Do you suppose Justin’s ears are burning??

While the rest of the Eco-Enviro-free world is trying to figure out how to get Justin Holland alone to string him up by his money-belt, Mark is scheming mightily figuring out how to lure him onto the “nice” boat that Bill is arranging for the trip…  Got news for you, Mark.  He probably already has a boat, licensed in the Caymans, and your little floating shack ain’t gonna do squat to impress…


But really, we have to hand it to James Allen…  he rewards those who Google!  Justin Holland, our would-be adversary, is the namesake of an American classical guitarist, a music teacher, a community leader, a black man who worked with white people to help slaves on the Underground Railroad, and an activist for equal rights for African Americans.  Of rather historical significance, I’d say!!  And apropos to the spot where this story will (hopefully?  finally?) go down…

I’m not even going to comment on the moose, other than to say look out, there’s a Bull on a rampage from the other day!


Enough with the Teasing!

The phrase “…some sort of Historical significance…” will now cause me to return to the Google and look that one up…  George Washington, First Man-made Waterway, Source of Timber, Part of the Underground Railroad, Served as an inland shipping route during wars in 1812 and WII…  But what I am mostly interested in is the name…  I found a brief, one-sentence reference in the Encyclopedia Britannica “The name ‘Great Dismal’ was given by Colonel William Byrd of Virginia, who surveyed the region in 1728.”  I guess the Colonel wasn’t happy in his work, or something…


And now onto the grammar lesson for today…  ever wonder about ‘historic’ vs. ‘historical’?

According to Grammarist:

Historic: 1. momentous; 2. historically significant.

Historical: 1. of or relating to history; 2. of or relating to the past. 

Buildings, villages, districts, and landmarks deemed historically important are often described as historic because they are historically significant in addition to being of or related to history. Societies dedicated to recognizing and preserving these things are called historical societies because they are concerned with history but not momentous in themselves. 

So… I guess the word you are searching for there, Mark, is historic

So… Doc and Bill spend their days watching CNN…

How long will we have to watch the Trails in their natural habitat before we get to the boat and begin the trip? (remember- Elizabeth City…)  According to the Wiki, EC was named after Queen Elizabeth I of England or Elizabeth “Betsy” Tooley, a local tavern proprietress…  I favor the latter and is the “cultural, economic and educational hub of the sixteen-county Historic Albemarle region of northeastern North Carolina.”  But c’mon… with apologies to all the Tarheels out there, this is North Carolina we are talking about…  But what fun and scenic splendor await Mark and Cherry- cruising up the canal in the boat that Bill has arranged…


Meanwhile, Moose run wild through Lost Forest…  Chasing or being chased?  No matter, it’s all in a day where the sun never sets… on Mark Trail.

Can’t… look him… in the… face…

Notice how, from yesterday, Mark’s face turns from emanating its own light to revealing a lock-jawed grimace…  That sound… that SOUND… coming from what?  Who?  Rusty!  “A swamp? With Alligators and Snakes? Oh boy!”  Oh no!  Tell me it won’t or can’t be…  Will Rusty come along on this trip to the Swamp?  But of course the possibilities are then endless, and we can introduce kidnapping…  by SWAMP PEOPLE!  OK, maybe this wouldn’t be so bad.  Cherry can write him a note to get him out of sch… oh wait that’s right, Rusty is obviously home-schooled, since there has never been mention of him going to a public or private institution of lower learning.


And Mark, regarding Riverway’s “Safety Record,”  are you relying on your encyclopedic memory of all things environmental, or just believing the last feel-good sponsorship piece you saw on PBS?  Although notice the ellipse after he utters the name, “Riverway Chemical…” almost as is one can feel the foreboding, the tension that this will bring…

On a separate but related topic, here’s an atlas update…  I remain interested (obsessed?) regarding the Trail’s itinerary and continued to zoom in on the map to reveal a series of long, straight canals that head generally north from Elizabeth City.  Clearly man made, they intersect with various rivers and other naturally flowing bodies of water, only to be met by a series of east-west “ditches,” the likely useful one called, “Feeder Ditch” not to be confused with “Paw-Paw Ditch” or “Myrtle Ditch.”  Then it’s onto Lake Drummond!

She said nervously…

Mark, you are such a smooth hombre!  “Honey!  Guess what??  That vacation you have been wanting to take?  Well it just happens that my ‘job’ will be taking me to the <wait for it…> the GREAT DISMAL SWAMP!!  And you get to go!  Can you stand it???  Go pack your bag!”


In panel one Cherry looks to be either on the verge of tears or of throwing up…  only to be greatly relieved in the end, spouting non-sequitur thoughts…  “I can work on my tan?”  What kind of nonsense is that??  There isn’t enough melanin in your skin to do anything other than burn and peel, burn and peel… and didn’t you get the memo that the ozone layer has depleted and skin cancer is the number one cause of death?  At least in Australia??

Doh! Wrong and Wrong!!

