This Week in Milford

June 3, 2023

New Favorite

It’s been a busy week in Milford, what with the Memorial Day salute and the handshake line brawl and the frenemy teammates and the therapy, more of which should be scheduled by la familia Hernandez.

Before we dive into that, I feel like some cheers and jeers are in order for this recent run of strips:


  1. Gil in uniform on Memorial Day (not Henry’s fault, btw, that he wasn’t drawn in the uniform of his canonical branch of service; see his comment on that day’s strip on Gocomics)
  2. Henry’s callback to last November 16th‘s strip in his June 1 strip. That should help people with short institutional memories.
  3. Genuine character development among the Milford jayvee girls’ softball players.
  4. Henry’s sticking to his guns in making Luke Sr. an insufferable monomaniac who will stop at nothing, including using the family of his assistant coach and destroying his relationships with his own, to gain revenge over his perceived rival for a perceived slight from decades past. This all feels like it’s gonna blow up in his face before the calendar year is through.
  5. It looks like between Whigham and the color monkeys, they’ve settled on a color scheme for Valley Tech. That it’s old gold, white and black makes Valley Tech look more like Georgia Tech and – at least in the eyes of yhs – easier to hate. (This is about the only positive in the art department of late; see below.)


  1. The continued failure to recognize that baseball and softball teams carry more than one pitcher. There’s this thing called a rotation, in which a team has multiple starting pitchers and can rest each starting pitcher for several days between starts, reducing the wear and tear on each pitcher. There’s also this thing called a bullpen, which consists of a physical location on a baseball field as well as a team’s pitchers who are not starting pitchers. Recognizing that pitching rotations and bullpens are things would reduce a lot of the implausible aspects of the strip, e.g., Gregg Hamm teaching his blind man kung fu treachery to Leo and Dorothy and only Leo and Dorothy and Pedro being “benched” in favor of The Korean Nightmare today.
  2. The reintroduction of the Marty we used to know and hate. Admittedly this is a minor jeer, but I’m having a hard time grasping it in the overall context of the strip. What’s the point of Marty acting all Dishonest John snapping a pic of the Mudlark vape selling ring? Hasn’t the horse already left that barn? I just don’t know what he’s trying to accomplish her. Will he blow the lid on it and force Milford to vacate the Valley hoops title? Or is he just jealous of Luke replacing him as designated asshole? Surely he knows who butters his bread here, and if he shares it with Gil, Marjie and/or Heather, they’ll focus more on the fact that Marty’s been surreptitiously taking pictures of underage boys than on the content of those pictures.
  3. While I appreciate Valley Tech being clad in pee stain yellow, there have been some notable issues with the artwork of late. I’m pretty sure the Memorial Day strip isn’t the first example of one in which Henry intended one thing and the Chief drew another, and I’m pretty sure more than one of us TWIMers have called that out. It’s a Strother Martinesque failure to communicate in the making. Whigham’s fascination with not completely drawing fences has its consequences today, as Keri’s going to get her earlobes torn off as the jagged edges snag her ginormous earrings (another Whigham fascination).

It might not be an inconsistency but it’s noteworthy that Kwan’s uniform number has changed from 5, a very rare number for a pitcher to 1, an even rarer number for a pitcher. (The only one I can think of off the top of my head is MacKenzie Gore for the Nats; others? please comment.) Between “number one” and “favorite son” I’m getting a bad Charlie Chan* vibe from this, and I hope it’s just me. At least we know that Luke has seen The Sandlot.

Just a sad day to be Pedro, and a sad song to capture the feeling.

*In the Charlie Chan films, Number One Son was played by Keye Luke. Coincidence?

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 17, 2023

At Least It’s Not In the Bandar Tongue

Filed under: baseball, dopes, Henry Reads the Comments, huge hats, Valley Tech — teenchy @ 9:48 am

I don’t know about y’all but I’m convinced this whole junket is an elaborate scam by Coach Kim to get a trip to see his fam on the taxpayer’s Luke’s dime.

What could Luke possibly say to Kwan to convince him to come to the US and A to play for Valley Tech? He doesn’t speak Korean, if the convo thus far is any indication. I’m envisioning some sort of loud, slow, horrible pidgin talk like the kind we used to see in old movies. A thinly veiled appeal to avenge imagined dishonor by Gil. Some BS about fast tracking Kwan to MLB via the Valley. It shouldn’t take Kwan long to see that Luke is all hat and no cowboy.

Serious question to Henry, if you’re still reading our dreck: How have you envisioned Valley Tech in your new Thorpiverse? You’ve put it in Milford, along with Milford High. Is the parochial school, St. Fabian, still there too? Is Valley Tech a trade school? STEM magnet school? Public or private? If public, where did the money for this trip come from? Did the basketball team really sell that many donuts?

Your Moment of Minutiae: Nice to see some baseball unis that aren’t a bunch of repetitive pastels or splashes of red on areas that weren’t meant to be colored. Getting a nice, stark White Sox vibe from them. I’ve not watched much KBO League action compared to Japanese ball, but I’ve seen enough to know that players can have triple digit uniform numbers (rendered in Arabic characters).

April 22, 2023

Madison Time, just not the kind you’d expect

“It’s what Coach Thorp and I will be doing while you’re playing softball. Duh.” Come on, man, you can’t start a strip off with a loaded question like that and not expect some juvenile retort! The questions from the parents aren’t too farfetched, so kudos for that.

