerned that the trial is taking a long time than Howard gets put away. If were Liz, I would be a little bit more worried about the Crown doing whatever it needed to make sure Howard got put away. You don’t want rapist Howard freed and seeking revenge on the woman who pressed charges, after all. Yet Elly and Liz seem to be completely unconcerned about such things. When I think about it, Howard was defeated by Anthony’s ear-tweaking, so there probably isn’t anything to worry about.

I could relate quite a bit to the Elly / Liz dynamic in this strip. When I lived in Texas and we were close proximity to my wife’s parents, she received lectures on a regular basis. After we moved to Arizona, the parents were, in general, sweetness and light when we went back to Texas to visit. But one time we stayed too long, and we literally saw them reverting back to the lecturing parents. It was a good measure of how much time we could spend in Texas on a visit. Liz has been home long enough for the bloom to go off the rose. Elly is back to her nasty judgmental, not-really-listening self.

The easiest-to-snark line was the “Get It Done kind of person” stated by Liz about herself. I chose Susan Dokis to snark it primarily and limited it only to stories she could have heard about Liz from people in Mtigwaki. The list was long, even with those limits. The fact that Liz believes this about herself is very amusing.

Tomorrow’s strip: How to feed animals the Liz and Elly way. First you remove your brain, and then you feed it to the animals.

Monday, November 13, 2006

This Thing is Taking So Darned Long

In tomorrow’s strip, Liz complains about her trial taking so long, which is a pretty clever snipe at Lynn Johnston’s For Better or For Worse fans who are probably getting tired of the interminable Liz and Anthony romance. My problem with the Liz and Anthony romance is not so much that it is taking so long, but that Lynn Johnston is steadfastly refusing to show us the interesting parts. I used to watch a television show called The Bachelor and its companion show The Bachelorette, which was a reality TV show where 25 girls would fight over one guy, until eventually picked one. The problem was that in order for the final choice to be a surprise, the show’s producers intentionally did not show the relationship developing between the Bachelor and his final choice. This gave the viewer the biggest surprise, but on the other hand, it robbed the viewer who wanted to see the romance developing, the opportunity to see the romance developing.

In For Better or For Worse, Lynn Johnston has chosen to show Liz and Anthony together only by themselves. The minute anyone else enters the scene the story is suddenly chopped, and greatly to the story’s detriment. I have frankly had my fill of Anthony and Liz sighing to each other about what could have / should have been. It’s been going on since 2001. 6 straight years of sighs. Showing Liz dealing with little Francie at lunchtime would have given this story a kick in the pants. Show Liz and Anthony at the courtroom with Elly would give this story a kick in the pants. Instead we have Liz looking at Anthony lifting up his daughter and her admiringly thinking how much Anthony has changed. This was so stupid, it was easy to snark on April’s Real Blog.

First I had Michael point out that the last time Deanna kissed him in the strip, was when he picked up Merrie and swung her around. As far as what we have seen in the strip, this is true.

Then I had Constable Paul Wright talk about the criteria, based on the strip, for Elizabeth to admire Anthony.

Howard was stuck at a trial, to which we return, God knows when. So, I decided to have Kortney Krelbutz pop up and snark her most recent appearance in Elly’s monthly letter and make fun of the word “acknowledge.” I am starting to wonder if we will ever see Howard again, or if the report of the end of trial will be all we will get.

I couldn’t do anything with the dialogue of today’s strip to fit into the in-school suspension, where Jeremy is, so I decided to start him on the road to Goth

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Hot Button Topics

Today on For Better or For Worse, Lynn Johnston dropped a subtle hint that she would like the war to be over, via the young and innocent April Patterson. It was an obvious jab at the War in Afghanistan, since Canada is uninvolved in the Iraq War. I decided to snark it over on the FOOBiverse’s Journal by pointing out (a) the Canadian Forces were in 50 different countries overseas and (b) there was not an active declaration of war in any of those countries in either Australia or Afghanistan. I even mentioned that I believed the “war” in Afghanistan was over in 2002, which is when the new Afghani government started.

