Wednesday, May 30, 2007

April’s Problem with Becky – Strips Only

aprilp_katje wanted to know the history of April's dislike of Becky just from the strips. I went back through the For Better or For Worse on-line archives to look at the April / Becky problems and wrote up a summary which ended up being pages and pages and too much for anyone to read. I did however, notice some trends.

Overall summary:

September 19 - 21, 2002 – April and Becky fight over Becky’s hair cut.

Becky, April, and some girl I have never seen before are at the mall scoping out boys. April remarks that she likes Becky’s new haircut because it makes her look younger. Becky storms off and the other girl sides with Becky, telling April she needs to apologize. Apparently the apology doesn’t come, because when John picks the girls up, he informs Elly that the girls were not speaking to each other. Becky and April patch things up eventually, but this girl never appears again. This appears to be the only time Lynn Johnston tried to link up Becky and another girl with April to create a situation like Liz had with Shawna-Marie and Dawn. After this, she goes to the band and April hangs out with the band exclusively.

January – February, 2003 – The beginning of the band fight. April’s problems with Becky are:
a. Becky tries to control the band, by starting the group on a melody she knows and she wants the group to improvise around her, i.e. standard pop style song creation vs. April, who wants the band to look at music she got from Mr. Bergan, i.e. classical style note-reading.
b. April claims the right to be the leader because the practice was at her house and having the band was her idea.

June, 2003 – May, 2004 – The salad days. By June, 2003, Gerald has taken control of the band and either he or April are writing their songs. The first song we hear about Becky writing is the one she does at the Grade 8 grad. The band is constantly socializing with each other in and out of practice and there are no fights.

May 31, 2004 – April drops Butterscotch over at Becky’s in preparation for travel to Elizabeth’s graduation. April thinks “There’s something about Becky that makes me jealous…an’ I don’t know what it is. I’m glad she’s with my bunny an’ not my boyfriend!” Then there is a tag thought balloon, which I can see now was added at the last minute, because the lettering is much smaller than the other thought balloons, as if it had to be squeezed in. The tag is “If I had one.” This is the beginning of the end. April is jealous of Becky for what she admits is no reason. She is never completely happy with Becky again.

Fall, 2004 – Spring, 2005 – The Home Economics Class. April’s problems with Becky are:
a. Becky is prettier than she is.
b. Becky dresses better than she does.
c. Becky is boy crazy. April used to be boy crazy too, but no more.
d. Becky is intolerant of Special Needs kids. Becky is really intolerant, excessively so with many panels of insults. Taken all together in one reading, she really is awful about it.
e. Becky labels other people she sees as a game. April used to do this with Becky and they originated the term "Foob", but no more.
f. Becky is a roadside gig who gave it up for Jeffo Bray.

The character reversal of April on being interested in boys is odd, considering April is at the age where Becky's behaviour is more typical. Becky is set up this way for the humiliation by Jeffo Bray. You never see boy crazy Becky again after Jeffo. Becky only socializes with girls.

Another key ingredient is the introduction of Shannon Lake. Almost every time Shannon appeared, April and Becky are contrasted where Becky insults the special needs kids ruthlessly. Becky is never punished for this behaviour, because the point of it is to show how April is the opposite.

One other part is appearance. A big deal is made about how the young girls show a lot of flesh and Elly won't allow April to do that anymore and April appears to accept it, except that she becomes jealous of Becky's looks. Even though Becky and April live in the same neighbourhood and April's dad is a successful dentist, April is jealous of Becky's looks and clothes.

June, 2005 – March, 2007 – Becky Leaves the Band Fight. April’s problem with Becky are:

a. Becky wants to be famous and her old band is not good enough for her. This is partially true. Her old band is more reliable than her new drugged-up band at the Gym-Jam, but they are not any good unless they are associated with a professional musician like Becky or Uncle Phil (and that includes after the addition of Eva and Luis).
b. Becky has a giant ego and talks constantly about her career. Looking over the span of Becky strips post-4Evah, this is definitely true. Almost every time she shows up she talks about herself.
c. Becky asks April for favors, but shows no interest in April beyond those favors or telling April how her career is going. She does take the time to comment on April’s zits though.

The whole point of this long storyline was to show how music is supposed to be fun, and if you want to be famous too much, you have to compromise your character. Becky has sacrificed her humility and her friends and because she performs with people who use drugs, she has also sacrificed the morality of having good people associated with her.

May, 2007 – Gerald Plays With Becky. I realize now we are entering a new era of Becky hate. This is actually the first time April expressed a dislike for someone for associating with Becky. She did not complain about Jeremy Jones doing sound for Becky, or the school offering Becky the opportunity to headline the Gym-Jam, or the nerdy girls who hung around Becky. April let Gerald's story about their party night go unchallenged for 2 months, but the moment she finds out Gerald is playing with Becky, she dismisses him coldly as if they had not been together for the last 4 years. At least Liz cried, but she didn't have good Becky hate to back her up.

aprilp_katje - I have kept the pages and pages. If you are interested, I can post those up. Also, I need to mention that starting tomorrow, I will be on a Boy Scout trip through Sunday, so don't worry about my absence.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Why Does April Hate Becky?

The strip’s perspective:

April's difficulty with Becky started when Becky and April hit Grade 8 and the two of them started off to high school for the Home Ec classes. Becky decided she was going to be a popular girl, which meant she wanted to show off her figure, cut down kids who were less popular than she was, and (in an interesting move), she wanted the band 4Evah to be successful in order to gain her even more attention. In her solo career, we have seen Becky cut a demo CD, perform with a band of drugged-up professionals, do a radio commercial and now she is doing some TV gig. At one point, we have seen Becky with a variety of new friends, which April indicated were fair weather friends, and we have also seen Becky alone at the mall, which April indicated was a sign it was lonely at the top.

April chose to do everything the opposite of Becky. She already had a boyfriend with Gerald, so she had no desire to attract boys with the way she looked. She had no desire to be liked by anyone outside her band member circle, and aside from Shannon Lake, she has managed to go 2 years into high school without making a single new friend not related to her band activities. She has also managed to go 2 years into high school, without a single extracurricular activity outside of her band. We have been told Eva does tennis, Gerald does basketball and ice hockey, and Duncan does soccer; but April does her band, babysitting and working at Lilliputs’. While Becky is trying to be known by more and more people, April sticks with her own crowd. She hasn’t had a big birthday party inviting more than a few friends since she turned 13.

The criticisms of Becky fall along the lines of each and everything she did which was the opposite of April, and some made more sense than other. No one would support Becky’s put downs of Shannon Lake, but the other criticisms are nonsensical. As long as Becky is the opposite of April, there remains animosity between them. It is only when Becky is humbled to be more contrite like April, does April like Becky again.

