This Week in Milford

June 15, 2019

I Bet No One’s Said That to the Blues or Raptors

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In the real world, this past week saw league championships won by franchises that had never won them before: the NHL’s St. Louis Blues and the NBA’s Toronto Raptors (contrary to popular belief, not named for Brent and Jolene Raptor). I always enjoy seeing first-time champs; I think it’s good for the sports. It’s one of the reasons I’ve been pulling for a Mariners-Nationals World Series for the past fifteen years. Both the Blues and the Raptors won on the road and, while it’s not the same as winning on home ice/court, it didn’t diminish the joy in their respective fan bases.

In the Thorpiverse, it’s not like the fans have been packing the bleachers to watch the Lady Mudlarks rip through the Valley. If anything, the TCFS scandal that wasn’t may have alienated large chunks of the student body. Since we seldom see the stands in any Milford baseball/softball action, it’s hard to say. My guess is that the Lady Mudlarks return to campus to three cheers and a tiger and a big TCFS banner honoring them for winning, for reading Animal Farm, and for passing out spirit buttons to anyone who asks nicely.

Today’s strip doesn’t have the feeling of a story wrap-up, but it does have some foreshadowing in the form of Jocelynn’s twisted ankle as she crosses the plate. Just enough of an injury to get the girls knocked out in the first round of the playdowns but not enough to end the self-congratulation. Maybe Mimi can lord it over Gil this summer; it’s no state championship but it’s the most recent championship either Thorp has brought back to Milford.

metapost, kinda: Mea culpa for getting it wrong earlier this week that Linda was going to David’s to break up with him. I still don’t give them much longer.

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June 8, 2019

Coffee Talk with Linda… Carr?

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“Welcome to Coffee Talk. I’m your host Mimi Thorp. On this show we talk about coffee, softball, volleyball, George Orwell – you know, no big whoop. Just Coffee Talk.

“Today I’m coming to you live from the Milford High Teacher’s Lounge. Now which teacher is it for? Well, only one Coach Thorp has their team on the verge of winning the Valley, and it’s not my guest, Coach Gil Thorp, who also happens to be my husband.

“So, nu, how is your baseball team doing?”

“Well, we’ve had better seasons, but I’m proud of the boys for…”

“Feh, no big whoop. Have I told you about my girls and all their interests off the field?  It gives them swagger and it’s infectious. Kind of like toenail fungus.”

“Yeah. I’m seeing more of those ‘TC’ pins.”

“Oh, those. Molly Hatcher got them for 39 cents each. Such a deal. At first it was a fun thing, like a Barbra Streisand marathon. Then the girls had the chutzpah to start deciding who that wasn’t on the team should be getting the pins. So I had them read Animal Farm, let them know that was a verkakte idea.  But let me tell you about Linda Carr. Her swing is like butter, but she’s gotten all shpilkes about her volleyball scholarship.  I gotta get her calmed down; I need her bat for the playdowns.

“All this talk of winning championships has me all verklempt. Talk amongst yourselves. I’ll give you a topic: The ‘Too Cool For School’ buttons are neither too cool nor for school. Discuss.”

(apologies Mike Myers)

June 5, 2019

Going Dutch at the Coffee Cantina?

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Here at TWIM we’ve pretty much concluded Milford is in Michigan. While it’s true Michigan has some Dutch influences, I totally did not expect the Coffee Cantina to turn into a full-blown Amsterdam coffeeshop overnight. Had to run with the color version to confirm that the brownie was indeed a brownie. You know it’s a great brownie when you haven’t even taken a bite out of it. Contact high much?

Everyone (including myself) who had written Linda off as a loser who was willing to turn down a volley scholly because she wasn’t yet Olympian material can just hold that thought, at least for today. Skipping practice doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve given up on your sport (remember Allen Iverson?).

The less said about Mimi’s heavy-handed Animal Farm assignment, the better. I’m also disappointed that Mimi didn’t run ’em till they puked before convening Book Club, but if it leads to Molly and Nancy giving Linda a TCFS button for skipping volleyball practice to eat a hash brownie at the Coffee Cantina, I can live with it.

June 4, 2019

The Baseball Season That Was, Until It Wasn’t.

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Gang, are you as confused as I am right about now? As Ned mentioned yesterday, we have learned to live with one-size-fits-all school schedules at Milford High School for quite some time, allowing for graduation ceremonies to be sometime right after the Fourth of July, or maybe that was Burgers and Fries day in the cafeteria, Hell, I forget which.

