* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where our assistant editor David Jaggard recently met with a Russian lawyer (or at least the dating site popup ad that he clicked on said she was a lawyer) who gave him a transcript of this e-mail message sent recently from the White House. This piece is being co-published with Paris Update, where David writes a regular humor column called "C¹est Ironique" (in English!).

“Paris Is No Longer Paris” Is No Longer “Paris Is No Longer Paris”

By:
djaggard@noos.fr
http://www.parisupdate.com/

Dear Jim,

Remember when you said that “Paris is no longer Paris”? Well, I do. But now I’m wondering if you were right, and since I just got back from there I thought I’d tell you about my trip so you can judge for yourself.

Melania and I were invited by the French president to come to Paris for a big celebration in my honor. It was also Bastille Day, their national holiday, but I could tell that they really needed me to be there because otherwise nobody would have come to the festivities.

The flight over was, as always, brutal. Narrow seats, no legroom, awful food, endless waiting for baggage and security…Hah! Just kidding! In case you forgot, I’m President now, so I got to fly over on Air Force One.

I ate steak and ice cream, stretched out for a long nap, and then when we landed, just to throw my diplomatic immunity around, I waltzed right through the customs gate at Orly, cutting in front of all the people standing in line to get their passports checked. It was so much fun I went back and did it again. Let’s see Hillary Clinton try that!

So we arrived early Thursday and drove into town. I keep hearing about how terrible traffic is in Paris, especially coming in from the airport, but our motorcade didn’t have any problem at all — and it was a weekday morning during rush hour! Yet another example of fake news from the biased liberal media.

After lunch they took us to see the president, Emmanuel Macron, and his wife. When I met Brigitte I noticed right away that she’s a lot closer to my age and that Emmanuel is a lot closer to Melania’s age, and suddenly I thought I understood why he had insisted so much on us coming over.

I was thinking, “At last!” and tried to steer the conversation in that direction, but then the girls took off on their own for the afternoon while Emmanuel and I went to some kind of museum thing, so that wasn’t in the cards after all.

I’m still trying to figure out how Jack Kennedy managed it. If I had known how difficult it was I might have just stayed in real estate. Fewer chances to hit on interns, but at least you don’t have half the Secret Service breathing down your neck day and night.

Anyway, the ladies went to see Notre Dame — not the football team, the cathedral. I told Brigitte to say hello to Quasimodo for me while she was there. A very close friend of mine. Also a terrific bell-ringer. One of the best. Not a lot of people know that.

Meanwhile, Mannie took me to Invalides, which is this big military monument in the middle of town. I was hoping he’d take me to Versailles like he did with Putin, because it’d be easier for me there to make sure that my hair’s staying in place. But he wanted to show me Napoleon’s tomb.

Click this link to access a picture of it that I posted on the part of the Internet that I invented. (Unlike that heating-heart liberal Al Gore, I only take credit for things that I have personally originated.)

As you can see, it’s really not very fancy for someone of his wealth and status, but it did give me some ideas to suggest to Congress for my own memorial.

I like the round room, the marble and the classical-style statuary (nice touch), but notice anything? That’s right: no gold! Anywhere! Also, where are all his Time Magazine covers? The guy had no sense of decoration.

But Emmanuel’s choice was fitting. Napoleon and I have a lot in common: we both overcame nearly insurmountable disadvantages to become the leaders of the world’s most powerful nation of our time.

In Napoleon’s case, he had to overcome being short (and having small hands, probably, judging from the way he was always hiding them — sad). And in my case, I had to launch a career with only a few million dollars in seed money. History! People don’t think about it enough!

That evening we went to the Eiffel Tower. I can tell you this: you compare that building to Trump Tower and you can see that the French don’t know anything about construction. The Eiffel Tower is all skinny and spindly and tapers off to a point at the top, with lots of open parts. What a waste of rentable floorspace!

The thing looks like a big bungee jumping platform, but it turns out they have a restaurant right there inside it, and that’s where we had dinner. Not as good as the Trump Grill, of course, but it was okay.

They even brought in a special chef from the United States to make Melania and me feel at home. He didn’t look or sound very American, but Emmanuel said that he was “a star in Michigan” or that he had “three stars in Michigan” — something like that. It was hard to understand him, for one thing because he had a lot of trouble pronouncing “Michigan.”

But that was okay, because when the chef, this guy named Allen Ducasse, came out to meet me, I pronounced his name wrong, so things sort of evened out. Since I thought he was American I just called him “Mr. Ducasse” the way I would have said it in New York, and was about to make a joke about him not having a pompadour haircut. But everybody was already laughing, so I quit while I was ahead.

How was I supposed to know that in France “Ducasse” is pronounced “doo-kahss“? Mel could have told me earlier instead of correcting me in front of everybody. But hey, when you’re a star (I mean a star like me, not just in Michigan) you can get away with stuff like that. How’s that grab ya?

At dinner I couldn’t help but notice some of the little differences between the U.S. and France. Like, here in France they don’t put the ketchup bottle right on the table for you. You have to ask for it.

Also, when I asked the waiter how his acting career was going, he just looked at me blankly. Turns out, waiters here are only waiters! Who knew? It’s not like New York, that’s for sure.

Another thing that surprised me — not just at dinner but all during the day: I was very impressed with the spirit of free speech and activism that I saw in France. Everywhere I went I saw youngsters getting signatures on petitions and collecting donations for some kind of charity or political action or something.

