Tag Archives: money

How To Replace Democracy – Choose Your Price

Stanko & Tibor - The Price of Democracy


How To Replace Democracy – Choose Your Price

There was a report recently stating that if automobile makers want to reduce the weight of their vehicles, they will have to use more plastic parts because they are lighter. What is a key ingredient used to make plastic? Petroleum, the main ingredient in gasoline. So to reduce the amount of fuel vehicles use, they need to use parts made from the stuff needed to make gasoline. There is a price to pay for progress. Ironic. Or is that coincidental? I don’t know. English isn’t my mother tongue.

The same irony is valid when applied to democracy. To make it more useful, relevant and effective, you need more people to come out and vote. But participation rates in democracies have been going down for lots of reasons that I won’t speculate on here, largely, because I will employ far more profanity than usual, and after all, profanity should be reserved for use in the home, classrooms and inside your motor vehicle, where it’s best applied.

Furthermore, of those who come out to vote, most probably aren’t informed on all the issues and vote with their hearts and not their heads. Or they vote against someone or something rather than voting for someone or some idea. We can identify what and who we dislike more easily that what or who we like. Yet, if they knew the price of not voting, or voting with their hearts, maybe they’d reconsider. Or maybe not.

Solution: Price Democracy

Let’s apply some speculative and questionable pricing theory. Democracy needs to be priced properly for it to have relevance and value. You see, when you put a price on something suddenly you give it value you can calculate. Can you put a price on free speech or freedom? Well, it’s hard, but I’d say it’s worth at least $100, before taxes. Maybe a little more if I can print profanity-laced t-shirts and hand them out randomly. But I digress.

Conversely democracy could be priced in an inverse sense — meaning, if you don’t go out and vote, it’ll cost you some real cash. Like $20. OK, maybe that’s too low. Make it $30. But negative incentives tend not to work. Even if you got a tax break for voting in municipal, state or national elections, most people would skip it anyway because the outcome would suck anyway.

Bundling Democracy at the Right Price

What if democracy and voting came in a packaged bundle?  Much like mobile phones and cable TV subscriptions, if you could sign up for the democracy bundle that meets your budget and needs, you maybe be encouraged to vote.

Sure, right now, I get the right to free speech, and other services like health care, fire and police protection and sanitation. But what if I could get a free movie every month along with my right to vote? Or if I pay more, I could get 5 or more votes for any given election.

I bet if voting was tied to having your Internet connection cut or maintained, people would come out in droves to vote. Vote or we’ll cut off your Internet. That would scare the piss out everyone. On the other hand, if you could get increased upload/download speeds on your Internet connection if you went out an voted, that might be a good incentive. Or free dope.

Discount Democracy

Or better yet, you get a discount on your cable/TV/internet/mobile phone bill for each vote you make AND you get to kick someone at the cable/TV/internet/mobile company where you’re subscribed right in the privates for the crappy customer service and time wasted on hold when you need help with your erroneous and unjustly exorbitant bill.

What about loyalty voting points if you vote for one party every election? You’d get a loyalty card that could trade for privileges like a plane ticket to a warm vacation resort, or your street gets paved before the others in your neighbourhood. That happens now anyway  in a lot of places, but you have to be intimately linked to organized crime, and that means having to fill in my calendar with even more appointments at brothels and cheap motels than usual, and I’m too busy for that.

And if all else fails, we move to a democracy pricing model based on the single model that has shown itself to be more reliable and accurate than any other since academics and computational models became all the rage: We guesstimate the price like on the The Price Is Right.

Insincerely friendly,
Jean-Baptiste Colbert Druker of NDG

Monsters Are Everywhere

Stanko & Tibor - Monsters

Dateline: A basement, in a metropolis, middle of summer, hot humid, sticky, smelly, and that's just my underwear. I am kidding, of course. About the metropolis part.

Monsters Come In Different Forms

If you actually managed to drag yourself from your booze-soaked, carbohydrate-laced stupor and read the 8 magically drawn and skilfully penned panels containing not a single reference to Brexit, Donald Trump, acts of terrorism, the US election farce, chances are you noticed the dialog was a little weak and in no way related to the most recent events.

