This Week in Milford

April 13, 2022

Gregg Hamm, The Next Ryne Duren. Or Steve Dalkowski. Or Something.

Good grief, how many times is Gil gonna name-check people? Eventually, this strip will just consist of Gil spouting random names. Rubin, if you’re reading this, please know that you can just name check your friends (or pull names from LinkedIn) only so much. It’s as though the story takes a backseat to the shout-outs.

Now on to the story. Gregg’s problem seems to be a non-problem IMO. He wears glasses but can’t see the catcher’s digits? Get a new prescription, dumb-ass. Problem solved. Maybe if he hadn’t dyed his blond hair lavender, he could scrape up enough money for a cheap pair of specs. Wonder if Pranit Rock can lend him some of his gambling winnings?

The two most infamous fireballers with bad eyesight and worse control are called out in the post title. They’re both a little before my time but their stories are legend. Ryne Duren struggled in the minors until he was converted into a relief pitcher. He then went on to have a fitful career with the Kansas City A’s, Yankees, Angels, Phillies, Reds and expansion Senators. Struggling with alcoholism and the death of his infant child, Duren attempted suicide in Washington and was talked down from the ledge by Nats manager Gil Hodges. He was released soon after. After the breakup of his marriage and another suicide attempt, Duren eventually became an addiction counselor and managed to have a productive life after baseball.

Steve Dalkowski‘s story is even sadder. He spent many years in the Orioles’ farm system, never quite getting his act together to get called up to the show. While managing Dalko at AA Elmira, Earl Weaver determined that he was possessed of less than average intelligence. Weaver made it really simple for Dalko, telling him to either throw fastballs down the middle or sliders. Dalkowski’s stats improved but an injury in spring training 1963 effectively ended his career. His post-baseball life was even worse than Duren’s: his alcoholism led to his divorce and, eventually, alcohol-induced dementia. Sadly, he died from complications from COVID-19 almost two years ago to the day, when the virus was ripping through nursing homes in Connecticut.

Not all bespectacled pitchers are doomed to a horrible fate (WARNING: teenchy name drop imminent). Because of my location and my circle of friends, I got to know Walt Masterson fairly well in the final decade of his life. Walt was a workhorse, mostly for the original AL Nats from just before WWII into the early fifties but also for the Red Sox and Tigers. Walt’s glasses weren’t Coke bottle thick but they were tinted due to his extreme sensitivity to light. After his baseball career, Walt was a pitching coach for the Rangers and head coach at George Mason. He was instrumental in the founding of the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association and in getting the player pension program off the ground before passing at age 87.

But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves here. Gil needs to treat Gregg a bit like Earl treated Dalko. Put a little sense in his head and send him to an optometrist. Maybe Rubin can name drop one in an upcoming strip.

April 6, 2022

Next Stop: Donut Town. Population: Two.

That box o’ donuts Heather brought Gil yesterday looked like it came from Donut Town. Wonder if Guy Fieri ever stopped in there? Marjie never brought Gil donuts. She never sat that close to Gil, either. No way they’re not playing footsie or more under the desk. Look at those enormous mitts on Heather; they’re as big as Gil’s. No wonder Gil put her in at tight end.

Aren’t you glad the last couple days of incoherence got settled? Wilson Henry is the catcher. Gregg Hamm is one of the pitchers. As for the rest of Neal’s friends on the Mudlark roster, where have we seen them before?

Gonzalo “Gonzo” Aceves, Dallas George and Curtis Charles return from last season. So, for that matter, do Morton Levi (who was a relief pitcher last season), Eldrick Boston, the aforementioned Wilson Henry and “Blowtop” Chance Macy, who has been around since forever. Go to Canada already! Nomar Ramos played basketball this past season, and Steve Lehto played football. Second base is our midweek cliffhanger.

Zane Clark has graduated. Wonder if he’s still on the library board.

