This Week in Milford

July 11, 2020

Ridiculousness

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Ridiculousness is an MTV show that’s kind of like a more painful version of America’s Funniest Home Videos, starring some flatbiller skateboarder type and with a panel consisting of a rapper, a guest and a woman who laughs like SpongeBob. It’s one of son of teenchy’s guilty pleasures and that’s about all I know about it.

Ridiculousness is also what these past four months have been in this strip. Today this inanity has come to an end and in the most predictable, yet contrived manner possible. I can’t hammer home hard enough how ridiculous it was for Gil not to stand up for Mike against Dr. Pearl and the school board, how even more ridiculous it was for that non-Hadley V. Baxendale lawyer to roll over and play dead without putting up any kind of fight (seriously, are there any decent lawyers in Milford?), and how most ridiculous that someone at State U. bought Gil’s story that Mike’s challenging the Mudlarks to a baseball game, assembling the Valley Modified Freakazoids! and leading them to an ass-whooping-turned-gorgefest somehow exemplified “leadership, responsibility, perseverance” and reversed The Mayor’s rejection decision. (Phew! Gotta watch my pulse rate.)

What else was ridiculous? Mike’s gal pal Phoebe not telling him to put away the butter knife as soon as she saw him whip it out. The Lady Mudlarks’ lack of pitching depth and Mimi’s one-girl rotation (not the first time we’ve seen that). The way the Lady Mudlarks fell off the radar once their lack of pitching depth was shown. The self-congratulatory catering of Gil, Kaz, Rooney and Mimi. Anna Karenina Corinna Corinna bringing softball gear to a baseball game. (BTW, we missed an opportunity to bring up the monster catcher’s mitt Paul Richards designed for Clint Courtney and Gus Triandos to use when catching knuckleballer Hoyt Wilhelm.)  Finally, we have the ridiculousness of Mike’s former teammates pelting him with their gloves. Hope you don’t end up with a concussion, Mayor!

So a redemptive ending for Mike Knappe via Gilberto ex machina. But what will happen to the Valley Modified Kids? Where’s Ardis Carhee’s Gil Thorp to pull his nuts out of the fire? Where’s Corinna “Don’t Call Me Karen” Karenina’s Mimi to help her overcome her authority issues? These Dead End Kids will be tossed aside and forgotten like so many cardboard cutouts of fans that will populate MLB stadiums if and when the majors resume their sham of a 60-game season in a couple of weeks. That, gentle readers, is the even bigger tragedy here – one that Neil Rubin has used to take us to this slapdash happy ending that, really, isn’t all that happy.

 

 

July 8, 2020

Mimi Thorp: Guaranteed to Satisfy

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While I was flat on my back in hospital this past weekend I did manage to keep up with the shenanigans at Milford Town Park, where the Milford – Valley Modified baseball game turned first into a rout then into a pukefest picnic. First the game was interrupted by pizza and drinks, then with a giant sub in the porniest way possible then, finally, with a visit from an ice cream truck with a name straight out of a Cheech and Chong movie and looking like it’s staffed by two Kazakhs and a bear.

As disgustingly as that whole scene played out, it pales in comparison to the victory lap these three mooks are taking in the Milford teacher’s teachers’ lounge. Nice to know that Gil, Kaz and Rooney feel as though buying the Dead End Kids some grub can assuage their guilt over not standing up for The Mayor when he needed it most, effectively screwing up his life for the forseeable future… or have they? What’s this mysterious email Gil’s referring to? Will it help Mike Knappe overcome the stigma of violating a draconian zero-tolerance policy for which none of his teachers or coaches stood up in opposition?

Who knows? All they care about is trying to figure out who sent the ice cream truck to Town Park. Hunkered down with a Popsicle® and a knowing smile, Mimi breaks the fourth wall. She must’ve been the one who stopped Uncle Bud as he was passing by.

