This Week in Milford

May 16, 2022

Heather Burns Is Impressed

Filed under: actual action, baseball, freak hands, Gil Thorp, Mimi Thorp, New Thayer — nedryerson @ 8:35 pm

The Thorps are relaxing at home with some coffee and the morning paper. Hey Gil, your team is off to a ten and three start! Say, that’s pretty darn good. Yeah, Heather Burns thinks that’s hot! Oh no! My pinky is looking weird again and I can barely hold on to this supposed newspaper and neither one of us can focus our eyes, so let’s go back to bed until say, June. Sounds good. Wake me up when it’s time for lemonade.

Meanwhile, Half Blind Hamm is back on the bump against New Thayer. It’s a chopper to the left side. Is that good or bad for Hamm? As long as he’s not trying to field it, so what. Guys are going to hit choppers, and dribblers, and squibs, and grounders, and bloopers, and comebackers. It depends on what you do with them. We’ll find out what happens to the chopper later.

May 9, 2022

Big Floppy Hats Are SO 2016

Filed under: actual action, baseball, Pantheon of Mysterious Objects, Valley Tech — nedryerson @ 6:14 pm

Remember when we thought we were going to get way more Scooter Borden than we could handle and possibly want to stab ourselves in the eyeholes with rusty farm implements? Well maybe I still feel that way, especially if Scooter’s going to use terminology like compadre, fired up and on the bump. But Scooter’s stupid jibba jabba has so far been nothing compared to the sheer, unrelenting monotony of Gregg Hamm’s old man, Mr. Incognito.

It looks like Ruth Hamm is getting tired of her husband’s crap, too. She’s clearly snarking at him about the measures he’s taking to avoid being identified in public. That would suggest that she doesn’t think it’s a matter of life and death if someone spots him watching his half blind kid on the bump. Maybe after another couple weeks of big, flappy hat talk, we’ll find out what the big mystery is, but I’m bored with it. I’d rather deliberate on the mystery of what the heck the thing is on the Hamm’s counter. Is he packing a lunch in a customized Bento box? Maybe he is going to put on a mask that he keeps in an old Steak & Shake carryout box.

Let’s watch some baseball, shall we. One would presume that we’re looking at a Valley Tech player attempting to lay down a bunt, but the colorists never know which end is up, so we can’t be sure. If it is a Valley Tech player at the plate, will blind Gregg kick the ball all over the infield or will one of the other infielders commit an error because he’s too distracted by Gregg’s dad in the stands sporting a big, floppy hat?

All I can think about are big, floppy hats.

May 2, 2022

They Shoot Video, Don’t They?

Filed under: actual action, baseball, Brown Hair, Colorist Error, Heather Burns — nedryerson @ 3:44 pm

So, what have we got going on today? It’s still Heather Burns inexplicably shooting video for the Milford Star. That’s right. This dying media enterprise that dumped Marjie Ducey’s salary to hire this dolt is trying to stay relevant by putting video on its website. It’s also diluting it’s all ready craptastic prep sports coverage by replacing garbage reporting with a shaky video of people in the stands? Notice that Heather isn’t using a tripod and she’s holding that “beast” out in front of her. Yeah, that’s the ticket. Visitors to the Milford Star website have been clamoring for this kind of content. If you can’t get a video of a kid sitting in a tree*, the next best thing is randos watching the Mudlarks!

Oh, yeah, there’s a baseball game going on and Gonzalo Aceves is throttling Central. I assume panel 2 indicates that Central batters can only manage weak grounders against Gonzo’s dazzling stuff. Huzzah!

Of course, all this is mostly in service of our A plot, the mysterious Mr. Hamm, who is camera shy for some undisclosed reason. Ruth Hamm is even throwing herself in front of Ol’ Hamm to shield him just in case Heather manages to get a clear, in focus shot of the mysterious bastard. Ruth Hamm may be so afraid of being identified that she changed her hair color since the last game.

*Kid stuck in tree refers to a strip from many years ago where the storyline was about this kid Andrew Gregory who was running around Milford taking videos of exciting things (like a kid sitting in a tree) and selling them to the Star. I was going to try and embed the images from Jason’s posts back in 2008 as it might be more dynamic than just linking back to the posts, but it’s an ordeal to scroll back through fourteen years’ worth of images used in this blog. Links will have to suffice. I think Andrew had a better camera than whatever relic Heather found down at the Star.

April 25, 2022

Chain Link Fence Theater

Filed under: baseball, Gil Thorp — nedryerson @ 9:29 am

Gregg Hamm went five innings and the sign relaying scheme held up. The team from Cooley didn’t crack the code. We’ll see if Gregg’s success continues, as we’ve got no other irons in the fire plot wise. Gil deploys his reassuring hand to Gregg’s shoulder and lets him know that Andy Morrison will take the mound in the sixth. Right, Gil. Andy Morrison. Why so formal? (What is this? Funky Winkerbean? Our relief pitcher, Andy Morrison will finish up.) I’m sure Gregg has met Andy a time or two and they are probably on a first name basis.

We move on to some father son bonding with Gregg and his father. Dad had fun watching his son pitch and Gregg had fun pitching. Well, that’s pretty ideal, I guess, but doesn’t help us move the story along. It seems like there was a hint of something early this month with Mr. Hamm writing stuff and stocking egos on shelves. Is that coming back at all?

Along comes Curtis Charles, (or First Baseman Curtis Charles if you’re Funky). For some reason, Curtis wants a picture of Gregg and his father. That seems weird. At first, I thought maybe the strip glossed over Gregg (or Proud Dad, more likely) handing Curtis their phone and asking him to take a picture, but based on what Curtis is saying, it seems like he’s requesting they pose for him. That’s rather odd. Do teens typically like to have pictures of their friends and their friends’ parents? It is Milford and everything here is skewed.