Then you probably thought: What an irresponsible monster of a comic-drawing human he is! He cares not a whit (nor does he have a wit) for the burning issues flooding our media, nor does he enlighten us with his commentary or grossly questionable wisdom. Monster!

Well, you’re right that I can be a monster, but not the way you think. I am more of a morning monster, when I haven’t had coffee.

Monsters Everywhere

There are monsters all around us. In the media (do we really need more coverage of the Republican and Democratic national conventions? It’s painful watching hoards of sycophantic, rabid, mental patients — with hats. A convention hall full of monsters filled with ego, piss and vinegar. And no doubt beer and hookers and the Republican convention. I am sure it was light beer,  hummus with crudités and cocaine at the Democrat shindig. Come on, there were Hollywood types there.

Monsters in government? Well of course. You see what’s happening in Turkey? A coup that was relatively bloodless? What a sham. Why else does anyone watch military coups if not for the blood and terror? No wait, I am confusing that with Game Of Thrones.

But there are monsters even in places you wouldn’t think: The bathroom!

Leggy Monsters

So, the other morning, pre-coffee, I was standing in the shower when all of a sudden, some kind of monster, a filthy, creepy-crawly  with more hairy legs than a two Southern European soccer teams combined, ran across the base of the shower — mere centimeters (or inches if you prefer, you troglodytic Imperial monsters) from my toes.

It was the stuff of nightmares. You couldn’t tell what the head or the tail was, it swivelled and dashed across the floor of what is supposed to be a clean surface meant to wash away the physical sins I engage in (if wiping my filth and Oreo-covered fingers on my pants counts).

How something so tiny yet horrifying could affect me more deeply and traumatically than the Democrats, the Republicans, a military coup combined is something to behold. What does it all mean? What kind of lessons can I derive from this? Here are some:

  1. I’m a colossal coward
  2. I’m easily disassociating from reality and network news — without meds
  3. I should cut down on the Oreos
  4. I am really reaching for material to write about

Having said that, and given that something animated and totally unrelated to today’s events is about to start on TV, it’s time I bid you fans adieu!

I am off to battle the sleep monsters. They will win.

Drowsily dull,

Brutus son of Gordus the Impatient

Your Guide to True Crimes, True Idiots

Stanko & Tibor - Crimes & Idiots Galore


True Crimes

Driving home this evening in my creaky, achy minivan, trying not to notice the criminally exorbitant price of gasoline in my fair city, I heard on the radio that the national bureau of statistics had calculated that the rate of violent crimes in the country had dropped to its lowest point since 1991. Well, I thought, that is a pretty good sign of a society that is not totally going into the porcelain crap collector.

Yet that was followed by a more sobering fact that non-violent crimes had indeed increased in number and frequency, and showed a mild yet consistent trend upward. What made the report truly interesting and surreal was something I hadn’t really considered as a crime statistic before.

A Little Extra Death

Let’s differentiate between non-violent crimes, such as fraud, property damage, identity theft, excessive fruit fondling, and the violent ones, like breaking-and-entering (which sounds vaguely sexual), robbery, Pope-pestering, rabbi-rousing, wearing a pink polo shirt with checkered slacks, manslaughter, murder and pet-kicking.

But we now we have a new category of crimes being counted: terrorism. Just think, blowing up people and places is considered a crime that’s counted among the stats now. When I was growing up writing your name in pee in the snow was considered a violent act. Especially if you misspelled your name or only used lower case letters. Now it’s the ideologically-driven, indiscriminate murder of civilians that police have to count. Like they don’t have enough paperwork to do and African-Americans to physically abuse, now they have to deal with terrorists when they file a report.

Etymology and Cheap Segues

Interestingly, the etymology of the word idiot is Greek: idiōtēs (“person lacking professional skill”, “a private citizen”, “individual” – if that last descriptor is true, then we’re all idiots. Seems about right).

More critical to this fractured, late-night rambling, I thank the literary gods for that etymological deus-ex-machina because I had no clue how I could segue in the next paragraph from crime to the Greek tragedy occurring in Europe, and the subject of this inane comic some of you read when questioning whether you want to continue living or not. (Coincidentally, in a recent Reuters poll it was revealed that the expressed desire to commit suicide and/or vomit after reading my blog/comic has stayed steady between 99-100% among my loyal readers.)

