From the creators of Stanko & Tibor, we bring you a formal good riddance to the annus rottenus and give proper welcome to the new year. A year of transition, promise, and most likely questionable fashion choices.
You may notice I used the plural when I said “creators” — it’s partially because I want to make this online rag sound much bigger than it is. And partially because all the time I have spent alone and indoors has made me develop multiple personalities just so I could hold a conversation with someone other than myself. And maybe finally win that argument about which kind of danish is superior.
May your vaccination be painless and come quickly. And while you’re at it, have a few shots of booze or whatever makes you happy until it’s your turn.
So as some or most of you readers may know my dad passed away a little while ago, and as you guessed it, this post of the comic is dedicated to him, and his many, many pearls of near savant-like wisdom. (My mom once referred to him as an idiot savant, but that may have been after he bought her a golf shirt for her birthday, despite having asked for something entirely different.)
One of the many things that went through my head when dad’s life energies were ebbing was “I’m losing maybe my biggest fan.” He was one of the few people who always praised, always read (yet not always grasping the comic part of the blog) and always responded to the comic. I’d get a short email that would usually say “Fantastic! Quit your job and do this for a living!”
Dad wasn’t too aware of the financial realities of embarking on an anti-lucrative career as a writer/comic doodler. He never let reality stand in the way of a questionable employment choice. But he certainly did support me and champion my writing skills and creativity. That’s what great fathers do. They’re champions for their kids. He was a repeat champion.
As for the richly profanity-laced pearls of wisdom he would utter in front of impressionable children, religious people, the elderly, the infirm, more sensitive souls, the vast majority of his family, and of course his long-suffering life partner a.k.a. Binnie, or My wife, they were a part of his near-genius. I can’t say absolute genius because he bought a lot of crappy American cars when he really shouldn’t have.
Also, dad was a man of science, if you discount climate change. What do you want? He came from a different generation, and when he hit 70 or so, he faithfully adopted the mantra and position of many old men his age, which can be succinctly boiled down to “Ah, it’s all bullshit.” Yet he was a genuine scientific skeptic. He believed in scientific proof where any claim, medical, chemical, commercial or otherwise was made. (Except for the human-induced climate change thing. Go figure.)
As an active dad, he took us skiing, golfing, cycling and made sure we had fun doing it (excluding golf — I still bear the psychological scars). He made sure we had a balance of activity, to counter the laying around watching TV or listening to music we did.
I could go on at length about his habit of eating bagels in the nude at 1:00 in the morning but I’ll let you get back to your Covid-enforced TV streaming and overeating.
Stay strong, stay sane-ish, and give someone you love a hug. Preferable with a mask.
So, despite the COVID pandemic, fear, isolation, intimidation, excessive body hair and an ever expanding belly filled with sugary baked goods made with these two frequently washed hands, I have decided to weigh in on the subject of democracy, and the impending election.
It should be noted for posterity’s sake that nary a one of my fervent readers, followers and/or groupies has asked me to comment on power-sharing agreement via the ballot box. However, it was high time I made a statement of some kind on what democracy is, was and always will be. A scam.
Wait, don’t leave yet. I’m not advocating for another form of government. I like democracy. Let me explain.
Essentially, the word scam derives from the past tense of the verb ‘to scum’, which in ancient Babylonian poker games referred to the greasy sweat wiped from the brow of the guy who went all in holding a measly pair of 3s but who was already in debt two sheep to Udug and his shady, semi-employed brother-in-law Mummu. Funny, neither Udug nor Mummu ever had a clear source of steady income, but they always showed up at the weekly ritual animal sacrifice with attractive sheep and goats. Something was fishy even back then. But I digress.
Democracy, The Crap-shoot
So why is democracy a scam? Because it’s like poker, it’s a crap-shoot. People bluff all the time in poker, they’re trying to convince you they’re holding the winning hand and you either fold or they clean up and take your money.
Democracy and poker have a lot of similarities. Both are rigged (at least that’s what Trump says. He’s not a compulsive liar, I swear.). Both involve people who really don’t want to hold down a day job. Both have hors d’oeuvres served at meetings and gatherings. Both require an implicit belief that although you’re getting screwed right now, next time will be better.
Democracy, also like poker, requires you to gather information to make an informed decision even if that information is sketchy or difficult to find. It’s about gathering bits of data and coalescing them into some kind of educated guess, assumption or dare I say, a fact! Taking those guesses, assumptions and facts, you place a wager. Sometimes you actually win, like in Chile where they recently voted overwhelmingly to rewrite the constitution. That one worked.
