This Week in Milford

June 3, 2023

New Favorite

It’s been a busy week in Milford, what with the Memorial Day salute and the handshake line brawl and the frenemy teammates and the therapy, more of which should be scheduled by la familia Hernandez.

Before we dive into that, I feel like some cheers and jeers are in order for this recent run of strips:


  1. Gil in uniform on Memorial Day (not Henry’s fault, btw, that he wasn’t drawn in the uniform of his canonical branch of service; see his comment on that day’s strip on Gocomics)
  2. Henry’s callback to last November 16th‘s strip in his June 1 strip. That should help people with short institutional memories.
  3. Genuine character development among the Milford jayvee girls’ softball players.
  4. Henry’s sticking to his guns in making Luke Sr. an insufferable monomaniac who will stop at nothing, including using the family of his assistant coach and destroying his relationships with his own, to gain revenge over his perceived rival for a perceived slight from decades past. This all feels like it’s gonna blow up in his face before the calendar year is through.
  5. It looks like between Whigham and the color monkeys, they’ve settled on a color scheme for Valley Tech. That it’s old gold, white and black makes Valley Tech look more like Georgia Tech and – at least in the eyes of yhs – easier to hate. (This is about the only positive in the art department of late; see below.)


  1. The continued failure to recognize that baseball and softball teams carry more than one pitcher. There’s this thing called a rotation, in which a team has multiple starting pitchers and can rest each starting pitcher for several days between starts, reducing the wear and tear on each pitcher. There’s also this thing called a bullpen, which consists of a physical location on a baseball field as well as a team’s pitchers who are not starting pitchers. Recognizing that pitching rotations and bullpens are things would reduce a lot of the implausible aspects of the strip, e.g., Gregg Hamm teaching his blind man kung fu treachery to Leo and Dorothy and only Leo and Dorothy and Pedro being “benched” in favor of The Korean Nightmare today.
  2. The reintroduction of the Marty we used to know and hate. Admittedly this is a minor jeer, but I’m having a hard time grasping it in the overall context of the strip. What’s the point of Marty acting all Dishonest John snapping a pic of the Mudlark vape selling ring? Hasn’t the horse already left that barn? I just don’t know what he’s trying to accomplish her. Will he blow the lid on it and force Milford to vacate the Valley hoops title? Or is he just jealous of Luke replacing him as designated asshole? Surely he knows who butters his bread here, and if he shares it with Gil, Marjie and/or Heather, they’ll focus more on the fact that Marty’s been surreptitiously taking pictures of underage boys than on the content of those pictures.
  3. While I appreciate Valley Tech being clad in pee stain yellow, there have been some notable issues with the artwork of late. I’m pretty sure the Memorial Day strip isn’t the first example of one in which Henry intended one thing and the Chief drew another, and I’m pretty sure more than one of us TWIMers have called that out. It’s a Strother Martinesque failure to communicate in the making. Whigham’s fascination with not completely drawing fences has its consequences today, as Keri’s going to get her earlobes torn off as the jagged edges snag her ginormous earrings (another Whigham fascination).

It might not be an inconsistency but it’s noteworthy that Kwan’s uniform number has changed from 5, a very rare number for a pitcher to 1, an even rarer number for a pitcher. (The only one I can think of off the top of my head is MacKenzie Gore for the Nats; others? please comment.) Between “number one” and “favorite son” I’m getting a bad Charlie Chan* vibe from this, and I hope it’s just me. At least we know that Luke has seen The Sandlot.

Just a sad day to be Pedro, and a sad song to capture the feeling.

*In the Charlie Chan films, Number One Son was played by Keye Luke. Coincidence?

May 31, 2023

“Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful. Hate me because I look like the rest of you.”

So this played out kinda the way we thought it might on Saturday. Dot’s teammates threw hands in her defense (Repercussions? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?) and now remind her why. Guessing Dorothy didn’t buy Keri a milkshake at the Bucket? That tradition may have gone the way of the last pitcher to honor it.

