Vax, Wasps, and Sick Cartoons

I’m late today having burned through my entire Monday researching and then writing a piece about the media and the anti-vax movement in the US. Spent my morning tightening the article and hoping it works. I think it does, but I’ll only know later once others have read it. For now, I am in the lull between work.

As part of my research, I found myself reading Plague of Corruption: Restoring Faith in the Promise of Science by Dr Judy Mikovits. I don’t recommend anybody do the same (though I should also add that I didn’t finish it. I didn’t have that much time to waste).

It’s a peculiar book, at times sounding intelligent (sometimes actually revealing proper intelligence) but never feeling quite right. There’s something very odd about it. It’s hard to describe the problem but the prose feels distended, as though some great pressure has built up and this is the writer’s opportunity to vent. The narrative leaps around, sometimes wildly, always disturbingly, with statements made but rarely backed up.

Perfect example, from the first page:

“When I was in a lab, making breakthrough discoveries, such as how to develop AIDS drugs to solve our world’s greatest modern plague, the HIV-AIDS epidemic, it was never about glory or reputation.”

Pretentious? Moi?

First of all, even if you had done this, would it be your place to boast about it? Would you boast about it in such a vulgar way?

Second, in every article I’ve read in scholarly and scientific journals suggested that Mikovits didn’t do any of this. She didn’t earn any glory and her reputation is now largely shot.

I guess this is the kind of line that an editor would have paused and mused over. It’s certainly a book badly in need of an editor but also something more. It reminds me of a few highly intelligent people I’ve known where their extreme intelligence has broken them, like they’ve looked into the sun too long and too intensely and it’s left them blind. They would talk engagingly about something for an hour and then suddenly drop in a fact like they eat lightbulbs for the sodium content.

It’s all most odd. The book begins with a rather sprightly forward by Robert F Kennedy Jr but the book itself reads like somebody has dictated it into a voice recorder and had the resulting text typed up. To say it’s a dumb book would be unfair. It is dumb to promote it and dumb to publish it. Perhaps it’s even dumb of me to highlight it and give it more exposure. The book itself is dangerous, unhinged, and seriously flawed as if written by somebody who has perhaps looked into the sun for too long.

Okay, back in the real world…

I have to contemplate getting rid of a nest of wasps that has appeared in the shed in the garden. I’m led to believe that it’s a job I shouldn’t attempt myself, which means I’ll have to pay somebody to get rid of it. The council charge £66, which sounds both a lot but also cheaper than the pleasure of getting stung multiple times. I’m tempted to leave it alone (do these nest eventually disappear?) but I’m also aware that some hot days are coming and I’ll want the window open. I don’t want wasps in my room. However, to ask somebody to approach the shed involves my accepting that the shed needs to be pulled down. That means it needs emptying and that means space has to be made elsewhere… Can I do any of that with wasps around?

Oh Christ. I hate jobs that escalate like this.

All I want to do is sit here and write and draw.


But it’s also raining so maybe I can put it off…

Today I plan to finish off some cartoons. I’ve hit 40 for Book Three of my cartoon ebook “trilogy”, meaning only 15 to go. That probably sounds better than it is. A few are just sketches and punchlines I like. I’ve also got a couple of cartoons I’m not so sure about making public. It occurred to me quite late into this project that I didn’t have to answer to anybody so I could be as tasteless as I like. The problem is that I might have been a bit too tasteless…

8 thoughts on “Vax, Wasps, and Sick Cartoons”

  1. If you leave it alone then the wasps will disappear in October and they don’t re-inhabit the nest. You could put an insect screen across your window if you are desperate to have them open, though open windows don’t help hay fever as you will now know. If the nest is accessible and you can see the entry point then treating it yourself isn’t difficult. The wasp nest destroyer foam sprays have a range of about 3m and provided you treat it just before it gets dark or very early in the morning then the chances of being stung are pretty low. Think a can is about a fiver. You sometimes have to have a couple of go’s at it.

    The council only charge £43 down here, maybe that’s because our wasps are soft Southern shites that are easy to kill, not hard Northern bastard wasps.

