You think?

As the Wild Boar charges, Mark apparently still has time to dish out the most obvious of directives…  And bless his heart, Mark is only concerned for Abbey’s safety…  Once again, though, Mark’s instincts are dangerous- and only serve to put himself and his companions in jeopardy.


But let’s think for a moment about the wild boar- isn’t that also an invasive species?  What the hell is it doing on an “unstable atoll?”  According to the Wiki, we have the early explorers to thank for this… releasing domesticated pigs on purpose in order that future expeditions would have a readily huntable food supply…  I have also learned that a group of wild pigs is called a sounder…  let’s hope they don’t run into one of those…

In unrelated news, I discovered yesterday why watching football  on TV is so incredibly frustrating, aside from the fact that my team, the Green Bay Packers, and Aaron Rodgers in particular, is becoming the greatest disappointment in the league…


The fact that a game will take 3 hours of your life away from you, and only 6% of that time will be spent actually watching football players playing football.  That more time is spent watching replays than actual action.  That over a full hour of that 3 hours will be spent watching commercials… often the same damn ones over, and over, and over again…  Think about it.  If you really valued your time, you could watch an entire football game’s worth of actual action in 11 minutes.  Eleven minutes.  Of course I have devoted days’ worth of my life to this blog, so I’m not sure what that says about me…  choices, I guess.

Oh Lord, let’s hope they both get taken out…

And put us all out our collective misery…  and then we can follow Cherry as she re-establishes her life without the Trail… or not…


Never mind the fact that the blue that Mark puts in his hair is now running down his forehead… or that the wild boar looks more like a man in a boar suit, (Check the hind quarters- suspiciously homo-sapiens,) not unlike the RoUS’s (Rodents of Unusual Size) in The Princess Bride…  And “GROUGH…” Is that the sound that the Boar is making or the sound of vegetation being disturbed?  No doubt, though, these beasts are prone to charge!  It’s a miracle that more hunters don’t get shot in this sport…

Frailty thy name is woman??

With the fallen tree encouraging Abbey on, how could she possibly fall??  And for that matter the tree needs to learn a little grammar… “You’re doing good?”  How about you’re doing “well?”


To quote a spot-on comment from the last day or two, Abbey seems to have acquired acrophobia just in time to make it difficult to cross the chasm by way of the log…  she had no problem scampering up the mountainside going after the Finch.

But wait, Abbey, Mark’s Spidey-sense is tingling… What could it be?  Could it be Cal, who found a shorter way up the mountain that didn’t involve death defying maneuvers?


OK, Sweetheart, you are stealing a classic Trail verbal response, “Hungh?” right from under the chin of Trail himself.  Just like “huh?” but with a more guttural quality, coming from the abdomen.  Sort of like an Alpha Silverback protecting its boundaries…

As Mark leads with his chin, having no clue what challenge might be ahead, Abbey remains ever in the background… what is this, 1956?

Boy that was close!

As Abbey expresses her reluctance to make a death defying walk across a fallen tree spanning a crevasse of unknown (unknowable?) depths, her mettle is tested…  And Mark is, in a way, daring her to do so… to what end?  Is this the same as people climbing Everest- because it’s there?  Run 100 mile races- because they can?  I’ve noticed among the many bromides that crawl their way into my Facebook feed, “Do something every day that scares you…”  The point of which, I suppose, is to not allow yourself to fall into a rut.


But when does a comfortable routine become a rut?  When does a person get so comfortable in that rut that they start to decorate and re-decorate that rut, convincing themselves that it’s all good?


So go on, Abbey, live!  Even at the behest of Mark Trail!  I’m guessing it will give your pulse a race and stop and start your heart a few times… but you will learn that chances not taken are opportunities missed!

Yea… Shaky like this story line…

Here we go again, kids.


