This Week in Milford

January 28, 2023

Atazhoon Goes OTR

Shoni Schimmel‘s WNBA career started out promisingly. A 2014 first-round draft pick of the Atlanta Dream, she made the WNBA All-Star team each of her first two seasons. Surprisingly, she was traded at the beginning of the 2016 season to the New York Liberty for a second-round draft pick. She saw her playing time reduced in New York and suffered a mid-season concussion that caused her to miss the rest of the season. It would mark the beginning of her professional struggles, but she had overcome struggles before.

As a high school shooting guard, Shoni had college-level talent but little opportunity to showcase it to college scouts. Living on the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Oregon had a way of keeping that from happening. Shoni’s mother – who was also her coach – took a coaching job in Portland and moved Shoni and her six siblings there. Though the family had to deal with separation, financial hardship and racial discrimination, the move paid off. Shoni became a first-team high school All-American and got a scholarship to Louisville, where she remains second on the school’s all-time scoring list.

Shoni and her family became the subject of a documentary. The film’s title, Off The Rez, derived from a derogatory term for behaving in a manner in a way deemed unacceptable by one’s peers. The term (abbreviated OTR) is also used by Native Americans to describe what many feel they have to do to escape a cycle of poverty and despair. It looks like what Leo Atazhoon has to do to play for the Mudlarks.

Seems that Barajas and Whigham have been hiding their hands this week. A quick search shows that Atazhoon is actually spelled A’ta’zhóón in Diné or, as it’s referred to in English, Navajo. Quinn A’ta’zhóón was a high school standout in New Mexico who now plays for Yakima Valley College. Kohanon A’ta’zhóón, Quinn’s brother, currently plays for Haskell Indian Nations University. I don’t think any of us ever knew Milford was close to a rez, much less a Navajo one.

It’s going to be interesting to see how this plays out. Things seem sad at Leo’s apartment. Could be his mom or a sibling that he’s tucking in as he comes in from the game. Hopefully the situation isn’t as sad as that which has befallen Shoni Schimmel.

January 21, 2023

They seem confident, but Toby’s looking a little jaundiced tbh

Second day in a row and third of six this past week on Rod and Tobe selling vapes. That’s practically a complete story arc in the nu-look Thorpiverse. Still some dots to connect, as usual. Where are they getting the vapes? Where is the chocolate going? Is it straight up barter or are there additional steps in between? Are tattoos and legit DVDs doctored to look fake somehow involved?

Coach Ochoa* is playing bag lady for these two and she’s probably better off not knowing where the money came from. Plausible deniability could go a long way for her and Gil when this racket gets busted and Dr. Pearl comes headhunting.

Chief Lind’s officers will have no problem picking these two miscreants out in that blaze orange shitbox that must’ve come off Foxy’s lot. No problem hauling them in either, as long as they stay away from the trunk. What’s in there with the candy bars that has the power to change the color of clothing and skin? J. Frank Parnell’s aliens? Marsellus Wallace’s briefcase? Bitcoin?

*Who is Coach Ochoa coaching, exactly? The only strips we’ve seen in this season had her holding Gil’s balls in a sack or running the Milford boys through a dribbling two balls at once drill. Is there no Milford girls’ team this season? Some confirmation would be nice (hint, hint).

December 24, 2022

Mele Kalikimaka ‘n stuff

Season’s greetings, gentle readers. I’m here from another hemisphere to take us into the transition out of football and into whatever comes next. Let’s check in with the Thorps to see what’s been going on off the field. I’m not gonna attempt to touch Festivus but I recommend that you check out the Mopped Up Thorp Festivus post; it’s awesome.

December 23, 2022

Oh my goodness this is getting sad fast. Meemaw appears to have left the nursing home to be in home hospice care. A detached-looking Gil stands in the doorway. I wonder if he ever knew how much Meemaw wanted Mimi to divorce him and try to revive a golf career we never knew she had. At least the Thorp kids are providing us the look at a Milford bonfire we didn’t get during football season.

KXCI is a community radio station in Tucson. It also streams online. There’s no reason to wonder, then, whether Milford has moved west of the Mississippi, or get into the matter of those stations east of the Mississippi beginning with K (e.g., KDKA in Pittsburgh, KYW in Philly) or those west of the Mississippi beginning with W (e.g., WHO in Des Moines).

In case you were wondering, The Both was a duo consisting of Aimee Mann and Ted Leo (but no Pharmacists). They’ve recorded a single , self-titled album to date, in 2014. The lyrics are from their song “Nothing Left To Do (Let’s Make This Christmas Blue).”

