This Week in Milford

July 14, 2021

I’m shocked – SHOCKED! – that I’m using this line again!

We start today with more golf gibberish to the effect that grinning idiot Hendricks here flubbed a shot but got lucky and close to the hole. As a result, he wins a bet with the sturdy looking dude with the color-changing shirt and bucket hat. Shades of Lanny Penn again, maybe – but what’s this? I know there’s a movement afoot to replace Andrew Jackson’s likeness on the $20 bill, but it’s with Harriet Tubman‘s, not Val Kilmer’s.

Quick cut to the offices of the Milford Star where Marjie Ducey’s talking to her editor, whose body looks suspiciously like Gil’s when he’s making the mangia bene hand gesture. Presumably he’s got Heather Burns’ resume in front of him, which should look a little like this:

EDUCATION

BA, Journalism, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, 2021

High School Diploma, Milford High School, Milford, ??, 2017

WORK EXPERIENCE

Assistant Coach, Milford 7-on-7 football practice, 2017

Life Coach to Confused NBA Players, 2017

Varsity Football, Tight End, Tackling Dummy, Fifth-String Quarterbacks Coach, Assistant Trainer, and General Distraction, 2016

Varsity Soccer, Dead Weight, ???-2016

Alright, Rubin’s got about six weeks for this arc. How are these rando panels gonna come together, then, gentle readers? Heather Burns gets a job with the Star, but not a permanent job – Milford’s too much of a tank town to need more than one reporter – so she’ll serve as Marjie’s unpaid intern. Marjie puts her on the trail of this gambling and counterfeiting ring at the Milford CC, launching Heather’s career as an investigative reporter* somewhere else while Marjie gets to keep her top dog status at the Star.

*Because that worked out so well for Dafne Dafonte.

July 9, 2021

Everybody Wins, Except the Readers

Putting up today’s post is more painful than watching Max Scherzer giving up a salami to a Padres reliever just up from the minors during his 7-run meltdown last night in San Diego. That means it’s pretty painful.

A lot of folks called this one, with both Zane and Abel getting a seat on the Milford Library Board either through board-packing or attrition. I’m not gonna waste a whole lot of brain cells trying to fill in the blanks to make this plot make any kind of sense. I will, however, point out that this is the weakest use of Thorpian persuasion for someone’s benefit we’ve seen in some time. Funny how quickly dude rolled over for Gil, especially after Gil told him in so many words that his grandson sucked at baseball.

Did anyone really think Zane’s run for the Board was anything other than symbolic, an effort to keep Abel from being able to gut the library’s funding and resources? Did anyone seriously think the kid was gonna have time to actually serve on the board, between having to study for classes to having to support his family working two jobs and, oh, yeah, to attempt to play baseball? Maybe Gil truly did, since he knew Zane, having only played his freshman and senior years, was no stud on the ball field and wouldn’t have any scholly offers coming his way. Nope, looks like the Milford Library Board is as high as Zane can reach, since his post-graduation prospects haven’t been mentioned at all.

Good thing Gil stuck his neck out for Zane like that. It’s not quite getting him re-accepted at State U after failing to stand up for him over a little thing with a butter knife, but a man’s gotta know his limits.

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 16, 2021

Paul Mooney Might Have Appreciated It

The world of comedy lost a pointed social critic last month with the passing of Paul Mooney at the age of 79. Younger TWIMers probably know Mooney from his roles on Chapelle’s Show, but the old heads will remember him for his collaborations with Richard Pryor. Pryor gave Mooney his first break in comedy by offering Mooney a job as a writer while Mooney was working as a circus ringmaster. Mooney would go on to write material for Pryor’s standup routines, much of which ended up on several of Pryor’s live albums that were big sellers during the ’70s.

During the 1975 television season, a new live sketch comedy show, Saturday Night, was flagging in the ratings and needed a boost. Producer Lorne Michaels thought Pryor was just the man to do it and approached him to guest-host an episode of the show. Pryor agreed but only if certain demands were met, including having Gil Scott-Heron as the musical guest and that he bring his own writer – Paul Mooney – to write his sketches. The story, possibly apocryphal, that Chevy Chase approached Mooney to write him into a sketch with Pryor who, also possibly apocryphal, didn’t care much for Chase, led to the infamous “Word Association” sketch that put SNL on the map and created the seven-second delay.

By all appearances the Milford Library Board panel interview has the look of sliding into a similar word association game. I leave it to you gentle readers to offer your own word associations, none of which I hope will be as controversial and potentially offensive as the one Paul Mooney wrote for Richard Pryor and Chevy Chase.

A couple of minor points of observation:

a. When would a high school student ever have the need to do a user survey?

2. Who said anything about a bookmobile? Is Abel looking for something else to fill his ample free time besides complain about the library budget?

iii. How is the goateed Library Board member holding his vape pen, exactly? His thumb doesn’t extend out far enough to support it from behind.

This links to the only clip I could find of Gil Scott-Heron from that SNL appearance. I used to be able to drop clips into posts, but apparently I now have to “upgrade [my] plan to use this premium block.” We here at TWIM will have to figure out if we can afford such luxury. It might even cost as much as a computer at a public library.