Amazingly, virtually 100 percent of the people they approached gave them money. And not only that, but they were so eager to give, most of them let the petitioner’s friends take the contributions directly out of their pockets while they were signing so they wouldn’t have to lose time fishing around for their wallets afterwards. It saves time for the kids too, so they can collect more signatures.

And I could see they were really devoted to their cause, because after getting some money (or whatever — some people gave them phones or even their whole wallets!) they always ran — not walked — to go find their next donor. It was really something.

That kind of drive and efficiency and generosity is the bedrock of a great free society! Ask those kids if they’re in favor of big government interfering with their business and trying to take over the management of their donations and see what they say!

The next morning, July 14th, they had this big parade. It was huge. Bigger than the one they had for Barack Obama when he came to Paris for COP21, I can tell you that.

But you know, Jim, there’s one drawback to this being a “world leader” thing: you have to sit through a whole lot of boring stuff. Parades, ceremonies, speeches, meetings, briefings, FBI interviews…It never stops.

Geez, the G20 was bad enough, although Ivanka helped me out at that one roundtable so I could get in some putting practice in my hotel room. But in Paris on Friday morning I had to watch this whole three-hour parade without once wiping my nose or adjusting my briefs or anything because the cameras were on me the whole time. Seemed endless.

Afterwards, Man-O and I said our goodbyes and Mel and I headed for the airport to fly home. It felt good to be able to sleep in my own (and Lincoln’s!) bedroom that night.

I gotta say it, Jim: I had a nice time. It was a big trip, a beautiful trip, and nobody enjoys trips better than me, believe me. It kept the illegal alien collusion thing out of my mind for a while. And, I promise you: France paid for it!

 

* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we not only know the whole alphabet, we can say it out loud without risk of fatality. We think. This Vijay Ilankamban fellow may or may not know what he's talking about.

How To Recite The Whole Alphabet Without Dying Of Exhaustion

By:
vilank@umich.edu

  1. Take it one letter at a time. Reciting the alphabet is as much of a mental game as it is a physical game. If you keep thinking about how you have 10, 15, 20, or 25 letters left to go, you’ll never make it to “Z.” Stay in the moment. Savor the letter you are on.
  1. Start slowly. You’ll hear this tragic tale all the time. An over-confident feller, caught up in all the adrenaline, races through the first five or seven letters at full speed, but ends up being fully spent, strapped to a stretcher and loaded into an ambulance even before the letter “T.” You don’t want to be this guy. Pace yourself.
  1. Hydrate, hydrate, stop hydrating. I can’t say it enough: “Hydrate, hydrate, stop hydrating.” Hydration is the key to keeping your energy up and your vocal chords lubed, but you have to stop hydrating at some point, or otherwise you’ll be hydrating instead of reciting.
  1. Keep your upper body upright, yet relaxed. ACL and MCL tears are the most common injuries that occur during an alphabet recitation. Bending your upper body back and forth during the course of a recitation distributes your body weight unevenly on the legs, making your ligaments highly susceptible to violently ripping apart at any time.
  1. Lather up your lips with a little Vaseline. Your lips are vulnerable to extreme chafing and burning during an endurance recitation. Don’t be a fool.
  1. Wear a breathable, lightweight hat. If you’re bald, this is especially important. Your exposed head responds to changes in temperature more quickly than any other part of your body. During the recitation, you’ll want to keep your body a cool and even temperature. Otherwise, it’s almost a sure bet that a hawk will snag your pruned sun-dried scalp and carry you far, far away.
  1. Eat a simple snack when you feel hungry. We all know that it’s a long recitation. 26 letters without food is quite literally an impossible task, but, fortunately, it’s fair game to eat a snack, like maybe some strawberries or walnuts. Don’t be tempted into eating a full three-course meal because you will fall into a long, dark sleep that you will never be able to recover from.
  1. Breathe. Don’t hold your breath. You need to breathe. You will definitely die if you don’t breathe. Breathe before, during and after each letter. Keep breathing.

 

* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we believe the demented have rights too -- just not quite the same rights as the rest of us. When you've finished perusing this newest nonsense from Michael Fowler, check our blogroll on the right for a link to his book, God Made the Animals.

I Hold Myself To A High Standard Of Dementia

By:
mfowl4916@gmail.com

My dad and I were visiting a bunch of old codgers in the solarium at their rest home. Some of them wore hospital gowns and others outdated clothes such as polyester slacks with suspenders and knee socks. One wore a pressure stocking on his leg. Another had a small bandage taped high up on his forehead. They were talking about the meaning John Denver had brought to their lives.

“For me it was certain far-out parameters that occurred along with, I don’t know, a joyful and innocuous meaningful state that for me defined a new era grounded in, what I mean is, openness and acceptance and a commitment to all living — uh, life,” said Bob, who had only shaved one side of his face that morning. I think his name was Bob, but don’t quote me. “That captured the era, you know, for those of us determined not to leave on any military vehicle, ship, or plane on our Rocky Mountain high,” Bob concluded.

“For me,” said I think Ted, who had managed to get the belt of his bathrobe caught in his wheelchair spokes so that he couldn’t roll forward or backward without squeezing the breath out of himself, “it was the time of our new age with granny glasses, the dawning or awakening of the senses within the cosmos — I’m coming to a stairway here — when the touch of a six-string guitar was all we needed to fly like an eagle. Still, I never made it out of Cleveland.”

“Lots of good hiking along the Cuyahoga River,” said a third. I couldn’t even guess his name, but he wasn’t allowed to drink anything caffeinated since that would launch heart palpitations.

