This Week in Milford

October 5, 2022

גמר חתימה טוב

“G’mar chatima tova (גמר חתימ טובה)” is, of course, the traditional Hebrew greeting given on Yom Kippur, which began at sunset yesterday evening. It translates roughly as “a good final sealing,” as in the Book of Life, in which observant Jews are inscribed on Rosh Hashanah and sealed on Yom Kippur.

The Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur is, among other things, a day of fasting. Before starting the fast at sunset, a meal called seudah hamafseket is served. Seudah hamafseket is considered festive and may include meat. So there, Keri.

We were getting set up for this for the past two days, what with the bagels for dinner and Kaz’s new SO being named Rachel. This strip has been serving up Christmas Day strips since forever, and the David Greene arc in fall 2001, hinging largely on Greene’s Jewish faith, woke up echoes of Hank Greenberg.

A strip involving Judaism, then, is in relative keeping with the history of Gil Thorp. I can’t think of any other strips that wove Judaism into its fabric beyond the departed Edge City, but I am welcome to have my memory jogged.

G’mar chatima tova to all you gentle readers who observe.

October 1, 2022

A Day for Definitions*

mudlark, n. 1. (mainly UK) someone who searches the mud near rivers trying to find valuable or interesting objects. 2. (UK) a horse who runs well on soft, wet ground.

Neither of those define an actual bird and, of the two, only the latter makes much sense as a sports team mascot (e.g., Indiana Pacers, Murray State Thoroughbreds/Racers). The only NCAA Division I school with a peacock mascot had a Cinderella run in the most recent March Madness (beating the aforementioned Murray State in the process) and a shout-out at the end of the Pranit Smith winter arc. Trotting out a reference to what was already an idiotic Rubin plot from nine years ago doesn’t establish continuity; it throws a marrowless bone to a readership looking for some strand of it after the past 2.5 months have made their collective heads spin.

context, n. the situation within which something exists or happens, and that can help explain it.

As much as we all bitched about the lather, rinse, repeat of the beginnings of a Rubin sportsball season, they helped place the wackiness that followed in some sort of context. We’d have Gil and/or Mimi tick off to Marjie and/or Marty the starting lineups named after Rubin’s friends or colleagues IRL; we’d see a Milford team play a non-conference opponent (probably another shout-out) on the road (Connecticut? South Carolina? Vermont? Chuck a dart at the map, Rubin!); then we’d dive into the Valley Conference schedule. Sometimes – make that often – games would pass and we’d get no detail about them beyond the result. Other times, single games would drag on for days or even weeks.

When they did, however, we would at least know the opponent, the score, and the quarter or inning. Sometimes we’d even know the time remaining, the field position, down and yards to go, the outs, the count on the batter, the number of fouls on the hoopster. Yesterday we had to connect a lot of dots to make sense of what was going on on the field. There were 10 seconds left in the game and Milford had a 4th-and-1 on the (school?) Bobcats’, oh, say, 23. Gil wants to go for the end zone; Kaz wants to send the kicker out to attempt a 40-yard field goal. Somehow Kaz, who heretofore has not been the OC and playcaller, overrules Gil (who used to be in charge of calling plays). Since high school kickers who can hit from 40 are scarcer than peacock’s teeth, the kick is predictably no good. The Bobcats run out the clock and the Mudlarks lose.

What was the score of the game? Would a field goal have won it? For the sake of argument, let’s assume it would. Knowing poor Hooper wasn’t likely to make it from 40, why not go for the first down? Did Milford not have any time outs left? That would’ve been a factor in the decision as well. All that matters is the Mudlarks lost, Patrick Swayze Kaz feels shame, and Gil stares blankly out the prairie style window at the mule golden retriever trans soccer player who will make Hooper history, Milford woke, and Luke Martinez leave town when he kicks the winning field goal to beat Valley Tech in the season finale.

