I guess Mr. Elk wasn’t scratching his back after all…

It would appear that he was in his death throes, having been struck by a high caliber round… Damn the NRA and our American gun culture (Just kidding…)  But seriously, it’s got to be difficult to come up with new and novel story lines, other than animals being shot when and where and by whom they are not supposed to be… I mean that bit with Rod Bassy really spoiled us… Even though your faithful blogger guessed correctly at the final outcome, it was still excitement at every turn as Rusty sat tied up in the Bassy-Van for days (weeks?) while Mark and bluegill contemplated their next moves over generous portions of orange mashed root vegies… But I wax nostalgic…

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Or could this be another Elk?  How many trophy animals could be within galloping distance from each other at the same time?  This is looking more like the “Fawn-doe-rosa” Petting Zoo on highway 8 near Turtle Creek…

I Thought Krakow was a City in Poland??

So glad that Mark hasn’t moved into the future with a four-wheeler/ quad runner.  That would just spoil everything…  riding the range, literally, is suited to him, as is his tendency to verbalize every thought… Did you hear that Mr Elk?  Why are you so frightened??  And is there a true cause effect relationship here:  Frightened out of forest = Trashing other peoples’ property?

And even though we have seen this plot device over and over again, most recently with “Big Mike’s Gang,” there is still comfort to be had in this familiar plot line…  Quick, Mark.  Ride, fast as you can toward the sound of the rifle shot…  it’s what you do best!

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And what on earth is this bull Elk up to?  Scratching its back with his prodigious rack?  “Ooh, right there… yea, that’s the spot…” I am surprised that his rear leg isn’t moving in bicycle fashion…

That’s One Scared, Freaked-out Elk There, Doc…

Or maybe it’s Elk rising!  Tired of Man’s encroachment on its natural habitat… Don’t think for a minute, Doc, Father of Cherry, whose last name remains a mystery, that your maintaining the Lost Forest “game preserve” gives you any special dispensation as it relates to over-use and spoiling of the natural spaces…  Or maybe it’s “Elk Gone Wild” or “Elk gone Bad…”  Are there any cigarette butts or empty beer bottles lying about?? That’s usually a tip off to a bad element having moved in and created a bad influence on the herd…

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Of course Mark, with nothing but time on his hands (I mean why wouldn’t he pitch in and help with the fence mending?) will be off doing what Alpha/ Lone Wolves do- ride the range and look for trouble around every corner…  While Cherry gets dressed and goes into town to cover a friend’s shift cashiering at the local Wal*Mart…

Had enough… Rusty??

Yup, I have… and so has everyone else, except for Doc, apparently…

But poor Cherry…“That’s great, Rusty! What did you say? All I know is that I am so sick of making the coffee, pouring the coffee, making the coffee, pouring the coffee…”

Lather, Rinse, Repeat…

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That’s a fine pan of hot-cross-buns you made there, Cherry.  Mark gazes expectantly upon them, barely able to contain his salivary response… I guess life doesn’t get better than that!!

And talk about shape shifting…  that close up of Doc makes him seem almost, well, human.  Not the lock-jawed marionette we usually see.

PS… it was pointed out to me that the centerpiece on the table is actually a pizza box!  Witness the uneaten slice of pizza on Mark’s Plate!  And they are drinking coffee with pizza!  What the Hell??

And how exactly would you know that, Mark?

We established in the Wes and Shelley Epic that there is no cell coverage at Lake Rhododendron, in the shadow of Slumber Mountain… Unless you stopped by the “Nearby Ranger Station” while you were out “checking for otter traps…”  I swear, I am not sure that I can believe a word that comes out of his mouth…

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And what of the fish you caught for your shore lunch?  Moldering in the sun by now?  I guess that was a fleeting notion…  l can only hope that this little Rusty interlude is now over, the fishing trip of a lifetime, capped by a bad dream about getting eaten by a T-Rex, so Mark can resume his life of promoting conservation and fighting bad guys (and gals) that would have it the other way!

Thank Goodness??

Uh, perhaps not.  The writers of this strip clearly don’t know who we are rooting for…  It’s sort of like “I root for the Packers and anyone playing the Vikings…”  T-Rex, we hardly knew ye…”

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Notice how Mark’s shirt sleeve is rolled up past the elbow…  That’s not the way it was a week (or is it just a few hours?) ago… He must’ve found SOMETHING!  OH this strip sure knows how to tease a guy…

And please, no more close-ups, OK?

ooooh…. that’s going to leave a mark…

That’s AWESOME!!! Rusty chooses the “flight” option and snags his right (or is it his left?) foot on a tree root and DOWN HE GOES!  Total Face plant!!  Couldn’t even get his hands out in front of himself to cushion the fall.  Not that it matters much considering his proximity to the charging T-Rex.

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And what is it with his right side?  His hand and foot are noticeably smaller in proportion to what they should be, considering even that they are a little closer in than the left side.  Poor Lad.  I guess we have seen this before.  Must have a disability, which means I really shouldn’t be making fun of him anymore…

<insert thoughtful moment here>  

naaaa…. let’s keep up with the fun…

A Mark Trail Triple Play…

And we are back! Our favorite neglected ward Rusty Trail (Adoption Papers, please…) has once again been abandoned, only to be left with his own thoughts and dreams as companions…

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What a lonely twisted place his mind must be!  Is he the Protoceratops?  His drunken abusive biological father the T-Rex??

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The “prehistoric struggle for survival” as shown here is a fanciful notion…  I am sure that there were easier quarry than this ceratops and his full armor display!  One would have to be pretty drunk with rage and anger to go after such a prize and risk a goring!

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I was waiting for Rusty to insert himself!  Oh such issues the boy has to work through!!  Now, Rusty, did you learn anything from that flat screen TV we saw you plopped in front of earlier in the Otter Epic?  That T-Rex has lousy eye-sight, and that unless you move about, he really won’t “see” you?  At least that’s the prevailing theory… Care to test it out?  You can stand there, stock-still and be snatched up like a little morsel, or run away and be picked off properly…

Must… maintain…. interest…

Diplodocus…  the largest of all dinosaurs…  once thought to be a tail-dragger…  not even thought to be warm blooded… but now we know better, thanks to Steven Spielberg and Jack Horner

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Oh Good heavens…  where to go with all this.  Assuming they write this strip with some thought as to where IT is going, I need inspiration, I need a bad guy (or girl) fixed on raping the land or spoiling the great outdoors…  Hell, I would even settle for Kelly Welly to pop up and try to horn in on the action…

What can I say, Rusty?  You don’t give a guy much to work with…

Rusty in the Jurassic…

So little going on here.  So little to say… Have to admit I did not see this one coming, nor, having seen it, am I enthusiastic about the way this story line is “progressing.”  Is Elrod going for a new audience here?  A need to expand the Rusty character beyond the two dimensions of which we are all too familiar- fishing and wasting film (oops, printer ink and photo grade paper since we have since acknowledged the existence of digital photography and memory cards…)

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But wait, maybe I misunderstand the Pterodactyl’s role in current popular culture…  there’s a rap song written and badly animated… warning, this contains some salty language…

Which goes immediately to the question, “just because you can, does it mean you necessarily should?!?