Tag Archives: morals

The Pause That Refreshes

Stanko & Tibor - Pause From Reality


A PAUSE REFRESHES. SOMETIMES.

Contrary to what most of you think, I have not published anything in months because I was in “pause mode” – which sadly doesn’t mean vacation. I was working darn hard at my job. A job that has me traveling far more than I imagined. So the enforced pause from the world of cartooning, blogging, and as some call it “spewing out crap onto the Internet” has slowed my output of witty observations, crooked drawings and sometimes hurtful commentary.

Did the pause refresh me, recharge my will to cartoon and blog? Did this enforced creative hiatus do wonders for the material I have lined up for future episodes of this crudely crafted comic? Not really. I’m still sleepy and I have gained weight from eating hotel food and indulging in vats, heaps, bushels of chocolate when I was anywhere within spitting distance of a vending machine or airport lounge. But that isn’t such a bad thing because what I saw while traveling the globe, and stopping to eat chocolate bars, made me realize many things about humanity, inhumanity and chocolate.

Cheaper By The Billion

Like the absurdity of repeatedly cleaning the gunk out from between my toes –deemed by international podiatrists as a proper measure of good foot hygiene and a sign of latent pathological fetishes– I saw many absurdities in my most recent travels. Each time I was in a cab stopped at a light (rare in Mumbai – traffic rules are the mere notions of a fevered, frustrated motor vehicle bureaucrat), or driving on somewhere elevated to avoid a local flood due to the passing monsoon, or to swerve violently around a dead animal or injured beggar, I had time to pause and think about what passes for humanity.

One key theme repeated itself as I went east: Life is pretty cheap. That isn’t meant to say human life isn’t important in Asia. Not at all. It’s just as important there as it is here. Seeing how we treat each other, and more importantly, the declining quality of baked goods that use oils and carob to substitute for butter and chocolate, everything and everyone on this planet is a commodity, especially when you’ve got millions and billions of them (or it).

My theory of cheap life is economic in nature. With well over one billion people in India, and China having its 1.5 billion and another half a billion or so scattered in and around the region, when a monsoon, earth quake, volcanic eruption,  maniacal dictator or just a plain old, run-of-the-mill plague comes along, suddenly you’re down a million humans or so. No one bats an eyelash except maybe the media, unless it interferes with the cricket/soccer scores. Someone else will aways come along and fill in the void. When you pause for a moment, especially when you’re trapped in a taxi in a colossal traffic jam, the source of which is most likely someone being stupid enough to cross the road assuming drivers will actually stop, you realize that makes life pretty cheap.

Gay Marriage – The Pause That Refreshes

You know what isn’t cheap? Divorce. Once the Supreme Court of the USA decided to make same-sex marriage legal, that country had to take a pause. Some hugged, some recoiled, some wept, and some rejoiced. A small but I am sure influential group triple rejoiced: Divorce lawyers.

I bet divorce layers across the 50 states of the USA took a moment to reflect, to pause, to opine, to ruminate over the implication that gay marriage, now finally legal, would be the impetus for many costly, prolonged, anger-soaked legal proceedings that will fill the courts and subsequently the coffers of many in the family law community.  Many a golf club membership or over-priced Autobahn-cruising, German luxo-barges –mit Leder– will now be funded due to the legalization of gay marriage in the USA. What horrible sitcom will arise from this that we haven’t thought of yet?

In actuality, the moronic, semi-sentient, troglodytic judges of the Supreme Court got the decision all wrong. They shouldn’t have legalized gay marriage. Sheer and utter foolishness. They should have made marriage, civil, religious or underwater, altogether illegal. Gay or straight. Or hermaphrodite. Your sexual preference shouldn’t determine whether you can marry or not. Marriage should be outlawed. For several shallow yet meaningful reasons (so I can beat a dead horse while I wait for my coffee to steep in the French press).

