Category Archives: Meaning of Life

Olympic Fun & Games

To those who know right from wrong and still eat spicy food before they go to bed without taking a Tums, I give you this particular episode of the visually delectable and intellectually fluffy scribblings once called “asinine” by Picasso’s aunt Esmeralda before she was put in the basement.

Given the weighty topic that it covers — oppression and the Olympics — it should be food for thought, like a fried dumpling filled with mystery innards and garlic, with a nice, dark vinegar dipping sauce. Oh how I love those and wish all humanity could eat them and learn of glorious yet toxic qualities.

The Olympics once stood for greatness and athletic achievement, for personal drive and the belief in sport to better us and bring us together.  Now the Olympics stand for most of that still, albeit with a heavy corporate backing and sales-enhancing marketing, nationalistic chest-beating akin to sandlot battles between maladjusted children but with freakishly large budgets, and chemical and DNA tinkering meant to “enhance” performance, all in equal parts.

And then came China’s successful bid/bribe for the Games and the massive soul- and bone-crushing undertaking they set in motion to make it happen. Do I have proof there was bone-crushing? No, not really, but it’s China, so you know something nasty happened to the environment, the protesters and the journalists who tried to expose the corruption. What is Chinese for “gulag”?

And what should this comic teach us, dear readers? Well, if it weren’t for China, chances are I couldn’t have afforded the computer and associated peripheral equipment to document this little historical fact of Chinese sporting glory and oppression. So it’s a bit ironic I’m making fun of them with the results of efficient slave labor from their factories. But isn’t the universe funny that way? You bet.

So take from this political commentary what you will, be it the food aspect, the wry political commentary, or the loving interaction between man and machine, dad and son or gun and nosy blogger.

It boggles the mind. Or at least my mind.

Parental Payback

Do you remember that Alan Pasons Project song “Games People Play“? I barely do, but what I do recall of it was a mess of whiny, annoying pop drivel that made me reach for the tuning knob on my old radio in a desperate effort to find something entertaining to keep me from having to do my homework. And no, I didn’t play video games largely because I sucked and was massively uncoordinated in the fine and gross motor skills department. But as a child I wanted to do something well enough to impress my dad so I’d gain his love and respect as any child would. And show him he was getting old.

Hence this episode of the parentally-themed, Picasso-esque visual tour de force brings to light a topic that so many of us, the intentional and accidental creators of offspring, must deal with – the generation gap. Happens to all of us, the coolest of the cool, the dopest of the dope, even the hippest of the hip, including those who have had multiple hip replacements. We eventually stop being cool as nature intended us. Were we to remain eternally cool, we’d piss off our kids so much they’d either run away and join the circus as some do, or they’d kill us for stealing their thunder. Nature has this way of replacing the people who are ahead of the curve with those just behind them, kind of like ducks flying south in a V-shape. At some point, the lead duck has to give up and let a stronger duck ahead.

But that doesn’t mean parents have to completely give in to our children. In fact, by being intentionally uncool, non-hip, or even lame and loser-ish, we hold the great trump card in the eternal battle of child versus parent. All it takes is some well-timed and skillfully placed verbal blunders, particularly in front of the kids’ friends,even better if you’re in your underwear or wearing a filthy mustard-stained t-shirt with swear words on it, and you have sunk their battleship like an Exocet into the side of a Bismarck.

Armed with the knowledge that your child will one day replace you and make you obsolete, much like that last technology with the came along and made the one before that look so yesterday, know that for a brief time, say about 10 years if you’re lucky, you will appear cool, the hero, the dude to your child and then it all goes south in a medley of disco pants and bad hairdos and they’ll make fun of you too. Until their kids make fun of them.

Parental Discretion

The bond between parent and child is so complex and deep, so fraught with minefields, so unpredictable, yet so strong, mystical and vibrant that it makes you wonder why the hell you had kids in the first place. Really, is it worth all that expense and trouble to have genetic replications of yourself, just so they MIGHT consider taking of you in their house or if you’re lucky, letting you stay in yours? They could always ship you off to an “assisted living facility” a.k.a the old folks home, a death-adjacent edifice with 3 meals a day and rationed pills.

I often wonder what is that precise moment when the parent becomes the child and vice versa. It is probably just after the offspring gets married or shacks up with a significant other (possibly with a tattoo) and just before some new technology comes into fashion, one that will require the offspring to play handyman/help desk until death do them part. Or the machine breaks and the old man says “screw it, I’ll go buy a new one.”