Actually, come to think of it, now that my sugar levels are spiking, if we are speaking of true crimes and true idiots, Greece’s inhabitants and especially its politicians, and most of Europe fall under those descriptors.

Corruption Matched Only By Idiocy

Marvelling at the complicated corruption and financial extortion and ineptitude that is Europe and a bankrupt Greece, one has to wonder who is the bigger idiot, Greece or Germany, the bankroller of the EU.

If we had to define Greek attitudes toward paying taxes, acceptance of bribery monies, nepotism and backroom deals, we could generalize and say they wilfully and knowingly committed fiscal self-fornication for many a decade. When they entered the Euro Zone, they now had a rich Onkel to bail them out.

So when the proverbial περιττώματα hit the fan, some German banking sucker would fork over some cash at exorbitant and usurious rates figuring Greece was good for the dough. Little did those fat, corrupt German bankers know that the Greek skill and penchant for pissing away the money of others was comparable to that of drunkard on heavy diuretics at an ouzo factory. (Btw – I love hurtful national stereotypes. They make writing this crap much easier.)

Simple, Idiotic Answers to Complex Questions

Now that we have all watched this criminal Greek tragedy while Iran was negotiating a sweet deal to continue funding terrorism and simultaneously build a nuclear bomb pretty much unfettered, a simple yet moronic solution presents itself in this episode of the comic once referred to by Pope Francis as “the devil’s dung.”

Bomb everything, pave it over and put up a Wal-Mart. Violent, arbitrary, Neanderthilic and a wholly unnecessary overreaction? Sure. But so are Fox News and shopping at Wal-Mart on a Saturday.

No, I say we follow the simple, direct, armed approach. It has specific, measurable and attainable goals, as was taught to me in management classes. Which I mostly faked my way through as I was playing with my phone.

Everlastingly exhausted and mentally dull,

Alexis Nikos Druker

The Constipated Constable

Stanko & Tibor - The Constipated Constable

While exercising today as part of my regime to better my physical self, I saw a person whose physical attractiveness (and subsequent chances of procreation) could only increase during a city-wide blackout in the dead of a summer heat wave where consumption of alcohol is deeply implicated. Of course that is hallow and mean, but I did say I was trying to better my physical self, not my cranial or spiritual self. That takes a great deal of effort. My thoughts then turned to how easy it is to be mean and selfish and believing it’s part of human nature, part of the survival instinct.

However, we as semi-humans have the capability to act on ideas, such as altruism and doing good for the sake of good (and most likely to alleviate the intense and disturbing guilt from years of debauchery and sleeping around). That takes so much effort. Then again, on the side of evil, so does revenge. That’s not something you do on the spur of the moment. It too takes planning, just with “getting even” as the underlying motive.

There is a saying that “revenge is a dish best served cold” – I disagree. I was always told that soup Vichyssoise is best served cold. Or is that Gazpacho? Either way, I can’t see revenge being worse than a soup served cold. And did you notice that when they say revenge should be served cold, there is no talk of an appetizer? A salad with heavy ranch dressing maybe? Or perhaps a dessert? Nope, not a word. Just a main course. Probably overcooked with little seasoning or old garlic. Like British food.

Now, I know some of you are thinking that my mention of the word “revenge” would set me off on a diatribe, when in reality I don’t need to be on a diatribe, I need to be on a diet.  I have eaten so many Pop Tarts of late, it’s a miracle I’m still alive. That’s not even counting the countless sliced and grilled meats I have ingested since the summer started. And let’s not even mention the apple cake that my aunt made with what I would conservatively estimate was 11 pounds of butter and 12 pounds of sugar. Oh my, it was good.

So there will be no talk of revenge, unless it has to do with my arteries – they will surely want vengeance on me, and may well take it at an in opportune time, for example, when I am going up the stairs with a glass of port wine and lots of clean laundry, or more likely when I am desperately trying to convince my wife that several days of facial hair growth is not a true deterrent to a romantic evening.

But I digress. Why? Largely because of the intense heat that we were suffering through last week. Which I guess you could probably call a form of natural revenge in that mother nature is making us suffer through something akin to a volcanic eruption mixed with a steam room at a men’s club filled with sweaty older Caucasian gentleman who have thick gold chains and enough body hair to make a winter coat resembling that of a chinchilla.

