This Week in Milford

November 13, 2019

You’ve Got a Friend in Thorpsylvania

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Having enlisted Niah Peters (who has a Twitter feed if nothing else) to join Gil’s little Clue Club, Marjie Ducey now seeks to expand its ranks by having Niah dime on Chet Ballard’s “friend” on the school board. Presumably that’s the aforementioned Carol, who really hasn’t acted very friendly toward Chet. I guess offering advice to mind his own business instead of immediately ratting him out to the rest of the school board qualifies as friendship in the high-stakes world of school administration.

Having freed himself of the burden of confronting anyone directly, Gil can finally turn attention back to his day job… coaching sportsball. Gil’s been spending so much time sleuthing that he’s forgotten about preparing his amazingly one-loss Mudlarks for their upcoming tilt against Jefferson. That lack of preparation should lead to a blowout loss at the hands of the Jeffs, which will serve Gil twofold:

  1. The loss will eliminate Milford from the playdowns, keeping Gil from having to prep for football and basketball concurrently;
  2. With the game out of reach, he can give Charlie Roh plenty of touches in garbage time, then wait to overhear more of Ballard’s self-incriminating postgame babble to his stepson.

Join us tomorrow for another episode of Gil Thorp Mysteries. Maybe Gil will have recruited a wisecracking ghost and an anthropomorphic animal or two into his posse by then.

November 12, 2019

Elephant? What Elephant? In This Room?

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Drinking my Maxwell House one day, puttin’ the vinyl “Double Fantasy” on the turntable

 

People say it’s silly

Lost and confused

 

TWIMers think it’s messy

Blowing my fuse

 

When Chet exclaims with a straight beard

That Dumbo’s not around

I flip a coin between Gil and Chet

For who’s the bigger clown

 

I’m just sittin’ here watchin’ this plot spin ’round ‘n’ ’round

I really loathe this cruddy show

 

May we depart this hopeless merry-go-round

We just got to let it go

 

Today’s headline in the Milford Enquirer

“Bruce Wayne Is Removed As A Suspect In Batman Case!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

sub headline

“Milford Transportation Board spokesman said that Batmobile required a B License Endorsement, something not presently in Mr. Wayne’s possession.”

 

Okay, let me first throw my hat in the ring on the legitimate comments by our TWIMers in relation to education and the newspapers.

It has been my experience that the bigger cities (100,000 or more) are able to sustain a newspaper with its own education reporter. My own city I grew up in, which was in the category I mentioned above, has had for several years and currently has a beat writer covering the news pertaining to schools in the area.

The problem I personally am encountering here is, based on my experiences with reading Gil Thorp (“More fun than a barrel of monkeys”) , Milford is about the size of, say, Vincennes, Indiana or Henderson, Kentucky, 2 cities able to sustain a Wal-Mart and possibly a Kohl’s or Home Depot but still only capable of supporting one public high school and occasionally, as in Vincennes’ case, a private high school, Rivet (Rih-VAY), a Catholic High School.

Therefore, it’s dicey whether the Small Town Gazette is going to carry it’s own education section or have the financial resources to support a reporter in a specialized field like education. Anything’s possible but again too dicey for me.

But this is Thorpiverse and anytime you can get a beat writer like Niah Peters in this case to sit on the upper left-hand drawer when it’s locked shut and discuss with “We’re unclear whether she’s the de facto editor” Ducey about the rhino that escaped Milford Petting Zoo, the logic I mentioned above might as well get thrown in the big pot at Milford High School cafeteria along with the other ingredients in the 12 cans of Campbell’s Chunky Vegetable. Use a spoon, you’ll want to get every drop.

And WHO ELSE do you go to if you suspect a problem? I always thought that’s what School Board meetings are for. If there’s a strong suspicion (and this one’s arm pits are smellin’ PRETTY STRONG) that someone’s not on the up-and-up, what else CAN YOU DO? If the rhino is not in the petting area with the rest of the lambs and goats to feed a bottle of formula, do you go to Bozo the Pope and tell him a rhino is NOT in the room with the elephant? I always thought that’s what a zoo director is for. But let me cross-reference my sources. I’ll get back with you on that one.