Ah, but maybe we are calling back to Mr. Hamm’s hinted at profession, as Old Man Hamm stops Curtis and says he’s gotta go get Mrs. Hamm. Does Hamm Sr. not want to be in a photo? Maybe he just thinks he and Mrs. Hamm should be in the photo with their son. But it’s Curtis’ picture, so why does Hamm Sr. insist on calling the shots? Forgive me all my hand wringing over this, but I’m really just struggling to make anything out of this utterly pedestrian interaction.

Whenever I think of people endlessly dicking around to arrange people for “spontaneous” photos I think of this scene from the movie Ordinary People. I guess I’m just dark like that.

April 18, 2022

Play Ball!

Filed under: actual action, baseball, freak hands, Gil Thorp, google nonsense, metapost — nedryerson @ 3:48 pm

Here we go, gang. After several weeks of lead up to baseball season, the Mudlarks hit the field against Westview and it’s a breeze. Eldrick Boston is plating runs left and right and Gonzo Aceves is baffling Westview hitters with some sort of mystery grip that involves maybe an extra thumb. 8-1 is the final and we can put that in the book. One strip and one road win. Now we can relax and get back to some Scooter and Gregg crap that can spread out to fill panel after panel before we see more actual action!

Let’s take a look at Gil out there in a coaching box (not clear which one). Gil is old school and needs no helmet. Sharp liners bounce right off his noggin. Speaking of sharp, what’s up with the pants? Are they uniform pants that were miscolored? Does Gil suit up? Maybe he soiled his Mudlark pants and had to borrow some from a Westview coach, or he went down to the local Sacino’s and rented some tux pants. Either way, he’s not looking to good out there, all stoop shouldered and barely able to proffer a hand for Eldrick to slap. I don’t think Eldrick is interested anyway.

Let’s hold our noses and check in on Scooter and Gregg (who’s a blonde again…he puts on a silver tone wig to get the senior discount at the Coffee Cantina?) to see what’s up with the wacky plan for Scooter to read the catcher’s signs then relay them to Gregg with some name calling scheme. What’s this, Scooter says Gregg must talk to the catcher? Has common sense prevailed and has Scooter decided his plan is stupid and overly complicated and that the best course of action would be that Gregg confront his vision issue directly? I doubt it, or else why would we have spent days building the dumb problem up and even more time having Scooter come up with his brilliant plan. I think Scooter thinks Gregg needs to tell his catcher what Scooter has planned. Maybe the catcher can throw in some complicated wrinkles of his own to make it even more ridiculous. Ol’ Gil the coaching statue won’t know what’s going on.

I like how this conversation is happening at a snack vending machine. I’ll bet Whigham has been dying to draw a vending machine for variety. Too bad we can’t see what snacking options exist. Are there Nutboys in there?

The next opponent is the Cooley Cardinals, presumably from Detroit, although the fictional high school from the film Cooley High would make for a fun cameo. Where would Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs play?

metapost: Due to my work schedule, I will probably be putting my Monday posts up in the afternoon going forward.

April 11, 2022

Scooter Aversion

Filed under: Gil Thorp, Milford Idiots — nedryerson @ 3:27 am

Today’s strip reveals a kernel of information about short and not cute Scooter Borden. His given name is Eli. He’s Eli “Scooter” Borden, a second baseman who sucks at baseball but is fun to have around. His cute, tennis player girlfriend(?), Charis Tompkins, calls him “E”. I guess I agree with Charis about “Scooter” in theory, but it is a colorful name in the realm of sports, and it might be hard to get away from. Supreme Court Justice Byron White never got away from the nickname “Whizzer”.

April 4, 2022

Nasty Curveball

Filed under: baseball — nedryerson @ 3:29 am

This strip has me stumped. In Panel One there’s a signal from Gregg Hamm. Gregg Hamm is the catcher, right? He’s signaling to the pitcher. Then the pitcher throws a nasty curveball and gets an attaboy from the catcher, who is Gregg Hamm, right?

After this bullpen session, two dudes are talking in the parking lot. One dude relates to the other dude that Wilson Henry previously commented about how sharp he was. The sharp dude wants to call his own pitches during the game. Is the sharp dude Greg Hamm, the catcher, who wants to call his own games? What was he sharp at? Putting down signals? Or is the sharp dude the pitcher, who we don’t know, who wants to call his own pitches? Maybe if the sharp dude was the unknowns pitcher, he was signaling to the catcher, so then the sharp dude was Gregg Hamm and that means he’s a pitcher and not a catcher.

The ambiguity will sort itself out, presumably.

March 28, 2022

Springtime. Baseball. Scooter!

Filed under: baseball, shadow figures — nedryerson @ 3:42 am

The Spring plot has arrived. It’s time to get your Spring planting done. It’s a time of rejuvenation, renewal, bees, flowers, and….a new character landing in the Milfordiverse. It’s Scooter Borden. What we know about Scooter via his introductory strip is that he’s diminutive, he turns his cap to the side and he spouts baseball trivia questions to his crew. So the hat and the trivia character elements add up to one thing. The new character is an annoying presence with a persistent habit that makes drives his friends nuts. Gee, we’ve never seen that before.

I guess in the vernacular, Ken Jennings is what you would call someone who quizzes you incessantly. Even that seems a little moldy from a teen perspective. It’s not even really fresher than saying Alex Trebek. Is there any sort of quiz show host more contemporary? I guess we’re still waiting for the dust to settle and a new, for real, no kidding, permanent Jeopardy host is named. But do kids in high school watch Jeopardy? Maybe they would know Ken Jennings from his podcast? Say, isn’t time for a Milford character to have a podcast? I suppose we should wait at least another decade until Neal gets a vague notion about what a podcast is.

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