* Welcome to The Big Jewel, which is often cruising for a bruising, but right now is simply cruising for a cruise, courtesy of our good friend Dan Fiorella.

#Live Tweeting My Cruise

By:
daf118@aol.com
danfiorella.com

Going on my first cruise. I can’t believe it’s here! #excited #BonVoyage

I was going to post that the food here is amazing. Turns out it was just a hot dog guy outside the port. I wasn’t on the ship yet. Fingers crossed. #HotDog

I think the cruise director used to be with Menudo.

I needed an extra towel for some…spillage. When I went to find the steward in the hall, he was talking heatedly with several other stewards. It was a stew of stewards! #LOL

What cruise companies don’t advertise is that any pool can become a wave pool if the seas are rough enough. #RidingTheWaves

The Captain announced the seas were a little choppy because we were sailing into the Gulf Stream. But our waiter at dinner insists it’s because Poseidon is angered by our “landlubber ways.” He says the captain “ought to know better” and that the chicken is “especially good tonight.”

Happy to learn there are no Legionnaires on board, so that’s one less disease to worry about! Now I just have to avoid this malaise the crew keeps muttering about. #Airborne

A big fight broke out at the poolside “Full Moon Party” tonight. It was Electric Sliders vs. Cotton Eye Joes! #TeamMacarena

I’m still upset that the karaoke guy didn’t have the full version of “Lydia the Tattooed Lady.” I’m sure I would have won! And there was a lot more flogging of the waitstaff than I thought necessary. #KaraokeKing @GrouchoMarx

Our shuffleboard game was interrupted by some crew members arguing about the captain’s plan to sail through the Bermuda Triangle to avoid some bad weather ahead. They said it was the “last straw.” I guess I have to switch to drinks with little umbrellas, then.

We had a lifeboat drill today! It wasn’t so bad, even if the crew members kept muttering that “Lifeboats won’t do no good in the Triangle.” #BePrepared

Surprisingly there are only a few fish entrees on the menu in the ship’s fancy restaurant. I thought they would have caught a lot more fish by now. Plus all the knives are gone.

It was Captain’s Night. Got to meet the captain! I asked him “Who’s steering the boat?” Oh, how we laughed. Then his second mate whispered something in his ear and he hurried off. #Iceberg? JK!

I realize now my entire knowledge of cruise ships is based on watching Titanic, The Poseidon Adventure, and the stateroom scene from A Night at the Opera.

Saw an amazing show last night featuring all the understudies from all the biggest Broadway hits! It must be a tricky adjustment for the actors, having to learn stage right and stage left and now stage port and stage starboard. #BroadwayAtSea

Had breakfast in my stateroom this morning. Pancakes, bacon and sausage! Also a cryptic note warning passengers to stay in their rooms tonight. This worries me because it’s 80s Music Trivia Dance Party at the Main Lounge! #Culture Club

Why won’t anyone believe me when I tell them there’s a chocolate fountain over by the dessert station? They’re all just too wrapped up in the mutiny rumors! #TeamChocolateFountain

The stand-up comic wasn’t that good. The crew made him walk the plank. That struck me as harsh.

I am the captain! Though a remarkable series of events I’m now commanding the ship! All because I was doing my Capt. Phillips bit and the mutineers heard me say “Look at me. I am the captain now.” And they just believed me! Crazy, right? @TomHanks 1/3

I’ve called in to work and said I’m extending my vacation for the foreseeable future. We’ll be sailing the high seas. Maybe even spend an extra night in Bermuda! #AhoyMatey 2/3

And the chocolate fountain is now out 24/7! #excited #BonVoyage 3/3

 

 

 

* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where our good friend David Martin has a piece that contains no reference whatsoever to current events. After you're done perusing his latst piece of hilarity, click on the link below to check out his humor blog.

George Washington’s Spin Doctor

By:
david.martin@bell.net
http://davespoliticalsatire.blogspot.ca

Herewith the recently discovered transcript of a press conference held in November of 1796 with George Washington’s spin doctor, Bartholomew Lewandowski:

Yes, you over there. First question. “Can I comment on the rumors about Mr. Washington’s extramarital dalliances?”

That’s highly offensive. It should be obvious that the President has been far too busy over the last twenty years defeating the British and running the country to even have time for such activities. Let’s face it: he barely has time to satisfy his conjugal duties with Martha. As the President has frequently stated, he has the utmost respect for all ladies notwithstanding he does not wish them to vote.

Next question? “Did the President ever consider becoming America’s first king?”

Of course not. Why would he want to be king when he has devoted much of his life to defeating the British monarchy? The fact that someone found a few monogrammed sheets and shirts at Mount Vernon with George I embroidered on them proves nothing. That was a simple mistake by the plantation’s seamstress who meant to adorn the items with George W.

Yes, you in the corner. You’re asking if the President has ever misled Congress?