And make no mistake about it – your children will love you, loathe you, and generally disrespect you as they age from toddler to teen and then forget to appreciate the wonderful things you did for them like put food on the table, bathe and clean them and try to make sure they didn’t die while playing with explosives and toxic cleaners you were too lazy to put up on a high shelf.

And then they’ll get married and turn to you for advice, wisdom and probably a fairly sizable loan to get into a house, or some such nonsense. And as a parent. if you can afford it and if your offspring has married a complete dolt, you’ll probably accede to that demand for cash. And you’ll do it a) because you love that kid, and b) because if you don’t, that kid may choose your retirement home.

So the lesson is this: That commandment about “Honor thy mother and father” is hooey. Be nice to your kids because they’re the ones who are going to take care of you down the road.

Big Oil Tells the Truth

What is truth? Is it merely a concept? Does such a thing exist? It is true to state, for example, that pretty much every month the government commits a form of financial rape on me and my pay check and shows no sign of letting up with this abuse while I pile up debts to rival a small African country.

But truth is a slippery and illusive thing, something that changes with the seasons, the reasons, the tides and the wind. It changes to meet our needs, especially when confronted with the fact we have just been caught naked and being intimate with another who isn’t legally bound to said person through ceremony, or via contract, or even via a bug hunk of see-through, hardened carbon that you paid WAY too much for and thereby enabled the jeweler to finish the deck behind his house all paid for in cash.

And truth, or the notion of it, comes in many seductive forms.

We know that the concept of “truth in advertising” is akin to saying “you’ll only feel a slight discomfort” when the doctor does a rectal exam with his caveman fingers. Advertising by its very definition (“adjectival noun, referring to the art and skill of separating consumers of low to moderate intelligence from their hard-earned money by convincing them with fancy words and images to purchase something they really don’t need at all as it is utterly essential to their very survival, nay, to their very sense of self, and was likely manufactured by Chinese slave/prison labor so someone else could make his quarterly numbers to maintain his bonus, thus maintaining his drug habit”) a concept that does not lend itself to truth.

Which brings us to the comic that really is the only harbinger of cosmic truth, if you don’t count those religious nuts at the airport or sporting events.

So rarely is truth told by anyone because if we did there would be less war, fewer conflicts, fewer self-help books and lots pf people with low self-esteem crying and on big meds. Thousands of marketing and spin doctors would be out of work or homeless.  If we were told the truth all the time, we’d lose that comfortable feeling of being lied to, which is like mental comfort food for many of us. We need the greed-based lies of the oil companies in particular, because it gives my father a reason to utter the term “whore masters” while at the dinner table or the wheel of his car or in social situations.

But for the rest of us, all I can say is, it’s true, we need oil because we won’t give up driving, because it’s needed to make plastics, packaging, junk food, some inferior forms of chocolate and cake.

Hostage 2 Big Oil

It’s with a heavy heart and crusty eyes due to a lack of sleep and some kind of pollutant in the air that I say to all and sundry, we have to get rid of big oil. And replace it with lots of little small oils, so I can choose between any number of gasoline-producing and refining joints that will actually compete on price and and not bend each and every one of us over harder than a forced colonoscopy administered by a brusque colo-rectal surgeon.

Which is what filling up at the gas station is nowadays.

But there are those of you who says this will spur innovation and invention to rid us of the fossil fuels that pollute our lungs, our air, our rivers and countless other things I am too tired to think about without a good night’s sleep. And I say to you, stop smoking that bad weed, you hippie. Let’s face it, petroleum products, be they gasoline, jet fuel or fast food from McDonald’s disguised as a hash brown is necessary for our way of life. If we didn’t depend on it, what would the US foreign policy be apart from “attack Canada, those socialist bastards!” How many military industrial complex jobs would be threatened if they didn’t kick off wars on countries for the black gold where the US army doesn’t really like the local cuisine? The US economy would grind to a halt.

No, being a hostage to oil is like being a hostage to chocolate or beer or greasy burgers or freshly baked danishes with some kind of cinnamon sugary goo that could have only been invented in a lab with an evil scientist and massive R&D budget. It’s something we like being held hostage to, it gives us a reason to complain to moan and to bleat, so we can distract ourselves from the real problems facing all great nations, all great civilization since the dawn of time – namely, why are there never enough cashiers at the checkout counter when I want to just buy a damn carton of OJ, and some high fat yogurt when the idiot in front of me is arguing  over a 2-day old zucchini that isn’t scanning through at 99¢?!!