We’ve Moved to ButtFaceBook
However, in our neck of the woods, we have turned to the digital sewer of the Internet, a.k.a. Facebook, to inform ourselves.
It should be argued that Facebook is populated buy a vast number of what Arthur Schopenhauer referred to in his famous work I Hate Life and Tying My Shoelaces Every Morning as “buttfaces”. A buttface for the non-scholarly out there is a stupid and/or stubborn person, usually one who drinks cheap beer and feels it necessary to share his or her stupid opinion when no one ever asked.
By my sleep-deprived reasoning, Facebook should be renamed to ButtFaceBook, or BFB for the brevity-obsessed. Because only a buttface would believe QAnon conspiracies and other outrageous crap peddled on that pitiful platform. Only a buttface would say “The Russians could never sucker me in with some lame-brained story. Now where are my guns at again? Right, I keep them in the bathroom and the kids’ rooms.”
ButtFaceBook. I like it.
Maybe we should decide our elections on that platform instead of using democracy, that time-worn scam machine.
I need some chocolate.
Lovingly isolated and losing his mind,
Marduk (look it up) Druker
The other day I was unpacking the groceries, and contrary to habit, I decided to actually wash the veggies before I put them away so they’d be ready to eat. Suddenly, I felt I was being lied to. Let me explain before you go back to watching Netflix and/or swallowing hallucinogens.
As I unpacked the bunch of parsley (stop judging me, it goes well with potatoes) I realized that 50% of the delicious, leafy, green garnish was just stems. Just stems! I paid hard earned money and half of it was pretty useless. Then it dawned on me suddenly why this was so.
Obviously, it’s the Parsley Mafia who’s controlling what we get. Who else but a conniving bunch of greedy parsley power-brokers could pass off half a bunch as a whole bunch and make a tidy profit off the stuff. It’s degrading and insulting but do you really have the courage to defeat the parsley mafia? Not to mention their lobbyists and secret cabal at the United Nations. And don’t pretend like you don’t know, either. You’re all probably in on it anyway.
And it’s absurdist, small gene puddle, low-IQ, Republican thinking like that which led to the current state of the USA, right-wing populists across the globe, and present-day Russia. Not to mention people who think that wearing a mask somehow shows you’re giving in to a global conspiracy or surrendering your freedom.
Somehow, the people who aren’t wearing masks intentionally are rebels. Freedom fighters. Turns out they’re just colossal morons who do what they feel is right. (Click the link, it takes to you to the best line ever from the Simpsons.)
Annus Horribilis or Mirabilis
You know, I didn’t think 2020 could get much worse, what with COVID-19, and all the associated misery. Plus the unending violence in the USA, ever increasing global temperatures and my danishes are more expensive too. Granted it’s not as bad the great Erfurt Latrine Disaster of 1184 (thank you, Lars). Now that was a shit hole. But it has been tough for all of us. Except the rich. What’s new.
So much has changed in this past year, what with masks now being all the fashion rage. It just used to be bank robbers, Mummenschanz and terrorists who wore these symbols of airborne disease-limitation. Who knew that in addition to wreaking havoc and death (especially Mummenschanz) they were ahead of their time in disease prevention.
It has been not just a year of death and disease, but our language has changed too. We now write “Black” with a capital ‘B’ when referring to Black people, culture and community. Small ‘b’ when the word precedes the words ‘market’, ‘car’, ‘mask’ or ‘heart’ (e.g. ‘Anyone who supports Trump has a black heart.’).
Circa Six Feet or Two Meters
The point being it’s all insanity anyway and maybe in addition to wearing masks, we should all permanently stay approximately six feet (or two meters) away from ANYONE and EVERYONE even after they’ve found a cure for this COVID crap. Granted that would make changing diapers and having sexual relations difficult, but it’s up to some smart MIT dude to come up with a solution. How many marriages would be better off that way? Now you get it.
Now, it’s time for bed and bizarre dreams of nose swabs, sports with no fans, and less expensive danish.
I just read a scientific article (without moving my lips too much) on what may have been the worst year ever — 536 CE. Or AD if you prefer that abbreviation. According to these scientists — Trump devotees by default excluded because facts are involved — 536 was the worst year ever! Volcanic eruptions, freezing winters, no sun, failed crops, and perhaps worse, no TV or Netflix to get through it. Neither chocolate nor cinnamon danish had been invented yet. Times were literally and figuratively dark. A mask of misery had covered the globe.