Let me tell you a story about a young George Washington that will put this rumor to bed. At the age of six, he chopped down his father’s cherry tree and yet had the courage and fortitude when confronted with the evidence to state “I cannot tell a lie” and accept full responsibility.

That is the same truth-telling hero you see before you today. Those who say young George failed to also accept blame for a felled pecan tree and a severely damaged peach tree are sorely mistaken.

Ezekial Abernathy from the Philadelphia Gazette, you have a question? How does the President justify the ownership of slaves?

Thank you for that question. Yes, the President inherited some slaves and that is perfectly legal. But he is a model slaveholder who treats his chattel with the utmost kindness and, in fact, intends to free them upon his demise. I might remind you gentlemen of the press that Mr. Washington has great respect for his property unlike a contemporary in nearby Monticello, who shall remain nameless, who reportedly has made one of his slaves his mistress.

Thaddeus Baskerville from the Boston Gazette. Did Washington actually stand at the bow of the boat crossing the Delaware River?

It’s hard to believe that, after all these years, we still have to deal with the pernicious rumors that General Washington was not at Valley Forge, did not stand at the bow of the boat and did not even personally cross the Delaware. He was definitely there and it is hoped that within the next fifty years or so pictorial evidence will surface to confirm the truth.

One last query. Yes, the scrivener in the back of the room.

You are wondering why the President has not stored all of his correspondence in the Library of Congress rather than keeping much of it in a private garden shed at Mount Vernon. While President Washington has conceded that it might have been preferable to do so, the nation can rest assured that no confidential or classified letters or memoranda were ever compromised, particularly since that shed recently burned to the ground.

 

* Welcome to The Big Jewel, the foremost interpreter of constitutional matters, courtesy of Ryan Wolin.

The Second Amendment, As Originally Written

By:
RyanWolin@hotmail.com

I. Hello and welcome to Second Amendment of Constitution for United States. Is very important you don’t read this in Russian accent. As this is defineetly not being written by Russians from future who realized best way to destroy evil United States was go back in time and insert this amendment into your laws forever. I did not mean to write “evil” there. Was accident. Why would I, Benjemin Franclen, call my own country that I love very much “evil?” The United States is great place, and only slightly inferior to Russia, the country I am not from and whose crisp spring breeze has never sweetly caressed my cheek. Now, time to list details of this, the amendment that will surely not ravage your country, I mean “our country,” for rest of time…

II. To make U of SA safe, is necessary all citizens have right to own gun. And not just one gun, but as many as person can fit in closet or hole they dug in yard of trailer park. This right is for everyone! Would be ridiculous to take a man’s guns away just because he was batshit crazy, or involved in series of escalating domestic incidents that seemed destined to come to violent end. Furthermore, if too many shootings ever becomes issue, the answer will never be to remove guns from populace. When has a problem ever been solved by eliminating the thing that caused it? Sure, guy in bank line might pull 9mm out of Jockeys and shoot place up. But guy behind him might pull .45 out of Hanes and shoot first guy. Is recipe for healthy democracy! We, Framers of Constitution, anticipate day when there are 300 million people in America and 100 million guns! Imagine how safe from guns we will be on that day when we all have guns! May sound crazy, but trust me, is good idea and not part of rival country’s plot to destroy your nation from within.

III. We have touched on quantity, now is time to talk technology — which is word I believe exists in this time period but am not totally for certain. In future, people may say we Founding Fathers couldn’t envision advances in gun capability. Is nonsense!!! Right now, me and Tommas Jeferssinin are sitting next to each other making discussion of gun ideas. Here is list of possible possibilities off top of our heads: laser scope. Silencer. Body armor. Bushmaster AR-15 with Fiber-optic Red-Bar front sight. Will any of these things be invented? Who knows? But point is, this amendment should serve as blanket recognition that we foresaw all of them. So go to gun show and buy as much artillery as kiddie-porn enthusiast in BluBlockers will sell you, then keep it with you at ALL times. You’ll want it when you’re having bad day — which we all have! Note: I capitalized “ALL” not out of unfamiliarity with English language but to emphasize importance!

IV. Now, is possible many citizens of Mother America will be killed in mass shootings. People will use these as excuse to further anti-gun agenda, which is the great tragedy of it all. Also the dead children. Massacres may occur anywhere. Schools. Churches. Dave & Busters arcade/restaurant hybrids (which I foresee being Ultimate Destination for those who enjoy four-way air hockey and loaded tots). But I implore you, when gunmen use military-grade weapons to slaughter civilians with maximum efficiency, Americans must do sensible thing: blame rap music. Gun is not problem! Gun is good, with many non-violent uses! You could stir noodles with it. Use it to perforate paper to fit in binder. Spin it on dinner table and person it points to gets biggest piece of chicken. So many possibilities! Still, after tragedies people will say law is stupid and not changing it would be literal definition of insanity. Яidiculous!!! This is price of freedom!!! Take it from me, intelligent Patriot who is not vindictive adversary hoping Americans will butcher each other in endless cycle of violence. Besides, if killer didn’t use gun he would have used knife or slingshot or sock full of dominos, and been just as effective.