December 24, 2022

Now we get the triple-header Hanukkah/Christmas/Kwanzaa strip. I am not a member of the tribe so I did not know that ugly Hanukkah sweaters are a thing. I did, however, know that Hanukkah menorahs have nine candles, not seven as appear on Rachel’s sweater. I also did not know that Tobias and Mel were canonically Jewish. Kaz is looking a little distracted tbh. Probably thinking about his upcoming bris.

The Thorps manage to smile for their family photo save for Keri, who’s showing off her knuckle dusters and the reason Pedro Martinez has been hanging around. (meta: Moon Mullins points out Keri is flashing the universal symbol for eating at the Y, so not completely out of character.)

Finally we have… who? I honestly do not know and I feel guilty for not knowing. This isn’t the Brown-Hiatt family from a few years bock.* Is it one of Keri’s volleyball teammates? Help me out here, please.

It is now after midnight where I am and so, while you may have several hours to go, it is already Christmas Day here. Merry Christmas to those who celebrate and we’ll see you again on Boxing Day.

*This should read “a few years back,” but I’m leaving this typo in since that’s what I was drinking on Christmas Eve.

December 14, 2022

Vive la Résistance!

Gentle readers, I must admit that there are days when I need a little motivation to try and understand a given day’s strip and to make a coherent post about it. Most Some days I have to broaden my horizons and try to find a pop culture reference to tie in the action or the dialogue. Most Some days the pure absurdity of what’s being presented lets the post write itself. Some days – and today is one of those days – that I just have to break the strip down into its individual parts and comment on each part. On those days it helps to have a mantra, and today’s mantra is Ohm. So let’s get to it.

P1: All together now: In American football, the team in possession of the football, or the offense, tries to advance the football down the field to score points while the team without possession of the football, or the defense, tries to stop the offense’s advance and to take control of the ball for themselves. In terms of the goals of each unit, the offense is thus the force and the defense is the resistance.

P2: Marty has been at this gig long enough that he should know the basic rules of the game. He should also know that the end of the second quarter in American football is usually referred to as “halftime” or “the half.” Or it could be that Lachlan doesn’t know that. Lachlan is a name of Gaelic origin, so he could be a noob at calling an American football game.

P3: Now we know how Marty’s been supplementing his income since he lost the TV2 job: by calling illegal dog fights over the dark web. Applying the dog fighting analogy to Valley Tech football might explain why there’s a chain-link fence right along the sideline of their field. Cage match rules at Valley Tech might explain why Maivia’s having such a good night, or day, hard to tell.

Stepping back and looking at the strip as a whole, you can see a flow of action, kind of like Eadweard Muybridge’s photos of horses. It’s the description of the flow that requires detachment and meditation. So please join me. Ohm…

meta: A moment of silence and a bag of candy corn on the curb for Mike Leach. Love him, hate him, or somewhere in between, you have to admit he made college football more interesting and less corporate. Rest in peace, oh pirate.

December 10, 2022

Where Have All the Kickers Gone?

(oder Sag mir wo die Kicker sind?)

At first glance this looks like a logical extension of the Milford-New Thayer game we’ve been watching all week – or is it? A quick recap is in order.

On Wednesday it looked like it was gonna turn into a track meet, tied at 21 after the first quarter. On Thursday the teams trade touchdowns – New Thayer’s on a pick-six – and the score is tied at 28. Yesterday the Mudlarks retained – er, fielded – an onside kick, and were ready for “showtime.” Making the leap from yesterday’s strip to today’s requires gymnastics the likes of which we haven’t seen since Tipp Nunn vaulted over the Valley Tech line for a touchdown.

If the score was tied until today’s strip, the only way Milford was kicking off was if it was a kickoff to start the second half. How much time has elapsed, then, between the onside kick and today’s action? Is there a minute on the clock in the third quarter or the fourth quarter? Are the Mudlarks on the New Thayer 6 (based on the number of hash marks between the line of scrimmage and the goal line) or the New Thayer 11 (based on the digit “0” to the right of Marty’s word balloon)? If the New Thayer end zone’s diagonal stripes run from the goal line to the back of the end zone, how the hell did Elias end up facing the way he is in the end zone? Is he at the back of the end zone, the sideline, or what?

The bigger questions: Why isn’t Milford attempting a field goal? What happened to Hooper? What happened to Toby? Who kicked all those extra points to give the Mudlarks 28 points? Did they score four touchdowns, no extra points, and two safeties? One touchdown, no extra points, and eleven safeties? Why did they leave so much time on the clock? Is that our cliffhanger?

Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate Elias’ stiff-arm to the head, pushing the NT player into the BLOCK! That guy should end up leaving the field on a board. I just can’t make this make any more logical sense. Maybe y’all can. Talk amongst yourselves while I drop the musical inspiration for the post title. teenchy out.