So, today, I did 2 services at church, took my girl to the Girl Scouts where they go to do the “Build a Bear Workshop” and I took my boy to deliver Boy Scout popcorn, and when I got back to look at the FOOBiverse’s Journal, the response was quite startling. I can’t think of a time when I something I wrote was so misinterpreted. There were posts suggesting I didn’t know Canadians were in Afghanistan, that suggested I thought the Canadian military was unimportant compared to the United States, and that suggested I had been led astray by the American media who focuses only on the U.S. troops. I had to read my original post a few times, to make sure that I included Afghanistan in it. The conclusion I came to, was when it comes to a “hot button” topic, a topic that gets people stirred up, they don’t read very carefully, and react to what they think they read in maybe the first 5 or 6 words.

I find it very interesting that Canadians are agitated by the War in Afghanistan. For years, I faithfully followed a comic book published by a Canadian named Dave Sim called Cerebus the Aardvark. In its glory years, there was not a better book coupling political, social, and religious satire and sword-and-sorcery stories. Alas, in its later years, the author decided that women were the downfall of society and that the Canadian government was being destroyed by forces in Quebec. He started writing long text pieces for his comic book describing the destruction of the Canadian military and what he viewed was its shameful dependence on the United States for military protection. I kept picking up the book hoping it would one day return to its former glory, and unfortunately it never did. But it was interesting to read the radical perspective of Dave Sim, who makes a good argument and is very well-written, even if he was a little nutty. One of his main perspectives was that Canadians had grown accustomed to taking a passive role in its military, and preferred to be associated with U.N. Peacekeepers. So, when all the FOOBiverse Journal posters took a decidedly pro-military viewpoint with respect to Canadians in Afghanistan, I thought, “Well, Dave Sim. I guess you were wrong about your fellow countrymen.”

Tomorrow’s strip:
Anthony plays his ace – little Francie. I expect some serious bonding and maybe a cute kid moment where Francie says, “She’s nice. Nicer than my evil French mommy. You should marry her, daddy.” The Liz says, “Kids say the darndest things.” Then Anthony gives Liz a meaningful look. Actually Lynn needs to move this story along. She’s got to get the Liz feelings for Anthony out in the open, in time for her betrayal by Paul during December.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

In the Old Days

In today’s For Better or For Worse, Liz questions the legal system mainly on the basis of its slowness and how it relates to her, i.e. she has gone to the courthouse apparently 2 days in a row and not gotten to testify. She reminisces about the good old days, when everyone sat in the courtroom, and the trial was done in a matter of seconds---with little to no waiting. This, of course, was not how things were in the old days. But the legal system has changed a lot, and it is very different in United State and Canada, than it used to be.

I am a big fan of the musical composer Stephen Sondheim and particular his musical Sweeney Todd. It has long been my dream to one day play the title character in that show. But I digress. One of Stephen Sondheim’s more recent musicals was a short one-act musical called Assassins, which is not one of my favourites, even though the subject matter is pretty interesting. Basically it is a musical about all the assassins of the President of the United States, whether they were successful or not. If you tried to kill the President of the United States, then you would think that this would be a case which would come to trial quickly with a fairly decisive verdict. And up until the 1970s, it was. All the Presidential assassins were dead within a year of their assassination attempt prior to this point. After that, they are all still alive. John Hinkley, Jr., Sarah Jane Moore, Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme are all still alive and kicking. The fact that they are, is a testimony to the altered state of the United States legal system.

Apparently there are similar problems in Canada. It doesn’t take many internet searches on the Canadian legal system to find people trying to make changes to improve a backed-up court system. The problem Lynn Johnston has in this lesson, is that these thoughts are coming from Elizabeth Patterson, who can barely type on the computer with a cat in the room, much less understand the legal system. It seems like an odd choice.