I can only presume with little or no scientific evidence, and even less research because it’s too damn hot today, that people back then must have been freaking out. (Kind of like now, except we have Netflix and danish of various sorts.) The superstitious and uneducated masses, lacking any real guidance, must have run wild in the unpaved streets, begging for help, searching for any answers, and fearful of their neighbours (also, kind of like now). The many simple and few enlightened folk must have hid in their homes and hoped for the best and some kind of miracle to free them. (Also, kind of like now. Is it just me or does anyone see a trend?)
2020 vs 536
Many have said that 2020 is the worst year ever! Virus, death, racism, riots, an American election with two old white guys, China spying and running rampant over democracy, millions unemployed. The usual. But people have become very angry and vocal of late. [Note to reader: I am not suggesting people don’t protest. Quite the opposite, they should stand up to the entrenched powers that be. Or kneel. Or whatever gets some good media attention. It gives me great material to work with for the blog.] But at times it might be a little too emotional. Too in your face. Too much fomite-soaked anger blowing in the wind.
I am not talking metaphorically here. Some smart person (Trump devotees by default excluded) is going to come up with some kind of mask that inhibits or in some way tempers our emotions.
My design, which was rejected by the patent office for using too many swear words and containing a selfie of me wearing nothing but a moose hat and slippers, is simple. It will look like your regular everyday mask you can buy at any of the major mask outlets (such as Musk’s Masks, Masks-R-Us, Masks, Flasks and Basques).
The difference is it will come with a 12oz (355 ml) container of liquid emotional modifier (read: booze) of your choice. To start, four kinds would be available: Scotch Whisky for the upscale set, Beer for the blue collar audience, cherry-flavoured schnapps for the rustic crowd, and Vodka for those who wish to keep their consumption discreet, but still not give a crap. At the start of your day, soak your mask before you go out. Or talk to anyone in your household. Repeat at lunch, coffee breaks, dinner and bedtimes. I’m not saying you have to drink the booze, just inhale the vapours until you’re giddy and a little sleepy maybe.
While there are other ways to tame our emotions, such as therapy, weed, pills, yoga, archery, wood-working, setting small fires, or playing strip poker, I say give your mask a shot. Of schnapps preferably.
Friar Druker of Snickerdoodle
My daughter just read me a recent Twitter quote regarding the recent manned flight to space: “Congrats to the astronauts who just left earth. Good choice.”
At least they have escaped the misery of COVID, the anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists, the riots resulting from the murder of yet another unarmed black person, and the rantings of Führer Trump for a while. What’s more, they did it without resorting what millions of Americans have done to cope with this misery — drinking vats of alcohol. To no one’s surprise, however, United Kingdom sales spiked to even higher liver-damaging levels. Just another excuse to get hammered.
Space Station Therapy
Let’s go back to those astronauts for a minute. Think about how desperate you have to be to risk life and limb, climbing aboard what is essentially a computer-guided roman candle to go live in a gravity-deprived, sterile, smelly space station where fresh baked chocolate danishes and artery-clogging burgers are difficult to come by unless you have good connections.
They could have easily drank themselves into a stupor to cope with this COVID conundrum. It’s way cheaper and less stressful than all of that astronaut training. Furthermore, drinking yourself stupid means you wouldn’t have to deal with that Elon Musk fellow crowing about his silly rocket that he claims is “so totally awesome.” I could build one of those rocket thingies with some duct tape, a ball of twine, a fork, peanut butter, pop-sickle sticks and paint thinner.
But no, they chose flight over fight. Actually, over drinking. Idiots.
So if I am left with a choice between going into space, where the WiFi signal is crap and the Netflix subscription hasn’t been renewed, and staying here and drinking myself into oblivion like most of the world seems to be doing, I may be at a loss.
Don’t give me that “read a book” line either. Trump doesn’t read them. No, wait. He can’t read. And he’s a PUTZ. No, I meant POTUS.
But still, given my tremendous lack of knowledge about everything from aeronautics to zoology, I’d have to read like a zillion books, and that would mean spending all day and night at the library where the WiFi signal is crap.
Also, if one of you says “try meditation” again, I’ll tell you what I told that mouthy jerk of a police officer — drinking booze is a way easier method to relax and clear one’s mind. Or at least subdue it.
Clearly I am lacking the mental faculties needed to make a decision on how best to handle this situation. So I will do what I always do when confronted with questions of great importance and moral significance. I’ll watch Bugs Bunny and the Simpsons.
So after having been on creative hiatus for some time, I realized it was time to return and fill the world with what my dear mother calls ” your visual and textual detritus” – however she may have been referring to my father’s stack of dirty magazines that he so cherishes. He said something about it being educational materials.