The monthly letters perspective: This is not going to be what you expect.

April's Letter, April 2004

Right now, we are on spring break and my parents have gone to Mexico. Nice!!!! I am staying at Becker's (that's Becky's) place and we are getting along ok. We were both in her room to start off, but her mom made me sleep in the den because she said we made too much noise. They have this folding couch that is so not comfortable. We put a sleeping bag under the mattress, but it still feels gross- and it squeaks. If I get up at night, it sounds like 10 cats howling and I know for sure, Beck's mom is keeping tabs on what we do, so we haven't done much except raid the fridge and talk. We can talk for hours. It's mostly about guys at school and who likes who. There are some arrogant girls we can't stand, and we get off on talking about "what if". You know? what if Salem (check out my navel jewels) Drewson got caught with her boyfriend in the stairwell like Keitha and Raphael and what if Mr. Ringwart got a potato stuck in the tailpipe of his car (some guy did that to the school bus but it fell out before anything good happened) and what if we won a billion dollars and had dates with rock stars and what if, what if!
Sometimes Beckers an' I don't get along. She can be really moody and treat me like I'm dust or something, but she gets over it and I act like nothing happened, even though it hurts. Her mom and dad fight. I could hear them once. They don't yell or anything, but stuff happens and you can tell in the morning that she was crying.

This text emphasizes Becky’s bad home life and her moodiness, which means nothing to Becky but it hurts April. However, it is interesting to note that April and Becky both enjoy gossiping about other people.

April's Letter, August 2004

Gerald and Becky have been sort of hanging out together while I'm working. Like I don't know what's going on. Ger and I had made a promise not to hook up- not for any of us to hook up because of the band. I hope it's just for "friendship" like Becker says.
Becky's parents have been fighting all the time this summer, so she's been a total pain to be around. She's always mad or crying, and I guess it's okay that she's talking to Gerald. I'm not there to hang out with her, and he doesn't mind her moods. I still feel funny about them hanging around together when I'm babysitting all day, but it's not like I can stop them.

Another indication that Becky is moody due to her parents and April’s dislike of her moody behaviour, with the added note that Gerald doesn’t mind (is less sensitive to) her moodiness.

April's Letter, September 2004

Some of the girls dress too old for their age, for sure, especially the grade six kids. They wear all kinds of makeup and shirts like the ones Liz wears sometimes when she goes to the bar. My parents don't like it when Liz goes out like that, and if I tried it they'd clobber me. Becky dresses like that too, but I think it's to make her parents pay attention to her. They're fighting a lot lately, and I guess she thinks that if they're yelling at her it's better than having them yell at each other. Who knows. At least they both agree on something.

Home EC at the high school starts. Becky goes for older dress. April rejects it.

April's Letter, October 2004

Becky's complaining already, but she's figured out how to make her skirt shorter by rolling it up so she can still be obnoxious in her own way. She's getting on my nerves lately, but I try to be nice because I know she's having a tough time with her parents at home and she really just wants attention.

Did you know that Becky has never used a screwdriver? True!! Not only that, she's never done her own laundry or cooked a meal. Helllooo! We're going to have apartments someday, is she going to bring her mother? She HAS unloaded the dishwasher. Like that's going to help her learn anything. Oh right, and she vacuumed a couple of times.

Man, I am waaay ahead of Beckers in home ec!

April begins a criticism of Becky, over and above her prior criticisms. Now she taunts Becky’s ignorance in Home Economics. April is no longer just reacting to things Becky does. This is the true beginning of April’s hatred for Becky. It continues on in the next letter even greater.

April's Letter, December 2004

Things get so weird at school, socially. Everyone's got their little group where they fit in and there's so much drama between the groups. This is especially bad if you date someone that your friends don't like, or if you have a friend from your neighborhood who doesn't fit in with your friends from school.
Becky's really into the drama and gossip and also with trying really hard to be cool. That would be okay if she wasn't so mean to people who aren't as pretty as her, or the people who are weird in any way. She laughs at the punks and the mopy emo kids, which is okay because they can take it. They like it, actually. But she's not nice to Shannon or the other Special Needs kids at the high school we go to for Home Ec and that makes me mad because they can't help being different. Becky's driving me crazy; I'm actually embarrassed to be around her in class, because when she starts talking really loudly about someone everyone thinks I agree with her. I don't want to start a fight in class, but it's going to happen soon if she doesn't shut her mouth. I'd like to kick her out of the band, but the guys wouldn't like that. She's a good singer, and she's pretty. The thing is, she still has her good moments. She's just mean because she doesn't stop to think; she's so wrapped up in her own life and her problems that the drama is a distraction for her.

April states specifically Becky is trying to be cool, and she no longer wants to be associated with her. Notice the line about why April can’t kick her out of the band, well before Becky actually quits. Believe it or not, April will actually get worse.

April's Letter, January 2005

I am the only one I know (not counting guys) who doesn't have a piercing. Not even my ears! Becky keeps trying to get me to have them done but I'm not into it. Well, not yet. I don't wear jewelry that much. Not even rings. I wear a watch 'cause I need to tell time. Otherwise I'm non-metallic.

April says she is determined to remain unpierced, which is a significant statement for a 13-year-old girl. If you want a real challenge, try to find a strip where April wears earrings. There are a few, but they are so infrequent, my guess is that April is still unpierced. Clip-ons for you, baby!

April's Letter, February 2005

I think Becky is actually a bit jealous because her phone's older and doesn't have a camera in it. At least I think that's what was bugging her this morning. She's being a total pain in the butt these days, like she has permanent PMS or something. I'm trying so hard to be nice to her but it's hard to keep from yelling back when she's in a snit about something, you know?
Her parents are still having problems and even though I'd hate for them to split up, it would almost be better. At absolute minimum, they need to stop dragging her into the middle of things because she's so seriously stressed out right now that she's been biting her nails like crazy and I can tell that she only has her homework done half the time lately.
She really screwed up over the holidays. That older guy she thought was soooo cooooool ended up being a total creep (I have a ruder word for him, but it'll never get past my Mom if she reads this). Becky told me all the details - good thing for her that I can keep a secret even if I'm mad at her. Man, her parents would kill her if they knew. I almost want to tell them, but then she'd never want to see me again and now she needs friends, since her parents can't be bothered to be parents or even listen to her these days. The guys in the band are going to practice a lot more often now, so we can keep her busy with stuff that won't wreck her life. Maybe I'll call her Mom when I know Becky's out, just to suggest that the two of them go shopping or to the mini-putt place like they used to do. Maybe I won't. I don't know what to do. It's none of my business, I guess. I get really confused when I try to figure this out!
My parents can be a total pain in my butt, but one on one they're okay. I'm spending some time with my Dad while Mom is away with Liz. I taught him how to play Dance Dance Revolution (he was awful) and he showed me how to change a tire and how to do oil changes. He asked how the band was going - I told him a bit about the deal with Becker and he just suggested that I try to put up with her moods. I will for now. He's probably right.