What does any of this have to do with the latest posting of Stanko and Tibor, the comedic oracle that was once described in a Biblical commentary as having been partially responsible for causing the great flood as well as several wars between the ancient Israelites and the Assyrians due to its questionable content and poor style and penmanship? Not that much actually. But the insanity of heat, the insanity of steam rooms, of war, of this weather we are going through all remind us that nothing really is that logical unless you want it to be logical so it fits into your universe and makes going to sleep a little bit easier. Or just get an air conditioner to cool off your place of residence so you can sleep much more easily. That is much simpler than reading this comic.

Swimmingly yours,
King Triton of the Mermaids and Mermen Druker

 

Credit Races

Dear Darting-Eyed Readers,

Having just finished a workout at the gym last week, it was time to take a shower, which meant I had to deal with the fact that science has again failed me. Why? Because modern beauty product scientists haven’t come up with a way that I can clean myself without using water? No, I like taking a shower with water, it’s a place for me to sing off-key and wash away my many sins.

No, science has disappointed me because it still hasn’t found a way for me to hover in mid-air. No, not so I can smash my so called enemies from above. Enemies that my doctor says are purely imaginary. But what does he know. He’s against me, as are the squirrels and raccoons who tear my garbage bags apart. And the weeds in my garden are definitely my enemies. And he says I need help.

Where was I? Ah, the useless scientists. You see, I would need this ability to hover for one place above all – while using the gym shower / bathroom. Are there any places more athlete’s foot-ridden and smelly than a gym bathroom and shower? Well, maybe the floor of a strip club, but I don’t frequent those places since the shock therapy. If we all could float above the filthy bathroom floor on command, athlete’s foot would be cured and the evil, profiteering cabal of the podiatrists and the oligarchic foot cream producers would be smashed. And think of the benefits when your child / pet vomits and you wouldn’t have to touch the ground. Just glide right over it and let your robot vacuum cleaner clean up the spill.

Oh wait, the low IQ scientists haven’t mastered that either.

So, it is with deep disappointment in mankind, specifically the scientists, that I bring you this installment of the handcrafted “objet d’art” that the secret police in China would have imprisoned me for, despite the fact that I eat a lot of Chinese food. It’s about reality – financial reality more accurately, and no matter what happens, the banks and credit card companies will always win because we humans (me) love to buy stuff. Or have to have our bathrooms renovated thus enriching the interior decorators’ union yet again. There will always be debt, and we need to stay fit to stave off its weighing-down effect.

Or maybe, those lazy scientists could make themselves partly useful and invent a way to make the debt go away. And I don’t mean resorting to modern pharmacology.

Everlastingly yours, until the men in the white coats come,

Feng Shui Druker

Effing Around

As sure as spring has come and long frozen dog poop thaws on the brownish-green grass in our neighborhood, there is activity afoot, the kind of activity that makes bears stir from their dens, the kind that makes birds chirp and tweet, the kind that makes me want to do rash and crazy things in the workplace, like nap or fling paper clips with a rubber band. (Sadly, those last two are not considered ‘productivity enhancing’ by my colleagues and boss.)

So, to you dear reader of the dashing delusions of comedic machinations, you are forced to read through yet another episode of Stanko & Tibor, often seen to be even more primitive in its skill and composition – and less informative – than the cave drawings made by a low-normal cave boy named “Nick” from the Neanderthal era, who according to records had been clubbed by his dad one day after scaring away their prey when he began belching his cave’s hunting anthem for kicks.

What do cavemen, spring and my place of work have to do with each other? Well, on the surface, nothing. But below the surface, it’s still nothing. But below THAT surface, buried in dirt, there is a thread of logic all bound by the notion of creativity. Spring is a time to burst forth and create, or if you’re a fish or bear, procreate. At work, we are told to think creatively. Usually between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. with an hour for lunch in between. Cavemen, now those were some creatives flea bags. Need I mention the club? The wheel? Obsidian tools for killing prey and each other? Steve Jobs was an idiot by comparison.

