To Be Perfectly Honest About Honesty

Human Organ Rental

To Be Perfectly Honest About Honesty

More than once in the last week I have heard people say “Well, to be perfectly honest,…” and then some kind of backhanded insult telling me I shouldn’t wear stripes and polka dots together. Fashion fascists.

It was the first part of the sentence that got me thinking (mostly because I was on a chocolate danish sugar high). Why do we even say ‘to be perfectly honest’? The implications for human society are staggering. Ok, to be perfectly honest, that last sentence was hyperbole multiplied by a billion.

Honest Mayhem

It’s a curious turn of speech, “to be perfectly honest” since it implies most of the time we as gum-flapping, bi-pedal bags of genetic material are being dishonest. A lot. And that means there’s a whole lot of lying going on. Which leads to mayhem. As well as electing mentally ill leaders to our respective corrupted democracies.

Without any scientific proof, or even an online degree in scientific proofery (it’s a real degree, I swear) I honestly believe we like being lied to so we don’t have to deal with any more stress than we already do. Oh sure, we get upset when we find out we have been lied to, but we have built in many layers of psychological protection to deal with all the dishonesty that is daily life.

It’s not just humans who lie, animals do it too, but for different reasons, like not wanting to get eaten. Many an animal will change its skin color or pattern so the larger thing with teeth doesn’t eat it. But it’s a form of a lie, mostly for self-preservation.

Humans need self-preservation skills, and being perfectly honest is not one that is conducive to making money on the stock market, having a successful marriage or getting elected to any position from dog catcher to president. Being perfectly honest in marriage and politics especially is a recipe for disaster.

Can you imagine telling your significant other he/she/it/they/thy/them looks like a dishevelled sack of discarded toilet tissue when they show you that article of clothing they bought online thinking it would make them look younger/thinner/cooler/hipper when in reality they really look like a dishevelled sack of discarded toilet tissue? Me neither.

Lying & Human Organs

If you ask any random passers-by if they would be willing to commit an act of charity that would save a life, most of them would probably say yes, providing you didn’t ask the aforementioned passers-by while they were in the changing room at the Victoria’s Secret store (Yes, I am obeying the court order, all right!)

Now if you asked those same passers-by if they have signed their organ donor cards, most of them would say yes and be lying to you. The second they think they’d have to give up a brain, a kidney, or a nipple – posthumously – they’d hide their heads in shame knowing they want to keep their organs.

Same goes for money-making. If someone said you could earn millions of dollars selling your kidney, you’d say No way! But if the question were you could earn millions of dollars selling somebody ele’s kidney, particularly that of your boss, you’d say “where’s the scalpel?” Now that to me is being perfectly honest.

On a side note, I skilfully slid in the human organs reference because it’s in the comic that no one reads, and I have a pretty odd idea how to work it into the next issue. It’ll be a doozy. Trust me, I am being perfectly honest here.

Sincerely,

Dr. Mendacious Schopenhauer Druker

Evolution and Ugliness

Evolution - Stanko & Tibor


Evolution & Killers

Now that I am through episode 6 of Blue Planet II, I am starting to notice several facts about evolution and the killers in the ocean. Here they are in no order of importance.

