This is the comic strip Mark Trail?

Jules Rivera

Mark Trail 1991Of all of the comic strips in the various newspapers I’ve read in my life, one seemed particularly stilted. Mark Trail, my wife noted, looked old-fashioned even when we were growing up. The three-panel stories advanced the plot incredibly slowly.

The “handsome hero and outdoor man” was created by cartoonist and national parks guide, Ed Dodd. It debuted on April 15, 1946, complete with a Saint Bernard named Andy. While Jack Elrod had become an assistant on the daily strip around 1950, he didn’t get credit until June of 1979. Then in August 1991, Ed Dodd would retire his name from the strip, though Elrod had been doing the work for some time.

Right from the beginning, Tom Hill was the artist for the Sunday pages, though he didn’t get his name in the signature ball until July 1967. He did much of the drawing of the daily strip as well. He kept that job until he died in 1978. Then the creator for the daily strip generally completed the Sunday version as well.

Around 2004, Elrod “took on James Allen as an assistant and trained him to take over the strip when the time came. From 2014 Allen and his writing partner Brice Vorderbrug ran the show. After the July 25, 2020 strip, King Features Syndicate abruptly dictated that the new Mark Trail would end, right in the middle of a storyline. You can read the full chronology here.

Curveball

Surprise! For the strip of October 12, 2020, Jules Rivera took over. She is the creator of the webcomic Love, Joolz,. Rivera said, “I want to respect the legacy. I appreciate what the fans appreciate,” including Trail’s love for nature and dedication to protecting the environment. But “there are going to be jolts galore.”

And there are, for sure. Mark Trail wants to know if he has a “dadbod”?

Mark Trail.2020

It may be a cliche, but this simply is NOT your parents’ Mark Trail. It looks different, it reads differently. From a story in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune: “Rivera, 37, is of Puerto Rican descent. She is the lone Latinx producing a daily newspaper comic strip, a field that is almost solely the domain of white males. But she’s not intimidated by that because she’s been in that situation before.”

Given the fact that I used to use Mark Trail as a tranquilizer, I’ll be checking out the Rivera version for a while. Go to the Comics Kingdom site and see the past week’s strips for free. Or subscribe for $20/year and access its 60,000 comics archive.

Food and home

Expect something major to break in the first year.

homer-simpson doughnutsY’ know I have several Ask Roger Anything questions, but these from SamuraiFrog struck my fancy:

What are your favorite and least favorite kinds of donuts? And if you don’t like donuts, what is your favorite pastry? And if you don’t like pastry… you’re no fun.

Thank goodness I am fun! There’s a place right across the street from where I work called Cider Belly Donuts. I try to go only once a week. I get a maple, usually. Historically, donut-wise, I generally will go for the glazed first.

I’m not that fond of filled donuts, usually because I bite into them and hit some dry donut when I wanted the jelly. I’m also not crazy about powdered donuts, although Spaulding Krullers, from my growing up days, was miraculous in that the powder did not come off.

BTW, my spellcheck does not like the word “donut”; it prefers the word “doughnut.” Anything that prefers a spelling with THREE silent letters IN A ROW is REALLY no fun!

Are you a coffee drinker?

No, I’ve never acquired the taste. And here’s my major pet peeve: food entities that do not segregate their pitchers for coffee and tea. I went to a wedding once, and the reception was catered by a well-known local establishment. The food was lovely. But I had some tea, and I could tell INSTANTLY that the carafe had contained coffee in the past. Coffee-laced tea is VILE.

I should drink tea more often.

What’s your ideal breakfast? What’s your usual breakfast?

The ideal breakfast is pancakes, two fried eggs, and sausage. My usual breakfast is cold cereal, for which I mix two or three non-pre-sweetened items, such as Cheerios, shredded wheat, and raisin bran.

My wife inherited a house. What’s something she should know about homeownership?

I don’t know if you’ll be living there. Regardless:

1. Take care of the outside so that the neighbors don’t complain. Mow the grass periodically. (Or hire goats; I’m in favor of hiring goats.) It generates goodwill amongst your fellow homeowners.

2. To that end, I know it’s your house, but try not to paint it chartreuse.

3. Keep the walk shoveled. It snows in Illinois – assuming the house is there – and S-P-R-I-N-G is a lousy snow removal strategy. Maybe you can barter a service. Your wife’s a great artist, and you are smart and very detail-oriented.

4. Expect something major to break in the first year. For my wife’s first house, it was the water heater. For us, it was the clothes dryer; those hanging racks all over the bedroom got old very quickly.

