This Week in Milford

April 29, 2017

We Get It, Neal; You Don’t Like Track & Field

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Less than an hour away from where I sit and compose this blog post, the final day of the 123rd Penn Relays will be kicking off in a few minutes.  The Penn Relays are only the oldest and largest track and field event in the US; tens of thousands of people are typically in attendance.  All that notwithstanding the Penn Relays are only the second-most hyped sports-related event happening in Philadelphia this week.

It’s not enough that Rubin has had this spring’s female protagonist insulting track and field athletes the past two days; now he suggests that not even those who participate in track and field enjoy watching track and field. (Lemme guess, Neal: were you always getting lapped during P.E. in high school?)  Maybe this just serves to make Dafuq a less sympathetic character, another in a long line of cocky, self-important Mudlarks who will end up knocked down a peg or two by the time their seasons end.

QotD: Is “Jimmy Caruso” the shot putter’s name or another euphemism for “The Beaver”?

April 27, 2017

Sisters Are Getting Bored for Themselves

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As the Argonia High activity bus rolls out of the Milford parking lot in a cloud of dust, Mimi wins the Captain Obvious award. Carrie’s had the better part of a year to hone her skills and grieve the unexpected loss of the team’s star pitcher. What she hasn’t been able to do is to pull herself out of the misogynistic mire at Milford High. Perhaps I’m being too harsh here; after all, people have been feigning interest in the interests of those they’re attracted to since time immemorial. Nevertheless this week’s strips feel like they’ve taken us down the path to another Bechdel Test failure.

Dafne “Dafuq?” Dafonte may be trying to break that fail streak singlehandedly. First, she made an enemy of Casper “The Friendly Brain” Heenan by exposing his profligate spending. Now, she’s alienated several members of the track team by dissing their efforts as boring to their faces. Who else will Dafne piss off before the spring arc is over? Time will tell…

April 22, 2017

Welcome Back Carter – er, Van Auken

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Central City has been notoriously bad to Milfordians over the years, and it looks like it’s going to be so again in the near future.  How do they know Van Auken there? Did he play for Central in the past (and, if he did, wouldn’t Gil and Kaz already be familiar with his work)? That’s unclear from this exchange, but these young ladies know of him there. What’s also unclear is how they plan to “welcome” Ryan back.  Apropos of nothing, I watched Bull Durham last night for the first time in years, so my mind runs to locker room hijinks, garter belts and poetry readings. However, knowing this strip there’ll be mocking from the bleachers, probably involving people dressed up like hurricanes (the meteorological event, not the beverage) and a sign man or two. Meanwhile back in Milford…

… we’ve not yet been treated to a Mouseketeer Roll Call for the Lady Mudlarks*, but it would appear that their catcher is Le Pétomane.  Even the home plate umpire is rendered speechless by the Milford catcher’s talking hind parts. It only seems fitting that Mimi’s minions are playing host to a team from the land of the noble gases. Clearly they’re not in Kansas anymore. Tune in on Monday when Carrie Hobson lobs a few smoke grenades of her own across the plate.

*And we seldom are, cf. the boys’ teams.

April 20, 2017

Saved by the ‘Cane

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Maybe Wellington batters could make contact with Ryan Van Auken’s stuff if they weren’t using cricket bats.  Maybe CB Bucknor has found an umpiring job closer to his level and called that a foul tip.  Maybe Wellington’s first base coach (if they have one) shouldn’t let his baserunners get such a huge lead trailing by three runs.  Maybe Wellington shouldn’t channel the early 1980s Phillies by wearing powder blues at home. Maybe I should go back to using the black & white version of this strip for my posts.

In any event, much less drama than we were expecting out of the new kid who, from this angle, is looking an awful lot like the old new kid.  Guess we’ll have to wait a bit for his first meltdown. Maybe on the bus ride back to Milford?

April 15, 2017

Giving Up Walks with a Ghost

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Reading yesterday’s strip left me scratching my head.  I wasn’t sure if Dafne Dafuq was trolling Carrie Hobson by tagging her the “star pitcher” or simply trying to boost her ego.  After all, Carrie’s track record isn’t much to get excited about, so why not get her excited about a track athlete?  Because nobody gets excited about track in Milford – nobody.

Carrie knows the score and isn’t afraid to admit it. In so doing she hips us to the fact that the late Boo Radley was a junior last season – a fact I don’t think Rubin hipped us to before. (Thanks billytheskink for the confirmation; I hadn’t had my coffee yet this morning when I posted.)  Dafuq then seizes the opportunity to further troll Carrie by calling her by Boo’s nickname for True. I think we’ve got a real shit-stirrer in the making here, on the diamond or off.

BTW, have we learned Double D’s position yet? Between those Ernie Lombardi mitts of hers and her penchant for needling people, she seems a natural behind the plate.

Today’s post title inspiration:

April 11, 2017

We’ll be calling him “The Friendly Brain”

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Today the high-rolling Milford School Board veep gets a mashup name from the famed comic and cartoon character and the famed pro wrestling heel manager but one that yields no Google results on its own.  He looks like a slightly paunchy version of Gil, and the trifecta of head bobble, exploding eye and freak hand (missing an amputated sixth digit between index and middle fingers) make him right at home in Milford.

He’s clearly capable of picking up a phone and calling Dr. Pearl who, with that broken right wrist of hers, may have had to put him on speaker.  The good doctor relays his message to Ms. Rizk, who replies with a deft pop culture/product placement zinger of her own.  She may not be much of a journalist, but she knows where she stayed last night.

A couple of cameos to report: the Funkyverse’s Les Moore joins the Milford faculty after having his face slapped for being such a pretentious douche, and an off-camera cameo by Rex Morgan, MD‘s daughter Sarah, who obviously hand-lettered Dr. Pearl’s name plate.

April 8, 2017

Do Not Taunt Happy Fun Pitcher

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Rubin never fails to give us at least one unlikable Mudlark a season and this spring, Ryan “Cane” Van Auken is gonna be that guy. Rubin doesn’t always give us a troll right out of the box so credit where credit is due, I reckon.  Pete plays Henry Hill to Ryan’s Tommy DeVito and just like that we’re off and running. The as yet unnamed Milford mopes (the one far right looking a wee bit like another Ryan) at the end of the bench already have the two thousand-yard stare and the “not this shit again” look on their faces.

Whaddaya think’ll happen next? Gil and Kaz have a “lighten up, Francis” moment with Ryan? Big Ken Brown and Mike Granger, Boy Detectives, dig up dirt on “Cane” and get him in protective custody?  Dead bodies strewn all over Idaho? Stick around if you dare; between this and budding investigative reporter/softballer Dafne Dafonte, we’re in for another three months of rambling wrapped up awkardly in three days interesting times ahead!

April 6, 2017

Southpaw Ex Machina

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“He’s poised, he’s been well coached, he throws hard.  You can tell he’s not from Milford.”

Just as with True Standish in 2014-15, Gil’s chestnuts will be pulled from the proverbial fire by a transfer student. No need to develop this guy as a player or as a character.

But just how impressive is he?  Sure you’re gonna make the catcher’s mitt vap pop (vape? I thought Milford High was a no-smoking campus) if you’re throwing from 20 feet away.   Back up to a regulation distance and let’s hear what happens.

As for his name, when I saw it first it made me think of two 1930s-era pitchers, Johnny “Double No-Hit” Vander Meer and Elden Auker, but he appears to be in sales or engineering.  So how does Pete de Windt know him?  Maybe they ran into each other at the Tulip Time Festival.  Wonder if they know the DeGroots

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