  1. First off, there are LOTS of killers in the ocean. Everybody is eating everybody else, provided they’re slightly lower on the food chain, or they just missed the class in skilled hiding. There aren’t many vegetarians in the sea, I noticed. Sure, some low-life organisms eat veggies, like the sea grass-eating sea turtles, or those lefty, kelp-nibbling fish who have to stay close to the coral reefs and shoals because they’ll get eaten 2 seconds after wandering away, since their parents never game them iPhones to stay in contact. But there’s a lot of carnivores down there.
  2. Fish evolution is not keeping up with today’s modern, fast-paced ocean life. Fish genetics are too slow to evolve to meet the crushing demands of basic survival AND being cast in yet another Sir David Attenborough-narrated documentary, where filming schedules are tight and budgets for krill limited.
  3. Education is failing today’s schools of fish. Too few learn the skills they need to succeed in the 21st century, like online banking, or self-promotion in social media, let alone wood working skills. (A  lack of opposable thumbs is not an excuse.)
  4. Many sea creatures actually use tools (not power tools, though – power cord isn’t long enough) to chase, hide, distract their prey or mate. Turns out that when we thought only humans, chimps and otters used tools to make their lives easier and justify the cost of a trip to the hardware store to buy a tool chest, we were incorrect. Ugly fish do it too.
  5. Sharks are the equivalent dumb male jocks who drive Jeeps. Totally possessive of their catch and they don’t share well. They have sycophantic, smaller fish attached to their skin. They scare off every other fish and are constantly looking for fight with lesser fish. Just like all sports jocks.
  6. Octopuses are exceptionally ugly and super intelligent. And significantly smarter than I be. Two, in fact, outscored me on standardized tests, and both are going to ivy league schools this fall if they can get funding. One octopus beat me at Scrabble AND Blackjack in the same day. Twice. There’s goes my lunch money.
  7. All ocean-dwelling creatures are so incredibly ugly that’s it’s clear there isn’t a mirror down there. Or a beauty salon or hair salon or even a barber. Clearly there is a business opportunity not being seized upon – plastic surgery for sea creatures! if there was plastic surgery for fish I’d think we’d kill fewer of them because they’d look more like characters from a Disney animated film and we’d grow emotionally attached instead of dumping trash in their waters and pouring pollutants like it was a giant toilet.

What lessons can we take away from this fact-rich list of aquatic knowledge? Stay above water if you can, stop polluting the oceans because it makes filming documentary films harder, and if you do eat fish, know that you, Mr. and Mrs. Human are at the top of the food chain, until the aliens land of course.

Fishing for meaning,
Jean-Jacques Cousteau Druker

Go Insane, It’s OK

Insane Isn't So Bad


Go Insane – It’s OK

Why does insanity have such a bad reputation? Why do we treat it like an affliction that is to be cured or treated, when in reality, insanity is pretty much the norm every day we live our lives.

The USA has an insane president, plus a bunch of insane southern states who think the insanity they perpetrate every day is pretty normal. Trade wars are good for farmers. Bankruptcy only makes you stronger. Besides why would you want to cozy up to democracies when dictators are just so much more social and non-judgmental, and usually have a stable of fancy sports cars?

You can also label China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, and let’s say Italy, as being insane. Collective governmental madness. Like a bad fungus, it’s spreading. And anti-biotics won’t fix it either. Insanity is the new norm.

Conspiracy Theory = Insanity

Chances are, if you have complete and utter faith in a theory about why the world/social media/banks/the dark state/movie reviewers are all out to keep you from greatness, chances are just as good that your family has an extra helix of DNA where the insanity gene is dominant.

Let me cite some recent examples:

  • You ever watch those TV shows on cable about extraterrestrials and how the government is covering it up? And the so called experts making their case? Insane.
  • Flat Earthers? Insane.
  • Anti-Vaxxers? Criminally insane and should be forced to live on Jupiter until they come to their senses.
  • People who strive to be popular on Instagram or TikTok or YouTube? Deeply and narcissistically insane.
  • People who prefer cinnamon danish to chocolate danish? The worst kind of insane.

Which all begs the question: is insanity native to the genetic code or do we learn this behavior from watching too much TV, drinking Kombucha and believing what’s on social media?

Technology to the Rescue

It turns out it doesn’t matter what the source is because we can’t cure it. The bigger question is how do we identify it and thus use it to my advantage.

Given all the bio-metric hardware and software out there, I say someone shiftless and smarter than me invents a fingerprint reader that can instantly detect insanity. Stick your fingers on the little scanner and within seconds you get an answer determining whether or not you should be the leader of a major country, or whether you should stay on reality TV shows and never be allowed to breed.

Something like a 1-5 scale with 1 being the lowest level of insanity, “the bookish accountant in the actuarial department” and 5 being the highest level, “Donald Trump.”

The only possible risk to a fingerprint insanity analyzer is that it gets hacked and you find a way to substitute your own fingerprints with those of the Queen of England, thus allowing you to pass without suspicion at cock fighting matches and porno theaters.