“You know who I like?” said Seth, definitely Seth, who was scheduled to die that morning, in a few minutes in fact. “I don’t know why I like her as much as I do, but I do like her, I like her very much. You know who it is that I like so much? I just like her songs. I like very much the way she sings them. It is Carole King.” He then announced that he was ready for the euthanasia, and as a favor my dad pressed the nurse call button. It was none too soon, in my opinion, before they all started singing “I Feel the Earth Move.”

“Are you just giving up, then?” Burl asked Seth, badly missing the point, I’m afraid. I’m calling him Burl since he looked like Burl Ives, or Burl Ives after he’d been dead for a while.

The guys with the cameras and sound system came over. Seth was recording a farewell video to be sent to friends and family after his euthanasia. For personal reasons Seth had elected to die in the presence of his closest friends only. He didn’t mind having me and Dad there, although Dad had only visited him a couple of times before and this was my first visit, but he was afraid his family wouldn’t understand and would interfere with the proceedings. He was likely wrong about that. Dad, who had met them, told me his family was a bunch of idiots who failed to appreciate him — in fact, they regarded him as dregs. But neither of us spoke up about that.

“I’ve enjoyed my life,” said Seth, not without a dry catch in his voice.

“And we’ve enjoyed watching you live it,” said Burl. “Except for your recent acid reflux and vile temper.”

“But it’s time to go,” said Seth. “Time to skedaddle. Though I’m no ways tired.”

“Was it an easy decision?” my dad asked.

“Heck no,” said Seth. “I was looking forward to a few more years of restful mesothelioma. But then, unconsciously, without my being aware of it, I began to let go of life. The last days I was at home, I invited my neighbors to go through my garage and take whatever tools they wanted.”

“Whatever tools they wanted?” asked the man in the pressure stocking. The gimp could hardly believe his ears. “You might have let me know.”

“I didn’t know you then,” said Seth. “I only met you at the foot doctor here. And then what would you do with tools? You can’t even stand. But as I was saying, I let my neighbors choose from among my power mowers, leaf blowers, edgers, hedge trimmers, weed whackers, sprinklers, snowplows, bug zappers, gas grills and all the rest of that crap. Heck, it was like a Home Depot in there. But I no longer cared about any of it. My mind had made itself up. It was time to let material things go.”

“I would never allow myself to degenerate so far as to give up my tools,” said the man with the bandage on his cranium. “Your doctor should have put you out of your misery years ago.”

“Will you be transitioning to anything?” the cameraman asked Seth, stifling a yawn. “We have props to indicate several hereafters, including hunting rifles, roses, clouds, gold columns…”

“Of course he will,” said my dad. “There’s always a better life to come, isn’t there?”

“That’s heartening,” said the cameraman.

“I believe in a life after,” said Seth. “That’s the kind of roach clip I am. I want to sit on a cloudbank beside a mound of roses, singing John Denver tunes. Of course Carole King penned some worthy anthems too, and I might hum a few of those throughout eternity.”

“I want to be black, next go-around. I’ve thought it over carefully, and I want to come back as a black man.” That was Homer, who was already black. Good to know he was satisfied.

“What about a woman?” asked my dad.

“What about her?” asked Seth.

“I mean, why not come back as a woman, next time around?”

I was proud of my dad. He was a nonsexist reincarnationist, and probably an all-around equal opportunity one too. He wanted the reincarnated to represent a broad diversity of folks, or so I gathered. And he was proud enough of me to introduce me to his batty friends, even though not one of them reacted to my presence. At the same time I was worried about the old man. He was beginning to show his age and decrepitude, as was clear from the kind of people he was hanging out with. I also needed to let him know that there was no way I was letting him euthanize himself like Seth, and I wasn’t leaving him today until he understood that.

In a short time Seth lay on a gurney and absorbed his potion, Socrates-like only through an IV tube. As the film crew took down all our credit card numbers for advance orders of Seth’s farewell documentary, the nurse drew the sheet up over Seth’s face. Dad and I got up to leave as the elderly witnesses began to fall asleep in their seats.

“That was some exit,” said my dad, burning the hair off several knuckles with a glowing cigarette lighter as he sometimes did to ease tension. We were outside the rest home and in his car now, where he proceeded to light up a smoke. “Seth really did himself proud,” he added, starting the engine.

On the way back to his house, where I had left my car, Dad drove hideously. As he had on the way over, he ran through stop signs and sideswiped a couple of mailboxes that were set out close to the curb. He didn’t mention these alarming errors — didn’t seem aware of them, in fact. He held his head high, admiring his road skills, or what was left of them.

“Dad,” I said, “To be honest I hope you haven’t lined up anything like an assisted suicide for yourself LOOKOUT! Because I don’t approve of this euthanasia business for the able elderly WATCHWHEREYOU’REGOING! and as your son I’ll fight you on it MYGODSLOWDOWN! and WHYAREYOUSMOKINGANDDRIVING!?”

“If I ever become a bad driver, a real road hazard, you’ll tell me, won’t you?” he said, laughing his ass off. He narrowly missed smacking a parked car.

I considered this. It was clear that Dad held himself to a high standard of dementia, since he was practically begging me to keep him off the road, if I understood him correctly. I admired that, and promised myself that I would attain to the same high standard when my driving skills deteriorated and I became a road menace. I’d surrender my keys on the spot as soon as I saw that happening. But after all we’d been through today, I couldn’t bring myself to tell Dad that I’d never ride with him again under any circumstances, not if my life depended on it. Not yet.

“You’re not doing too bad,” I said.

