Those damned automatic weapons…

So… what?  Jose disables their ride and is going to what? Take them hostage?  That’s inconvenient.  And I forgot that Gabe had named his jeep… Diablo?  As in Diablo Cody, former stripper and screenwriter of Juno fame?


And I’m sorry… an AK-47 fired does not produce a flame… this love affair with automatic weapons fire and the inaccurate portrayal of same is becoming tiresome…

But there’s always the opportunity to learn… see the note below from Faithful Reader Dan:

Almost all weapons fired at night will show flame coming out of the barrel as the explosion caused by the gunpowder needs some place to go. Here is a video of an AK-47 fired at night —

Thanks, Dan!


Once again, running from a gun…

I will probably live my entire life and never know what it’s like to be in the sights of another’s gun…  For Mark Trail, this happens every time he leaves Lost Forest, and there have been times he hasn’t even left home!!  Is this a pitch for “no gun, no fun,” or a long running screed on the virtues of gun control?  Tell you what, Mark, I’d get your carry permit before you head out on another “adventure…”  The fact that you remain a soft target prone to walking into harm’s way, you’d better figure out how to protect yourself… and the people unlucky enough to have invited you to their party…

…and why do I have the Instant Classic “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster the People running through my head??  “You better run, better run, outrun my gun…”


Yyeaaah… they “spotted” you, Jose- 300 yards away, and in the dark- clearly they could ID you with no problem… Looks like you’re just looking for an excuse to shoot someone…

So hopefully Gabe knows what it means to actually get way from a threat…  thinking about how Mark missed his chance to power-boat his way out of the danger zone in a recent story line, it’s a good thing that Gabe is going to be piloting their ride.

Lesson one… the world is a dangerous place

Doesn’t mater where you go, I guess, or what noble pursuits you might have in mind, you are going to run into people that are bent on evil… But I suppose it’s always been that way- part of the human condition.  Why, even mild mannered Chiropterologists, freeloading Nature Writers and “handsome” assistants can find themselves in harm’s way simply by being in the wrong place at the wrong time…


Hungh?  Is that a reflection off of Mark’s binoculars?  Going to go “silence” them?  A rather extreme reaction, I’d say, Jose… and what’s in the bag?  Gotta love his belt buckle, though- the skull screams bad-guy.  Coupled with his skinny jeans, vest and form fitting t-shirt over his lean torso with the Popeye forearms, and you’ve got yourself one mean-ass hombre!

Uh, guys, I’m right here…

“Stop referring to me in the third person!  She, She, She… yup, ‘She’ wasn’t kidding…” And what Carina could see with her normal, corrected to 20-20 vision Mark requires binoculars.  But wait- I thought we were already across the border…  Pretty sure we established that we are now in Texas, at the northeastern tip of the Chihuahuan Desert… and with sufficient foreshadowing, the random 4-legged coyote yowling for no apparent reason… we should not be surprised by the introduction of these coyotes!


Love the hand-bag in panel two… as Jose and Jefe direct their “cargo” into another conveyance… this is so Breaking Bad – only this time with people, not buckets of chicken slop hiding bags of meth…

Notice how Mark keeps his distance…

No way he’s getting in the middle of these two!!  Gabe, don’t be so patronizing!  While you have had your nose stuck in journals about bats and caves, Carina is actually up on all the current news- and the fact that there is a steady stream of undocumented aliens flowing north…  “So yea, dumbass… when I say Coyotes I mean w!”


Of course I’m not sure what had her running in fear… what exactly did she see?  A panel truck? Does the truck have a sign on it? One of those big 3M style murals with pictures of huddles masses on the side?

So put down that wagging finger, Gabe, and listen for once!!

