Archive for March, 2019
They never get to say, “I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore” unless they actually leave the state.
It’s even more confusing if someone from Arkansas says, “I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore“ because “kansas” is actually within Arkansas.
And don’t get me started on the whole Prussian leader Friedrich the Great, upon leaving Moscow, saying, “I have a feeling we’re not in Russia anymore“ while the whole time “russia” is within Prussia.
I don’t know. This whole thing could’ve been avoided had Dorothy and Toto come from Delaware instead of Kansas. Damn you Frank Baum. But then again would we ever say, “I have a feeling we’re not in Delaware anymore?”
Put another way; Is Del aware? No. Del unaware.
If this marginalia becomes anymore infinitesimal, I’m going to click my sneakers together and go home – wherever that is.
The underwhelming tourist attraction known as Four Corners, located where the 4 corners of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona meet, is widely regarded as a kitschy crossroad of analog charm. Lately, however, it has become a jammed junction of interstate squabbling. What normally should be a celebration of shared boundaries is now a crossroad these states must bear. A very cross road. A 90° cross of imaginary lines with real consequences.
Four Corners is a manmade boundary drawn up during the Civil War when territorial contours were out, and crisp military lines were in. A surveyor’s simple, crosshatched fashion statement designed to tame the unruly landscapes of the Wild West. Looking at these stodgy, block-shaped states today one thinks they could’ve used a dose of Queer Eye for the Straight Line. But stylizing the intersection of Four Corners in 1863 was perhaps asking too much of a preoccupied Army Corps of Engineers embroiled in another, more lethal intersection – as in this case the intersectional War Between the States.
Four Corners is an attraction (if you can call it that) of dubious novelty. While it’s true that visitors can brag they’ve been in four states in one day, that’s not really saying much. Heck, I’ve been in 8 states just doing laundry – the states of anxiety, serenity, denial, hostility, bliss, arousal, gratitude and Nevada. Of course that was before they adjusted my medication.
My emotional stability aside, Four Corners has always been regarded as a goofy and uninspiring destination – the most anti-climactic place on Earth. For some it’s a bucket list item to check off. For others it’s a cartographer’s wet dream that has of late become an interstate nightmare. What began as a friendly 4-state quadripartite agreement of mutual benefit, has devolved into a relationship of Holy Acrimony. But state-wise you can’t break the bonds of Holy Matrimony because, unlike people, states can’t get a divorce. They’re stuck with each other. I mean the last time some states tried a dis-union it didn’t work out too well for either party.
So how did a series of 4 right angles generate so much acrimony? I know 3 rights make a left. What I didn’t know was, in this case, 4 rights made a wrong.
New Mexico in particular has grown indignant at being walked all over as a result of this stately agreement. “But that’s the point,” countered Utah. “We’re all being trampled on. You should be rejoicing. New Mexico just doesn’t get it. We’re trying to promote foot traffic.” New Mexico claims its foot traffic is disproportionate and that more people are spending time tramping all over their “Land of Enchantment” than any other state. New Mexico believes there’s more wear and tear on their little ¼ corner and consequently they want more than just the usual 25% cut of revenue for maintenance.
Some envy crept into New Mexico’s statement as they expressed displeasure with the agreement. A New Mexican official elaborated, “We want the same status and celebrity as other states. Take a state with great star power like New York. They’ve got their own cheesecake, steak and even their own minute – Damn Yankees! Georgia has its peaches, Iowa its corn and Mississippi has it’s…ummm sharecroppers? Maybe the less said about Mississippi the better. The point is, what do we get here in New Mexico? We get to be ‘enchanted.’ Enchanted. Well la-ti-da. And to add insult to injury our northwest corner is treated like a national Port-a-Potty.”
To redress their claims, New Mexico is proposing to withdraw from the Four Corners Union in what they call a “New Mexit.”
In reviewing New Mexico’s concerns, Utah spoke for the group saying, “I think New Mexico’s been smoking what Colorado’s been growing, and maybe they’ve gotten a little too enchanted.” Utah has their own issues with the Four Corners Union stemming from the fact they didn’t even want to be a state to begin with. No, their people had greater ambitions. They wanted their own country. The country of Deseret. Do you know what you call people from Utah? – Utes, Aggies, Utahans? Nope, you call them Mormons. Reports indicate that Utah vows to build a tabernacle around their 90° quadrant and make Arizona pay for it.
Arizona, on the other hand, plans on constructing a giant Koi Pond on their little corner of God’s arid acre. They also announced they’ll stock it with piranhas if Utah doesn’t withdraw their asinine proposal.
