* Welcome to The Big Jewel. If you know the novel The Comforters by Muriel Spark, or The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold by Evelyn Waugh -- or for that matter the Will Ferrell film Stranger Than Fiction -- then the premise of this piece will seem slightly less strange than fiction. Whatever you make of it, we think Jack Peacock deserves a round of applause for managing to be both creepy and clever.

The Narrator


Sarah slipped off her dressing gown and stepped into the bath. She slid down, immersing herself in the warm soapy water. Just then her eyes widened and darted around the room. She jumped up and grabbed her dressing gown, threw it over herself and held it tight shut.

“What was that? I’m not hearing things, am I?” she said, almost in a whisper.

She opened the bathroom door and checked around the hall outside, but all was empty.

“Is someone there?” she said.

“Who is that? Show yourself!” she said, “I KEEP HEARING ‘SHE SAID’ AFTER EVERYTHING I SAY,” she yelled down the dark hallway…Oh, you can hear me?

“Yes, I can bloody well hear you! I’m going to call the police! Where are you? Have you planted some camera in my house?”

Erm…no. I’m the narrator of the story.

“The narrator? The story? What the hell! Get out of my house! How can you see me? Where are you?”

Erm…I don’t actually know. I’m watching from a sound booth reading from a script. I think you’re supposed to have a glass of wine and read a book after the bath.

“Don’t tell me what I should be doing. This is completely insane. Where did I put my phone?”

Ah, I can help you there. It says here that you frantically search the house like a demented foxhound before finding the phone on the kitchen table. The place where you first looked, obviously.

Sarah walked across the hallway towards the kitchen, all the time scanning the room for signs of a…

“I don’t need a running commentary on my actions!”


“Said the pervert of a narrator.”

Well if you are going to be like that, then fine. I will stay quiet. We could have made a good team as well. Now you will have to go and find out that your husband is having an affair with his secretary on your own.

“Ah, my phone is here…Damn, the battery’s gone. I’m going to my neighbor’s. She has a gun, you know. This is just too creepy and…Wait a minute, what was that you said about my husband?”

Oh, so you want my help now?

“Just tell me what that ‘script’ says and maybe I won’t report you to the police!”

Hey look, I’m just doing my job. I’ve got a wife and two kids at home to support.


OK, OK, calm yourself…erm…Let’s see…she yelled at the top of her shrill voice (that’s already done), drank half a bottle of wine (far, far less than usual), read a cheap supermarket novel, and…Ah! Here it is. She found her husband’s mobile phone, which he’d left in his coat pocket, and used it to make a call.

In the process of making the call you should find a message about tonight’s “meeting.”

As Sarah fumbled through her husband’s coat pockets, she could be heard tutting at the phrase ‘shrill voice’ and mumbling that she doesn’t drink that much, and that one glass a day is her absolute limit. Of course, anyone could see that that was clearly nonsense. She had already drunk two glasses over lunch that day, and a casual glance could reveal at least a dozen empty wine bottles lying scattered about the…

“ENOUGH ALREADY! I’m sure if you had a lying, cheating, waste of space for a husband like I do, you would be drinking more! Ah, here’s his phone! Now let’s see what messages…A pass code! He’s obviously trying to hide something.”

The rage on Sarah’s face was now so intense that she could scare away a ravenous tiger. She began trying different number combinations on the phone. She started trying memorable dates, and years — birthdays, anniversaries… — but found nothing that unlocked the phone. It never occurred to her that in his laziness, her husband had never intended to secure his phone with a code, and had simply never bothered to change the default “1111” that locked the SIM card.

“Thank you very much!”

You are very welco…Oh damn, you weren’t supposed to hear that. Well, that ruins three pages of script. And it’s good script too. I would like to have seen you smash that mirror with the phone, and seeing you slip on the wet floor would probably have been hilarious.

“So he’s at her house, is he? Well I know the address! I think I might just pay them a surprise visit.”

As Sarah paced the room, fumbling with her husband’s phone, a thought suddenly popped into her head.

“Wait a minute, you mentioned earlier that I had two glasses of wine over lunch. How do you know that? How long have you been watching me?”

I err…I can’t remember…I…

“And how far ahead is this ‘scripted?’ If I go to this woman’s address, what will happen?”

I err…my script doesn’t go that far. The writers must still be working on it.

“The writers? When I get back from killing my husband I’m going to have a few words with your writers. I won’t have my life scripted like this. I mean: ‘demented foxhound?’ ‘Ravenous tiger?’ Honestly, where do they get this rubbish?”

Sarah flung open her wardrobe and threw on the first set of clothes she laid her hands on. She marched down the hallway to the front door, her footsteps resonating sharply around the house. Her eyes were fixated on her husband’s mobile phone as she marched to her car. She did not look up, and so walked straight into her waste bins outside. The sound of empty wine bottles crashing together could be heard halfway down the stre…

“I CAN STILL HEAR YOU!” came a shrill voice from outside the front door.


