This Week in Milford

December 7, 2022

Clean, Old-Fashioned Hit

What a genuine surprise to see today’s strip in good old-fashioned black and white. For once we can imagine Milford in traditional road whites and New Thayer in something other than light blue. Of course we’ll also have to imagine white froth around the mouth of Danny Maivia, too. Wait…

…Danny…Maivia? As in the Maivia and Anoaʻi family of pro wrestling fame? Are we getting set up for Danny to recur a few years from now as “Little Rock” or a new Wild Samoan? Could Hairy Hercules come back and manage him? If these are seeds being planted, let’s do our best to nurture them.

Know what else is old-fashioned? The entirety of P1. Start with the hairstyles: Kaz has gone full Sha Na Na up front with his mullet and the Mudlark to his left is sporting his best mohawk. Milford has also put a mascot on the sidelines, a mashup of the Notre Dame leprechaun and Ernest T. Bass from The Andy Griffith Show. Finally, nothing is as old-fashioned as literally calling out your plays from the sideline without code words, hand signals* or cryptic sign boards. New Thayer a school for the deaf now, Kaz?

I think we know why Danny Maivia is frothing at the mouth, though. Milford-New Thayer has morphed from a football game to a track meet. We’ll see if Gil and Kaz have put an S&C program in place to keep the Mudlarks in this shootout. As for yhs, too many old fashioned references make me want to go mix one up for myself. Too early for day drinking?**

*Kaz might be throwing the Hook ’em Horns in anticipation of Texas joining the SEC for all we know.

**Thanks to Ned and you faithful TWIMers for calling out Marty’s Illuminati token AA chip in Monday’s post. I appreciate the background and respect you for rising to your challenges. I don’t know that I’ll feel as comfortable attributing Marty’s dialogue to Johnnie Walker in his sippy cup again, however.

November 28, 2022

I’m Going For It! OMG!!!!

Look at all this incredible sports action! OMG, Barajas and Whigham have really knocked it out of the park with today’s strip. I mean, stiff arms, fourth and goal, going for it are all sports things, specifically football things that are happening right on the funny pages!

The story is so dramatic! Keep in mind that there are so many layers of narrative at work here. Not only are we in the middle of all this exciting football action with the storied defensive play of Valley Tech’s legendary “El Tigre” defending the punishing offensive threat Emmit Tays (Emmit, as you will recall, was a punishing ball carrier who knew his way around a stiff arm) but we are also in the middle of a sharp contemporary story where Gil is reviewing old VHS tapes of games! That is dynamite story telling right there, folks!

I can’t get over the awesomeness of that stiff arm. Tays even let El Tigre catch up to him just so he could deploy that crushing stiff arm and also not score on the play. That’s dedication to DRAMA right there, folks! Why just run the ball in for a score when you have a defender beat if you can cause some pain. (You see, the deep backstory of the beloved Tays was that his homelife was awful, so he had to deal out pain on the gridiron) OMG This is so incredible I can barely stand it. Bravo Barajas!

Let’s pause the action to remember that Gil is watching this on a VHS tape. It reminds me of the scene in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation where Clark Griswold goes up into the attic to retrieve the Christmas presents and sees the old home movies and projector and ends up getting absorbed in watching them. I can just see Gil sitting there in a daze with his chin resting in his palms, reviewing these tapes in Mr. Reddenbacher’s, make that Maestro Turturro’s, classroom (aka the MHS memories archives). Maestro Turtorro will eventually have to poke Gil with an old school pointer to snap him out of this reverie. So dramatic! So evocative. I think I’m going to weep!

So where were we? Oh yeah, it’s fourth and goal and Milford is down by four. Maybe it’s near the end of the game? It must be. Gil may have already fallen asleep watching the tape now, but he will probably wake up in time to see what happened. He’ll see himself yelling encouragement on the sideline to “Go For It” and the team will go for it in some very exciting and dramatic way. I’ll have to assume that somebody else signaled in the extra dramatic, extra exciting “Go For It” play that Milford will execute and probably fail. Contemporary Gil will weep at what El Tigre did to him and bask in the glory that was Tays. This is incredible. I can’t believe I get to witness this. I wish Snoopy was here to see this.

Stiff arm!!!!!

November 26, 2022

“There’s a Spot Open Since Toby Moved to the Backfield. Hooper? Who’s Hooper?”

Filed under: actual action, comic crossovers, football, Gil Thorp, shoe bottoms — teenchy @ 9:22 pm

Today marks the Sparktennial, the 100th anniversary of Charles “Sparky” Schulz’s birth. I’m guessing the vast majority of strips paid tribute to Schulz today, but I can’t be bothered to check for any that didn’t. Probably that pretentious display of author fetishes that passes for a comic strip called 9 Chickweed Lane if I had to guess.

So Barajas had the easy part of today’s strip. Whigham had one job: to draw Charlie Brown kicking a field goal, with Gil holding the ball and not pulling it away, correctly. He got Chuck down just fine. Gil is another matter. He’s kneeling on his front knee, okay, but everyone knows that YOU HOLD THE BALL WITH YOUR BACK HAND AND USE YOUR FRONT HAND TO SPIN THE BALL SO THAT THE LACES ARE FACING OUT. Chief, this one’s on you.

I reckon this serves as our cut to commercial during the middle of a play in the 1987 Milford – Valley Tech game, not unlike the infamous Heidi Bowl. Tune in on Monday when we’ll see just how effective telling your running back to run faster is as a coaching strategy.