But rather than just whine about it, let’s think about what’s working and what’s not.  Working:  Artistic form.  Not working: story and character development.  I have said this before but it bears repeating.  Even if we knew, in the old days, that the entities threatening the environment would either be vanquished or be ultimately convinced that their world view is flawed and would soon be redeemed, we got to know them as characters.  Rod Bassy, Big Mike, The crooked senator’s aid Johnny Walker, the dude who poached turtle eggs, Dirty Dyer with the (What th—) Rhino Horns.  Mark himself is boring.  Like Oatmeal without any brown sugar.  Think wallpaper paste.  There’s nothing you are going to do to turn him into Indiana Jones.  He needs a foil, someone to vanquish through his own vapidness and low-on-the-spectrum emotional intelligence.  I have a theory- that James Allen inherited the franchise with a few story lines already sketched out.  Allen took over in May of 2014.  Good Lord that was a while ago, wasn’t it?  And we are still here…  Anyway, we had an initial glimpse of what was to come, with Mark getting “in trouble” on his own and having to sleep in a tree to avoid the cranky black bear.  Then came the African Odyssey, The adventure in the Great Dismal Swamp, Wally’s adventures with the the invasive Emerald Ash Borer, (where we first met Abbey Powell and learned of the considerable resources of the USDA,) then Mississippi Ken and the sick shark, followed by our deep descent into the cave system (both literally and figuratively,) and now here we are in Hawaii.  There are hints of Jack Elrod in the early Allen era, but as we move forward, there is damn little.  More story lines involving Mark’s daring-do, and battling the effects of invasives, but really nothing else to sink our teeth into.  I’m not suggesting that any of this is easy… but don’t take for granted that the Trail-verse can be maintained, or even flourish, without it.

On the other hand, why on earth do I care??

Robot Mark

HA   HA   HA … says Mark in a most annoying android kind of way…  all at the way Abbey is reflecting on her current circumstance…  And not without reason either, recalling that she has already slid down a rock face, and even in Wally’s forest, she tripped over a log (darned things always getting in the way) and needing Mark’s help…


But Mark, always game and of good cheer, and remembering his immortal status, offers to “go first”  and test the log’s integrity.  This is a little different, though, than the time in the cave (sorry to keep dragging us back there…) when Carina stood Mark down and went first across that rickety rock bridge…

Mark gets burlier by the frame…

…especially as he’s about to do something that would give mere mortal men pause…  “Hey!  Let’s risk everything for no particular reason!”


Abbey is letting her inner desk jockey take over (not a bad thing, I might add…) as Mark is about to lead the way.  Faithful readers will know that Mark doesn’t always employ the best judgment when it comes to these kinds of decisions, (hey- let’s go into the cave!)  but then considering he is immortal, it makes perfect sense.  He will always live to write another day, risk another fall, blow to the head, etc., since he has a Franchise bearing his name… Abbey, despite her re-occurring character status, might not be so lucky.  The real Abbey Powell might be lobbying James Allen to to have her character killed off, sort of like the actors from Downtown Abbey…  Matthew and Sybil wanted out and the only way to do so was to have the angel of death visit.  Funny how we haven’t since seen either of them in anything of note

Footnote, please?

Abbey Powell is throwing numbers around like a presidential candidate… $5 Billion?  With a B??  Who keeps track of that number?  This paper, which appears to be written by smart people from the Nature Conservancy doing actual research, puts the annual costs @ $1 Billion… so not insignificant.  The paper also describes the sting and it also sounds significant…  So Mark and Abbey best be careful about where they step…


The silhouette of Mark in Panel one makes him appear to be spastic, or at least reacting to the cost of the RIFA in modern society…   or perhaps he stepped on a mound and is too stoic to admit it…


…or rather it appears that Mark is reacting to yet another natural obstackle– a ravine that looks like he could jump across in his sleep… <<yawn>>


Mounds, Mark. BIG Mounds…

C’mon, man, don’t you know anything??

It’s kind of funny.  Neither of them know what the heck they are talking about.  At least Professor Gabriel could position himself as an expert on the White Nose Bat Syndrome situation (fat lot of good that did him, though, especially with the ladies…)  and here we have a writer and a desk-jockey out tromping through the jungle (again, from where or how did that emerge…) thinking they know the first thing about Imported Red Fire Ants…


We appear to be moving past the ruins, as if there were no particular reason for us to have even found them… sort of like the bi-plane in the giant sinkhole during the cave mis-adventure…  another distraction that leads nowhere.  I won’t be head-faked, this time, nor will our heroes.  They stay firmly focused on finding those ants!

Boy, for someone who had all the answers…

…About Honey and Darling’s fate… Now she’s nothing but questions…  Oh, Mark, who built this wall?  What happened to the people who built it?  Why would they flee the island??  By the third panel, Mark is shrugging his shoulders as if to say, “How the hell should I know, lady?  What? do I look like Wikipedia??”


No entries on the internets about lost Hawaiian civilizations…  But it’s early and there is no doubt more to reveal.  I feel a history lesson coming on.  I’m thinking that the spider in the third Panel is random, much like it was in the cave system