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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Cooperation – a word often misunderstood in today’s day. So many people think cooperation is where two parties, be they friends or adversaries, find a method to achieve a desired outcome so that both parties don’t feel entirely ripped off. Basically, it’s how to get something without losing too much face.
But that is the incorrect interpretation of the term cooperation. If you look at the word construct, you can see it consists of two parts:
Coop and Ration – the ‘e’ is just in there because the language police liked how it sounded at parties, and it was also a way for the global cabal of printers to goose their ‘per-letter’ profit margins when they printed all those dictionaries that no one uses anymore. Why do you think the words laugh, thought, philosophy, colleague, wrought and knock have all those extra letters?You’re telling me laf, thawt, filosofee, coleeg, rot and nok wouldn’t suffice?? It’s a scam, I tells ya.
But I digress.
Can’t Fly the Coop
Taking a deeper look at so called cooperation, we can dissect the part of it that involves a coop. A coop is where whickens or rabbits or ducks are kept, fed and treated like machines in man-made structures until we need them for a meal. Human life is not too far off from the life of chickens, what with all our time spent cooped up looking at screens, watching Game of Thrones, or surfing to buy something on Amazon you just have to have, stopping only for a snack or bathroom break. Oh, we are all cooped up all right.
The only major difference is that we mostly feed and bathe ourselves, whereas the chickens are fed. Then again, with Uber Eats, we are becoming more like chickens, just with credit cards. (Good thing we don’t lay eggs. What a mess that would be.)
Furthermore, the more time we spend in our respective coops staring at the proverbial heating lamp known as a screen, the easier it is for whoever owns our data (it’s not you, trust me) to snoop on us and then let us know what we should buy, read, eat, object to, and be visibly offended by.
Now that we are wilfully cooped up, we can look at the rations we have left to survive on. Let’s call them K-rations, for knowledge rations. First of all, it prints well on a baseball cap or a t-shirt, and secondly, I am not that smart or creative to come up with something better on the spur of the moment. I write these rants extemporaneously, and sadly without the aid of a trusty, gooey, sticky chocolate danish to fuel the fires of creativity and early onset diabetes.
As we all know, knowledge is generally rationed out by a) income and b) education. The more you have of a, the more you can get of b, and then become rich and have a coop somewhere in the Bahamas or Switzerland with servants who don’t have much of either a or b.
So with knowledge being rationed and most of us being cooped up somewhere, then it’s easy to see how cooperation functions. Just stay where you are, eat some feed, and wait to be told what to do by either your phone, spouse, secret government snooping agency, or your stomach/bladder/bowels. My recommendation: listen to your stomach/bladder/bowels before you listen to your phone. Unless the government has your tax returns and asks you to come for a polite chat.
Just cooperate. Unless they try to take away your danish. Then rebellion shall ensue.
Santiago Schopenhauer Druker