In any event, a veteran roster, one with experience in underachieving. Time to sit back and watch the underachieving unfold. Pass me a donut, willya?

March 26, 2022

Somebody Could’ve Used a Magic Peacock

Admit it, gentle readers: Unless you’re a fan of one of the other remaining teams in the Big Dance, you’re all St. Peter’s fans now. March Madness has its own magic peacocks this year, and they have nothing to do with an imagined reincarnation of a player’s recently deceased sibling. Not the Catholic university in North Jersey anyone would have expected to shine in the tournament, is it? Always great to see a Cinderella in March, and yet another reminder that it’s easier for schools to be competitive in college basketball that they can be in college football.

It’s also something to talk about besides this arc-ender that feels like a mistake. This story feels like it should have ended yesterday, with these two mooks hanging Pranit Smoothie upside down by his ankles in front of a stunned home crowd an emptied-out gym. (A shame Pranit Rock couldn’t have them doing the same to his welchers. It would’ve made more sense than that cockamamie bunch of lies he cooked up.) Betcha Gil wasn’t expecting his hired muscle to flex on his own teammates.

Reading today’s strip give me the feeling that Rubin & Whigham intended yesterday’s strip to be the last in the arc, then realized that they had not only counted the days incorrectly but also forgot to end it with their signature touches:

Lame joke? Check!

Main character exiting through doorway? Check!

Awkward high-five/fist bump? Check!

Jazz hands? Check!

Hey, did anybody notice they’re playing baseball again? With more wacky rules to make the game more attractive to the attention-span challenged? Wonder how Rubin will approach the season. Another spunky, talented out-of-towner moves to Milford and joins the Mudlarks? The team rallies around a stuffed animal or some other superstitious good luck charm? A slight infraction leads to the benching of a star player until the last game of the season, when nothing’s on the line? What’s the over/under on any of these happening?

See you Monday to find out where it all starts. Until then, go Peacocks!

March 24, 2022

Hey, Gordon, Looks Like You Had Your Wheaties.

I’m gettin’ sappy nostalgic on you whippersnappers again but I bet you’ll love this one. You old fogeys like me surely remember the great Johnny Bench when he was with the Cincinnati Reds and the famed Big Red Machine. You hated them because they WON all the time. They would steal more victories than Pranit’s betting network and even when you beat them, you EARNED it. I’ve told this before but bears repeating, once on the day of the 1976 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, an announcer said flatly on the radio “Tonight, the American League will take on the Cincinnati Reds”. THAT’S how formidable they were.

That said, Bench was in this Wheaties commercial where nothing is going right (the whole thing looked staged judging by the softball warm-up shirt the opponent was wearing) as he applies the tag and his catcher’s mitt falls off or he fields a bunt and slips on his ass or tries to field a foul pop in the stands and winds up practically getting a kid’s ice cream and the ball back because another kid feels sorry for him. As this comedy of errors is happening, a jingle is playfully playing, as if some dog-and-pony band is taunting him, “Heyyyyyyyyyy, John, you didn’t have your Wheaties/C’mon, Man, you’re lookin’ kinda sad”, or something to that effect. Finally, the umpire gruffly says “Hey, Bench, you didn’t have your Wheaties today, did ya?” Bench wasn’t going to argue.

But damn, it looks like the Wheaties truck pulled up at this game right behind Nick’s Pizza and Jay’s Subs, judging by Gordon’s physique today. He must have eaten a bathtub full of Wheaties. It’s a shame if they don’t make the Playdowns. He’d be the starting middle linebacker, hands down. And if you have any lingering gambling debts, you better pay ’em now or King Kong will be at your locker faster than you can say Goodfellas. I know I’m looking through my 3-ring binder for any outstanding betting slips.

