This Week in Milford

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 27, 2023

Doin’ the Bump, Not the Madison

The fun never ends in Milford as The Hammmmer’s blind magic rubs off on another Mudlark hurler. No-hitters aren’t that uncommon in high school sports given the frequent talent disparities across teams, but it’s a little surprising that a girl whose making the team came as a bit of a surprise* throws one in, what, her second or third start? Madison must really suck this year.

The Capitols’ suckiness extends to their sportsmanship as well. The sports world is full of egregious examples of fights breaking out during postgame handshakes; Juwan Howard v. Wisconsin (speaking of Madison) is only one in a long line. I’m not inserting any here but you can go to YouTube and take your pick. What set Big Barda off here? Was it that Dorothy didn’t take her glove off to high-five right-handed? Does it really matter if you’re high-fiving and not shaking hands?

What should be interesting (that is, should be interesting but will probably be disappointing) is the response to Big Barda’s elbow to the back. Dorothy has already turned the other cheek, but will her catcher – who previously threw hands at her – start throwing hands in her defense?

*Note that both Dot’s making the team and hurling the no-no both elicit one-word responses from Keri.

May 13, 2023

Like the Lava Lizards of the Galapagos Islands

No need to rehash how we got here. Barajas has dug up a character from Rubin’s next to last story arc, James Franciscus as Longstreet Gregg Hamm. Amazing how the Hammmmer can hit the strike zone now that he’s apparently completely blind. He had his problems with finding it when he still had some of his eyesight. Amazing too that these two pitchers magically move from in front of him to his throwing side in the blink of an eye – that is, unless Gil isn’t behind home plate but in center field and Gregg is hurling the ball at him Trevor Bauer style.

Barajas has dug up something else from the Rubin era: implying there’s only one starting pitcher in each team’s rotation. Why isn’t Gil having Gregg put on his show for all the Milford pitchers? Even Gregg himself had his Nomar Ramos to back him up. Hell, wasn’t Dorothy’s making the softball team a bit of a surprise? Can’t tell me Cami didn’t have someone else in mind to pitch.

I’ll admit I’m guilty of digging up old characters today, too. Longstreet was a short-lived show from the early 1970s with an interesting premise: the title character, an insurance investigator in New Orleans, is blinded in a bombing that kills his wife. Longstreet stays on the job and tracks down the bombers, then continues his work as insurance investigator and private detective. Realizing that he may come into sticky situations where he might need to defend himself, he engages the assistance of Li Tsung, an antiques dealer and expert in Jeet Kune Do.

Hey, any excuse to throw a Bruce Lee clip in the post, I’ll take it. Now let’s see if Gregg tells his protégés to be water or to breathe through their eyelids.

April 11, 2023

“…Tune In To Baseball Season, Same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel.”

All you Baby Boomers will surely remember those immortal words anytime Batman & Robin got caught in The Joker’s deadly laughing gas or The Penguin’s Antarctica ice trap or The Riddler’s question mark that acted like a machete or Catwoman’s lion cage. William Dozier, the executive producer of the show, uttered those immortal words. I think there might have been an audition but many of his colleagues basically said “Dammit, Bill, it’s your show, you do the narration.” The ‘60’s and beyond were never the same.

Many celebrities wanted on the show and so they either played a villain (George Sanders, Otto Preminger-Mr. Freeze, Vincent Price-Egghead, Eartha Kitt-Catwoman, Roddy McDowell-The Bookworm, Cesar Romero-The Joker, Burgess Meredith-The Penguin, Victor Buono-King Tut) or they provided comedy relief popping out of a window on a building The Caped Crusaders were climbing (Sammy Davis, Junior) . Frank Sinatra, trying to recover a bit of the luster he lost in the ‘60’s, trying to appeal to the younger generation, wanted to appear on the show ANYWHERE to shore up his image. Much as I love Frankie (Let me count the ways) , I really couldn’t see him as, say, The Riddler. Really, what was he going to do, have a couple of pieces of airplane shrapnel tumble out of the sky and bonk his head and suddenly, he’s King Tut? Kinda sorta doubtful. Love ya anyway, Frankie.

