This Week in Milford

March 27, 2019

“And we care because?” could be this blog’s motto

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Well, that explains everything, doesn’t it?  The big “RIN” in the sign behind Andre’s head yesterday was short for “RINK,” which Milford has one of, apparently.  (Of course it does. How else could kids practice for skating at the Winter Blast in Central City? And why hasn’t ice hockey ever been a thing in Milford?)  Andre watched his little sister – odd hand gesture meant to signify “little” – skate and saw a group of synchronized skaters perform*. On his way home he got his cheek pierced and had that shark tooth he found at the beach on summer vacation mounted on a stud.

Oh, yeah, one of the synchronized skaters is also one of Mimi’s softball players.  Heaven forbid she prioritize something else over Milford High sportsball!  Prepare for multiple strips shaming poor Molly Hatchet off the ice and onto the diamond.

*I’m sorry, but every time I read “synchronized skating” I thought “synchronized swimming” and could only picture Harry Shearer and Martin Short in that old SNL skit.  Skate away, that’s all.

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March 16, 2019

In Kaz We Trust, kinda

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Don’t look now, y’all, but I think Rollen Stewart has broken out of jail!  He left his sign next to Kaz and David Walter and is on the lam.

Between the close talking, face and shoulder touching and Kaz’s uncomfortable leer, I’d say Kaz and Gil have been noticing David pretty hard so far.  Let’s hope it’s only ground balls that hit him in the face.

Today’s strip doesn’t advance the plot much, but it does raise the possibility that we finally get a scrappy athlete who’s not a complete self-absorbed douchebag.  Is that too much to hope for?

February 27, 2019

Today’s “Gil Thorp” Sponsored by Staples®…

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…or at least it would’ve been had Staples® not axed that slogan five years ago.

We saw this coming a while back. Isn’t it convenient how the Thorps get others to do their dirty work for free?  Today Marty is a witting accomplice, if a bit behind the times (I mean, who signs their text messages?). Station manager LBJ on the other hand is, well, unwitting. I’m not gonna let any of that that spoil my enjoyment of Marty’s takedown of B/Robby. Kid has it coming.

Speaking of slogans: I wonder the rest of WDIG’s slogan that begins with “We wo” is. Maybe “We would play music but nobody’s listening.” Thoughts?

 

 

February 23, 2019

Now a sensible man, by and by a fool, and presently a beast.

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Riddle me this, TWIMers: Is this our first visit to Barney’s Pub? It’s not one of Del Bader’s old watering holes, like Selasky’s Supper Club, is it? Did it take over the Coffee Cantina’s space, or did they just steal the CC’s plates? Something about the place seems a little off-kilter, like the nacho salad with ketchup and the idea of Marty Moon drinking in public rather than in the lonesome misery of his own four walls.

That’s what’s off – not just Marty’s public drinking but his choice of beverage. He’s been shown to be a Johnnie Walker man on more than one occasion. He’s also shown a historic callousness to the feelings of others, not caring who he pisses off as long as it’s good radio. That’s why I read his greeting to the ladies as a dig, especially at Mimi. Everybody’s been ignoring the Lady Mudlarks, so why shouldn’t Marty? Hell, he’s already mentally moved on even as Marjie Lite fires a lame retort. Look at the thousand yard stare on Evil Spock’s puss.

That said I expect Mimi, Peggy & co. will pull Marty back to reality over the next several strips, by pointing out that it’s not just them who’ve been ignoring him but WDIG listeners generally. They’ve come for the B/Robby Howry show and Marty is just old and in the way. That, and station manager LBJ’s diming B/Robby out for throwing broad hints at wanting Marty’s job, will be the straw that breaks the lush’s back. It’ll be Marty who runs B/Robby out of town on a rail, sparing the Coaches Thorp any dirty work and letting their players and ex-players remain squeaky clean.

Special Guest Cameo: Looks like Richard Moll is passing through Milford and has dropped in to knock back a frosty mug.