Here poor April is confused. She wants to hate on Becky, but she wants to help Becky through the Jeffo Bray incident. It’s hard to hate someone, when you so desperately want to lord their mistakes over them. Look at the lines where it is clear April is thinking about the Jeffo Bray incident as possibly blackmail material with Becky’s parents. Nice!

April's Letter, March 2005

Becky's been staying at our house during the week sometimes because of her parents, and somehow my Mom found out about that jerk Becky was seeing over Christmas.

Mom let Becky stay at our place for a few nights because of her parents, which is ok. We sit up and talk about totally everything. I told her that Gerald and I are trying to be "just friends" because if we did do the love thing, the band would break up if we did. This is hard. I really like him. I mean, really! What I don't tell Becky is - I hope he doesn't start liking her!!!

Obviously, April tells her mom about Jeffo (who else would tell Elly?) and Becky and she starts putting Becky up. Good for you Elly. We never saw this in the strip, but it is interesting nevertheless. Naturally April’s reaction is to worry Becky is going to steal away Gerald, just as she is playing “just friends” with him for the sake of the band. Who wants to guess that Gerald was not the person who thought up that “just friends” rule?

April's Letter, April 2005

We're doing the "family party" tomorrow, but tonight it's just me and the band. It'll be fun. I'm gonna go have a shower in a minute and figure out what to wear.
I'm kind of mad at Becky again, and I really don't want her to come along tonight but it would just cause problems with the band if I left her out. She doesn't even get why I'm upset with her. At least we're going to the movies so we won't have to talk too much.

April talks about her birthday party out with the band. She wants to ditch Becky for her birthday party no less, but doesn’t do it because of the band dynamic, and actually seeks to avoid having to talk to her. In other words, April’s hatred for Becky has grown so that only her desire to keep the band together is keeping her civil with Becky.

April's Letter, May 2005

Becky's parents are still fighting - she'd like to live someplace far away herself right about now.
I feel bad for Becky, having to live in a tense house every day. Yeah...I'm having trouble staying mad at her again. She's been acting nicer lately anyway.

This sounds better than the prior month, but it's not. This is the first time you get the sense that April now tries to hate Becky independent of whatever it is Becky does. From here on out, no matter how many times Becky and April make up, April will continue to hate Becky. Her hatred has taken on a life of its own.

April's Letter, August 2005

Where do I start? There's so much going on right now that I feel like I'm running away by leaving for the summer. The band hasn't practiced once since graduation; nobody really wants to talk about what happened, so we've been avoiding hanging out in a group.
My guitar lessons are finished for the summer, thank dawg, because I haven't felt like playing for weeks. Every time I pick up my guitar I think about the time when 4 Evah screwed up our big chance in Toronto. I guess I can't blame Becky for not wanting to be our singer if we can't even get it together well enough for a Battle of the Bands show. Everybody says we did ok, but I still beat myself up over it anyway.
I thought I was over that whole thing, but the embarrassment comes flooding back sometimes, and now it feels like it happened just yesterday. I don't know what to think. I'm happy for Becky, because she's had a sucky time lately but the way she told us she was leaving the band was dirty. As if we wouldn't have supported her? As if we wouldn't have understood! Oh well. If she makes it as a singer she'll be able to move away from here and have a better life. Still, the kind of happy I'm feeling is the kind of happy that also feels like you've been kicked in the stomach by an elephant. Or a hippo - something big and dark and heavy.
Duncan and Gerald are mad at Becky too, but mostly because she said we weren't good enough. I give's so much work to keep a band together. Even the Beatles had problems, so what do we think we're trying to do? I just wanted it to be a fun challenge, and it was for two years. We had a rule - no egos! And Becky broke it, big time.

A variety of emotions for April over Becky’s departure from 4Evah at the Grade 8 grad. She blames Becky’s ego and the way she announced she was leaving the band. On the other hand she blames herself for the band not being good enough for Becky. She wants Becky to be successful, but April feels hurt and rejected. At the heart of the matter is that April has had a majour mad on at Becky for months and months and wanted to reject her and stayed together with her only for the sake of the band, but she never imagined that Becky would ever reject her.

When you get right down to it, for the Patterson girls, this is a recurring theme:

1. Treat someone poorly.
2. Don’t talk out or seek a solution to your problems with that person.
3. Be completely shocked when that person rejects you.

Mixing the Stories

Back when Liz was in Mtigwaki and Mike was in Toronto, the For Better or For Worse storylines would be in 1 to 2-week segments, usually not resolving a problem but furthering it along. The jumping back and forth meant that you had to be prepared to follow a story for at least a year and oftentimes for a lot longer than that. For example the Becky and Gerald story goes back 3 years.

Now that everyone is in the same house, Lynn Johnston is using the same method, but she is has taken the closeness in proximity to heart, and cut down the time between segments. So instead of having our heads jerked around trying to follow the issue after the week or two has passed, we have our heads jerked every single day. I suppose the whiplash will be something to look forward to.

Monday, May 28, 2007

April and Gerald Dunzo?

Today’s strip with Eva and April pretty much sets it into place. Lynn Johnston has been hinting about Becky and Gerald for about 3 years, and I wrote a long piece on the FOOBiverse’s Journal recounting the very subtle development of the idea over that time, which I won’t repeat here.

3 years ago, I think Lynn Johnston’s plan was to end the strip in September and leave April in as much of a career direction as she possibly could. Oddly enough, she has been teasing us with it almost as much as she has been teasing us about the Liz / Anthony / Warren / Paul storyline. Will April stick with music? Will April become a vet?

And there is the more recent and related corollary, where will April live? Mike invites April to live with them. John says for April to live with him and he will redo the basement. However, Lynn keeps giving it away by with the unrelenting and constant references to Elly and John being done with parenting and living by themselves. We snarkers of the strip point it out as “April hate” over and over again, but I think Lynn Johnston thinks she is giving us a clue as to how things are going to turn out, much in the way she has Elly and John lavish praise all over Anthony Caine. Because of those comments, I am convinced April is not going to end up living with Mike or with John. I am also convinced Lynn Johnston has no talent when it comes to writing clues.

John's Letter, June 2005

There are only the three of us at home now, and April is getting to that age where she's gone all the time. She heads into grade nine next year, and has mentioned the idea of going on some of these student exchange trips. France was one of the countries she mentioned. So, amazingly, instead of worrying about the loss of my favourite little buddy, I mentally am thinking about a smaller house with a bigger yard! Just a thought of course!

