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Barely Juvenile, Hardly Delinquent

When you’re an adult in a kid’s body you see things differently. So when our gang of little rascals got caught doorbell ditching, I knew I wasn’t on a highway to hell – maybe a highway to hijinks, but certainly not the road to ruin. And not to sound too streetwise, but while some say that being brought home in a police squad car at the age of 11 may have been a precursor to a life of crime, to me it was the smallest of small potatoes. Bogart in Casablanca had it right in another context when he pointed out that these problems, “don’t amount to a hill of beans.” Potatoes, beans…it’s all food for thought.

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And as I air this cleanest of dirty laundry, I knew back in 1972 I was far, far removed from ever being churned, put through the wringer and then hung out to dry by the criminal justice system. And not to sound cleanlier than thou, I knew I’d not be taken to the cleaners by the authorities. Nope, I’d just be a little agitated. But by virtue of this “wrong of passage” (as opposed to a “rite of passage”), I’d get to be the coolest “bad boy” in Mr. Campbell’s 6th Grade class for a couple of weeks. Since I was 11 at the time of the “incident” allow me to kidsplain the story to you.   

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I understood limits – how far to push against something before it snapped back at you. Even as an 11-year-old stripling I was mightily aware of boundary lines and the importance of staying within them. Life was like a giant coloring book that way and I was savvy enough to stay inside the lines so my life wouldn’t become messy. In advertising my “brush with the law” to my schoolmates I was hoping for a measure of street cred to give the 11-year-old Hardiman brand a whiff of danger and a quantum of Bondian cachet (so much for kidsplainin’).

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Yes, at the tender age of 11 in 1972 I was trying to create a buzz in the pre-social media influencer age. Maybe I could have it all at 11. I could be clever, tall, handsome and dangerous. That was the calculus anyway, even if this ego-driven fantasy was built on a sandcastle of collapsing truths. I wanted to be a bad ass, but in the easy, non-confrontational way – to be regarded as a bad ass, not by fighting or stealing, but by reputation so I wouldn’t have to do the heavy lifting required to be an actual bad ass. Read the rest of this entry »

Hardiman Announces Opening of New Restaurant: The Pompous Ass

To all gastronomes, epicureans and foodies, I’ve finally put the finishing touches on my new restaurant (it’s so hard to find spittoons these days). And it is my pleasure to share with you its smashing new menu. Please remember that all foods and beverages at the Pompous Ass are ethically sourced, sustainably raised and processed by little people who are paid a living wage (if you consider a mud hut and a clay chamber pot a living wage). We will have a soft opening on Friday August 12th and a hard opening just as soon as the Viagra arrives. We look forward to seeing you. Please peruse the menu below: 

 

 

The Pompous Ass

Executive Chef – Benito Agita    Sous Chef – Sue Scheff    Pastry Chef – Filo Dough

 

~ MENU ~

12th of August, 2022

Starters

  • Young Radishes, Baby Lettuces, Developmentally Challenged Turnips
  • Large Small Mouth Bass, Jumbo Shrimp, Elongated Short Ribs 
  • Fanny Crack Bread served with Irma’s sun-dried tap water

 

Zuppa del Giorno

What is Zuppa del Giorno? It’s the soup of the day.

  • Cornstarch Chowder: Thick and….well, just thick. No spoon. Served with a trowel.    
  • Cream of Salt: Saline Infused Brine, Sea Salt, Blue Salt, Green Salt, a tremendous amount of salt. Chef recommends “Salt to taste.”      
  • Broccoli and Cheddar: Featuring KRAFT Imitation Broccoli Flecks

We also serve our signature Diluted Split Pea Soup what it lacks in Pea-ness it makes up for in flavor

 

First Plate

  • Locovore’s Dilemma: Norwegian Salmon, Chilean Sea Bass, Martian Halibut
  • Paula Dean’s Down Home Myocardial Infarction: Served with Hopkins’ Farms Pork Rinds and Nancy’s Defibrillators 
  • Gherkins Galore: Jerked Gherkins, Lammykin Gherkins, Next of Kin Gherkins and Kurt Jurgens Gherkins

 

Secondi 

  • My Angry Stepmother’s Turkey: Served with Damaged Potatoes and “You Stupid Bitch You Ruined My Life” Gravy
  • “I’ll have what she’s having” Oysters on the Rocks (if you prefer it sans rocks, a server will assist you in getting your rocks off)
  • Silverfish Risotto: Certified New York Public Library Raised Silverfish (fresh from the Philosophy stacks), India Ink, Condoleeza Rice, gherkins  

 

Dessert

  • Livermore Labs Locally Enriched Sustainable Plutonium: Wilma’s Candied Graphite, Centrifuged Raspberries. Served with a leaden codpiece.
  • Real Expensive Cheese: Obscenely Priced Toast Points, Gouged Patron, gherkins
  • Crayola Fondue: 8 Colorful Melted Crayons served with Lead Paint Dippin’ Chips, Bendy Celery and Musty Attic Lint
  • I’ve Always Resented My Mother Blueberry Pancakes: Lotta Rage Maple Syrup, and Confectioner’s Angst

 

Dining Notes: A 400% Gratuity is assessed any table that mispronounces a menu item. All menu items are dynamically priced based on my gambling losses. There is no corkage fee, however if you bring a blanket, there’s a cover charge. Despite our haughty cuisine this is a tough place – the hat check girl’s name is Bruno.  