* Welcome to The Big Jewel, your number one source for information on the tough and gritty noirish world of genetic research. It takes a talented gumshoe to track the semi-human genome back to its lair -- a gumshoe like Michael Fowler. When you're done reading his latest case, be sure to check our blogroll on the right for a link to his book, God Made the Animals.

The Double Helix, Hardboiled


I reported straight to the Cavendish lab to powwow with my new bosses. The two eggheads wore white lab coats like the soda jerks at Woolworth’s back in Chicago, and introduced themselves with friendly but strained grins. Crick, English and crisp as a fried kipper, and the soft-spoken yank Watson, nicknamed Birdman due to his liking for birds, the winged type, and I’d have bet the kind that sashayed on pretty gams too. I came on like a jolly and brash young chemist, but I sensed a fog of gloom in the lab that the off-kilter grins only made heavier. The fog lay on everyone’s sprit, even mine, and I’d just arrived. “What is it, chums?” I said. “Spill it.”

They spilled it. Crick did most of the talking while the American, obviously a worrier, probed his thatch of hair with a long forefinger. What it boiled down to was, a dame called Dr. Rosalind Franklin, a knockout dish with a brain like Aristotle’s, was sitting on some critical crystallographic X-ray images of amino acids, as I twigged the lingo. She had them stashed in her lab down the hall, refusing to share them with my bosses, like a spoiled little vixen too special to be nice to fellow humans, especially male humans. My lads needed a peek at the snapshots to confirm a theory about the structure of the DNA molecule, and were dead frantic someone would chime to it first and beat them to a sure Nobel Prize. As I listened to these details, a light bulb clicked on in my skull.

Minutes later I crept down the hallway to Dr. Franklin’s lab. I silently pushed the door open, and was greeted by a reedy runt in the trim, spotless white coat that everyone wore around this place. “Are you enquiring after Dr. Franklin?” he twittered in an upper-class accent. “I’m afraid she’s not in. Come back tomorrow.”

I could see a long-legged knockout with raven tresses moving among the flasks and test tubes in the background, so I was having none of it. “Nerts to you, Clive,” I said, and dealt him a hand sandwich to the mandible, all lean knuckles and no mayo. His Fruit of the Looms kissed the floor. He was out like a defective flashlight.

“Who is it, Gosling?” the dark beauty said, gracefully moving my way to see what the commotion was. She did a double take on seeing the little shrimp napping on the floor, then turned to me.

“Your name Rosie?” I asked while she gathered her wits, taking in the lush curves swelling her lab coat in all the right places. Her lustrous, shoulder-length hair and full lips reminded me of midnight out back of my mother’s garage with the gardener’s daughter. I tried not to let her delishful exterior get to me and to concentrate on business, but hey, I’m as human as the next bodink.

“My friends call me Dr. Franklin,” she said breathily. “What have you done to my assistant?” As I set my mouth to reply, she fed me a kiss that plummeted to my arches and then rebounded up to my brainpan, where it ricocheted around for a country mile.

Before I succumbed to her wiles, I laid my cards on the table. I told her I’d come from the lab down the hall, where the inmates were desperate for a gander at her latest crystallographic snapshots of amino acid groups or whaddya call ’em, my lips stumbling over the odd syllables.

“Those hot dogs,” she scoffed, urging me toward a long sofa she kept parked in a back corner near the Bunsen burners and titration vessels. “I imagine they’ve got some shaky theory about the structure of DNA they want to confirm. Don’t those boys get that science is a gradual process, like a long, luxurious bath, and not a lucky shot in the dark?”

All the same, she pulled open a file drawer and handed me some glossy images. I couldn’t make heads or tails of them, but I knew Watson and Crick could. “Call me a sucker for your chiseled features and tapering waist,” the lady purred in my ear. “Just have them back to me tonight, shall we say at seven? I’ll be waiting for you.”

Suddenly a gat thumped “Hullo!” A speeding slug slammed into the file cabinet, neatly bisecting the space between us.

“Linus, no!” she screamed, as a highly recognizable figure scuttled out the rear window of her lab and dropped onto the surrounding yard before I could bring up my own heater.

“Was that–?” I began.

“You know it, handsome,” she said. “Linus Pauling, the father of modern chemistry. He was after my pictures too. Arrived here yesterday from California all in a lather. Soon as he spied my work he started cackling that he’d cracked the code, and spent the night here writing up a thesis to submit to Modern Molecule. Says when he garners the Nobel Prize, he and me are taking a little cruise to Miami. But if you ask me, he’s just another shot across the bow.”