Apologies for the lateness of the post. I’ve been on a brief hiatus and my timing’s a bit off. That’s what spring training’s for, isn’t it? Inspiration for today’s post title, if not the name of this latest Milford watering hole:

February 9, 2019

I’m from the psychologist’s office and I’m here to help

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It’s been a very long day for yhs and I have a sneaking suspicion that however I choose to snark today’s strip, it’ll already have been done to death on the Curmudgeon. With that in mind…

Time moves slowly in the Valley. Milford may be 1959 with cell phones, but in Tilden they whip out their 143-year-old campaign posters to decorate the gym.

Wow, will ya look what a little counseling – or just the promise of counseling – will do.  Just like that shortstop-in-waiting Filion has turned into Mr. Helper. Even with Gil having benched the four failed wannabe billboard defacers, the Filion-driven Mudlarks are putting the Tildenites away in short order.

Meanwhile Marty thinks he’s being witty by labeling Marcell Ledbetter Irby the “stovepipe sophomore,” which conjures up imagery of Ralph Sampson, Chuck Nevitt or Manute Bol. His face tells another story, revealing the unfolding, horrifying realization that a winning Gil Thorp-coached team will destroy the Marty n’ B/Robby Show’s raison d’être. Not to fear, o soused sportscaster: Milford only wins when other teams have either thrown in the towel or benched their starters to rest them for the playdowns.

January 29, 2019

There’s No Such Thing As A Bad Boy. Just Bad Plots.

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Let me be SERIOUS for a minute. I agree with Coach Kaz that if something on the radio, TV, podcast, CD player, record player, electronic media devices, offends you or you don’t like what you hear TURN IT OFF. I have long been an advocate of this idea rather than let self-righteous hypocrites tell us what we can or cannot listen to.

Those who say that, for example, that Black Sabbath leads people down the wrong road don’t wash with me. I’ve been a Sabbie forever (“Technical Ecstasy” and “Volume 4” on the cassette player while balancing equations in high school Chemistry-the memories) and I have a medical doctor in my family. Those who LET another human being get in their heads have nobody to blame but THEMSELVES.

You have the power right within the radio dial.

USE IT.

George Burns was right. You may not be able to change the world but you can always change the channel.

 

Okay, soap box aside, was Coach Kaz listening in on the conversation? Was he smoking a couple of Lucky Strikes from that one guy’s locker? Such sleight-of-hand. Just sneak in before the basketball guys are done at the water fountain, hide behind the lost and found box (if you can stand the stench, Coach-me, I would’ve come clean rather than smell 3-day-old jock strap odor permeate through the pile) , wait ’til they all pass through, listen to them plot the Invasion of Poland, then pounce on ’em and tell ’em they better take Sweden instead. Not as many people and more blonds. The Swedish Bikini Team might be touring the country. Worth conquering, in other words. Just a suggestion. Just don’t send Enola Gay to pinpoint a billboard. Off limits. What would the UN think?

 

And I just FREEZE when I hear the word “loophole”. I can’t even imagine the scenario but here goes.

Our anti-heroes wind up skinny-dipping in some farmer’s pond with the cows on the other end eating the chili dogs and Jack they received when Ol’ McDonald returned that slab of tenderloin he hocked at the Milford 4-H Hoedown to MBW,  giving Roberto the swirlie of his life. Coach Kaz is out digging for worms for bait when he goes trout-fishing at Mudlark Lake and catches our anti-heroes (C’mon, did you ever see Captain America give Spiderman a swirlie?) in the act.

“I thought I told you to leave Roberto alone. So what’s the deal?”

“He accepted our invitation to go for a midnight swim. He challenged us to a fight after we said his mother advertises World’s Finest Chocolate off her pickle wagon. What could we do? We couldn’t run out on the road with the County sheriff patrolling the beat. We had no choice but to stand our ground.”

Like Coach Stuard used to teach me, good teams find a way around the  rules, if necessary. No better example than this.

 

Thanks to Matt Maloney, of Louisville, Kentucky, with help with the above comedy idea. Keep up the good work at your job, Matt. You work HARD and DEFINITELY represent America.