V. This section is dedicated all to gun safety. Be safe out there.

VI. Now is time for conclusion. Americans are like weeds (in a good way) and part of living in Greatest Country on Earth is knowing anywhere you go someone could be waiting to shoot you in face. Accept it! Life isn’t all rainbows and four-way air hockey. Important thing is you strictly adhere to most radical interpretation of this amendment no matter what. Dig those heels so far in you’re up to your nipples in shit! And when in doubt, take opinion of politicians you deem most likely to use N-word in private. Is good rule of thumbs! Back in Moscow, which I have never been to, we have saying…”Above all, seek truth.” In this case, truth is staring you right in face: anyone who wants to remove this amendment…is not real American.

* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we are proud to be celebrating the second half of what we call Michael Fowler Half-Month. Please take note that the heart of rock and roll is still beating, thanks to a pacemaker. When you're done reading Michael Fowler's latest, do check out the link below to purchase his humor collection, "Nathaniel Hawthorne is Dating my Girlfriend."

The Museum Of Rock And Roll Marginalia

By:
mfowl4916@gmail.com
http://www.dpdotcom.com/hawthorne/

This year I took my family to visit the Museum of Rock and Roll Marginalia in the small New York town where it has been located since its founding in 1990. They had been clamoring to go, and at last, forgoing a more expensive and better-planned vacation, I gave them their wish. A posh hotel until the end of the jazz age in the fifties, then a gated community for retired horn players from disbanded units like the Bill Bromley Band and former second-tier comedians like Tony Bacon and Zip Downy, the museum is now a crumbling three-story building scheduled for demolition.

The first floor commands the most attention. Until the mid-eighties an impoverished Ramone and his girlfriend lived there, also a Raider from Paul Revere’s defunct outfit, a Pharaoh from Sam the Sham’s sixties-era group, one of the McCoys, a Bangle and her bipolar boyfriend, and an English Trogg on an expired visa. They are gone now, deceased or moved on, their former rooms and suites and the old dance floor turned into exhibit sites containing some of the signs of their musical success.

On display in several refit corners are a fraying Beatles-esque wig and a pair of cracked drum sticks from the Ramone, some badly scuffed riding boots from the Raider, an unraveling keffiyeh and a dented headdress from the Pharaoh, a glittery change purse missing many spangles and an empty pill vial from the Bangle, and an old Danelectro guitar reportedly used on “Wild Thing” abandoned in the US by the Englishman. Also on the first floor is the souvenir shop, which is to be avoided like norovirus. All the same, I bought the two boys small plastic replicas of a Venture’s guitar and Go-Gos’ wigs for the two girls. The museum’s only working restroom is also on the first floor, so take advantage.

On the second floor, to which one ascends by a narrow wooden staircase since there is no elevator, the musical wattage is already grown dimmer, the connection to stardom more distant, and the mementos of lesser-knowns command the space. Here on a small dresser against a peeling rear wall is an Electric Prune’s electric razor, a plastic comb that once straightened the tresses of Terry Knight (of the Pack), one of the New York Dolls’ mascara mirrors, a shaving kit once belonging to a Playboy from Gary Lewis’ band, and, on the floor beside a scarred dresser, a pair of paisley moccasins that once shod a Lemon Piper. A nearby closet, marked by wall-mounted portraits of Gladys Knight and Smokey Robinson, holds one of the Pips’ tuxedos, a terrycloth robe that once adorned a Miracle, a cape that formerly swirled around a Fabulous Flame, and, from a different musical genre entirely, a fringed calfskin jacket that used to enfold a Blues Magoo. On the floor beside a bathroom entrance with its Out of Order sign rest a pair of shoe trees that also belonged to a Fabulous Flame — a different one. The tux and the shoe trees are pretty cool, I admit. Those are the highlights, I’m afraid.

In the rearmost room, under a makeshift banner that reads Where The Action Is, are several tables laden with such items as the shaving kit and toothbrush of Billy Joe Royal, a Mindbender’s sequined headband, the pointy boots of an Amboy Duke (which happened to be my size, of all things), and the spread miniskirt of one of the Jeff Kutash Dancers circa 1967. Near the stairwell, the Leslie Gore Room, said to be arranged the way the diva liked her hotel suites to be arranged when she was on the road, is kind of boss. We’d never seen so many pink pillows, and none so grimy as these.

