This Week in Milford

March 4, 2020

Failing the Schuring Test

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I propose to consider the question, ‘Can comic strip writers think?’ This should begin with definitions of the meaning of the terms ‘comic strip writer’ and ‘think’. The definitions might be framed so as to reflect so far as possible the normal use of the words, but this attitude is dangerous. If the meaning of the words ‘comic strip writer’ and ‘think’ are to be found by examining how they are commonly used it is difficult to escape the conclusion that the meaning and the answer to the question, ‘Can comic strip writers think?’ is to be sought in a statistical survey such as a Gallup poll. But this is absurd.

One of the long-running tropes on the mothership of comics snark is that the strip Archie is written by the “Archie Joke Generating Laugh Unit 3000.” As for Gil Thorp: Artificial? Definitely. Intelligent? Well, uh, at least one of this season’s main characters has both her first and last names derived from well-known forms of artificial intelligence. (Ya think that’s where Rubin’s been leading us all along? Nah, gives him too much credit.)

Today I reckon we’re getting set up to find out if Chris Schuring is made of the same moral fiber as Alexa Watson. Teddy drove faster than the speed of light to get over to the library and reprise his Eddie Haskell schtick. Hoping against hope that we find out why mohawk boy has been holding a grudge toward Chris; otherwise this is just another red herring.

Instead of firing any more synapses to predict that outcome, I prefer to shift my focus to ponder the Milford Public Library and its parameters. How late does it stay open? Is it adequately heated? Did it get its start as a Carnegie Library? Is Aaron Aagard living there now? Talk amongst yourselves.

February 15, 2020

Phoebe’s Electric!

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Steve Luhm, Master of the Janitorium, has been keeping the halls of Milford High so shiny that Phoebe Keener can get in some Electric Slide practice in time for the reprise of the Milford/Goshen flash mob from a few seasons back.

 

I could be wrong; Milford could be replacing West Allis, Wisconsin as the home of US speed skating, and Phoebe’s working on her stride. Then again maybe those are figure skating moves, as her camel game is very strong today.

Any or all of that makes as much sense as the gibberish she’s doling out to Alexa Watson. So Chris Schuring’s little secret is to be an obnoxious jerk and start cutting in front of people everywhere you go? How exactly has that worked out for him? He had a good game against Oakwood but how did that translate from Gil’s directive to “pounce”? He hasn’t pounced on that punk-ass DeMarco kid yet, much less throw his weight around the halls. Better left to his flunkies, I suppose.

Even Phoebe recognizes this little head game won’t make Alexa see herself as less of a geek. If it makes everyone else see that Alexa is a person who won’t let anyone stand in her way physically, then she and Chris are on to something. Too bad it’s not the Lady Mudlarks’ opponents who’ll see all that cutting ahead of kids in the hall. Once Alexa’s muscled her way into position there’s still that little matter of shooting the ball, which Chris’ solution conveniently glosses over.

Speaking of Phoebe and shooting and apropos of nothing, here’s a shot of an Eastern Phoebe taken by son of teenchy on one of our side trips to Bakst country not very long ago.

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January 11, 2020

Now Featuring The Incredible Shrinking “GIL” Mug

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After a week of actual action and actual coaching in practice, we were overdue for some actual off-court wackiness in Milford. Where else would we have expected it than the teachers’ lounge?

Today’s strip finds Gil with a horribly dislocated hip and holding a stack of papers with what looks like a pile of French fries. Cue this MHS administrative type lady coming to him with news of player grades, presumably in his role as AD. Would this have not mattered more at the beginning of the season, when grades might determine eligibility? Or does Milford have some arcane rule that if your grades start dropping, you get kicked off the team?  That might explain the underachievement all these years.

Now what is it about Alexa’s academic issues that has caused Gil’s head to bobble and his coffee mug to shrink? Could it be that Mimi’s sudden emphasis on her playing offense has Alexa distracted from the books? Or was it Mimi’s playing grab-ass and the thoughts of blowing the whistle that have shaken her? Maybe Miss Watson is tired of the computer/virtual assistant jokes and is thinking that tanking a few grades may make those jokes go away. There’s never a good reason for sabotaging your chances of leaving a tank town, so the latter is kind of doubtful.

December 10, 2019

Alexa – Start A New Plot

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Oh boy! This is our new plot. Alexa Watson has to endure idiotic jokes about her name. This is going to be great!