June 12, 2021

Whatever Happened to Teenagers Rebelling Against Their Parents?

Late in the day so I know y’all have seen this so what more can I say? A repeat mea culpa from me for painting Katy as a sympathetic character when Zane was channeling Nixon’s head in a jar. I really bungled that one. Since Katy’s now all so down on supporting the disadvantaged, why hasn’t she been a complete snot to Corina Karenna yet?

Zane didn’t ask Katy to do jack squat, and repeatedly saying he asked her to doesn’t make it true. She knows the bad hand he’s been dealt, knows that keeping the library as it is currently is all that’s helping him keep up with school, knows that her old man wants to take that away from him and anyone else who might need it, knows that Zane’s only doing this to keep her old man from doing that, and somehow she feels the needs to take her old man’s side in all this? Surprised that Zane doesn’t actually say that to her, instead slipping into his Jefferson Smith soliloquy a few minutes early.

Looks like we’re getting set up to sit through a week of no sports action and a lot of lecturing before Papa Brito and Baby Brito get their comeuppance. Grab your popcorn benzodiazepines No-Doz and settle in for the duration.

May 29, 2021

He’s Not Wrong

Wherever you’re reading this, faithful TWIMers, I hope the weather is better than it is here. Forty-eight degrees and raining is not what I expect to wake up to on the last weekend in May. The better to remember that the true meaning of Memorial Day is not to hit the beaches or the mountains and fire up the grill. So what if we have to spend it out in the cold?

Speaking of out in the cold, that’s where Zane Clark is today. Nothing he says in today’s strip is factually wrong in context (and also serves to answer one of our nagging questions of how Milford Library Board members are chosen) and yet he now finds “that cute girl he makes out with in the history section” may be history to him. Katy knows Zane’s situation, knows her old man’s hard-on against the library, knows what might happen if her old man gets the job, yet still gets pissy when she finds out her boyfriend actively tries to prevent all that from happening? Better off without her, bruh, or at least that’s what Gonzo Aceves is hinting to him.

Can we talk? Can I digress for a moment? I just want to point out the sudden improvement in uniform accuracy on the part of the Chief. From all appearances it looks like Zane and Gonzo are throwing a bullpen session in practice and are actually dressed as if they’re practicing – that is unless Gil’s broken out gamers with shorts like the Bill Veeck-era White Sox. Nice to see a Milford team practicing in actual practice unis for once.

Back to the main plot arc: What are the odds the Milford Library Board selection hinges on oratory, and Zane gives one that puts Jefferson Smith to shame? Something’s gotta make Katy see the error of her ways, dunnit? By that time Zane will have moved on to that snoopy librarian or poor Landry Carlson, who’s always getting hit on this spring.

It’s gotten very quiet here; the rain’s finally stopped pounding against my roof. Time to contemplate the true meaning of Memorial Day once again. Enjoy the rest of your weekend, gentle readers, and we’ll see you back here next week.

May 21, 2021

The race is on. Oh my.

So Marjie Ducey decides to call Zane and ask him about the library board race?! Didnt we go over this before, where she interviewed a player without parental permission? I cant believe this ‘race’ between a student and an adult for a position on the library board warrants her attention first of all, and secondly calling both him and Brito to ask about their opinions of the other person! When did she become the political reporter here? Sports Marjie, sports. Stick to that stuff. But its a comic strip, which always explains everything.

Zanes girlfriend is looking like Moe Howard with that hairdo.

Then just like that its printed in the paper for all to see. Does Gil even KNOW one of his own players is gonna be distracted by running for an office, then if he wins, by being on the board while playing baseball? Talk about a can of worms. And summers right around the corner; does this position take effect next school year? Or immediately?

Dick Enberg just turned over in his grave. Oh my!

And their arguments about each other are both hooey. Marjie just took their word for it? Are there any editors at that paper or what?

May 1, 2021

Baby Brito

Abel Brito is a pest
Fixating on the library
Why can’t he give it a rest?
Why must he be so contrary?

Katy Brito loves her guy
She’s thankful that her dad isn’t meaner
Gonna give Zane a surprise
After swinging by the Cantina

She knows what it’s about
You’d think she’d thought this out
You might as well just shout
It’s gonna get Zane kicked out

And then they started sucking face
Katy brought a little cream and sugar
Can’t bring food into this place
Who said anything about coffee?

Though he didn’t play last year
Zane should remember ’bout the former Mayor
If he gets tossed out on his ear
It’s the end of him as a player

She knows what it’s about
You’d think she’d thought this out
You might as well just shout
It’s gonna get Zane kicked out

You know it’s no butter knife
But if he gets banned for life
What will he do at night?

What will Zane do after this?
Can’t buy a new computer
Maybe he’ll take his bro and sis
Sit in the car and wait and be a commuter

If Abel Brito has his way
No computers, no drinks, no eating
Family’s gonna make him pay
Givin’ him a verbal beating

He knows what it’s about
You’d think he’d thought this out
He might as well just pout
When he sees his daughter make out

(apologies to the late Elliott Smith)

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