And that brings us to Colorado. Due to recent cannabis legislation, Colorado wasn’t even aware there was a problem. “We spaced it,” said Larry Stone, owner of the Stoner’s House of Herbs, a marijuana dispensary. “Really, I didn’t even know we bordered New Mexico till just now.” He paused, looked at his watch and said, “It is now isn’t it?”
These days Rocky Mountain high Coloradans are skittish about visiting New Mexico calling it “The Land of Entrapment.”
4 Corners Dissension Spawns Opportunity for Others in the Very Esoteric World of Shared Boundary Theme Parks
While 4 Corners is stymied by its fraternal spat, other states aren’t standing still in stoking the micro-appeal of shared boundary theme parks. And in doing so these states have managed to do what many thought impossible – to make a geographic theme park even less compelling than 4 Corners. For example Wyoming, Idaho and Montana have devised a geographic wonderland at their common boundary point called 3 Triangles – a place where reclusive tourists, who are unable to withstand the social pressures of birdwatching, can stand in Wyoming, Idaho and Montana all at the same time! Who wouldn’t want to do that? – I mean besides me and everybody else.
The 50th state of Hawaii has initiated a boundary-themed attraction where they encourage tourists to put one foot in the Pacific Ocean and one in Hawaii at the same time. They call it the Surf and Turf Experience. I call it wading.
The oddly shaped states of Florida and Oklahoma are trying to steal 4 Corners thunder by developing panhandle theme parks. I’m wary of a panhandle park. I think it will draw the wrong element. I mean who wants to visit a place filled with panhandlers.
Even the corporate-whoring state of Delaware has toyed with the idea of creating a fantasy tourist space where visitors can put their feet down, click their heels together and legitimately exclaim, “I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” Del aware? No. Del unaware.
Binding Arbitration for Four Corners
To the great relief of Navajo Indians hawking trinkets and Fry Bread at 4 Corners, it appears a solution is on the horizon. The horizon being yet another shared boundary – this one between heaven and earth. To the surprise of many, it seems all parties have agreed to submit their grievances to binding arbitration – surprising because no one thought they were even into bondage. You don’t expect states whose boundaries are straight intersecting lines to be so kinky. But hey, if it offers a resolution, who am I to judge?
It turns out this entire make-believe spat seems to be a fantasy of invented problems – a pretend tissue of made-up issues. A mere scaffolding for quips, asides and allegorical allusions. And I believe that’s altogether fitting and proper because, after all, these lines are imaginary – both the written ones and the cartographic ones. I believe the arbitration panel will find in favor of the author whose boundary dissolving essay demonstrates not that he is lost in a make-believe world of imaginary lines and pretend quarrels, but that he was merely suffering from March Madness.
How Movies Signify Urgency
Y’ever (yes, y’ever is a word – it’s a contraction of “did you ever”). OK. Let’s start again shall we? J’ever, I mean, y’ever notice this dramatic plot device in movies? The template for this dramatic device operates thusly: In the middle of a rather sedate scene, off in the distance, you hear the whooping gyrations of a helicopter’s rotor blades. Soon this feathery whoosh becomes progressively more insistent as the clamorous decibel level combined with the helicopter’s formidable appearance eclipses whatever trifling activity was happening in the scene. All are transfixed upon the chopper’s thunderous arrival. And all is transformed when the whirlybird drops down from on high and rudely inserts itself into the middle of a fancy lawn party or some such other incongruous venue. We moviegoers wonder – “What in tarnation is a helicopter doing here?”
Depending on the movie’s storyline, sometimes the helicopter lands athwart the path of our soon-to-be hero while he’s jogging on a lonely beach (wow, they must really need him, we think). The incongruity of the helicopter in a decidedly un-helicopter-like setting renders the scene all the more critical and signifies a moment fraught with urgency as it foreshadows something pivotal about to take place. The yakking rotor blades herald the significance of this pivotal moment, and wily directors employ this aural technique to segue us into a scene of mounting anticipation, replete with surges of excitement and a heightened level of arousal. In real life you see this dynamic with enthusiastic lovers who try to generate similar feelings, but without a script and definitely without the rotor blades.
