This Week in Milford

July 31, 2021

Summers in Milford Are Like Deodorant

sandbagger (n.) – one who conceals abilities or assets at first in order to gain tactical advantage later.

John Jawor is back, looking like he’s dropped a few pounds since we last saw him. That’s not all he’s dropped: there’s also the heavy hint that Carter Hendricks is a sandbagger on the links at the MCC. I freely admit I’m no golfer, so I don’t know the veracity of this explanation of the origins of the term “sandbagging.” However, if one of Hendricks’ patsies gets wind of what’s been going on and breaks his thumbs, I won’t be disappointed.

The only violence we’re likely to see is the awkward crashing together of this summer’s disparate plot lines. Will Gil and Marjie hatch a secret plot to have Heather Burns go undercover as an easy mark for Hendricks in a coed scramble? I’m about as eager to find out as I am to watch the rest of baseball season.

July 28, 2021

What Happened to Janet?

So it’s now the
Milford Diner?
It’s no longer
Named for Janet?
‘Cause it must be
Janet’s Diner
There can’t be
one more in Milford

An old stomping
ground for Heather
Not like she
doesn’t know the place
And like a
chronic illness
there’s still
that snoop Maureen

So what’s up with
Marjie Ducey?
Does she have
the inside angle?
Did she get it
From Dale Parry?
‘Cause she didn’t
Interview her

Don’t you think
It’s kinda weird
That they’re talking
About work
When Heather has
no job offer?
It seems
so premature

“You say you
were an intern
Can you make
a cup of coffee?
See, I am
The top reporter
I’m not giving
up that title”

“So you’d better
find another role
Like selling
website ad space
You don’t see me
Coaching football players!
You should
Just stay in your lane!”

“Hey Ms. Ducey –
I mean ‘Marjie’ –
I’m not gunning
for your title
I’m just trying
to earn money
Since Coach Thorp
Ain’t payin’ bupkis

“I have covered
boring meetings
Filled with all the
Self-important
Like that blowhard
Abel Brito
I think
I get the drift”

“Well alright,
then it’s settled
You can go case
the Country Club
I’ve heard that
There’s been gambling
And it’s not
the legal kind…”

“So if you break the story…
And we publish it
Under my byline…”

“I’ll pick up the next drink tab
and you can save some dough…”

July 24, 2021

Heather Rennt (oder “Run Heather Run”)

I wished I could play soccer

I couldn’t, though I tried

I wished I could play football

I didn’t have the size

I am my daddy’s princess

He thinks I’m really grand

And when I was in high school

Played everything but band

I wish I was a writer

Who rakes in lots of green

I haven’t got a prayer

You know just what I mean

I wish I wasn’t desperate

To pay off student loans

I wish I could leave Milford

Who knows just where I’d roam?

Today’s strip is another clear example of Rubin’s horrifically poor pacing ability. Heather’s interview at the Star was featured in the first strip of this arc. If he drags out the hiring decision as long as he dragged out the Milford Library Board decision it’ll be mid-to-late August before she gets the offer – just in time for football season and wacky conflicts of interest. Watch the unpaid offensive line coaching assistant get paid to report on the team she assistant coaches! Watch her stonewall Marty Moon to keep WDIG from getting the inside scoop from the Milford locker room! Watch the Mudlark players give Heather the silent treatment for fear she’ll put anything they say in print!

If only this strip had the same time loop premise as the movie. Heather might’ve kept on running and knocked Marjie to the pavement. The subsequent skull fracture would’ve sidelined Marjie indefinitely and made the job all Heather’s.

meta: I added the “Make and Model Mystery Mobile” tag because I couldn’t figure out if the cinder block on wheels behind Marjie was a Scion xB or a Mercedes-Benz G-wagen. Thinking the latter sent me down a German rabbit hole that led me to the inspiration for today’s post.