 

And don’t even go there in P3. Okay, the team is going to try to circumvent Kaz’s Mandate because, well, they’re kids. So you can’t give Roberto a swirlie on School Grounds. Fair enough. you still got the Milford Mall bathroom, McDonald’s, Milford Kwik-EE Mart and all you need is the key for the last one. Simple. Keep Roberto in the trunk, someone go get the key and tell them they had one Bucket Chili Dog too many, procure the Gateway to Relief, get Asshole Roberto out of the trunk, get him to bathroom before anyone  can write  more nasty stuff on the walls (“Roberto sits all broken-hearted/Tried to poop but only farted”) , stick in his head in designated Hell hole. Fun is sure to follow.

And if Kaz comes in unexpectedly for the munchies and has to have 3 bags of Doritos $4  Organic Nacho Supreme, what can he do? Okay, call the police but they weren’t on School Grounds!!!!!!! Not that I’m encouraging this but where the hell are they going in P3???????? This is The Sopranos getting out the car. Did they make sure Roberto had concrete shoes on while dumping him in Mudlark Lake???????? He just insulted the coach, not attacked The Don’s order. Well, finish the job, Sopranos, er, Mudlarks, and let’s get back to basketball. And keep your silencers in your lockers.

 

This is the city. Milford, USA. An average-sized town with plenty of activity, some not always on the level. That’s when I go to work. My name’s Friday. I carry a badge.

It was drizzling in Milford. The weatherman call for The Rapture later. My partner, Bill Gannon, and I were assigned to the Domestic Fraud and Dismemberment Department, Adult Division. The boss is Captain Mr. Clean.

There had been unconfirmed reports of abnormal, illicit, and illegal toilet operations. SWAT team members had been investigating  restaurants and bars off of anonymous tips we received from our alert citizens. They traced the illegal trade to the Milford Lounge and The Bucket.

“So whattya think?”

“Nuthin’ yet. Still got all night.”

“What thrill do kids get from sticking a classmate’s head down the john?”

“Beats me. We did the same thing to the Japanese when I was in the Service. Spilled their guts right down to the vanilla sushi. Got one to say Emperor Hirohito was the AntiChrist rather than douse his head in a neglected barracks latrine. A PFC got a month’s KP cuz he forgot Latrine Duty. Geez, the stink. Smelled like Coach Shaw after he bombed Pearl Harbor in Gil’s WC. No wonder why the man cracked.

Gannon looks through his lorgniette.

“Joe, I think we got trouble.”

“And plenty of. Let’s go.”

We spotted some teenagers pulling into the drive-in of The Bucket. We thought nothing of it until we saw them get out of the car. Normally, they grab the speaker and order the usual teenage fare, cheeseburgers, chocolate shakes and what-not. When they didn’t tip the car hop, I suspected trouble. We STILL had to catch them in the act. Headquarters wasn’t going to accept arresting a punk because he tipped Carly the Car Hop a $2 bill nor because he spit too much into his A & W Root Beer Bucket Float. We had to wait untoil at least Carly took a smoke break behind the dumpster. There’d be no swirlies there.

“Hey, there’s nerdnik Roberto over there!!!!!” “Where?”

“Over there, stupid.  Eatin’ in that corner booth with those women he  called on the Milford Singles Line. Dang, he runs the gamut. One’s a divorcee, once married to Dr. Pearl’s nephew, one’s an old maid,  Granny Clampett’s sister, I hear, one’s 350 pounds after she got blackballed from a Weight Watcher’s meeting-”

“Cut the trivia, dude!!!!!! Everybody ready?? At the count of 3, let’s whoop some butt and give his head a home-made Bucket Chocolate/Vanilla Twirl.”

They grabbed the initiative before we could make our move. Fortunately, the SWAT team was waiting in the girls’ bathroom while Gannon called for back-ups. You never knew with these punks. They were liable to throw Bucket Orange & Lime Yogurt at you and get it all over your jacket with the Lions Club lapel on it. You couldn’t be too careful.

The SWAT team reacted swiftly and none too soon, throwing tear gas in Stall #3. Those punks never stood a chance. They came out with their hands out while Roberto grabbed a paper towel because the Air Blower was out of order. The smoke would be there for days.