The problem is that Lynn Johnston is trying to cook too many plots at the same time. A better choice for making that pronouncement would have been John or Elly Patterson, if they had chosen to accompany Liz to the courtroom. But if John or Elly are there, then you can’t have the "Liz spending time alone with Anthony" plotline. Well, actually, it would have a very different dynamic with John or Elly there, and frankly, it would have been a much better story. There are only so many times you can do the bit with Elizabeth or someone making some statement which can also be taken as a statement about the relationship between Liz and Anthony like today’s “All this waiting isn’t fair to us!” which also means it isn’t fair that Liz and Anthony have to wait to be together. If Elly or John had been there, then they could place a proper emphasis on the part of the Liz / Anthony relationship which Lynn Johnston infuriatingly seems to be ignoring. Elly could praise Anthony for rescuing Liz. John could bring up uncomfortable questions about Anthony’s relationship with Thérèse because of Francoise. Instead we get this nonsense about how things were better in the old days, from a person who wasn’t even alive in the old days.

Tomorrow’s strip: Remembrance Day celebration. Usual questions from me. Where are Elizabeth and John? Followed by a very different question. What war is April talking about? Canada is not in the Iraq War, so April could be talking about Canada’s involvement in Afghanistan, but that war was over in 2002. Maybe April means the generically stated, “War on Terrorism”. I am sad to report April, that is a particular war which is going to go on for awhile.

The Law of Lynn Part II

For today’s For Better or For Worse, I attempted to snark, what I thought were the deficiencies in the legal drama, i.e. Liz is in the hall, Liz knows what’s going on the courtroom, and Howard’s not testifying relative, Kayla (a character created by greytail088) . I got contradicted on all 3 items over in the FOOBiverse’s Journal by qnjones and rebelcat, and I made some errors in my portrayal of the Canadian court system, which I will correct in the future, but I am not going back.

Lynn Johnston seems to have 3 objectives in this courtroom drama:
1. Put Howard Bunt away, to make up for her extremely shoddy writing of Liz’s assault a year ago. To this end, she brings up the idea that Howard has not only assaulted one of his relatives, but that the relative is afraid to testify, for fear of reprisals or family disunity or something of the like.
2. Bring Liz and Anthony together. To this end, she has Anthony ask Liz about her grandfather, which is probably the reason why the Monday – Wednesday strips were necessary. Then tomorrow, she shows Anthony listening to Liz blather on about nonsense, showing that he can tolerate her inanity.
3. Cut down the Canadian Justice system. To this end, we show Liz and Anthony having to wait to testify and we are told that this is at least their second day of waiting.

3 plots at once are pretty challenging, and it looks like Lynn is only going to really concentrate on the Liz and Anthony plot. I hope the strip actually shows Liz and Anthony testifying. That could be funny, just by itself.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Law of Lynn

As Elizabeth’s November monthly letter has predicted, Elizabeth and Anthony are in at least a second day of waiting to testify and they are sitting together in the hall. My understanding of the legal procedure from my anonymous legal expert is:

1. The witness is told to show up a couple of hours before the trial is scheduled to begin. A policeperson meets with the witness and has the witness refresh their memory by reviewing the statement (which usually means playing the tape made of their testimony for the witness).
2. The witness sits around all day wondering what is going on because the witness is excluded from the courtroom until the witness has been called to give evidence.
Liz, as a victim of a sexual assault, would not be waiting in the hallway at all, but in a room elsewhere in the building.
3. The witnesses wouldn't be hanging around for days and days waiting to be called: they would be on standby, which means that they would have to leave contact information and be able to turn up on relatively short notice.
4. I'm unclear whether Liz has actually been in the Courtroom yet to get the information about the witness who is Howard’s relative, but if she has, she ought not to have done so until she's completed her testimony.
5. If Howard’s relative is refusing to testify when ordered to do so, then he or she is eligible to be charged with civil contempt at common law. I am uncertain how this would cause the trial to last longer.