So while we’re munching on a Quarter Pounder here in the cafeteria before 5th period chem lab and pursuing the class project Design an Atomic Bomb in 1000 Words or Less, Sheet Metal and Crayolas are Permissable, it is left to us to ponder what DID happen to the baseball season. One day, David Walter does an Ozzie Smith fielding job to help the Baseball Mudlarks save the day (and perhaps this strip from extinction) , the next day we have girls talking about hippos and buttons.

And we couldn’t even stay on topic with hippos. Okay, Jamila Moses had a good luck charm she liked better than the Cabbage Patch dolls at Milford Toys ‘R’ Us and, damn, the concept was working until Rally Pachyderm failed to deliver in the 9th and we had to send a hobbling Kirk Gibson to the plate. And to think, it could have been a hippo rounding the bases on that homer hit off of Dennis Eckersley, doin’ the chugging motion while rounding second base as Whitney Houston is somewhere in another dimdnsion accompanying the hippo with “One Moment in Time”. Ah, the gods can be cruel when it comes to fate.

Even the hats that Jocelynn Brown doled out weren’t spared the Black Hole that made everybody look like Dionne Warwick. So it was left to the buttons which have become a national obsession and have driven baseball out of Milford. I know, have Jocelynn dish out those hats for the baseball team, enabling those involved to retain a sense of community. Hey, I’m all for the baseball team and the softball team posing in a group photo wearing Bud Powell fezzes on their heads. We’d be back on-topic anyway. I’m confident there’s a fez that’ll fit Gil’s buffon perfectly.

Don’t you think it’s better than what we have NOW????? What was the point? If reading “Animal Farm” was supposed to be a motivational tool to promote teamwork and commitment and FOCUS, well, “4 legs good, 2 plots (or more) bad”.

“Studying the book wasn’t good enough. You were supposed to READ it. 50 laps around the gym, girl. And don’t let me catch you cuttin’ corners or you’ll start all over.”

Okay, okay, so Mrs. Vince Lombardi is not in Mimi’s genes at this point but we’re still left with more questions than answers after Mimi, appearing to be TAKING CHARGE the other day and still with a bit of urgency in her voice in P1, is leaving us on the edge of the cliff as to what the punishment, if any although I get a sick-gut feeling that is indeed in her bag of tricks this time. No more crack the whip only to find out the whip is just being used to hold the concession stand door on its hinges until a carpenter from the Milford Carpenter’s Union Local 808 comes Monday for much-needed repairs.

If ya harbor the same cast that appeared in Animal Farm: The Movie II-The Year We Make Contact in yore house by takin’ a shower with ’em, sleepin’ with ’em, goin’ to Milford Drive-In Cineplex with ’em, jug of buttered popcorn included, plus tax, lettin’ ’em do the cannonball in yore swimmin’ pool, lettin’ ’em use yore washer and dryer, and takin’ ’em out on a Friday to The Bucket cuz they got 4 Legs Get 1/2 Off On Selected Items On The Menu After 8:00PM Night, ya might be a redneck.

 

And before I leave P1, I WAS hoping Mimi would end this comedy of errors with some good old-fashioned discipline OF SOME SORT. Make ’em do laps, as mentioned. Smack their knuckles with a ruler. Restrict their diet in the cafeteria to only bread and water for a week.

But noooooooooooo, Nancy has to ask, because Pat Sajak isn’t saying, what she’s won. Milford gym has turned into Wheel of Fortune. If I read the entire book twice, epilogue included, that trip to Mudlark Lake Resort is in the bag.

“Marty, you animal. You’re taking no prisoners this time. And I thought this cabin was booked solid through September.”

“Simple, Peaches. One run-through of the “Annotated Version of How the West Was Won” and Vanna took care of the rest. She managed to convince the 90-year-old couple to shift their vacation to Holiday World in Santa Claus, Indiana. I got the keys on Monday.”

“Ohhhhhh, Marty, you know how to talk dirty.”

And how do you study for something with no test or quiz involved? Do you tell Mimi you were chanting “Hare Krishna” while reading the part about the horse getting shipped off to the glue factory? I know Molly is doing her best roundabout answer of I Didn’t Read The Damn Thing, Thank You Very Much. But make the alibi believable. Reciting mantras of “Clapton is God” while reading about pigs and sheep sending a mule to the guillotine on Bastille Day is really unnecessary.

Mimi, I think your strategy is backfiring.