But doggone, an I-beam didn’t fall on Luke Loser and alter his cranium. I was hoping for

“Nice game. Coach Thorp. I’ve been reading a lot of Grantland Rice when I’ve sitting on the john and I got my inspiration while I was chugging that last stool in the commode and I received an epiphany. It doesn’t matter whether you win or lose to a guy you wouldn’t eat with at the diner with Humphrey and Elvis on the Boulevard of Broken Dreams, let alone pick up the tab on his pickled omelette and stale pancakes I wouldnt feed the snail perched on my porch, it’s how you play the game. Fair play will get you merit raises every time.”

Somebody get a shovel on this one before it gets so deep, you can’t open the door to the basement.

And remember that bet that was made last year (July 28, 2022, to be exact) ? That’s still on, or at least I find it hard to believe Thorpiverse forgot about it. For those with amnesia because they pulled a Gilligan on us from the coconuts that dropped out of the tree and on his head because the squirrels needed the extra real estate, the bet was that if Gil loses, he steps down as a coach but if Luke loses (wash your mouth out with soap, T. Drew. What goon is going to replace him, Honore Vashon from Hawaii 5-0? The Mad Hatter from Batman?) , he never coaches another contest, tetherball to tiddley winks, basketball to bingo.

So my guess would be baseball season is the rubber game of this elongated wager that’s been grinding for months and may grind longer than that. Honore Vashon is not leaving Hawaii and purchasing a condo in Micronesia. But let’s root for the Good Guy anyway, no matter how many times he’s flirted with Beth the Bartender. Honore Vashon may try to hijack the Jack Berrill Coach of the Year award out of Oahu but it’s best to let Steve McGarrett handle that one.

Today’s Headline in the Milford Enquirer

“Rodney Barnes In Stable Condition!!!!!!! Has Been Transferred Out Of ICU At Milford General!!!!!!!!!!!”

sub headline

“Medical team: ‘Mr. Barnes is up and running. He should make it to the toilet and not use the plastic potty by the time Coach Thorp makes visitation hours.”

“Steve, I caught Luke Loser and Honore Vashon trying to make a move on Dr. Pearl. Isn’t that statuary rape?”

“And complicity in an unnecessary crime, penal code 112 section A of the State of Hawaii. Definitely book ‘em, Dan-O.”

Mopman brings up an excellent point. The wager was never really shook on as Beth the Bartender broke up the encounter between Luke and Gil (based upon 1st panel on July 29 strip the next day) . And knowing Luke, he was perhaps too drunk or loud-mouthed to care, although he appeared in his right mind BS’ing about Tod Andrews (and possibly other Valley opponents) before Gil walked into the bar. That said, I think it’s interesting how Luke is laser-focused on putting Gil out of commission, drunk or sober. The bet, IMO, is still on like an unwritten rule, given hints and circumstances surrounding Gil and Luke but everybody knows that whoever loses, nobody’s going anywhere even after the “Loser Leaves Milford and Valley Conference” cage match. And have no plot to write to keep this Gil versus Godzilla travesty pumping along? Please.

And will somebody please get rid of Gil’s Ricky Nelson Rockabilly look? I don’t know which is worse, that or those hair follicles in P1 that Luke apparently applies tweezers to before getting on his Game Face. I don’t know if I’m looking at a coach or Boone Sawyer. It’s ridiculous that somebody is attempting to add sex appeal to Gil’s persona. Like that’s going to target the Tiger Beat girlie-girls out there and up the readership significantly. If I wanted Bobby Sherman, I’d raffle through my sister’s old records where Donny Osmond and The Cowsills reigned supreme. Mimi, Mimi, do you really love me.