On the third floor, to which the only path is again a narrow wooden stairwell, the pickings are of such diminished contact with greatness that the stardust is microscopic. Here, beneath another handmade banner that says Let’s Have a Hullabaloo, arranged on two long tables beneath flickering florescent lights and covered by flimsy plastic tablecloths, are such keepsakes as a strand of love beads donated by a friend of a Commodore, an aged and discolored tambourine donated by Connie Francis’s studio percussionist, a cupcake pan that once hung in the pantry of Bobbie Gentry’s personal chef, a bolo that once adorned the neck of one of the Shangri-las’ kid brothers, and a pair of oily gloves left in the lobby by Muddy Waters’ driver’s car mechanic nephew. As one examines them, the artifacts grow more and more recherché, their identification signs progressively more remote from rock music. A nondescript bit of porcelain is marked with the tag: “A waterproof tile on loan from the Cowsills’ beach architect’s pool designer.” The high point, or the low point if you want to look at it that way, is a mounted notice affixed to an otherwise bare wall that says “On this spot in July, 1966, after performing in the first floor ballroom, the Shantays jammed with the Marketts and the Stingers while B. Bumble looked on.” There is no memento of the grand jam, not a Champ Amp or a reverb unit or a single bee’s sting.

After reading that, the family and I could only retrace our steps and descend slowly back to the first floor, following the crudely drawn exit signs, for a second glance at the ballroom, or what was left of it. B. Bumble was here!

* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we are happy to announce the first week of a very special event called Michael Fowler Half-Month. We are also happy to note that this site is often considered a form of literary anesthesia. When you've finished perusing Michael Fowler's new offense against nature, please check out the link below to buy his humor collection, "Nathaniel Hawthorne is Dating My Girlfriend."

Things Go Better With Nitrous Oxide

By:
mfowl4916@gmail.com
http://www.dpdotcom.com/hawthorne/

No fan of the dentist, I put off my most recent appointment until I gathered a mouthful of cavities and felt the throbbing need for several root canals. I simply hate the dental chair and the attendant pain, even if the technician is a comely lass with a winsome personality. But after two weeks of agony, I found a young doctor who billed himself as a “sedative” dentist, meaning I could receive not only Novocain and Valium during treatment, but nitrous oxide gas for a truly otherworldly experience. I wouldn’t quite be unconscious as he hacked my jaw to pieces — I’d have to visit an oral surgeon if I wanted the full ride to dreamland — but I’d be in the ozone along with the swinging oldsters at colonoscopy spas and birthing moms riding their epidurals. As it turned out, I emerged from the cubicle of grief with a smile on my lips, a tune in my throat, and although unable to drive myself home, no recollection of anything except the bill, and even that was fuzzy.

That’s when it occurred to me that many more of life’s excruciating trials would improve if only one could be anesthetized to the point of oblivion beforehand, essentially skipping the event. Why is there not a “sedative” tax service, for instance? You lug your box of documents into the office in the mall near the food court, the one with the standup poster of the nerd in a bow tie out front, and green balloons signifying money festooned everywhere, sink into a chair, and pop the Valium. Just as the consultant reaches for your scribbled lists of itemized deductions and coffee-stained W2s, you take a quick hit off the cylinder of nitrous oxide conveniently placed beside his desk, and you begin to feel…well just fine, thank you very much. When you come to yourself, your taxes are finished, your credit card dinged for the fee, and you’re looking forward to a federal refund that puts you $24 ahead. Does life get any better, or at least any more sedate? Why, having your taxes done is now as pleasant as a trip to the dentist!

Anything that leads to one having to wait in line, particularly if shopping is also involved, would obviously be improved by a stupefying relaxant like nitrous oxide. A large communal container of the gas with many hoses extending from it parked by the bascart corral would transform the experience of going to the store from torment to bearable tedium or even near bliss. Valium alone would not be enough, I think, but consider the difference a few sucks on the nitrous hose would bring. It would be a true opiate of the people. Instead of banging your way down narrow aisles for a couple of bananas and a liter of fine wine, dodging elderly creepers and the portly disabled on beeping electric carts, only to wait 25 minutes in the laughably designated “express” line, you could instead careen along feeling only pleasure, or at the worst numbness, and the 25 minutes spent crammed in a queue with the unwashed masses would fly by. You might take to shopping just for the fun of it, if you could completely blot out where you were, and this way you could.

I’ve never flown first class, and perhaps that is a pleasure I should partake of one day, so that I can say I’ve completely lived. But I have flown coach, and it’s the same as taking a bus, except the bus drives through the sky. That’s the only difference I can detect, and a whiff of nitrous oxide from the mask dangling overhead would make the whole trip go much faster and be more relaxing. Buckle up for takeoff…now buckle up for landing, and that’s it. Trip done and enjoyed to the maximum that such an awful ordeal can be enjoyed by a sentient being.

The last time I attended a first run film, Love, Simon, I saw within minutes that the whole trial would be much more tolerable with a little more of the good ol’ butter on my popcorn, and a snort or three of the good ol’ nitrous through a tube and mask connected to my seat. That way I could get from the opening scene to the closing credits with scarcely an awareness of the stupefying plot or unrealistic characters. I could focus instead on the truly delicious popcorn, or just take a revivifying nap.