Panel one of today’s strip – containing a 14-stripe US flag with all of its twenty-ish stars concentrated in the southeastern part of the canton, and the increasingly accepted form of the second-person plural – might lead one to believe Milford has moved below the Mason-Dixon Line. I think they still call carbonated soft drinks “pop” there so maybe I ought not jump the gun.

Weird mix of self-awareness and lack of same going on in the last panel. Unlike her shiner-wearing teammate, Dorothy recognizes that Whigham can only draw a few different facial features. She fails to recognize that it’s not her popularity that draws ire, but her behavior towards others. Making fun of someone traumatized by an active shooter drill is not TCFS, fer sher.

Post title inspired by the famous 1980s ad campaign with the same tagline. You might recognize the actress.

May 20, 2023

In Which Gil Decides to Wrestle with the Pig

I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it. – George Bernard Shaw

Credit where credit is due: In Luke Martinez, Henry has created one toxic character. His never-ending obsession to one-up Gil Thorp and beat Gil’s teams in every sport he coaches has managed to suck in both his assistant coach and Gil himself. He’s also managed to piss off his elder son who, if there’s any sense of irony in this strip, will soon quit the team and/or transfer to Milford High in the fall.

Why does Gil need to call Hamm? To ask him if he’s seen the Korean Nightmare* clip? He should know the answer to that.

Coachella is looking a bit off-character today BTW, Chief. She needs to shave.

That’s all I’ve got for today. My laptop has been crashing and not recognizing its charger for weeks, and today I finally had to back it up and reinstall the OS. Took hours. Sorry not to have more pithy insights.

Oh, wait: I came across this online earlier this week. It dates from the late 1930s and might be as appropriate to share as Kaz’s out-of-left-field Cab Calloway reference a few days ago.

* Or, as he was known in his home country, “The Nightmare.”

May 10, 2023

Many A Tear Has To Fall

Hello gentle readers, teenchy here. tdrew is MIA and so in the spirit of continuity I’m dropping Tuesday’s strip so that we can move on to Wednesday’s. Will check in on him directly.

The jayvee Lady Mudlakrs get pounded by Goshen and Dorothy isn’t happy about it. Keri continues to slide into apple not falling far from the tree mode, trying to tell her erstwhile nemesis to shake it off.

Meanwhile Coach Ochoa pulls a chestnut from a 30-year-old movie, albeit one that most ball-and-bat players know well. Wonder if she’ll tell them to avoid the clap next.

That’s it for Tuesday. See you in a few with Wednesday’s thrilling strip.

May 6, 2023

These Cameos Are Giving Me Life

Four straight days of actual action and it’s time for a break, right? Right!

What better day for that break than Free Comic Book Day? What better place to celebrate Free Comic Book Day than the famed Golden Apple Comics on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles? What better event to pop in for at the famed Golden Apple Comics than a book signing with none other than Steenz? Boy, Gil and Keri get around. Reckon there was or will be a stopover in Scottsdale as well?

Steenz seems like the perfect cartoonist to do a cameo in Gil Thorp. Like Keri, Steenz’ pronouns are they/their; like Barajas, they took over a long-running legacy comic strip. I must profess that I didn’t follow Heart of the City when it was Mark Tatulli’s strip, even though Tatulli was relatively local to me (South Jersey, on the other side of the Delaware Valley) and the Philadelphia Inquirer was sort of his home paper. I preferred the Charles Addams-like humor of his other strip, Liō, which he still creates.

Unlike Barajas and like Mark Trail‘s Jules Rivera, Steenz took over the writing and artwork, creating a much visually different version of the strip. Where Tatulli’s Heart looked much like his Liō, Steenz’ Heart to my eye looks a lot like the recent Cartoon Network series Steven Universe. Makes sense, then, that an animated version is in the works which will use Steenz’ character design. I’d be curious to know whether Steenz has faced as much backlash over Heart as Rivera has over Mark Trail or Barajas has over Gil Thorp (including what we’ve dished out here, I’ll admit).

I’m also appreciative of Astro Boy’s cameo, too. Takes this old head back a ways. Now head out there and grab yourself a free comic book today, if the mood strikes.