And, believe me, I’m all for unusual motivational tools as long as they work. One year, Indiana University Men’s Basketball played so badly that Bob Knight told them they played like horse crap (confident that the language was stronger than that) and just flat-out said “You’re on your own.” A couple of rookies and some newer players were aghast that he would dump the team like this but Joe Hillman reacted as if this was no surprise. So he got Daryl Thomas to get the plane reservations and tickets (I think they were going to Minnesota) , Brian Sloan to call the hotel in Minneapolis for reservations, Steve Alford to call a couple of restaurants in Minneapolis to reserve a couple of tables, etc. Finally, everything is set up and rarin’ to go, and by the time they arrived in Minneapolis, they got off the plane and subsequently went as a team to the lobby, where Bob Knight proudly awaited. Coach Knight had made his point. Needless to say, they won the game that night against an excellent Minnesota Golden Gophers squad.

I am still waiting for Mimi to get off the plane.

 

“We now return to ‘Daily Living with Dave’.”

Certainly a far cry from “Double Plays from Dave “, which is not only as awkward as it sounds, we’re spared the agony of bad literary style because double plays for the baseball squad is about as frequent as double dips of Bucket Turnip Torte ice cream.

And I’m not liking him at home on a computer with street clothes on. This can only tell me he’s not been at the ball park in quite some time. Which means he must have been doing OTHER things. Now I think it’s stretching it to say he’s been Nordic skiing in Milford Natural Area. Gang, hate to break it to you but you’ll have to set your sights somewhat lower. Yeah, that’s right, he was in a pick-up basketball game in his driveway court with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Pippen couldn’t make it because he was sick with the flu.

So when Linda called, he had Kareem at H-O-R-S (“Bounce the ball off Gil’s hair, go through the loop of the chunky bracelet, bank it in.”) . And it makes me wonder, now that David is accounted for with no double plays up his sleeve, what Linda has on her mind. It doesn’t appear, due to the lack of scars, that Mimi sent her to the rack. But if we have to patronize the same saloon that Matt Dillon and Miss Kitty use Groupon coupons for, Mimi must have done something.

Today’s headline in the Milford Enquirer

“O.J. Suing Milford Beverage Warehouse After Nephew Thrown From Buddy Budweiser!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

sub headline

“Penny caught in the slot chute, causing Buddy to buck, sending nephew 50 feet in front of the Modelo display.”

 

So now we anticipate, judging from P3, that Linda is going to get pissy-whiny-faced about the “punishment” Mimi must have doled out. I can’t imagine hanging around a bunch of Aussies that are thwarting your dream to be a U.S. Volleyball Olympian is really Paradise so being asked (not coerced, if we’re dealing in reality here) by Mimi to gracefully back away from a bunch of roughneck Crocodile Dundee’s so that you can concentrate on a sport that might land a scholarship and thereby doing something strange called “Paying for your Education” is clearly in order.

And Linda might live happily ever after if Sheriff Dillon didn’t have to deal with a shootout caused by one the Dalton boys drinking too much Blue Motha coffee. Kinda makes me wonder what kind of liqueur Miss Kitty spiked it with. Probably some cheap K-Mart Liquor special if it was only $2.15.

 

“Y’know, I just laugh when Coach Thorp takes shots at The Bucket, especially in its endeavors to procure a liquor license. His butt is showing out of his Haggar slacks if you believe some of the tall tales he’s been broadcasting.

Hi, this is the Absentee Owner of The Bucket. What he’s NOT telling you, because the Milford Courthouse Docket was not printed until after his latest ad was that there was a proposal on the table by the very owners of Milford Beverage Warehouse to raise the User Fee on Buddy Budweiser to $1.00 and to surcharge a value-added-tax on select brands of liquor, the latter of which to cover the costs of replacing the ‘B’ on Buddy’s saddle. If some patron discovered that he’s being charged extra on his case of Drewry’s to refurbish a fake Mr. Ed, I bet he’d have a cow. I don’t even want to think about the reaction from the wine connoisseurs when the more expensive Milford Valley Grape Deluxe gets blindsided with heavy tax increments.

But at The Bucket, we have our own riding horse, Bucky, and it is STILL only a penny. If the owners of The Warehouse want to pocket the extra money in the name of Uncle Sam just to finance their Rolls-Royce, that’s their perogative but tell the truth while you’re at it.