Speaking of Rick Nelson, I may have told this one before but bears repeating as long as T-verse insists on Gil’s Bill Haley’s locks being a permanent fixture, Nelson was a teen idol and a very successful one back in the ‘50’s. With hits like “Hello Mary Lou”, “I Believe”, “Travellin’ Man”, and “Poor Little Fool”, the dude kept himself busy and was a heartthrob many times over.
But like many teen idols, they were getting older and outgrowing their image plus performers like Nelson wanted to write new material in line with the ‘60’s and ‘70’s anyway. Personally, I thought Nelson wrote some damn good stuff but that got lost on the crowd one night at Madison Square Garden where Nelson appeared. Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, et al also headed the list. He played “Hello Mary Lou” but then started playing his new material and the crowd mercilessly booed him off stage. We thought Ricky was going to appear. Who’s this stranger?

This prompted Nelson to write “Garden Party”. It’s clear he’s a little bitter, judging by the lyrics

“They opened up the closet door

And out stepped Johnny B. Goode

Playin’ a song like a-ringin’ a bell

Playin’ like he should”

An obvious reference to Chuck Berry

”If ya wanna play at garden parties

I wish you a lotta luck

But if memories are all I sang

I’d rather drive a truck”:

Special Edition to the Milford Enquirer

“Coach Thorp Booed Off Stage At Milford Outdoor Amphitheater At Yesterday’s Rick Nelson’s Garden Party Of Memories!!!!!!!!!!!”

sub headline

“I don’t care if his guitar was a gift from his dad for graduating from OCS in the Marines. He can’t play ‘Chopsticks’, let alone ‘Travellin’ Man.’”

“McGarrett, Honore Vashon has been picked by Luke Loser to be one of his assistants for Valley Tech Baseball. Luke says two people can cheat better than one.”

“Book ‘em, Dan-O. And send the final notice to Luke on his parking fines.”

P2 has everything this melodrama could ask for. Two coaches that don’t like each other with the dislike tilting some in a certain direction; I remember one night when Lefty Driesell coached at Maryland and felt he got railroaded by the officials when going up against North Carolina. Deserved or not, Dean Smith, like Bob Knight, had a reputation for bending the zebras in his direction. When Dean tried to shake Lefty’s hand, Lefty went all over the gym to avoid ANY contact with Smith. Ergo, handshakes were out of the question.
That’s kinda sorta what I was expecting here when Elvis, er, Gil tried to extend the hand of fellowship yesterday. I was expecting Luke to go Lefty on us and thereby spice matters up by the time Mudkarks were practicing off the hitting tees. Darn it, T-verse, let Lefty Luke run like a mouse in a maze and maybe add some background music like “The Peter Gunn Theme”. This begrudging look simply won’t cut it. And add some smartass remark to it. One night, when the great Horace Albert “Bones” McKinney was coaching Wake Forest, he was chewing on the referees something fierce. A licensed minister, the referees were obviously a bit taken aback by McKinney’s demeanor. Finally one of the refs shot out “You call yourself a preacher?” McKinney shot back “You call yourself a referee?”

That’s what we need here. Not this needless face-off that’s smoldering worse than the lard greaser in the concession stand. “You call yourself a coach?” “You call yourself a one-woman man?” “You call that a team?” “You call them Homo Sapiens?” “You call Granny Clampett a principal?” “You call Valley Tech accredited?” “You call those your kids?” “You call Valley Modified your kids’ school-voucher choice?” “You call that a beard?” “You call that a tie?” “You call him The Fist Pump Man?” “You call Marty Moon sober?” “You call your wife a doctor?” “You call Heehaw alive?”

There. That’s enough to get started, don’t you think?

Late Edition to the Milford Enquirer

“Coach Luke Refuses To Shake Coach Thorp’s Hand, Will Send Certified Check To Support The Lift-A-Thon Instead!!!!!!!!!!!!”

sub headline

“Check will be Registered Mail and transported Special Delivery to avoid mix-up with Netflix videos.”