June 26, 2021

Mimi Thorp, Ventriloquist

Late post today because (a) this isn’t an arc-ender (or at least it doesn’t read like one) and (b) I had to do some Thorpiverse time travel to fact-check today’s strip.

Second thing first. About this Debbie Roy thing: the story arc Gil refers to predates this blog, to spring 2004 in fact. Debbie Roy served as a potential love interest for the boy on the softball team, Joe Clifford. Clifford’s Lady Mudlark career was about as successful as his efforts with Debbie. It’s worth noting, however, that Mimi did not have a boy on the softball team, as Mimi was NOT coaching the Lady Mudlarks at that time. Someone named “Coach Jensen” was at the helm. (Here’s what Mimi looked like at the time so no, it wasn’t Mimi in a brunette wig role-playing as Holly Dobbs for Gil.) Seventeen years later, Mimi throws her voice to explain that a mid-thirties Debbie stepped up to play a role in Mimi’s Project Corina…

… except maybe it’s not only Mimi’s Project Corina but also Mama Karenna’s. It’s settled, then: Corina’s “caring for her mentally ill mother” and “my grades are bad” excuses are simply that, excuses. Excuses for not going to football games on Friday nights, for essentially lying to Mimi about her grades, for not applying to colleges. Still trying to figure out which one of them forged Corina’s applications (if any), and still trying to imagine Mama Karenna physically giving Corina the boot. I’m picturing something like the opening credits for Top Gear‘s “The Interceptors.”

June 23, 2021

Suspension of Disbelief? More Like Expulsion of Disbelief!

Gentle readers, I am no less flabbergasted by this strip since Saturday than you are. The time jumps, the unstated assumptions and the unprecedented presumptuousness on Mimi’s part are so mind-boggling that I barely know where to begin and what assumptions to make. That’s the main reason it’s taken me so long to get this post up today.

Going back to Saturday’s strip: Despite her protestations that she doesn’t want or doesn’t intend to go to college (BTW, her eyes were blue when she made that statement; they’re brown now so since then she’s become full of shit), Corina took the ACT. Taking the ACT costs anywhere from $60-80, so it’s not money easily blown by a family tight on money to begin with. How worried is she about her mother and her family finances then, really? Couldn’t she be mopping floors nightly like Zane Clark if she was really worried?

Now let’s try to figure out what kind of machinations Mimi went through to get us through today. Did she apply to the community college in Syracuse (and why Syracuse? Because all of the out-of-conference games for Milford this season were against Syracuse high schools?) and to Le Moyne (also in Syracuse) on Corina’s behalf? Forge her signature? Write her application essay? How do we know Corina’s community college grades will be good enough to allow her to transfer to Le Moyne? How do we know the Le Moyne players will still need a roommate more than a year from now, when the time comes to transfer? There’s just way too much assumed here for us to suspend disbelief.

In today’s last panel, Mimi’s got Jack Elam eyes. Please tell me Corina slapped her walleyed.

metapost: robmize isn’t the only one who can take off for Myrtle Beach on a whim. yhs isn’t spending any time on a golf course, however. Instead I’ve been hobnobbing with the mascot of Myrtle Beach’s minor league baseball team. (They’re a Cubs affiliate, BTW; rob, did you catch ’em while you were here?)

June 5, 2021

Zane Isn’t Focused on Some WAP

It’s official: The Gil Thorp colorists are phoning it in. We’ve had players throwing the ball to players on the opposite team and opposing players in the outfield when their own team is batting, unless the Mudlarks have been changing unifroms on the fly. Now we appear to have someone else besides Gil coaching for Milford. Even Kaz is dumbfounded by the presence of this imposter in a Mudlark uniform. Doubtless this interloper is supposed to be the Madison coach and he and Kaz are going to hand their lineup cards to an unseen home plate ump…

… who is later seen wearing a wristwatch?!? I do not recall umpires ever being allowed to wear watches, but I do recall them using stopwatches to mark the time between pitches and between innings. Maybe some of you TWIMers who have been closer to a diamond in the past decade than I could weigh in. Talk amongst yourselves.