April 28, 2023

That Blue Car Is About To Run Over Fist Pump Man And Drive Up Inma Face.

Ah, the afterglow of a game well-rigged, er, well-played. And where does everybody go after the game? You mean they don’t stop at McDonald’s???? Is this America???? Only in Milford is McDonald’s associated with farm animals and not with Big Mac’s. As in, Ol’ McDonald racked up the last bales of hay and locked them in the barn so he could beat the crowd at The Bucket for a Bucket Burger. When Tobe hits a grand slam to beat Luke’s Losers, he and his buddies will not EVEN be in line for Whoppers. Or Domino’s Bread Sticks. Or The Varsity Cheese Steaks.

No, there’s only one place they’re going to go. And it rhymes with, oops, I’m a Christian. I think you get the general gist.

I get this sick gut feeling that these three will be meeting here for the latest rumors and gossip and, um, uh, SMACK!!!!! oh yeah, game strategy. Speaking of game, I’m a little confused. Wasn’t the score 6 to 3? And I thought, as I’m sure others did too, that it was 3 to 2, given Marty Moon’s account of the game but I think he meant to say THE COUNT was 3 and 2, as in 3 balls and 2 strikes. Anyway, if I’m interpreting the situation correctly, there was more than likely a base-clearing scorcher that seared over the 3rd baseman’s head and the score went from 3 to 2 in favor of Oakwood to a sudden 5 to 3 and then Inma dismounted her garb once again after the go-ahead line shot so she could put her batting helmet on and belted a solo shot for insurance. After 50 years of following Thorpiverse, DON’T rule out what seems impossible at first. Because that’s more than likely how it turned out. You have to store reality somewhere in the garage next to the garden tools.

Today’s Headline in the Milford Enquirer

“The Varsity Eyeing Key Vacant Sites For Location In Milford!!!!!!!! The Bucket Deeply Concerned!!!!!!!”

sub headline

“Atlanta-based outfit felt they could tap market with teenagers averse to Bucket Shrimp Scampi.”

At the Mudlark Softball game

“Inma, you’ll have to remove the headdress if you want to play catcher.”

“No worries. My God will understand my need to protect my face from wild pitches.”

Which just makes me wonder. What is Fist Pump Man doing at The Bucket and for what possible reason could he be pumping his fist? They finally have Bucket Child Plates so his Fist Pump Children can savor The Bucket Moment???? His Fist Pump Man Visa Gold slid through and wasn’t declined this time???? Mama Fist Pump made it through open heart surgery???? FPM, you need to be at the hospital for that one. It makes about as much sense pumping your fist at The Bucket as doing it while riding your bike in the biking portion of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Then those cars parked in the current manner. I do assume we’ve heard of parking lanes and/or spaces. Do people just come on in and hem in some Buick Le Sabre and forget about the blocked-in vehicle until they get the check? And what ABOUT that blue car? You HOPE it is traveling down the street, otherwise, why is it parked in the middle of the road? AND DON’T SAY TO GET TO THE OTHER SIDE!!!!! Yeah, that and the chicken will be sittin’ pretty until her Daddy takes the blue car and the chicken away or Milford Towing shows up sooner.

And is there a Milford Christmas Tree Farm abutting The Bucket property? Don’t look now but those botanical enigmas could be Christmas trees for 10-foot aliens from nearby Jupiter for all we know. Anybody with other reasonable suggestions are more than welcome to chime in anytime. Moreover, WHY is that band blanketing much of the sky? I may not understand the same situation gracing the prairie-style windows at Milford High. Mr. Luhm simply smothered the windows with Windex. But you can’t say that Zeus sprayed an excess of 409 on the sky as punishment from Hera for running around on her and getting kissy-faced with Aphrodite. C’mon, Thorpiverse, and enough of this hideous streak appearing out of infinity and landing in Gil’s office on his lunch pail. Send it over to The Fantastic Four where it can be a villain. Superman battles The Streak and Lex Luthor. I could make a mint.