And Pranit is yet another player leading the Wheaties parade today. Anybody who can toss a beach ball into a waste basket the janitor borrowed from one of the classrooms must have OD’d on the cereal. This is what psychologists call Compensation. You want to show how grateful you are that Gil didn’t put you in a strait jacket and ship your ass in the Valley Modified van to Valley Modified when he was within the boundaries to do so AND REALLY SHOULD HAVE ANYWAY that you become compulsive/obsessive for Wheaties, Shredded Wheat, Total, Great Value Flakes, Life, Post Toasties, Corn Whispies, which helps you play the game of your career. You can shoot a Great Value Flakes box into the basket, you’re that pumped. You and King Kong could win the Valley if the coaching ate its Wheaties but it appears Gil’s had one box of Cocoa Puffs too many. God, no wonder why the team falls apart.

Heyyyyyyyyyyy, Gil, you didn’t have your Wheaties

C’mon, dude, your manhood’s kinda sad

“Gil, you didn’t eat your Wheaties. Don’t come back to bed until you’ve had a bowl or two.”

“Are they still in that Lazy Susan?”

Today’s Headline in the Milford Enquirer

“Bobby Howry Denied Access From Milford Outdoor Agency For Six Months!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

sub headline

“‘Gil coaches like he’s got a Wheaties box wedged in his butt cheeks’ was deemed inappropriate by Outdoor Agency officials.”

Sheesh, no wonder why Pranit is having a career night. My goodness, the structure of the basketball backboard, goal, uprights, rafters, etc., looks like they were created out of somebody’s jungle gym. If Milford Elementary School cancelled recess due to lack of playground equipment, we can soon zero in on the culprit.I think they kept the slide unless Gil is desperate enough to replace some of the bleachers that have had better days. Keep the chains from the swings in case Homer the Ref blows a block/charge and need something to fling at him when he isn’t looking. We wouldn’t want Homer to swallow his whistle.

Anyway, have a day, Pranit. You should have had more of those but we’re too anxious for Spring sports to care.

Heyyyyyyyyyy, Dr. Pearl, you didn’t eat your Wheaties

C’mon, Ma’am, file cabinet’s overran

“Honey Bunches Moon Pie Sniggle Snuggle Petie Pie, you’re more frigid than a Klondike bar. Did you eat your Wheaties?”

“Oh dear, I knew there was something I neglected to note in my appointment book. I’ll be right back. Where’s the reading lamp?”

Is Thorpiverse still griping about those deadbeats that didn’t pay up on their gambling debts? Folks, I am not prepared to open up another can of worms when we’ve had plenty crawl all over the floor. Like, where is THIS leading? If Pranit solicits Gordon’s prowess again, is Gil going to get tough and use the paddle on Pranit? We know Pranit isn’t going to Valley Modified and you get the feeling that unless he plants a bomb in the boiler room, he’s going to get no worse than the switch. I oughta tan your hide for roughing up students on account of the Indiana-Purdue game. Gil Thorp meets Pa Kettle. What a way to fly into Spring sports.

Let this go already. Pranit is on a roll, then Tevin brings up a subject he was preaching loud and long against and is now basically saying that they may have dragged your ass into Hell but they could have at least rolled out the red carpet on your way there.

And what is Pranit going to do, not that I’m advising playing with fire. He already went the Tough Guy Route. Send the FTD Florist to each deadbeat as a gesture of goodwill? Well, he won’t get suspended by the school or knocked up side his head a two-by-four per Gil but these kinds of things show up in Gene Stratton Porter stories. Some lout in Limberlost didn’t cough up the money, now he’s invited to the church picnic and as long as he brings his own 3-bean salad, the matter is forgiven. Just don’t forget to call the umpire for the Annual Valley Modified-Milford Battle For Valley Conference Bragging Rights game.

“O.J. Turns Down Offer From Milford Screen Actors Guild For A Spot In A Wheaties Commercial!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

sub headline

“I eat Milford Valley Corny Chocolate Crunchies every morning and I don’t see that changing now.”

