Birds, airports, and Mark Trail

Did you guys catch that story in Sunday’s Trib about the birds at the Oakland Airport?

It was interesting, if kind of random, but as I was reading it, I couldn’t help but keep collapsing into giggles, because all I could think about the whole time was Mark Trail. I don’t know if you guys read Mark Trail, but it’s probably my favorite of the daily comic strips. Not because it’s funny (it isn’t), but because I find the sheer absurdity of the adventures of this nature journalist/wildlife protector somehow extremely charming.

I have to admit, though, that Mark Trail’s been letting me down lately – it seems like it’s been a really long time since we’ve gotten an anti-development storyline, which is when the strip is at its best. The shopping mall development on top of wetlands being delayed by a soon to be mother duck guarding her eggs and a bunch of nature loving construction workers was pretty awesome. And I’ll always have a special place in my heart for the convoluted scheming of the developer who faked a rockslide in the forest so the county would take the land en route to his planned casino by eminent domain and build a road there. But the all-time best anti-development/evil politician story in Mark Trail has got to be the one where two corrupt County Commissioners conspire to force the voters to levy a tax for a new airport (which will be built on their property, I think) by…well, just look:

“If we sprinkle birdseed on the airport, we’ll go to jail” just might be my favorite line in any piece of fiction I’ve ever read anywhere ever. So what do y’all think? Could Mark Trail author Jack Elrod have been onto something? Do we really have a bird problem at the Oakland Airport? Or does someone just want us to think there’s a problem? Hmm.

16 thoughts on “Birds, airports, and Mark Trail

  1. Aaron Priven

    As far as I know, the push isn’t for a new airport, but to build new runways on new landfill in what is now the bay. I’m pretty sure faking bird issues would hurt that.

    I always wondered who read Mark Trail.

  2. V Smoothe Post author

    The Comics Curmudgeon is my favorite blog! Besides my own, of course. Josh’s take on Mark Trail’s airport bird strike storyline was particularly hilarious:

    Longtime Mark Trail readers probably thought that last year’s “I’ll use explosives to fake a rockslide so as to convince the county to seize forest land via eminent domain to the advantage of my planned gambling casino” was some sort of apex of laughably unrealistic political skullduggery, but with this “Let’s get people fired up about birds so we can convince them to vote in a new airport on our property,” we move past “contrived” and straight on into Dada. If you managed to convince Karl Rove to drop acid and write a comic strip — and I have to admit that I would support you in such a quixotic effort — this is the sort of thing he’d come up with.

  3. V Smoothe Post author

    Izzy, if you hadn’t commented here previously, I’d delete that comment because I assumed it was some kind of weird spam. Obviously, the joke went completely over my head. Care to explain?

  4. V Smoothe Post author

    A-ha, thanks for decoding. While I enjoy reading the comics, I’ll admit that I’ve never particularly cared for Zippy and don’t know much about comic strip history, which I guess is why the line went over my head.

    On another note, I’m absolutely thrilled that in one day, my commenters have managed to link to both my favorite blog, The Comics Curmudgeon, and my second-favorite blog, Language Log! You guys are so awesome. Anyone care to try for number three?

  5. V Smoothe Post author

    Sorry, Chris, although I do enjoy that sight and even comment there on very rare occasions when things about the City come up. But I have to admit, my third favorite blog has absolutely nothing to do with Oakland. Or politics, for that matter.

  6. Tab

    It’s the East Bay Express blog site, right?

    OK, maybe not. Still, you gotta appreciate the current EBX’s strong early contender for the Media Correction of the Year Award:

    “In our January 28 story about the Oakland Unified School District’s failure to provide heat for many of its students (“Too School for School”), we misquoted International School Principal Carmelita Reyes. She said “we’re all running a school district as leanly as we can” — not “we’re all running a school district as lamely as we can.”

  7. Kent

    I think the A’s move to Fremont has more material for conspiracy theorists than the new runways at Oakland airport.
    That being said, I find it’s ridiculous to hear about Port of Oakland
    continuing their runway expansion when they are facing a record budget deficit, and passenger volume is so miserable.

  8. V Smoothe Post author

    I just hope this storyline ends soon. I’m so sick of looking at Patty’s deranged face. Can Mark please just drop her and Bucky off at some kind of shelter for battered women and their deer and go write about something else? With the economy ravaging local government finances, there must be some politician out there somewhere trying to make a quick buck by selling off some wetlands or something. Right?

  9. Patrick

    And really, V, if you lived in the wilderness, had to keep up that hairdo AND live with HER husband, wouldn’t you be a little “deranged” too? Please, Patty needs our sympathy, not our pity.

  10. Hayden

    Is the Port really continuing plans to add a runway to OAK? They did some public process with CLASS (Citizens’ League for Airport Safety and Serenity), a few public agencies, and some other groups back when they were pushing approval of the Airport Development Project that added the new T2 concourse, and which was to add a new parking structure where the big central surface lot is (not to mention the various roadway improvements), but it seems all has been quiet recently.

    The Port’s big push on Bay and wetland fill these days seems to be more towards the old Oakland Army Base lands and new dock space, from what I’ve heard.

    It was odd to see the Port’s spokeswoman mention the nearby golf courses as a bird threat, since one of them was built by the Port using dredge spoils (a “beneficial reuse” project)–ok, the airport was built in prime bird habitat, but does the Port’s own media contact want to mention the Port’s additional contribution? Points for being straightforward.