Author Archive

Hardiman Blows the Lid Off Toilet Seat Manufacturers’ Mendacity

Oh sure this lid  looks good down, but try getting it to stay up on its own now that this extra thick seat-fro has been added.

The Jeopardy Lead-in

Contestant 1: I’ll take Unscrupulous Things Toilet Seat Manufacturers Do for $2000 Alex.

Alex: Because they refuse to manufacture toilet seat lids so they can accept a carpet-like lid cover without tipping back toward the bowl and crashing loudly onto the seat, toilet seat manufacturers are known by this term.

Contestant 1: What are Bad Samaritans?

Alex: No.

Contestant 2: What are Russian Oligarchs?

Alex: That too is incorrect.

Contestant 3: What is Eligible for a David Hardiman essay highlighting a detail so minute it can only be seen through an electron microscope or by his very small mind?

Alex: That’s right. That was a tough one. Almost had you there. Read the rest of this entry »

On Censuring Irving Berlin for Overstating the Exceptionality of “Show Business”

The prodigious one fondling his first love – the piano.

If I have any superpowers at all it’s in being a sober arbiter of esoterica. And it is in keeping with my need for precision in these peripheral netherworlds that I take exception to the gross hyperbole contained in Irving Berlin’s scantily-researched claim that ♫There’s No Business Like Show Business ♫. For Moses’s sake Mr. Berlin – we all know full well there are many businesses like show business. How dare this little refugee from Russia emigrate to our shores and tell us what our business is – such chutzpah. However innocuous the observation There’s No Business Like Show Business may seem, I’d like to see Mr. Immigrant Composer make that same claim in Mother Russia – he’d get a one-way ticket on the trans-Siberian express to a reeducation camp where his once-jaunty song would be repurposed into “There’s no Gulag like our Gulag.”   

I believe I can fairly sum up my bewilderment at Berlin’s lyrical impudence by paraphrasing Fredo Corleone when he warned his brother Michael about disrespecting Moe Green: “Irving, you don’t just walk into America’s Jazz Age and start yelling, ‘There’s no business like show business’ without attribution, sources or citations. It’s just not done.” Read the rest of this entry »

On Coping with Temporal and Spatial Imprecision in Early American Folk Songs

 

No issue too trivial, no remedy too irrelevant in structuring my universe.

She’ll be coming round the mountain when she comes 
She’ll be coming round the mountain when she comes
She’ll be coming round the mountain, she’ll be coming round the mountain,
She’ll be coming round the mountain when she comes

She’ll be riding six white horses when she comes (Hee Haw) 
She’ll be riding six white horses when she comes (Hee Haw)
She’ll be riding six white horses, she’ll be riding six white horses,
She’ll be riding six white horses when she comes (Hee Haw)
 

Most of us feel a mystic kinship to Early American folk songs: case in point, the jaunty call and response song She’ll be Coming ‘Round the Mountain. Traditional ditties like these from the Early American songbook convey a sense of unbridled optimism stretching out over a robust country ripe with opportunity. And yet for all its nationalist fervor and manifest destiny the song fairly bristles with an inexcusable lack of time-space coordinates. More specifically, once the listener realizes an unnamed and otherwise phantom “she” will be coming ‘round the mountain, our first reaction is to wonder when she’ll arrive – when will “she” be coming ‘round the mountain? Our reptilian logic centers are primed for processing the precise locus of this event. And despite our anticipatory curiosity, all we are told is that she’ll be coming ‘round that mountain, “When she comes.” I’m afraid this simply will not do. Although I loathe words that have a “b” followed by an “h”, I nonetheless abhor songs whose feel good, sunny lyrics betray an appalling lack of time and place. Read the rest of this entry »

My Secret Shame: The DQ

Better than Disneyland, and with much shorter lines.

While others write graphically about their soft-serve escapades in steamy lick and tell exposés, my soft-serve affair involves more telling and less licking. Ice cream holds no special place for me. And what little ice cream I do consume is of the rock hard, scoopable variety. Although my preferred ice cream might be a high-cost, high-butterfat product, I’m not a snobby connoisseur of craft ice creams served at micro-creameries. In my world lactose is not something you enjoy. Lactose is something you tolerate – like that thick and sour Greek-style yogurt which has become all the rage with hipster Milklennials. They “partake” of the grassy, Grecian yogurt to inject a little culture into their colon – 6 billion lactobacillus acidophilus cultures.