“That’s why you keep screaming and curling up in a ball,” he cackled.

After he pulled into his drive, almost smashing the taillight of my parked car, he sat in the driver’s seat playing with the turn signal like a child with a toy.

“I’m going the distance,” he said after a minute. “Yea though I walk through the valley of baldness and hip replacements with countless hairline fractures and a prostate of stone, I won’t be checking out early.”

“Attaboy,” I said. “Of course you can reconsider if you start drooling on yourself and behaving like a potted plant. We both can reconsider.”

Then I demanded the car keys, and after stubbing out his cigarette he handed them over with hardly a word of protest, only bellowing in rage and thrashing about wildly while I literally tore them from his hands, which began bleeding. Then he grabbed them back from me and stuck them in his pants pocket, laughing like a maniac. I had to rip off the pocket, which came away with a great tearing sound, to get at them again. When I held them once more, securely this time, he only smiled contentedly and settled back in the car seat. This was the old geezer I admired and still wanted to be with, the one who was ageing gracefully and whose lofty dementia I would someday emulate.

Too bad I needed to make him bleed and ruin his pants to find him.

 

 

 

 

* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we feel perfectly qualified to dispense medical advice of the most impertinent and intimate nature, thanks to this piece by first-time contributor Ginny Hogan.

RE: Am I Having Enough Sex To Get An STD Test?

By:
ginny5hogan@gmail.com

Dear Ginny,

Thank you for your interest in receiving a test for sexually transmitted diseases with UCSF Medical Center. Unfortunately, at this time, we are not able to move forward with your STD test.

While we do not normally provide feedback for candidates, we wanted to offer some insight into our decision-making process. Due to cost limitations, we are only able to administer STD tests to candidates who fall under the umbrella of “sexually active.” Based on your reported sexual history, as well as the references we contacted, you are at no risk for an STD due to your very limited physical contact. We were able to verify that you have not had sexual intercourse in the last three years. In fact, we found no history of penetration, oral sex, tongue action, or mild flirting. We are unable to verify whether there was sexual contact prior to three years ago, but we would imagine that the answer is also no.

You requested an HIV test, but we are unable to administer this test to candidates who do not meet any of the risk factors for HIV. We have found that not only do you not have sex, but you also have not used any needles to inject drugs into your body; in fact, no one has ever offered you drugs of any type, and you do not know where to find them. If you did know where to find them, you probably would not be able to afford them.

You listed several instances of sexual activity, but none of these qualify you for an STD test. While we agree that making a Tinder profile does put you at a higher risk for an STD, we were able to confirm that you received zero messages from men. You did provide a specific example of a message you’d received on Tinder, but upon closer examination, this message was an advertisement for a personal stylist, which, after meeting you in person, we have to highly recommend that you consider trying. You also stated that you had been “dry-humped on BART,” but, after speaking with all potential dry-humpers, we concluded that the man who dry-humped you did not do so intentionally; it was simply rush hour. Furthermore, dry-humping does not lead to an STD, which is irrelevant, because you were not dry-humped. We understand that if a man had suggested having unprotected sex with you, you definitely would have agreed to it, but we cannot provide STD tests just because you would have been into the idea had it been available to you (which it isn’t).

We hope you understand that we cannot schedule you for an STD test at this time. We apologize — however, most people only want an STD test so that they can assure future sexual partners that they’re clean, and you are unlikely to ever be asked about this, so we don’t feel that bad. We wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors and hope you find a medical examination that fits you. We think you might find more success if you request an exam for diabetes and/or depression. We receive many applications from qualified candidates, and we have to prioritize to whom we administer the test. As it turns out, literally everyone is having more sex than you.

Best,

UCSF Medical Center

 

* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we celebrate America's least-appreciated Presidents. Who better to judge than our good Canadian friend David Martin? When you've finished reading his latest piece of drivel, click on the link below or in our blogroll to buy his most recent humor collection "King Donald" on Amazon. The laughs are huge!

The Millard Fillmore School Of Politics

By:
david.martin@bell.net
https://www.amazon.com/King-Donald-look-Presidential-campaign/dp/1537150944/ref=sr_1_1?

Thinking of heading off to university but worried about your career prospects? Concerned about a moribund economy with nowhere to go? Then you should consider enrolling in the Millard Fillmore School of Politics.

Remember, politics is one profession with a stable employment base. From the tens of thousands of elected municipal positions to the thousands of state legislator jobs to the hundreds of Congressional slots, there are scads of employment opportunities for today’s politics school grad.

Here at Fillmore U, we don’t spend a lot of time on political theory. Instead, we concentrate on what it takes to get you elected, reelected and reelected again (subject, of course, to those dreaded term limits). Our goal is to groom you not just for a one-term legislative position, but rather for an entire working life supping at the public trough. At Fillmore U, our motto is: “Why work for a living when you can run for public office?”

In your first semester, you’ll learn the practical nuts and bolts. There’s Campaign Financing 101, where you’ll learn the mostly legal ways you can finance your campaign with OPM, or “other people’s money.”

We’ll teach you how to work with corporate lobbyists to maximize your campaign contributions. We’ll also school you in the arcane rules governing such profitable enterprises as PACs, Super PACs, 527 groups and all manner of means to pay for those nasty attack ads you’ll be running.

Electioneering 202 is another first semester course. You’ll learn how to tailor your campaign platform with vague generalities and populist pablum to garner the widest support possible. We’ll teach you how to go after your opponent, stopping just short of actionable slander and libel, and how to get others to do that dirty work for you.