*(Source for both definitions: Cambridge Dictionary)

September 28, 2022

Donna Summer would approve

Filed under: Coach Kaz, exposition comics, football, freak hands, Gil Thorp, kaz-bot, Valley Tech — teenchy @ 9:23 am

Luke Martinez must have the gravitational pull of Jupiter. In the space of a couple of months he’s managed to throw a huge wrench into the already fragile Thorp family dynamic and fired loud and very public shots across Gil’s bow. Now comes the biggest shot yet: he’s lured Gil’s longtime assistant, weight room spotter, power bottom and best bud Bob Kazinski away from Milford High with the promise of a head coaching job at Valley Tech.

He’s also managed to get the school colors changed from black and Columbia blue (or was it lavender and black? Nah, Columbia blue and black) to teal, gold and black. Between the uniforms and the teal turf, I’m getting a big Coastal Carolina vibe from the nu-look Valley Tech gridders. If this persists I’m gonna have to take to calling them the Chanticleers.

I know there’ll be much wailing and gnashing of teeth among the faithful who will hate to see Kaz leave, and seeing him go to Milford’s most hated rival via an offer from Gil’s newest nemesis seems like the cruelest blow of all.* Me, I’m not so sure this is a done deal. Even though assistants going for head coaching jobs is nothing new, this reeks of a spite move by Luke given how far in advance the offer was made. It’ll be interesting to see if Barajas can keep this plot line going among the dozen or so he’s already started something happens to keep it from coming to fruition.

For now let’s just sit back and watch Gil and Kaz stare longingly behind each other’s Ray-Bans for what may be the last time.

*That is if you don’t count Pedro nailing Keri.

June 17, 2022

This storyline has gone to the dogs

Just got home from the Chicago Dogs Bark at the Park ballgame with my own dog; they let the dogs march around the park twice a year and I take her once. So not feeling like commenting on the strip but its obvious that Mr. Hamm has an interesting past life, including a changed name that should have been known by the Milford admissions department when Gregg enrolled. But no.

What the hell that has to do with Blind Man Gregg remains to be seen, no pun intended. Ok Rubin, connect the dots.

My song today is Heat of the Moment, as one line in it has “fall from grace”.

May 21, 2022

Jinkies! Kaz and Gregg Hamm’s Right Eye Have Something in Common!

Okay, all of you who had Papa Hamm coming to Gil’s office with Gregg, give yourselves a cookie. All of you who had Mama Hamm being named after a character from Scooby-Doo, give yourselves a clairvoyant cookie.

The next mystery to solve is why the Hamms were so clueless about their son’s deteriorating vision. Odds are they invested so much time, effort and money into buying disguises for Papa Hamm they willfully ignored Gregg’s impending blindness. When Gregg told Papa he could barely see him, Papa just took that as evidence of how good his disguises were.

Finally we have Gil navel gazing in the teacher’s lounge, patting himself on the back for not picking up on Gregg’s poor eyesight sooner. As just about every one of you TWIMers have commented, the coaches should’ve picked up on this as soon as they practiced fielding bunts or comebackers. Waiting for Kaz to admit to Gil that he let Gregg slide on practice after taking Scooter’s word that they’d do it at home. Sounds like that would’ve been the first time they did it all season.

Scooter will get his comeuppance soon enough when Gil upbraids him for his complicity in the Hamm scam. Then the Mudlarks will unravel like a ball of yarn and miss the playdowns. Rubin skipped a girls’ plot for this?

meta: Following up on my last post, I found color footage of Jackie Hayes wearing his batting helmet. He appears briefly in a clip from George Case’s color home movies from the late ’30s and early ’40s. Some of his footage appeared in HBO’s When It Was A Game, and it’s also available from Case’s estate as well. Note Monty Stratton, another major leaguer who had to deal with a disability, appears a few seconds later.

May 14, 2022

It takes two to lie: one to lie and the other to grow his sideburns.

I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to get today’s post up, but I’ve been at an absolute loss as to how to spin it. This has surely got to be the tipping point for this strip, right?

There are no adults coaching the Milford High baseball team, are there? There are just male chaperones who just sit back and let the kids do whatever they want, up to and including not practicing? You notice we almost never see practices at Milford except as they’re ending, when the players are standing around listening to to adults or going over to watch their opposite-sex counterparts play a game? I’d bet Whigrub have no clue what goes on in a practice.