I’ve always thought cow’s milk should be for baby cows. That’s what nature seems to have intended for mother’s milk. It’s for baby whatever’s; and not meant for race car drivers who’ve just won the Indianapolis 500. But what if the nipple was on the other teat. Suppose there were entrepreneurial cows who froze human breast milk, ground Oreos into it and then served it to their calves? Read the rest of this entry »

Fake Book on Ombudsmen Generates Fake Book Review

This is a thing – really? Yes, really.

Ombudsmandry Throughout the Ages

by Frank Knarf

St. Albans Press, 341 pp., $55.00

 

In Frank Knarf’s bracingly inconsequential book Ombudsmandry Throughout the Ages, within the span of 3 pages the author tells us everything we’d ever want to know about ombudsmen. How he manged to concoct another 338 pages on such an esoteric topic I’ll never know. This is not an overly long book. Crime and Punishment was a long book. This book makes eternity look like a coffee break. To read beyond page 10 is a crime. To read beyond page 20 is both a crime and punishment. At least the middle section has centerfolds of historic figures like Attila the Ombudsman, Vlad the Ompaler and Donny and Marie Ombuds. Ombudsmandry Throughout the Ages is a tough read. In controlled clinical trials, professional scholars have attempted to “binge-read” the book and in all cases have suffered spontaneous narcolepsy or herniated cerebrums. It simply can’t be read at a sitting and I’m at a loss as to why St. Albans Press decided to publish it instead of the more titillating Hunter-Douglass corporately-sponsored catalog titled 50 Shades of Shades.   Read the rest of this entry »

You think I’m “Nuts!” I think I’m “Differently Advantaged.”

My airborne happy space. Why must it be off limits to me?

That I possess an avid interest in congregating near the forward lavatory of commercial jetliners cannot be denied. And because one person does not constitute a congregation, my peculiarity becomes all the more cultish. This quirk, this foible, this idiosyncrasy of deriving immense gratification in Proximal Flight Deck Loitering has been discouraged by flight attendants and Air Marshalls alike. But like my life coach always says, “There’s nothing I can do for you David. Not now. Not ever. Oh yeah, and stop with that airplane loitering sh*t.”  

Like most people with a socially unwelcomed interest, it came to me uninvited – I was born this way. So I like to loiter at the front of planes. So big deal. I know I’m harmless. Why should I have to convince you? Can’t you look into my soul and see that I’m not nuts. I’m just differently advantaged? Besides, my supposed trespass doesn’t pose a danger to anyone. And anyway aren’t Christians supposed to Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Well forgive away, and start with me. “I accept your forgiveness.” Read the rest of this entry »

“Heal Me, Video Solitaire. Heal Us All.”

Truth right there in Black & Red. Breathe easy. It’s all going to work out.

I’d heard the uncharitable whispers: “His brain is an unkempt mess” and “His thoughts are badly disheveled.” This pained me greatly as I prided myself on appearing both kempt and sheveled. Many of these sotto voce critiques of my wordiness were true: I was a walking trove of excessive verbosity. And when I was prose-doping (taking literary performance enhancing drugs), I became a towering trove of staggering prolixity. It was all mental masturbation giving me the illusion of control and masking a feeling of helplessness. Then again maybe I was being too hard on myself? Maybe I just liked to have fun with worms. See what I did there? You thought I’d say fun with words, instead I said fun with worms. What can’t I do? A lot. Because most of my grandiose ruminations don’t amount to a hill of beans. Or (as the prose-doping kicks in) don’t amount to a towering mound of staggering legumosity.   Read the rest of this entry »

Amnesia: A Story of Bewildering Reclamation

Quite a ghoulish cross to bear.

I was car shopping in New Jersey when I accidentally visited a Hyundai dealership instead of a Honda dealership – thank you very much GPS w/voice recognition. It was there, near the entrance to Hackensack Hyundai where I suffered an unexpected bout of amnesia. Amnesia in New Jersey is different. Instead of suffering from clinical memory loss you simply fuggedaboutit. And this is the story of my struggle (or mein kamp  for my German friends) in reclaiming my memories – at least what I think are my memories. See what amnesia can do? It can scramble your brains when you’d prefer them to be over-easy. And whether scrambled or over-easy, a nice side of bacon with your brains is very healing – whether it’s cured or uncured (the bacon that is and not the brain). 