This is the Canadian law of Lynn Johnston, where she uses the non-Canadian terms of “depositions” and refers to Howard’s lawyer as an “attorney.”

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Bad Art

Today in For Better or For Worse, we had the bad artist. I was almost going to write in up in my usual FOOBiverse’s Journal post, because the face of every character changed in every single panel. It would have been like a Iris looks like Moira Kinney, or Scrooge McDuck, or Henry (the comic strip character); or Liz looks like her forehead has sunk in, or her hairline has receded, or she’s doing Angelina Jolie adopting an African baby that looks like Grandpa Jim. But I have written about the poor art of the bad artist so many times, I am quite tired of it.

I looks like Lynn Johnston is finally starting to combine her Liz stories with the rest of her family’s stories, with this long-awaited “When is Liz going to see Grandpa Jim?” story. Liz’s prior mention of visiting her grandpa in the hospital had her say Grandpa Jim mistook her for a young Elly, when if you consider Grandpa Jim’s current speaking skills, is a fairly preposterous pronouncement.

I had Constable Paul Wright take credit for the visit. I checked to see if Michael Patterson had visited and he has not. In the monthly letters, he said that he and his dad prepared many things around their apartment for them, and the strip mentioned the bathroom only, which is one of those annoying moments where you really wish Stephanie would look at the upcoming strips and compare them to the letters. However, visiting Grandpa Jim’s apartment which does not have Grandpa Jim in it, is not the same as visiting Grandpa Jim. So, Michael is the one Patterson remaining who has not visited him. I snarked Michael on that particular.

Today’s strip had Liz going to the Howard Bunt trial, presumably, although she just says “courthouse.” I am preparing Howard for the situation, but the first complication is I don’t know if he is getting a jury trial or a judge only. Given the police surveillance and sudden multitude of witnesses, I would guess judge and jury, but there is no telling what episode of Law and Order Lynn watched before writing the strip, so who knows?

Jeremy Jones is still suffering from his in-school suspension. While researching this, I discovered that there are very few schools in the Toronto area that do in-school suspension, usually for lack of money to hire an in-school suspension staff. Most schools apparently actually suspend the student, so they are walking the streets free as a punishment. I have never understood that concept. However, I consider the Milborough school system to be exceptionally progressive and will have in-school suspension. There was a big to-do in the Toronto newspapers towards the end of 2005, having to do with in-school suspensions being more than locking the kids up in a room all day long. From the material I read, there was a hue and cry for those kids not getting a fair education (and also that suspensions were racially motivated). So, they ruled that the material covered had to be comparable to what they would have gotten were they not being punished for not attending class. For Jeremy Jones, since he should be no longer associated with Becky after the Gym Jam (Grr. Grrr.), he will start going in a different direction in April’s Real Blog.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Farewell to Phil

In today’s For Better or For Worse, Phil says goodbye to his dad, gives him a hug, and then we get to see that Grandpa Jim can still cry. He didn’t get get crying aphasia. It is what I call, “Going for the payoff, without the buildup to make it work.” We saw Phil upset while talking to Elly because Grandpa Jim didn’t recognize him. We saw Phil getting ready to feed Grandpa Jim pudding in the hospital while Iris went to talk to the doctor. We saw Phil with Elly, Iris and Grandpa Jim just after coming back from the hospital. Our first scene with Phil and Grandpa Jim by themselves and it’s the strip where Phil leaves. We don’t know why Grandpa Jim is crying. Did Phil hurt him when he hugged him? Did Grandpa Jim suddenly realize who Phil was? Is Grandpa Jim crying because he almost never sees Phil? We don’t get the answers to those questions, and moreover, we don’t care because we have not seen any Uncle Phil / Grandpa Jim interactions until today.