“Police officers!!!!!!!!! You’re under arrest!!!!!!

“Don’t shoot!!!!!!!! Don’t shoot!!!!!!!!!

Man, I get a boner to this day rounding up teenage ne’er-do-wells.

“Awwwwrright, Gannon, read ’em their rights.”

Gannon obliged, then asked one final question.

“Was it really worth it???? All you had to do was listen to another radio station. I heard Anderson Cooper is really down on Gil for lack of action or interest.”

“Yeah. We just couldn’t take any more. If we could snuff this mug, we could listen to Fibber McGee once again. His closet stinks but at least he makes sense. And he never criticizes the coach.

“Yeah???? Well, you’re going to share a cell with Daddy Bader while Roberto will still be on the air. And you still ain’t playing basketball.”

Eerie music cuts in, as it always does when Friday scores a touche.

DUM DA DUM DUM

 

DUM DA DUM DUM DUMMMMMMMMMMM

“On January 3rd, trial was held in the Milford Superior Court. In a moment, the results of that trial.”

 

Okay, Gene Rayburn is back, at the ready with another Match Game 2019 question. Take ‘er away, Gene.

“Dumb Dora was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO dumb (HOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! DUMB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SHE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) , she thought her ________________ would be great for R/Bobby to advertise on billboards.”

 

“On January 3rd, the Milford Superior Court found the Milford Mudlark Basketball team guilty of one count of recklless gang activity according to the Milford Penal Code Article 35, Section 21, punishable by probation to 5 years in the Milford Penitentiary, and 23 counts of plot inertia, according to Milford Penal Code Article 475, Section 95, Clause 103, punishable by Life Confinement to the Milford Gym or 5-10 years in the same, dependent on the degree of the swirlie.”

“The team now serving lay-up drills for 7 years until a parole hearing is scheduled in 2023.”

 

DING DONGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!!!! HI HONEY, I’M HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

“Gil, you don’t have to ring the doorbell. This is your house!!!!!!!!”

“Oops, sorry. I was so carried away with that deal at Milford Beverage Warehouse that I forgot I wasn’t at Kaz’s house for Scrabble and Bud.”

“So you remembered to return the Amish macaroni salad you concealed in your ’93 football playbook?Did Dr. Pearl ever suspect that you took it from the faculty loung3e after the Milford Teachers’ Beer Bonanza Celebration?”

“Hell, no, they had to cart Pearl off to the Milford Emergency Clinic after she downed a fifth of Jack with no chaser. Tod Andrews was the Designated Driver. AND she still thinks Luhm crammed it under his dustpan before he was scheduled to turn on all the Raid Defogger cans to get rid of the fleas. Caramel quiche has a way of attracting fleas, I guess.”

“Did the Beverage guy ever tell you where the food was going?”

“He said they’ll be taking it to the Milford Food Pantry. Somebody desperate enough and tired of devouring old Michelin tires like Wile E. Coyote will chow down on Road Runner souffle and not-yet-moldy potato salad. He also said the Pantry sprays Lysol on everything before E. Coli can spread. There’ll be no Plague in Milford, believe me. Wile E. can confidently chew Road Runner meat knowing the USDA enforces no lice on a dead Road Runner or Bucket Burgers that have been under the heat lamp too long. But I got my 24-Pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon, I’m happy.”

“And what about the Dolly Madison Zingers?”

“They didn’t lose color. And the icing’s still fresh. We FedEx’d those and the Oreos to a mission somewhere off the coast of El Salvador. I negotiated for 2 Patron Reposado Teqauilas but the Warehouse wanted more Twinkies thrown in the transaction to earn another bottle. Damn, if only Coach Shaw wasn’t off another Hostess binge after he shot that raccoon.”

“Darling, I’m glad there’s somewhere to go to dump your unwanted condiments, the ones that wound up in Nativity No-Man’s Land. Sorta like those misfit toys that Santa found a home for. It’s nice that Dr. Pearl’s month-old carrot cake found a home. I heard Bumbles is still snarfing it after Herbie the Dentist got him a new pair of dentures (“Herbie doesn’t like to make carrot cake”, Herbie doesn’t…etc.) . The cake was disintegrating in your glove compartment.”