Back on the Rails

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Unimportant – Aaron Unimportant. I come from a long line of Unimportant people. We were known as VUPs (Very Unimportant Persons). I don’t know why I’m even telling you this part of the story. It’s really unimportant. So let us begin my journey from forgetfulness to mindfulness where I travel from a blank slate devoid of any impressions to a full slate populated with numerous Post-it Notes. As you come to understand my calamity, it may all become quite confusing in a “Why-am-I-still-reading-this, kind of way.” Read the rest of this entry »

 It is what it is. Except when it’s not.

This is what it is? I don’t think so. My advice: Don’t settle. Go beyond so-called questioning authority. Be the answer and rest comfortably in knowing it’s never what you think it is.

We often rely on the bedrock cliché “It is what it is” to armor ourselves against IEDs – Idiotic Earthly Dilemmas. We need its unerring guidance to help us navigate through the mental minefield of wondering just what in tarnation is going on around here (italicized phrase should be read with a thick southern accent). To maintain some semblance of an equilibrium we humans need to be very accepting of our predicament and resorting to that age old explainer-awayer “It is what it is,” goes a long way to maintaining our stability in an uncertain world.  In times of stress a quick visit to the mental medicine cabinet for a handy dose of “It is what it is” often provides immediate temporary relief for minor existential pain. So what if it’s just a placebo masking the anxiety-producing effects of gnawing, insoluble challenges. This brings to mind the unlaunched man-child who finally realizes: “Jesus, I’ve got to move out of this basement for so many reasons. The first one is because the people living upstairs don’t even know I’m down here. Oh well, it is what it is.”

And as much as I belittle “It is what it is” I wouldn’t want to exclude it from our coping repertoire. It’s important to make some kind of informed decision and then act upon it. I mean we don’t want a lot of quibbling philosopher-Kings running around spouting-off, “Yes, but why does my toast burn when the universe knows I’d prefer it otherwise.” We don’t need that level of self-absorption. We need people to keep their noses to the grindstone so the rest of us can enjoy the freedom of going to a 7-11 at 3 a.m. for a Slurpee fix. Let us all stay engaged and directed. We know life is at its best when it’s uncomplicated, and saying “It is what it is” helps to keep it that way. Read the rest of this entry »

***The Academy is Losing It***

As movie demographics fragment, Uncle Oscar gets a makeover. But will we still be recognizale?

In a craven attempt to remain relevant, the beleaguered Academy Awards Show has endeavored to reposition itself after last year’s Best Picture fiasco. And in a process reflecting the same mentality that went into assigning the right number of life boats to the Titanic, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has announced some changes to this year’s awards show. As expected, the first order of business was to nominate Meryl Streep for 14 Academy Awards – this despite the fact she’s not been in any movies at all this year. There were other surprise announcements made at the slowly-arranged press conference. The press conference was slowly-arranged, so as to not have damning press clippings refer to it as “hastily arranged press conference.” The press event was held at the Lawndale Waffle House on El Segundo. It’s more newsworthy items are highlighted below:

 
1. The award for Best Foreign Short will be presented to a Napoleon impersonator.
 
2. Announced that Mr. Bob Hope will host this year’s show.
 
3. New category: Movies Unconnected to Kevin Bacon.
 
4. Martin Scorsese will be nominated for being Martin Scorsese.
 
5. Macaulay Culkin to accept Lifetime Achievement Award.
5.5 Jim Carrey to accept Lifetime Achievement Award, but only for his achievements up to 2005.
 
6. Hologram of Tupac Shakur to present posthumous Grammy to hologram of Henry Mancini – wrong on so many levels.
 
7. Telecast will be sponsored by the all-new Chevrolet Corvair: Rear-engined technology that’s safe at any speed.
 
8. La La Land nominated again. This time for Most Gracious Loser.
 
 
It is hoped these subtle changes will inject new life into a telecast that routinely pulled 40 million viewers, but now is seen by fewer than 108, and most of those from the Motion Picture Home for Retired Actors also located in Lawndale. In fact many of its inmates attended the Academy’s slowly-arranged 4 pm press conference because it coincided with the Chicken à la King Early Bird Special.