This was the way Lynn Johnston was going back in June, 2005. John’s monthly letter predictions have been 100% correct so far. However, I still think April is going to live in Winnipeg with Auntie Bev. The setup to get us there is April has to break up with Gerald, and the band 4Evah&Eva has to be destroyed. Just breaking up with Gerald is not sufficient. Presumably the band could continue, even if April and Gerald aren’t dating. However, if Gerald betrays the band by playing with Becky, then it solves that problem also. No Gerald. No band. No music career for April. Vet school all the way.

All we have to have now is one more trip to Winnipeg in August and an offer by Auntie Bev to put her on the veterinarian career track. Ergo, April doesn’t live with Mike or John. End of story. Start the hybrid.

As for April’s Real Blog, nothing is official yet. I have had Becky McGuire engaged to be married to Howard Bunt, but it is a marriage of convenience since Howard is gay, i.e. they both can still have a boyfriend and stay together, just not the same boyfriend. If Becky and Gerald are messing around, that plotline can still continue, with that arrangement. However, I will grant the possibility that Howard and Becky may have to become unengaged and move apart, depending on how Lynn Johnston portrays the relationship of Becky and Gerald in the strip, but primarily depending on the desires of qnjones, who writes both Gerald and Becky for ARB. If qnjones wants to go full out on a Gerald and Becky romance, I will be happy to let her cut loose Howard from Becky, she wants to. I should also mention I am looking forward to reading some fantastic aprilp_katje teenage breakup angst. It promises to be quite lively. Lynn Johnston is finally handing us some juicy stuff.

Friday, May 25, 2007

April Gone Crazy

Today’s For Better or For Worse was quite surprising. When Lynn Johnston had April feel guilty about wishing to not move and then a tree fell on the new house, I was convinced this was a one strip aberration, particularly since the next strip jumped to Mike, Deanna and John. Now we have Eva in bed with April with some Hot Spudz (one letter away from a majour male fantasy), and unbelievably, Lynn Johnston is going to make April’s bizarre belief that she can pray a curse on something into a plot point for a strip. If this storyline does not end tomorrow with Eva hugging on the crazed April in an effort to restore hef to normal, I am going to really worry about Lynn Johnson.

It’s one thing for Warren Blackwood, and John Patterson and Mike Patterson to say “Whoa!”. It’s one thing for Paul Wright to be shown as a cheater. It’s one thing for Liz Patterson to turn into a deeply depressed woman who gives up on relationship; but if April continues to pursue the idea that her prayer attracted the attention of the Almight, and He granted her wish with no consequences, then I will have to say to Lynn Johnston, here is a plotline I never expected. It’s too bad you had to completely change April’s character to do it.

Behind the Scenes Of Honoria Delaney-Forsythe

I have spent quite a bit of time trying to flesh out the ideas behind the character of Gerald’s younger sister Honoria. I have at one time her character from her namesake in the Jeeves series of books by P.G. Wodehouse, where she is a pushy, but proper and elegant young lady to the idea she comes from a father and mother who were largely created for qnjones to get some laughs from being parents who have many reasons not to approve of April Patterson as a suitable mate for their son Gerald. In the case of Gerald’s father, qnjones painted him as a father extremely concerned about the psychosexual health of Gerald, due to April’s extreme chasteness.

In the old days of For Better or For Worse, Liz and Anthony were shown with extensive times when they were in makeout sessions with each other. Likewise Mike was shown kissing Rhetta Blum and Martha McRae quite a bit. Compared to her siblings, April is practically like a nun with Gerald. This made qnjones’ situations very funny.

Usually young ladies are prim and proper and don’t give out a lot of affection. But considering Honoria’s parentage, with her mother losing her virginity to her old boyfriend Ronson van Daam at age 16, and with her father’s profession, I tried to imagine a girl who was sexually adventurous for 14 years old, but who would still try to maintain ladylike propriety. aprilp_katje posting as April decided to challenge Honoria over this, and the last 2 days I have had a dialogue going back and forth between Honoria and April, where Honoria tries to explain herself. She quotes the pioneers of sex studies, Dr. Alfred Kinsey and Drs. Masters and Johnson, particularly as would apply to her situation as a 14-year-old girl with a reluctant Jeremy Jones as a boyfriend. Namely, she wants to be ladylike, but she also has normal desires as most women do. I say normal desires, but she is horndog Gerald’s sister, so she is a little more desirous than most girls her age.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

And Now For Something Oddly Religious

Lynn Johnston has been making a slow turn to religion after ignoring it on For Better or For Worse for a number of years. There were times in the old days, when the family would make the occasional church visit, but even when Michael and Deanna got married, they managed to do it in a church with an extremely limited number of religious icons in its decor.

But now we have April and prayer. April confused prairie with prayer when she visited Winnipeg for the first time in 2005. She prayed anywhere, when thinking about Grandpa Jim just after his stroke. And today, we have April thinking that because of her prayer, the tree came down. In the midst of this, we had Mike, Deanna, Merrie, and Elly make their first Easter visit to church in years. And I also remember seeing actual crosses when Elly and John were shopping for gravesites.

Is this the sign of Lynn Johnston's new religious behaviour? Or is she just trying to get in touch with her semi-religious roots? Or better yet, is this a sign of a new and sudden personality change for April? Will she break up with Gerald for a reason which no one anticipated: Gerald is an unbeliever who tried to seduce April away from her faith. April now plans to become a nun.

We have seen a lot of personality changes since 2007 began. What's one more?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A Tree Falls in Milborough

Since April's Real Blog revolves around April, I have been anxiously waiting to see if April is going to break up with Gerald. My fear is that this will be one of those things like when Becky left the band and April stewed about it all summer only to confront Becky by accident the next September. Will we have to wait until September for the resolution? I hope not, but when I read today's strip about the tree disaster on the Stibbs place, I have the feeling that Lynn Johnston is getting ready to run some more interpersonal relationship stuff with the crowded house. With Elizabeth gone to her own apartment, the majour conflict is gone. Elizabeth was mad at Mike for being successful, and mad at April for butting into her personal life, and really there were no other conflicts, aside from Deanna and April expressing their dislike of Merrie and Robin and April expressing her dislike of the rec room.

It occurred to me that we haven't seen Mira and Wilf Sobinski in awhile, so they might show up. We haven't seen Elly play with the grandchildren yet, so she could do that in a vain attempt to make us think she is a good grandmother.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Deanna Patterson, the Sneakiest Patterson

I was going to write this as a response to someone on the FOOBiverse's Journal, but the size of it was too daunting for a Live Journal post and I had no desire to edit it down.

We all know Deanna Patterson schemed against Michael to get pregnant with Merrie on her honeymoon and to shut down his dream career of wandering around the globe with Josef Weeder. Deanna was also the one to matchmake Josef with Carleen Stein. It is difficult to ignore the idea Deanna is trying to shut down her huband's relationship with Josef Weeder.