The answer to the third question is “so you don’t call us with questions like the first one.” I’d like to see what they do with question two, though. Between the kids always eating at The Bucket or Ricozzi’s Pizza and the preseason sloppy joes, sports nutrition has kinda gotten short shrift in Milford. No place in the program for HooDad’s and vapes.

Bigger question: Why the focus on Milford JV softball and not varsity? (And since when do jayvees have postseason tournaments? No, really. If any of y’all have examples, please leave them in the comments.) Did they lose too many upperclasswomen to graduation and ODs? It happens IRL sometimes; there’s a big gap between age cohorts and schools just drop the program for a season or two until the next cohort ages in.

But back to this New Haven thing. Is henryjbarajas throwing out recent canon (goodbye, Luckey Haskins?) and taking the strip back to its Connecticut roots? He promised big news in his comment on GoComics today. Breath bated!

We of course cannot have Madison Time without, you know, Madison Time. This one’s in honor of our old friend and TWIM’s former big toe, nedryerson. Here’s hoping life’s treating you kindly, ned, wherever you are.

Apologies for the late post. I lost a (much longer) draft that I thought I’d saved.

April 19, 2023

Gil You Lying Sack

“I don’t drink.” My ass. What the hell was this, Gil, a stiff virgin Old Fashioned? Does such a thing exist?

Marty got clean and sober recently. Could he have convinced Gil to do the same, maybe at the MCC? Get to retconning, Barajas!

I also expect Henry to retcon Tobe into a diamond superstar. It’ll be interesting to see how he transitions from softball to baseball – that is, unless he was already playing as a girl on a baseball team at his old school.

As for Vapegate? Does Gil know? Of course he knows! He’s got eyes everywhere and Chief Lind in his back pocket. Why didn’t he blow the whistle sooner? He didn’t want to jeopardize the Mudlarks’ undefeated season and shot at the championship, that’s why. Gil hasn’t been watching SEC football for nothing.

Time for some meta:

Over my morning joe I read that Rodney Barnes Damar Hamlin has been cleared to engage in football activities. Here’s hoping he has a safe and healthy life ahead of him. The timeframe for his clearance jibes with the timeframe Rod was given yesterday.

The cartooning world lost two greats this past week in Al Jaffee and Edward Koren. Sly and subversive in their own ways while aiming for different-browed audiences. I’m grateful for their long lives and lengthy careers.

Finally, the world of music lost a giant in Ahmad Jamal. I leave you gentle readers with one of his seminal works.

April 12, 2023

Onomatopoeic Wednesday, with a Cameo by the Car Talk Guys

Feels weird, starting a new arc midweek instead of on a Monday. Feels weirder to end an old arc on a Milford win that isn’t a state championship. Feels weirder still to leave so many loose ends untied after an arc-ender.

Ah well, to everything there is a season. A time to mow, a time to sweep. A time to click, a time to clack. A time to snark, a time to refrain from snarking.

I’ll just take P2 as an offhand tribute to the Magliozzi brothers. They are well and truly missed.

April 5, 2023

Everybody Wants Out

The basketball arc has gotten so random that the characters have started to have enough. Cami Ochoa didn’t sign on for this when she was promoted from super soph to coach, so she’s calling an Uber to get her the hell out of here. Even Rod has had enough and is faking his own death after the block (or was it a charge? Come on, ref, do your job!).

Credit where credit is due as Barajas pulls this twist out of an actual sporting event. Didn’t expect it to be last season’s Bengals-Bills MNF game* with Rod in the Damar Hamlin role, though.

Whatever the opposite of credit where credit is due for having Tobe attempt to come to Rod’s rescue. He’s already been Mary Sued** into a multi-sport star; now he knows CPR? One PE class lesson doesn’t make you an expert. Gil – or, more likely, Trainer Rick Scott*** – would have pulled Tobe off Rod like a tick.

The EMT (Gil, in a Marine flashback, calls him a medic) can tell Rod’s faking it and is taking his sweet time getting to the kid.

Tomorrow, a meteor hurtles toward the Jefferson gym.

*And no, I’m not linking to it. We’ve seen it enough.

**Mary Sued, that is, if Barajas had been an athlete.

***Anyone seen Trainer Rick Scott lately? Another victim of budget cuts?

February 8, 2023

Taysed to Meet Me

Here’s the new Interim Assistant Coach, Emmett Tays, to whom we were introduced at the very beginning of the Barajas Era. Presumably Interim Assistant Coach slots in below Head Assistant Coach, at least in seniority if not in experience. Based on the team’s reaction in yesterday’s strip, there’s gotta be more backstory to Emmett between his Milford High days and now.

Head Assistant Coach Cami looks honestly relived to have Emmett there. Her lack of expertise was beginning to show during drills. Now she can step back and turn her focus to the Milford girls’ team, where she has more experience and will receive less attention. What’s that you say? Milford has no girls’ basketball team this season? I wasn’t wrong about getting less attention then, was I?

Although he looks a little deflated, Gil wastes no time in presenting Coach Tays as power bottom, a position Kaz would never take for him. The balance of power should soon shift, however, once Emmett gets wind of the salary history of his position. Looking forward to the upcoming strip, EEOC v. Milford School District, Pearl, Thorp, et al.

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