And in this episode, our leading man and his offspring show us the value of creativity in vocabulary. An episode inspired by the book I mentioned last episode that pretty much convinced me we’re at a tipping point where software programming and linguistics are more deeply intertwined than we think.  Not that you care. It’s 10 p.m. on a Saturday night, and the highlight of my day was doing the laundry and vacuuming under our bed.

So, now my bed sheets are clean, the dust weevils are sucked away and the sugary treats that spike my glucose levels to heights of a Mount Everest-like altitude await be by my bedside.

To you all, I bid adieu for now. More episodes delving into absurdity and stupidity await you shortly.

Júlio Prestes de Albuquerque del Melo Neto von Druker

PS – if you’re wondering why the cat is in the comic, my cousin says he swears it looks like a feline reincarnation of Hitler. I tend to agree.

cat4 cat1 cat2 cat3

Mom’s Money

To those who claim they are literate, educated and erudite, you should be ashamed of yourself for reading this comic. But please don’t stop – it gives me some kind of validation and sense of self worth.

After this week’s tragic events, there is no really easy way to deal with it. So with my psychological defenses and coping mechanisms, I will do what I usually do — and that is turn to humor. It’s pure distraction in my case, and it usually leads to me sitting in front of the computer and cartooning and, of course, eating and thinking of future episodes of the comic once referred to by the Dadaist painter Man Ray as “some garbage my eight-year old could do if he had been born with the umbilical cord around his neck.”

I spent a fair bit of time recently doodling on the computer, placing and drawing the characters, thinking of future episodes and dialogue, and then rationalizing how I could dream up dialogue this bizarre, and of course noshing on sugary things. Given the half-dozen so called choco-chip cookies I ingested with the speed and haste of the ancient Israelites hoofing it through the Red Sea on their way to the Land of Milk and Falafel, I may petition the drug companies to merge with the plumbing cabals of the world to come up with a clog removal product for my arteries that dissolves in butter or is coated in chocolate. Because that is likely the only way that anything will get inside my arteries.

But I digress.

As I was driving around this morning doing errands I heard a report about the best time of year to diet, which as it turns out is winter. It seems humans burn the bad fat we accumulate better in winter so we can keep warm and thus lose weight. And winter, at least in the northern (a.k.a. good) hemisphere, is often associated with endings that lead to new beginnings. Then again, with global warming I don’t see us being in for much of a cold winter any time soon, so that opportunity to burn bad fat seems to be going up in coal-fired smoke. And furthermore, why do we diet? To stave off death? No, so we can wear the clothes hanging in our closets that we think we look cool in, or once did. We diet to ensure a future wearing past clothes. Strange, no?

So when you read and subsequently recoil in horror at this episode of Stanko & Tibor, think of the future, of your loved ones, the arguments you have had with them, the future they hold, especially the younger ones who will one day choose your retirement “castle”. Think of the past they have misspent and how it made you laugh and cry. And then hug them. Or bear hug them if you don’t like them. Or retreat into humor and eat a chocolate or cinnamon danish. With icing.

May your slide into the new year occur without any twisted joints.

Lovingly,
Archbishop Jonny of the Assiniboine Herald of the Canadian Heraldic Authority

The Mother Of All Mothers

To those among you who profess to be educated, refined, erudite, savvy and cool, and who still secretly read this cartoon under the blankets with a flash light:

The title for this post, “The Mother Of All Mothers” came to me as I almost tripped drying in between my toes just as I got out of the shower. Why the hyperbole/Saddam Hussein reference? Look, if I knew why my brain works the way it does, the doctors would have prescribed a fix for it already. But thankfully they haven’t.

Introducing a new character to a comic is a bit like passing a kidney stone. It’s slow, there are convulsions of massive discomfort, both mental and physical, and during which I would really like to take a fistful for painkillers, but I do refrain where possible. If the public response to the new character is anything like that of previous characters (i.e. deafening silence, quiet scoffing, old ladies giving me the finger at shopping malls, the odd letter containing death threats from fringe groups like the Amish Biker Gang), I may have to resort to using profanity in following episodes to increase my readership among my family and friends.

Speaking of family, my nephew actually said he laughed when he finally read my comic, high praise indeed. Furthermore, a number of you (the not-yet-but-who-should-be-incarcerated) have suggested that the mother character somehow is similar to or even resembles my own mother, may she rest in peace, in either physical and personality traits.