 

July 5, 2020

Baseball, pizza, apple subs, and… Ice Cream??

As much as we all wish our colleague Teenchy a swift recovery from whatever is ailing him, the first thought that crossed my mind when I heard about his condition was.. the strip was finally so far off the tracks that it made him physically ill.

And I’m sure thats not far off for the rest of us.

How on Gods green earth is this happening? We start off with the promise of a possibly exciting matchup thats so unknown that we dream of a memorable conclusion that will have the Milfordites talking about it the rest of the summer.

What we got is…not even close. How much food can these players eat in the first place to be able to play at any level resembling competitive when its already 90 degrees or so out (Yes its summer, we knew that before the game started)? I mean, really. During a normal athletic event most players are happy enough with water or Gatorade. This is like a Thanksgiving dinner for chrissake. And these kids are supposed to play with all these carbs and calories and sweets laid out for them?

I had already mentioned the umpire and the fans– did they know what was coming? Nope. Whoever planned this foodfest has shit for brains. And thats putting it mildly.

So I wont belabor their noble efforts to keep observing the constant interruptions in their job (ump) and their free time (fans). Which in any world beside ours would lead to downright mutiny.

Thank God they didnt charge admission for this or they’d be storming the Basilica.

Wherever this storyline is headed from here, somebodys got some major explaining to do. And I cant believe they have a rational one.

Get well soon Teenchy!!

 

July 1, 2020

How Long Before the Dancing Flash Mob?

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We’re back from the pizza break. Just how did those pizzas ex machina show up? Please tell me one of the VM! kids leaned on Nick of Nick’s Pizza to get them gratis. “Nice delivery van you got there. Shame if something happened to it.” Now let’s see if any of these kids puke ’em up like the football players did with their sloppy joes last summer.

Wouldn’t this have been much more entertaining if Rubin had stuck to the old ’80s movie conceits, like in Animal House, Bachelor Party or Revenge of the Nerds? Instead we’re left to watch him trot out more random crap to pad this final week of the arc. The ump is as ready to get this over as we are; I think he heard the malls were reopening and is ready to get back to work at Foot Locker. No wonder he’s annoyed at yet another time out being called – but who’s calling it? Who the hell is this young lady stepping out to give Ardis a “quick pointer or two,” and why did she wait so long to do it? Couldn’t this have happened last week, when the Dead End Kids were practicing?

June 10, 2020

The equipment: Milford rejects, like some of the players

Filed under: baseball, Gil Thorp, Milford Idiots, Valley Modified — teenchy @ 10:07 am

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Your daily dose of administrative alphabet soup for breakfast:

NOCSAE, the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment, is a nonprofit that, as its name implies, sets standards for sporting equipment. NFHS, the National Federation of State High School Associations, typically directs that high school sporting equipment meet NOCSAE standards in an effort to reduce and minimize the risk of player injury. Included among the many standards NOCSAE sets is one for recertifying used baseball and softball helmets. Old helmets which may have met NOCSAE standards may no longer meet them, even if they have been modified to provide additional protection they weren’t originally designed to provide. Doing so requires the modified helmet be retested as a result.

Why do I go down this path of administrative gobbledygook? One, because it might prove a bit more interesting than this plot. Two, because it might serve to illustrate the point that, outside of Milford High School, Gil really doesn’t give a crap about athlete safety. Some kid in a rec league gets bonked on the head wearing a hand-me-down Mudlark helmet and gets the brain damage? Not his problem anymore, man. Just like The Mayor.

Two final things before I get this very tardy post up, both pertaining to the last panel. One, “Fire up” is a Milford thing, it won’t go over at Valley Mod. Two, I’m beginning to think Ardis is secretly a TWIM reader. Why else would he break the fourth wall today?

 

June 6, 2020

You’re Killin’ Me, Schuring!