Sorry for the delay. I’m dogged by connectivity problems. Also, I spent most of yesterday shopping around for a vehicle with a roomy pink interior.

November 7, 2019

We’ll Do The Absentee Coaching Around Here.

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What? The Haley’s M.O. Moment was just a put-on? Chance really wasn’t constipated? His bowels were moving fine, he didn’t need Mudlar-K-Cola Prune-Enriched to fuel his Toyota Corolla jump? He really wasn’t M.-O.K.??????????

What was he doing in the Port-o-Pot? A better question is what happened to all that T. P.????????? I heard of taking one for the team but this is ridiculous. I’m glad he stepped aside by faking his stomach cramps but there is an unaccounted-for amount of Charmin floating around the premises of Milford High School.

So next time you are substitute-teaching at Mudlarkland and you find this Mt. Everest amount of Bounty in the faculty bathroom, you’ll know that it was because SOMEONE remembered at Milford High “There’s no ‘I’ in the word ‘Team'”. Maybe in the word “Shit” but SOMEONE was “Shitting” for the “Team”. Supposedly, anyway.

“Mrs. Thorp, please don’t squeeze the Charmin!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

“I wasn’t, Mr. Whipple. I was testing the firmness of these cabbages. It’s our turn to bring the food for the Milford PTA meeting and I’m bringing Southwest Salad Supreme. Where’s your Newman’s Own Roquefort?”

 

And you talk about false advertising. At least SOMEONE was coaching by faking his taking one for the team by faking his swelling of hemorrhoidal tissues. So Rick Scott had to apply a liberal dose to Chance’s crack. Whoop-de-dah. At least his butt was in order and the trainer’s medicine cabinet has an ample supply of Preparation H next to the Flintstone’s Chewables. Nice to know that if Charlie is called upon to fill in again in a pinch to run up the score, Chance will have plenty of Barney’s and Wilma’s when he’s faking his migraines. And doing his part to exercise leadership in the process.

Oh, not Gil, nooooooooo. True, he took the time from Milford Lounge to visit Chance’s grandparents to be assured Chance wasn’t Norman Bates. But he could have sent Lassie to investigate. And saved the trouble of prolonging his absentee landlord status in relation to the football team.

“Lassie, what’d you find out?”

RUFF

“Chance was an ax murderer? How’d he get released?”

RUFF

“He and Papillon jumped the fence? Weren’t they in chains?”

RUFF

“Oh, they were playing flag football.”

RUFF

“And leading The Mean Machine by a touchdown.”

 

Today’s headline in the Milford Enquirer

“30 Rolls Of Milford Tree Farms Toilet Towels Found In Shower Stall Of O. J.’s Condo!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

sub headline

“Trail stops cold after contraband unloaded from Milford Roadway terminal.”

 

When I came home last night

You wouldn’t make love to me

You went fast asleep

You wouldn’t even talk to me

 

Give it to me, what you say

Give it to me right away

 

“Dear, you’ll have to turn that down. Chance just went to bed. And put my wig back on the dresser when you’re done funking. I need it for the Embroidery 101 class at Milford High Night School.”

 

On our journey that is the Mudlark Football season, we approach P2 with some reservations. Like who all these people are, which we assume are the fans and families who are celebrating the victory and well they should. I’m having a bit of a problem with the Kent State arrangement of humanity after the Milford National Guard just stepped on the gridiron but I think we can hold our breath that nothing is going to occur. Gil can blow his whistle should a Guardsman aim his Uzi at Chance or Grandma Macy. The whistle is being used for something since it was hanging in the linen closet in Gil’s office, y’know, the one with the windows affording a view of the Trump Towers. Gil was out on the road on another stint of absentee coaching. I heard Courtyard by Marriott gave discounts to Coaches In Absentia.

“But the coupon said that if I was not coaching 10 times, I’d get the 11th stay in a double suite. Free. Shoot, I can’t remember the last time I told the team ‘Win one for The Gipper’. I think when Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was released.”

“But the coupon expired after the Tet Offensive.”

 

SOME PEOPLE MIGHT SAY I’M INFATUATED

BUT I DON’T CARE

CUZ THEY JUST DON’T KNOW

THEY’LL NEVER SEE OR HEAR…

 

 

THEY CAN ALL GO TO HELLLLLLLLL

YOU AND I (DO DOOO)

WE GET TOGETHER LIKE GIL AND SHAW (DO DO DOOOOOOO)

Kaz knocks on the door leading into the Intro Woods class which is tightly locked

“Luhm, are you OK? I can hear that music all the way down at The Bucket.”