Of all the times to return to the festering pit that is the Internet, I had to choose the COVID pandemic. Or the Corona pandemic. Or whatever you want to call it. This allegedly bat-borne Asian virus has led to many hardships, the most devastating of which revolve around death, too much time watching Netflix / Prime / Hulu and the inability for me to go to my favorite burger joint and consume vast quantities of an artery-clogging element known as ‘cheeseburgers’. The last one being particularly grievous for society as a whole.
What’s worse than all that aforementioned misery is this utterly extemporaneous (which is Latin for highly spontaneous bullshittery after too much coffee and not enough sleep) blog that is trying, mostly unsuccessfully, to reflect on the conundrum of cohabitating with the COVID virus.
Note to reader: If you don't know the meaning of the word conundrum, neither do I, but I thought it sounded like a nice alliteration for a semi-illiterate like myself. Actually, I think it means a measure of volume of frozen shrimp. Sort of like, "I have 2 barrels of whisky, 3 conundrums of frozen shrimp, a vat of cocktail sauce, which will all be mixed in the high-powered thrunginator."
COVID The Frat Boy
For all intents and purposes, there is much we do know about this virus, and much we don’t. The easiest way to explain it to someone like Trump, or any of the small-brained fascists who supports him, is to liken it to living with a smelly frat-boy roommate from an over-privileged family that you signed a 3-year apartment lease with.
That kind of roommate is hell on earth. They break your stuff, they leave the bathroom a hairy, filthy mess, the stove has old, burned tomato sauce on it that needs disinfectant to remove it, you can’t hold a conversation with anyone face to face when they’re around because they’ll spoil it by farting. You can’t bare having them around because they’re insensitive, indiscriminate, they brag how they’re the greatest at everything. What’s worse? Every time you clean up after them, they come back and stink up the joint. Like clockwork.
Come to think of it, the parallels between Trump and COVID are startlingly similar. Maybe he is a fully evolved COVID strain? Would explain a lot.
The biggest problem with the COVID cohabitation conundrum is that it’s absolutely global. So, let’s say you manage to get away from it, where are you going to go? Definitely not China. Well, you could go to where it supposedly originated, but you’d have to live in a police state that revels in the grand tradition of authoritarianism and that has mastered professional denying and lying even better than the Russians. Successfully I might add.
There’s also talk of contact tracing apps that will allow health officials (or Google/Facebook/Apple) to gather info on whether you came in contact with someone with COVID. Why? So you can freak out and panic that you have the virus too. Honestly, this is like having the frat boy jerk show up uninvited at a party, telling you he spilled melted cheese on your bed while watching porno on your computer. Inescapable. Almost.
What To Do
You have a couple of options. Stay at home indefinitely and use your retirement savings towards the purchase of a lifetime membership at Uber Eats. Or if you really want to get away, there is one place you could go to. The South Pole. No COVID there – or so the local tourist office there claims. They have a notorious reputation for over-hyping the fun activities in Antarctica. The Emperor penguins and walruses do not like to pose for selfies as they have claimed.
Conversely, you could to Svalbard and wrestle with polar bears if you like a bit sport. They’re opening back to tourists soon. And once you’re there, I bet you can get a caribou cheeseburger more easily than here.
So now that you’ve made it this far into the blog, you probably hate yourself even more for having read this garbage. While you were reading I rifled through your drawers.
Did you know ginger contains a powerful enzyme called zingibain, which acts as a meat tenderizer? More importantly, do you even care? Of course not. It’s too hot and humid. How can anyone care about anything now except for lowering one’s body temperature to keep from snapping and killing a random passer-by, in order to sell his or her organs for cash so you can buy an air conditioner and some ice cream to bathe in?
This rant will likely be a little shorter than normal as I need to watch something to distract me from thinking of those things that trouble me. Oddly, that small-handed venal vendor Trump isn’t what’s keeping me up. I think watching baseball may be what the doctor, psychiatrist, parole officer and spiritual guide ordered to distract me.
Although I doubt the organ playing in the background at the baseball game will soothe and distract me. It’s meant to amp up the crowd with an ever escalating series of tones so the fans are frothing with anticipation at another player scratching his crotch. Why do they have organs at baseball and hockey games? Why not a live jazz orchestra? Or several mariachi bands? Tap-dancing harmonica players, maybe? Nope, someone chose organs as the musical instrument of choice to liven things up. At least it wasn’t a church organ.