Finally, you knew it was inevitable. It would only be logical that if you’re going to call it The Bucket that the sign would have a bucket on top promoting the product. There’s really no sense in situating a commode on top and calling it The Bucket. Maybe The Pot, assuming no other restaurant establishment calls itself that and doesn’t display as pictures of Ronald McDonald or Burger King or Colonel Sanders sitting on the can for liberal amounts of time. Or why stick a couch up there and call it The Divan? The Divan Burgers hot off the grill? Divan Chocolate Shakes being slurped and shared by you and your girlfriend? Divan Full o’ Spaghetti? Divan Crab Cakes In Divan Queso Sauce? I don’t see it.

They could stick Gil’s bed up there. The way his Chastity Belt relationship with Mimi is going, you gotta use the bed SOMEWHERE. Gil’s Bed Triple Cheese Burgers. That has a nice ring to it.

Special Edition to the Milford Enquirer

“Milford Softball Wins In A Walkoff!!!!!!!!”

sub headline

“Valley Tech’s GPS system broke down and the team bus could not arrive in time, forfeiting 7-0.”

Passing by The Bucket one day

“What’s our bathroom sink doing on top of The Bucket sign?”

“Gil, I told them it was only temporary.”

Can Inma talk plain English here? Do not go gentle into that softball night. Nope, can’t see it. Once upon a game time dreary, our Mudlarks weak and weary. The Edgar Allan Poe angle is a stretch too. When Mudlarks last on the pitcher’s mound bloomed where Cami sang a Song For Myself because Gil ditched her once again. Possible but Gil isn’t Walt Whitman. We’re still working on his lack of coaching to be bothering with his lack of poetry, in bed or otherwise. It was not the Mudlarks time to question why but simply poop or get off the pot. I think Alfred Lord Tennyson was in an outhouse somewhere in England when these verses saw the light of day. I hope he had plenty of toilet paper.

Brownie points for Keri who does exhibit begrudging acknowledgement of her nemesis even if I really have no clue what brought on the animosity. She’s enemies with the Miller Light Lady for, what? She uses too much fingernail polish before she’s scheduled to pitch? She’s too bubbly when she presents the umps the lineup cards? She posed in a bikini at Team Picture Day? Miller Light Lady got into it with Mimi at the mall over who was first in line at B. Dalton Bookseller? If you’re going to hold a grudge, could you make it believable? As the Umpire Manual says, ejecting a player for trivial offenses is inexcusable. I remember when Joe West called out Andre Dawson when he was with the Cubs on a strike that wasn’t even in the Western Hemisphere and when Dawson, who normally never complained, looked back at West and just quietly said “You got to be kidding me”, West tossed him, a tossing that really had no basis, IMO. The Cub fans were understandably angry and let West have it all night long, although the Cubs did end up winning. Therefore, Keri, if you’re going to toss Miller Light Lady, make sure she said something about your mother. Talking about that earring in your nose won’t cut it.

Late Edition to the Milford Enquirer

“Umpire Joe West Ejects Coach Thorp In Game with Oakwood!!!!!!!!!!”

sub headline

“When he said I was blinder than Gregg Hamm, I told him to hit the showers.”

At Valley Tech gym one afternoon

“Steeeee-rike Three!!!!!!!!”

“No, Coach Kim, that’s not the proper mechanics. Listen to me and you’ll strike the fear of Gil, er, God into people.”

“Oh, I lick the asphalt you walk upon, oh mighty Dutch Rennert of the Valley Conference.”

Okay, not bad artwork in P2 even with the brown Cream of Wheat that Inma is consuming. I never know what the connection between that and the Bucket Burgers that the other compatriots literally have on their plate but I’m not the Resident Dietitian at The Bucket.

But is Keri flipping off Inma? I’m willing to give the benefit of the doubt but I don’t see any reason why she would brandish a #2 pencil alongside her Bucket Triple Decker. And I don’t think fingers grow out of the hand, at least that’s what I was fought by Mr. Hahn and Mr. Gardiner (great teachers, BTW) in high school Biology. Wait a minute, maybe she just devoured a popsicle. Yeah, that’s it. Or a Klondike Bar and you get a free emery board with every bar you purchase.