So what can you take away from this lengthy diatribe that — as well as being proof of a wobbly circadian rhythm and proof of  lead ingestion as a child — has been scientifically enlightening and not terribly entertaining?

When the crazies think everything is normal, that’s when you know it’s OK to be insane. And get some good meds and chocolate danish to handle the stress.

Loyally yours,
Aristotle Ventius Druker, Slayer of Logic, King of Nothing, Protector of the Afternoon  Nap

Exercise Cooperation Among Friends

Cooperation among friendsCooperation Among Friends & Enemies

Cooperation – a word often misunderstood in today’s day. So many people think cooperation is where two parties, be they friends or adversaries, find a method to achieve a desired outcome so that both parties don’t feel entirely ripped off. Basically, it’s how to get something without losing too much face.

But that is the incorrect interpretation of the term cooperation. If you look at the word construct, you can see it consists of two parts:

Coop and Ration – the ‘e’ is just in there because the language police liked how it sounded at parties, and it was also a way for the global cabal of  printers to goose their ‘per-letter’ profit margins when they printed all those dictionaries that no one uses anymore. Why do you think the words laugh, thought, philosophy, colleague, wrought and knock have all those extra letters?You’re telling me laf, thawt, filosofee, coleeg, rot and nok wouldn’t suffice?? It’s a scam, I tells ya.

But I digress.

Can’t Fly the Coop

Taking a deeper look at so called cooperation, we can dissect the part of it that involves a coop. A coop is where whickens or rabbits or ducks are kept, fed and treated like machines in man-made structures until we need them for a meal. Human life is not too far off from the life of chickens, what with all our time spent cooped up looking at screens, watching Game of Thrones, or surfing to buy something on Amazon you just have to have, stopping only for a snack or bathroom break. Oh, we are all cooped up all right.

The only major difference is that we mostly feed and bathe ourselves, whereas the chickens are fed. Then again, with Uber Eats, we are becoming more like chickens, just with credit cards. (Good thing we don’t lay eggs. What a mess that would be.)

Furthermore, the more time we spend in our respective coops staring at the proverbial heating lamp known as a screen, the easier it is for whoever owns our data (it’s not you, trust me) to snoop on us and then let us know what we should buy, read, eat, object to, and be visibly offended by.

K-Ration

Now that we are wilfully cooped up, we can look at the rations we have left to survive on.  Let’s call them K-rations, for knowledge rations. First of all, it prints well on a baseball cap or a t-shirt, and secondly, I am not that smart or creative to come up with something better on the spur of the moment. I write these rants extemporaneously, and sadly without the aid of a trusty, gooey, sticky chocolate danish to fuel the fires of creativity and early onset diabetes.

As we all know, knowledge is generally rationed out by a) income and b) education. The more you have of a, the more you can get of b, and then become rich and have a coop somewhere in the Bahamas or Switzerland with servants who don’t have much of either a or b.

So with knowledge being rationed and most of us being cooped up somewhere, then it’s easy to see how cooperation functions. Just stay where you are, eat some feed, and wait to be told what to do by either your phone, spouse, secret government snooping agency, or your stomach/bladder/bowels. My recommendation: listen to your stomach/bladder/bowels before you listen to your phone. Unless the government has your tax returns and asks you to come for a polite chat.

Just cooperate. Unless they try to take away your danish. Then rebellion shall ensue.

Affectedly effective,
Santiago Schopenhauer Druker

Come Join The Snoop Troop!

SnoopThe Snoop Troop

Note to people 55 and younger: This ramble has nothing to do with Snoop Dogg, the artist/musician/dope-fiend. Although, if it did, I'd probably get one or two more readers.

To snoop, to pry into the private affairs of others, especially by prowling about, seems to be how to make a living these days. And what a living I might add. The snoops at Facebook, within the Russian government, the NSA, CIA, China, Google, Windows, Amazon and its Alexa, Huawei, and, wait, did I mention China? Yeah, they all make a very handsome living snooping on what you do, where you are, were or will be, when you do it, with whom, how you do it, and most times they can guess why. They snoop on your blood type, underwear size and the last time you shaved your armpits. Should you be scared? Maybe, but you’d be better off becoming one of them.

