This Week in Milford

January 13, 2018

Gil Thorp Doesn’t Care About Huddled Masses

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Boy, I sure feel like trotting out my New Yorker-referencing post from last March. Could Gil be any more of an insensitive prick? Jordy’s cousin Jorge has had his home destroyed and is just looking for some semblance of order in his life right about now. All Gil cares about is that the kid isn’t as tall and broad as he’d like in the showers on the court. Remember, Gil, you go to war with the basketball team you have, not the one you might want or wish to have at a later time.

Surely Coach Thorf can pull out his Little Golden Book of Sports Strategies from the Early 20th Century and find one suitable for a team full of guards. Small ball, run-and-gun, a lot of forced switching up on defense, with a focus on speed, agility and a whole lot of conditioning training – the options for a size-challenged basketball team are out there. Then again, for a coach who pulls old formations and strategies out of his ass mid-season and expects his players to adapt almost immediately, that may be too much to expect.

Jordy Castillo is becoming that rarest of birds in the Thorpiverse: a guy with a goatee who isn’t a cardboard villain or fly in the ointment.  Jorge looks to come from good stock.

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January 4, 2018

Hoops Analysis This Soon? Why Bother?

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Every now and then an astute TWIM commenter brings up the notion that Neal Rubin’s Milford, in which high school kids go out for, make, and play regularly on teams in multiple sports, isn’t necessarily an accurate reflection of the current state of youth sports in the US. We occasionally get a glimpse into that world – the summer 2015 arc being a prime example – but by and large it’s a phenomenon that gets overlooked in the Thorpiverse. Given that the deepest drink of success juice Gil’s had in along time came by way of a kid whose sole focus up to that point had been a single sport, you’d think he’d be more amenable to the idea. It might even make for a more intriguing story line than we’re used to seeing. (Me, I was wondering if there’d be some ramifications from Jaquan Case walking around Milford in a hoodie in summertime, but Rubin spit that bit.)

But the Gil Thorp model of team-building probably plays well in places where they still read GRIT Gil Thorp in print. It keeps Gil in a coaching monopoly and Marty in a spiffy crate. So maybe we’ll get treated to a quintet of lunky hoopers dishing out elbows and concussions whilst setting picks for A.A.Ron Aagard (whose splintered home life will hopefully get picked up on as the arc progresses) and another wispy guy in the Max Bacon/Lini Verde mold.

December 23, 2017

Help Me Ricky-Wan, You’re My Only Hope

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Times are tough for lawyers these days.  On top of their already less than positive reputation in the public eye, theirs is another job that’s on the verge of being taken over by the machines.  Artificial intelligence already can perform an increasing amount of the routine, lower-level tasks and functions previously performed by junior attorneys, paralegals and support staff.  It’s not hard to foresee a future in which AI not only drafts but negotiates contracts, applies sentencing guidelines to those adjudicated guilty of crimes, and so on.  This will not spell the end of lawyers, but it will change the way law is practiced and will likely reduce the number of practicing lawyers going forward.

Let’s not shed a tear for them all just yet – especially not Gary DuBose. As timbuys pointed out in yesterday’s comments, there’s a subtle difference between being suspended and disbarred. There are also different types of suspension: administrative suspension (which usually happens when a lawyer forgets to pay registration fees or doesn’t take the annually required hours of continuing education) and suspension for discipline.  The upshot is the same – the attorney can’t practice until reinstated.

Are you still awake? Good. Let’s get back to watching Gil lay the smack down on Gary. I’m not sure how Kelly’s internet ninja skills helped her suss out Gary’s couch-surfing status unless his dumb ass changed his address to that of his agent friend (Jackie?)’s house. Neither is the dumbfounded Connie, who apparently couldn’t figure out how to call her husband. Also not sure how he reached the conclusion that Rick is Leia’s Gary’s only hope. I’m sure Gil will fill those cracks in on Monday.

December 22, 2017

We’re So Sorry, Uncle Gary

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We’re so sorry, Uncle Gary

We’re so sorry but you’ve become such a pain…

No, no, not again. I won’t go down the song parody path again today.  Nope, as they say on HGTV, this is the day of the big reveal. The suspended law license explains why he has so much time on his hands; the bankruptcy explains why he’s looking to little Ricky as the gravy train. Finally, since we didn’t go all internet ninja on “Gary DuBose” earlier this week, I’ve taken the liberty of doing so. Let’s start here:

 

Making the HGTV analogy may be appropriate after all, given that the real Gary DuBose looks to be some kind of a real estate flipper. Gil’s hairy talking flipper promises a  “But wait, there’s more!” moment that will keep us on the edge of our Staples-issue office chairs until tomorrow.

