All posts by jd67

Artificial Intelligence for the Stupid

Artificial Intelligence Artificial Intelligence Artificial Intelligence Artificial Intelligence Artificial Intelligence Artificial Intelligence Artificial Intelligence Artificial IntelligenceArtificial Intelligence Isn’t As Smart As You Think It Is

Who is more stupid? Humans or is artificial intelligence? I read a little while ago that there’s a list of 403 forbidden words used to filter search and website results. The AI program in some search engines uses this list to keep ‘bad’ words from showing up in search results and potentially offending viewers of the global cesspit that is the Internet.

I didn’t look at this list (yet) and I’m sure it’s missing entries that my father used to curse me and others at random points in his life when he was brought powdered sugar donuts that His Royal Highness didn’t deem to be fresh enough. But I digress.

Using AI to detect meaning and context in language is very difficult. With artificial intelligence you need to give it to a developer who understands computer languages. That very faulty human has to somehow figure out a way to have an algorithm understand, recognize and learn about those bits of vocabulary, usually without context, and then get it to figure out you are indeed searching for, let’s say, “feckless hairy pinatas” and not “recipes with cherries and bananas.”

It’s pretty darn complicated.

Logic, Language and Context

Let’s say you’re wildly passionate about metal fastening devices and you type in the word “screw” – you may not want to be led to a website that shall we say is chiefly concerned with advancing carnal knowledge (via credit card) and shows off heavily tattooed and physics-defying intimate body interactions. Or maybe you do. I am not here to judge. Yet.

You see human language has nothing to do with logic. Let alone artificial intelligence. Or animal intelligence. It’s about conveying an idea or information for many interesting reasons. Sometimes it’s to show dominance, display accumulated knowledge, make people laugh, or to purchase a fresh chocolate danish, and not the one that’s been dropped by the ham-fisted teenager behind the counter.

In numerous studies done by a guy named Manny in a remote fishing village, he determined that most often language is used to get another person to pay attention to you so you can fish through their pockets for valuables while they’re not looking. This sounds quite credible to me.

Have We Learned Anything?

Absolutely nothing. All we can really assume after this short rant is that I doubt that the masters of this list of forbidden words can ever teach and create algorithms that can handle the breadth, depth and ferocity of dirty words I know I have used in the past week since I stubbed my toe. Let alone the stuff that my father used to say to the tv. And me.

Terribly tired and fed up waiting for his COVID vaccination,
Dr. Philmore Blemish III

Am I Off Trend Again?

Stanko and Tibor TrendsStanko and Tibor TrendsStanko and Tibor TrendsStanko and Tibor TrendsStanko and Tibor TrendsStanko and Tibor TrendsOff Trend Again

Having just devoured a scrumptious dinner with my daughter, which involved lively conversation about her schooling and her school mates (all remote and visible via a computer screen only), I was reminded for the 6,793rd time this month that I am not only old, but wildly out of touch with the latest trends.

In addition to teaching me the term “insta-baddie” and a few other choice terms teens use to explain what passes for human communication these days, my mind wandered to the subject of this instalment of the comic blog that Arch Duke Ferdinand once said he’d rather be assassinated than to have to read again: The Brazilian Butt Lift (or BBL for those in the know). It’s not just a trend, it’s a way of spending stupid money.

I readily accept that the last time I was on trend, or even within a city block of a trend, I was probably 17 when I wore red leather bowling shoes. They were cool. Yes, I was frequently ostracized from main stream society. And my family. And branded a heretic. The subsequent re-programming using shock therapy didn’t fix me, but it sure made my dad laugh. But I digress.

The short version of the BBL: They suck fat out of one part of your body and stick it in and around your buttock area so men, women, your dog and hermaphrodites can have a body shape like Kim Kardashian. Honestly, I thought this was a joke when I heard about it, but this trend is real.

People will spend (oh I can’t resist writing  this) big-ass money to have themselves intentionally mauled by a Porsche-driving cosmetic surgeon to look like someone who has all the societal value of the residue at the bottom of a locker room soap dish.

And you wonder why Trump got elected…

The thing with trends is that they take so much effort to follow and stay on top of. Or close enough to hold hands with. Which is why youth are so good at following trends slavishly. It takes time and energy, two things I am officially out, along with money, danish, self-respect and hair on the top of my head. When you’re young you can use your boundless energy to hunt for and chase down the latest thing. Google or Twitter will help you find what’s trending. Instant gratification.

What else do the youth of today have to do but be on social media and see what’s hot, what’s not and make sure they latch on desperately, because social media makes them feel like crap for not being famous every minute of every day and are thus worthless members of society.

Same goes for more than a few adults I know. But many of them are hitting a point in their lives where not even a BBL would help them look cool. Only a sports car of German origin might work. Or a profligate SUV, but those are more for people who are “adult trendy.” It’s different from those youth trends. You have way more debt and body fat to use for an eventual BBL.

Infuriatingly insolent – and proud of it,
Ishmael of the Caves Druker

The Stupid Force

The Force The Force The Force The Force The ForceThe Force Stupidity – A Force for Change

There’s a force for change spreading through the world. It’s not what you think it is. It’s not positive thinking, or low carb diets, or even drug-induced cross-dressing. It’s the force of stupidity.

Think of it as the low-normal relative of  The Force except too many people use it to guide their daily existence. Like Trump believers.

You have heard me expound at length about the depth of human idiocy. My father, the realist/cynic salesman who could spot the force of stupidity at a distance, clued me in this force of nature when I was 12 years old. It’s only some 40 years later that I have seen it come to brutal fruition in the year of COVID.

Anti-maskers, anti-vaxxers, anti-matter and other antis have proven to me repeatedly that stupidity, probably like the Corona virus, is like a force of nature and as plentiful as oxygen. Likewise, it mutates and adapts almost as fast as Corona does.

Tap That Force

I’d like to know how we can harness and tap this force. Think of what we could do if we could control stupid energy, distill it and use it as an energy source. Screw oil, coal, natural gas and solar panels! And best of all, because stupid humans outnumber smart ones 7,799,999,943 to 17, it’s an almost limitless supply.

Come to think of it, it’s probably pretty easy to tap this stupid force. All you really need is a media outlet, people with smartphones or internet-enabled devices, and a lot of free time spent mostly trapped indoors.

Now how could I arrange that…? I bet if I developed a bio-weapon in a secret lab in a country under a dictatorial regime with evil global ambitions, I think I could pull this off.

What? It has been done already? Shit. [Note to readers: that last paragraph was for the stupid.]

Mentally stunned and emotionally stunted,
King Pho Khun Bang Klang Hao Druker

Bye Bye 2020, Hi 2021


2021

Bye Bye 2020

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.

Time for bed.

 

Gord The Bard – Not

Gord (a.k.a Dad) The Bard

Gord The Bard - NotGord The Bard - NotGord The Bard - NotGord The Bard - NotGord The Bard - NotGord The Bard - Not


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.

Achingly hairy and twice as isolated,
Koko Druker

It’s Democracy, Buttface!

Democracy is a scamDemocracy is a scamDemocracy is a scamDemocracy is a scamIt’s Democracy, Buttface!

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

Masks and Mendacity (A Better Read Than Sense And Sensibility)

Masks Masks Masks Masks Masks Masks MasksMasks Masking Mendacity

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.

Insincerely yours,
Vladimir Guerrero Druker

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