Here it is, folks, the weekly review and Sunday nature chat you’ve been waiting for!

Nothing like a whole week of lovey-dovey hiking and flirting, while Cherry and Mark wait for “the phone call” that puts Mark back on the plane for another paying assignment. Well, we also got to see Cherry’s roundabout restored (by Cherry); and Mark’s close encounter with the weird kind (handled by Amy Lee, who told Protein Boy to take a long hike off a short pier). But were there any legal complications for either party? Of course not!  So, I’m not sure we have real closure on the California trip as of today. I have a feeling we have not seen the last of Diana Daggers. At least, I hope not.

Still, it might be funny to see some Sunday pages devoted to Mark giving nature talks to prison inmates as part of a community service agreement. It could even feature questions from a few inmates, just to keep Mark on his toes! How about it, Jules!?

So, algae as a pet!? That’s a new one on me, Bubba. In any event, we finally seem to be moving closer to habitat as subject matter in Mark’s Sunday nature chats, rather than just animals. But is the topic about “Marimo” or “Zebra Mussels”? Or maybe, both!? Marimo, by themselves, seem harmless, but the Zebra Mussels indeed are destructive, as any lake enthusiast can tell you.

Using everybody’s favorite source for facts (Wikipedia), I discovered that the word “Marimo” is a portmanteau, not a breed of Spanish sheep. It was coined by a Japanese botanist combining the Japanese words mari (a bouncing ball) and mo (referring to water plants). In a sense, they are like miniature versions of StarTrek Tribbles, but without the purring. Mark should have also mentioned the Marimo/Zebra Mussel webpage of the US Fish & Wildlife Service, which goes into more details about this problem and what to do about it.

As many people have noted (here and other places), the Sunday Mark Trail strip often presents a more traditional and acceptable version of Mark, in terms of appearance, form, and content. The larger format size of the Sunday strip has something to do with that, of course. It is also possible that Rivera draws a batch of Sunday strips at one time, so she can get into that groove. Then again, the Sunday panels are usually simpler to draw, with rather basic compositions; fewer people to draw; and a need to be more didactic than merely entertaining.

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Sunday Delay

Because of prior commitments, I will not be able to post the Sunday blog until Sunday afternoon. Please enjoy your new-found free time to sleep in; attend the religious service of your inclination; mow the lawn; or finish reading that book before it has to go back to the library. You know which one I’m talking about.

Or, you can while away the time looking at this field of dots. Some people think that if you look at it hard and long enough, you will see the ancient Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus in Rome. Other people think that prolonged viewing will just give you a headache. Personally, I think this could be one of the game sheets for the Tokyo Olympics “Connect the Dots” finals (won by the team from Djibouti). Well, you’ve got some time on your hands to figure it out.

But fear not, Faithful Readers: Mark Trail will soon return!