Then there’s Janis Ian talking to someone with a neo-Jefferson Airplane hairdo-OH THAT’S MARJIE “SCOOP” DUCEY-about the possible repercussions should they challenge Chet to a toro fight at Milford Municipal Bull Ring. I think the gist of the conversation is that el toreador would be flattened by Big Butt Ballard, beard and all, should they go the procedural route. Okay, okay, I know some of you hoity-toitys out there think they shouldn’t ignore protocol and you might have a point.

But I gotta be fair about this and I am therefore enlisting the aid of Dragnet once again to see if we can resolve this one.

1:29PM. It was cool in Milford. The city had just been hit with snow flurries that tapered off right in line with our investigation. Bill and I were transferered over to the Recreational and Athletic Suspicious and Unwarranted Activity Division of the Juvenile Delinquent Department. The boss is Captain Peters.

We were advised to be on the alert for occurences at the Milford football games in relation to a one Chet Ballard. He was believed to be harboring dirty laundry and illegal records pertaining to one of his stepson’s teammates, Chance Macy. Witnesses said they saw him loading that stuff with a spade shovel in his trunk. We could nail him on Milford Penal Code Section 34 Article 9 Clause 103 “Illegal and Unlawful Work-Related Incidents with Intent to Self-Promote Family and Self, Including Domesticated Animals in Household” but without a search warrant, the only other way we could get him to open his trunk and display the spare records and spare tire was if he lost his key and asked me and Bill for a crowbar. The investigation was running colder than a Bucket Slushee.

Captain Peters suggested I talk to the School Superintendent. A fair proposition. One problem. While conversing with him and Gil down at the Milford Lounge, he informed me (the superintendent, not Gil) that this was out of his bailiwick. His job was to make sure the cafeteria ladies at Milford High had plenty of Handi-Wipes when handling the cheeseburgers so kids wouldn’t contract E. Coli or procure slaughterballs for gym class at Milford Elementary out of the catalogue of Classroom Paraphenalia. Fighting a guy whose razor had seen better days and was now shaving cow hairs for better milk production was not his cup of tea or the flask of Jack he was imbibing. The superintendent wasn’t going to get his retirement doing the right thing even if a sleazeball knew how to work the system the way he maneuvered his Trac II.

“Bill, let’s go get something to eat.”

“What about the case?”

“Hopeless. I could run him out of town on a Section 97 “Unwarranted and Illegal Entry into Public Building” but he could say he was in the Milford School Corporation Annex because his diarrhea medicine was kicking in and the Milford Park Public Unisex House was shut down for the season.”

“Back to square one, aren’t we?”

“Looks that way.”

“I heard the Superintendent tips pretty good at Milford Lounge, I’ll say that for him.”

“We could use some tips from him, all right”

Obligatory somber Dragnet music pipes in

 

Yesterday’s headline in the Milford Enquirer

“O.J. Cleared In Batman Case!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

sub headline

“I asked the judge if he could see me in my blue Fruit of the Loom’s fightin’ The Riddler. I think that was the turning point.”

 

People say it’s stupid

Lacking a clue

 

TWIMers call it tepid

Ridiculous too

 

When the hippo dances with the crocs

And crush the furniture

Because nobody bothers to duly note

Chet’s self-imprimatur

 

We’re just sittin’ here watchin’ this plot drag ’round ‘n’ ’round

We’re gettin’ dizzy from all the snow

No need to further prod this merry-go-round

Why don’t we let it go.

 

THE HAND IS BACK

 

You Dark Shadows junkies like yours truly know exactly what I’m talking about.

And what a bad time for it to return, participating in a meaningless and pointless discussion that really shouldn’t be on the agenda in the first place. Heck, send The Hand to scare the living daylights out of Chet like it did us Shadows junkies, otherwise, it might as well be doing Karaoke in P2

At 2:34 A.M. in Chet’s bedroom

“You were always on my minddddddddd-”

AAAAAAAAAAAAAA, GIL, I KNOW IT’S LATE BUT I CONFESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I POCKMARKED CHANCE MACY’S TRANSCRIPTS SO CHARLIE COULD START AT RUNNING BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!! HE REALLY DIDN’T FLUNK ‘METALS FOR LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENTS’ OR ‘ADVANCE LATIN’!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! JUST GET IT AWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

“Who was that?”