Because here at The Bucket, we still charge ’50’s prices because we’re still stuck in the ’50’s. We can go out on a limb in our quest for the Holy Grail and finally nail that Liquor Permit next to the First Dollar because ours isn’t a perfect world. Charging $1.00 for Bucket Triple Cheese and $.50 for Bucket French Fries and still be able to satisfy The Good People who desire The Good Life has long been a goal of The Bucket. And if they want to ride Bucky while they’re waiting for their Bucket o’ Marinaded Shrimp Combo, overflowing with shrimp, onion rings, and a tall boy of Bud Lite, who can blame them? Doesn’t a Michelob Dry taste better when delivered by a sock hop on roller skates with your order of White Meat Chicken Sandwich Combo, especially when you’re washin’ own the Bucket Buffalo Fries and a packet of Bucket Mac ‘n’ Cheese? Mmmm, mmmmm, good.

And this Saturday, as a way of expressing our thanks for over 60 years of your business, The Bucket will let all kids between the ages of 1 to 18 ride Bucky for free. That’s right, save that penny for the gumball machine later. Ride ’em, Cowboy and chow down on the menu at The Bucket. Wow, hope you don’t have plans on this exciting day.

But you won’t know until you ignore Gil and his cohort, Sonny Corleone. The way they both tell it, we’re only in it for the money. Yeah, that’s what happens when Honore Vashon is on the City Council. As if Milford and Steve McGarrett don’t have enough to worry about.

Either way, the door is open this Saturday. In fact, the only time our doors are closed is when we close at night.

Is there a message here? You decide.”

 

Gang, it’s all yours. I’m gonna try that Blue Motha coffee, remembering I have a post to do on Thursday. But I can afford $2.15. And I promise I’ll pay back my sister.

 

Gene Rayburn, thanks for stopping in. What’s the latest?

“Dumb Dora was sooooooooooooo dumb (HOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! DUMB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SHE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) , she thought ‘Animal Farm’ as owned by a group of _________________.”

 

“Mr. Vashon, with all due respect, there’s no way The Bucket would survive on the island of Maui. Too many resorts and restaurants.”

“Ooohhhhhh, that’s where you’re wrong, McGarrett. We did a survey and found that The Bucket Sharkburger was 10 times better than Logan’s Steakhouse or the luaus on the island.”

 

June 3, 2019

Oh Boy, Book Club!

Filed under: Chunky Bracelets, Mimi Thorp, softball, What the hell is going on here? — nedryerson @ 7:14 am

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Nancy and Molly are lounging about on a Sunday afternoon, dealing with Mimi Thorp’s impromptu reading assignment. It’s very late in the school year (some would suggest that school should be out by now, but we all know that the Milford calendar is elastic) and these two are way over it, but they are soldiering on. They do a telephone check in, which I’m told is not a thing anymore for teens. I think we have to stick with this convention in comics because a) This is Gil Thorp and it is the 1950s with cellphones and b) visually, text exchanges are even duller than what we see here.

Nancy is reading Animal Farm and Molly is on the internet reading about it.  This is something that hasn’t changed with school reading assignments since the first time Animal Farm was taught in school. Nobody really wants to read this thing and just wants some bullet points so they can write an essay and move on. (Maybe some people enjoy reading Animal Farm. YMMV, but I have a few thoughts that I will share in a moment.)

Now when Monday rolls around, Mimi is still strangely talking collectively to “ladies” even though the book club is just for Molly and Nancy. I think that’s the case, but maybe I’m wrong. teenchy touched on this Saturday. It’s the usual muddiness .

We shall see what Mimi has in mind as discussion points for the book club. Whatever her thesis, it’s sure to land with a dull thud and I’m certain that I will be scratching my head when that happens. I have a burning question of the sort that never gets answered in Gil Thorp: What the hell is Gil/Mimi thinking? How does this allegorical tale written in England in the 1940s, satirizing the brutal Stalinist regime of the Soviet Union relate to a “too cool” high school button campaign? Are we to believe that Mimi wants to illustrate parallels between “in group/out group” selection criteria and a critique of collectivism? I see nothing more than a facile connection here, but I guess that’s what I expect.

I did actually read Animal Farm yesterday for the first time. Somehow, I avoided ever having this reading assignment given to me. I certainly knew about the book and had a good idea of the ideas it contained. I think the biggest problem I had with reading it was that the allegory is so obvious that the act of reading becomes so analytical that you might as well just go to the Cliff notes or the modern equivalent on the internet. Orwell is anything but subtle in his intent is what I’m saying. I think his writing is actually very skilled but this thing is a polemic guaranteed to crush the will of a teenager in any era.