At Milford High School one night

“I don’t care what anybody says, I’m not shaking hands with that stiff-necked lout. Sue me.”

“Gil, you can come out of the broom closet now. Tod Andrews left 15 minutes ago.”

“Okay, thanks, Luhm.”

The ACC, like all the major conferences, have had their share of controversy, particularly in basketball. Another Dean story-and really, how could it not involve Duke-happened one night when the Tar Heels invaded Cameron Indoor Stadium, Duke’s home. Leading up to the game, the Cameron Crazies, Duke’s great fans comprised of mainly the student body, were called into question as they had been from time to time. Many of them are great and know how far they can go when cheering their team or heckling their opponent. Unfortunately, like with any crowd, there’s a few that cross a line and shout racial slurs at the other team and examples like that prompted the ACC to address the situation. Basically, the ACC Commissioner told Smith and Mike Krzyzewski to put a tight rein on their crowds. Coach K sent out a bulletin advising the Crazies to behave themselves.

Late in the game, still up in the air, like most Carolina-Duke games turn out to be, Dean Smith tried to flag down a referee on a questionable call. The ref basically said, play on, Coach. Smith went ballistic. Trying to get someone’s attention, he banged so hard on the scorer’s table that the electronic scoreboard was altered. North Carolina had 78 points but the warped scoreboard now had them for 98 points. Naturally, Coach K was furious after striving to motivate the Crazies to show some class when heckling only to watch Smith act like a jerk. And it didn’t help that North Carolina went on to win the game. Coach K was in his element after the game

“You guys in the media better get your facts straight. You saw what happened out there.”

Tough call, one I’ll leave to the basketball gods to answer. The point is, exploding eyeballs and jiggling chins do not a Carolina-Duke rivalry make. If the Cameron Crazies did nothing but pop their eyeballs out, Duke would be in a world of hurt. Coach K just vibrating his jaw up and down on a questionable block-charge call? You call yourself a comic strip, Thorpiverse? Dean Smith in that Campbell Soup kid hairstyle???? They’d laugh him out of Carmichael Arena. Dean changing his tie at halftime? Better beat NC State, Coach, or they’ll hang your ass with that tie. Couldn’t see Laettner with that rug Lefty Luke is dragging around.

So really, let’s spice up what should have happened and take it from there

VT Crazies

“One-two-three-four, Gil can’t coach this game no more!!!!!!”

or after the Mudlarks are about to lose

“Mimi’s better!!!!!!!



Mimi’s better…”


“Don’t wake Heehaw




“Mr. Referee, I have a question!!!!!!!”

“Sit down, Loser.”



“I’ve heard of pistol-whipping but this is ridiculous. Anybody know CPR?”


“You better get your facts straight. Our team and fans showed the most class.”

“Coach Kim, it helped when Luke left in the 1st quarter for his dental appointment.”

Late Late Edition to the Milford Enquirer

“Valley Tech Scoreboard Will Need Serious Repair Stemming From Last Friday’s Game!!!!!! Local Electrician To Conduct Estimates This Afternoon!!!!!!!!”

sub headline

“I kept advising Coach Thorp where to place his coffee. But does he ever listen?”

At Milford Outdoor Amphitheater

“Did you ever get a hold of Coach Shaw?”

“Still trying. You sure a Jazz guitar will work on ‘Stood Up’ or ‘Garden Party’?”

“Look, I’m not getting my butt chewed out again after Gil’s debacle.”

Like what was Luke going to whisper in Gil’s ear? You look sexy in that purple tie???? Am I too late for visitation hours???? Are Heehaw and Paul both dead???? Are they going to go through with the burial or do cremation and throw the ashes in Mudlark Lake????

And if they don’t get on to baseball after Luke clearly shows his breath smells as bad as his ethics, shoot the horse.