The snoop state (I could have said surveillance state, but snoop state fits more easily on a t-shirt) requires a huge amount of humans to make it work. Massive amounts of human flesh are needed to make all this happen. You’ve got:

  • people watching millions of screens while they snoop
  • people making cameras and software to snoop on people
  • people installing all those cameras and snoop-ware
  • people manufacturing signs saying “Under Surveillance”
  • people to read your texts and listen to record your phone calls
  • people to serve danish, coffee and sandwiches to the people watching millions of screens and reading all those texts
  • people cleaning the filthy screens and crumb-filled desks from the screen watchers who chose to get their sandwiches on crispy baguette or lightly over-toasted wholewheat bread
  • people to manage all those people watching millions of screens and give them performance reviews depending on how effectively they snooped in the name of snooping
  • and lastly, all the people being snooped upon (wouldn’t it be great if the snoopee got paid for being snooped upon)

Effectively you need many troops to snoop.

Lunch Talk

We’ve established that it takes a lot of people and time and effort to snoop upon entire countries, masses of consumers and those rotten non-conforming dissidents, who probably have unkempt hair and an untucked shirt. Like me. Uh-oh.

Often I have wondered, while munching on a chocolate danish, what do all these employees of the snooping world discuss at lunch (apart from why I eat so many danishes)?

They know all the mundane aspects of our lives, they read our texts, eavesdrop on our calls, spy on our writings, and rifle through our garbage. No wait, that was the raccoon in our backyard. Still, what do these snoopers talk about at work? Maybe it’s about Prince William cheating on Kate?

But given the rampant paranoia of the deep state (Russia, if you’re still listening) and the actual destruction of privacy we have all permitted either knowingly (Google) or unknowingly (Facebook, China, etc.), my recommendation is to go watch Jeopardy or Game of Thrones while your TV watches you back.

Sincerely,

Ingemar från Fälten

Technology Is A Vengeful God

Stanko & Tibor - CrisprTechnology Is A Vengeful God

It’s funny how we revere technology almost like a god. But we do that largely because it’s way easier to revere that than following an established religion where you often have to give cash gifts to large institutions, especially if you want to host a wedding there. What a racket that is. Weddings, I mean. Oh, and the Trump-eriffic Mueller Report.

Technology, like religion, was created by us humans so that we would have something explain why little Billy was run over by the motorized parade float featuring hairy, fire fighter drag queens at the Gay Pride parade, despite Billy’s utter innocence. Sure, his parents were mightily distracted and in a zombie-like trance watching season 8 of Game of Thrones or playing Fortnite til 3 AM on a caffeine high. But a vengeful technology god took Billy away to teach them a lesson. Or to teach Billy a lesson. I am not sure which one. I haven’t been sleeping well.

Let me be precise here when referring to technology as a god. I am not referring to the Miracle/Curse of CRISPR, the gene-editing technology that may one day alleviate the pain of disease, and help to create healthy populations, or potentially make a bunch of amoral Chinese super soldiers. No, it’s far more mundane than that.

Back to the technology-religion thing for a minute. It’s really simple to worship at the Altar of Bits and Bytes, at the Church of iPad, at the House of the 88-inch OLED Screen with 4K, because, let’s face it, you don’t have to get dressed up and show up at an place of worship on someone else’s schedule, where parking is difficult to come by.

No one asks you to pray or for donations at the Temple of Technology. They just ask for a credit card and a monthly subscription that over time equates to a king’s ransom of a small African nation. Which you are happy to fork over blindly because you get pretty immediate rewards and gratification as opposed to having to wait until the afterlife, which I am told by people who claim to have knowledge of such, is a hard place to find a decent Chinese food restaurant that isn’t overbooked.