In each movie the scene plays out a little differently. The good guy or gal (hey, why don’t I just call them the protagonist) is awakened rudely in the middle of the night by the vacuous flutter of counter-rotating helicopter blades. In these movies our protagonist is either a retired elite Navy Seal counterterrorist type or a brilliant professor (is there any other kind?) who holds unique knowledge in some esoteric field like electro-magnetic warfare or translating runic glyphs. As the helicopter comes into view, a crescendo of thunderous clucking fills the theater’s Surround Sound with enough vibratory alarm to wake the dead – or in this case to wake our protagonist from deep REM sleep. Who wouldn’t straighten up and fly right upon awakening to the other worldly roar of rotor blades slicing through the air with the ominous chop of 10,000 guillotines blades being released in deadly syncopation? OK Mr. Director, you’ve got my attention. Now what? Read the rest of this entry »
Preamble: As Danny DeVito once said to Shaquille O’Neal, “I’ll be short.” And in a similar way I’ll be, if not short, at least concise in this little amuse bouche of an essay seeking to define who I am in this Digital Age of torrential technology. This is a worthy pursuit if only because it’s another 3 hours until lunch and with that kind of existential hole to fill I turn my thoughts unto the nature of me and by extension, the nature of all of us (alright, maybe I won’t be that short, but I certainly won’t be uninteresting).
Amble: It was Socrates who said, “Know thyself.” He said it in ancient Greek so it sounded a lot different back then. But his larger point being that the unexamined life was not worth living. And when I say, “the unexamined life was not worth living” you all think, “Well that’s very true, but of course it doesn’t apply to me. I know what I’m doing. But for other people, whoa, they’ve got some serious examining to do.”
It’s always the other guy isn’t it? God forbid we should be self-reflective and see the faults within ourselves and do something to transcend them other than blithely observe, “Oh yeah…there they are again. Hey faults. What’s up?” How do we square that? We ignore it and kinda blame the rest of humanity for lack of “not seeing things as I see them” or maybe we depend on a God we barely acknowledge to, “Explain it all to me once I’m through with this life.” Some might say there are worse things to procrastinate about than endeavoring to “Know thyself.” And if you’ve ever tried to ignore a kidney stone you know what I’m talking about.
The Thing: In any event, and irrespective of my little indictment of the human race above, I’ve plumbed the depths and shallows of my being. I’ve discovered there are ample areas of shallowness and a few deep pools of cosmic connectivity. My self-definition is influenced by the Digital Age of technology which has relentlessly cascaded upon us like a newly formed and torrential waterfall (not bad writing, eh). I’ve designed this personal descriptor, as a reference book for all humanity. As if there were a dictionary whose content included every earthling who has ever existed, so that if you looked up the meaning of David Hardiman, the definition would appear thusly:
David Hardiman: A human platform streaming original content at no charge to interested end users. A multi-function app powered by both good intentions and bad choices. Like many born of mammalian parents, he’s a temporary flesh puppet occupying a renta-body that’s long, willowy and prone to excessive thinking. While not buying into the foolhardy view of life as pointless duality, he nonetheless contends with it like a parent does with a whiny child – he loves it immensely, but just wishes it would behave. Hardiman lived his life by Oscar Wilde’s maxim, “Life is too important to be taken seriously.”
Also see: Marx Bros, Einstein, Ram Dass, Lennon, Jesus and Steve Martin.
- I don’t know. I don’t want to know. Let’s just hope it’s consensual.
- It’s one of those English baking shows where they teach you how to use a rolling pin
- No money was exchanged, although a little later, phone numbers were exchanged
- Bottom guy to top guy: “Gees mister, your church sure has a weird way of praying. This is a church – right?”
- TSA “Pat Down” class…as taught by a substitute teacher
- This is from a Holistic Laxative Clinic where practitioners have found a kinder, gentler way to encourage movement. I’ve heard of “greasing the skids,” but this is ridiculous
- I think the guy on top is a recent immigrant who lives at the facility and owes traffickers thousands.
- Police Frisking Class: New method of ass-uaging the perpetrator
- That is one helluva suppository.
- Firemen getting in-service instruction in FST: Fart Suppression Training
- And in actuality it’s a pic from Syracuse University Football’s Strength & Conditioning operation
Confessions of a Materialistic Mercenary
Don’t look at me. I’m hideous. I peddle my idolized eminence all over social media because I’m deemmed a popular trendsetter. And as a savvy Media Influencer of guileless consumers who depend on me for guidance in arranging their lifestyle, I take great pride and money in directing their choices through ad-choked tweets and sly Instagram picto-promotions. Because of my innate grasp of the zeitgeist, I wield considerable clout when it comes to endorsing products. Corporations recognize this and pay me beaucoup bucks to prostitute myself in an unholy form of product trafficking. Where’s Liam Neeson when you need him?