And what an improvement on the trip you have to make to Disney World in order to appease the irritable brats or flighty teens in your care. A well-regarded French philosopher has called Disney World a “ghetto.” Well, it was actually the parking lot Jean Baudrillard bestowed that term upon, due to its crowdedness and distance from the feature attractions, but we’ll skip the Gallic niceties and come to the point. If at the entrance to this phantasmagoria of kitsch and juvenilia, Goofy or Minnie were to totter over and offer up a portable canister of nitrous oxide to pull about and apply your lungs to, you might achieve a euphoria equal to the tots’ at the sight of those Troll things. Or at least you could forget where you where, and the enormous sum it was costing you, until you trudged back to the “ghetto” and climbed exhausted into your sunbaked car.

They call nitrous oxide laughing gas, but let’s be real here. It’s grin-and-bear-it gas, and it’s essential.

 

 

 

* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we like funny poems about Sir Lancelot a lot.

The Facts About Sir Lancelot Du Lac

By:
efflux@sonic.net

Sir Lancelot liked to dance a lot. (“Watch me do the Nitty-Gritty!”)

Sir Lancelot went to France a lot. (“They should put a large metal tower there.”)

Sir Lancelot saw his aunts a lot. (“Birdie, Flora, I brought you some chrysanthemums.”)

Sir Lancelot took a stance a lot. (“Background checks should be required to buy a sword!”)

Sir Lancelot wrote for grants a lot. (Mainly from the Knight Foundation.)

 

Sir Lancelot was apt to glance a lot. (At Maid Marian.)

Sir Lancelot pursued romance a lot. (“Er…Maid Marian, that’s a very lovely frock you’re wearing.”)

Sir Lancelot wore long pants a lot. (Heavy, metal ones.)

Sir Lancelot watered plants a lot. (Peeing in the woods during long sojourns on horseback.)

Sir Lancelot worked high finance a lot. (At the Camelot International Stock Exchange.)

 

Sir Lancelot was in a guild, and stern with Rosencrantz a lot. (“Rosencrantz, get this guild in order!”)

Sir Lancelot got his comeuppance a lot. (“I guess it’s what I deserve.”)

Sir Lancelot longed for the Renaissance a lot. (“Not sure what it is, but I think it will be wonderful.”)

Sir Lancelot felt ambivalence a lot. (Regarding his love for Maid Marian.)

Sir Lancelot saw The Pirates of Penzance a lot. (An early version, but still quite charming.)

 

Sir Lancelot was in a trance a lot. (“Is it true love — or the awful heat in these heavy metal pants?”)

Sir Lancelot played with ants a lot. (“It gets dull waiting to joust.”)

Sir Lancelot played with Sirs John Linnell and Flans a lot. (“I, too, might be giant.”)

Sir Lancelot made obeisance a lot. (“King Arthur, your humble servant kneels before you.”)

Sir Lancelot hung with a fancy lot. (“Nice greaves, there, Galahad.”)

 

Sir Lancelot inspired this remembrance a lot.

 

* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where helping two beautiful people fall in love is our whole reason for being. That and making sure the lawyers on either side get paid. Say hello to the latest from the cynical yet beautiful mind of Barton Aronson.

(The Terms and Conditions Of) Our Beautiful Relationship

By:
bartonsaronson@gmail.com

Dear Mr. Stone:

I am writing to inform you that my client, Madison Jane Terwilliger (a/k/a “Maddie”), has reviewed all of the materials you submitted. We had difficulty getting the hologram to work, but Maddie has decided she that has enough information to proceed. While candor requires us to inform you that she received offers which exceed yours in various particulars, we found your proposed relationship package highly competitive, with the greatest overall potential for enhancing Maddie’s personal, professional, and spiritual well-being.

Accordingly, Maddie tentatively accepts your client’s offer to be his bae for a period of eighteen (18) months, as well as his offer of the Mercedes-Maybach as a “go public” gift. We look forward to working with you.

As we’ve discussed, Maddie is bound to remain with her current boyfriend through awards season. Be assured that statements from Maddie’s camp to the effect that her current boyfriend is still rocking her world are issued solely to comply with current contractual obligations and will not affect our arrangement. If it is a matter of concern, however, we are prepared to offer an anonymous leak to an outlet of your choice to the effect that Maddie was totally macking on your client at the Billboard Music Awards after-party.

Additional terms and conditions are attached hereto as Schedule A.

Sincerely,

Phyllis Rogers

 

Dear Ms. Rogers:

On behalf of my client, Francis Leslie Forsythe (a/k/a “Show Stoppa”) (a/k/a “Tha Stoppa”), thank you for your response. We are excited to work with you. We want you to know that our entire team of lawyers, accountants, therapists, stylists, web designers, photographers, personal trainers, spiritual advisers, transportation professionals, chefs, publicists, security personnel and professional entourage members are here to support your client and ours, twenty-four hours a day.