Existential Threat

Now that technology is our new god, or is at least 85% of the way to replacing most major religions, we have new worries and fears.  I think it’s fair to say that humanity’s greatest existential threat is  when the WiFi goes down, or your smart phone goes on the fritz. That’s when the technology god wreaks his (yes, I used a masculine pronoun because that bloody profession of techies is about 99.9% male-dominated) revenge and puts you at the mercy of the evil minions who occupy the lower rungs of the Help Desk.

Minion #3,692,134 lords his (or her) power over you after you have waited 73 minutes on hold (a.k.a. purgatory), then gets you to give your most personal details like your blood type and the last time you picked your nose in order to verify your account before he (or she) explains that after “rebooting your device” (that always sounded vaguely sexual to me for some reason), you’re kind of screwed and they have to send a technician to your home, for a small fee. Kind of like buying an indulgence, no?

Yet, despite the ignominy of dealing with the Help Desk Minions, and the associated manager or Level 26 expert you had to wait an hour to get to just to tell you the problem is somehow your fault, once they miraculously re-establish the electronic connection and the flow of electrons and compressed data packets, you are elated to be able to continue streaming pretty much meaningless pictures of your cat or child that no one else wants to see. Unless it’s my cousin’s daughters who are super adorable.

Where does this discussion all lead to? What are you, dear reader, supposed to glean from this shaky piece of writing and ranting as the long weekend of Easter arrives? I don’t know, but I certainly did sucker you into spending more time on your electronic device reading this mess.

May the Technology Gods have mercy on your soul!

Love and sniffles,
Friar Augustino Druker

Genes and Natural Stupidity

Genes and crisprSkinny Genes

It’s remarkable how there’s so much awfulness in the press, the TV, the Interwebs and social media, yet we never stop to appreciate the beauty that surrounds us. Humans crave watching misery and Schadenfreude. We seem incapable as a global society to see beauty in all its forms and are fixated on anything but. And there’s a reason for that. Actually two reasons: 1) poor genes and 2) the smart phone.

Before I make a series of tremendously weak and bizarrely tangential arguments to show the link between the aforementioned DNA bits and silicon bytes, there’s a crucial, dare I say, universal fact that needs to be stated.

I’m Walking Here

Ever notice that when you’re walking anywhere in any city, be it a mall, a building hallway, a store, a plaza, a hospital, a sidewalk, or even a street protest, there are three kinds of people:

  • People who walk too slowly who make you want to push them down and step right over them, while mumbling an insult and powering forward
  • People who are walking faster than you, and inevitably nudge you while pulling out to pass so they can get to whatever tryst they have planned, thus causing you to utter the phrase “where is that jerk going in such a hurry??”
  • People who walk at the same pace as you, which makes you suspicious about why they aren’t passing you, as they must be after your wallet / purse / backpack / fresh chocolate danish, which of course forces you to cross the street to make sure the goods stay safe

In essence, everyone but you is walking at the wrong pace, and why are they all so stupid and can’t figure it out? Maybe the answer is genetic. Or smart phones.

Genes – Not the Designer Kind

Here comes those bizarrely tangential arguments that are largely indisputable because there’s no science backing them up — just raw, angry opinion stemming from poor sleep habits and a steady diet of foods with over-processed sugars and edible mineral oils.

The first one, poor genes, is more complicated than you think. Poor genes are the result of multiple factors, many of them having to do with luck, diet, education, geography and parental proclivities (talking to your children vs. locking them in a dark closet and whispering through the door “I hope the closet snakes aren’t hungry tonight”).

Humans have been exposing themselves to DNA-damaging substances since we crawled out of those primordial caves somewhere near Disneyland, I think. I could be wrong. Regardless, think of all the pewter and lead cooking and drinking conveyances we have used in the millennia since we started metal-smithing. Very bad for the DNA. Humans have been ingesting stuff they shouldn’t have since who knows when and we are not about to stop. Especially when those Pop Tarts are on sale. Yay!!

Humans hang out in the sun too much, thus damaging our genetic material as we frolic at beaches, parties and open-air strip clubs. Humans are also big fans of genetic carnage through the use of alcohol and drugs, that, in more than moderate quantities, leads to wars, raping, pillaging and waking up the next day in the bath tub with one eyebrow shaved and the words “Room temperature IQ” written in indelible ink on one’s forehead.  I won’t even get into processed meats!