This is just beyond the realm of stupid. This is so asinine it makes me not want to nitpick the usual lack of attention to detail, like the uncolored lights on the school bus or the long day’s journey into night from Valley Tech to Milford. I will nitpick this: there is no way you can wear a cap backwards sitting in a car seat with headrests without knocking the cap off of your head.

Have at it, gentle readers. The more I look at today’s strip, the more it makes my head hurt.

April 30, 2022

Marjie Ducey Never Lugged a Monster Camcorder Around. Neither Should You.

If you told me today’s strip had been written and drawn twenty years ago and fished out of a drawer for today, I wouldn’t have been surprised. Wonder what was going on in Milford twenty years ago today? I don’t even think this blog had been started yet.

April 30, 2002

Well whaddaya know, Milford was playing Central then too. The laws of gravity weren’t quite as rigid then as now. Okay, what about ten years ago, then? Well thankfully TWIM was in existence, and we were getting to know young Scooter Borden Jaxxxon Kiser.

Back to the present day and still trying to figure out this nonsense. Amazed to find out there’s an online version of the Star, and that it has employees who are dedicated to capturing video for that online version. That’s probably a lie the editor-in-chief told Heather to cover up the fact that it’s not only payroll but also headcount that’s been slashed since Marjie’s retirement. Probably told her this dinosaur of a camcorder was state-of-the-art, too. How naive is she to think that the “beast” takes better videos than today’s smartphones?

Naive enough to know that the only VHS player in town belongs to the Milford High Athletic Department. Between her and Kaz, they’ll go to the videotape and discover the little ruse G-Hammm, Scooter and Wilson have going on. That’s the only way this strip of anachronistic non sequiturs has any relevance to the plot.

meta: Thanks to tdrew for covering for me on Thursday. I owe you one.

April 2, 2022

Holy Cow! This Kid’s Gonna Be Annoying!

Filed under: actual action, baseball, Coach Kaz, freak hands, google nonsense, kaz-bot — teenchy @ 9:00 pm

Scooter Borden took his hacks

And gave a baseball forty whacks

When Kaz saw how he had done

He gave Scooter forty-one

Alright, that’s out of the way. Scooter Borden is this year’s Barry Bader, a scrappy second baseman who runs his yap and toots his own horn all the time. The easy comparison is to scrappy second baseman Scooter Gennett, whose MLB career may well be over as he hasn’t played in the bigs since the Giants released him in 2019. I kinda thought the pared-down bill of his batting helmet in P1 (which magically grew back) was a nod to Brooks Robinson as well.

But for people of a certain age, there is only one Scooter.

Father of teenchy was a Navy man, and he spent a portion of the late Fifties and early Sixties based in Bayonne, New Jersey. Yes, that Bayonne, of infamous early SNL fame.

One weekend father of teenchy visited American Shops, a men’s clothing store in Newark where several current and former Yankees would show up, sign 8×10 glossies and help hawk suits. One of the glossies he managed to snag was from none other than the original Scooter himself, Phil Rizzuto. I know the story was not apocryphal as numerous photos exist of Rizzuto working at American Shops, including this one (a Getty Image, so linking and not downloading) of him with Yogi Berra and Bobby Shantz, and this one.

That Rizzuto 8×10 moved around with us for years and eventually went missing. I suppose if I went through father of teenchy’s effects more thoroughly, it would show up. I’m just grateful that he forgave me for playing with and scuffing up the baseball that Lou Boudreau signed for him.

Anyway, back to Milford’s Scooter. Borden might think he’s laying down the perfect bunt, but holding the bat like that is a sure way to get some fingers broken. Kaz better watch his too, hooking them through the cage like that. Will Milford’s Scooter continue to be chirpy and annoying? It’s more likely than him ever doing spots for The Money Store.

Phil Rizzuto has been gone since 2007. Father of teenchy has been gone almost eight years now. Thanks for humoring me as I ramble as much as Phil Rizzuto did to Bill White.

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