5. If you’re not handy, find someone who is. Because you may not be able to afford to fix certain things, but some items – like a sewer pipe that threatened our basement and cost $3500 we did not have to dig up our front yard to repair – you can’t afford NOT to fix.

6. It’s never finished. The first thing my bride said when we bought the house is that we needed to update our kitchen. We moved in 2000; it hasn’t happened. Oh, we got a new kitchen faucet, the only thing we could afford the first year when my spouse was a grad student. We got a new floor because the old one was treacherous, and a new dishwasher, which I HATE – loading the silverware is a chore -and a new refrigerator.

But the aforementioned sewer pipe, and a new roof, a new front porch (lest someone put his/her foot through it – it WAS that bad), a new shed (the old one leaked, and was falling down), and FINALLY, a new bathroom, has precluded fixing the kitchen.

What’s your favorite newspaper comic strip ever?

I have books on Krazy Kat, Pogo, and other strips from before my time. I own collections about Calvin & Hobbes, Peanuts, and a few others.

But I have the first four complete Doonesbury anthologies. I LOVED those early strips. I still read it in the paper, not nearly with the same passion. But I don’t think I read ANY strip these days with anything approaching a similar compulsion.

What was something nostalgic for you until you revisited it and the nostalgia wore off?

My 10th high school reunion rather sucked, although it was salvaged by the after-party.

I remember a guy named Charlie, whose hairline changed a lot in a decade. I didn’t recognize him, and he got all offended. Ten years was not enough time to get over all the petty BS of high school.

I went to my 32nd HS reunion and it was MUCH better. But I’m just not that nostalgic. Part of it is that I forget. “Do you remember the time…?” The answer is, generally, “No.”

I DO KNOW West Side Story isn’t as good a movie as I remember – it’s too long and too slow – but the music is SO good, I don’t care.

X is for xkcd

You cannot change the laws of physics,

xkcd is a comic strip by Randall Munroe that addresses issues that either 1) I have thought of but wish I had said better, or 2) hadn’t thought of, but wish I had. He describes xkcd as “a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language.”

estimating_time

I mean, I’ve BEEN to this meeting. Totally exhausting. Haven’t you?

xkcd updates every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. “Warning: this comic occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors).”
podium

I HAVE been known to interrupt myself, interrupt myself like that, I have. Indeed.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License. So “This means you’re free to copy and reuse any of my drawings (noncommercially) as long as you tell people where they’re from.”

laws_of_physics

This reminds me of a song called Star Trekkin’ by The Firm. No, not THAT The Firm. You should take a listen. Scotty is saying “You cannot change the laws of physics.”

famous_duos

Romeo was a bit of a butthead.

I’m pretty sure that the first time I was actively aware of xkcd was from this now classic, and somewhat profane – you WERE warned – explanation of the First Amendment.

free_speech

Finally, separated by a common language uses it as well.

abc18
ABC Wednesday – Round 18

April rambling #2: Smartest place on earth

A World Awash in Purple

Librarian.gang

The 2016 Pulitzer Prize Winners, with links to many of the written pieces!

The Vlogbrothers — John and Hank Green — summarize the tax proposals of the folks who want to be your next President.

John Green: Here’s to civil discourse and David Kalish: Comparing Facebook to a pee-soaked lamp post.

Whose Heritage? Public Symbols of the Confederacy.

Mississippi Interracial Couple Evicted For Being In An Interracial Marriage. In 2016.

Michigan mechanic refuses to serve people from the ‘ghetto’ — but insists he’s not racist – he was a bit coarser than that. “But Jim S. insists he’s not racist — which is exactly what racists usually say. ‘Race has nothing to do with this, let me clarify,’ Jim S. told Mic. ‘What we’re trying to avoid is people who number one can’t afford service.'” In 2016.

Michael Rivest: Thoughts on White Privilege and Colorblindness.

Why You Should Care about Felon Voting Rights.

Jeff Sharlet: Airbnb’s Paris “Open”, during the Paris attacks.

This is what happens when you bury a mass murderer in a small town.

John Oliver: Credit reports and Lead poisoning and Hollywood Whitewashing.

1939 news clipping re: Jack Benny’s “valet”, Rochester.

New York Times: How to Explain Mansplaining.

“Leftover women”, those unmarried by 25, in China.

Greg’s daughter Mia turns 13.

Dustbury: The years take their toll on a body.

Neuroscientists Can Identify You by Your ‘Brainprint’ with 100% Accuracy, and related story.

Albany, New York: Smartest place on earth? Probably.