The second semester features a number of specialty courses. There’s Debating 103, where you’ll learn how to debase and demean your opponent without ever having to take an actual stance on the issues of the day. There’s also Apologies 202, a seminar course that shows you how to avoid apologies but, when necessary, issue one with no actual admission of guilt or wrongdoing.

And this year, for the first time, we’re offering Autocracy 301 for those aspiring to maximize their political power. Whether you’re aiming for the position of dogcatcher or President of the United States, we’ll show you how to appeal to the electorate’s worst fears, instincts and prejudices. Included are specialized seminar sessions in bullying, name-calling, beer-drinking, gun-toting, race-baiting and pussy-grabbing.

Maybe you’re not interested in the hassle of running for political office. Perhaps you’d prefer to be the brains behind the politician. Then sign up for our postgraduate degree in Political Advising. You’ll learn all the skills necessary to get your charge elected and keep him or her in office, including the essential three Ps: pivoting, posturing and prevaricating.

At Fillmore U, we take the profession of politics seriously and pledge to you that we will do all in our power to advance your career. Once you’ve taken the Hypocritical Oath (“First, tell no truth…”) at your commencement ceremony, you’ll be on your way to a satisfying, rewarding and, dare we say, remunerative career.

So apply now and let the Millard Fillmore School of Politics groom you for a lifetime of electoral offices complete with first-rate salaries, healthcare, pensions and, for the legally adventurous, unlimited investment opportunities. As we like to say at Fillmore U, while you’re serving the public, there’s no reason you can’t also serve yourself.

* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we love art and we also love a mystery. The biggest mystery is why we've never published anything by Tess Tabak before, but there's a first time for everything. Enjoy!

Gustav Klimt, Mystery Detective

By:
beccatess@gmail.com

The year was 1910. I, Gustav Klimt, mystery detective, had been minding my own business. I was preparing myself for a nice Limburger. I would eat it, yes, and then immortalize it forever upon a canvas.

It was hard work, being a great abstract painter by day and running a detective agency by night. It was hard work, and sometimes I got hungry. Hungry for justice, and also for cheese.

But to my astonishment, when I went to tempt my taste buds, the Limburger was nowhere to be found. There, in my cupboard, someone had left in its place a canvas, bearing a cubist painting of cheese. Quite amateurish, in my opinion. It lacked the flavor that an artist with my years of expertise could provide.

I searched for clues high and low, all around my offices, where I solve crime and create masterpieces. But still the cheese remained MIA. Had another painter ruthlessly stolen the fruits of my efforts?

I would start with the low ranks. I called Oskar Kokoschka, a lesser artist, in for questioning. “Oskar, did you eat my cheese?” I asked.

Kokoschka grinned playfully. “Did I eat your cheese? Or did I portray it anew, with a fresh perspective? After all, what is cheese, and what is art?”

“Don’t play coy with me, Kokoschka. Do you know who ate my cheese?”

I pressed down upon him with all the years of my superior talent. Kokoschka squealed.

“I don’t know! Ask Dali.”

I gave Kokoschka a shove. The Austrian painter disappeared into a cloud of smoke. “Ah, Oskar, you chose the wrong artist to mess with. You have been forgotten by the world while I, Gustav Klimt, am beloved by all, my art sold for millions.”

Maybe Kokoschka was onto something. Maybe he was just a moron with less talent in his whole body than I had in my pinky finger. Either way, he had given me a lead, so I followed it. I called Salvador Dali in for questioning.

“Salvador Dali. My friend, my contemporary. Did you eat my cheese?”

Dali twitched his moustache. “Did I eat your cheese? Nay. But if I had…I am imagining a fine Gouda. It’s melting, yes. Melting and covered with ants. The cheese is delicious, the ants horrifying.”

“I’m not in the mood, Dali. Do you know who ate my cheese?”

I grabbed Dali by the shoulders, forcing a yelp.

“I don’t know! Ask Pollock.”

Later that day, I paid Pollock a visit. He was busy at work on a spattered canvas.

“Jackson Pollock. Did you eat my cheese?”

Pollock looked around shifty-eyed. I decided to play good cop.

“I won’t be mad, Jackson. I just want to know. To set the record straight. Did you eat my cheese?”

“No. But I helped myself to some of your sardines.”

“They were expired.”

“I know. I threw up all over this canvas.” He gestured to the artwork in front of him. “I really like how splattery it is. I think I’m going to call it, Study with food number One hundred and fifty seven.”

I left Pollock’s quarters even more confused than I had been. Something about the whole thing seemed a bit fishy. It reeked of a cover up. What did Pollock want with my expired sardines? Why couldn’t everyone stay out of my cupboards? The questions were endless.

Just then, Picasso appeared on the scene. He was carrying a canvas covered in yellow paint, cubes of horrifying golds, saffrons and lemons.

I was furious. “Picasso, what have you done with my cheese?”

Picasso snickered evilly. “It didn’t want to be cheese any more. It wanted to be cubes. Look how the painting deconstructs your notion of what cheese is, and what cheese isn’t.”

I flung myself towards the other painter with a lunge. “I say that cheese belongs on my canvas — and covered in a delicate gold leaf — surrounded by the face of a beautiful woman.”

“Well, I say the cheese belongs in my stomach,” Picasso said.

With a yell, I leapt onto Picasso, grabbing him by the shoulders. He pulled my beard.

“You’re cheating!” I called.

“All’s fair in love and art.”

We were both distracted when Andy Warhol barged in, carrying a painting of Campbell’s Soup.