And really, did Gordon pull a wheat combine and park in the Faculty lot before the game because he bulked up to Shaq proportions. I can see the threat. Pay Pranit what’s owed him or I’ll pull this John Deere all over yo’ body. He could dismantle the goal and uprights all by himself at this point. Get your debts settled pronto or risk getting a Milford & Oakwood Passenger Sunday Special shoved in your living room. Thus spake Gordon.

Heyyyyyyyy, Corinaaaaa, you didn’t have your Wheaties

C’mon, lass, your head is up your ass

“Corina, you okay? That’s the 10th passed ball today.”

“Shhhhhhhhh, I’m trying to get out of my scholarship.”

And again, WHAT is Pranit going to do? Even admitting that we might get a clever ying to this useless yang, Mr. Ed has done left the barn and Wilbur Post is at Milford Auction Services in the market for another horse. It’s nice to see everybody getting all kissy-faced with Pranit when he really needed a size 12 in the you-know-where for his insouciant carelessness and should have gotten butter-knifed to Valley Modified but do we have to sustain more self-inflicted injuries and find out he put anybody who owed him anything through the Salvation Army Debt Forgiveness Program? All they had to do was contribute a tax-deductible $25 to the soup kitchen? How they had money to finance bums eating canned Spam but couldn’t repay Pranit, well, y’know Gil, er, the devil’s in the details. But given the sillliness of the plot, the just-mentioned scenario was simply par for the course.

So now we put a tracker on Pranit and he’s at Milford Moose Lodge Fellowship Hall where a huge feast is thrown for even those who owe him a quarter for what spit out of the gumball machine and we all hug and grab and embrace and Pranit even gets an award for Best Sixth Man since he was being benched for being stupid but bailed out Gil when Gordon wasn’t plowing through the defense. We have a few days until April. There’s still time to form a committee for the feast.

Gang, I’ve tried. I have honestly tried. I know variety is the spice of life but when I heard on the radio the other day about Compressed Therapy for Erectile Dysfunction, how could I NOT address the issue, especially when lots of men in Mudlarkland have wimpy wim wims when going to bed? And all they needed was a laminating press as an antidote? I had to answer the call

At the Thorp household one fine afternoon

BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ BAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

“Mommy, Daddy is in the den and he’s making a lot of noise. He’s saying something like ‘I’m goin’ hard or goin’ home’. He also said something about his money back.”

“WHAT????? Keri, Mommy is going to stop this carnival before it makes a clown out of you and me.”

WHIIIIRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

“Ahhhhhhh, that’ll speed up the process. This Jacuzzi Mini-Tub I ordered will get my thang harder than the Rock of Gibralter in less than half an hour. And all I have to do is add some epsom salts. Gotta flavor the meat.”

KNOCK!!!!!!!!!!!! KNOCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! KNOCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

“Gil, unlock this damn door now!!! You are scaring the bejabbers out of the kids!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

WACKY TACKY WACKY TACKY WACKY-

“Honey, dammit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Don’t bother me now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m in the rinse cycle of this compression machine that I put together from the parts I ordered from Milford Electronics. I need a gentle massage and a spraying away all the detritus from my thang. This’ll only take a moment.”

“Daddy, why were you using test tubes earlier? I heard a lot of crashing and clinking.”

“Honey, Daddy has to be a man and if he has to go to Hobby Lobby to buy a chemistry set to aid and abet in the cause, then by God, it’ll be worth it when he’s making a goal line stance with Mommy in bed tonight.”

more CLINK!!!!!!! CLINK!!!!!!!!!! CLINK!!!!!!!!!!! CLUNK!!!!!!!!!!!

“Keri, if Daddy was using the EREC-3503 Anti-Coagulant Thermal Formula that I laid on the dresser, there’d be no need for test tubes, Erlenmeyer flasks, Bunsen burners, beakers, or Jacuzzi wash tubs. Now, Gil, can this foolishness and get your butt out here NOW!!!”

