Archive for the ‘The Stories’ Category

New Netflix Series Reviewed

Internet (Net) and movies (flix, for the flickering light once associated with silent movies) have been combined in a cuckoo hip way to form what we know as Netflix. I pray you understand that.

As a savvy and demanding public of cord cutters continues to fragment the entertainment industry, Netflix has attempted valiantly to reconnect these fragments with prestige shows featuring ever more obscure premises. For example my neighbor Sam is actually in contract with Netflix for a show called Guess What I had for Dinner Last Night? And although the shows thin premise will appeal to a demographic limited to the people in Sam’s immediate household, apparently Netflix’s business model has found a way to make it profitable. These are shows you’ll never see on network TV because, ummm, who sees network TV anymore. Well that and the gratuitous use of swear words.

As a man of serious leisure and humorous disposition, I’ve taken the time to catalogue and review this year’s offerings from Netflix so you may more productively spend your hard-earned discretionary time. Incidentally, if Netflix finds this presentation entertaining, they say they’ll finance a series called It’s Fun to Play Make Believe Featuring David Hardiman and His Imaginary Friends.     

And so it is with lightly-bridled joy and many grains of salt I take great pleasure in presenting my review of new Netflix series.   

 

I Married an Eggplant

After matrimonial laws are changed in Massachusetts, vegetarian Trudy Lessing marries a very special eggplant from her secret garden. All is not well however in the Garden of Trudy when Roger (the eggplant) develops second thoughts about their marriage when he discovers Trudy is a vegetarian and is eating all his brothers and sisters. In an effort to improve their relationship Trudy becomes a strict carnivore, but then runs afoul of her militant PETA friends. It’s just one thing after another as no good deed goes unpunished in this odd couple romance. In Season 2 Episode 8 Trudy discovers Roger spooning with a curvy cucumber which leads to a very awkward threesome. In the season finale the Animal and Plant Kingdom become one when Trudy gives birth to a well-adjusted baby “egg man.” And when a teary-eyed Roger first holds his little sprig of joy he sings, “You are the egg man, goo goo g’joob.”       Read the rest of this entry »

Hardiman Reviews Designer Marijuana

Today’s thermonuclear pot pellets will take the top of your head off if you’re not careful. So be careful. Here’s how.

Reefer madness is back in a big and legal way and agribusiness (or the Agri-ceutical Business as I call it) is scrambling to expand their market share by creating more designer strains of weed than you can shake a ganja stick at. In appealing to recreational users in underserved niches growers have formulated some highly customized experiences bordering on the absurd. Accordingly, this sincere satirization of those formulations also borders on the absurd and is in keeping with the general weirdness of marijana experiences to begin with. So even though this is a work of fiction, it’s never too far from reality.

My purported purpose (yes – a purported purpose) in writing this piece is to help the uninitiated select a designer pot that’s right for them. Having said that (I love to say that), my real purpose is to generate the knowing smirk we all exhibit when we become momentarily free from years of accumulated struggles. For some it takes the power of an NDE (Near Death Experience) to convince us that all is not as it seems. But usually this knowing smirk is generated more prosaically.

For example sometimes this kind of liberating interruption visits us when we’re right in the middle of doing something very human – as in this case, optimizing our reefer choices. Perhaps your knowing smirk may appear between sentences, or maybe as you look away from the words and all your pretense vanishes. It may not come at all even though you know it’s there. Sometimes you just can’t get there until you’ve plowed through enough of life’s buffeting experiences and finally surrender into, “Alright. Enough already. I get it.” And then we may get that window on the marvel behind all creation – and this isn’t the pot talking either.

I’m holding out for a lot here, and the medium I’ve chosen (a silly faux review of designer pot) is perhaps not the most direct route to this level of self-awareness, however rest assured, whether you feel it or not, it’s all happening anyway – is this coming through? Alright I’ll get on with it. Read the rest of this entry »

Just Because It’s There, Doesn’t Mean I Have to Climb It: On Not Climbing Everest

They paid to do this. A mule train of mountaineers searching for their peak experience on Mount Everest.

Mount Everest is 29,000 ft. tall, but assaulting the summit actually begins at Base Camp which is at 18,000 feet. So in reality it’s an 11,000 ft. climb. But please, do not think I’m trying to diminish this redoubtable feat. Far from it. Successfully summiting Everest involves a mighty confluence of endurance, planning, money and oxygen. And let us not forget that even though Base Camp is at a lofty 18,000 ft., airplane oxygen masks drop down at 14,000 ft. – that is, “in the unlikely event of cabin depressurization.”

 

And not too diminish the majesty of Mount Everest; but due to a geologic quirk in the earth’s Jello-ey innards, Everest is not even the highest point on earth. That distinction belongs to Mount Chimborazo in Ecuador, sticking up at a pedestrian 20,703 ft. So even though Mount Everest has a higher cardinal altitude, Chimborazo has the distinction of being the “highest mountain or point above Earth’s center,” because Earth is not a sphere. It’s an oblate spheroid and bulges in certain areas (like most of us do) rendering Mount Chimborazo “closer” to outer space than Mount Everest.

Read the rest of this entry »

Oh How the Mighty have Fallen – The Almighty

God Accused of the Nonconsensual and Unwelcomed Relocation of Vulnerable Souls from their True Home in Fabulous Heaven to the Crude Habitat of Problematic Earth

“Am I really that asleep whereby I can’t sense this stuff” I asked?
“Yes, you are that asleep” said my soul.

Is this just another case of soulful harassment so prevalent these days? Well, as we’ll see it may depend on your perspective.

 

The Dam Breaks

A trickle of repressed memories bravely voiced by a few earthbound souls has led to a torrent of recovered memories by other souls who’ve come forward to corroborate disturbing accounts of being forcibly evicted from their lofty perch in fabulous heaven and relegated to the surly confines of problematic earth.  