I decided to make the theme today about how the Pattersons don’t visit people, little suspecting that in tomorrow’s strip, Elizabeth would make her first ever appearance at Grandpa Jim’s apartment. It looks like we are headed off to the Howard Bunt trial at long last. I hope Howard will make an appearance. (I was extremely disappointed Jeremy Jones did not make an appearance in the Gym Jam storyline.) In real life, I think Howard would wear a suit and a tie, and try to look as respectable as he possibly could. I can’t wait to see how awful Lynn Johnston is going to paint him. You thought Becky was made to look bad. It won’t be anything next to Howard. He will probably have fangs or be wearing a devil suit or frothing at the mouth. It will be great in its awfulness. I am looking forward to it.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Simple Act of Nature

In today’s For Better or For Worse we have Elly screaming at dogs who take too long to do their business, and John thinks she is yelling at him. This tells you so much about the Elly and John relationship. In days past, John used to try to intentionally irritate Elly and she responded with growls, and yells, and objects thrown at his head. Decades of this kind of treatment have apparently taken their toll, and while we see much evidence of it in John’s monthly letters, where he seems to be almost completely withdrawn from his family, the strongest evidence was in today’s strip, where John feels the need to apologize. After all, there is more than one washroom in the house.

I actually enjoyed seeing the dogs sniff around. The rain in Arizona creates a smell unlike any other place that I have lived. During a visit to the Arizona Desert Botanical Gardens about a month ago, they had a lovely display indicating that the smell came from wet Creosote plants, with water you could pour over Creosote leaves and smell. This made such an impression on me, that when I saw today’s strip, I was struck by how realistic this actually would be for a dog. The rain on the downed leaves would create an odor, and a strong odor for a dog’s nose. So, I posted for Howard (a man who had a month living as a dog back about a year ago), from that doggy perspective.

The other perspectives simply had to do with a longstanding running joke, that Elly’s screaming can be heard at long distances. For Constable Paul Wright, it gives him serious (and realistic) fears about how married life with Elizabeth would be. Let’s face it, judging from the way Liz goes after Shiimsa, you know she is going to make the life of any man she marries a living hell, just as her mother did to her father. Anthony Caine is going to miss the simple days of living with Thérèse, after he settles in with Elizabeth.

For Jeremy Jones, he is entering a “dump on Jeremy” phase, thanks to the Gym Jam lead-in. In the strip or monthly letters, they may eventually indicate that Becky and Jeremy are still associated, but since they played it that Jeremy did not show up to do audio, what should have been clear to us hapless readers was that picking Jeremy to do her audio, was supposed to have been a giant red flag waving to us readers that Becky was making poor friend choices. I think there is some Jeremy hate still flowing in Corbeil, but I must admit I completely missed it. Nevertheless, I don’t see how Becky would continue her association with Jeremy, given the situation portrayed in the strip, so I think it is fairly safe to say Jeremy would be fired from doing audio for Becky.

As for Michael Patterson, I enjoyed doing the “Wink wink nudge nudge say no more” Monty Python sketch with aprilp_katje posting as April today. I wonder if I can work in the Spam sketch.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The End of Becky?

In today’s For Better or For Worse, we had the conclusion of the Becky and her music career sequence that began during the Grade 8 grad in July, 2005. Lynn Johnston seems to be in the mode not only to think of her work like a graphic novel, but considering the collections only span about 9 months, her work spans over a series of graphic novels. You would have to be an avid reader to realize that this storyline with Becky is very much a duplicate of the “Becky loves boys a little too much” sequence from early 2005. Like today’s For Better or For Worse, it ended up in a girls’ washroom. It would take at least 3 collections to follow this story if the story is collected in its chronological order. The other possibility is that Lynn is thinking of taking each separate storyline and creating graphic novels only involving that storyline. If she were to do that, she could probably fit the whole April and Becky story together in collection entitled, “My Best Friend is One of the Them – Singing Sluts.”