HMMMMMMMMMMYEEEEEEEOOOOWWWWWWWWWWW as the compressed therapy erectile enhancer machine growls like Joe “Tricky Sam” Nanton used to do with his trombone in the Duke Ellington Orchestra

“Mimi, it’s like this. When you add enough hydrochloric acid to methanedeoxydrylmagnesiumethanolsulfuricpentagranicnitroussonicnutrasweetstinkinggasradicaliondilithiumterrabutylacetylene, it should pump that thang after you have gone through the treadmill and titrated General Mills Reduced Fat Flour and then run off enough phenylthalene to distill through the pipetted solution that contains enough solute to blow up Assembly Hall and generate the cathode tube through your spleen to stimulate the compression process so that tonight, I’ll be a new man after I limped on the court like Willis Reed and still got the Knicks the championship.”

“Mommy, can we go to Toys ‘R’ Us and buy a chemistry set? I want to put sulfuric acid on my wee wee so I don’t go limp like this Mr. Willis that Daddy’s talking about.”

“YOU’LL DO NOTHING OF THE SORT, JAIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Gil, open this door-“

BLAMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

“Damn, I knew I should have added acid to water.”

“It wasn’t a picnic cleaning up the mess. And I took that Anti-Coagulant Formula Mimi was pushing on me and can see why she did. We have had the time of our lives and every night is Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals and I’m Willis Reed dunkin’ on Wilt with a reinvigorated thang. Come to Milford Men’s Clinic where the friendly staff can show you how to a reverse jam on your partner. Manhood has never been better.”

Gang, that’s enough. Stop sending Andre the Giant into the game. Shoot, he devoured the whole Wheaties factory. ‘Nuff said.

But God bless you anyway

Heyyyyyyyyyy, Thorpiverse, you didn’t eat your Wheaties

C’mon, Man, this plot is kinda sad

Heyyyyyyyyy…

March 23, 2022

A Good Season? Guess We’ll Have to Take Gil’s Word for It

Boy that Hollis sure took some tough stands, didn’t she? Calling out teammates who sipped hard seltzer and twisting Mimi’s arm to get more playing time and fluff up her resume was tough. Speaking of tough stands, tough guy Gil finally eases up on Pranit Hollywood when nothing’s on the line…

… or at least we’re being led to think that. A quick scan of the game results and I see Milford’s at 4-2, 2-2 in the conference, with 1 unknown outcome.* More than one conference loss usually implies no playdowns, so it’s safe to say the Mudlarks are playing out the string. And of course Milford was out of it because Pranit didn’t play. No one ever steps up for Milford.

Now, with nothing on the line and Kaz pulling the baseball gear out of storage, Gil relents and lets Pranit Smoothie back in the game. A meaningless win, some platitudes for the next two days, a lame joke on Saturday, and then time to pound that Budweiser hit the old batting cage. Wonder if Pranit will ever collect on the gambling debts owed him. Guess we’ll have to wait and see if he shows up for baseball with all his limbs intact.

What a wasted use of Marty this season. No way he wouldn’t have gotten word of Pranit’s suspension and run with it like a drunk with scissors. Even the Chief is phoning it in. He’s put Tevin’s head on Gordon Achebe’s Ted Kluszewskiesque body.

* The season so far:

@ All Saints W, 57-56

Redford W, 60-54

Jefferson L

Goshen W (“a bounce back”)

@ New Thayer W (“comfortable”)

@ Madison ???

Central L, 58-60 (notice how a three would’ve won it? Pranit the implied scapegoat)

March 19, 2022

Poke Sallet Cressa*

Late in the day and I don’t see Rob’s Friday post so I will double up here. Apologies if I’m stepping on toes.

March 18, 2022

We’ve reached the point where Rubin realizes he didn’t pace the plot very well, so he crams multiple games into a single strip and makes it clear that no Milford team will make the playdowns. We’ve also reached a point where we realize that Whigham can’t draw lower body parts very well. Mimi has a case of the gone-ass while Central’s coach has stovepipes for legs and earrings that can be seen from orbit.