“Shoot, they gave me a Coors Light Keg o’ Tall Boys for that and even offered to give back the carrot cake if I’d let them have it krausened.”

 

“Boy, we could go on with this Boswell on the Milford Beverage Warehouse all night but it would probably wind up in the ER with Dr. Pearl, so don’t take our word for it. Bring back that box of KFC Buffalo Fries you’ve got stashed in the attic behind Grandma’s organ and get a fresh start. And a fresh Michelob. Sounds like a winner to me.”

 

Gang, I apologize. I have been FRANTICALLY trying to get this posted after my original got erased again. Still in the Dark Ages on technical wizardry. Thank you eternally for your patience. You mean A LOT to me.

 

“Wait a minute, Gil. There’s no ‘k’ in ‘sabbatical’.”

“Whatever. It’s a hard sound. Close enough. You already owe me 3 Buds. Don’t run up a bill.”

January 25, 2019

An Echo Chamber Does Not a Groundswell Make

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We’re being asked to fill in a lot of blanks here today.  Other than the one caller who called bullshit on their short-term memory loss yesterday, it’s just been Marty and B/Robby taking turns getting their digs in on Gil.  (You notice no one ever calls for Kaz’s head?  They know he’s liable to track them down and put his fist through theirs.)  Do those two take turns running out of the studio and calling in?  I suppose between calls Marty can get a bite to eat from the automat that has magically appeared behind his head.  Or do Wildcat Maris, Hobart, Barry Bader et al. just have WDIG on speed dial?

WDIG’s station manager seems vaguely aware that this whole kerfuffle is purely Marty’s and The Boy Who Would Be Coach’s doing, but as long as the ad revenue is coming in and he can keep shuffling those invoices, it’s all gravy.  Then again he may be waxing nostalgic about how he earned that trophy behind him for being the best Studebaker salesman in the Valley, or planning to order some Haggar slacks to go with that shawl-collared jacket of his while remembering how he used to hold meetings while he was on the can.

Meanwhile, in the Mudlark locker room, the real wheels get set in motion when rando underclassman asks rando seniors to dish the dirt on B/Robby.  Howry’s placebo-dealing, Bacon-manipulating backstory will be shared, rando underclassman will call Marty to expose B/Robby on air, WDIG’s engineer will again lose his mind, and Gil’s reputation will be saved without any action on his part.  This had better be good.

January 2, 2019

Martin McDonagh Was Right: Billboards Come in Threes

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Times are tough at the Milford Star.  Ad revenues are way down and they have a staff of three: Marjie Ducey, middle-aged management/editor type guy and the bearded one.  It still has physical offices and the nice little sign out front from its heyday (“Covers the Valley like the Dew“) but it can’t afford to replace that window that mysteriously got broken after the Star ran its piece on the Milford Pirate Network last basketball season.  Well, it’s either that or the window tint fell off; otherwise how could we see the convo between editor type guy and the bearded one?

Bearded guy’s hard-hitting investigative journalism doesn’t really do much to satisfy Editor Guy’s curiosity but it nudges the plot forward just a teeny bit.  Maybe Bobby has rented two billboards and put the same message on both of them two different times, and now plans to do it again.  (“COACH THORP: TAKE A HINT FROM URBAN MEYER AND MARK RICHT”)  Such the suspense!

Meanwhile in the halls of Milford High, unidentified student needles Filion with the slang term that Filion’s been singlehandedly trying to make a thing with the Mudlarks.  Filion fires back with that already tried-and-true phrase of the Milford lexicon, “Ease up!”  Next Gil is accosted by one of the faculty, no doubt to talk about said Filion.  Why she goes to Gil instead of, say, Dr. Pearl is beyond me but then again this strip isn’t named Dr. Pearl.  Probably safe to say that any behavioral anomalies among the Milford student body can be directly attributed to events that happen under Gil’s watch. He’s used to it by now, so her inquiry is not met with a spit take.  All in a day’s work for the most laissez-faire coach in the Valley.

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