Allergy Alert: All food prepared on equipment used in the processing of peanuts and maybe just a little Crystal Meth.

Please be advised the entrance to the Pompous Ass is through the rear.

French-ified Facts

  1. In Rouen, France every child has been on the road to Rouen.

    Just another road to Rouen.

  2. Are nephews allowed in Nice?
  3. A French tailor left my pants Toulon and Toulouse.
  4. In France they eat well – nothing comes from a Cannes.
  5. I see London, I see France, I see Putin’s sycophants
  6. If you’re short on Euros, you lack Monet.
  7. People love the Louvre. They say, “Live and let Louvre.”
  8. If Paul Gauguin and Vincent Van Gogh were one painter, he would be Paulcent Van Goghguin.

The James Webb Telescope List of Newly Discovered Heavenly Bodies

  1. The Flying Nun astronomer: It’s no misnomer.

    The Snickers Galaxy – Similar to our Milky Way Galaxy, except it’s packed with peanuts and really satisfies

  2. The Ford Galaxie – Why a ’68 Ford is orbiting Neptune is the biggest mystery of all. One would expect to see a Nova or even a Chevy Super Nova. But a Ford Galaxie?  
  3. Sister galaxy to the Andromeda Galaxy, the Andromedary Galaxy is shaped like a giant camel toe.
  4. The Star of David – This legendary star makes 6 good points, none of which I can remember. Oy vey!
  5. Kate Upton/Channing Tatum – Evidently the telescope was turned back toward the earth for images of these 2 heavenly bodies  
  6. White Holes – They’re just like Black Holes only more privileged
  7. Orbit City – The home of the Space Age Jetson’s clan has been located. However the telescope is looking back so far in time, that after we meet George Jetson, we see Jane, his wife, is pregnant with daughter Judy. And Elroy is nowhere to be seen.
  8. The LGBTQIA? Galaxy – Most astronomers say the stars were born that way. A few astronomers say the LGBTQIA? Galaxy is just choosing to be that way.
  9. The Marilyn McCoo Galaxy – Where ♫You don’t have to be a star baby, to be in my show.♫
  10. The James Webb Telescope Mission Statement: Keir Dullea…Gone Tomorrow

Senior Communities of Dubious Distinction

  1. Needless Falls at Harbinger’s Ferry

    Nothing is Real

  2. Varicose Vineyards
  3. Grave Errors at Dirt Nap Gardens
  4. The Mausoleum at Hospital Corners
  5. Blue Hair Acres at The Strand
  6. Flatline Terrace at Defibrillator Manor
  7. Distant Memories at Amnesia Acres
  8. The Golf Course at Soylent Greens
  9. Organ Harvest Farms
  10. The Preserve at Embalmers Square
  11. The Last Resort Resort
  12. The Heights of Absurdity at Strawberry Fields

Earth’s Tourism Board Presents: Reasons for Visiting Earth

1. We’re a Class M planet. Always had oxygen. Always will. I’m looking at you Venus.
2. We pick up our garbage once a week and then bury it. Try getting that done on Neptune.
3. All our rings can fit on a finger. Listening Saturn
4. All our belts are custom fit. Take that Asteroid Belt.
4.5 We’ve dealt with our little “reptile problem.”
5. We’ve got Beatle music, 7-Layer dips and Steve Martin.
6. Almost all our steel is stainless – you couldn’t stain it even if you wanted to.
7. Our pajamas…Flame retardant. Light my fire baby, but not my PJ’s
8. Our people…Not so retardant proof, but we make up for it with 31 flavors of ice cream
9. We reproduce the fun way. None of this dainty dropping of seeds or gentle releasing of spores.
10. We have Mr. Pibb…and we’re working on a Mrs. Pibb if that lazy Dr. Pepper ever gets off his bubbly ass to help.
11. No one on Earth ever pays MSRP, so it’s fun to tell everybody about the screaming deal you got.
12. And finally and most importantly, the truth doesn’t require your approval.

Dissolving Into the Nocturnal Abyss:

Oh the Treasures to Be Found in the Wee, Small Hours of the Morning

 

Where to begin. It’s 1978. Jimmy Carter is in the White House. The disco hit Boogie Oogie Oogie has us shaking our booties till we just can’t boogie no more. Streaming services are something offered only by a urologist. And yours truly is a wide-eyed 17-year old luxuriating in the endless summer between high school graduation and the start of college.

 

Having been sprung like a jailbird from the confines of Henninger High School in Syracuse, NY, I felt the dizzying freedom an inmate must feel after serving their sentence and being released into the good graces of society. I had served my sentence – 12 long years (as opposed to the “short” ones?). And I believe I served my sentence with some distinction and even got time off for good behavior since I graduated after the 11th grade (woo-hoo!).

