Category Archives: Frustration & Complaint

How To Mask Your True Emotions

Mask True Emotions
Mask True Emotions
Mask True Emotions
Mask True EmotionsMask Your True Emotions. Please.

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.

We could all really use some emotional masks.

Emotional Masks

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.

Manifestly mediocre,
Friar Druker of Snickerdoodle

How to Drink COVID Away

Drunk CovidDrinking COVID Away

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.

Alternative Therapies

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.

No Choice

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.

Famously famished,
Arch Duke Druker of Suburbia

COVID Cohabitation Connundrum

COVID CohabitationThe COVID Cohabitation Conundrum

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.

Global Cohabitation

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.

Have a happy quarantine and stay safe.

Effervescently yours,
Senator Bongo Druker

 

Human Organs For Rent: Use Them For More Than Just Living!

Huamn Organs - Right to Be WrongHuman Organs for Sale – Is It Right?

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.

Driving Sales

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.

Use your organs for more than just living.

Suspiciously coherent and awake,
Ayn Rand Druker

Evolution and Ugliness

Evolution - Stanko & Tibor


Evolution & Killers

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

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

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

Fishing for meaning,
Jean-Jacques Cousteau Druker

Go Insane, It’s OK

Insane Isn't So Bad


Go Insane – It’s OK

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

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

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

Conspiracy Theory = Insanity

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

Let me cite some recent examples:

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

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

Technology to the Rescue

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Come Join The Snoop Troop!

SnoopThe Snoop Troop

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

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

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

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

Effectively you need many troops to snoop.

Lunch Talk

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

Ingemar från Fälten

Genes and Natural Stupidity

Genes and crisprSkinny Genes

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

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

I’m Walking Here

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

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

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

Genes – Not the Designer Kind

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’ve Got You

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

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

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

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

Mostly sincerely,
Fangio Druker

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

In Theory - Stanko TiborIn Theory Only

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

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

Artificial Lack of Intelligence

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

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

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

Too Dumb For Words

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

Winning Combinations

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

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

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

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

Do These 3 Things and You Win!

Stanko & Tibor - 3 Things and Win3 Things

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

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

Weird Things vs Weird Ideas

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

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

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

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

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

Hugo ‘the Orangutan’ Druker