This Week in Milford

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.

August 22, 2022

Got Golf If You Want It

Filed under: Gil Thorp, Gils kids, golf, metapost, Mimi Thorp — nedryerson @ 6:24 am

Gil and Mimi are hitting the links. Mimi wanted some more Coach Gil At Home time, but time on the course alone with Gil should be considered quality time. Golf is a very social game, with plenty of opportunity to chat and catch up with your companion(s) and Gil and Mimi are taking advantage of this. (I assume they are not participating in the other activities common to group golf outings, drinking and gambling.)

Gil and Mimi are catching each other up on what’s happening with the kids and that is obviously an integral part of Gil and Mimi Time. We do pick up on the fact that this is still summer despite what our calendars say. Gil asks if Jami might want to play in the Junior League this summer, so that is still ahead of them. According to Mimi, what Jami has ahead of him is hours and hours of screen time. That sounds about right.

In our final panel, we get a one-two punch. First, Henry Barajas gives a nod to all his readers (who he has commendably been very engaged with, at least those of us who devote portions, perhaps unhealthy portions, of our screen time to Gil Thorp and Gil Thorp related online activities). Gil’s line acknowledges that the Thorp children have been MIA from the strip for ages. But before we have too much time to savor the meta nature of this line, an out of frame voice identifies Gil to a companion loudly and with an expletive thrown in.

Is it Coach Luke?! Does he have a lady that he squires around the golf course on his summer break? Do we have room for another blowhard gunning for Gil? We’ll see, but the smart money is on Coach Luke. I can’t wait to see his “Baby”!

On the topic of Gil Thorp and golf, I recently went back to the beginning of the available Gil Thorp strips on the GoComics site. The strips there start in the Spring of 2001, in the middle of a baseball season featuring Jarvis White, who was using steroids, Marty DeJong, who came back for a bitter cameo later and a healthy dose of Marty Moon and his then ex-fiancée Peaches. When this plot resolves, a summer golf plot starts.

In the Summer of 2001, Gil plans to compete in a tournament, but his game is really rusty. Mimi is also going to play in the ladies’ division of the tournament, but she’s at the top of her game. Gil is determined to improve his game so he doesn’t embarrass himself. In one of the LOL funniest strips of the story, Gil sneaks onto the golf course at night to sneak in some practice and face plants climbing over the fence.

Gil is driving well but his short game is a mess, so he has Mimi help him out in the back yard, where he breaks the neighbor’s window. Eventually Gil straightens out his game and he and Mimi both win their respective divisions. The kids even make an appearance or two! If you want a load of golf, go back and check out that summer.

In 2001, Gil Thorp was written by Jerry Jenkins and the artwork was by Frank McLaughlin. The GoComics site is just really bad at acknowledging and honoring the creator, Jack Berrill, and all of the contributing writers and artists who have been a part of Gil Thorp over the years. I took a deep dive trying to establish a definitive timeline of the changes in writers and artists, but it’s rather fuzzy. I don’t have time to get into it on this post as it’s already into tl;dr territory. I will share what I have found and what is missing or unclear. Look for that in a future rambling post. Maybe we can piece this together.

The post title is a nod to the Slim Harpo blues tune, Got Love If You Want It. There are not performance clips of Slim Harpo playing this. As is the case with most of guys of Slim Harpo’s, the original bluemen’s songs were popularized by white kids (and mostly white kids from the UK). In that spirit, here’s a clip of some Irish white kids (and I mean kids) called the Strypes doing the Slim Harpo song. I don’t know if they’re still around. The trail is kind of cold.

August 17, 2022

TFW Mimi isn’t the fan service Thorp anymore

Gentle readers, I am still genuinely freaked out by the knowledge that a portion of my Saturday post was quoted at The Daily Cartoonist. It’s not like I haven’t been published before; I’ve co-authored a pair of scientific papers and have had a regular column in both a baseball quarterly and a life sciences industry trade magazine (no humblebrag intended, mea culpa). In each of those cases my publication involved significant amounts of research followed by multiple rounds of peer review and editing. Here, it’s just my hot take on a comic strip published hours before I read it, with no input save any comments about it that may have already been made elsewhere – and again, I feel the need to emphasize that I almost never read those comments before coming up with ones of my own.*

If I think about that for too long, it’s gonna make me timid. A timid blogger has no place on a snark blog, so I’m just gonna stop thinking about it, okay? Okay!

Another thing I’m gonna stop thinking about is the dialogue in today’s strip. Typical spousal convo where one spouse has suddenly become concerned about their relationship and their place in it. The only piece really worth hanging onto is Mimi’s evasive answer as to where she and the kids are. Unless the corner of a building we saw yesterday is Mimi’s mom’s place, we have no evidence they went anywhere but to the beach. Those three little birds that have been hanging around Mimi the past two days are either a sign that every little thing’s gonna be alright or harbingers of Hitchcockian horror.

