This Week in Milford

October 6, 2021

There’s a Certain Aurora Around Milford Volleyball

Tevin Claxton is either shaping up for a career in the diplomatic corps or one as a weatherman, as Boyd Spiller’s constant insults about his so-called “choking” roll off his back like so much rainwater. Time will tell if Claxton’s teammates will take up his case and put Spiller in his place (e.g., taped to a locker). How’s Gil gonna quash this dissent on the football team? He doesn’t have a spunky little libero to tease Boyd over to her house with the promise of her mama’s brownies this season.

Speaking of brownies and snack foods generally, where and when are Tevin and Gordon getting those post-game Blastos? Is this happening Friday night, on the way back from Kettering? Or is it happening early on Saturday, at the Milford Swifti-Mart? I don’t recall my high school sportsball activity bus stopping for food anywhere on the way back from a road game.

On to actual Saturday, early, where Mimi leads a busful of girls to something called “The Aurora Invitational – Powered by Coffee.TM” I suppose Coffee is the paid sponsor for the Aurora Invitational. That looks like Marty Moon’s sippy cup Mimi is clutching, so odds are there’s something else besides coffee in it. How she ended up with Marty’s cup would be a red herring worth exploring.

I’m assuming this is a volleyball thing? The girls are wearing Milford warmups so it’s nothing to do with gymnastics. The only volleyball Aurora Invitational I could find online was a tournament in Missouri over a decade ago. Pity it’s not in Illinois; Mimi could treat the girls to a round of Stan Mikita’s Donuts with that coffee.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-c-LRR2cYqY

meta: Thanks to Ned, tdrew and rob for rearranging the deck chairs to cover for my absence on Saturday. Sorry so late with today’s post. Juggling too many things at work.

September 11, 2021

These Random Words Will Somehow Be Meaningful Before This Plot Is Over

The challenge today, gentle readers, is to figure out how these statements – which, taken in isolation, sound nothing like how real people actually speak – will foreshadow some essential plot element during this story arc.

Tevin puts his all into Mudlark football and can’t see how Kianna is able to do the same for two sports. The fact that Tevin is whipped after just one practice may hint at a lack of conditioning on his part. Kianna hints that it’s because neither of her sports are contact sports. Yesterday she alluded to the use of energy drinks, opening the door to an unhealthy dietary angle.

Speaking of diets, Tevin is off to the cafeteria where he and some of his teammates snarf down all-white food. It kinda looks like the grocery store where Otto worked in Repo Man. The group includes beady-eyed Boyd Spiller who, like Tevin, has also been recently promoted to the varsity. Boyd has already established himself as mouthy and tactless, so why his teammates are acting like his recitation of some clickbait listicle will be as riveting as the Gettysburg Address is beyond me. Could be that his ability to read people won’t translate to an ability to read stunts or blitzes, leading to Tevin’s getting sacked and injured, which would tie back to Kianna’s comment about tackling.

Anyway, we have a while to figure this one out. Just file it in your collective memory bank for reference.

meta: Today is an unavoidably somber day in the US. I’m not going to bore you with stories of where I was twenty years ago today, or offer any kind of take on how our world has changed since then. You’ve had more than enough teenchy for one week. I will, however, leave a link to this story I read this morning. The section in which the former high school basketball star and young college grad decides to change his career tack from book publishing to corporate PR reminded me a bit of the Heather Burns story. One life among thousands lost – thousands whom we will remember today and for years to come.

August 18, 2021

What Is It About Industrial Solvent Sales That Leads People to a Life of Crime?

So much for Carter’s – I mean, Carson’s – stint in the Witness Protection Program. Little Miss Investigative Reporter Wannabe has joined the MCC (why else would she be wearing the same colored polo shirt as everyone else? Maybe it’s a Bemidji State polo shirt), thrown on no fewer than six of her extra jangly bracelets and blown his cover. Time for him to hit the road, create another alias and sell stolen golf shoes from the trunk of his car.

It’s been a long day at work (meta) and it’s not over yet so yhs is firing off a late post. I could spend the rest of the evening trying to analyze this so it makes some kind of logical sense but why try? Rubin is throwing exposition left and right to make this golf cheat – clearly the lowest form of humanity in the Thorpiverse – look like even more of a criminal. The Milford Country Club is not a court of competent jurisdiction but here it carries more weight than the Supremes. Do we even have to point out that being charged with a crime isn’t the same thing as being convicted of it? By the end of the week Carson/ter will have been found to be behind the art heist from the Gardner Museum and the ammonium nitrate explosion in Beirut.