We must inform you that the video for Tha Stoppa’s recent single, “Harder They Come,” has been banned in Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore, and his tour dates there have been canceled. The resulting cash crunch requires that Tha Stoppa substitute a set of quality steak knives for the Maybach. We regret the change.

Once the relationship is public, my client agrees to participate in up to three couple’s profiles, provided they do not involve outlets with which he is in litigation. Unfortunately, we’re unable to accommodate Maddie’s request regarding Miss Fuzzy Paws — recently surfaced video of Tha Stoppa’s participation in his high school choir has adversely affected his street cred, and as a result, he simply cannot be photographed with a domestic housecat at this time. We can offer a photograph with a (humanely sedated) Bengal tiger as an alternative.

Finally, we wish to assure you that Tha Stoppa has the greatest admiration for Maddie’s music as well as her booty. Unfortunately, the settlement terms of a previous relationship prevent him from tweeting favorably about either for the next three months. We regret the inconvenience.

Sincerely,

Benjamin Stone

 

Dear Mr. Stone:

We are disappointed that Tha Stoppa is requesting permission for twelve out-of-relationship intimate encounters during the period in which Maddie will be his bae. We are prepared to consent to six, which we view as the industry standard, provided none involve the women listed below in Column A (friends of Maddie’s) or Column B (known skanks). Please forward results of his monthly STD test results directly to me.

Photos of Maddie appearing in your client’s Instagram feed must be reviewed for compliance with her endorsement contracts before posting. In addition, Maddie’s devotion to a vegan lifestyle requires that tweets by Tha Stoppa mentioning her name not include the bacon, hamburger, hot dog, steak, turkey wing or spare rib emojis.

Your proposals regarding Maddie’s domestic travel are non-starters. Please confirm your client is prepared to provide Maddie unlimited use of his Falcon G-6 or equivalent. For international travel, first class on commercial airlines is acceptable, but see below for a list of carriers from which Maddie’s mother is currently banned.

We wish your client success with his new venture in sports management. However, polling of 7-10 year old girls — currently 37% of Maddie’s fan base — reveal either extreme anxiety over or outright revulsion at combat sports. Accordingly, Maddie will be unable to accompany Tha Stoppa to UFC matches.

We have reviewed your itemized list of proposed acts of physical intimacy. Items 1-9 and 14 are acceptable in principle, but see below for our counterproposal regarding frequency. Maddie does not engage in items 10-13 without a prenuptial agreement. We are unfamiliar with items 15-26.

Thank you for sending along the photo of Tha Stoppa’s cousin. There are no openings in Maddie’s squad at this time, but we will keep it on file.

Sincerely,

Phyllis Rogers

 

Dear Ms. Rogers:

There appear to be only a few minor matters to be resolved. Tha Stoppa agrees to accompany Maddie to Fashion Week in the cities you list, except for Sydney, as he is currently barred from entering Australia.

Tha Stoppa consents to appear, without compensation, in the video for Maddie’s single “Thigh High,” provided his abdominal muscles are featured prominently (75% of the frame or more) for no less than nine seconds.

Our client is amenable to the requested twelve “quiet evenings at home” during the course of the relationship. See below for proposed changes to the definitions of the words “quiet,” “evenings” and “home.”

Please let us know if you have any comments on the letter that we have drafted for Maddie to send to the judge overseeing my client’s probation in Nevada.

Regarding the end of the relationship, Tha Stoppa cannot agree to your proposal that Maddie attribute the breakup to his “lying-ass ways.” We request again that you choose either the “careers going in different directions” or the “never in the same place at the same time” narrative. In either case, Tha Stoppa consents to your request that he cover the lease on Maddie’s Tesla Model X for thirty-six (36) months following the end of the relationship. And on a personal note, Tha Stoppa has asked me to ask you to convey to your client that, even after their breakup, he will always love her.

Sincerely,

Benjamin Stone

 

* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where the hyperbolic and the phlegmatic meet in a weird slow-motion head-on collision, kind of like an Amish buggy hitting an oil tanker. Which brings us to this bit of fun from Graham Techler.

Would You Be Interested In Buying Into My Hype?

By:
graham.techler@gmail.com
www.grahamtechler.com

Ding dong!

Hello! From what I can see of it, you have a beautiful home. As an up-and-coming entrepreneur-DJ, I have been repeatedly told that it is dangerous to buy into your own hype, so I am currently going door-to-door to see if someone else can buy into it for me.

Would you be interested in buying into my hype? I can promise you it’s valuable hype that may even result in a little splashback hype of your very own.

However, you should know that this is a lot of responsibility. An actress from MTV’s Teen Wolf recently liked an Instagram photo of someone (me) wearing the golden sneakers I designed. Would you be willing to saddle the expectation that she and I will get married and live off my shoe-bucks long after her wolf-cash has dried up?

What’s more, the Internet’s “25 to 26 People In Between 25 and 26” recently listed me as a DJ-entrepreneur to watch, in between the ages of 25 and 26. Could you take it upon yourself to decide how many people I should mention this to at my high school reunion or what?