The real highlight of this week’s strips has been the art, particularly of Mimi. Kudos to the Chief today for drawing her holding a phone the way an actual human might. (This might be more challenging than it looks; take a look at how it’s done in Mary Worth, for example.) What’s really gotten my attention is how she’s been drawn relative to Keri – and to previous versions of herself for that matter. We’ve frequently noted how progressively younger Mimi was looking (e.g., in the Christmas strips) but in the past two strips she’s developed a noticeable mom bod. Has Whigham done this in response to some direction by Barajas, then? Dunno but I’ll take it as another sign of increased realism coming to Milford.

As for Keri: get your minds out of the gutter! She’s still building sand castles with her little brother.

*I will start reading those Gocomics comments now, but still not after I post here on the days I post. I also signed up for a Discord account but I couldn’t find where Gil Thorp was being discussed there. The less I know, maybe.

August 15, 2022

Life’s A Beach

Filed under: Bare Midriffs, huge glasses, huge hats, Jami Thorp, Keri Thorp, metapost, Mimi Thorp — nedryerson @ 6:04 am

Here we are, visiting Mimi’s mother (who’s not doing well). Well, you can always swing by Shady Acres Assisted Living Facility, stop in for a quick visit, (Mother, you remember your grandchildren, Jami and Keri? No, sure you do. Remember how they would come visit you every summer? Of course you do, mother. Of course you do.) then get to the shore to enjoy the sun, the crashing of the waves and the absence of Gil Thorp. Seriously, did Mimi straight up lie to Gil?

For some insight on that last question, let’s turn our attention to the latest media appearance by new Gil Thorp writer, Henry Barajas. In this interview featured in The Daily Cartoonist, Henry says:

Something I’ve learned from better writers than myself is to never underestimate your audience—and the reader is always smarter than you. I intentionally leave things “vague” with the promise to follow it up.

So I guess we are smart enough to figure this out. I’m just going to say Mimi lied about her mother. But lying to your spouse and then involving the children is rather low. Maybe I’m not all that smart. By the way, if you read to the end of the interview with Henry, you’ll see that the Daily Cartoonist writer D.D. Degg (great name) throws in a link to TWIM and quotes teenchy’s last post. Wow, This Week in Milford is going places, after sixteen years. Today it’s The Daily Cartoonist (the source for industry news for the professional cartoonist), next up, who knows! (Hat tip to MopMan for calling attention to the TWIM shoutout.)

I don’t want it to sound like I’m throwing shade at Henry Barajas or D.D. Degg of The Daily Cartoonist. I love daily comics and the anticipation of cracking open a browser tab every morning to see what’s going on in Milford or Santa Royale wherever. (Yesterday’s Mary Worth was another one for the ages.) I salute these people who figure out how to pay the bills creating comics. I feel like “comics mockage” as Jason referred to it when he started TWIM is an outlet for our own creativity from the vantage point of the comic strip consumers. Does it veer off into some real aggro attitude sometimes? Maybe, but I think it’s mainly based on devotion to the strips. Am I being sincere here? I think the readers of TWIM are smart enough to know.

So let’s get back to the beach. Jami’s got an ice cream cone and there’s some sniping between him and Keri. Mimi’s reading a book in that classic pose that Whigham uses when the strip’s teen girls lay on their beds with their laptops. Keri is absorbed in her phone. We’ve yet to see the evidence that Keri is “missing her daddy”. We know her daddy has a flip phone and is a little unsure how to use it, so I doubt Ker is texting Gil. (If she was, would she have to keep up the visit Grandma charade? I’m having a hard time keeping the narrative I’ve created straight.)

August 3, 2022

“… and the wrong time to quit sniffing glue.”

Filed under: exposition comics, Gil Thorp, metapost, Mimi Thorp — teenchy @ 9:40 am

“Hi, everybody, and a very pleasant good afternoon to you wherever you may be.” It’s not afternoon as I compose this post and odds are it might not be in the afternoon when you read it, but I have to offer my tribute to Vin Scully** wherever I can.

I guess we can take comfort in knowing that Barajas is retconning in some of Gil’s original character traits in addition to his family. Here it’s his piloting which, taken in combination with his jarhead Marine background, makes the Chief’s drawing him to look a bit like Senators manager-era Ted Williams* make more sense. What needs to make more sense is the role of the professionally-dressed Ms. Holmes who’s sharing the cockpit with him.