“Klimt — so like, I was at your place last night, and I was really hungry. Then I opened your cupboard, and I had this great idea for a painting. It’s kind of like, what is food, and what is art?”

I glared at Warhol.

“By the way, you’re out of soup.”

 

 

* Welcome to The Big Jewel, America's only true hope of escape! Say hello to our good friend Dan Fiorella.

Internet Ratings Of Escape Rooms

By:
daff118@aol.com
danfiorella.com

Crazes? We love crazes! The newest craze sweeping the country is the Escape Room, where someone locks you in a room and you have to figure how to get out. In the old days this would be a felony, but now, it’s a fun day out! But not all escape rooms are created equal, so we’ve scanned the internet in an attempt to separate the best from the less best:

 

Alice From Wonderland Escape

** This was a multi-room adventure, all with the theme of Alice in Wonderland. The walls were decorated with scenes from the Walt Disney version of the story, while songs from the movie played. The puzzles and clues were very tricky. The tasks way too hard. In the end, the only way we got out was because Disney lawyers came in and shut down the whole enterprise for various copyright infringements.

–WhiteRabbit428

 

Riddle Room Escape Room

** We still haven’t escaped yet. But the wi-fi is excellent!

–MIA1234

 

Prison Break Out!

** I was really disappointed by this Escape Room. There wasn’t hardly any prison raping at all.

–Squirelly248

 

BREXIT

* We thought we really wanted to escape from this, but now we’re not so sure…

–TerryM

 

Family Trip Get Away

*** You’re in a hotel room with 3 daughters and your wife getting ready for a wedding and you only have 1 bathroom. Too scary to be fun.

–Whiskerking500

 

Blonde Escape Room

* It was a patio. In a back yard. Come on!

–BrunettGurl44

 

** Too hard!!!!!!

–Blondie12

 

The Hot Box

* I didn’t think an Escape Room that is like a POW camp’s hold could be much fun. I was correct.

–Hogan553

 

Escape From No Escape

**½ This Escape Room is based on the movie “No Escape” which no one can escape from because no one saw the movie “No Escape.”

–MovieGuy440

 

Hoarder’s House

*** This was very hard. You had to navigate around piles of newspapers, broken appliances and cat droppings, figuring out clues based on the expiration dates of canned goods. And finding the mummified remains of rats really doesn’t count as clues.

–Dave@aol.com

 

Al Capone’s Vault

* Waste of time.

–Geraldo1980

 

Escape Away

? I can’t honestly rate this Escape Room. I got locked in the men’s room stall and couldn’t get out. I was there quite some time and afterward didn’t feel much like getting locked in somewhere else. But the bathrooms are very clean.

–MartyBGoode

 

Escape From the Planet of the Apes

*** Okay, my bad, not an escape room at all but a pretty good 1971 sci-fi movie.

–Sisbert@large

 

Trump Tower’s Best Escape Room Ever

* It’s bad enough I have to pay to be locked in a room and try to escape, while not being allowed to touch any of the expensive gold-leaf bric-a-brac, but what’s even worse is that at the end of the hour I had to pay an “escape fee” and “roaming charges” to be let out????

–HillaryRC

 

The Glue Factory

* Very sticky. Maybe too sticky. And all the whinnying from the next room was very distracting.

–The Wilsons

 

Solitary Confinement

**** This Escape Room is so awesome it was actually ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court as cruel and unusual punishment!

–MAGA2020

 

Sweeny Holmes’ Escape Room & Meat Pies

**** No reviews on the Escape Rooms but the Meat Pies are amazing!

–Carnivore222

 

Pop-Up Escape Room

** Okay, it looks like this place used to be a Radio Shack, based on the fact that all the shelves and signage are still in place. Did they put any effort into this at all? We got out in, like, 20 minutes. I’m pretty sure it took me longer to get out when it was an actual Radio Shack. I think someone was trying to cash in on a fad here. However, I did find the type of battery charger I’ve been looking for, like, forever!

–CBRadioIXI

 

* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we yield to no one in our admiration for Ernest Hemingway, master of the short story. Or in this case, the really short story. Let's also take our hats off to Karl Lykken, who has found half a dozen ingenious new ways to interpret Papa's tiny masterpiece.

Alternate Interpretations Of Hemingway’s Six-Word Story

By:
knlykken@gmail.com

“For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”

