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.

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.

November 12, 2022

P! T! Sssssssssss! D! PTSD! Fight! Fight! Fight!

Too soon? My alternate title was gonna be “Bang the Thorp Slowly” but then I noticed Pedro Martinez was nowhere to be seen.

I mean, that’s all we’ve got here. The Linda Lindas’ drummer’s riffs, hard enough to remove the enamel from her bracelet, are triggering Keri’s memory of last week’s active shooter drill. Keri bolts from the library, her confused friend trailing behind.

Before I move on, however, I feel that something important needs to be pointed out. Take a look at yesterday’s strip, then take a look at the thumbnail from the Linda Lindas video in franku2016’s comment on yesterday’s post, the same thumbnail I used in my September 21 post. What stands out the most for you? For me, it’s the accuracy in how the Linda Lindas are drawn. The colors of the gutiarist at left (white shirt, blue plaid skirt), the lead singer and bassist (dark shirt with pink graphic, green plaid skirt), the PTSD-inducing drummer (black shirt), and the guitarist at right (white shirt but different colored shorts) are damn near spot on with how they actually appear in the video. The drumhead logo and the girls’ hairstyles are spot on as well. The colors and styles of guitars are not, however.

What does this tell me? That Whigham and the colorist (are they one and the same?) are capable of getting things almost perfectly right. Why, then, are the sports teams’ uniforms so maddeningly inconsistent? Why do teams change color from game to game and sometimes in the same game? Why do we go through seasons where every one of Milford’s opponents wears the same uniform colors? Why do Milford’s road uniforms get colored, period? Why does this strip half-ass it visually when it’s capable of not half-assing it? Barajas, I know you’re out there. Please pass the message along to the Chief: Be best. We know you can.

Our Saturday cliffhanger, then, is finding out to where or to whom Keri runs, and how Gil and Mimi fit in time for Keri’s upcoming therapy sessions around everything else that has their lives in an uproar. teenchy out.

Inspiration for today’s post title. teenchy did not attend this school.

Sunday morning meta: I see said school’s football team was upset last night and is likely out of the running for the College Football Playoff. I hope I didn’t jinx them.

October 29, 2022

Gil Says What Everyone’s Thinking

A week’s worth of active shooter drill comes to an end and with it, more questions than answers. For example:

How long is Gil’s neck? Where does it attach to his body?

Was Gil’s line in P2 written by Barajas or did Whigham ad lib it?

Will Marty refer to the people in P2 as “crisis actors” on his podcast? Will he lose sponsors as a result?

Will Gil press the teacher who waylaid the active shooter into duty as his defensive coordinator?

Will Gil let Keri go home or will he make them stay in class lest he be accused of playing favorites? If he makes them stay, will they go to Mimi for a pass?

Which of the many plot lines, if any, will move to the forefront as factors in the Mudlark football season?

Talk amongst yourselves.

Oh, yeah, almost forgot: It wasn’t Gil Thorp but I passed through Jim Thorpe, PA, this morning. Here’s a pic from the car window.

October 15, 2022

Mimi dumps her job in Gil’s lap, yet somehow he’s the “deadbeat.” Ohh-kayy.

I lost my draft late last night so coming back to this on Sunday morning. Mea culpa.

So it was Shit on Gil Saturday in the shiny Milford Gym. Mimi’s back from the wild north to give Coachella a hand with the jayvee volleyball team – and she brought Meemaw, who made a funny (“fill in for Gil again [Gilligan]”)! Joke’s gonna be on her, though, when Gil gives her the Richard Widmark treatment.

Coachella feels compelled to damn Gil with faint praise, glossing over the part where “doing all right” includes giving her a membership in the Mile High Club. Joke’s gonna be on her, too, when Mimi gives her job to Meemaw. She can go back to school and play hoops again in the winter, though.

Meemaw’s gonna instill some discipline in these girls, starting with that girl in the brown tights her own grandperson, Keri. Keri’s happy to oblige her, but you gotta wonder how long before the effort to turn them against their dad backfires.

I debated last night on whether to label Meemaw’s dome with the Pantheon of Hair or Premature Baldness tag. Father of teenchy had a massive head of hair until he underwent chemo, so I’ll assume that’s true for Meemaw as well. You know what? Maybe I’m not the guy to play the cancer angle. I’m no Tom Batiuk and have no interest in milking that for laughs, maudlin sentiment, or anything. teenchy out.