Luhm rips the needle off of the Vintage Vinyl “Come Get It!!!!!!!!”

“Yeah, just gotta dust the lathe machine and then damp-mop and buffer the floor. I’m good.”

 

RIP, Rick James. Your funkadelic style was an inspiration to many.

 

And while they’re rioting in the streets of Milford in P2, does somebody have a surgical kit handy? I think Gil and Charlie just welded their hands together with a soldering tool. I’ve heard of a coach bonding with his players but this is ridiculous. I hope neither has to go to the bathroom anytime soon. Man, it’s a bitch when one of the Siamese Twins has to let off a load in the Port-o-Pot. The other one can get the Charmin to wipe, assuming Luhm replaced the stolen merchandise.

 

If yore 3rd-shift foreman at Milford Foundry is bein’ non-existent but ya reach yore produk’tivitee goals in yore department and the man comes around ta reward y’all by turnin’up the air conditioner one degree so ya don’t sweat thru yore Hanes T-shirt so bad or smelly, ya might be a redneck.

 

And P3 arrived at the train station right on time.

One of the things I learned when I was pursuing a foreign language in school was that foreign countries, especially Europe, prided themselves on how PUNCTUAL their passenger trains were.

Well, the Orient Express couldn’t have arrived any sooner to practically take the credit for Charlie’s success. And as you can see, Bluto is willing to risk Foot-in-Beard disease to achieve his stated objectives.

Now before we go any further, I am inspired by Bluto’s Weight Watcher program that he has inflicted on himself. Last I remember, he had a paunch that could crush Olive Oyl in the opening round of the Milford Sumo Wrestling Holiday Tournament.

In P3, he has evidently weighed his portions punctiliously, using the metric balance scales he hocked from the Milford School Corporation Science Supply Building while fishing for Chance’s records. Hey, I need to lose a few pounds myself. Bluto, the next time you are in the complex digging for Chance’s dental records (“The pediatrician prescribed Poly-Grip????????”) , would you slip a balance my way? I need to count my Ritz Crackers wisely.

NOW, why in the name of Agatha Christie were we not surprised when Bluto showed his face again? This was the proverbial “Not if, but WHEN”. J. Wellington Wimpy, 1000 Bucket Burgers up his butt while munching on a Big Mac was not going to take part in the baccanalian affairs on the football field (A Funny Thing Happened To Me On The Way To The Football Field-“Something appealing, something appalling…”) to locate Charlie and talk about his TD run. Swee’ Pea was in bed. NO, BLUTO WAS GOING TO UPSTAGE POPEYE ONCE AGAIN AND SAY HE WAS THE ONE WHO INSPIRED HIM TO RUN LIKE FRANCO HARRIS OR ANY OF YOUR FAVORITE NFL RUNNING BACKS. Popeye forgot to eat his spinach and couldn’t inspire you to run around your living room or Gil’s office. Popeye and Bluto will not be at Denny’s for breakfast and Christian fellowship.

That off my chest, notice Gil doing a double-take in P3. The predictable continues. Stay tuned.

Assuming you’re well-endowed with Sominex.

 

“And that’s the gun signaling the end of the game. Milford wins it in a laugher, 121-10. I’ll have all the stats for you in a moment. This is Marty Moon and you’re listening to WDIG, a division of Learfield Sports.”

 

SHE’S A VERY KINKY GIRL

THE KIND YOU DON’T BRING HOME TO MOTHER

SHE WILL NEVER LET YOUR SPIRITS DOWN

ONCE YOU GET HER OFF THE FIELD

 

KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK

 

“Yeah?”

“Gil, your wife just called again. It’s 10:35. Don’t you think you ought to go home to bed?”

“Kaz, I’m as lame as a lollipop that’s been out in the sun too long. I couldn’t stiff if I put on Dean Martin’s “Houston.”

“But Gil, you’ve been playing Super Freak for 3 hours. And I hope you aren’t dancing in your Fruit of the Loom boxers again.”

“Crap. I forgot that Luhm didn’t fix the curtain rod. Do you think anybody can see the lemon-lime pattern?”

“Maybe in the Trump Towers but they’d have to use binoculars and care about what you look like when dressed down to your Calvin Klein Boysenberry Print.”