  • A man found a magic lamp and was granted three wishes by a genie. Concerned that wishing for money outright would result in some sort of trickery, he wished for a baby shoe that would never wear out, figuring that such a shoe would be a big seller to families in Utah. However, the genie granted his wish by giving him a shoe that was unwearable. He decided to try to sell this shoe anyway by putting an ad in the paper, only then to realize that this was the genie’s way of fulfilling his second and third wishes of becoming a published writer and having the woman of his dreams finally want what he had to offer.
  • Jane was unaware that the commune her pregnant daughter, Lanie, recently joined strictly forbade the wearing of shoes, as the loud clacking of shoe soles on the floor gave the Most Woke Leader splitting headaches after a late night of drinking the Sacred Elixir for Mindfulness Expansion. Before Lanie threw the shoes away, however, the Leader informed her that while the possession of money wounded the soul, the giving away of money could heal it. He was willing to sacrifice his own soul by accepting the money in order to heal hers if she sold the shoes. Lanie felt bad about hurting the Leader’s soul, but she figured someone as selfless as him must have plenty of soul to go around, so she placed an ad in the paper.
  • When Sonny Castanetti told Big Tony that Marie May, the most prized porcelain baby doll in Big Tony’s collection, wasn’t quite so cute as Mary Mae, Sonny’s newborn daughter, Big Tony shot Sonny through the ear, saying that if Sonny assaulted his ears with his insulting words it was only fair that Big Tony strike back in the same location. Sonny Castanetti, Jr. took offense to his father’s murder, as he was now a grown man and felt that all major decisions concerning his family should be run by him first. Consequently, Sonny Jr. decided to lure Big Tony into an abandoned warehouse to ambush him. Knowing of Big Tony’s passions both for accessorizing life-sized porcelain baby dolls and for good deals, Sonny Jr. decided to bait him with a sale offer he couldn’t refuse.
  • On planet Rigdal 9, the Kilgorfo Clan use small, furry Pigdalias as shoes, as they find the Pigdalias’ soft fur, ample fat layers, and continual whimpers of pain quite satisfying. Bludbuth, the infamous Kilgorfo actuary, ripped the sobbing newborn Pigdalia twins Ewoto and Ewota away from their parents. Delighted by the thought of the twins’ bleak future of constant, involuntary close proximity to the rank feet of the Kilgorfos, Bludbuth took out an ad in the Rigdal 9 Dark Times.
  • Johnny Lee really wanted a baby, but his wife Carol did not. Carol had a recurring nightmare in which she was forced to wear baby-sized outfits that suffocated her, and this led her to develop a phobia of baby clothes. The best way to avoid baby clothes, she thought, was simply to avoid babies, which meant having one of her own was out of the question. Johnny Lee, desperate to change her mind, decided to get Carol over her phobia through exposure therapy, so he bought thousands of baby clothes and then arranged them all over the house in the dead of night while Carol was asleep. When Carol awoke to find herself surrounded by the miniature outfits, she went into a frenzy and wound up forcing a duck-covered onesie down Johnny Lee’s throat, suffocating him to death. Since Johnny Lee had spent all of their savings on the massive collection of baby clothes, Carol didn’t have any cash on hand to hire a top-notch defense attorney for her murder trial. Thus, she was forced to face her fear after all, selling each terrifyingly tiny item of clothing, starting with a pair of shoes.
  • Shelby bought a pair of aquamarine shoes even though little Davy’s eyes are cerulean blue. It’s not like there aren’t a thousand pictures of Davy’s eyes, each tagged with #babyceruleans, that Shelby could have looked at on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or even on Stormfront, because, let’s face it, they appreciate a good cerulean eye. But no, Shelby didn’t look at any pictures to see if the shoes would complement his eyes or clash with them, and no, she didn’t look at the baby registry either, because why would you look at the list of everything Davy’s actual mother wants for him when you can just let your complete lack of experience guide you in picking out a hideous pair of shoes? Seriously, the ad should have read, “For sale: Shelby’s brain, never used.” Aquamarine. Jesus Christ, Shelby.

 

* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we care about social justice almost as much as we do about tasty and affordable fast food. This is Nick Logsdon's first piece for us and it's quite a slice!

We Are Your University’s Student Social Justice Committee And We’re Here To Incentivize You With Free Pizza

By:
nick.logsdon5@gmail.com
@nickloggy

Hello, passing white student trying not to make eye contact! Do you have any interest in changing the current tide of discriminatory social norms? Do you like free food? How about pursuing the interests of minorities and making our country a safe and welcoming place for them to live? How about fresh, hot pizza? We understand social justice requires an extra saucy kick in the pants to get into, so riddle me this: how do two free slices of pizza and a side of buffalo wings sound?

You won’t find a deal like that at Dominoes.

Just sign our roster acknowledging that you’ll come to next Monday’s new member meeting and you can take your pick of any slice of the pizza pie you want — well, any among the pepperoni, cheese and combo options we have here. We ordered way too much! We always do! And also free of charge are the means and willpower to dutifully enact change in our communities small and large.

How does justice taste now? Like tomato, garlic and basil? I know.

Awesome. Welcome to the committee. Now that you’ve put the pen to the paper, you’re ready to put the mouth to the ‘za. So, I’ll tell you that the meeting will take place next Monday evening in Robertson Hall, room 303. If you get lost, let your hungry nostrils be your guide. Or give Lewis a call.

We’ll cover issues like solutions to housing and education discrimination as well as dignified representation of minorities in media. As if those issues aren’t intrinsically valuable enough for you to attend, then let us entice you with more glorious food.

The Social Justice Committee always provides donuts, ice cream, pound cakes, cream puffs, Twinkies, Ding Dongs and malt balls, and our very own Italian immigrant Matteo has his Nona ship her famous bruttiboni from Prato every week to keep your sweet, socially conscious bellies satiated. But don’t burst your buttons just yet. Get this: at all of our meetings we discuss one major issue affecting the globe that week.

We encourage you to bring some treats to share, but we know you won’t, which is why we guarantee there is always plenty, and always so much left over. That’s how we get ya!

Twice a semester, we hold two major fundraising events that center on the cultivation of intercultural relationships. We invite the diverse members of our campus to mingle, get to know each other, grab a quick couple lobster rolls, and hopefully develop a more connected understanding of themselves and their neighbor.

If establishing budding relationships with the marginalized is simply not enough to get you on board, have no fear, because Cheesy Chuck’s Grilled Cheese Truck is here. Our pal Chucky Boy has been catering our events for the past two years because, like us, he’s an advocate for social change. Because of his advocacy and love of large profit margins, he’s dedicated to helping you and students like you get fully on board with tackling (your appetite) our country’s most pressing issues.