How did Hendry/ricks get younger looking from P1 to P3? Is he going to de-age with each accusation until he turns into a fetus, or was he really this age to begin with? Come to think of it, couldn’t these photos of him online have been deepfaked? We know Google exists in the Valley so the “1959 with cell phones” excuse can’t last for much longer.

Really, instead of looking all deer-in-the-headlights and throwing up the jazz hands, all he had to do was stonewall, call Heather’s little screen grabs “fake news” and he’d have been in the clear. After all, if you repeat a lie often enough, doesn’t it become the truth? Tens of millions would agree.

August 4, 2021

“I’d keep playing. I don’t think the heavy stuff’s going to come down for quite a while.”

It’s a day full of cliches at the MCC, but why blind pigs and acorns? Why not blind squirrels and nuts? Blind pigs and acorns make the best jamón ibérico de bellota, but with size of the bets Carter’s been making I think squirrel jerky Underwood Deviled Ham is more in line with his budget.

Meanwhile, something mysterious appears on the horizon. Funnel cloud? Vic Doucette’s grandpa van? Hendricks’ crappy shot to bluff Heather and Gil? Why not all of the above? Will this group call it quits before they get to see the true nature of the sandbag, or will they play through and tempt the wrath of higher powers?

meta: Wasn’t Local H a topic of discussion on a Rock ‘n Roll Thursday some time back? I’ve lost track of those ever since I switched from posting Thursdays to Wednesdays. In any event I just stumbled across Local H’s cover of TV On The Radio (a band I’ve really been into for the past year or so)’s “Wolf Like Me.” Sharing it here with the original to jog memories and invite comparisons.

July 24, 2021

Heather Rennt (oder “Run Heather Run”)

I wished I could play soccer

I couldn’t, though I tried

I wished I could play football

I didn’t have the size

I am my daddy’s princess

He thinks I’m really grand

And when I was in high school

Played everything but band

I wish I was a writer

Who rakes in lots of green

I haven’t got a prayer

You know just what I mean

I wish I wasn’t desperate

To pay off student loans

I wish I could leave Milford

Who knows just where I’d roam?

Today’s strip is another clear example of Rubin’s horrifically poor pacing ability. Heather’s interview at the Star was featured in the first strip of this arc. If he drags out the hiring decision as long as he dragged out the Milford Library Board decision it’ll be mid-to-late August before she gets the offer – just in time for football season and wacky conflicts of interest. Watch the unpaid offensive line coaching assistant get paid to report on the team she assistant coaches! Watch her stonewall Marty Moon to keep WDIG from getting the inside scoop from the Milford locker room! Watch the Mudlark players give Heather the silent treatment for fear she’ll put anything they say in print!

If only this strip had the same time loop premise as the movie. Heather might’ve kept on running and knocked Marjie to the pavement. The subsequent skull fracture would’ve sidelined Marjie indefinitely and made the job all Heather’s.

meta: I added the “Make and Model Mystery Mobile” tag because I couldn’t figure out if the cinder block on wheels behind Marjie was a Scion xB or a Mercedes-Benz G-wagen. Thinking the latter sent me down a German rabbit hole that led me to the inspiration for today’s post.

July 3, 2021

Plot Pacing Is Hard, Too

I realize the Allen Funt/Candid Camera references are my colleague T. Drew’s thing but between yesterday’s and today’s strips I’m left wondering whether Kaz has been playing the long game by goading Gil into meddling with aspects of Milford society that are outside his wheelhouse until he finally gets himself caught in a trap he can’t walk out of. Swaying Allen Funt’s vote on the Library Board by bribing him with pie* doesn’t rise to Abscam levels but it’s a slippery slope from there to sexual favors for invitations to the Milford CC. Then Kaz will have sprung the trap that leads to him getting named Head Coach of all Milford boys’ sportsball teams and athletic director. No more moonlighting as a bouncer and mooching off Kelly Krystek for him then, nosireebob.

Just what kind of skids are being greased here, anyway? Have the codgers on the Library Board realized there’s no logical way they could let the Clark kid have the seat, no matter how strong his arguments are for preserving the status quo? Aren’t there enough of them already on the board to shoot down every Brito proposal and make him look like a jerk – which is SOP for him, anyway – in the process? And, as so many of you gentle readers have commented over the past several weeks, why couldn’t these decisions have been made almost immediately after Zane’s and Abel’s presentations before the board?