“It’s just that Rick James gets me in the right mood. Sometimes it takes a little longer, especially after I’d eaten that Fazoli’s Sampler. Lasagna just slows any Erectile process. Bit me and Rick will be partying like it’s 1999. And I’ll be sawing the logs with Mimi cuz I’ll have something hard to saw with.”

“Gil, I think you mean Prince.”

A momentary check into the record inventory

“That’s right. I’ll be gettin’ pumped to Purple Rain by midnight.”

“Gil, I think a better solution would be checking out all the ways Milford Men’s Clinic can help you. They have proven techniques and equipment and you don’t need Milford Book and Music Exchange to solve your problem.”

“You’re saying I won’t need O’Jays ‘Money, Money, Money’ to junp on Mimi with confidence?”

“Gil,  I think you answered your own question.”

 

“There it was. I was confident to open my office door and let Kaz see me in my Hanes Fred Flintstone Print Boxers and Rick James wig. Price you pay if you want to be consistently efficient with your Significant Other. And I am having great sex and couldn’t care less if the tenant on the 11th floor of the Trump Towers sees us. They need to watch infomercials anyway. Come to Milford Men’s Clinic and be your own Funkmeister. Whay have you got to lose but the wig?

 

Gang, go to it. You have truly been patient and I thank you. I just hope Bluto doesn’t dig into my records and find out the reason.

 

At the Milford School Board meeting one evening

“And I also have records when his dad was down in the south, doing heists with Pretty Boy Floyd. What more evidence do we need to declare that Chance is not fit for the football team?”

“Mr. James, some of the evidence is circumstantial-”

“That’s Mr. Ballard!!!!!!!! You don’t recognize me?”

“The dreadlocks don’t match the beard.”

 

At the Milford Comedy Club on Open Mike Night

“…what do I look like, Rick James on the Quaker Oats label?”

Mimi stands up

“I better go out for a smoke break. Anybody got a light?”

“But you don’t smoke. When did you take up the cancer sticks?”

“Believe me, Gil is worth 2 cartons of Virginia Slims.”

November 6, 2019

Oh, What a Feeling!

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Is Chance trying out for the cheerleading squad or auditioning to sell Toyotas?

I realize I’m dating myself with the latter reference (“Ok Boomer” is the pissy way the kids are saying it this week IIRC). Speaking of pissy, nice shift from pissy-faced to all smiles by old Gildeaux there. You’d think Gil would be having a cow about one of his starters benching himself with a fake injury to give his backup some playing time, but it didn’t faze him that much when True Standish did it for Jarrod Hale a few years back.

Nope, Gil’s just relieved that Chance is staying away from The Bucket, where they have sharp utensils handy. Better Macy and his shadow teammates punch the air harmlessly, another audition to shill old Toyotas…

 

October 30, 2019

Look Sharp, Feel Sharp, Be… Blunt

 

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I’m at a loss for why this visit to the Chance Macy family home is dragging out as long as it is.  I mean, we even get a beat panel for Pop-pop to bobble his head. Is it to finally fill in the blanks as to the whereabouts of Chance’s parents?

Previously I’d speculated that they went the way of Silent John Pascoe’s folks. Perhaps they met a more sinister fate. Have they been banished to the great unknown with the Thorp children? Or was it simply a Tonight Show gag gone horribly wrong?

Speaking of which, how are you fixed for blades, Chance?

September 18, 2019

The Air In the Front Yard Is Cooler Than the Air Coming Out of You*

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Back from a brief hiatus and feeling a bit refreshed. Know what else would be refreshing? A story arc about a player who just wants to get better and actually gets better through coaching. A kid whose parents are simply supportive of his or her interests and not trying to live vicariously through them or project their own shortcomings onto them.

But that would be asking too much, wouldn’t it? Far easier to trot out the cardboard villain adult who puts it where it doesn’t belong to try to advance their kid’s causes for their own selfish motives. Here busybody Ballard feels that need to for reasons known only to him. Where does he plan to use his observation about Chance Macy? As evidence that the kid is too gassed/hurt to come out to party** and, as such, deserves to be benched in favor of Charlie? Or that his not coming out to party is evidence that he’s not a team player and, as such, deserves to be benched in favor of Charlie?

Either way, it’ll be another strike against Ballard, whose big swing and a miss on Tiki Jansen makes this strike two.

*Alternate title: Chet Ballard, Backdoor Man. Is that an actual transom above the Schuring’s back door?

**Pretty confident of the Schurings to plan a postgame victory party at their house, innit?

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