Now we’re speaking you’re language, huh? Not only are you in a bubble, you’re still on the bubble when it comes to the whole helping others thing. We get that. Look, all 22 members of our committee were like you at one point or another. Even if we are using service as a way to save money on food, we’re still serving. All it took for us to come around were weeks of catered meetings, hundreds of dollars worth of free pizza, and a semiannual food truck parade. After that we got to work. So what the heck are you waiting for besides being on the right side of history? Our fried chicken Fridays? We can’t wait either.

I can already see your heart growing full. It swells with compassion, and your arteries clog with cholesterol. I can tell that you’ll make a great member of our committee. Between your appetite for a good, hot, free slice and your lukewarm interest in helping solve major socially degrading issues, you’re exactly what we’re looking for. Remember, real change starts with you, me, and Pizza Hut. But we can get Dominoes, or something more local, like Vinny’s, which is up the street.

 

* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we still believe in the Tooth Fairy. We're just not sure we believe in all of his methods.

Tooth Fairy Rants

By:
marxman@comcast.net

Tooth Fairy here, with big problems. First off, I’m running an incredibly unbalanced budget. One-way cash flow is a recipe for disaster. It isn’t quite as bad as the USA’s nearly $20 trillion dollar deficit, but my operation has no positive outcome in sight.

Some of you may have heard about the most recent tooth fairy survey. It wasn’t fake news. Believe it. I paid out an average $4.66 per tooth last year, up 75 cents from 2015! And if that isn’t bad enough, the average for a first tooth in 2016 was $5.72. It doesn’t matter the type, incisor, molar, or canine. All that equates to nearly $300 million dollars in the U.S. alone.

Who needs to raise the minimum wage? Just keep putting teeth under your pillows and I’ll keep paying. Is that what you think? Well, I have news for you. The well is running dry! Who can sustain this kind of business model?

What? Did I hear you say Santa Claus? Don’t make me laugh. For starters, good old St. Nick works one day (actually night) a year. That’s a really tough schedule. Second, he has so many helpers I’ve lost count. Doubt me? I urge you to stop by New York’s Radio City Music Hall during the Christmas Spectacular show. You’ll see so many dancing Santas on one stage that your collective heads will spin. How many tooth fairy helpers have you encountered? I thought so. I’m a one-person operation. Third, do you think Santa goes into his pockets to buy all of those toys? Give me a break. Among numerous other charities and programs, Toys for Tots provide the jolly one with an unmatched supply chain.

Another one-day-a-year worker is the Easter Bunny. Don’t get me started. I work nights 365 days a year. Easter eggs and candies and chocolates all add up to one thing: rotted teeth that fall out more quickly than bunnies…never mind. My costs always rise following Easter.

It’s too bad baby teeth fall out and are replaced. There are so many. Why couldn’t it be baby arms or legs that fall off and grow back? The Arm Fairy or Leg Fairy would only have to pay off twice per child. That’s fiscally responsible. So what if an arm or leg is too big to fit underneath a pillow? Just slip it under the bed. I’ll find it and leave the money. But that’s not reality.

Given the current deal-making climate in the U.S., let’s deal. If you want me to continue paying the rates to which your spoiled brat kids have become accustomed, a few changes have to take place. I propose a self-sustaining system that will keep this operation in the black.

Let’s look at the numbers. The average child gets 20 baby teeth over the course of several years. Baby teeth stop coming in at age 12. There are approximately 24.7 million children ages 0-12. My proposition? Mr. and Ms. Parent, you pay me 75 cents for each baby tooth. Why should teething pain be limited to your child? Simple math tells us that that equates to $15 into my coffers per kid. Multiply that by 24.7 million rug rats and my operation has an annual income exceeding $370 million. I can live with that.

Stop squawking. My job isn’t getting any easier. You millennials are having lots of kids. Always in a rush — how about taking the time to wash the blood off your kids’ teeth? Is that asking too much? I have to wear protective latex gloves when handling those crimson things. Gloves cost money, and finding them to fit my hands isn’t easy. I have to purchase them online, they’re produced overseas, and that gets into the whole free trade thing and shipping and brokerage charges and whatnot. And another thing, how about doing me a solid and turning off your home security systems on those nights when you put a tooth under your precious one’s pillow? A little cooperation on your side goes a long way.

I have some other business-friendly ideas, like non-payment for teeth that are knocked out, either intentionally or by accident. Do you have any idea how much my expenses increase during youth hockey season? Why reward the little tykes for roughhousing? And, I don’t pay if a dentist has to pull a baby tooth. Let nature take its course. Speaking of nature, ours is an aging population. Permanent teeth eventually fall out and are replaced by false teeth. Believe me, I’ve seen my share of bedside choppers languishing in glasses and cups. How about throwing me a couple of bucks for every elderly permanent tooth that falls out?

I’m not only a fairy — I’m also a job creator. I have plans to offer franchise opportunities. Think about it. We could call it TF Enterprises (don’t want to spoil the Tooth Fairy surprise for the gullible). I see a future with TF Enterprises in every city. Working nights only, you could keep your day jobs while running a TF franchise. That would save buku dollars in pillow-to-pillow travel.

The more I think about it, the more your franchise and I could mutually benefit from technology. Think about a business model where email photos of teeth (proof may be required that nature caused the loss) are sent and funds forwarded via PayPal or by some other electronic means. No travel. Instant payment. It’s a win-win.

But, as always, I’m open to negotiation and the art of the deal. You want me to pay double if your child loses both front teeth at the same time? Interesting proposition. I won’t rule it out. Let’s talk.