Knowing her team is playing out the string, Mimi has decided to play musical guards, with the previously maligned Maddie Bloom now taking the place of Cathy Sasaki in the backcourt. Cathy, ever the team snitch player, isn’t bothered by this. The only person this doesn’t seem to sit well with is…

March 19, 2022

… Cressa Baxter, who’s lucky Gil isn’t the Thorp coaching her team. That whole hard seltzer fiasco would’ve had her expelled and banished to Valley Mod, where she could’ve replaced Corina as the girl with a chip on her shoulder. And what exactly is the source of that chip? Did Cressa get passed over for a service academy appointment? Does she feel she should’ve been made captain over Hollis? Come on, Rubin, don’t leave us hangin’. Did Hollis ignore her when she was being bullied or something?

BTW, I know the song is “Polk Salad Annie” but the plant it’s made from is pokeweed and the actual dish is poke sallet. Learn more about preparing it without killing yourself here.

March 16, 2022

“Coaching”? Bwahahahaha! >snort<

I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to post today’s strip but I can’t stop laughing at it. Will update directly. >snort<

Phew! That took longer than I thought.

Of all Milford’s rivals Valley Tech is always the chippiest, and the girl with the blue ponytail does her best to keep up that tradition. First with the reach-in, which begs the question: If someone fouls Hollis, does that make her a Talley whacker? Then, having heard all the on-court talk about Hollis being a selfish, bossy snitch, VT girl fires off a sarcastic fascist salute. Heil Hollis!

All that pales in comparison to the chef’s kiss that is the last panel. Acquiescing to a player’s request to change positions and, well, letting her succeed there is considered “coaching”? Pretty low bar to clear in Milford to be sure, but that’s no bar at all. Maybe Gil agrees and he’s the one being sarcastic.

Oh, and when was the last time you saw anyone play racquetball? For me, I think it was during Poppy Bush’s administration. Even then, everybody’s racquets had strings.

March 9, 2022

Exile on Thorp St.

Filed under: exposition comics, Steve Luhm's Ghost Mops These Floors — teenchy @ 8:43 am

Gentle readers, I will profess up front (if I haven’t already) that basketball is not my sport. When one is built like a white Kirby Puckett, one tends to avoid situations where height is a benefit. While that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy watching it – especially this time of year – it does mean that I’m not as well versed in the subtelties of the game as I could be.

I say this because yesterday’s comments gave me food for thought. Faithful TWIMer Downpuppy brought up the point that in today’s basketball, assigned position doesn’t matter as much as skill sets.* In that light, Mimi’s agreement to give Junior Birdgirl Hollis Talley some playing time at guard makes some sense. What makes less sense is that Mimi didn’t do that earlier in the season and only at Birdgirl’s prompting. The casual onlooker might think the lunatics are running the asylum.

Contrast Mimi’s approach to Gil’s. Bobby Bittman Pranit Smith is back in the halls of Milford High, but not on the Mudlarks. Is that Trevor Lawrence lookalike Gabe Landau he’s high-fiving? If so, Trevor’s bulked up a good bit since the start of the season. (That, or Pranit Hollywood has shrunk physically as well as psychologically.) Begs the question why Gil needed Gordon Achebe on the team.

Oh, now I get it. Once Kaz caught Pranit checking scores, Gil knew that he was gonna have to kick Pranit off the team eventually. Once Gordon dimed Pranit out, Gil had his opportunity. Like Hollis, Gordo gets to play a dual role: not forward and guard, but muscle and snitch.

*edit: It wasn’t so long ago, during the winter of Our National Disgrace, that Gil had to deal with a lineup with two tall guys, a bunch of short guys, and no one in between. Mimi should have been paying attention.

Older Posts »

Blog at WordPress.com.