I decided to continue with my tactic of applying reality to the plot situation except with the twist that after April praises Becky, Jeremy Jones is the one who gets blamed for everything. I had Shannon Lake praise April for being nice to Becky, after being mean to Becky, because the strip today seemed to be like an “Oh God! We only have one strip left this week” moment. Michael Patterson praised April for making up with her reformed evil personality. And Howard went on a strange trip with Marjee Mahaha.

I spend the day with my daughter going to her first chess tournament and my son to his second year of chess tournaments. This is an event that is dominated by boys, and I found it interesting that there was a poster for a girls-only chess event posted on the wall at the tournament, specifically mentioning that it was there to encourage girls to do chess. This made no sense to me. Chess is not any kind of physical sport which requires upper body strength, nor is it unpleasant to play, so I have no idea why girls would avoid it.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Making Serious of a Light Situation

In today's For Better or For Worse, Lynn Johnston stacked the deck against Becky McGuire by choosing to make two of her band member "stoned". Whether or not she is trying to indicate marijuana use or the old-fashioned alcohol intoxication by the word, I do not know. Most of the For Better or For Worse commentaries were concentrating on the "April and Eva are teenage beyotches" idea, but it occurred to me that what may be needed was an examination of what would really happen if this occurred in real life.

Becky McGuire is a pop star, but also a student at R.P. Boire and brings in her band of over 18 adults to play for her school, during school hours. 2 of the musicians are so stoned that they are unable to play. In Tucson, Arizona, where school officials get into deep doodoo just by having speakers to high school bodies who make any kind of political statement, a drunken pop act, would be a giant pile landing right on their heads, and they would take it out on Becky and anyone associated with her.

By implication, if Becky's band is stoned, then this means that Becky and Jeremy Jones both regularly associate with people who use illegal drugs, and are severely addicted, considering they are so wasted, they cannot play music. In my imagination, the R.P. Boire school officials would come down on Becky and her band like the same giant anvil Lynn Johnston has been using to write her current script. So, I decided to take it that direction. Jeremy is trouble and will be punished. Becky is in trouble. And Constable Paul Wright kindly points out all the evidence that Becky has a problem too, and when I went through websites showing the signs of drug or alcohol addition, Becky had quite a few of them.

Overall, I liked the way it played, even though it wasn't snark of the funny ha-ha kind. I was going for more like a "let me point out the ginormous plot holes that you have left open by writing such garbage" kind of snark. Ultimately, different from the usual stuff. But it's good to do something different from time to time.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Becky Made the Wrong Choice

I remember as a freshman in college at the University of North Carolina back in the 1980s, seeing the band Mother’s Finest play. For reasons not entirely clear to me I managed to get front row tickets and I invited a very pretty girl to the concert with me, and I think she accepted primarily because it was front row tickets, but it’s hard to say. I was a naive young man compared to this girl, thanks to my overwhelming homeliness, which kept my social life to a minimum in high school. As we were enjoying the show, she leaned over to me and pointed out that one musician in particular was quite high. In my naïveté, I said, “How can he be high and still play all those songs?”, because no one in the band seemed to be particularly disturbed by his musicianship at all, including me. My date informed me that she had seen many high people in her lifetime, and the guy was definitely high. And certainly being on the front row we were close enough to see the man’s face and physical movement clearly. I probably still would not be able to recognize such an appearance even today, but when today’s strip came up and the lead guitarist for Becky’s band was listed as being drunk; I remembered that concert from years and years ago.

My second up close experience with a drunken group of musicians was my wife’s stepfather’s band. When I first met my wife, her stepfather played in a country-western band in the Dallas area, and they performed gigs usually at the same sequence of 3-4 bars with dance floors, so they had employment on weekend evenings. All of the musicians had regular jobs during the week. When I went with my wife to see them play, I enjoyed the music, but speaking to the band members, I realized that in general, they were all nicely buzzed and had a little of the slurred speech and lack of focus in conversation that I normally associate with people who have been drinking.