My name is David Hardiman and I’m not using stilts.

 

This rite of passage complete, any future schooling would be pursued on my terms. I would no longer be a burden to society. In the future, it would be a burden on me. But for now I was happy to navigate in this once in a lifetime twilight zone between high school and college. It seemed bizarre that having dearly earned the sweet release from mandatory public schooling and its free education, I would now immediately plunge voluntarily right back into it, and even pay my own way for the privilege. God works in mysterious ways, and so does higher education.

 

I mention all this by way of establishing set and setting for what was to be my 1978 Summer of Otherworldly Delights. It was a pleasantly disruptive time for me. One I looked forward to with dizzying anticipation. Up until this point in my life I’d always known what I’d be doing the next year. My GPS had come from the factory with the route of my formative years all mapped out till graduation, upon which it uttered the now commonplace phrase, “You have arrived?”

 

Really? That was it. That was the journey. Someone or something thinks I have arrived? Well OK boomer. Freed from the restraints of compulsory education, I could now plug in the GPS coordinates of my choice and travel there as I saw fit. This is the freedom everyone so dearly seeks. This is what it felt like in 1978. My choices would be limited only by my imagination and, of course, that sabotaging little voice inside that reminds you, “Oh, you couldn’t possibly aspire to that.”

 

 

Four Foremost Factors, Poorly Ranked 

Long term I didn’t know what would occupy me, but in that short term summer I had fertile little plans gestating happily in my still maturing frontal lobes. First and foremost there would be, “no more pencils, no more books, no more teachers dirty looks.” In truth school wasn’t that bad, but I was glad the compulsory part of it was over and I was ready to move on.

 

Second and not foremost, I would work. Circumstances were such that I could be productively plugged into gainful employment whenever I chose to work (which was often) at our family glass and mirror business. A business my divorced, disinterested and dithering dad ran with all the aplomb of a dust bunny. I had developed a fondness for its mom and pop retail charms as well as an appreciation of its minor commerce with major players like Carrier, Conrail and GM’s Terex heavy equipment division. Anyway, the upshot of my unexceptional work ethic was that I enjoyed my time with dad and always had a little walkin’ around money. 

 

Third and still not foremost, the “little plans” that I mentioned included one big plan. A strange and wonderful plan catalyzed by my new found freedom and a penchant for out-of-this-world experiences. I resolved to dissolve into the nocturnal abyss and share in the treasures to be found in the wee, small hours of the morning. This would be undertaken in the still of the night within the eerie confines of nearby and dear by Sunnycrest Park.

 

Fourth and kinda foremost without actually being foremost, my other plans that summer included playing pick-up basketball games, visiting with friends and moving my mother out of our top floor flat at the end of August when I was off to college and she off to a posh one bedroom apartment closer to her work in downtown Syracuse. With mommy lacking any extra rooms, and daddy sleeping on a cot and living in the back of the glass shop and unable to provide adequate shelter for anyone (not even himself), the umbilical cord was cut and I was now an emancipated child at 17. Read the rest of this entry »

Ships You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

  1. Ship Happens.
    Keel with it!

    Sank You Very Much – Great ship but usually found at the bottom of the ocean

  2. Heroine On Board – The Coast Guard is always stopping this ship owned by Wonder Woman Gal Gadot
  3. The Lima, the Piñto and the Santa Garbanzo – Sailed by Christopher Legumebus
  4. LGBT QE2 – That is one royal party ship
  5. The USS Raymond Burr The other “Old Ironside”
  6. HMS Brawny – Sister ship to the HMS Bounty
  7. HMS Corgi – Sister ship to the HMS Beagle
  8. Andriadorable – Way cuter than the Andrea Doria
  9. The Lucidtania – A clearer thinking version of the Lusitania
  10. What’s Your Cap Size – Worst double entendre ever
  11. Titanic II – With Global Warming there are very few icebergs to avoid
  12. Listing Heavily – Corporate ship of Craig’s List

There’s No Place Like Home

People never have to leave home now. They can be home-birthed, home-schooled and work from home. They can have meals and groceries home-delivered.

If they get sick – homeopathy.

All their friends – homies.

All their hits – homers.

They can even visit the Great Outdoors by sitting on their ovens where they’re Home, Home on the Range.

Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home.

Soup’s On…Least Favorite Soups

  1. New England Damn Chowder – Favorite soup of Tourette sufferers
  2. Cyrillic Alphabet Soup – It’s Greek to me
  3. Split Bee – It hear it gives you a buzz
  4. Chicken Poodle Soup – Made only from poodles who were euthanized
  5. Vicious-soise – A stone cold soup made from really mean potatoes
  6. Gaznacho – Another cold soup of congealed cheese and tomato
  7. Maxistrone – When minestrone just isn’t enough
  8. Italian Wedding Soup/Italian Divorce Soup – These soups have you coming and going
  9. Dense Onion Soup – It’s a French Onion Soup, you just can’t get through to
  10. Me So Soup – This soup is all about you. Also called Narcissisoup.
  11. No Alarm Chili – Chili for white folk
  12. Lobster Disc – A hard shell, hard drive programmable bisque