If you haven’t clicked away by now, I stated previously that brevity is the organ of wit. Not the soul of wit, as the expression would have you believe. In the human body an organ is a group of tissues with similar functions, like a liver or kidneys or a brain.
Wit is roughly defined as being shrewd, perceptive, inventive, a natural aptitude for words. To be witty, you need some organs, like eyes, a brain, a tounge and most likely a heart. Basically something you can donate after you’re dead. Or if you’re enterprising, sell for a small profit on the internet to people with no morals or a soul.
Can you sell a soul? It’s hard as it doesn’t fit in any standard envelop or packaging that I know of. It also is fragile and bubble wrap doesn’t protect it well. Also, what are you going to do with a soul once you’ve bought it? Show it off at dinner parties? Brag about it at poker night? Wear it like jewellery? Organs are so much more tangible, and think of the points you’ll score at a singles mixer if you tell people you donated one recently. Make sure you have the scar AND the receipt to back it up if anyone asks. Trust me.
Now that I have consumed a mighty fine Dairy Queen sundae, it’s getting late. Good night.
Note to reader: The following few paragraphs are really quite absurd, which is normal. It's meant to set the tone. Foreshadowing, they call it.
Much has been written about the absurd and confusing nature and rules of English spelling. Silent letters, irregular conjugations, irregular pronunciations, and nasty homonyms like there, they’re and their, or the dreaded triumvirate of right, rite and write.
The fact that we need computer programs to correct authors from using the wrong word speaks to our poor education system and to the fact that people are stupid and too lazy to proofread their work. I never do.
But the one that gets me is why we spell wrong with a ‘w’ when ‘rong’ will do. What do we gain as a people, as a nation or even as a species by adding the damn ‘w’? It’s sheer waste to employ a letter that probably didn’t even want to be used, probably because the printers union sneaked it in there as part of backroom deal. Letter inflation is everywhere.
And how do we know there is letter inflation? How do we spell ‘write’? With a useless ‘w’ just like ‘wrong’. If that isn’t proof of a right-wing plot then I don’t know what is.
How simple would it be to spell write without the ‘w’ — you know — rite? Sure, there’s already a word with that spelling and it has a completely different meaning, but changing up the spelling would reduce dictionary entries by a full word and save spell-checker developers at least one line of code. While we are at it, let’s cull ‘right’ too. Rationalize and reduce. Do we really need the ‘gh’ in there?
Personally, I think it’s a plot by the Chinese or the Russians to confuse me. It’s working. And I ‘m right, so leave me alone.
Absurdity Is the Norm
What does any of this have to do with the wildly absurd idea of human organs being for rent? Because I came up with another absurd idea, that’s as equally bizarre as English spelling rules.
The idea for this episode came from an opinion piece in Wired magazine about every damn thing in the world being for rent so we can all make some spare cash. Clothes, houses, cars, scooters, nipple clips, beds, office spaces, hardware, software, sexual encounters, you name it.
So what’s to prevent us stupid humans from going one step further and renting out our organs to the highest bidder? Yes, I said organs. It’s clear we are morally neglectful for not having monetized those silly inner hunks of genetic materials to earn some spare cash to spend on yet another service/device we don’t need but really want.
Only a crafty, savvy business person can see the potential of renting his or her organs, and resulting income potential that it would generate. You have two eyes, right? Rent one out to a blind guy for a day, give the gift of sight – for a price. Once the blind guy is hooked on vision, then you have a long-term customer.
Same goes for you kidneys. Do you really need both of them all the time? Couldn’t you rent one for a day or so? Why be so selfish with your organs? Don’t you see you could pay for that trip to Europe with a week of rental time.
Just think of how many heavy drinkers would shell out real money for your kidneys or liver for just a few hours of alcoholic debauchery? Lots, I say. And there you go – your retirement fund is set!
Let addicted smokers use your lungs for a few hours so they can have that last deep draw off a cigarette or cigar, knowing full well, you have given them joy and they have given you money. Really, it’s a form generosity.
And you’re driving the economy, too, not like some kind of lazy, socialist lay-about.
Notice I didn’t say selling organs. That would be economically inefficient because you’re not getting any long-term revenue out of them. Bad business model.
And what’s worse, if you sell your organs as opposed to renting them, and someone wants to return them due to natural defects or they don’t color-match their other organs, the seller may have died, so you’re left holding the bag, as it were. Too risky a business proposition. Renting is safer.
The entire global economy now is based on maximizing usage and efficiency, as well as being green. Reuse those organs, and put them to good use if you’re just sitting around. Contribute instead of consume.
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.
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.