Tag Archives: China

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

Occupy Dim Sum

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Giovanni di Prosciutto

Genuine Labor

Genuine LaborDearest comrades, brothers and sisters, and fellow fans of this timeless online objet d’art that has a shaky grip on reality much like its creator,

I just downed a meal that involved grilled meats, fresh corn from the field and other such treats and as a result, the digestive functions have kicked in and rob me as I type this of the blood and oxygen needed to form a coherent thought.  I am  slowly fading toward unconsciousness on the First Monday of September, a.k.a. Labor Day (in North America), the day we cherish what labor is, how hard we labor at our work and most importantly — why we are wildly happy to have another day away from the office, where they have easily taken 16 or 17 pounds of my flesh. Not sure what that would be in metric.

The idea for this comic has a long a tortuous past if you go through my emails where I write down and store most of my ideas. Safe to say, it was simpler to draw than to write it. But I have to give credit where it is due. My sister-in-law’s sharp wit  inspired the final frame, but I liberally stole her idea and made it my own. If this comic ever makes me any money, she’ll sue me for it. As will my best friend and much of my family. Mostly for sport more than for any substantial reason.

So now that I have published this latest installment of the comic that is often cited by critics as “foul literature”, an “artistic blight”, and by the medical establishment  “as a clear sign of mental degeneration and likely a genetic defect masquerading as a sense of humor”, I shall retire to the bedroom, rummage through my car magazines and dream the dream of the just, with images of me at the wheel of a fiery sport cars, towing along a trunk full of butter-rich croissants and maybe a dozen fresh bagels.

Keep the faith, and please keep over-eating so I’ll look a little thinner next to you.

-Johannes the Druker

Chinese Fortunes

As the evening draws to a close and as night sets in, I sit here at my computer, finally having created a new comic. You have no idea how much joy this brings to a tired soul who has been busier than a baton-wielding cop at a G20 summit arresting anarchists, leftists, hippies, liberals, the homeless, and of course, innocent tourists, single mothers and passers-by who are at the wrong place at the wrong time. Ah, nothing like the indiscriminate wielding of power (a.k.a. a metal baton) by someone who joined the law enforcement cadre with a stellar high school diploma. Makes for GREAT TV.

Man, I was happy I wasn’t in Toronto for that. But it made for useful fodder for this month’s comic. Heaven knows there are many other topics I could have chosen, but this one was easy to draw and do quickly. And speed was of the essence because, if the Internet and impatient type-A bosses and blow hard leaders with no real vision have taught us, do it fast and deal with the mess later.

Most humans forget everything anyway, we’re not good long-term thinkers as a species goes, generally. We think about our next meal, pay check, copulation and avoiding stuff that causes anxiety, like doing the garden or filing taxes. Truth be told, if we did think about the long-term on a regular basis, there wouldn’t be semi-senitent people with horrible tattoos, Internet stories about that girl who slept with the giant loser on a bet while under the influence of drugs and/or booze, the Quebec separatist party, wars, terrorists, tans-fats, or politicians. We would stop and think about it for a bit, say to ourselves over a cup of tea or coffee that it wouldn’t be prudent to put that live rodent pet into an electric device like a microwave.

But we would be boring and history class would be utterly boring thus denying many an unemployable, bearded, greasy filmmaker a chance to make a documentary about exciting past events that most of us have already forgotten due to pill and smoked meat abuse. Even worse than that, if we humans were good long-term thinkers, I wouldn’t have slept around in my youth and done Jell-O shots of the stomach of a woman equally blitzed and of low self-esteem and moral character. (Wonder if I still have her number…)

I do take pride that I can give you all something to hopefully laugh at while the searing, blazing heat wave that is punishing us shows no sign of letting up. Melted roads, baked roofs, dried grasses, wilted flowers, smelly people on the bus. Icky. The heat has warped my brain more than usual – which is saying something.

So now it’s time to crawl into bed that is soft and puffy, and to dream about an impending vacation, about places far away from work, far away from my overgrown, junlgle-like lawn that I have to mow this weekend in the name of neighborhood solidarity, and far from the pavement-melting heat I stride through on my way to work every Monday through Friday where I give my pound of flesh.

Keep reading, keep eating and keep well. And keep the lights on so I don’t fall down the stairs on my way to a midnight snack.

Helios Druker, Greek God of Burnt Meats

Olympic Fun & Games

Olympic Fun and Games

To those who know right from wrong and still eat spicy food before they go to bed without taking a Tums, I give you this particular episode of the visually delectable and intellectually fluffy scribblings once called “asinine” by Picasso’s aunt Esmeralda before she was put in the basement.

Given the weighty topic that it covers — oppression and the Olympics — it should be food for thought, like a fried dumpling filled with mystery innards and garlic, with a nice, dark vinegar dipping sauce. Oh how I love those and wish all humanity could eat them and learn of glorious yet toxic qualities.

The Olympics once stood for greatness and athletic achievement, for personal drive and the belief in sport to better us and bring us together.  Now the Olympics stand for most of that still, albeit with a heavy corporate backing and sales-enhancing marketing, nationalistic chest-beating akin to sandlot battles between maladjusted children but with freakishly large budgets, and chemical and DNA tinkering meant to “enhance” performance, all in equal parts.

And then came China’s successful bid/bribe for the Games and the massive soul- and bone-crushing undertaking they set in motion to make it happen. Do I have proof there was bone-crushing? No, not really, but it’s China, so you know something nasty happened to the environment, the protesters and the journalists who tried to expose the corruption. What is Chinese for “gulag”?

And what should this comic teach us, dear readers? Well, if it weren’t for China, chances are I couldn’t have afforded the computer and associated peripheral equipment to document this little historical fact of Chinese sporting glory and oppression. So it’s a bit ironic I’m making fun of them with the results of efficient slave labor from their factories. But isn’t the universe funny that way? You bet.

So take from this political commentary what you will, be it the food aspect, the wry political commentary, or the loving interaction between man and machine, dad and son or gun and nosy blogger.

It boggles the mind. Or at least my mind.