  1. It would eviscerate the profession of divorce lawyering thus forcing them to get real jobs like a McDonald’s burger-flipper or Walmart greeter. They could be replaced by ice hockey referees who make split second decisions, and are unionized, wear helmets and have blades on their feet so they are less likely to allow fights to linger.
  2. It would virtually eliminate the so called profession of wedding planner. Has anyone ever met a wedding planner they liked? That didn’t overcharge them for something a software program or an iPad app could effectively do for a fraction of the price?
  3. When was the last time you were at a wedding where the wedding cake tasted half as good as it looked? Never, that’s when. Sure, the hors d’oeuvres are tasty, and if it’s an open bar, a wedding can be fun. But wedding cake? The gross overuse of “fondant”, the dearth of real cocoa in the chocolate icing, the millimeter-thin layer of marzipan between the layers of sponge cake. It’s a sham. The wedding cake is the the triple-decker tower of sugary false promise that inevitably is given to the janitor or taxi driver hanging around at the end of the night looking for freebies. Was there ever a greater confectionary deception than the wedding cake?

Conclusions and Naps

So what are you, the reader of this absurdist rant, this fantastical (hey, that rhymes with ‘testicle’) work of art going to take away from this instalment of the irregular periodical visually chronicling the foibles of humans, and its author/creator? Will you pause, for a moment, before hitting the delete key in anger, index finger cocked and ready, and think about what I have said here? Or will you take a vacation hoping that when you come back, I will have come up with something about the financial Greek tragedy that’s the subject for the next comic? Or will you take a nap and wake up refreshed?

Don’t bet on it.

May you never step in elephant droppings,
Mentally Malicious Mogul Druker of Maharashtra

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

Tradeoffs

The days of summer are still here if you judge it by how often I have the air conditioner running. Steamy, sticky weather mixed with the much needed rain(storms) to quench the dry grass and wilting herbs around my house. If that isn’t summer, I don’t know what is. Well, I don’t know what summer really is, say, in Japan or Argentina. But that is because I don’t pay attention to things unless they are brightly colored, animated, or have something chocolate-like covering it.

So what should we pay attention to, if I may segue clumsily from one thought to the next without an editor present to rap me on the top of the head with a ruler? Maybe we should pay attention to the little things in life like the smile of a young child or a good night’s sleep and value those things so that we can look back on them and inform others of their worth.

But if that is too much work — and frankly, given the heat and humidity of the past few days and my aching back from a swollen belly filled with fatty and sugary foods ingested at a pace that would give night terrors to the Weight Watchers society — work is the last thing I want to do right now. But I digress.

This episode of the comedic Caravaggio spread via electronic bits and bytes designed to tickle your fancy presents us with the age old question of youth vs. wisdom and which one would you choose in arm wrestling match. No, wait, which one would you want more of if you get extra portions of it for free, like with a free coupon. And I have no definitive answer because that takes a lot of time and thought, and the TV is on as I write this. But I do know I have made a lot of mistakes in my youth and haven’t repeated them as I have aged. Mostly because I have no energy.

So whether your wish is for more wisdom from the teachings of the sages, or enhanced youth through modern medicine and lots of exercise and sleep, know this — it will take away time from TV watching and eating greasy cheeseburgers, so weigh your thoughts carefully.

Hugs and kisses and sweet dreams.

Horatio Hornblower Druker

And Toothpaste For All

Oh to be thin again, to be limber again, to be less gaseous and less rotund again. And to have healthy, strong teeth again. Having chipped my tooth some weeks ago, one of my front teeth no less, I realized that the onset of age, even in the realm of the dental knows no mercy.

As I stare into the mirror and smile to see this chipped chopper, I wonder both silently and aloud, “how the heck did my wife ever agree to marry someone as challenged in the looks department as me?” That question took on deeper significance this weekend as it was our wedding anniversary, and she — who felt duty-bound to keep her word and marry me despite probably having heavily regretted it when she woke up the next morning after I had proposed knowing she was under the influence of both jet lag and alcohol — once again said these past 13 years have felt like 13 minutes. Under water.