We all know Deanna schemed to have the 2 weddings, so she could satisfy her skewed moral sense, while supposedly satisfying her mother's desires for a big wedding. However by telling everyone about the first wedding except her mother, what Deanna was really doing is giving her mother the impression she is an immoral girl who was not a virgin on her wedding night, while everyone else knows better. This way, if Mira Sobinski ever accused Deanna of being a slut for living with Mike in advance of wedding #2, Deanna could throw the secret wedding in her face.

Now for Deanna's latest scheme, which is finally coming to an end, once again in Deanna's favour.

On May 17, 2005, when moving into their new upstairs apartment, Deanna and Mike spend the night at Elly and John's place and Deanna declares it would be amazing if they bought this house someday. Mike agrees, after Deanna suggests it, but lists the reasons why it can’t happen:

1. It’s too far from where he works.
2. He’d never be able to afford it.
3. His folks would never dream of selling.
In this strip from October 15, 2005, Deanna explains to Mike that he can quit his job mainly based on her salary. Notice this directly applies to #1 on the list. Mike does not respond and continues to work at Portrait.

What is going on with Deanna’s salary in October, 2005, you may ask? We learn from this letter:

Deanna's Letter, July 2005

It worked out well, because I'd expected to work part-time while looking for a full-time job elsewhere, but our head pharmacist had a health scare and as a result decided to retire early, so the rest of us moved up the food chain a bit and I got to go back with full-time hours.

Health scare. Decides to retire early. Sounds a little suspicious to me. Nevertheless, after meeting with Mike and showing him her salary in the October 15, 2005 strip, Mike continues to work. He must have been unimpressed. Deanna needs to up the ante on her salary. Then we get this letter:

Dee's Letter, December 2005

My job is keeping me so busy - now that I'm a manager, I have staff concerns on my shoulders. I like having more control (and the extra money is great) but I never realized when I was part time how much work my supervisors did!

In 5 months, Deanna goes from part-time work to full-time work to running the whole pharmacy. How would she have that kind of pull to move into that position that quickly? The answer lies here:

Deanna's Letter, June 2005

I'm hoping to stay full time at the pharmacy in the Spigott Building where Mike's Dad works.

Would a doctor working in a building since 1978 have any influence over a pharmacy manager selection for a pharmacy in that building? Who knows? In any case, Deanna’s increased salary addresses item #2 on the list. Her actual salary as a pharmacy manager is not mentioned until this letter, and look who it is that knows how much she makes:

John's Letter, March 2007

On that note, George Stibbs is ready to sell his place, and April thought it would be a good place for Mike and Deanna to move. I agreed, and suggested to Mike and Deanna that we could help them out with the down payment. Mike is not a business type thinker, but Deanna has a pretty good grip on things financial. Even though Mike is no longer working, she can see that they could afford a house just with her income. As a pharmacist, she makes around $100,000 per year, and if they had help with the down payment, it actually could work out to being less than rent on a two bedroom apartment. I had a discussion with the two of them, and it's interesting. Mike is convinced that they simply cannot afford a house, that renting is the only option. Deanna can see that a house is not impossible at all. Her folks also said they would help them out with the deposit, and Mike just got the advance on his new book, so it looks like the down payment is really looked after! Deanna and I agree that it's do-able.

Notice the conversation between Deanna and John Patterson. They are working together on the financial arrangements. This accounts for item #3. John Patterson is on board. Items #2 and #3 are handled, but Deanna can’t get Mike to quit his job, and she has to get Elly to agree to sell the house. Mike needs to have a salary substitute for Portrait, but how to get it and how to get Mike out of the Lovey Saltzman apartment?

December 19 - 21, 2006 (or Christmas Eve in the strip). Mike informs Deanna he is about to finish his book in another hour. Deanna leaves for parts unknown. Coincidentally, just as Mike finishes his book, the smoke alarm goes off. Mike rouses the sleeping Deanna, and look how nonchalantly she picks up clothes for her kids to get dressed to leave the burning apartment. It’s as if she already knows how serious the fire is at that point. She doesn’t get distressed until her idiot husband runs back into the apartment to get the manuscript. I suppose Deanna may have thought the novel was backed up remotely, and was surprised (like most of us were) to find out her husband didn’t do that.

On December 22, is the most suspicious element of the fire. Deanna comes down the fire escape and is surprised to see the Kelpfroth bedroom in flames. But when the firefighter directly asks her if there is anyone in the bedroom, Deanna says she doesn't know about downstairs, and mentions Mike going after the novel in the attic. In other words, she intentionally diverts the firefighters from going to help the Kelpfroths. Is it just because she wants them to save Mike instead? It can't be because she forgot about the Kelpfroths in the heat of the moment, because she just mentioned them. Maybe, there is a more sinister reason, like arson, and eliminating witnesses. Whatever the reason, Mike is out of Toronto just as his book is finished, and with no injury to any of the Pattersons.

One of the keys to get Mike to quit his job is for the book to get published, and miraculously it happens with the first publisher he tries. Or is that miraculous? Look at John Patterson’s words in this strip:

“Something bad has to be followed by something good” says John Patterson. Well, not in real life. But with the proper financial influence, it could happen, and maybe even explain the extraordinarily high advance Mike got for his very first book. Then there is the question of why Deanna and Mike don’t just move into another apartment. The clue for that is given in this letter, again coming from you-know-who:

John's Letter, February 2007

I think it would be great if Liz moved out, but she seems to be in no rush. Neither are Michael and his family! They have looked at a number of apartments - but nothing suits them (or suits Deanna!) I think they want what they had before, and it's just not possible.

According to John, Deanna is the one stalling the process. But why?

The answer comes in these strips. Within 2 months of having to commute to go to work at Portrait Magazine from Milborough, Michael can’t stand the drive anymore and quits at the first opportunity so quickly he doesn't even give 2 weeks notice or take the time to discuss it with his bosses. Deanna’s reaction at the news tells the real story. She has been waiting for this moment. She is not even the least bit concerned about the loss of Mike’s salary, and in the same strip says to Mike they can stop looking in the city for a place to live. That tells us everything about where Deanna's priorities are.

By March, Deanna and John are working together to convince Mike to buy the Stibbs’ place. Then they take Elly to visit the Stibbs’ place. Did you notice Deanna hanging around in the background while George Stibbs, John and Michael worked on Elly to get her to agree to switch houses? Did you see Deanna ever disagree with George Stibbs, John or Michael? Some people may call Deanna a doormat, but in May, 2007; Deanna Patterson has overcome all 3 items on Michael Patterson’s list. She is getting the house she wanted 2 years ago. I don’t say doormat. I say scheming, conspiratorial woman. Of all the Patterson women, she is the only one who is getting what she wants.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

We’ve Made All the Arrangements

No negotiating with George Stibbs over price. No difficulties in Mike and Liz getting that loan. Not even a list of repairs John Patterson has to do in the Stibbs house before moving in.