December 21, 2017

I Need to JO

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Jo Dawg, I heard you like joe so I put “JO” on your joe mug so you can read “JO” while you drink joe

*****

 

Well, the talk on the street
Says you coach Rick Soto
This brother of mine
Says he shouldn’t play no mo’

I need to know (I need to know)
I need to know (I need to know)
If you think he shouldn’t play
Then you better say so
I need to know (I need to know)
I need to know (I need to know)
Because I don’t know who’s wrong, him or my son
If I’m needin’ to wait, if I’m needin’ a spine
I need to know (I need to know)
I need to know (I need to know)

Who would’ve thought that
I’d listen to this guy?
I’ll be right back
I gotta call Dubai

I need to know (I need to know)
I need to know (I need to know)
If you think he oughta play
Then you better say so
I need to know (I need to know)
I need to know (I need to know)
Because I don’t know who’s wrong, him or my son
If I’m needin’ to wait, if I’m needin’ a spine
I need to know (I need to know)
I need to know (I need to know)
Wow!

*apologies to the late great TP

Wish I knew how to get my thumb to migrate to the other side of my palm like Gil has. He must be double-jointed and Hungarian.

December 14, 2017

Takes One to Know One… or Two

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Y’know, it’s been hard to make light of this fall’s subject matter, especially since Rubin’s done the legwork to pull in “Dr.” Joanne Gerstner and give cred where cred’s due. (I’d pat myself on the back for calling out the caveats in the BU study that Dr. Gerstner called out yesterday but that feels like piling on.) By now the TWIM faithful has no doubt seen what happened to the Texans’ Tom Savage and the aftermath last weekend (and no, I’m not gonna link to it) or read about ex-Chief Larry Johnson’s trials and tribulations with what he suspects might be CTE. No, none of this is a laughing matter, and again credit to Rubin for at least trying to approach the subject from a reasonable POV. High school kid has a potential talent outside of a sport that could be negatively impacted by certain injuries that could be sustained in that sport? Concerned parents seek to dissuade their child from participation in that sport for that reason? Sure, it all checks out.

We’re left with snarking on the usual shortcomings of this strip: the need to contrive a villainous adult with bad intentions as a plot device; the continual parade of weak, underdeveloped female characters who consistently fail the Bechdel Test; and the haphazard pacing that seldom reflects the actual pace of the season of the sport being played. All of those come to a head today as Rick finally calls bullshit on Uncle Gary’s little charade. Uncle Snidely Whiplash falls back on the “I’mma tell yo’ mama!” defense and it’s up to the reader to connect the dots between a Central City parking lot and Gil’s cushy office. Gil exposes Uncle Gary tomorrow, gets to spout some pithy platitudes on Saturday, and next week will be a mad rush of strips telling but not showing us how Milford misses the playdowns.

If you told me that Uncle Gary and Mama Soto were in some kind of incestuous, mind-controlling relationship and that Mama gets propped up in front of the monitor like one of Saddam Hussein’s human shields on Skype calls to Daddy Soto, I wouldn’t blink. It’d at least offer some explanation for the adult interpersonal relationships in the Soto household.

metapost: In the roar of so many other things going on this week I completely missed the obituary for “Mr. Falcon,” Tommy Nobis. The face of that franchise in its early years – and a force for good in and around Atlanta after his playing career – Nobis was another player haunted by injury to his body and mind.

December 9, 2017

Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Dubai

December 8, 2017

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Wow, Rick Soto must’ve grown a foot and gained 100 pounds since he took that knee to the helmet. He looks like he could be selling Niblets. Again, there’s nothing in this strip that would hip the novice Gil Thorp reader to the dynamics at work here. Convos like this are no doubt playing out all over this land of ours on a regular basis, but in most cases I’d venture “your mother and I”  “your mother, my milquetoast sister and I, your creeper uncle who wants to make a buck off you.”

December 9, 2017

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I’d been waiting to throw today’s title out ever since Richard Soto, Sr. got his backstory, but at this point I don’t know if we’ll ever see him in person so I figured since he’s referenced today I might as well use it now.*  It’s almost as though Rubin invested so much effort into making Uncle Gary the evil father substitute that he forgot he had written in an actual father for Rick. Hence this quick-dump, poor excuse of a throwaway line to Andre to keep from having to develop that character, or have him behave as an actual father might when he learned about all that’s gone down this fall.

Nice to see the Milford Public Library stay relatively on-model.

*Also, it’s not baseball season but it’s still worth throwing out the origin of the song’s use in a sports context.

December 7, 2017

We can’t trust Rick’s long-term health to some big-city lawyer, either

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He said “tested” instead of “studied”? Does he know anything about scientific research? Currently the only reliable diagnoses of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) are post-mortem studies of brain tissue. Testing for CTE may come in the future, once reliable biomarkers are found. The data Uncle Gary cites comes from a study, not from testing. Why leave out the CFL players and collegians, Gary? Huh? How about the caveat that the brains donated belonged to people who had been symptomatic?

A reader new to Gil Thorp who had just read only the past week of strips might be forgiven for siding with creepy uncle.  Longtime readers know Gary is just one in a long line of Thorpiverse adults seeking to exploit a child athlete for their own personal gain or wish fulfillment. That he chooses to do so by cherry-picking data favorable to his case is consistent with his portrayal as some kind of lawyer (ambulance chaser PI litigator, maybe? still not established) but calls his own credentials into question. Why Connie Soto or, especially, Absent Dad Soto hasn’t yet done so is one of the biggest plot holes in this fall story arc.

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