What does any of this have to do with this episode of the comic foretold in the bible as one of the 4 signs of the apocalypse and referred to by Salman Rashdie in his book club as “not suitable material to wipe a baby’s butt” have to do with toothpaste and beauty? I’m really not sure, to be honest. This is the Internet after all and they let any putz with a keyboard and the ability to type publish pretty much anything they want, so it’s your fault for reading this.

But I digress. The idea for this particular episode was not actually related to the aforementioned description of dental damage. It was a mere reflection of the marketing wordsmiths who gave us “new and improved” and other such marketing gems. And with that explanation, I will trundle to bed with a belly full of Thai food, a car magazine at the ready and maybe an intense focus on a 8-hour face-to-face discussion I’ll be having with my pillow shortly.

To those who have celebrated this long weekend with family, food and merriment, I wish you well. And remember to take out the garbage and brush your teeth.

Sincerely,

First Officer of the R0yal Brigade of Sheep Herders Lord Druker upon Cushy Bed

Occupy Dim Sum

As I sat at my desk today performing menial, mind-numbing tasks in order to help a colleague,  my various trains of thoughts, all loaded with many cars of twisted, ephemeral cargo, skipped the tracks, as if  a drunken, heavily unionized switchman on his last day of work before vacation and with a large dose of  cold medication in him were at the switching controls.

And it’s apt that I mention cold medication as I have been suffering (not loudly enough it seems) from a sinus infection that only now, after what would seem like a few hundred decongestant pills and other kinds of sprays and vats of chicken soup that have been popped into my body on a pretty regular basis, seems to be getting a little better. But only a little. I still need reasons to complain.

As for those thoughts skipping off in different directions, I managed just long enough to string together enough of them to do this cartoon, on a topic that cried out to be covered by the sharpest mind, the keenest wit, the most vicious humor this side of the western hemisphere. Unfortunately, he’s on vacation and the rest of the staff were fired due to “right-sizing” and “rationalization” so I was left with the job of cartooning this sucker. How it got from Wall St. protests to dim sum I am really not sure.

It really did distract me from my ever more decrepit house that requires untold amounts of stabilization and repair (think Champlain Bridge, but far worse workmanship). If I could convince you people to buy a t-shirt, or better yet, when I get around to it, the e-book I plan on creating of this comic, I would have just enough to finance those repairs. Or buy the repairmen a beer. You have been warned — an e-book is coming of the  Stanko & Tibor saga.

So keep reading this comedic/operatic saga that will stand the test of time, unless my PC dies before then. Highly likely.

Be well, and don’t forget to speak with pride when you mention my comic to  your shrink and/or parole officer.

-Giovanni di Prosciutto

Xmas Inc.

Anno 2010 has come and gone, and I say good riddance. Floods, drought, scandals, financial shocks, food fights, barbarism, nudity, dirty underwear being laundered in public. And I am just talking about my household.

But on the upside, it’s a new year, there are new challenges, new horizons, new taxes. Oh wait, that isn’t an upside unless you work for the government. But I digress.

This particular episode of the comic that helped redefine the meaning of the word “spam” and led to the literary critic at the New York Times  to refer to Stanko & Tibor as “unfit to line my bird cage” was inspired partially by real events. My little child wrote a letter to Santa and actually just wished him well and didn’t ask for any gifts, she just sent him hugs and kisses and sent a hug to Rudolf too.

As for the Santa Corp angle, well, I had to make it somewhat funny and after a return to financial excess by Wall Street, hey, I couldn’t resist taking a pot shot at that. Could you? Didn’t think so.

So all the best for the New Year and keep reading and laughing and “liking” the comic on Facebook.

Lots of love to all

Stanko & Tibor - Dishonesty Folly
Stanko & Tibor - Dishonesty, Folly