Since she’s not speaking with him in little dashed-line word balloons, I feel comfortable in speculating the relationship is platonic and that Ms. Holmes is some kind of flight instructor/recertification type. She’s flown with Gil in the past (perhaps not in the biblical sense) and she has some sense of Gil’s home life which kinda reinforces that notion. She also has the good judgement to use the euphemism “busy with the kids” when she means “banging the golf pro at the MCC.”

Gil doubles down on the old school by acting oblivious to the fact that voice mail is a thing. Milford might be 1959 with cell phones but even flip phones can be used to leave a message. Let’s just hope Gil’s not so upset with Mimi that he power dives that Cessna into a CFIT.

* Special Guest Cameo: The role of Gil in P1 is being played by Simon Cowell. Those TV talent shows are long past their sell-by date, after all. So Gil doesn’t always look like the Splinter.

** I would be remiss in paying tribute to the late Vin Scully without paying tribute to the late Bill Russell but, in keeping with the theme of today’s post, I think Roger Murdock put that tribute in better words than I ever could.

July 16, 2022

teenchy says “aloha” again

Filed under: metapost — teenchy @ 2:01 am

Hey y’all. Wrapping up my island hopping this week and heading back to the mainland tomorrow. Here are a couple of snaps from the last two days.

The first pic is of most of the island of Kaho’olawe. It’s the smallest of the main Hawaiian Islands. No one lives on it because (1) it has no fresh water (2) the Navy used it as a bombing range from WWII through the Gulf War and there’s still a lot of unexploded ordnance on it. The little islet in front of Kaho’olawe is Molokini, a volcanic crater that was also briefly used for bombing practice. There’s no UXO on it anymore but access is still restricted. If you squint real hard you can see some white dots near it. Those are chartered dive boats. People like Molokini because it’s a great diving and birdwatching spot and because they like saying “Molokini.”

I took that picture as I was working my way up Haleakalā on Maui. I took this pic just below the summit (10,023 feet).

Not long after that I learned that altitude sickness is a thing.

The next day I ended up driving the Hana Highway. If you ever get the opportunity to drive the Hana Highway, let someone else do the driving. Once I was able to pry my hands from the steering wheel, I snapped this pic of the ‘Ālau Island Seabird Sanctuary from Koki Beach Park.

It’s been an interesting first week of the Barajas Era, huh? Seems like it’s being narrated by the player Tays in retrospect. I base that on the rounded corners of the strips (kinda like how Batiuk puts scrapbook corners on his flashback panels in the Funkyverse) and the language being used, but them’s all the clues I have so far. Rubin, Jenkins or Berrill never wrote about Tays, did they?

Looking forward to pitching in again come next Wednesday. Be there. Aloha. teenchy out.

July 7, 2022

teenchy says “aloha”

Filed under: metapost — teenchy @ 6:20 pm

Well it looks like I was wrong about Milford choking away the Valley baseball title. Pretty anticlimactic, that and the playdown run, given how much time and effort was put into the True Standish Show back in ’14. Pretty anticlimactic about Major Hamstetter’s deal, too.

Been island hopping the past few days. First stop should look pretty familiar to fans of 1970s television.

I stopped here to visit the memorial to my uncle in the Courts of the Missing. He was a Navy patrol bomber pilot who went down with his plane and aircrew early in 1945.

The rest of the trip has been less somber. Here’s the view from my lanai this morning…

… and here’s where I hiked this afternoon, Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge.

To quote Rubin from today’s strip, “be seeing you.” teenchy out.

June 29, 2022

Tommy Can You Feel Me?

“If we bunt, it’ll only be when the situation calls for it.”
“When do you think the situation calls for it, Tommy?”
“Whenever we’re at bat, Gil.”

Looks like we’re in for another episode of Chain Link Fence Theater. Mighty magnanimous of Coach Luigi Tommy from Goshen to not take advantage of The Hammmmer’s failing eyesight. Guessing his team sucks so hard they’re not in contention for the Valley title. Fear not, Tommy boy: Gil will still be able to join your foursome on Monday.

Does Scooter like to pat Gregg’s ass or what? No wonder we’ve seen so little of Charis the tennis player. We haven’t seen or heard much from Scooter Pie lately either (is he still telegraphing the pitches to Gerg?) and I kinda liked it that way. I know it’s not a carbon copy of the 6/6 strip but close enough that I’m calling it recycled. Where those bleachers came from and the direction in which they’re pointed is up for interpretation.

Rubin’s got exactly two more strips after today to wrap up Milford’s baseball season before his traditional lessons learned/walk away through a doorway strip, so the Mudlarks are about to sink faster than the Lusitania in real time. Fact of the matter is Ggerg is as shy of the limelight as his plagiarizing old man. Expect some lame pun about both of them seeing the light on Saturday.

meta: Thanks to my colleagues for stepping up in my absence. I’ll be glad to rejoin the rotation on or about July 20.

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