Wow!  This IS a new world!  Mark and Cherry heading off on a “relaxing assignment” together!  What about Kelly Welly who makes a habit of trying to scoop and seduce Mark?  She shows up now and she will get a bitch-slap from Dr. Davis’ Daughter!!  And what about Rusty?  Does he get to stay with Doc?  You know, the old guy didn’t sign up for this… but then he’s probably happiest when assigning Rusty all the chores around Lost Forest- repositioning the septic field, mending fence-line…

And the CEO of Riverway is a man?  How disappointing!!  That he “sounds like a reasonable man” based on “what <you’ve> read” is only the PR campaign working…  we all know that anyone who makes a living (gets rich, even…) extracting resources from Mother can ONLY BE EVIL…


And do you think that James Allen might be reading this blog?  Otherwise, why would Bill Ellis go into detail about how a boat would be useful in going from Elizabeth City to the Great Dismal?

I bet you dimes to doughnuts Riverway Chemical’s CEO is Female!

What makes me think so?  Because we have been here before…  Senators and congressmen are always male and have innocent daughters caught up in the fray, but when BIG BUSINESS is involved, the glass ceiling gets shattered!  Mark will find his way right to the top and use his will and his wiles to convince an otherwise profit seeking person head of a conglomerate with shareholders to serve to instead serve a greater cause!  Sorry for the spoiler, but I think that’s how this is going to all unfold.  This will take anywhere from 60-75 days…


And I think I just cracked the diversity code in the Trailverse!  It’s acknowledged in the wildlife and the diversity of species- but of course all bird and fish and mammal stick with their own kind…  is that the underlying message here??

Bless you Bill Ellis!  Let’s get rolling!!  Without all the “It’s OK, Mark, I know this is your job” crap…

BUT WAIT— A MYSTERY (added 10/31/2014)


Notice how, at one point, the company’s name was PETROXX Chemical! What evil thought-policing entity forced this change??


Unlike the Russian Oligarch from the other day (“Opulence- I has it…”) who enjoys “savingsdamoney,” Mark better get his bony ass out on the beat again and bring home a little more bacon.  I know I focus on this aspect maybe too much, but I think we (mostly) all live in a world where that bi-weekly paycheck matters…  The phrase, offered sometimes in hushed tones, “I think he lives hand to mouth” or “paycheck to paycheck”  used to suggest someone who hasn’t planned well or saved enough or made enough good decisions in life, but seriously who doesn’t these days?  They are out there, I know a few, but mostly I know people that are a second income away from real hurt…  So Mark, (and Cherry) I hope you consider Mark’s phone ringing a good thing… and not just another reason to be grumpy that he might have to “go away…”


C’mon Bill, enough with the small talk… save me!  Get me out of here!  I have run out of things to talk about!!

Here we go, Trailians…  It’s off to the Great Dismal!!

Oh Bill, you are such a pimp!

Yup, the last time you left the office, ostensibly on a fishing trip with Mark, you were given access to one sweet-ass boat, mistaken for a rich guy, abducted by the leader of a band of baddies that controlled one of the barrier islands whose main source of revenue was kidnapping rich people and collecting ransom!  You won’t make THAT mistake again… So instead you call up your “old friend” Mark Trail…  Of course he will jump at the chance!  He’s been home all of two days!!  With “longbow practice” and fishing obligations out of the way, it’s time to hit the road again!!


Impressive memory, Bill!  These days most of us have forsaken the manual collection and storage of random facts and rely on Google!  But not you!  You already know the size of the lake and the port city that will afford Mark access to the Great Dismal!  But Bill, you might want to check those plans…  Checking the map, Elizabeth City is Hell and gone from the Great Dismal… and unless this is one of those fancy boats that also doubles as a car, Mark will have a little trouble getting the hull wet!  And by the way, Lake Drummond, at the center of the Great Dismal Swamp, if that’s what we are referring to, is in fact 5 square miles, which is exactly 3,142 acres…

Are we to believe that Bill Ellis spends his days watching TV??

When he isn’t wining and dining his prospects and crowing about circulation numbers…  Titanium Dioxide… Well, that sent me once again to the google machine.  Turns out Titanium Dioxide is what makes paper and paint white…  White.  That’s appropriate.  Again, we wouldn’t want anything of color creeping into the Trailverse…


Of course, now that James Allen has the tiller, we are constantly trending!  The great controversy surrounding Titanium dioxide is whether it is harmful- a possible carcinogen, and whether or not it should be used in makeup!!  And don’t you just love the name “Riverway Chemical?”  The name connotes all manner of environmental concern and stewardship, until of course we add the word CHEMICAL to the name…  They need to get on the “RESOURCES” bandwagon.  “Riverway Resources” has a much friendlier sound, and is alliterative…  Not unlike the Evil Koch Brothers and their company “Flint Hills Resources…” a ”leading chemical, refining and biofuels company.”  FHR is also a supporter of public television!  Does the intellectual elite even realize that??  OMG!!