Today in For Better or For Worse, the strip shows a man lifting his guitar in an unnatural position and then pulling on a string of his guitar, like he is trying to pull it off. The result is some horrible sound. I know Lynn Johnston leads a sheltered life up in Corbeil, so sheltered she seems to be either blissfully unaware of what a rock band setup would actually look like, or she is simply too lazy to find a picture and copy it. However, it seems incredible to me that she would be unaware of how much alcohol someone would have to consume to make them act this way.

I was trying to research for Constable Paul Wright what are the dividing lines between being a functional alcoholic and a nonfunctioning one and discovered even more gradations, where one of the crucial points is alcoholism that keeps you from doing your job. The lead guitarist in Becky’s band is a severe alcoholic. He has had so much alcohol that in real life, not only would he lose his job with Becky, but he would find it difficult to get gainful employment as a musician with anyone. And yet, Becky has taken this person on in her band. It suddenly occurred to me that the punch line of today’s strip “Maybe they wanted to be good…waaay too bad!” means that Becky hired a talented, but troubled lead guitarist with the hope that he would improve the band, while intentionally ignoring his alcoholism.

In order to understand what Lynn is trying to tell us, we have to look at this whole sequence starting from Tuesday July 12, 2005 after the Grade 8 grad. In this strip, Becky ditches 4Evah and says, “You’re good enough but not for me.” Becky wants a better back up band because she wants to “Be somebody some day.” Now a year and 4 months later, we finally get to see Becky with her back up band. Now Becky is somebody. She is Rebecca or Rebeccah, and she is no longer Becky. Now we get to see if Becky really did get a backup band that was better than 4Evah.

Her sound goes wrong, because the evil Jeremy Jones didn't show up to do the audio. (I have to retcon that one. Crud! I hadn't counted on that.) Her lead guitarist goes crazy on stage from drinking or 2 of her band are stoned (who knows?), something the kids of 4Evah would never, ever do. The moral of the story is that Becky made the wrong choice in bands. She wanted to be good…waaay too bad! It’s hard to understand this unless you go back to Tuesday July 12, 2005, and compare the dialogue. And then Becky goes to cry in the washroom, where she will be comforted/scolded by Eva/Becky.

It strikes me that the story arc with Becky being boy crazy was played in just the same way. Becky wants boys. She hikes up skirt. She only talks about guys. This goes on for months. Then Jeffo Bray humiliates her, she cries in the washroom, April comforts and scolds her and that’s it. We have not seen Becky with a guy since. That story is done. Her companions are now all nerdy girls, who do her homework for her. The moral of the story was: Premarital sex is bad.

As I read this band story and I see Becky’s comeuppance is now very clearly focused on the grievance of having chosen the wrong band, I suddenly realize that there is yet another Becky comeuppance to come, and that has to do with the schoolwork. We are not yet finished with evil Becky. Becky will learn that career ambitions are not worth losing friends over. Then she must also learn that she must do her own schoolwork and not rely on people to do it for her.

There is hope for the future. The snarkfeast has been good and plentiful this week, but there is more to come. Rejoice, snarkers! Rejoice!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

November Monthly Letters

As is my custom, I will now look at monthly letters dealing with my assigned characters. Jeremy Jones did not appear in the monthly letters and it looks like he is not going to appear in the current Becky Band comeuppance sequence, much to my disappointment.

Constable Paul Wright

Elly's Letter, November 2006

Liz is having a rough time, missing her boyfriend and having to deal with us!

Elly does not mention Paul by name, but she has mentioned him in her monthly letters by name on 3 other occasions, so I don’t think it is a deliberate snubbing.

Liz's Letter, November 2006

I miss Paul, too. It's been a long time since I've seen him last. Thanks to Skype we can talk to each other for hours over our computers without paying for long distance charges, but that's hard in its own way because I'm glued to my laptop all night, listening to him as he goes about making dinner or filling out reports. It's like he's in the next room - I can hear his sink dripping, and I can hear the train going by outside his window, but at the same time he's so many hours away it makes me miss him more. He tells me his transfer is "in the works". That's one hope I've been hanging onto. I want him here!