Most importantly, can you share a new headshot every day of the week until my body of work comprises more headshots than new beats or sneakers?

Also, a warning: my hype is a fragile thing that requires an astounding amount of upkeep to keep alive. The slightest disturbance could wreck my hype beyond all recognition. Then I wouldn’t be a DJ-entrepreneur to watch. I’d just be some fucking guy. And we can’t have that.

Just the other day I was mixing beats when, ding dong, a UPS delivery man arrived at my door with an improved pair of my golden shoes. “Package for Jeff?” he said. “It’s spelled Geoff,” I said. If this pedestrian asshole didn’t know who I was, how could anyone? Did I have any hype at all?

So you can see what I’m up against. And, if you choose to accept my offer, what you’d be up against. The UPS incident sent me into a downward spiral and I didn’t mix a single beat all day. This is why I can’t be trusted with my own hype.

I sense you might be reluctant. You’re sliding your glass door shut like it’s weird that I tried the back of your house first. Fine. To sweeten the deal, I’ll let you in on a little secret: my hype is especially exciting and powerful because I basically haven’t followed through on any of it yet. My hack psychoanalyst even says that my hype just a construct I tell myself so I can let myself off the hook for not mixing beats and making sneakers as much as I should. But it’s like how your physicist friends call it “potential energy” instead of just “nothing.”

You’ll need to act fast though. As everyone knows, all hype depreciates in value over time. So what do you say? Can I put you down for twenty shares? Can you open the sliding door? Can I have my fingers back? I need them for two critical activities.

 

 

* Welcome to The Big Jewel, which which has always been a friend to nature, though nature seldom seems to return the favor. When you are done with Michael Fowler's latest and greatest, do check out the link below to purchase his most recent humor collection, "Nathaniel Hawthorne is Dating my Girlfriend."

One Touch Of Nature

By:
mfowl4916@gmail.com
http://www.dpdotcom.com/hawthorne/

I didn’t mean to do it. Nature and I have long had an understanding that, although in some technical and biological way I am part of Her, I nonetheless prefer to remain indoors and the hell out of Her way. All that ended recently when my car skidded off the road in a rainstorm (and really, what is the idea of all that water falling out of the sky so suddenly, hmm, Ms. Nature?) and I had to exit my sidetracked vehicle near some thick population of plant things — bushes and vines and what have you.

The downpour had stopped, fortunately, and airborne aqua, containing who knows what world-altering ingredients, did not spatter my skin and clothing. Instead, water only seeped into my shoes, which I have since burned. But as I climbed from the damp ditch where I had come to rest upon spotting the tow truck come to my rescue, I felt a leaf graze my wrist. A leaf! Yes, one of those greenish, slimy and unclean natural protuberances of raw planthood that spends its entire life outdoors. I was aghast.

My relationship to herbaceous vegetation, in case you haven’t gathered by now, is one of revulsion. As an adult I allow myself to make contact with shrub- or root-like entities only to eat buttered lima beans, and that’s rarely, and the hideous beans have got to be cooked and seasoned just right. I won’t dwell on the horrible viscosity of peas or the unbearable density of carrots. Of salads I say, Why? You might as well pour some vinegar and oil on your yard and graze there like a goat. Yum, that’s tasty clover!

I felt the brief contact of that leaf against my wrist as if some cold-blooded alien creature had swiped me with its outstretched tongue or curled-up hand as thin as a blade of grass. I was aware of the plant’s ill intent and wondered about the consequences. For hours after the accident, as I waited in a garage for my car’s tires to be realigned and listened to my insurance agent explain over the phone the difficulty of suing the owner of the puddle I hydroplaned over, I kept examining the contact spot on my wrist, expecting a red welt to rise up and begin oozing terrible toxins.

All right, so the sticky, moist leaf most likely wasn’t an alien, but who knew what brand of poison ivy or oak or sumac it was? I recalled from childhood the terrifying expectation I felt each summer that my limbs and throat would swell up to huge proportions due to plant life, which fortunately they never did, and the streaming half-closed eyes that I also dreaded but luckily never experienced. These feelings closed in on me again, and I knew that even if the leaf bore no deadly toxin, still it might have coated me with piney resin or scraped my tender flesh with scabrous vegetable follicles. I might stop breathing and my throat and lungs fill with suffocating fluid at a moment’s notice, if I were susceptible.

And I was always susceptible, or so I believed. As a child I was keenly aware of the deadly misnomers “fresh air” and “healthy exercise.” Growing up I always preferred the safety of my home with its indoor toys and TV to the dirt-lined playing fields and filthy streets. Evil flowers in bloom and dangerous budding trees terrified me. Shuddering, I recalled visiting a petting zoo with my elementary school class and becoming exposed to the pathogens of a live chicken. Worse was the day my high school senior class took a communal walk in a park and I trampled a mushroom. I was so upset I almost didn’t graduate.

