This Week in Milford

December 7, 2019

Good Ol’ Blow Top

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Mudlarks chowin’ down on sloppy joes
Runnin’ the two-a-day drills
Then Sam Finn passed out and had to go
Whose fault? Sure wasn’t Gil’s
Junior Mudlark tailback Charlie Roh
Had the job in his hat
Got showed up by some old sophomore
That was the end of that
“Blow Top, you’re gonna be
Totin’ the rock for me
Good ol’ Blow Top
Blow Top Chance Macy
Blow Top Chance Macy”
Charlie’s dad tried to derail Blow Top
Diggin’ for bones in his past
The trail he left, they didn’t need a cop
It bit him in the ass
Chance’s fits of rage called “Blow Top”
His backstory is weird
Livin’ with his gram and grandpop
So-called parents? Disappeared
Blow Top, you’re gonna be
Treated by Charlie
Good ol’ Blow Top
Blow Top Chance Macy
Blow Top Chance Macy
Ballard’s in the doghouse with his wife
Didn’t have to make it so hard
Now his credit’s gonna take a dive
Charlie’s got his gold card
“Blow Top, Can’t you see?
Tonight’s tabs are on me!
Good ol’ Blow Top
Let’s hit Ricozzi’s
Let’s hit Ricozzi’s
Let’s hit Ricozzi’s!”
(apologies? No apologies; this song makes me want to throw something sharp)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPM-M79Lfrw
metapost: Dunno what’s gone wrong with my spacing, or why the YT clip isn’t showing. Maybe it’s time for me to hang it up.

December 4, 2019

“The bad thing is, no one under 40 cares about this strip.”

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Reading today’s strip is a lot like buying house brand groceries. The ingredients are the same, the packaging is close enough to fool the casual observer, but when you open the box, pour out the contents then take a bite, something just doesn’t look or taste quite right. Take those teeny tiny backpacks the Milford students are wearing. At son of teenchy’s high school the classes are so far apart, and the time between them so short, that the kids wear expedition size backpacks and lug all of the day’s books and supplies around with them.

Take also Chance and Charlie’s convo. They’re spot on about school board doings – that’s their parents’ deal, not theirs – but their take on the Valley Tech game is more than a bit off. The Mudlarks aren’t gonna make the playdowns, so the only person who’ll be talking about the game will be Marty Moon. Win, and he’ll rag on Gil for underachieving all season; lose, and he’ll rag on Gil for the same old same old. The whole Ballard scandal is what will keep Milford talking long after the pads are put in storage and the last can of Nitrotan is sprayed in someone’s jock.

Finally, take Chet’s sorry-not-sorry apology. I get why Ballard is apologizing to Charlie (that is Charlie, isn’t it? Whigham can’t seem to keep him on model), but shouldn’t he be apologizing to Chance first? Maybe Charlie will tell him that in tomorrow’s strip.  Maybe  he’ll dangle the possibility that he’ll call Chet “Dad” after that, and offer that loser an unwarranted ray of hope. Maybe before it’s all said and done we’ll find out what happened to Chance’s parents. Then again I’m also hoping that any college football team nicknamed “Tigers” or that has a nut for a mascot loses this coming Saturday, but I don’t have my hopes up for that either.

November 30, 2019

Good Lord, I Can See the End from Here

 

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Hey boys and girls! Let’s

Get into the holidays

With a few haiku!

 

Milford Star headline:

Ballard Resigns from School Board

by Marjie Ducey

 

Woodward and Bernstein

Got nothing on Marjie’s mad

Journalism skills

 

It didn’t hurt that

Chet Ballard was as subtle

As a heart attack

 

Wants to be called “Dad”

By his stepson Charlie, but

Tries a bit too hard

 

What was Chet thinking?

Charlie would play more if Chet

Outed the starter?

 

Chet thought he’d dish dirt

Forgot he left a keystroke trail

What a nincompoop

 

Better if he had

Taught Charlie not to fumble

The ball won’t drop itself

 

Guess what’s next, Chet? “It’s

Only going to get worse.”

Time for Divorce Court!

 

November 27, 2019

Hasn’t There Already Been an Investigation?

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Excuse me but haven’t Marjie, the superintendent and Captain Man Bun already investigated Ballardgate?  What’s left to investigate?  How about some of the details in today’s strip?

P1: How much squirming must it take to get your forearm in front of you to facepalm at that angle?  Careful Chet, you’ll poke your eye out.

P2: We’re on to the third day in a row where people are just reading Marjie’s article aloud to other people.  I can see why Gil looks a little pissy, especially since Mimi’s leaning over him to point at what she’s reading.  (Bet she’s one of those people whose lips move when they read to themselves.)  It’s enough to distract him from his carbo loading. Must have a heavy day of lifting with Kaz on the agenda.

P3 triggered a lot of childhood memories for me, as I remember fondly the day my father bought me a Howard Elston catcher’s mitt. Superintendent Elston looks like a lot of recycled art pasted together: Lee Corso’s head with Paulie Walnuts’ hair spliced atop a  torso Walt “No Neck” Williams style, an odd suit jacket with contrasting lapels and a pocket square but no necktie, and topped off with Whigham’s signature gesticulating hand.  He gets the “immediate” part of the investigation; not so sure about the “thorough” though, as he sends his female charge off with no real direction.