When Mike broke up with Rhetta Blum for the last time, he called up her dormitory room, and her roommate told him she was out with another guy. Lynn Johnston is so dead set on duplicating plot lines, I had wondered how she could pull off the same thing with Paul and Liz, with Liz finding out that Paul is actually with Susan, without Paul having a roommate. This truly bizarre letter sequence could be the answer. Honestly, Lynnions. Why would Liz spend her time glued to her laptop listening to Paul’s home noises, when Paul is not talking to her, and doing things like eating or police work? Wouldn’t Paul cut off the Skype if Susan showed up? And of course “in the works” means he is not actually trying to get a transfer. I am still playing Paul as innocent, but if Skype shows up in the strip, I think we will be near the end for Constable Paul Wright.

Howard Bunt

We have yet to see Howard reappear, but I have high hopes, based on this monthly letter:

Liz's Letter, November 2006

Something that has upset me personally is the court case. Howard Bunt has finally been brought to trial and the process is a lengthy one. As a witness, I've had to give several depositions - to ascertain that I'm not fabricating what happened to me!

Complete and utter baloney. I had hoped the Lynnions would retcon away this deposition nonsense.

Anthony and all of the other six witnesses have had to do the same.
Lynn Johnston is stacking the deck against Howard. Now it is not just 2 other women, it is 6 other women. The man is going to prison for a loooooong time.

Now we are in the process of testifying against him in court. This takes a long time. We are not the first witnesses but we are required to be at the courthouse in case we're called. Things happen to stall the trial, so Anthony and I have spent a lot of time sitting in the "collecting area" outside the courtroom - just waiting!
If that were only what they are doing. This paragraph makes me wonder if Howard will even appear, or if we will never see the trial, since the trial sequence appears to be more about Liz and Anthony yakking away at each other outside the courtroom. By the way, even though this letter says the trial is already going on, I am going to work on the premise that the trial has not yet occurred.

Both of us have had to take time off work. I feel guilty about being absent from my class. They've had to bring in a sub to cover for me. Anthony feels guilty for missing work. Gordon has been really understanding and has given him plenty of flextime. We're experiencing our legal system in action. It's good to know that it works - even if we are having to wait and wait and wait!
Anthony and Elizabeth bond over feeling guilty for missing work, however, I will bet that when everyone is all sent home early, neither Anthony or Elizabeth will be rushing to finish out work.

So far, we've had just two mornings of actual courthouse time. Howard's attorney manages to throw a wrench into the proceedings around lunchtime, so we're all sent home and told when to come back. I've taken my laptop so I can try to get some lesson plans done - but mostly, Anthony and I talk about whatever comes to mind.
Don’t complain about Howard’s attorney. Those after lunch meetings are when you get to spend most of your time with Anthony.

We've known each other for a long time, but between my living in the North and his crazy marriage, we have a lot of catching up to do. The one thing we have been told not to discuss is the case against Howard! They want to hear our stories individually and see if they "match". This whole thing is surreal! My family of course wants to know all the details. There's not much to tell, yet. I think Mom and Dad will attend the trial when we are called, which will be a real support group! Elly and John will be there in the background somewhere, cheering Anthony on.

I have to say that I have had some truly wonderful support from the police here. I've been assigned a personal counselor who has guided me through all of the "stuff". Her name is Sylvia and her job specifically is to work with assault victims. I'm so grateful for her help. Even with Anthony's calm reassurance and Sylvia's support, I've been a nervous wreck.
We were complaining that Elizabeth didn’t have any friends in Milborough. There’s a new friend in town, and her name is Sylvia, although the way Elizabeth is going to meet Sylvia is a little bit creepy.

Keep your wits about you, ladies. There are lots of Howards out there! Lots of guys who try to kiss you in broad daylight in a public place and pull on your shirt when you refuse.