Just boom! And “we’ve made all the arrangements.” Lynn Johnston has clearly decided the focus of the housening of For Better or For Worse will be April’s trauma over moving. In doing so, she has missed the big emotional drama, which has yet to occur, and may never occur --Telling the invisible grandchildren they’re staying. I want to know if Eddy and Dixie and Buttsy are staying now. Also, I think a prediction is in order. I predict April will see George Stibbs’ basement and will declare it to be even better than the situation she was previously in.

Saturday, May 19, 2007


Today, my church offered up a “We’ll give you free childcare in honour of Mother’s/Father’s Day. They do a similar thing around Christmas time for shopping, but we usually have so many kid-related activities during that time, we can’t take advantage of it. During this time, the Mrs. and I did two things.

1. I had an eye examination. My wife has been saying for some period of time that she hates my glasses, and she was going to make an eye appointment for me to change them. So, it became a running joke for me that she would say this and then not do it. Finally, she did it and ended the running joke. It only took her 6 years since my last eyeglasses appointment. I know I could have made an appointment myself in that long a time, but I don’t like to mess with running jokes.
2. The two of us went to see Spider-Man 3 starring one of my favourite actors, Bruce Campbell. Actually, Bruce just had a small, but very funny part in the movie.

I had hoped that by the time I got back to April’s Real Blog, some of the other posters would have stepped up to help out poor aprilp_katje, but it appeared not to be the case. aprilp_katje had put April with Dennis North at the same place Jeremy Jones and his current girlfriend Honoria Delaney-Forsythe were operating, and so I thought doing a takeoff on the same situation with Dennis / Liz / Anthony / Thérèse would be amusing.

As for “diddling”, I was reading Metro Girl, by Janet Evanovich in which the heroine gets her hair caught in a car door handle and two policemen declare that her boyfriend must have been diddling her, and in the best Evanovich humourous fashion, she has her heroine declare that no diddling occurred. I thought the word sounded funny, so I opted to use it with Honoria. Looking at the definition for diddling, the range of acts to which it could correspond cover a whole gamut of acts. I intentionally leave it up to the person reading it to interpret what “diddling” means for Honoria.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Tired of Blaming the Pattersons

I have been reading FOOBiverse Journal entries for the last 2 weeks of this Iris and Jim therapy-athon, and I can tell you I have simply gotten tired of reading, “Elly should be helping Iris out and visiting more often. She sucks! April is the only decent one. All the other Pattersons suck, especially Mike. He sucks.” I can take these in small doses, but 2 weeks of it has been a little much. Iris played her poor, poor pitiful me act in the strip again on Thursday, and I found myself losing all sympathy for her and the Patterson attackers.

The reasons are simple. Lynn Johnston has shown all the Pattersons visiting Grandpa Jim, except for the great grandkids, who appear in the strip even less than the dogs do but more often than the rabbit does. That’s all she has time to do, with the house-switching storyline, and the Liz love life storyline, and the April is not really a slut even though she looks like one storyline, etc.

The monthly letters are the real problem. They try to retcon in more appearances by the Pattersons than the strip can show, but list Elly as once a week or twice a week visitor, which is not often enough for a retired woman living in Milborough. Also, the monthly letters from Iris are depressing and sad, as Iris is clearly depending more on her daughter than the Pattersons. It is the letters that are messing me up. If I just went from the strip, I would see all the Pattersons have visited, and the rate of subsequent visits doesn’t matter. The last 2 weeks has certainly proved to me I don’t need to see too much of Iris and Jim.

The other majour reason is that Jim and Iris live in a retirement community. It has been shown Iris can wheel Jim around to doctor’s appointments and he has recovered a lot of his physical capability. So, why can’t she wheel Jim to the recreation center and play a game of cards with friends? You don’t have to be able to talk to play cards, and Iris can yack away with her friends. When I see Iris begging the speech therapist to stay, I don’t feel pity. I think to myself, just throw Jim in the wheelchair and go socialize with him, and quit playing the martyr!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Speech Therapy and Whatever Happened to Nancy Vincent?

I did finally take the time to look up speech therapy exercises and found this website with speech therapy worksheets for exercises.
After I looked at them, it became clearer what Lynn Johnston is trying to do with this sequence for Grandpa Jim. She is taking different speech therapy exercises and trying to make a joke using each one. In this fashion, the strip will be cut out and put on the bulletin boards of speech therapists across the world.

The problems with her narrative form are these:

1. Lynn has arranged so her strip operates in real-time, which means that it has been 8 months since Jim’s stroke in late September, 2006. However, Lynn is ignoring that, and presenting Jim’s speech therapy almost as if this was one of his first sessions. As I look through the website’s list of exercises, there are some fairly complicated exercises, Jim should be able to do for comprehension, particularly considering we have been shown Jim has not lost anything in actual comprehension, just in auditory expression.
2. The speech therapy sequence of exercises are zipped out one after the other due to the limited number of panels available, as if Lynn has a quota for how many exercises she need to include for the strip sequence.
3. Lynn didn’t pull this same stunt with the physiotherapy. It actually seemed appropriate considering Jim has been shown to progress from no movement, to minimal movement, to being able to handle a walker, to working on using a cane.

Kate Johnston joined the staff at For Better or For Worse, and so it made me wonder what had happened. Here is what I have noticed, and of course, the mistress of continuity aprilp_katje can tell me what I have missed.

1. Nancy Vincent, who used to be in charge of both the For Better or For Worse office and its promotion side business Entercom Canada, Inc is gone.
2. In Nancy’s place over at Entercom Canada, Inc, is Robert Kuenzlen, C.I.M.
3. Nancy’s position is gone completely on the For Better or For Worse side, but Kate Johnston has been added.
4. I notice that Entercom Canada, Inc., which used to say it was a business which could promote other business than For Better or For Worse, is now strictly a business promoting For Better or For Worse. I don’t see the stuff about promoting Rod Johnston’s train business anymore on the website for Entercom Canada, Inc. I wonder if this was the issue which was causing problems for Nancy Vincent.
5. One of my pet theories for the hybrid was that if Lynn Johnston retired completely, her staff would have to find new jobs. I wonder if the shift in Entercom’s direction is due to the announcement of the hybrid. Now, no longer do the Lynnions have to pretend to do things other than with For Better or For Worse, since their future is assured.

Here’s to you, Nancy Vincent, wherever you are!!