That’s all I have to say about that.  Tip of the hat to Rubin for reminding me of the first black Yankee and the man who had the unfortunate task of having to fill Yogi Berra’s shoes.

 

November 23, 2019

“And Now We Pause for Station Indentification. This Is the Milford Mudlark Radio Network.”

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“I would never do something so unprofessional… Oh? Okay, so maybe I did something so unprofessional, but somebody had to think of the children!”  It’s all I can do to keep myself from making a political reference in today’s post. Chet’s denial of wrongdoing immediately followed with an admission of wrongdoing and an attempt to make it about something other than his own self-interest would serve him well in an executive branch position.

Speaking of the executive branch, looks like Marjie’s on the horn to LBJ who may or may not be giving her his pants order. Can’t be Chance Macy’s grandpa, can it? He had more pronounced male pattern baldness last time we saw him. But who else would be saying Chance would be “prepared” for whatever come next? And who’s this “us” Marjie’s referring to? Did she give Superintendent Whatshisname and Captain Man Bun a day to look into this? Just how is Chance getting “prepared”? Does it involve a whetstone?

Now let’s wrap this thing up before Christmas and move on to hoops. Milford’s lost two in the conference so playdowns are out of the picture; we’ve got enough time for a face-saving victory over Valley Tech as Chet Ballard slinks off the school board, out of his marriage, and under the desk at his office. Maybe we can revisit him a couple of years from now, after he’s sent to jail for insurance fraud. The way he sings, he’ll make a great canary.

November 20, 2019

Carol Forsman Is Deep Throat!

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I can understand why Carol Forsman wanted Marjie to meet her at home; she has a history of getting injured in bars.* Also she probably didn’t want to run into Chet Ballard while she was diming on him.

Normally I bristle at exposition strips, but I’m kinda thankful that we didn’t have to see Carol connect all the dots Marjie gave her. The quicker we wrap this stinker of an arc up the better. It’ll be amusing in that schadenfreude way to hear Chet blubber about how he did it all just to hear Charlie call him “Dad” at the custody hearing. He’ll lose his position on the school board and his marriage but hey, he’ll still have that insurance business. As long as he keeps his nose out of Mudlark athletes’ home lives all will be well. Only Gil Thorp and his posse can do that.

Know what else might need a little investigation? How Carol got Steve Luhm to come over to her house and polish those floors. Membership has its privileges.

Oh, I guess there’s that matter of where and what happened to “Blowtop” Chance Macy’s parents. Would it really be so hard to portray some Milford parents as caring and supportive of their children, rather than manipulative, drug-dependent, or living vicariously through them – that is, when they’re present at all? It couldn’t be much harder than showing sports coaches actually, you know, coaching their players.

 

 

*The real-life Carol Forsman has dealt with her share of tragedy, and that’s all I have to say about that. Then again, this could be the Carol Forsman who was married to Rodney Benson which, given Rubin’s proximity to Ann Arbor, is more likely the case.

November 16, 2019

Much Ado About Turnovers

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Well TWIMers, I think we’re justified in pulling this old chestnut back out of the fire. You didn’t have to be in the Houston Astros’ bullpen to see all this coming.

Sure enough, Gil’s poorly prepared Mudlarks collapsed like a house of cards against the Jeffs, Charlie Roh got his touches in garbage time, and pissy Chet Ballard got on the horn to Marty Moon.

Chet’s little prank call to Marjie didn’t put Chance on the bench; what makes him think calling Marty will do the same? That idea is as outdated as the physical inbox on his desk. Only Marty gets on-air digs at Gil; it’s in the call sign after all. Now it remains to be seen just how Moon will hold up the code of omertà he has with Thorp and give Ballard his comeuppance. Hot mike like B/Robby Howry, or something a bit more subtle?

A wee bit of credit where credit’s due: at least Chet didn’t run over or through that stop sign in front of his car while he was dissing Gil. If he had, his next call might have been to Del Bader’s lawyer.

November 13, 2019

You’ve Got a Friend in Thorpsylvania

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Having enlisted Niah Peters (who has a Twitter feed if nothing else) to join Gil’s little Clue Club, Marjie Ducey now seeks to expand its ranks by having Niah dime on Chet Ballard’s “friend” on the school board. Presumably that’s the aforementioned Carol, who really hasn’t acted very friendly toward Chet. I guess offering advice to mind his own business instead of immediately ratting him out to the rest of the school board qualifies as friendship in the high-stakes world of school administration.

Having freed himself of the burden of confronting anyone directly, Gil can finally turn attention back to his day job… coaching sportsball. Gil’s been spending so much time sleuthing that he’s forgotten about preparing his amazingly one-loss Mudlarks for their upcoming tilt against Jefferson. That lack of preparation should lead to a blowout loss at the hands of the Jeffs, which will serve Gil twofold:

  1. The loss will eliminate Milford from the playdowns, keeping Gil from having to prep for football and basketball concurrently;
  2. With the game out of reach, he can give Charlie Roh plenty of touches in garbage time, then wait to overhear more of Ballard’s self-incriminating postgame babble to his stepson.

Join us tomorrow for another episode of Gil Thorp Mysteries. Maybe Gil will have recruited a wisecracking ghost and an anthropomorphic animal or two into his posse by then.

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