Gil half-asleep

“I think it was Chet. Something about Chance not getting a D- in Geometry 2 because some hand was grabbing his butt and giving him a wedgie.”

 

Well, if anybody has a better suggestion…

Otherwise, we can always call The Orkin Man as long as we’re going to eliminate valid options. The School Board room is going to look silly because it has personnel either on the School Board or in the Administration Building not willing to observe proper practices because it’s overthinking and overlooking the obvious, along with our cub reporters, but the room will be roach-free. I think that’s an even trade-off.

 

And as for P3, Mr. Lennon proves a song is worth a thousand words

People say it’s cheesy

Got bad reviews

 

TWIMers hate the premise

Yesterday’s news

 

When we fear a gutless myrmidon

With scruples in his beard

School Board regulations

Go the way of a rabic steer

 

We’re just sittin’ here watchin’ this tripe fling ’round ‘n’ ’round

We really hate the rigamarole

Why don’t we cease and switch to basketball

We just have to let it roll

 

WE JUST HAVE TOOOOOOOOOOO LET IT ROLL

Got message?

 

Because I’m a Classic Rock fan who saw Hard Rock in an ad but learned that they were referring to a man’s Erectile Dysfunction and the healing powers thereof

In the basement den late one night, the door double-locked, Coach Shaw blasting The Who

“Honnneeeeyyyyyyy, My ears are scorched and so are my flashes. It’s time to come to beddy bye and have some funnnnnnnnnnn.”

“Not now, Mrs. Shaw, I’m practicing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

SMASH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! CRASH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

“Honey, What are you breaking? I hope it’s not the Chippendale chair that belonged to my grandfather.”

“Don’t worry, Mrs. Shaw, I have a vise grip that’s holding all these light bulbs I bought at McShane’s Hardware. I’m pretendin’ I’m Pete Townshend and I’m doing a killer windmill with this ukulele, when I’m not smashing it to bits…

LONG LIVE ROCK, I NEED IT EVERY NIGHT

LONG LIVE ROCK

BE DEAD OR ALIVE

 

“Darling, we can do ‘Live at Leeds’ another time. Why don’t you Rock ‘n’ Roll with me?”

“Just when Won’t Get Fooled Again’ s on the turntable? How can you profane a classic like Who’s Next? Heck, I’m doing the part where Keith’s taking a leak at Stonehenge or wherever they hauled that rock from.”

I’LL TIP MY HAT TO THE NEW CONSTITUTION

TAKE A BOW FOR THE NEW REVOLUTION

 

SMASH!!!!!!!!!!!!! CRASH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

“Them GE 100-Watt Heat Lamp bulbs will never know what hit ’em with me and Pete smashin’ ’em like overripe pumpkins. Ain’t that the name of a group?”

“Overripe Pumpkins?”

“I thought it was Smashing Cantaloupes”

“Dear, at any rate, at least Loony Moonie dropped his pants on the album cover.”

SMASH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! CRASH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

“Excusez-moi, Mrs. Shaw, but Roger and me just conked out a lava lamp while twirling our mikes. We’ll clean up the mess later.”

WHY SHOULD I CARE IF I HAVE TO

CUT MY HAIR

I’VE GOT TO MOVE WITH THE FASHION

OR BE OUTCAST

I KNOW I SHOULD FIGHT BUT MY OLD MAN

IS REALLY ALL RIGHT

AND I’M STILL LIVING AT HOME EVEN THO

IT WON’T LAST

“Honey, you won’t be living at home much longer either if you don’t perform a windmill on me.”

SMASH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! CRASH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

“Just when Quadrophenia is heating up!!!!!!!!!!! And I got some Gorilla-Gro that I applied on my chest so I can have a sexy front like Roger. King Kong twirling a mike to The Punk and The Godfather will drive even the teeny-boppers for Frankie wild. And damn, I thought the Overture would never end. Kinda like the game the other day.”