“And Milford wins a thriller over Valley Tech, 68-67. Sure glad Leo came to play because it’s obvious Gil didn’t come to coach. They should get Luke Loser out from under the bleachers after he refused to shake Gil’s hand. We’ll be back after the tear gas has settled with final stats after these messages. This is Marty Moon and you’re listening to WDIG, a division of Learfield Sports.”


“OMG!!!!!!!!! Rodney Barnes’ legs are at a 23 degree angle with his back!!!!!! Talk about being bent out of shape!!!!!!”

“Quick!!!!!!! Call The Shark!!!!!!!”

“My son was laying there in agony after some Valley Tech thug did a vertical suplex on him. Just because my dear sweetie honeypie snookum widdle teddy bear lily of the valley cookie wookie smiley mamma’s boy set a pick? And I work minimum wage at Milford Foundry.”

“Oh my. Words cannot describe the feelings I had for this lady who worked the smelter at Milford Foundry. Mrs. Fredrica Barnes wasn’t even making enough to pay for her son’s uniform. The insurance company sent her a check that wouldn’t cover the rent for two months. I told her don’t cash it because we’re going for the Gold. When you’re out to claim victory, throw the crumbs to the goats at Milford Petting Zoo. Someone at Milford Insurance Consortium was yachting off the coast of Tanzania thanks to the chicken feed he sent Mrs. Barnes. It was time to lower the jig boom on this scandal.”

“I received $1,673,350,631.68 for my claim. I spent the 68 cents on the pop machine in the lobby of The Shark’s Law Office in sweet victory. Now I can get better hours and an upgrade on my status at Milford Foundry. In fact, my request for a fork lift driver got approved this week. And I won’t have to go through Milford School Lunch Program anymore for Rodney to get carrots slopped on by Dr. Pearl. Thanks, Shark.”

“You heard the lady. Why let some insurance company jerk be at The Masters and spend the money he saved on a $24 Diet Coke? While you’re suffering and getting a dog bone thrown at you as a Certified Check? Al Capone couldn’t rob Our Fair City any better. This is Joe Sharkey and you know my number. 1-FON-THE-JAWS. There are certain deadlines so please get your claim in before that insurance executive sets sail out again with Ferdinand Magellan. One call, that’s all.”

Gang, I will not shake your hand. Not after this plot got skewered by Homer the Referee. You think Homer the Ump isn’t going to do the same? You call yourself a readership?

But God bless you, Gang.

“No way. I refuse to shake his hand even if he offers to sign over the championship.”

“Come to bed, Gil.”

April 8, 2023

Bang! Zoom! A’ta’zhóón!

Well there ya go. Milford wins the Valley on a tie-breaking, buzzer-beating trey from Leo A’ta’zhóón. Apache ball wins the day. Nice arc-ender from Barajas tbh, but why you gotta have the Native guy saying “Ugh!” not once but twice? Not cool. Nice tribute to Kaz from Gil with the forelock, too.

Potential cliff-hanger/hook into the next arc with Keri hanging with/onto Pedro Martinez, who’s cheering on the Mudlarks while wearing a Milford jacket. How pissed will Luke be about all of this? Pissed enough to trot him out on the mound during baseball season and try to force him to go headhunting Mudlarks? Whatever happens there’ll be plenty of opportunity for Don Zimmer jokes, no doubt.

March 11, 2023

You get a pair! And you get a pair!! All y’all get a pair!!!

The week ends with the unbeaten Mudlark hoopers making small talk in the locker room. A snapshot of the NBA Eastern Conference standings as of this morning show the Milwaukee Bucks in first place with a 48-18 record (the best record in the league overall) and the Cleveland Cavaliers in fourth place with a 42-27 record. “Donovan” must refer to Cavs shooting guard Donovan Mitchell, who currently leads the team with a 27.7 ppg average.