16 Things I Would Want If I Got Dementia.

Jaquandor has been posting poetry all month, of many varieties.

How to Insult Like Shakespeare.

Now I Know: How Brazil Got to the 1932 Olympics (Mostly) and “We Won’t Give Up Until You Bleed” and A Weighty Issue (about clipboards!)

There’s a Scientific Reason Why Indian Food Is So Delicious.

Funnies

TWC Question Time #33: Part Two– Killing the King.

These Millennials!

Superman: tax evader.

NewYorker.newspaper

BBC have broadcast TWICE as many obituaries in 2016 compared to last year at this point.

The Prince section

“Am I black or white, am I straight or gay?
“Do I believe in god, do I believe in me?”
“Controversy” – Prince

A World Awash in Purple.

Arthur addresses how the Internet Age didn’t create social mourning.

Prince on Arsenio Hall’s show.

Prince & Tamar Davis(Good Morning America 2006)/a>, which I watched in real time.

Former Warner Bros. CEO Mo Ostin Recalls His Long Relationship: ‘He Was a Fearless Artist’.

Weekly Sift.

Prince refused to be a commodity and took a protective stance on music copyrights.

Paul Westerberg: ‘I Can’t Think of Anyone Better’.

Is the water warm enough? Cartoonist Hazel Newlevant discusses Wendy & Lisa’s contribution to Prince’s legacy.

Times When He Showed Us His Great Sense of Humor.

Do It All Night: The Story of Prince ‘s Dirty Mind. An in-depth look back on the 1982 album that allowed Prince to cross over as a rock’n’roll star.

From Bat Dance to his Alter Ego comic.

A guy on Facebook noted: “‪‎Prince‬ was a huge fan of Bonnie Raitt and when he covered I Can’t Make You Love Me for his Emancipation album (1996), in the liner notes, he wrote: bonnieisanamericantreasure. When Bonnie was between labels, before signing to Capitol, Prince wanted her to sign with Paisley Park. They worked together a bit to see where it would go, but then he had to go to Europe to film Under The Cherry Moon. In the meantime, the stars aligned with Bonnie, Don Was and Capitol Records. What followed was Bonnie’s breakthrough success with ‘Nick Of Time’. Whatever they did together remains in Prince’s vaults.”

More music!

Lonnie Mack, RIP.

Amy Biancolli: Music to vote by.

Coverville 1122: Cover Stories for Roy Orbison and Paul Carrack. Roy would have been 80.

Harry Hipster Gibson – Who Put The Benzedrine In Mrs. Murphy’s Ovaltine (1944).

You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown (1967 Broadway Soundtrack).

Lawrence Welk Meets Velvet Underground.

C is for comic strip word creation: sealioning

“Sea-Lioning is an Internet slang term referring to intrusive attempts at engaging an unwilling debate opponent…”

sealion2014-09-19-1062

There’s a nifty comic strip called Wondermark, which began in April 2003, created by David Malki ! -yes, he spells his name with an exclamation point. “It’s considered an honorific, and used in the same manner as ‘Jr.’ or ‘Ph.D.’: there’s a single space before it. The exclamation point is not pronounced — though many have tried, often with hilarious results.”

He released The Terrible Sea Lion in September 2014, and it became an instant sensation. Less than a month later, “Sea Lion” had been verbed.

In October, it was initially adopted by gamers as “the experience of posting about #Gamergate and then being haunted by endlessly persistent entitled jerks.”

By December, the meaning had expanded. From Know Your Meme: “Sea-Lioning is an Internet slang term referring to intrusive attempts at engaging an unwilling debate opponent by feigning civility and incessantly requesting evidence to back up their claims.” Here’s why sealioning is bad.

The Encyclopedia Dramatica explains How to Troll Someone by “Sealioning”

Basically just calmly and politely question every single thing a person says and don’t stop. Make no assertions but refuse to leave them alone until they rage-quit. Don’t give them any excuse to say you are mad or accuse you of harassment, but respond to everything they say in a drawn-out fashion like a pseudointellectual 13-year old boy and end it with a request to further explain the contradictions in their position. This may not sound like trolling but it drives some people… mad.

I have been subject to that in my Times Union newspaper blog from time to time, but never here, even when the content was EXACTLY the same.

(Hat tip to Daniel Van Riper.)

David writes: “You can feel free to re-post any comics from this site on your blog, Facebook, Tumblr, etc. without asking permission, so long as you include a link back to wondermark.com as well!

See also: Arguing with idiots online wearing you down? YOU NEED FALLACY REF!

abc 17 (1)
ABC Wednesday – Round 17