IF YOU COMPLAIN, YOU DISAPPEAR

JUST LIKE THE LESBIANS AND QUEERS

Coach Shaw blowing on song flute in a well-intentioned attempt to imitate Entwistle’s French horn interlude

YOU’LL START DANCING

 

SMASH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! CRASH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

“Shit!!!!!!!!!!!!! I smashed my trophy case!!!!!!! Hope the antlers are OK!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

 

“I had to learn the meaning of Hard Rock the hard way. And when my Significant Other was lamer than a dead snake in our back yard, no matter how many windmills I did, I knew it was time to come clean and get my butt down to Milford Men’s Clinic. With proven traetments and proper medication, I can now whip myself in a frenzy from Baba O’Riley and my wife is caught up in the whirlwind and lovin’ it. Isn’t it time you and Pete laid down your guitar and checked in? Your concerts will truly be hard as Rock. Only at The Clinic.”

 

Gang, thank you SO MUCH for your patience. Trying to work this blog in while juggling my new job is a challenge but as Coach Stuard taught me, you learn to get around it. I am thankful for loyal and patient readers like you TWIMers. God bless you all.

 

“IbelieveinMIRACLES

Where you from

You sexy thing-”

KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK

“Gil, did you forget to go to The Clinic again???”

Turns off Hitachi Sound System in his office

“They were closed for the holiday.”

 

Special Edition to the Milford Enquirer

“Coach Shaw Banned For Life From Milford Holiday Inn!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

sub headline

“Local resident drove the family station wagon into the swimming pool.”

October 23, 2019

A Shot of MYOB With a Cup of STFU Chaser

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Something tells me Chet Ballard strikes out with his wife on a regular basis. Probably why we haven’t seen any siblings for Charlie. Maybe he’ll get lucky at school.

I’m not sure if this unnamed school board lady is the same one Ballard went to when he wanted to make a test case out of Tiki Jansen (in which case her name is Carol), but for the sake of today’s post let’s assume she is. Carol’s seen enough of Chet’s crap to know this needs to be nipped in the bud. This being mid-October, however, it’s too early for Chet to let this go.

So who does Ballard turn to next? Marty Moon? He has been known to let Milfordians (Milfordites?) go on the air and put their feet in their mouths. Seeing as it’s his town, Marty might decide there’s only room for one bearded blowhard. That leaves Marjie Ducey, Gil himself, or a billboard outside Milford.

August 31, 2019

The Milford Playbook: Student Body Left

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Just when we think we’re getting a deeper dive into the blended Ballard/Roh family dynamic, quick cut to Marjie in Gil’s office getting the roster rundown she should’ve been getting last week when everyone was stuffing their face with sloppy joes. What’s up with Marjie’s manicure? Did she tell the nail technician to paint everything but her lunulae? And how many left elbows does she have such that she can line that notepad up directly under her right hand?

That Finn kid getting sick gave Gil enough time to think up witty repostes to divert attention from the fact his team’s gonna suck and he can’t coach them to play any better. Maybe the Mudlarks need a motivational speaker to come talk to them. One like “Teen Expert and Motivational Speaker” Gabe Salazar. After namedropping Salazar, Gil spouts doublespeak and practically dares Marjie to write anything negative. At least he doesn’t outright insult Marjie the way he did Marty; maybe those sloppy joes were insult enough.

Added new tag “Peering Over Eyeglasses” since that’s what everybody in the Thorpiverse who wears them does with them. It may take a while before we can retroactively tag every instance.

August 17, 2019

Oh Yeah? Jump On This!

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Well, I’m glad that’s settled. Ed is neither the express nor implied racist we suspected him to be (or, at least, he’s not gonna cop to that). Neither is he really that concerned about Jaquan’s post-NBA career. He just wanted baby girl to come home and join/take over his practice. I mean, why should the Foley Law Group beat him to the punch? With that, Ed V. Baxendale joins the pantheon of Milford parents living vicariously through the lives of their children (if not outright preordaining their career paths via their names).