What are you people smoking?? Couldn’t be further from the truth. My own (and only) publicly acknowledged mother is not the inspiration for the character you see here in Stanko & Tibor, the finest chronicle of the North American badger since 2008. Sure, my mother can heap mounds and pounds of guilt like an Alberta oil sands commercial dump truck, but she ain’t the inspiration. My grandmother on the other hand… No, no, I kid, I kid. The character is merely a vehicle for jokes and healing psychological scars I have from childhood that modern pharmacology hasn’t yet found a cure for, shock therapy notwithstanding.

So enjoy this episode, don’t read too much into it, I am not that deep (I watch Bugs Bunny reruns and eat industrial chocolate chip cookies, people). Laugh, if you will, turn away in horror if you must, spit on the floor in disgust if necessary, but be sure to tweet or Facebook or Google +1, or whatever it takes to get the word out on this comic cuz I need the exposure.

With haughty and rigid salutes,

Major General Admiral Pedro Dönitz

Just Look For the Union Libel

As the weather heats up and my brain melts down while sitting in the sun, I am given to thoughts of laziness, intractability, wearing shorts, eating chips and drinking beer. And the combination of those aforementioned states of being is a perfect segue for this installment of Stanko & Tibor, the illustrated societal chronicle that has influenced a generation of musicians, poets, legal scholars and proctologists, and has led many of them to drink excessively. Especially the proctologists.

When people in society feel they have been wronged or cheated, they can do one of several things. They can protest, be it constructively or in some cases, destructively (like the sub-mental Quebec students I’m forced to avoid on a weekly basis). They can retreat to their iPads, computers and cannabis-laced joints and avoid reality and view it from a hazy distance (unless it’s that new iPad with the crazy sharp screen). Or, the smart ones take control and go into business for themselves – or let others go into business and then the really smart ones with no compunctions regarding killing and violence join the Mafia and live like leeches off the good people of society and eat a lot of pasta and veal.

So you ask yourself, why – on this long weekend in Canada, where we celebrate a day off in the name of Queen Victoria for reasons that largely escape me but also allow me to sleep in unless my daughter is having a sleep-over and there are a bunch of screaming girls making my life a living hell – do I take my precious time to bring you comedy, philosophy and art in the form Stanko & Tibor? It’s not because I love you. Which I do, but I display it differently than most people. It’s because I want to warn you of the ills of organized crime and taking the easy road. And maybe have a laugh as you read this and spend time with your family or at a bar and enjoy yourselves.

Lord knows I have.

Keep focused, never stray, remain sharp. And eat a whole bag of chips.

– Dr. Giovanni Bienvenutti

Going Illegit

Given the recent events of the past few days in Europe, with the French electing a socialist who went on a diet, the U.S. elections kicking off officially with pomp and circumstance, the hockey playoffs going into the stretch drive, and International Workers Day having passed just last week, I’m reminded of the toiling and hard work we all put in, day in, day out, and I decided to give you a thematically related installment of the comic that was once described by Vassily Kandisky as “not fit to line my grandmother’s bird cage.”

It’s all about work, be it honest or dishonest, hard or easy, high-falutin’ or low-brow. It’s all the same.  And frankly, some days it does feel like we’re all horse manure inspectors.  Not exactly sure what that means, but I haven’t slept enough since I came back from Germany and my sugar intake has been inversely proportional to the amount of exercise I have been doing lately. Which is next to none, if you don’t count screaming at my children to brush their teeth.

But as the spring approaches and my backyard resembles a south Asian jungle any pygmy could love, I am reminded of the work I will have to do to keep the weeds (notice I didn’t say grass) at bay long enough for old man winter to come and kill them again. And then I think, maybe joining organized crime would be way easier because I could afford to pay some gardener to mow the lawn and rake the leaves. But I’m far too lazy for organized crime. Disorganized crime, with a lot of TV-watching and extortion by telephone would be more my speed.

And if that last paragraph isn’t enough to convince you that this episode of Stanko & Tibor is about to embark into uncharted waters, then you need more help than I do.

May you all be blessed with peace, love, happiness and access to a deli open til 3 AM.

Sincerely and unfailingly yours,

Professor Steinbrecher von Currywurst