There have probably been newer readings of Animal Farm that have emerged in our post modern age. Perhaps some more nuanced analysis of class struggle can use Animal Farm as a jumping off point. I don’t expect Mimi, Molly and Nancy to touch on this in the gym.

I will reveal a misconception I held about Animal Farm before I read it. I had thought that the slogan “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others” was something that had been painted on the wall by an animal resistant to the ruling elite as a kind of ironic statement. Having not read it, I wasn’t aware of the running theme of the rules being continually rewritten until the original utopian ideals had been obliterated. I guess that must have been my snarker’s brain’s reading of that statement and how it couldn’t be read as anything but ridiculous.

Okay, that’s more than enough jibba jabba from me about Animal Farm. I can’t wait to hear Mimi’s take.

ETA: If you want to be part of Book Club, you can read the entire book here.

May 29, 2019

Voice of Harold

Filed under: Chunky Bracelets, Gil Thorp, Milford Idiots, Mimi Thorp, softball, TCFS — teenchy @ 7:09 am

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As a rule I try to stay away from political and religious references in my posts, but heaven knows Mimi’s exhortation to “be best” tempts me.  Suffice it to say I won’t be surprised if Linda ends up joining the Army.  You know you’re half-assing it when Gil, master of not doing his best work, gives you the stink eye.

Meanwhile the root cause of the late unpleasantness, synchronized skater/second baseperson Molly Hatchet, adds ventriloquism to her arsenal of TCFS skills.  Letting this thing spread beyond the softball team was bad enough and, granted, stamp collecting has never really been cool, but shooting down poor Harold by making him talk to the ball is just cruel.

Musical spoken word inspiration for today’s post.

May 20, 2019

I’m Gonna Need To See Your Black List Score

Filed under: Chunky Bracelets, huge earrings, Swifti Mart, TCFS — nedryerson @ 7:09 am

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This plot has taken its sweet time to reveal to Molly & Co. that their quest for team unity has taken them down a path to…whatever this is. An endless series of random kids at Milford High are seeking validation from the softball team in the form of a 39 cent pin.

The latest contestant in Tyler, who wrote a screenplay. You’ve probably heard. I’m betting the mostly likely reason you may have heard is that Tyler has been telling people he wrote a screenplay. How else would anybody know? Is is getting buzz in the trades? Has Tyler been shopping it around to all the would be producers in Milford? That is doubtful. My gut says that Tyler is the “I wrote a screenplay” guy at Milford High. I’m afraid Molly is going to have to reject his claim. You just can’t be cool if you have to ask somebody if you’re cool.

Of course “cool” is an illusion, yet another “brand” (ugh) devised by marketing types to sell us stuff that we don’t need. It still works though. Molly bought those stupid buttons, didn’t she? Actually, if she bought fifty of them, the guy at the promotions place probably cleared a healthy ten dollar profit off of her. That will keep the lights on for another day.

In case you’re curious about the post title, it refers to this, a method whereby unrepresented screenwriters submit their work with the hope of becoming represented and maybe even selling their work. If it sounds almost as dubious as teens begging for membership in exclusive clubs, maybe that’s because it is. But if Tyler spends a couple hundred bucks to have some anonymous person (probably another guy with a pile of unsold screenplays) rate his work, maybe it will spare him from spending a fortune pursuing an MFA is screenwriting. He can earn an honest day’s pay down at the Milford Button Works.

 

May 18, 2019

Not This “Branding” Crap Again!

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Okay, so for s & g’s I searched on spirit buttons and 39 cents per seems like a fair deal. The catch is you gotta buy ’em in bulk, at volumes that would ensure every Milford student and their family could have a button with buttons left to spare. The TCFS movement has become less about celebrating softball players’ extracurriculars and more about being cliquish and excluding the one girl on the softball team who cares more about playing softball than the rest of them.

Nancy is perfectly cool with that as she sees being TCFS as a “brand,” a thing that seems to be a thing with kids in Milford (or with a senior citizen who seems to think that branding is a thing with kids). Molly Hatchet seems to have an inkling about that as she and Nancy get brain freezes sucking down their Blastos while they sit on the hood of a… a…  an impossibly drawn clown car with about five planes of perspective and no room for an engine, wheels or passengers.

Added a Swifti Mart tag as I’m surprised we haven’t done that already.

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