Despite my propensity to throw shade on myself for my mercenary vocation, I’d never be so crass as to directly endorse any product. I will not deign to appear to be just a paid shill for any product even though these products are manufactured thousands of miles away from me and millions of miles away from my understanding of how they’re made or what they really are. The whole enterorise has to appear to be organic – a natural outgrowth of who I am. So my propaganda needs to be more circumspect and insidious in its methodology. I leave few overt fingerprints in leading my horses to water to let them drink deeply of Yoo-hoo or Monster or whatever the hell it is I’m being paid millions to unobtrusively insinuate into my Instagram or twitter account. And I’ll go to great lengths to present this product as a seamless part of my lifestyle and, by extension, one that should be part of yours. I hate my dishonesty more because I’m blind to its perfidy more than anything else. I need to reclaim me, and I beseech you to help.
Folks, I’m a long way from reflecting God’s radiance and understanding my humble place within the Cosmos. No this relativistic world causes me enough indigestion whereby I need plenty of Pepto-Bismol to deal with it. Sorry. I’m doing it again. I can’t help myself in influencing market-oriented decisions (and thank you Norwich Pharmaceutical for the $30K for mentioning Pepto-Bismol in this essay – God I hate myself). And to that end, I’ve decided to ask for absolution in the court of public opinion as I expose my personal skunk works in the hope of redemption. To earn your forgiveness, I’ve compiled a list of cunning product placements I’ve nonchalantly worked into my twitter feed so that you barely notice the product is even mentioned. It’s practically subliminal in its adumbration. See if you can spot the fig-leafed product I’m promoting and please forgive me for the many trespasses I’ve wormed into your tender psyche.
My twitter feed (my tweet and tell moment):
- Wow, I just got back from a Bruno Mars concert and it was really good. How good? – Fleischman’s Dry Active Yeast good. Clearly Mars is out of this world. Mars is terrific – bar none. The Mars Bar is set very high.
- I love polychromatic decorative jewelry. Yes, my favorite jewels have colors. And JUULs have flavors too. Escape to the vape.
- Is it pronounced bologna or baloney? I play it safe and just call it Oscar-Meyer.
- This morning Bailey and I went for a walk along a fire service road. Bailey is my longtime male companion. Not that kind of longtime male companion. He’s a Golden Retriever for Christ’s sake – you people. Anyway I noticed the road became very rocky and I wondered if maybe this was the inspiration for Ben & Jerry’s Rocky Road Ice Cream. Bailey is such a good boy. Well yes he is.
- Chloe and I visited the Amazon when we were in our Prime. We ate many Whole Foods there and read the Washington Post when we could find one. It’s inexpensive here in Ecuador. They only charge 10 Bezos for a trip on a streaming river, or fora trippy streaming movie. Very reasonable. And those who bought into the Amazon experience may also like to buy into other affiliated rivers such as the Nile, the Mississippi or the Danube.
- When the night becomes electric a man should smell like a man. That’s why I wear Musk. Elon Musk by Tesla.
- I slipped on a Banana Republic and fell into a GAP. Luckily my Old Navy buddy helped me up.
- I believe White Supremacy, in all its forms, is evil. Although there is one form of White Supremacy I definitely support: the Beatles White Album. That’s right, the 50th anniversary all White Album is now on sale from Apple records. Apple Records – the original Apple Co.
- Seasons do change. Some people like the Vernal or Autumnal Equinox. My favorite Equinox is the Chevy Equinox. And its sister vehicle, the Pontiac Solstice. Test drive one today for great savings – maybe even daylight savings depending on the time of year and the model.
- No eczema is a good thing. And that’s why I use Noxzema. It says it right in the name – No Xzema.
- Life gets hectic and everyone could use help sometimes. I need help, you need help. Even hamburger needs help occasionally. I really believe in having a little Hamburger Helper once a week. And if you could use more help, remember, the Beatles Help! is available on Spotify.
And that’s just one morning’s worth of indirect, social media influence peddling. What have I become? – A Monster (the scary beast and not the drink). I’ve also become a millionaire media influencer. Yes. But at what price? – About $15.7 million so far. Oh, I’m going straight to hell. And I’ll be going there in a stylish slicker from Costco. And Costco doesn’t even engage in corporate advertising. So I’m product-placing there nifty little raincoat in this mea culpa essay for free. And I know I wrote “there nifty” instead of “their nifty.” What is wrong with me? I’m so dysfunctional on so many levels. I’ve got to get on the level and find my equilibrium. Maybe a I’ll take a SUBWAY to Starbuck’s for some calming Tazo tea.