Late Late Edition to the Milford Enquirer

“Umpire Joe West Ejects Coach Ochoa From The Premises!!!!!!”

sub headline

“Everything went fine until she said I ump like Heehaw.”

In the bedroom one lovely night

“Steeeeee-rike Three!!!!!!”

“Mimi, I haven’t taken my clothes off yet.”

Okay, again, I’ll lay off the Bucket Cheeseburgers and Bucket Fries art stylings today because I would eat today’s cartoon food if push came to Luke’s scraggly shave job.

But what the bejabbers are those ants doing all over the drinking cups? You could make a horror flick out of this

“Them!!!!!!!! The Year They Land On Milford!!!!!”

They were engaged in quiet conversation, Dorothy and Tobe were. They were content with the victory over another Joe Palooka opponent and were on the verge of indulging in the fruits of their labor. The Milford Fire Ants had other ideas. They started with the Bucket Shake. Some Milford Fire Ants enjoyed Bucket Mocha Chocolate Supreme, others gorged on Bucket Tapioca Pudding Shake And Shimmy. The bottom line was, no matter how many #2 pencils they threw at these Creatures of Doom, The Bucket was soon to be ravaged in a matter of time.

Can those Blobby People rescue them from Bucket Hell? If they can rescue Dagwood when he’s ringing out Blondie for purchasing too many packages of Fruit of the Loom at Milford Department Store, all while lurking in the background, bettin’ money says they’ll call Milford Pest Control and mount a campaign only Hannibal would be proud of, minus the elephants. It would help to crush these ants with Dumbo but Raid and elephants might be overkill. Why ruin a good script?

“We’ll be back to see if Umpire Joe West summons Coach Thorp from the Time Out Corner after these messages. You’re watching WDIG-TV.”

“I had the wedding plans set. Coach Kaz were going to walk the aisles in the wonderment of matrimony even if they had to utilize a Drott Bulldozer to clear the way leading to the altar. But when Coach Kaz left me for another job, I knew it was time to trim down this sexy, sensuous, unctuous body from its 754-pound stature. Coach Kaz would have to wait and accept the position at the Milford Boys Club as Assistant Recreation Director.

Greetings, this is Mabel Ruth Pearl and when I was so out-of-breath that it felt like I scaled The Balcony at Mount Everest when I said ‘I do’, I surmised that drastic overhauls needed to be implemented in this chiseled granite of Parnassus. Therefore, I applied at Milford Liposuction Academy and sweated through their very thorough examination procedures because I was afraid I wouldn’t meet their cutoff. I was reassured that few people shared my weight considerations and that I would have little impediments on my way to a Lifestyle free of guilt or weight the equivalent of a 19th-century brougham.

Once they finally cleared my dental records at Milford Dental Associates and was exonerated from that wisdom tooth caused by excessive Pay Day bars, I was a Roger That. They sat me in a wheelchair on the day of the procedure and procured one safe enough to cart a dead zebra around the premises. I was taken to the procedure room where I was undressed, save for the gown I was required to wear. I loathed displaying my sexy implants with the Academy staff but it was the price I paid if wanted to metamporhose my way even sexier.

I was attached to several hoses, one to my breasts, one to my navel, one to the crevice in my gluteus maximus and also The Professor and Mary Ann. I was given sleeping gas and I drifted off to Never Never Land where I would have treasure if I stayed in the room, far precious more than gold or Kaz’s earrings. I thought on pleasant things and soared on silky wings, for as long as the heart monitor stayed plugged in. I could immerse myself in corpular liberation as the lipocytes were oozing out the tube injected by my quadriceps femoris and it made me want to do a windmill 360 jam at Never Never Land’s gym. The encephalograph beeped loud enough to wake Pearl Harbor and Air Mabel I was not.