November 19, 2022

“Onomatopoeic Saturday,” or “A Slap on the Wrist, Then a Crack on the Ankle”

Welp

SLAP! AGH! AHHH! CRACK! Keri’s turning into an episode of 1960s Batman all by her lonesome. She might’ve had help from Luhm with that last one, though. Such a shiny, shiny floor.

What’s all this about a nurse? Where’s Rick Scott when you need him, not available for the jayvees? No matter; Keri’s getting sidelined for a bit. Call it karma for not getting benched or kicked off the team for punching out Dorothy if you will. Gil has done the same to kids not named Thorp for less.

This should give Barajas time to drop a couple of reaction strips about Keri’s preferential treatment. With all the jumping around we’ve seen, those have been in a little short supply. Consider the Tabitha-now-Toby making the team, making funky plays and converting into a skill position player subplot. In the days of Rubin we’d have had at least one if not more pissy middle-aged person complaining about Toby being allowed to play football, followed by A Very Special Gil Thorp in which some preachy lesson would be learned. In the days of Jenkins this would just not be spoken of.

With Keri sidelined, maybe we’ll smash cut to another subplot. Time for the Luke Martinez Revenge Tour to resume? Or The Last Days of Meemaw? Will she outlast Funky Winkerbean?

meta: Gocomics has been down all day (rumors of turning into a pay site circulating), plus I’m on the road today. Sorry for the late post.

November 7, 2022

Double Madison Time!

Have you been missing football action? If so, here you go. We get three final scores (must have been a double header at Madison) along with stats and a roster move. The narration seems to be quoting the Milford Star, so let’s assume this is from Marjie’s column. Happy Trails to Heather Burns. (If she really wanted to launch a career in journalism, media or whatever she was doing, Milford was never a good fit anyway.)

Let’s break down this huge info dump.

Elias Bermudez is starting at QB. I don’t remember if we heard his name before, but he has a 57.4 percent completion average. Marjie doesn’t round off percentages. She’s more than a reporter, she’s a data scientist. Did he complete the pass in panel one? Perhaps, but Milford beat Jefferson either way.

Moving on to the second panel, we have the phenomenal wide receiver Rodney Barnes “leading the charts” with 184 passing yards. What? I assume that should be receiving yards. (Is everything okay, Marjie? How many nips have you had from your “tape recorder”?) 184 would be an impressive number of receiving yards for a game, but who knows, it could be for the season. Elias has to be completing 54.7 percent of his passes to someone. It might as well be the levitating WR Rodney Barnes. Madison Capitols (did we know they were the Capitols? Do they share unis with Jefferson?) are vanquished.

This leads to the last panel with the most confounding information. Milford plays Madison again. Okay, fine. Somebody didn’t proofread again, and it was supposed to be a third team (with the same unis). What’s this about Tobias Gordon moving to running back? The player that came in at the last minute to kick now surpasses all the other available players at a key skill position. This is absurd. What was Burt Hooper doing all this time? Given what we’re seeing here in terms of personnel moves, they probably stuck him on the O-line. Yeah, that would make sense.

What is up with the “Coach Gil” and “Coach Kaz” stuff? Has Marjie always written this way? What’s that? She does now? Okay.

I’m not a big comic book guy. I bought and read some comics as a kid, but they were all disposable entertainment for me. I dig “underground” comics for subversive art and plain old-fashioned irreverence and have read a few graphic novels, but I’m not a current consumer of comic books. I don’t know what the landscape is in comics, but I’m having a hard time seeing how the first couple of months of the Barajas era of Gil Thorp is supposed to work as a story, even if the readership largely doesn’t care about the minutiae of “sportsball”. There, I said it. I don’t get it.

After some deliberation, I disconnected from the Gil Thorp Discord and I’m largely staying away from the GoComics site and the commentary going on there. I want to stay as neutral as possible in regarding Gil Thorp for our silly little enterprise here at TWIM. I know Henry’s around and has commented here a few times. If he has anything to say about this space, I’m all ears.

One final thing that I can’t not mention: It’s Madison Time! I think I’ve run out of quirky dance move videos to share, but you guys know all the moves by now. You’ve boned up on “the rifleman” and “the Wilt Chamberlain”, so sit back and enjoy an instrumental version of The Madison Time by Smith & Elms (presented by Johnnie Walker! Yeah, I could use a drink too!)

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)

June 8, 2022

His Good Side Is… Straight Ahead?

Looks like we’re only ever gonna see games where Ggerg starts from here on in. No need to bother with details like a rotation when they don’t serve the square peg of a story getting hammered (pun intended) into the round hole of realism.

The Central kids either didn’t get the Oakwood memo or got it and promptly forgot about it, bunting the ball almost straight back to – or only slightly left of – the mound. (Seems like that memo should’ve included a note to hit back to the pitcher on a line drive, not on the ground.) How the Hammer ended up over there after his follow-through is unclear except as a device for the Chief to indulge in his recent shoe bottom fetish.

Boy, Ggerg’s teammates sure like patting his bottom. They must realize they won’t have many more chances left. Speaking of bottom, what’s that white thing hanging off of Ggerg’s rear end? Speculate away, gentle readers.

June 1, 2022

Bunts, Flubs, Fakes, Haiku

“Some kind of blind spot?

Let’s drop some bunts and find out.”

That’s called “coaching,” Gil!

Finally, it’s the

Approach we’ve been waiting for:

“Hit ’em where they ain’t”

Wee Willie Keeler

Used that batting strategy

And so will Oakwood

Old school? Yeah, makes sense

since Oakwood’s coach kinda looks

like the Reds’ mascot

It’ll work better

Than Gil’s played out old chestnut

Delaware Wing-T

Scooter! Wanna lead

the Valley in perfect bunts?

Transfer to Oakwood!

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