Since it’s too late to ask for permission for my self-serving intrusions, I can only ask for forgiveness.
Silver Linings Where You Least Expect Them
- For the first time in your life, when someone says, “Hey dude, kept it real.” You can legitimately respond, “Don’t worry. I am.”
- On wrestling with “Tis better to give than receive”: Predicting what some distant family member will get you for Christmas and trying to buy them a gift of equal or lesser value…no longer an issue.
- Gun to Your Head Clarity: Without having to 2nd guess yourself, you finally see the true value of everything. Then you breathe easy and realize: “Aaaah, so this is what enlightenment looks like. I like it.”
- Some things will never change. Rap Music will still suck.
- The myth of feeling aggrieved, angry or contemptuous is obliterated forever. You realize your strong convictions merely made you a convict rather than a free thinker. And you shake your head and say, “Great. Thanks God. Thanks for the Stage IV metastatic pancreatic cancer. It took being on deaths door to prompt this life-affirming realizations. And now because time is so short I can’t even get a book deal.”
- You never again have to worry about your cat sneakily licking your armpits
- Beautiful Hallucinations of Fortune: “Am I near vanna yet?” “You mean Nirvana?” “No. I mean near Vanna. I just want to be near Vanna White.”
- You become relaxed and let things go. You come to know it’s OK to be bad, with both names and faces now. How liberating. Now when you see someone you’re vaguely familiar with, you can just point at them and say, “Woof.”
- You’ll get to see John Lennon soon. Of course you’ll also have to contend with Phyllis Diller and Tiny Tim, but not to worry; Einstein, Siddhartha and Jesus’ company easily outweighs Charlie Callas, Charlie Ponzi and Typhoid Mary’s.
- Peaceful, volitional suicide? Suddenly it’s not such a bad alternative. In this way you can go out on your terms and not some pre-programmed termination you never signed up for. This is where opioids have a legitimate place at the table.
- You can now park in handicapped spots without a placard. And when called on it by the scolding parkinazis, you smile and say, “You’ll pardon me, but I’ve got Stage IV pancreatic cancer. So while I recognize the impropriety of my brazen action, I do say in all candor, F*ck you – deeply and vigorously.” It’s called playing the “I’ll be dead in 4 weeks card.”
- You will realize: “We have met the Lord…and it is us.” My God, how did I miss that? I’m as much God as anyone or anything else. Micro Macro. It all coalesces. How did I fail to realize it again – for the 6000th time? This reincarnation thing is getting tedious. Next lifetime, I’m going to participate, but at all hazard, I’m not going to forget this realization. Of course I said that last lifetime too. Oh well, it sure beats having to wait for an AT&T service man – 8-12 my ass. He showed up at 1:30!
- Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald – The guy, and not the ship
2. Clumping Litter for Humans – Really? Yes Really. Features stylish Rubbermaid litter boxes the size of storage sheds scooped out by customized Bobcats. A bad idea impeccably executed.
3. That Better Be Melted Chocolate – Maybe it is and maybe it isn’t. Ewwwww!
4. Hospice Bloopers – Ask the guy that’s been a patient for 9 years
5. The Other Mannequin Challenge – We follow the exploits of introverted and nerdy high schooler Osgood Fillmore as he attempts to take his longtime mannequin and not-so-imaginary playmate, Mindy to the prom and pass her off as his date. OK, I’ll grant you the slow dance was precious, but the making-out part in the back seat afterward left me as unmoved as Mindy.
6. Fish Pedicure Salon Cam – Extreme close-ups of these deranged little fish “voluntarily” eating away the dead skin found on customers’ feet in order to obtain the only nourishment they’ll ever receive. Plus there’s no privacy. They have to live their entire life in a fishbowl.
7. Honey Bucket Ice Challenge – Hijinks ensue when the usual ice is replaced with waste from Honey Buckets used at the Coachella Festival. I mean on the one hand it raises a lot of money, but on the other, it raises a lot of questions.
8. Words That Have 3 Consecutive Dotted Letters – Hijinks ensue when the word hijinks is discovered to have 3 consecutive dotted letters. For obvious reasons, it is suspected the website originates from either Beijing or Fiji. In a performance art video they line up 3 consecutive Dorothys and say, “Dot, Dot, Dot.”
9. End Stage Milk Cartons – Pictures of milk containers that have only a few days left before they expire. Very poignant in a lactose tolerant whey.
10. Geriatric Undergarments – An intimate and unnecessary look into the laundry hampers of octogenarians