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Raging Pencils Comic
Perfessor Stanfill solves the gay marriage problem.

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start rant

Hot Times

fire eaterI
was surprised to learn, as a result of Friday's Raging Pencils comic, that a sizeable proportion of web users don't quite share the same fascination with our little bee pals as I, regardless of their importance in the grand scheme of agriculture and, ultimately, life as we know it. Especially the eating part.

Even so, it is now perfectly clear to me that most readers of this strip would be perfectly content if I never brought the subject up again.

So, naturally, the following is a personal reminiscence about my dad versus the paper wasps. Enjoy.


Years ago, when I was a mere kidling, the rented house in which my burgeoning family huddled featured a ramshackle storage shed in the back yard. The warped openings that served as windows had long ago lost any glass and the structure was built low enough that clambering onto its roof was literal child's play, so it immediately became the de facto entertainment venue for me and my numerous sibs. Much fun was had playing Guard the Castle or leaping from its lofty heights with Mother's best towels draped around our necks, playing out our Supermanly fantasies to painful and sometimes traumatic avail.

Having no windows also meant that the shed made an ideal breeding ground for paper wasps. So about the time temperatures hit their summer peak each wasp nest would have reached the approximate size of a small Pekingese dog.

Being no fool I personally gave the little striped sons-a-bitches a wide berth. My philosophy was "I didn't bother them and they didn't sting the hell out of me". This unofficial truce must have held as I escaped any emptive or preemptive strikes on the part of the wasps during my many years there.

Mother, on the other hand, wasn't quite so diplomatic. She was wasp-o-phobic long before I knew therapists could profit handsomely from such maladies and to her, not unlike General Custer, the only good wasp was a dead one. Except for the frequent episodes of chasing one or another of us down in an attempt to apply some well-deserved corporal punishment my Mother's only extensive backyard activity involved the traditional hanging-out of the clothes, but that was quite enough exposure to these little yellow devils as far as she was concerned, so they had to go.

Naturally, the chore of wasp eradication fell on the broad, beefy shoulders of my dear old Dad, and while most men would have just waved a can of Raid in their genreral direction and continued their fatherly duties my father tended to do things the more manly way.

In this case that meant some sort of makeshift torch, usually the Fort Worth Star-Telegram rolled into a tight baton and daubed with a touch of high-test. Later, in the relative cool of the evening, when the wasp clan was back on the nest regaling each other with mighty tales of assaults on helpless caterpillars, Dad would light the torch and deftly stab it into the heart of the nest.

What followed was an amazing spectacle of nature.

We kids would stand well outside the line of fire and watch in respectful awe as my shirtless father, with an heroic gleam in his eye, dashed into the shed led by the blaze of his fiery brand, like a Crusader crashing headlong into the bulwarks of Constantinople.

After a couple of seconds an explosion of sparks lit the humid night as dozens of flaming yellow-jackets burst through the windows. They arced upward into the air for several seconds, trailing blazing remnants of charred antenna and limbs... and then simultaneously they would all change course and begin dive-bombing Dad.

Evidently Dad's torch, being the only luminous object on a dark summer's night, stimulated what was left of the wasp's instinctual need to protect the nest. So Part Two of this epic struggle involved Dad racing for the back door of the house followed by an incendiary, lilliputian convoy in literally hot, literally mad pursuit. You or I might have ditched the torch before beating a strategic retreat but not dear old Dad.

One of the things I learned from this operation was that the average wasp, even when on fire, can sometimes outrun a full-grown man. Looking back, I believe Dad performed this stunt with his shirt off because it was easier for mother to tend his wounds afterwards. Now that's planning ahead.

Nowadays, Beloved Girlfriend has assumed the role of wasp-phobic in my life. I just give her the number of a good exterminator.


end rant

Raging Pencils salutes the Mystery Readers of
Karkkila, Finland
Whoever you are, thanks for reading my abominable little 'toon.

Today's mystery web comic is:


Raging Pencils is a super sexy conceit of:

Mike Stanfill, Private Hand
Mike Stanfill, Private Hand
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Today's Google Chow.

Perfesser Stanfill Solves the Gay Marriage Problem.

Step One: Decide who will undergo a sex change.
Lesbian one: "Okay,I'll do it, but I want a big one."
Lesbian two: "Oh, lord."

Step Two: Have operation then get married.
Priest: "You may now now kiss the, uh, you know, whatever."

Step Three: Surgically reverse sex change.
Surgeon: "Scalpel. Sponge. Melon-baller."

Step Four: Enjoy the fruits of married life.
Lesbian One: "We're overdrawn again. And about your drinking..."
Lesbian Two: "Hey! What'd he mean by that?"