    We used to live in a house with a ridiculously big attic and overhanging eaves so were plagued with the little shits to the point that I bought myself a beekeepers hat as I was taking out so many nests. The foam sprays worked well for me though. Worst thing we had was honey bees in the chimney. I was working at the computer one sunny day and suddenly it just went black, a rival swarm was attacking the nest. I went outside (perhaps stupidly looking back) and they were covering half the house, quite a sight, I wished I’d taken a photo. I did have that professionally treated by a mad old bugger from Enfield. He stood up on the ridge of the (very high) roof with no protection and no mask as he bombed the chimney with pesticide!, dust billowing everywhere. That’s the kind of spirit that built an empire lad! 😉

    Having said all this, if you lack confidence and can’t live with them then get a pro in. Shop around for the best price though, £66 sounds pricey to me.

    1. Ah, perfect reply. I’ll leave it then. I can wait until October, which is when I was thinking the weather would be more suited to clearing the shed.

      £66 probably is expensive but everything to do with the council is pricey recently. I think it’s the cuts to local budgets. We’re deep red heartland up here (huge Labour majorities in both wards) and get hammered by every budget cut the Tories make. Understandable, I guess. We were well treated under New Labour.

      Never had a great deal of business with wasps, myself. Stung once a couple of years ago. I think they had/have a nest in the next door eaves but these are within 15 feet of the back door. Probably not going to attack but I hate the little buggers. I used to know a bloke who was a monk in a previous life and he had been the abbey’s beekeeper. Had all manner of crazy (to me) theories about bees and wasps. I think it was wasps he said are evil and stupid, bees are intelligent and generally harmless.

      1. Yeah, bees tend to leave people alone unless you threaten the nest which they do inhabit year after year. Wasp drones have mostly fulfilled their purpose of preparing queens by mid September and seem to like getting drunk on fermenting fruit and then stinging people. A tip for you, in the spring you can stop the wasps early if you see a new nest on your property, they are cream coloured and about the size of a golf ball, just smash them, they probably only have the queen in them at that point.

        1. I’d have been quite please with bees in the garden. They also have that one-sting-and-they’re-death ethic which seems more tolarable than wasps and their sting-you-as-many-times-as-it-will-take-to-kill-you vibe. Also, in my experience, the wasp sting is much more painful. Anything that now looks like a golf ball I will definately destroy.

  2. Funnily enough, I think National Shed Clearing Day is in October so that would be the ideal time to do it. Sheds probably have a patron saint too but you’d have to check that.
    Couldn’t go for the cartoon, I’m afraid. I get what you’re doing, obviously, but the image is too reminiscent of all the “atrocities committed by” drawings and descriptions one comes across in history books for me.

    1. Urgh. That took a dark turn. I honestly have never seen those books so I wouldn’t know it’s a thing. Maybe the drawing is too on the nose. The idea came to me because I’m a lifelong vegetarian and I’ve gone through my entire life being told some variation of “stop looking like that until you’ve tried it”. I suppose the problem is that the baby isn’t inedible enough — yes this is dark stuff. I might try replacing it with something really inedible but not sure what it could be… A sock, a steam iron, a house brick… Hmm… This will take some thought. 😉

  3. Humour’s subjective – it wasn’t intended as censorship – just my own reaction and what I think are probably the reasons for it. Swift did something similar in prose didn’t he, in the 18th century, and I think that was quite divisive too. So by extension I’m comparing your work to Swift’s. Which, subjectively, you may or may not take as a complement 🙂

    1. Oh, very subjective, I agree, but I also wouldn’t have changed if it I didn’t think I could improve it. It was too on the nose.

      Yes, Swift did write about the Irish eating their babies. I take it as a compliment. I’m a bit of a Swift fan. He helped with bits of the Dunciad.

Leave a Reply


It’s a cool domain name and it was available. Yes, I know. Available. Crazy, isn’t it?


Yes. It also helps that it’s also my favourite satire written by Alexander Pope, one of the most metrically pure English poets who also knew his way around a crude insult or two. If you’ve not read it, you should give it a try.

So this is satire, right?

Can’t deny it. There will be some. But it’s also an experiment in writing and drawing, giving work away for free in order to see how many people are willing to support a writer doing his thing. It’s the weird stuff that I wouldn’t get published elsewhere in this word of diminishing demands and cookie-cutter tastes.