Now we have invented technology that lets us edit genetic material like you’d edit a Word document, except there’s no spell checker. Or user manual. It’s called Crispr, and if you haven’t heard about, it’s China’s fault. (We have been blaming them for over a decade for spying, pollution, lead paint poisoning and questionable fortune-telling accuracy in the form of a cookie. So why stop now?)

So as you can see, we actively screw with our genes and not in the good way, thus globally lowering our ability to discern beauty from Trump-ish stupidity.

I’ve Got You

The smart phone, part two of my argument, is much simpler to explain. Invented by the duo of fiendishly clever drug dealers who were looking to expand their product line beyond poppy syrup and coca leaf extract, and by spurned nerds with poor hygiene feeling the need for revenge after having their video game privileges revoked, they teamed up to make a device that would trap us in their evil claws forever. The smart phone.

Turns out they did a heck of a job. I know if you try to take away my smart phone, there will be some trepidation, cursory cursing, and eventually something akin to an aneurysm followed by intense yelling and scrambling to find said phone, another screen or even a picture of a computer. Same goes for approximately 100% of the humans who were lulled into buying this wonderfully sleek, conversation-destroying, neck-bending bundle of chips and glass.

In survey after survey, today’s youth have said they’d sooner give up having a car, fondling pomegranates and certain body parts than give up their smart phones. They must be “connected” to the world at any time (as opposed to their immediate family and friends).

So between poor genes that we humans do as much damage to as possible, thus lowering our collective global IQ to single digits, and the crazily addictive qualities of our smart phones, we will never be able to appreciate the beauty around us. Unless you’re really rich and you have a butler answer your phone for you.

Mostly sincerely,
Fangio Druker

Dictatorships Are Good For Batteries

Nosey - Stanko & Tibor


Dictatorships Have Upsides

I know, I know. Across the globe, from dictatorships to liberal democracies, from autocracies to plutocracies with some oligarchies mixed in, from republics to theocracies, leaders and their followers are angrily wondering why I haven’t published a comic in so long. (Coincidentally,  I have received words of thanks from the Dalai Lama and the Nobel committee for NOT having published anything for a while. Something about the reduction in profanity having a beneficial impact on societal health. I say screw those muffin fondlers!)

It’s because I had to buy batteries.

Let me explain with a wildly tangential segue that could well indicate moderate to severe brain damage on my part. Or at least rapidly shrinking parietal lobes.

China

Dictatorships generally aren’t usually a good thing, what with all the repression and such, yet they tend to get things done somewhat more expeditiously, shall we say. Just look at China and Emperor Xi Jinping and how he and China have made tremendous economic,  military and technological strides in the past decade. That is if you can gloss over the re-education camps filled with learning and torture, the big brother state that makes ‘1984’ look like 1929, land confiscations, the environmental damage and crushing dissent with a Made-In-China steel-toed boot.

As they say, sometimes you’ve got to break some eggs (or was that legs?) to make an omelette. A very powerful, paranoid, bloody, oppressive omelette.

Trumpland

Another example of a (near) dictatorship would be the Trump regime and its ability to pass laws and create policy that some would say are good for business, and some would say are bad for democracy, and utterly destructive to the environment (kind of like China, no?).

Sure, he was elected semi-lawfully, if you discount that minor Russia connection and influence campaign to subvert democracy. Yet, he and his demonic and mimetic minions are trying to come to grips with a free press that just refuses to be enamoured with his venal and penile approach to ego and power.

He said he’d cut taxes, and he did, so now you can ignore the reality of spine-crushing economic disparity AND oxygen-crushing climate change with your tax refund and buy a killer home entertainment system including a 200-inch TV with 4K picture quality, surround sound and a pair of VR goggles while Rome burns.

Heck, if you’re rich enough to live in a gated compound with armed guards, preferably not in a state that will be submerged when the sea levels rise, who gives a rat’s patootie? And if the sea levels do rise, you’re probably rich enough to own a yacht!