At home with my rescued and repaired car in the drive, I took a good long hot shower, and then another, to thoroughly cleanse the leaf contact area. True, no skin eruption presented itself, but to be sure I also daubed the affected epidermis with soothing unguents, including a good soaking in both hydrocortisone and anti-fungal creams. Doctors have told me that these creams can be counterproductive when used together, since fungus loves nothing better than hydrocortisone, but I was desperate. I thought of driving to the ER too, or at least making an appointment with my physician, but the absence of an immediate tumor or even irritation on my wrist calmed me to the point of adopting a wait-and-see approach.

That may be my fatal mistake, like waiting to see if the mosquito squatting on my wrist, no doubt bursting with West Nile virus, will bite me or not. Or walking through my tree-lined back yard during tick season, and not running right back inside to examine every inch of my flesh under a flashlight.

That’s the awful thing about Nature: you don’t just touch Her. She touches you.

 

* Welcome to The Big Jewel, the most unabashedly literary of all the half dozen or so literary humor sites. Take that, internet! Listen in as our good friend Jon Sindell introduces some familiar faces at a reading that must be taking place somewhere in the Great Beyond.

Author Bios From An Extraordinary American Lit Reading

By:
jsind@sbcglobal.net
jonsindell.com

Good evening, literature lovers. It is my honor to introduce the famed authors who will read their work tonight in an evening unique in the annals of annals.

Our first reader, WALT WHITMAN, is the poet of the body and the soul, and what is in them is as much in him: the stevedore with his hearty “Heave ‘e’ yo!”…the wagoner with his bulging biceps…the spinster in her chamber, penning poems by the oil lamp’s glow; as well as the whale that rendered the oil; and the harpoonist with his mighty thighs; and the krill swirling in the leviathan’s gut; and also the gut. The krill, the oil, the gut, the harpoonist, all spill out of me — wait, how did I get here? That’s him, not me! He, Walt Whitman, is the poet of the body and soul! Of each several body and each several soul! Sing glory hallelujah, world without end!

EDGAR ALLAN POE, our second reader, must not be thought mad, though his pen drips with fantastic terrors never seen before, severally induced by the Fiend Intemperance, the spirit of Perverseness, and the demon that preys on the melancholic soul. Edgar loathes neither black cats nor ravens, but, frankly, that egomaniac Whitman gives him the fantods.

emily dickinson is at Home tonight, yet far from Home — and has “consented” — better, in Truth, to say “relented” — to her Poetry being read by a bolder Spirit here in her stead, one whose Constitution can abide the Presence of the Abominable Poe.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN has written innumerable spoken-word pieces that charitable commentators have hiked up as “orations.” One of these was a flash hybrid piece that Abe read at a Pennsylvania battlefield to honor the Union war dead. Though Abe is amused by the legend that he penned the piece on the back of an envelope, he thinks postcard prose could well be a thing. A melancholy optimist, Abe seeks through his writing — against the odds, it seems — to arouse the better angels of our nature.

FREDERICK DOUGLASS is the author of Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. That’s slave, people! He hasn’t the time to write dandified bios!

HARPER LEE wrote To Kill a Mockingbird. She also, it would seem, wrote Go Set a Watchman, or a draft that she left in a drawer somewhere with some dried-up Jujubes and a spelling medal. Where’s my water! I can’t swallow this horse pill! Who are you? Sign what? What sequel? What mockingbird? If you see a mockingbird, shut the damn window! Atticus who? What Scout? I’m not in the Scouts! Oh, why can’t everyone leave me alone!

That summer RAYMOND CARVER rented a little house on the north coast with a drinking buddy named Gus. Ray, Gus said. You should write now. Right now? said Ray. Well, Gus said, I mean, write. Write now, or write later. Ray said, Write what? The window was cracked and a breeze came in. It tasted like salt. I don’t know what, said Gus, and waved his hand like he was shooing a fly. Gus had a box of old dry Hydrox cookies from the Safeway. Eat one, he said. Alright, said Ray. It’s a small, good thing.

Where J.D. SALINGER lives or what he does besides writing are none of your damn business.

ARTHUR MILLER married Marilyn Monroe. Have you seen a picture of Miller? Have you seen her? In scaling such prodigious matrimonial heights, the scrawny bespectacled playwright foreshadowed the dreck film Revenge of the Nerds by thirty years. MILLER also wrote The Death of a Salesman and The Crucible, which won major awards, he supposes — but good god, Marilyn!

F. SCOTT FITZGERALD distilled the incomparable milk of wonder into words in The Great Gatsby. He drinks incomparable-milk-of-wonder laced with bootleg bourbon nightly.

ERNEST HEMINGWAY writes lean, supple prose and drinks whiskey straight, unlike that Ivy League pantywaist Fitzgerald.

NORMAN MAILER wrote The Armies of the Night and The Naked and the Dead. He’ll knock Hemingway’s block off if the drunken bastard drops his left.