Said umpire is ringing up an unseen batter as a catcher in Madison’s traditional sage and plum frames a called strike three while name checking Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion. Could that batter be Zane Clark? Gil shared Zane’s line with Mimi while they were piddling around in the garden, but the only person called out as unfocused was Katy Brito, by Mimi. Gil’s comment to Zane that Zane wasn’t focused in his last outing wasn’t his observation, then, but Mimi’s. Between Kaz handling the messy details and Mimi providing the strategy, maybe Gil could get a head start on teaching golf to preteens and getting hammered on Long Island Iced Teas at the MCC.

May 29, 2021

He’s Not Wrong

Wherever you’re reading this, faithful TWIMers, I hope the weather is better than it is here. Forty-eight degrees and raining is not what I expect to wake up to on the last weekend in May. The better to remember that the true meaning of Memorial Day is not to hit the beaches or the mountains and fire up the grill. So what if we have to spend it out in the cold?

Speaking of out in the cold, that’s where Zane Clark is today. Nothing he says in today’s strip is factually wrong in context (and also serves to answer one of our nagging questions of how Milford Library Board members are chosen) and yet he now finds “that cute girl he makes out with in the history section” may be history to him. Katy knows Zane’s situation, knows her old man’s hard-on against the library, knows what might happen if her old man gets the job, yet still gets pissy when she finds out her boyfriend actively tries to prevent all that from happening? Better off without her, bruh, or at least that’s what Gonzo Aceves is hinting to him.

Can we talk? Can I digress for a moment? I just want to point out the sudden improvement in uniform accuracy on the part of the Chief. From all appearances it looks like Zane and Gonzo are throwing a bullpen session in practice and are actually dressed as if they’re practicing – that is unless Gil’s broken out gamers with shorts like the Bill Veeck-era White Sox. Nice to see a Milford team practicing in actual practice unis for once.

Back to the main plot arc: What are the odds the Milford Library Board selection hinges on oratory, and Zane gives one that puts Jefferson Smith to shame? Something’s gotta make Katy see the error of her ways, dunnit? By that time Zane will have moved on to that snoopy librarian or poor Landry Carlson, who’s always getting hit on this spring.

It’s gotten very quiet here; the rain’s finally stopped pounding against my roof. Time to contemplate the true meaning of Memorial Day once again. Enjoy the rest of your weekend, gentle readers, and we’ll see you back here next week.

April 24, 2021

It’s the Latest, It’s the Greatest

There’s a place for you and a place for me,
it’s the local public library.
They have books and things that they lend for free
It’s the latest, it’s the greatest, it’s the library.

Educational, informational,
entertainment that’s sensational.
It’s a way of life, it’s for you and me
It’s the latest, it’s the greatest, it’s the library.

They have histories, they have mysteries
And for mothers, books of recipes
See a movie show, hear a symphony
It’s the latest, it’s the greatest, it’s the library

Not a song parody but an actual song. Originally written as a jingle for the New York Public Library. Dated lyrics but the sentiment is there.

Times are tough in the Clark household. Zane is having to share the family PC with his siblings, driving to the library (likely not in a car of his own, much less a Tri-Power Goat or Jeep) to use a PC, and cutting his own hair. Awfully nice of Katy Brito to cut her own hair in the dark in solidarity.

Credit where credit is due: Over the past several years Rubin’s done a fair job of working a lot of the same socioeconomic issues as the larger society into Milford. How he’s worked them in has been hit or miss, and the kids’ responses to the issues – from opioid addiction to the aftermath of Hurricane Maria to mental illness to alcoholism – have been as varied as kids are themselves. So far he’s made Zane into a fairly sympathetic character, and it’s unfortunate we’ll have to slog through six to eight weeks of designated red-ass Abel making things even more difficult for the kid before he has some sort of epiphany. I still think Abel’s getting pink-slipped before it’s all over.

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