September 16, 2022

Dont shed a tear for me

Well folks I dont know if Im wantin to analyze this strip as its apparently about some issue that was covered 19 years ago; talk about recycled panels. well we’ve got recycled storylines as well. Hopefully next week we’ll be covering something like football, or maybe Gil will take up pickleball as I’ve heard all the old geysers are doing. In the meantime here’s an old classic from Paul Carrack that I used to listen to when I was working at the news agency on the midnight shift.

September 7, 2022

What is this, effing ponderous, man. Ponderous, effing ponderous.

“I want a concerted effort to come out of a strip that isn’t an up-tempo strip about fapping into a damned death dedication!” Here I am set up to spike some snark after Gil played setter yesterday and all I can think of after reading today’s installment is Casey Kasem’s infamous ranting outtake.

Well that puts a damper on my catty remarks about how sick Mimi’s mother really was, how far away (and how close to a beach) from Milford she was living, and how old Cami Ochoa is.* It’s taken me the better part of today to decide which is the bigger bombshell: that Mimi’s mother is terminally ill or that Mimi had an aspiring professional golf career we hadn’t heard about until today.

Let’s start with the first one. When Mimi took the Thorplets to the beach and/or to see her mother, we were under the impression that Grandma Clover didn’t exactly live around the corner. Now we’re told Mimi’s gone “to take care of her mom up north” only to find them at Milford Adult Care LLC? Either Milford is about the size of Sitka, Alaska, or Mimi went up north and brought her mom closer, well, to die.

A slightly meta digression is in order. In the time that I’ve been part of the TWIM rotation, I’ve lost both my parents: father of teenchy in July 2014 and mother of teenchy in November 2016. When my father died, I don’t think I missed a regularly scheduled post; however when my mother died I took a leave of absence from TWIM that lasted until late January 2017. In hindsight I think the main difference was that my mother died very suddenly and somewhat unexpectedly, whereas my father had been terminally ill for over a year and his passing was not so much a matter of if, but when. It also didn’t help matters that I became the sole surviving member of my family after my mother passed and had to deal with the material consequences of that. That’s also why I spent a fair part of 2017 in Bakst country.

What’s my point? My point is that when you know with some certainty that a loved one has a limited time remaining, you are allowed an opportunity to prepare for that eventuality. In Mimi’s case, it appears that includes not only bringing her mom closer to her for the time she has left** but also preparing to pursue a golf dream that’s been on hold for as long as I’ve been reading this strip if not longer. I suppose next we’ll find out that Kaz has gone off on a spiritual trek to Nepal and Silent John Pascoe has returned to help Gil coach the football team.

*How many years of a time jump did Barajas make when he took the super soph from six months ago and made her a high school sports coach? Is there a fountain of youth in Casa Thorp that kept Keri and Jami from aging while Cami did the reverse Benjamin Button? If so, maybe they better give a glass or two to Mimi’s mom. Just sayin’.

**Not sure how Mimi’s mom can say with such certainty that she’s dying in six months and not tonight. Does she have a physician-assisted suicide penciled into her calendar for that date? Does she know that Mimi’s going to carefully wheel her into Milford Adult Care LLC and not do something else with her? There’s a string of morbid jokes as long as my arm I could roll out here but good taste (and maybe my earlier aside) won’t let me do that. Instead I’ll refrain and leave that for the commenters.

June 6, 2022

Drawing A Blank

Filed under: actual action, baseball, Exploding Eyeball Syndrome, Just plain sad — nedryerson @ 2:28 pm

Did you know that Milford is chasing a championship? That’s the first I’m hearing about it. Good for them. Maybe the things that we’re not being shown are instances of players and coaching giving a shit about winning games. So far though, the action of Gil Thorp has been this silly crap about Ol’ Blind Gregg. Since I’ve got nothing else to deal with in today’s strip, let’s talk about this silly crap…just a little bit more.

The problem that has emerged is that ever since “Hammer” has had to don the protective headgear, the opposing teams have noticed his lack of fielding, so the book on him is to bunt at him. It’s weird that nobody established a book on him before, since his poor vision should be apparent whether he’s wearing the headgear or not. That didn’t happen though. Why? Because of the reasons, I guess. So now, Scooter and whatsherface have come up with a new scheme to intimidate batters by having Hammer through wildly in warmup. Now opposing hitters will be ill at ease in the batter’s box. Great plan. But doesn’t Greggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggg still have to execute pitches and play the field? How far does this intimidation ploy get him or the team? Did Gregg ever even have any scary stuff to begin with? Nobody knows and nobody cares. Besides, we have to find out what Papa Hamm’s deal is because that got built up like he was hiding from the mob.

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