Kinda funny we haven’t seen Gil in the strip for a couple of weeks. Hope he’s watching more of Joe Bolek’s game film. He’d better keep Hadley on speed dial for the next time he needs to intimidate the lawyerless school board, or game the system to recruit outside talent.

Finally, it wouldn’t be a Gil Thorp arc-ending strip without some kind of lame joke and a freeze-frame ending. Good thing Jaquan got Luther, The Anger Translator to stand in for him.

August 14, 2019

Not Janet’s Diner Again!?!

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Now we’ve left the
Milford School Board
For the diner
Named for Janet
Oh, I never
Really ate here
But my boyfriend
Recommends it

I’ve brought with me
Tiki Jansen
And my dad
Ed, and he said
I was terrific
So I hope he’ll
Maybe
Pick up the tab

My dad said I
Didn’t need him
But I needed
Local counsel
Member of the
Illinois Bar
But I’m not barred
Here in Milford

And I thought
That it was weird
The School Board brought
No lawyer
Even though it
Was informal
Who knew
They’d go pro se?

Tiki’s still scared
Of New Thayer
So he’d rather
Go to Milford
He will not be
A mere vagrant
He will
Stay with Leonard Fleming

And I took
No depositions
From Leonard
Or his family
When he blabbered
That the Mudlarks need him
His dad
Told him “Shut your mouth”

Then I went
Before Chet Ballard
And his puppets
On the School Board
And I showed them
Bolek’s film clip
But Chet
Ballard wasn’t biting

So I played the
Safety* card and
Then I brought up
Leonard Fleming
Then I spouted
Mumbo jumbo
And threw
Some pocket sand

Now my dad
Is looking pissy
Is he thinking
Of my boyfriend?
Should we go
Back to Chicago?
Then will he get
Off our backs…?

But now my phone is buzzing
And I’ve got a call
It’s that Ballard guy…

He’s come crawling back to us…
Thomas Jansen will be pleased

 

*(Tiki’s a safety, get it?)

August 10, 2019

“She told them to look not at the facts, but at the meaning of the facts. Then she said the facts had no meaning.”

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“Ladies and gentlemen, members of the school board, my dad, we’ve just heard from Mr. Ballard a rather lurid description of a truly despicable young man.”

“I had to hand it to her. She tossed a lot of sand in their eyes. She talked about how I’d lost my place in the universe. How I was too ordinary to be the perpetrator of fraud the school board made me out to be, how there was some greater scheme at work that the school district had yet to unravel… She told them to look at me, look at me close. That the closer they looked, the less sense it would all make.”

“Look closely at him. This human, this barber. Oops – wrong Tiki.”

“That I wasn’t the kind of guy to game the system, that I was the safety, for Christ’s sake. I was just like them, an ordinary man. Guilty of living in a school district that had no place for me, yeah. Guilty of wanting to be a Mudlark, sure. But not of fraud.”

“But most specifically, this is a safety’s dilemma. For he is modern man.”

“She said I was modern man.”

“He is your reflection.”

“And if they voted to keep me out of Milford, they’d be practically cinching the noose around their own necks. She told them to look not at the facts, but at the meaning of the facts. And then she said the facts had no meaning.”

Here’s hoping Hadley V. does a better job representing Tiki than Freddy did representing Ed.

August 7, 2019

Ceci n’est pas une school board meeting.

Running both the color and B&W versions today as a sanity check.

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If this is not a school board meeting, then what is it exactly? Some well-connected kid using his connections to get what he wants from a school board that doesn’t want the public to know how readily it caves to that well-connected kid? No wonder nobody wants it made public. Rubin’s left so many dots for us to connect, like those dots on the sidewalk Steve Luhm forgot to sweep up.

So much posturing going on here. Hadley brought her prop, Ed; Ballard (wearing a suit with weird-ass lapels only The Riddler could love) brought his: tiny Carol and another yet-to-be-named ventriloquist’s dummy school board member lady. There’s also an official-looking seal behind Ballard that some Mudlark must have made in shop class, and an American flag that may be displayed in violation of the US Flag Code if there’s an unseen State of Milford flag to its right. Speaking of unseen, Ballard better watch his back before that shadowy figure stabs it.

 

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