Monday, May 14, 2007

"I" and "me" = Patterson / Richards

Back for a 3rd day in For Better or For Worse, Christine the speech therapist changes her appearance each day, and in Tuesday’s strip, demonstrates very clearly the current artist of the strip stinks at drawing consistent faces. It is interesting she is starting Jim on the words, “I” and “me”. Talk about knowing how to play to a Patterson or Richards’ vanity. No doubt there was a study at some point of the words they say the most often and “I” and “me” were the clear winners.

I also find it interesting that Judith the physiotherapist seems to have quite a bit more success with Jim than Christine. Lynn Johnston chose not to make any jokes about Jim’s physical progress, as he started working on getting out of bed himself and walking with a cane. There was none of the obvious jokes like “Yes, you can(e)!” or things like that. In speech, Jim has made virtually no progress at all, and Lynn has him making jokes at his failures. It’s an odd sort of “Praise him when he’s up. Kick him when he’s down.”

If Lynn likes the verbal jokes of Jim not being able to pronounce things, this could be a running joke with him, if it isn’t already. Lynn likes running jokes, and moreover, she likes beating them to a bloody pulp with reuse, like the never-ending flapping arm, menopause jokes. I have this feeling Jim’s speech is not ever going to get much better, even though he may almost completely recover physically to where he was before his stroke, and Lynn will be taunting him for his lack of speech to the bitter hybrid end in September.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Will the Speech Therapist Demand Equal Time?

Judith the Physiotherapist got 3 whole days. Christine the Speech Therapist may also want 3 whole days, which means we may be doing this next week. Today’s strip did not have an air of finality about it for this strip sequence. And now we have introduced these people who weren’t even mentioned by name in the monthly letters, then how can we ignore Carole and Diane, who were mentioned in the monthly letters? The reason we can and will ignore Carole and Diane is that they come to help Iris with Jim every single day, according to the monthly letters. If you are like Lynn Johnston, and you are trying to show how saintly Iris is, then you are not going to introduce the idea that there are 2 ladies who come in everyday to help. We prefer the cold, lonely, Iris, who is so loyal to Jim that she has to be told to take a coffee break by the speech therapist. Lynn Johnston doesn’t seem to be able to make the connection that when she shows how miserable, and lonely and “you and me against the world” Jim and Iris are, it reflects poorly on the Pattersons, and Iris and Jim’s friends, and Iris’ family, and the assisted living staff, etc. After this week, I have grown tired snarking on that subject, so I opted to go in a different direction with today’s snark. If we have another week of this, I will be sorely tested.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Iris’ Poor Brain

It's been two days in a row on For Better or For Worse where Iris misinterprets something the physiotherapist said. Yesterday it was “We’re getting there” to “Jim’s getting better” and today she turns “family of friends” to “family and friends”. In both cases, the misinterpretation is putting a more positive spin on the situation that the situation deserves. In one she interprets Jim improving. In the other, she interprets the family being something you can thank, when clearly from their participation in Jim's life, they are not.

It’s interesting that Iris’ rose-coloured glasses view is continually used as the punch line for these “Iris and Jim deal with Jim’s stroke” strips. This is subtler stuff than the fare Iris tossed out in prior times last year, because these are not original thoughts on the part of Iris, but alterations of something someone said. Since the last time we saw Iris, we know she is taking antidepressants, so I wonder if this is Lynn Johnston’s opinion of the effect of antidepressant medication—it takes depressing things you hear and makes you think happy things about them.

If this sequence follows the same as when Jim visited the doctor last fall, then we are in for 2 more days of inspirational messages as Jim and Iris get back in the bus and travel back home. The only question for me now is whether or not Iris will continue this trend of misinterpretation or if we will shift gears to Jim’s thoughts, since Jim’s opinions have been pretty much ignored this time around.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Grandpa Jim Realism = A Snark Famine

The way you can tell I have nothing to snark is when I borrow a phrase or phrases from the strip to build stories around for April’s Real Blog entries. Such was the way it was today, when I took Grandpa Jim’s gunny sack reference and reused it with all 4 characters. The exercise was to make the references different from each other, but enough the same so they would be recognized.

It’s going to be a long week.

Monday, May 07, 2007

What Does Gun Have to do with Gunny Sack?

As it turns out, not anything. But it is interesting to see that Lynn Johnston has apparently spent a little time researching the physiotherapy aspect of stroke recovery, only to blow the whole For Better or For Worse strip on a World War II reference, simply because she apparently thinks a gunny sack must have something to do with war, because it has the "gun" as a part of its name. Supposedly Lynn Johnston was brought up on a farm, but whenever she makes mistakes like this, I doubt that (a) she is even writing this stuff or (b) she actually did anything on the farm aside from sit around and draw.

In the meantime, we have stalled out on Liz and Anthony, which will probably not re-engage until the Shawna-Marie Verano wedding, and that may not occur until June, a good wedding month. That will leave July and August for Anthony and Liz to romance each other, but since Warren Blackwood is technically still in the picture, I maintain again, that Lynn Johnston will stretch getting Liz and Anthony back together until August. If they marry it will be small like Mike and Deanna's wedding #1 or they will elope like Jim and Iris did. The only question in my mind is will Liz go with Warren to the wedding or will she pick up someone like Dennis North again?

I really hope for the return of Thérèse and her smack down by Anthony, Liz and little Francie; but I fear Lynn is going to take so much time dragging out the inevitable "Will Liz choose Anthony story?" that we won't have time to get a "Liz is a better mommy than Thérèse" story.

April smacking down Gerald. Normally, I would say that since there is such a time lag between the offending action (back in March) and the earliest possible time for retribution (May), the chances of April actually doing anything to end her relationship with Gerald grow more and more remote with each passing day. Whatever happens has to happen before the end of school in June and I would like there to be enough time for consequences, instead of a startling jump from April saying "Stuff it" to a Jim strip the next day. If Lynn plans for April to go to Winnipeg to live with Auntie Bev or to do the foreign studies in France (as originally predicted), then Gerald will get smacked and 4Evah&Eva will be dissolved. I don't know how it will go. Lynn Johnston has had Gerald with his offensive moments, but then again, he is still the Continental with his smooth old-fashioned dance moves and if you go back far enough, a positive comparison to Anthony Caine. Then again, Constable Paul Wright got smacked and he was presented so positively it was painfully jarring when he got smacked. If Paul can go, then certainly the more offensive Gerald can too.

These are really the only majour plotlines left to resolve. I'm sure there will some sentimentality involving the big house move, but for all practical purposes, Lynn could knock that out in a week. And we also know Mike's novel will be declared a phenomenal best-seller, but that could take a week too, with much back-patting of Mike by various persons and vomiting by the readers.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

The Problem With Aphasia Jokes

The problem with Grandpa Jim’s current storyline in For Better or For Worse is that each and every time he appears, there has to be long explanation about what his condition is, before the joke can be unloaded onto the unwilling reader, and by the time you understand the situation, the joke isn’t funny anymore. This one of these situations where Lynn Johnston’s usual style of extending plotlines over years with just a little smidgeon of plot progress each month makes for distinctly unfunny and uninteresting stories. It is the long separation which requires the explanation of Jim’s condition every time. The joke is that Jim says inappropriate things at inappropriate times. In the case of tomorrow’s strip, the joke is going to be that no matter what progress Jim makes, Iris’ enthusiasm needs to be slammed back into place with a hearty mention of “boxcar.”