Election Friction

There are some battles that are eternal: chocolate vs. vanilla, pinkos vs. fascists, McDonald’s vs. Burger King, Godzilla vs. Mothra, inferior sesame seed (a.k.a. white seed) bagels vs. superior poppy seed (a.k.a. black seed) bagels. Let us not forget other battles such as fast vs. slow, geeks vs. jocks and north vs. south, but east vs. west is less well-known and they want to keep that way. And what do all these battles have in common? No, it’s not nudity as so many have of you have suspected. It’s all about Harmony vs. Friction.

Why did I capitalize those two words? Because someone from the Marketing Department told me to.

And this episode of the comic that no one dares to admit they will read – even on the toilet, in jail, in solitary confinement – has produced a deep, insightful and mesmerizing commentary on that eternal battle of Harmony vs. Friction. You see, harmony is what most of us in the universe seek and crave deeply because we get enough friction at work, the grocery store, Costco and the damn gas station, those filthy thieving bastards. They raised the price again last night! Sorry.

So we need harmony to move forward and cope with life – either in the form of meditation, alcohol, sleep, or pills that help us sleep. Or laughing gas stolen from the dentist’s office.

But there are those who revel in friction as they see it as the metaphorical generator of static electricity to shock others into action. Friction leads to the smoke that leads to the fire that leads to the insurance claim for the imaginary Picasso and Rembrandt you said you had stored in your basement before the fire. Friction is the stuff of politics, the stuff thoughts are made of. You know that smoke that comes out of your ears when you get an idea? It’s mental friction, baby. Friction is the rug burn you got when you figured “oh, it’ll be a quickie and it’ll be worth it” but then your best friend saw the rug burns and knowingly looked at you and thought “you filthy slime bag, can’t you keep it in your pants?”

So as the friction of Obama and Clinton will lead to lively debates, the ensuing fake, big-toothed whitener-enhanced smiles will denote harmony among the political class and the people who seek some kind of stability and respite from a world of chaos around them.

Let the battle begin, and end quickly, since Return of the Jedi is on in 20 minutes.

May peace and anger be with you always.

Zen Master Kobo Mookie

Religion – More Of It

If you’re still following this delicately and artfully illustrated chronic of the human condition as depicted by gargoyles with stunted growth, then you have way too much time on your hands because you’re in prison or an insane asylum. And that is a great segue to this installment of the comic that does not take prisoners.

Because there is mention of Robert Mugabe and Hitler and both of those men should have been imprisoned and tortured. But I am not sure how the Gandhi reference got in there as he was on the other extreme of the spectrum, especially where fashion was concerned.

Why is it that the most fervent and fundamental followers of any religion have to wear a special garb or have a freaky hair-do? I mean, think about it. There is always some kind of furry adornment, like a hairy, furry streiml or some kind of lengthy beard like Osama or Khomeni had that looked like an insane religious barber had tended them. I won’t start on the Pope’s dress, sorry, cassock. Come on, you can’t tell me Jean-Paul Gauthier or Coco Channel didn’t have a hand in decorating that thing? And those Buddhists monks are just a layer of fabric away from walking the catwalk New York this fall.

But I digress.

It seems that the myth of religion is as critical as the traditions built in to it. And that you can’t have a good religion — you know one that spreads around and probably leads to a war and a conversion or two, not to mention some crazy garb worn by its most ardent practitioners  — without a heck of a good back story, some fine threads, and some weird hair action.

And Francylvanian Reform does that for those of you tired of the run-of-the-mill religions that preach peace and violence in the same breath. This one has wombats, inner peace and I think a lot of meat and soup. Probably not vegan friendly, but vegans are just as ardent a religious group as any organized set of preachers and followers, just with way worse food and far too many clothes made of hemp. Have you seen these people? It’s way more than a lifestyle choice.

So choose what religion you will, whatever makes you happy. And if you’re an atheist, keep sneering, keep eating, and watch stuff on YouTube til your eyes go buggy.

What Religion?