The Liposuctionthreapeuticimmunogonorrhrealoutsourcingpathog-enicoutwashing was a success. No longer would I be required to deduct my clothes as tare weight when I was hailing a taxi cab. I am a liberated woman and on a new mission to flag down Coach Kaz and hold him to that Promissory Note he signed should we reschedule our nuptial assignment. I believe he will honor his commitment to this Cinderella who no longer weighs more than the pumpkin she rode to the ball.

And with Major Insurance plans approving the procedure, you owe it to yourself to live Life to its fullest instead of dressing to your fullest. Come in and discuss your Liposuction issues today at Milford Liposuction Academy and be on the road to recovery by not tearing up the concrete.”

Gang, don’t place that old washtub your grandma showered in when she was a teenager on top of The Bucket sign. It’s a fast food joint, not a laundromat. But God bless you all.

“Streeeeeeee-rike three!!!!!!!!”

“The ball diamond’s the other way, Ump.”

“Boy, Coach Thorp, this one IS blinder than Gregg Hamm.”

Tomorrow’s Edition to the Milford Enquirer

“Andre Dawson Wins Protest On Umpire’s Decision!!!!!!! Game Will Resume On Sunday At 1:00PM At Milford Sportsplex!!!!!!!!!”

sub headline

“Domino’s Pizza will deliver this time rather than Nick’s Pizza per final ruling.”

April 24, 2023

Yas Queen, Be Careful What You Wish For

Oh look, Mimi’s back in town, officially handing over the reins of jayvee softball to Cami. Mimi’s off to coach golf… where? Milford High? Scottsdale? We’ve been missing some Mimi (and Meemaw) updates to fill in where they are on their respective journeys. I trust Henry will fill us in on those in his own good time, maybe by July.

Cami’s posting the softball roster fairly realistically. Sometimes coaches post them before giving notice to the players that they’ve been posted, but they pretty much never hang out to watch the kids look at them. Why open yourself to questions about who made the cut and didn’t? Not that standing there with a bunch of your peers to see who made the cut and who didn’t isn’t awkward enough. I remember having similar feelings in grad school when exam grades got posted. They were posted by Social Security number and, as mine was significantly different than everyone else’s in my class, folks could figure out which one was mine straight away. I was glad when they changed to posting by only the last four digits of our SSNs.

Keri’s nemesis Dorothy has made the team; how did Keri know about that on Friday? Dorothy’s slip about making it “on her own” is leading. Did a family member have pull in getting her on the cheerleading squad? Not as much as Gil did after getting Keri a slap on the wrist for bringing a butter knife to school kicking Dorothy’s #&% . Dot’s got some knuckles of her own now, so maybe Keri should think twice before reenacting kicking her #&%.

Then again, Dorothy’s a leftie; maybe she and Keri will find some common ground.

April 22, 2023

Madison Time, just not the kind you’d expect

“It’s what Coach Thorp and I will be doing while you’re playing softball. Duh.” Come on, man, you can’t start a strip off with a loaded question like that and not expect some juvenile retort! The questions from the parents aren’t too farfetched, so kudos for that.

The answer to the third question is “so you don’t call us with questions like the first one.” I’d like to see what they do with question two, though. Between the kids always eating at The Bucket or Ricozzi’s Pizza and the preseason sloppy joes, sports nutrition has kinda gotten short shrift in Milford. No place in the program for HooDad’s and vapes.

Bigger question: Why the focus on Milford JV softball and not varsity? (And since when do jayvees have postseason tournaments? No, really. If any of y’all have examples, please leave them in the comments.) Did they lose too many upperclasswomen to graduation and ODs? It happens IRL sometimes; there’s a big gap between age cohorts and schools just drop the program for a season or two until the next cohort ages in.

But back to this New Haven thing. Is henryjbarajas throwing out recent canon (goodbye, Luckey Haskins?) and taking the strip back to its Connecticut roots? He promised big news in his comment on GoComics today. Breath bated!

We of course cannot have Madison Time without, you know, Madison Time. This one’s in honor of our old friend and TWIM’s former big toe, nedryerson. Here’s hoping life’s treating you kindly, ned, wherever you are.

Apologies for the late post. I lost a (much longer) draft that I thought I’d saved.

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