Gil breaks up the patter by blowing his whistle inside the locker room. He expects anyone can hear him being temporarily deafened by the echo of the FWEET off the metal lockers? Too funny. But never mind that. Coach Thorp, Coach Ochoa and Tays (what, Emmett not good enough to get called “Coach”? They should call him MISTER Tays!) are gonna level the playing field for Leo by giving everyone on the team a new pair of kicks.

Not just any kicks, mind you, but JAMMERS, the only athletic shoes endorsed by former NFL cornerback Quentin Jammer* that come in a talking shoebox. With all that going for them, it seems pedantic to point out that they haven’t mastered proper English. I’m not talking about the use of what is becoming the accepted form of the second-person plural, but about how to punctuate it. “Y’all” is a contraction of “you all” and, as such, the apostrophe goes in the place where the contracted letters “o” and “u” went, not after a letter that was not contracted. It’s the same as “cannot” becoming “can’t” and “do not” becoming “don’t.”

Now where did the money for all these JAMMERS come from? The proceeds from the Milford Lift-A-Thon, Gil’s Tiger King used car spot, or a secret shoe endorsement deal Gil or Emmett had? Maybe we’ll find out on Monday. Y’all come back now, hear?

*That lighting bolt confirms that these are Quentin Jammer endorsed, since he spent eleven of his twelve seasons playing for the Bolts.

February 18, 2023

Days of Blunder

Still at Milford Motor Speedway* where, after confirming that the attention whore doesn’t fall far from the tree, Pedro has chosen to tell his papa what he needs to hear in a place where he’s least likely to hear it.

For the briefest of moments, Luke seems to get the message. You can almost hear him think “¿Y tú también, Pedro?” as his eyeball explodes. That moment shatters into pieces as soon as Pedro utters the word “Thorp.” It’s like that classic The Far Side strip about what dogs hear, with “Thorp” replacing “Ginger.” Since the Valley Tech football team hates Coach Martinez because of his obsession with Gil Thorp, clearly it’s Gil Thorp’s fault that the Valley Tech football team hates Coach Martinez!

Luke’s come-to-Jesus moment passes, and his monomania resumes. As VT’s hoops woes persist, look for Luke to blame Gil for Pedro’s not playing on the team, for Coach Kim’s lack of deference, and for his continued durmiendo en el sofá.

Special Guest Cameo: The role of Luke in P2 is being played by Adam Sandler.

New tag: Product Placement, as Luke reps the Bowtie Brigade.

* MMS looks like a short oval, kind of like Martinsville, Bristol or the old North Wilkesboro.

February 15, 2023

If he had a handlebar moustache, he’d start twirling it now

In my last post I wondered why Milford High is facing budget cuts while Valley Tech isn’t, as well as whether the two schools are now in the same town (something we’ve been wondering about collectively). I’m not entirely sure today’s strip answers either of those questions. It might if we let it.

Two Mudlark hoopsters who are definitely not Tobe and Rod carry their candy boxes to set up in from of the Food King. Those boxes look to contain Wonka Bars; if so then they’ve been selling them on the cheap, which doesn’t help Milford’s budget shortfall. They arrive to find Valley Techsters (Techies? Nerds? I dunno) already camped out front selling doughnuts. Does Valley Tech need the money too or is Luke just being a dick?

Now yhs did some Krispy Kreme fundraising BITD so nothing unusual about that method. What is unusual is that Food King is now somehow VT “turf.” So says the guy who asks and answers his own question. Luke is there to supervise the sales and to act as enforcer. If Gil did that, the Mudlarks might have less trouble selling those Wonka Bars. Never gonna happen; Gil is too laissez-faire for that level of involvement.

What does need to happen is those Mudlark hoopsters who are definitely not Tobe and Rod need to whip out their ubiquitous smartphones, record this whole scene and make it go viral. Once the Valley sees a high school athletic director trying to start a turf war and actively threatening students from another school, that pendejo will go back to being a stay-at-home dad rápidamente.


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