November 30, 2022

Between Valley Tech and Milford lies OBSESSION.

We’re still going over the 1987 “game film” (and by “game film,” I mean “a VHS copy of TV 2’s broadcast”) of the state championship game with Gil and Maestro Turturro, but the end is near. Valley Tech has edged the Mudlarks, 14-10 for the title, and Ringo Starr Marty Moon is on hand to interview the star of the game, Luke “El Tigre” Martinez.

El Tigre’s strip of the hula-dancing Mudlark receiver saved the game for Tech, but all Hairy Luke can focus on is Gil and his “spot.” Clearly this is not some kind of revenge fantasy: Tech won the game, no? Was it Gil’s coaching job at Milford and his hot blonde wife Mimi that Luke was coming for? The career sacrifice, marrying the hot med student, becoming a stay-at-home-dad so the the hot med student wife could become a successful heart surgeon – all part of a 35-year-long game to get him to the point that he could coach another Valley Tech team to beat Milford?

Seems like the Milford Star coverage of the game only added fuel to a fire that was burning long before the final whistle. Dude’s got some serious-ass issues to work through. Get help, Luke. We might get more backstory in support of the Martinez monomania, but in the meantime, enjoy the inspiration for today’s post title.

November 9, 2022

Oh Daddy!

Oh boy, a flashback. Sepia-toned, in best Tom Batiuk fashion. All that’s missing are the scrapbook corners. What grudge will be aired through it in similar fashion?

It’s the one where the Milford Star dissed Luke Martinez and whatever team he was playing for that beat Milford for the 1987 state championship. Guess what, Luke? It’s the Milford Star, not the Whatever Town Your School Is In Star*. Of course it’s gonna report a Milford game in the most positive light for the Mudlarks. I’d bet the Green Bay Press-Gazette is doing the same for the Packers these days.

On that fateful day thirty-five years ago, young Luke was sporting a mullet and his back hair had just started sprouting through his shoulder pads – and yeah, nobody had seen a linebacker with lycanthropy before. Under the tutelage of some Joe Paterno/Tom Landry/Vince Lombardi/Bear Bryant/Tom Bosley melange, Luke wreaked havoc on the Mudlark offense using his signature crotch punch. Luke just rattled off more “daddys” than Early and Rusty Cuyler put together; could one of them have been his coach?

We now know the source of the Martinez grudge, as well as why Gil won’t remember when Teen Wolf’s team beat Milford. Luke Sr. is somewhere between 49 to 53 years old and Gil, unless he took the Milford job straight out of high school (and we know he didn’t), is at a minimum 57 and very likely much older than that. Okay gentle writer readers, ‘splain that in terms of the Thorpiverse space-time continuum.

Today’s musical inspiration:

* Where was Luke playing back in ’87, anyway? Was it for Valley Tech, retconned into being in or in the vicinity of Milford like it is now? Was the state championship an all-Valley Conference affair, kinda like Georgia and ‘Bama this past season and in 2018? A cursory online search doesn’t return Milford playing for the state title in ’87; here’s hoping TWIM‘s unofficial SID, billytheskink, will chime in and set the record straight.

October 26, 2022

What are the odds? 5:1.

Love my… girl?
They lookin’ good, come on, one more

Five to one, Keri
One in five
No Mudlark gets out alive, now
You get yours, Keri
I’ll get mine
Gonna make it, Keri
If we try

Well Gil gets old
And the kids get shot at
Be here all week
So put on this hard hat
They got the guns
Well, but we got the wokeness
Gonna win, yeah
We’re gonna stop this
Come on!

Your Milford days are over, Keri
College drawing near
Shadows of your Meemaw
Crawl across the years
Yeah, dive across the floor with your
Car keys in your hand
Trying to tell me Mimi understands

Trade in your rings for a handful of lies
Stop the patriarchy if we try
Duck and cover one more time
Duck and cover one more time

Duck and cover one more time
Duck and cover one more time

Duck and cover one more time

Duck and cover one more time

Duck and cover one more time

Duck and cover one more time

Duck and cover one more time
Duck and cover, gotta duck and cover
(Duck and cover one more time)
(Duck and cover one more time)

Hey, come on, Keri
You go on along home, wait for Pedro, baby
He’ll be there in just a little while
You see, he gotta go out and play golf
With his papi and
(Duck and cover one more time)

Duck and cover one more time

Duck and cover one more time

Duck and cover, got to

Duck and cover, got to

Duck and cover, got to

Take you up into my room and
(Duck and cover one more time)
Love my girl
They lookin’ good, lookin’ real good
Love ya, come on

(apologies to The Lizard King)

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