Better Batteries

So how does the aforementioned form of governmental authority relate to my recent effort to purchase batteries as I stated at the top of this column?

I recently spent the better part of 25 minutes in a store trying to figure out which batteries I needed for a device I use for drawing. The sweat-filled frustration I endured rifling through 17 different kinds of batteries in opaque and slippery packaging led to a blood pressure spike coupled with pronounced and audible profanity before giving up and storming out defeated.

In the time it took to find, compare, and lift my glasses to read the fine print about 1 micron away from my failing, tired eyes, I thought to myself, Wouldn’t life be great if I were the Almighty Battery Czar who could single-handedly dictate there be only one singular size of battery for every dang electronic device out there??

No different shapes, or thicknesses or finishes. No stupid packaging and definitely no chance of having to buy a pack of 600 of them to get the best price. One battery size for flashlights, toys, hand-held label makers, smoke alarms, clocks, vibrators, portable juicers, novelty bras that light up, electric pencil sharpeners, smartphones, and of course xylophones (they have a wonderful ring to them).

And One Battery Shall Rule Them All…

As the great battery dictator, I would decree there be a choice between rechargeable and single-use batteries, thus displaying my, uh, magnanimousness or magnanimocity or magnanimity. Whatever.

Furthermore, the packaging would be greatly simplified by just having them in a huge bucket near the checkout lane at any store. You could buy them individually, like steaks, or in handfulls, like, uh, steaks.

Think of all the energy savings in (my) profanity-laced tirades alone! No more hunting through the shelves at stores looking for just the right size only to find you need to buy the 100-pack that of course isn’t on sale. The benefit in reduced blood pressure alone would be worth it for a battery dictator to be hoisted into power.

In Conclusion

It turns out in the end that I didn’t need new batteries after all. The device works with a USB connection too. But the idea of becoming a battery potentate was kind of cool.

Love and hugs,
Johann the Oppressor

In Theory, People Are Not Stupid. I Said In Theory.

In Theory - Stanko TiborIn Theory Only

Dad once told me many years ago to live by one rule: “People are stupid.” Hmmm, an interesting if cynical theory, but it has proven exceptionally accurate. And that was several decades before there was a sub-mental Trump in office, or a cadre of sub-human scum denying Sandyhook and the Holocaust, or before a shitty excuse for recumbent DNA murdered people in a Pittsburgh synagogue. (It’s been a tough week.)

I thought way back then, very briefly, like I’m talking 30 or 40 seconds, “Now that is no way to tar and feather all of humanity. What about the benefit of the doubt?”

Artificial Lack of Intelligence

Not long ago, the IT geeks who dominate the planet decided that artificial intelligence would save us all. Human ingenuity and the sharpest minds on the planet would teach computers how to “learn” and make unbiased decisions. But as has been shown time and time again, humans and their biases — mostly stupid, stupid, stupid biases — screw things up.

Just look at how Amazon couldn’t fix the AI in their hiring software that clearly discriminated against female job applicants. You know, for having breasts and other heinous crimes. The uber-geniuses at Amazon, who sell you everything from aglets (look it up) to Zymox (see previous parentheses for guidance) and can figure out how to predict the next thing you NEED to buy, could not fix the problem after years of trying and throwing big brains and money at it. The built-in human biases were just too deep. So they canned it.

Yet with all the AI and computer power we have today, we still have biases, even when so called ‘neutral’ systems try to recognize human faces. Built-in bias and racism galore. Is this flaw even fixable? Or are we as a species a few pairs of chromosomes shy of a full deck to get past this?

Too Dumb For Words

Are humans — in theory — teachable so they can actually not be consistently and criminally stupid? Do humans have the capacity to actually not devolve into hatred underlined by fact-less idiocy? I’m having my doubts. And not just because it’s legal to purchase a  Smokehouse Bacon Triple Cheese Big Mouth Burger with Jalapeno Ranch Dressing. Sadly, I betray my inherent stupidity because there’s a part of me that says “Bacon? Yummy! Gotta have it!” I know better, I am keenly aware of the catastrophic arterial damage that would ensue if I just stared at that burger for more than 5 seconds. But there’s bacon in it!