I guess she forgot to call him ‘Gabe…’

In her moment of fight or flight, and clearly she’s fleeing, Carina reverts to formalities, not a minute after she announces to ‘Gabe’ that she will be fetching and toting instruments stowed in her car.  Wait- Her car?? I thought Gabe and Carina had driven out to the desert together in the jeep?   Presumably his jeep since he’s el Profesor, and she’s el Asistente…


Love the hand gesture in panel 2 – as if there’s another woman named Carina on premises…  “uh, yea, that one, over my right shoulder.”  And so she flees, cortisol driving her athletic legs toward what?  Oh, I know, those rocks dead ahead of her.  She’s sure to trip and fall- that’s what women do in the Trailverse…  But wait- coyotes?  What kind of coyotes?  I can only assume the four legged variety- canis latrans – Or is it Jose and Jefe to whom she refers??

Again… not your parents’ Mark Trail…

Ha!  I knew it!  (forgive the smugness, boys and girls…)

Merchandise… such a grand euphemism for desperate human beings…  On a serious note, what is up with a world that is probably seeing the greatest level of voluntary, bordering on forced, migration in the history of the planet?  Consider, though, our planet’s population- approaching what?  7.4 billion?  And the United States has a lousy 322 million or 4.6% of that?  And Canada’s population of 35 million (less than California)? No wonder people are (literally) killing themselves to get here… How about for the elbow room, if nothing else?  And with world climate changing, man-made or otherwise, the breadbasket is going to move north anyway…  the United States and all of North America continues to be seen as a land of opportunity.  Who are we to judge these two “bad guys” who merely represent links in the supply chain?  Providers of a service?    Of course we now know that Jose and Jefe are Coyotaje or “Coyotes” in the current day situation that seems to (?) encourage (??) this enterprise… Boy it’s hard to stay neutral on this one…


But it’s clear that these guys are not running Carnival Cruise excursion here…  between the sinister sneer in panel 1, the 8-cell Maglight beam being shined in the faces of the “cargo” in panel three, and an ominous CLATCH sound heralding the unveiling, this is getting pretty intense!!

What? Driving panel trucks in the desert??

Exactly what business are you referring to Jose?  Oh the suspense is killing me.  Not really, but hey, we have to make this as exciting as we can…  And this still doesn’t make any sense- Jose seems to be the mastermind behind all this- defining the business model, calling the shots, handing out Bundles of Benjamins…  Jefe appears to be all in, but nonetheless along for the ride.  Jefe in Spanish means boss, el Queso Grande, the Big Cheese… Jose might as well be, well, Joe… as in Average Joe…


Do they switch trucks now?  Does Jose head south with an empty cargo box while Jefe is left to run the gauntlet with Customs and the Border Patrol?  Encounter a bunch of Angry Texans fixing to sue the Gub-mint over immigration policies?   I know I am getting ahead of myself here, so I guess we will just have to wait…

OH NO! Mark Trail meets Fast and Furious!!

Jose doesn’t image that “they” will run into any trouble that far out in the middle of nowhere?  Who’s the weKemosabe?  You and your gun?  You and your cargo?  Look at that assault weapon- AK-47?  Extra large magazine?  Holy Crap.  We learned yesterday that El Chapo, Mexican Drug Kingpin and subject of Sean Penn’s interview, held in his arsenal weapons that could be tied to the United States ATF  Fast and Furious sting operation that allowed weapons to fall into the hands of bad guys who subsequently killed American agents…


Boy… the mind races with this one.  Let’s hope (or not) that Mark doesn’t cross paths with this Bandito

Human Trafficking!

That has to be it!!  No give-aways here…  that panel truck must be filled with a cargo full of hope and desperation…  Well, if that’s the case, then this is worse than, better than, more interesting than poaching and smuggling exotic birds!  And note how, in the title, the English language and all its silly rules and exceptions to pronunciation force us to place a ‘k’ after the ‘c’ in the word trafficking…  that’s one word that will never look quite right, but looks and sounds even worse without it!


I wonder though, what defines poaching?  Taking game out of season?  If so, what is the season, in Wisconsin, for this critter?  And what, I wonder, is the penalty for not only poaching, but humiliating what’s been poached??

IMG_1108 hatted squirrel

Found this beauty at the Petenwell Pub in Adams County, WI!  I wonder who had the good taste to put a hat on her and have her post sentry over the bar?  Best Pizza in town, everyone!!