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In the crapfest that has been this spring arc, finally a strip that delivers. Major hallmarks of a classic (and I use that term very loosely) Rubin & Whigham Gil Thorp are present: walking and talking, Milford High’s Prairie Style windows, wildly gesticulating hands, and a preachy, sarcastic Gil (let’s face it, sarcastic Gil is best Gil) getting to play the voice of reason.

Interesting that Gilberto is all about the liability today. Has he been on the horn to Hadley V. Baxendale lately? Couldn’t have been to the Knappes’ weaksauce lawyer. He is, however, well versed in the absurd. Let’s recap a bit of what’s gone on under his watch over the past year:

Said Hadley browbeat the school board into enrolling a kid who doesn’t live in the district.

A member of said browbeaten school board, having failed to keep the kid out of Milford, redirects his energy to a smear campaign against another player in an effort to win his stepson’s love and some playing time. That campaign turned on said school board member improperly accessing the other player’s school records. Granted, said school board member got the boot, but how was he able to get access to begin with?

As part of a strategy to improve her offensive output on the basketball court, a let basketball center is allowed to shove other students around in the library and hallways without consequence either to her or to the kids who suggested she do so.

Meanwhile, a miscreant student harboring an old grudge tries to railroad the two best students in the senior class with the old “give ’em a copy of the old exam” trick. It fails, with only minor consequences for the miscreant.

That brings us to Butterknifegate and the present situation. Gil’s a cog in the wheel of the system when he wants to be, or can’t be bothered otherwise. Let’s not dwell on how this idiocy is to be resolved; rather, let’s just pause for a moment to soak in the details and appreciate them at face value. BTW Gil, we hear there’s always a party at your house while you’re on the road. Ever notice that the Milford boys’ and girls’ teams never travel together? Yeah, so has Mimi.

June 5, 2020

All you need now is a brain

Filed under: baseball, Gil Thorp, Milford Idiots, Valley Modified — robmize2013 @ 7:52 pm

Well now we know why the Mayor is in whats basically reform school– he’s a dope. Yeah all we need is everything you need to play a game. Even though nobody has that right now. Hope they remember they need an umpire.

But we have a few weeks to get ready. All we need is to ask Gil for use of the high school diamond.

Why the hell cant they find another field somewhere in the vicinity that isnt being used? Jesus its only a practice game! Why even ask Gil about it? Well, because you’re using teammates who may be needed in a real game sometime. I have no idea why they dont wait til schools out and everyones off for the summer, (even though thats the case now, and in a few weeks it’ll be July, and the players will be on their own, save for summer ball, but thats another can of worms we arent getting into here.)

Why does anyone need help with equipment? Bring your glove, and at that level they should All have their own bat. Catchers gear needs 2 sets, so maybe thats an issue, but otherwise what else do they really need? Baseballs should be able to be bought or rounded up between the 2 teams. A scorebook can be drawn up in a notebook easily.

I’m actually ok with this whole idea, as long as its After the high school season is completed. But they dont need to use the high school diamond, which should be off limits when school is out. It should be an interesting matchup, like the Bad News Bears against the Yankees back in the 70’s. And we know how that one turned out…

June 3, 2020

It Helps If You Chant “MEAN MACHINE” While You Read This

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Once again Neal Rubin has driven the Milford High Activity Bus off the road and into the ditch. What was being set up as some kind of indictment of school zero-tolerance policies has morphed into some weird-ass pickup game challenge that’s equal parts The Sandlot and The Longest Yard. As farfetched as it is I have a hunch it will come to pass, since Gil’s Mudlarks will probably miss the playdowns as per usual.

This comes off as more ego gratification for the walking ego that is Mike Knappe, but I’m picking up broad hints that there’s a bigger message being sent here: don’t fight the system, accept the hand you’re dealt, and when life gives you lemons, suck on them. Not the best of timing there.

I’m sure Rubin’s got his reasons for going down this path but unlike the Caretaker, I ain’t got eight years to hear them.

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