Because Rubin doesn’t know how to wrap a story arc up neatly anymore, that’s why. Corina’s college predestination could’ve been wrapped up last weekend and this nonsense the weekend before that, freeing Neal and the Chief to dive into some summer hijinks featuring a Milford alum and some non-revenue sport.

*Have you noticed how easily people in the Thorpiverse are swayed by free food? From Corina Karenna and the other Valley Mod kids last spring to this Allen Funt/Ed Asner lookalike, the offer of eats gets folks in the Valley to do one’s bidding cheap.

late-breaking metapost: Apparently American pies, like so many other things in America, are in crisis; according to this Washington Post editorial, store-bought pie crusts are to blame. I will own up to having used them, including for my start-of-the-pandemic sour orange pie, but I will not own up to having caused America to lose its way.

In any event, I encourage you to read the linked WaPo editorial (which showed up in my feed after the box score to yet another Nats loss, but also owes a tip of the hat to faithful TWIMer vaganova). You’ll learn much about the history of pie and its influence on American culture and probably be more entertained than by reading a week’s worth of Gil Thorp strips. It may even influence you to bake a pie to honor our country’s independence.

June 23, 2021

Suspension of Disbelief? More Like Expulsion of Disbelief!

Gentle readers, I am no less flabbergasted by this strip since Saturday than you are. The time jumps, the unstated assumptions and the unprecedented presumptuousness on Mimi’s part are so mind-boggling that I barely know where to begin and what assumptions to make. That’s the main reason it’s taken me so long to get this post up today.

Going back to Saturday’s strip: Despite her protestations that she doesn’t want or doesn’t intend to go to college (BTW, her eyes were blue when she made that statement; they’re brown now so since then she’s become full of shit), Corina took the ACT. Taking the ACT costs anywhere from $60-80, so it’s not money easily blown by a family tight on money to begin with. How worried is she about her mother and her family finances then, really? Couldn’t she be mopping floors nightly like Zane Clark if she was really worried?

Now let’s try to figure out what kind of machinations Mimi went through to get us through today. Did she apply to the community college in Syracuse (and why Syracuse? Because all of the out-of-conference games for Milford this season were against Syracuse high schools?) and to Le Moyne (also in Syracuse) on Corina’s behalf? Forge her signature? Write her application essay? How do we know Corina’s community college grades will be good enough to allow her to transfer to Le Moyne? How do we know the Le Moyne players will still need a roommate more than a year from now, when the time comes to transfer? There’s just way too much assumed here for us to suspend disbelief.

In today’s last panel, Mimi’s got Jack Elam eyes. Please tell me Corina slapped her walleyed.

metapost: robmize isn’t the only one who can take off for Myrtle Beach on a whim. yhs isn’t spending any time on a golf course, however. Instead I’ve been hobnobbing with the mascot of Myrtle Beach’s minor league baseball team. (They’re a Cubs affiliate, BTW; rob, did you catch ’em while you were here?)

May 12, 2021

Duck! No, Pizza!

Sorry for the late and brief post: my laptop crashed and I lost my draft. At least Zane didn’t take the L thanks to his teammates’ bats, but thanks to Morton Levi he didn’t take the W either. (No idea who this Levi kid is, but Levi Morton was a Republican congressman from New York and Vice President of the United States under Benjamin Harrison. Here he’s a kid who came close to taking a comebacker to the head.) Those runners were inherited from Zane so a no-decision for him and a blown save for Morton.

Cut to the bleachers where once again we have a Milford team that’s been practicing in their game unis unless, like the boys, they just got done playing multiple games off-panel. Katy Brito unnecessarily points to herself and to – who? what? where? the general direction of Ricozzi’s? – while inviting her teammates to go get pizza with Zane and her. The two girls at far right look a bit taken aback by the proposition. They know The Bucket is the traditional post-game hangout and besides, they don’t want to watch Katy and Zane in another PDA. Corina on the other hand cocks an eyebrow in interest; she’s all about free eats and she must know about Zane’s backstory so she must figure this one’s on Katy. Wait ’til Abel finds out Katy’s been picking up the tab for not one but two freeloaders! That Milford Library Board job doesn’t pay, dontchaknow.

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