If religion is indeed the opiate of the masses, where does that leave TV? Or better yet, the Internet? Are they runners-up? Or are they competitors for the annual title Opiate of the Masses competition held yearly at the headquarters of Religion Inc., noted printers of religious materials for all the worlds’ religions, working out of a copy shop near the back alley in the east end of the city. They have such a shameful markup, especially on the DVDs they produce. It’s scandalous.

But I digress.

So in the grand competition of the title of the Opiate of the Masses, it seems religion is in deep competition with other forms of enslavement, such as the aforementioned Internet and TV, but also and equally pervasive fried foods, food deep fired with a batter, sugary confections that use a slightly adjusted version of heroin and petroleum as the basic ingredients. Let us not forget pornography, German sports cars, clothing, most Apple products, home decorating and renovation shows, cooking TV shows where people swear and compete for nothing really meaningful, slasher movies, cement glue, pain killers and stuffed animals.

It turns out that after extensive research with my eyes closed and subsequent navel-gazing just after a large pasta-based meal that religion is what you make of it. And in this particular instance of the comic that is being denounced by most religious leaders and even cult leaders for stealing valuable Internet bandwidth, it seems that our lead character is a man of religion, a religion not know to many, quite obscure and pretty bizarre. Who knew that Buddhists smoke cigarettes like that?

Then again they are Francylvanian Reform, so the fundamental elements of the religion (abstinence from fried potato products and trimming hedges into the shapes of rabbits) aren’t being followed. They are just holding on to the traditions so they can make sure his mother doesn’t give him even more guilt for corrupting the child.

So let this be a message unto you, the followers of Stanko & Tibor — eat your fried foods, they are good for you and they’ll keep you coming back for more.

The Homeland

Dear readers of the comic, and those who move their lips when they read the comic whilst avoiding work,

This episode of the comic that will one day be the cause of at least one domestic dispute or a police raid was written in my head in order to try and rive the back story of the characters. Sure, it’s a pretty threadbare idea, much like worn cheesecloth, but I often think everyone needs a back story. It makes life much more like a book or a movie, albeit in this case with poorly constructed dialog, drawings and plot line.

When I thought of where my characters come from — the deep, dark, troubled recesses of my mind notwithstanding — I knew they weren’t of North American descent, nor Asian (too fat for that), not African, possibly Australian given the father’s criminal intents, but a mysterious Eastern European country that never existed seemed like the right angle. And who can blame me for thinking of “Francylvania” seeing as it’s seems semi-plausible to someone who really doesn’t have any formal education or access to the Internet.

And this episode should serve as a lesson to all those who search for their roots. Know where you’re from, so you can know who you are. Or you can know where you don’t want to go back to. Especially if it was a dump with a shady history. Or what countries to avoid when traveling with a lot of cash or weed. Or stump someone in a trivia game with the name of a made-up country such as Francylvania.

As for the Taco Bell and petroleum food references, they were easy jokes that I had to throw in there to fill out the dialog.

Be well, know thine self as well as thine significant other, but not in public.

Maitre Jean val Jon

Political Theater

Dear readers of this comic body politic,

Upon watching the vitriol that is U.S. politics and the election campaign of bitter rivals in a country so divided, I realized that truth takes a second, or third place to what political pundits call “name calling.” And there is not darker, more cynical, more hate-inspired bastion of name calling than American politics.

And it teaches something about human nature that we should all learn from. Politicians and especially their handlers (cuz lord knows they have to be handled like thin-shelled Faberge eggs) have to be creative hurlers of insults, fantastic backhanded compliment givers, and plain old liars. Because where power is concerned, there are no rules, there are no holds barred, there is only the denigration of the other. And let me tell you, it employs a whole lot of people so don’t discount that as a force for employment in this economically savaged world we live in.

So maybe it’s we eligible voters who should allow this name calling and denigration, if only because it allows so many otherwise despicable, bitter and unemployable people to be tax-paying, productive members of society. That is, until one side is elected that claimed the other side was a pack of scum-sucking bottom-feeders and the elected become blood-sucking leeches on the society that elected them. Funny how that works, eh?

In short, we have to live hypocrisy of all manner (print, radio, online and TV), even revel in it  — otherwise we’ll disengage and play with our Xbox or download “adult” content. And if this name calling is worth anything, it’s that it keeps politicos off the street every time there is an election otherwise they’d be stuck inhaling toner and the copy shop and then begging for money and insulting you while ignoring them

May you vote in peace.

Stay strong,

Recently paroled Congressman Jon