Winning Combinations

Now the optimists among us (read: frequent cannabis abusers) feel this is merely a step on the road to a better future. We just need more data, more experiences to learn from and teach the machine. We need more lateral thought, more contact and more cross-cultural, cross-geographic, cross-linguistic and cross-chocolate danish experiences. (I could be wrong about the ‘danish‘ thing.) Is this cross-disciplinary combination the way forward?

Who knows.  And what about the not-so-stupid humans, all 7 of them (if you count that socially awkward kid with the glasses and limp that can figure out the Rubik’s cube in less than a minute)? Can they be trusted to not screw things up any worse than they are now? Do we have the seeds of hope germinating in the fertile minds of current and future bi-pedal bags of sentient and usually hairy flesh?

If my dad’s theory is anything to go by — and it’s 99.99999999999999999999999% accuracy — call your doctor and/or pharmacist and make a Costco-sized order for medical marijuana and watch re-runs of the Simpsons while eating gooey danish.

Lovingly addicted to the Internet,
Sascha ‘The Lion Cub’ Druker

Do These 3 Things and You Win!

Stanko & Tibor - 3 Things and Win3 Things

It’s clear to me that life no longer makes sense. Things are getting mighty weird out there. Not that it made a lot of sense before this past week, but things that used to make sense just plain don’t. Things that once could be counted upon for stability an sanity fail us now. Oddly, I am not referring the Trumpian dystopia, which is unfortunately the subject of way too much news.

No, I am referring to the genuinely absurd things in this world, like sedating lobsters with marijuana prior to cooking (true!), or football mascots who shoot themselves in the groin with a t-shirt canon. Or let’s not forget the scientists who gave several octopuses ecstasy (MDMA) for “research purposes” a.k.a. “for shits and giggles.”

Weird Things vs Weird Ideas

What can we do to combat these bizarre things that appear in our news feeds and newspapers? (That ‘paper’ reference is for the older generation who still clings to physical shredded and reconstituted tree pulp, while the rest of develop retinal damage and physiotherapy-inducing hunches from looking at smart phones and other screens for 27 hours per day.)

The answer is simple. When things get too weird, you have to meet them head on and get weirder. It takes some effort, something most of don’t like, but the results are worth it:

  1. Tell people you’ve joined the Flat Earth Society. This has many social benefits. Most people will look at you like you’re absolutely nuts and leave you the heck alone. The advantage of being left alone is that your co-workers won’t sit with you at lunch or ever invite you out for a drink or any other activity. You’ll be left to your own (de)vices and won’t have to suffer hearing their crackpot ideas about superfoods, keto diets, yoga and meditation, why we should embrace the idea of a benevolent dictatorship, or how Martians are really among us on Earth. Social isolation has its benefits.
  2. Tell everyone you’re trying out foods with quinoa instead of wheat. Except for my sister’s excellent quinoa salad, that grain is pretty much inedible. Yet, it’s all the rage because it somehow is better for you than smoked sausages or poutine or fried chicken with French toast. I beg to differ. Correction – I don’t beg. I differ. But if you tell everyone that you’ve introduced quinoa into your diet, they will think you’re wise and give you  passing respect for having abandoned wheat, when really you’re scarfing down croissants and danishes on the weekend with a colossal smile on your face. Also remember to tell everyone your bodily functions have improved since you started eating quinoa. That will scare them away as much the Flat Earth Society thing.
  3. Mention to people casually that you want to get a tattoo on your forehead and covering your left eye. Something like a giant snake because you belong to that Pentecostal snake-handling religion, or an image of an iguana playing drums. Also carry around a sketch of what it would look like. See what kind of reaction you get from your friends and family and colleagues. Or just random passers-by. You’ll be left alone in no time, thus exempting you from family affairs, after-work gatherings and most other social events. But you may receive calls from the police and social workers if you take it too far. Trust me.

There you have it. Act weird, people leave you alone and you can win back your sanity.

Dutifully yours, (and not somebody else’s unless they pay me more),

Hugo ‘the Orangutan’ Druker

for the terminally unfunny