And even though she’s not been asked, attorney Gloria Allred has agreed to represent the entire human race of 7.5 billion people in a class action suit of Everyone vs. The All-Being. She seeks to restore her would-be clients to their former heavenly station, including the wings, halos and the ecstatic drama-free environment they were accustomed to. “We know of no compelling reason why the Almighty chose to arbitrarily cast out his adoring flock into a far flung Earthly outpost devoid of the unity, love and clarity so abundant in their rightful home. His capricious action is doubly painful because he seems to be doing it simply for his own amusement,” offered the well-intentioned Allred. Read the rest of this entry »

Murder on the Opioid Express

The first vial has only a little powder. The second one is virtually empty. Both are lethal doses. Vile indeed.

By all accounts the opioid crisis is intensifying and the country’s failure to address it has less to do with its lethality and everything to do with the weird optics of the word opioid. Who can relate to an opioid that sounds more like the kid on The Andy Griffith Show than a serious public health issue? If 4 of the first 5 letters weren’t vowels we might not be ankle deep in overdoses and the opioid crisis may have gone the way of smallpox, polio and disco. Instead this deadly wave has become a tsunami and all because the public at large can’t warm-up to the word opioid. The same thing happened with the word Hillary in the last election. Read the rest of this entry »

Breaking News: Letters of the Alphabet Vote to Unionize

It can’t happen here. A nation held hostage by its alphabetic benefactors? Not if we improve our ways.

Nation Held Spellbound as Letters Threaten to Strike 

Here’s What We Know So Far:

  • Letters, apparently enraged over polluted public discourse demand a return to civility
  • Alphabetic job action threatens to rearrange pre-existing letters of all written material unless hostility is curbed and honesty restored
  • In a muscular display of alphabetic resolve, the alphabet has collectively agreed to alter the letters of 2 well-known items to demonstrate their resoluteness. Henceforth the letters on the box cover of the game Chutes-n-Ladders will read Shoots-n-Cleavage. And shampoo instructions now direct you to: lather, rinse, defibrillate. What’s next? STOP signs reading GO.
  • Cursive, Calligraphic and Cyrillic Letters have voted to join their block-letter brothers in seeking better working conditions
  • Arabic letters vow to support any job action, providing the curvier letters are draped in black
  • Hieroglyphs, graffiti and most other symbols follow suit. In Egypt, the pictographs in the tomb of Ramses II have joined the cause and morphed into several Peanuts comic strips.
  • No word yet from Emojis. In fact, none expected. After all, they’re emojis. They did however send a 😀 .
  • Hebrew alphabet, under pressure from the Right to Left Party, remains a holdout  
  • “@” symbol agrees to remain in the public domain so people can still get email
  • Early languages (Sanskrit, Latin and Greek) side with museum curators and refuse to participate in the job action in order to preserve integrity of ancient scrolls
  • Strike seen as a threat to all written material except doctor’s prescriptions which no one can read anyway
  • Seeds of discontent sowed early on in the Primordial Alphabet Soup of Life
  • President tweets “Those Sons of Bitch letters better get back in line or they’re fired. JOBS.” But all 140 letters take a knee and the tweet appears as, “Life with Melania is one long celibation! SOBS.”
  • Authors have come out against the strike calling the job action “Censorship.” The alphabet calls their action “Repositioning.”
  • Read the entire story below on how it all happened

Read the rest of this entry »

What Distinguishes Man from Beast? – It’s Laughter.

~ Sharing laughter with someone can be a very intimate experience, but with benefits. The benefit being you don’t have to call them the next day. It’s only laughter. You shared a joke, not a membrane. ~

~Robin Williams~

 

Who needs words? I’ve got laughter.

I had gone to the pool simply to enjoy the gravity-defying magic of our buoyant friend water. I anticipated my usual routine: swim for a bit then imagine the pool drained of water while I floated in space, insensible to the gravity of my situation. I hoped to make this body of water not so much a sensory deprivation tank as a sensory augmentation tank. In other words I was crafting an out-of-body experience on the cheap. You see, it’s still fun to play make-believe – even at 56.

 

An Unbidden Epiphany

While I pursued this ersatz meditative experience, little did I expect the epiphany that would soon visit me. No one expects an epiphany. You can’t. That’s why they’re epiphanies. They’re designed to materialize without warning – kind of like my Uncle Leo. Epiphanies are unscheduled wormholes to understanding that don’t telegraph their presence – they shower it on you like a coach’s Gatorade bath. And it is this aforementioned unexpected insight which prompts this essay.

 

The Epiphany

I began my watery meditation ritual by laying out my towel on the chaise and trying to put my iPhone down so I could read my book which, in 3 weeks of lugging it to the pool, I managed to get past the Table of Contents and deep into the Introduction. As I finished my 4th game of online solitaire, a young couple with a baby entered the pool area and took up residence at the far end amidst a menagerie of water wings, beach towels and mini-coolers. They settled in, set up shop and the daddy lovingly introduced his baby girl to the wonders of liquid water. As the attentive father began dipping the legs of daddy’s little chicken pot pie (his words not mine) into the water, the tiny girl squealed in sheer delight. Each dip was a little deeper and more revelatory than the previous. And each squeal was now followed-up by cloud bursts of thunderous little baby giggles. She was experiencing indescribable joy.

 

I would’ve gladly traded places with her if only society didn’t frown on a 56-year old man squealing in delight while being dipped in the water by a guy half his age sporting an Eminem tattoo. As I bore witness to the little chicken pot pie’s celebratory peals of laughter, I experienced an epiphany: that this humorous faculty the baby girl so uninhibitedly demonstrated is what separates us from the animals. We’re the only specie that laughs. Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

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 »

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 »