I suppose that over the next week, we are going to see Jim visit his doctor and be told he is improving, with loads of inspirational, tear-jerking moments praising Jim and Iris, much like the last time Jim went to visit a doctor, back in December. It looks like a tough week for snarking. These are the days when you separate the men from the mice on April’s Real Blog. The last 2 days consisted of posts made up entirely from aprilp_katje and me. I have a feeling the rest of the week is going to be like this.

Happy 50th Anniversary! St. Mark's United Methodist Church

Today my church is celebrating their 50th anniversary. I sang at a dinner last night with the Mrs., and there will be much singing this morning. I'll drop into April's Real Blog as I can, assuming I can think of something to do with Dr. John Patterson throwing a ball to dogs.

Friday, May 04, 2007

As It Begins, So It Ends

I didn’t really look at this sequence in For Better or For Worse the proper way until I remembered this strip:
has the same joke that we have in tomorrow’s strip, i.e. a woman is exasperated with a man.

Interestingly enough in that strip, Dr. John Patterson also acts oddly as he does tomorrow with his P.M.S. joke. He starts off with an interesting sentence, which is “Now that Howard’s been sentenced, you can get on with your life….move forward!” Is Lynn Johnston actually trying to tell us that the Lovepocalypse is actually due to Howard Bunt?

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Trudging Down the Same Path

Michael was upset with himself when Deanna got engaged, and then he left her alone. Oddly enough, Deanna wanted Michael to ask her to wait for him. That was an odd strip when she said that as if to blame Michael for some wrongdoing, but after the business with Elizabeth and Anthony all over each other when Anthony was engaged to Thérèse, it was clear that engagements don’t mean “hands-off” as far as the FOOB ladies are concerned. I actually had respect for Michael back in those days, when he didn’t continue pursuing Deanna after he found she was engaged, but only considered it a possibility when she broke her own engagement. Elizabeth showed no such restraint with Anthony. The two of them hug and publicly fondle each other no matter what relationships they are in.

Now Elizabeth is kicking herself for waiting to ask Anthony to the wedding. If the wedding is far enough along so she has picked up her bridesmaid dress, then it has been awhile since Liz got that invitation. The thing about it is that the only reason she is considering Anthony, is because Warren is stuck working at Yellowknife for an extended period of time. Otherwise Anthony wouldn’t have even come up. She would invite Warren to the wedding, and see Anthony there with the accountant girl, and she would question whether or not she made the right decision to be with Warren instead of asking Anthony out after she broke up with Paul. After all, and I cannot emphasize this enough, Liz went home to Milborough because she learned Anthony had gotten a divorce. I am kind of sorry Lynn Johnston didn’t go for that plotline. It would be a lot more fun than Liz picking up Dennis North again to try make Anthony jealous, or whatever stupid thing is headed our way next. We’ll have to wait and see. Maybe we will luck out and Warren will magically show up just in time to take Liz to the wedding.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Anthony the Manager

There has been some discussion over at the FOOBiverse’s Journal with persons who expressed surprise that Anthony Caine was a manager. In the letters the event occurred:

Mike's Letter, December 2005

My dad has always had a hand in the garage and helped to finance Gord's startup. He's been repaid with interest but he's become a sort of silent partner, working after hours with Anthony to balance the books and check on inventory, and to keep the staff happy and productive. Gordon has finally been able to let go a little. Anthony Caine is the official manager - something he's good at, and he's going to have to turn the company finances over to someone else or go crazy trying to keep up.

This is the first strip which mentions it:

John: I hear you’re in charge of the garage, the store and the restaurant.—Gordon’s made you the general manager.
Anthony: I am the manager, but I’m not much of a general.

Anthony has never been shown to be actually managing, just as Gordon’s business expands, but he’s the only car salesman. In the same strip sequence, there was some question as to the dynamic between Gordon and Anthony.

Anthony: When they developed the land across the street, business went up over 100%. We don’t want to expand too far too fast—but Gordon has a lot of plans.

The implication was that when Gordon built the car dealership, he pretty much ditched the garage, the store and the restaurant to Anthony; and he has been making considerably more money selling cars. You could also read into it that Gordon made this move against Anthony’s wishes. Certainly the time Anthony took from work to chat with Dr. Patterson and the time he took to deal with the Howard Bunt trial are good indications these businesses have little or no need for Anthony Caine’s management. When you combine that with the fact Gordon sold his old house to Anthony for a song, you can easily get the impression that Gordon is going out of his way to support Anthony, and getting little in return.

The only thing which stands in the way of that assessment, is this letter:

John's Letter, October 2006

Hmmm, I'll have to discuss the details with Anthony. He is a pretty sharp fellah when it comes to investments. Gordon has done a lot of expansion, each time a very good financial move. I used to give Gordon all the credit, but lately have learned that a lot of the ideas have actually come from Anthony, and Gordon just executes them. Amazing how teams evolve and each part of the team has different skills that complement those of others in the team. This allows them to accomplish things that no one could have imagined or that they could have done on their own.

Considering we only saw John discussing the finances of buying the Stibbs' place with Deanna, there is some doubt about that letter. Also, in contrast to that assessment is this letter:

Mike's Letter, April 2004

Gordon Mayes is doing extremely well. He's paid off his house and the garage and has taken out a mortgage on both to develop the property next to the garage. It already had a small building on it and he was using the lot to display used cars, and renovated part of the building to showcase some of the new cars he has. Now he needs more space, and my dad, who is now a sort of partner in the business, is helping him to work out the details.

At this point, Anthony is working part time for Gordon doing his books, while he is getting his accounting degree. Somehow I don’t think the expansion was Anthony’s idea.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

August is the Month

Just when Liz finally gets the courage to ask out Anthony, he reveals he is seeing someone else. Lynn Johnston is going to drag this thing out to the bitter end. I am holding firm with August as the month when Anthony finally proposes to Liz and I see elopement as a strong possibility. Remember how Grandpa Jim’s wedding to Iris was? That’s going to be Liz and Anthony. April will come back from a summer at Winnipeg and say nonchalantly to her mother, “Has anyone heard anything about Anthony and Liz?” Elly will lift up an envelope and say, “Judging from this note, it looks like your sister and Anthony got married. By the way, you’re supposed to be baby-sitting Anthony’s kid while they are on their honeymoon. They've been gone 2 days. ”