“Who wants like hell to keep matters under his hat,” I said, fingering the bullet hole in her cabinet. At the same time I pictured Rosie in a bathing suit, one of those newfangled numbers with detachable straps and wire inserts. That Pauling had the right idea. I sussed that the two of them had done a lot more during the night than talk chemistry. “What’s his theory, sweetie?” I asked her, trying to sound casual. A lot depended on her answer, and to ease my nerves I flicked my thumbnail across my grizzled jaw. Flick flick. Flick flick flick.

When she said a triple helix, I didn’t show any emotion. I knew Watson and Crick were banking on a deuce, not a trey. And if the pictures I’d stuffed in my lab coat pocket bore them out, we would beat Linus, the lion of chemistry, to the Nobel punch.

Hours later my lab partners were still celebrating with beakers of hooch. They had built a toy model of the helical tidbit that coiled like an Erector Set, and almost finished typing up their report for Modern Molecule. Franklin’s pictures had done the trick, and I tried to feel their joy. I reflected that a Nobel Prize, even a third of one, was a fair day’s pay. But there was something big I still had to get off my chest.

When the smoke cleared, my intellectual pals agreed to leave my name off their script. It would only embarrass them when it came out that I was no chemist, in fact not even a college graduate. I was a lowly gumshoe from Chicago, stateside, who barely finished high school. I was there to track down one James D. Watson who had back-pedaled on a university instructor, an auburn wren with the sheaves to sky me across the Atlantic puddle to pin him. Watson went all red-faced on hearing this, but smug Crick seemed to enjoy the joke. Even geniuses have a funny bone.

The duo told me that they’d use the name Maurice Wilkins in their write-up, and leave me out completely. I knew this Wilkins character was another white coat who haunted a lab, but other than that, his involvement in the big-deal helix was over my head. Just another superbrain they owed a favor to, I guessed.

That night I made arrangements to fly home to Chicago and report to Watson’s oriole that he was still unattached and in winning form. That should cover her questions. But first I had a rendezvous at seven in Rosie Franklin’s lab. My nose told me the doctor was waiting.





* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we don't know much about history, but we know what we like. We like funny pieces by Jon Sindell.

Historical Outtakes



Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to miss the jokes. ~ George Santayana

You et too, Brute? So what’s with the steak knife? ~ Julius Caesar

Give me liberty, or give me a favorable capital gains tax rate. ~ Patrick Henry

Seven-and-one-quarter-dozen years ago, our Fathers brought forth a new nation conceived in liberty and stuff — here! Right here, on this very continent! ~ Abraham Lincoln

You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you can’t fool — wait, it’s America in 2016? Never mind. ~ Abraham Lincoln

“A house divided against itself” is my second favorite koan, right after “The sound of one hand clapping.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

A Spectre is haunting Europe, but fear not — that dashing British chap, Bond, is on it. ~ Karl Marx

Religion is the opium of the masses, whereas the Gothic novel is the sedative of the elite. ~ Karl Marx

Buena suerte, Zapata. ~ Zapatistas

Those who cannot remember the password are condemned to retrieve it from a drawer full of clutter. ~ George Santayana

We have nothing to fear but a continued erosion of public confidence in the banking system, labor-management violence, class warfare, widespread hunger due to unwise soil management practices, race riots in our cities, a Bolshevik style revolution as in Russia, or the rise of fascism as in Germany and Italy. And fear itself, duh. ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt

I return from Germany bringing peace for hours at a time. ~ Neville Chamberlain

I have nothing to offer in the way of pecuniary contributions to the war effort due to a temporary illiquidity of assets resulting from wartime conditions, but I’ll gladly contribute all of the blood, toil, tears and sweat I can. ~ Winston Churchill

Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, roughly four-fifths of the way to the end of the beginning, more or less. ~ Winston Churchill

Never have so many owed so much to so few as a result of the rapacious Labour Party’s confiscatory tax policies ~ Winston Churchill

BRB ~ General Douglas MacArthur

An iron curtain has descended across the continent, calling Slavic taste in design squarely into question. ~ Winston Churchill

We must never negotiate out of fear, but we must never fear to negotiate out of doors in good weather. ~ John Fitzgerald Kennedy

¿Es posible, no? ~ United Farm Workers

Those who cannot remember the past are likely products of the American educational system. ~ George Santayana

“I have a dream that one day all of God’s children — and, yes, of course, all children of atheists — and children who are atheists themselves — a dream that all of God’s children — and all atheist children — and, of course, all children of any sexual orientation whatsoever, including ones I haven’t heard of yet…and, naturally, all differently abled children…and all abled children, to be sure — Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, black men and white men — and, yes, absolutely, black women and white women too — and red men and women, and brown men and women, and yellow men and women — I have a dream that all of God’s children — and all atheist children, and all… ~ Martin Luther King

Mr. Gorbachev, tear down that wall and plant a rose garden. Yes, of course red. A water feature and statuary would be nice too. ~ Ronald Reagan

Those who cannot remember the past are the majority of modern voters. And I’m pissed. ~ George Santayana


* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we like to celebrate all of life's little accomplishments. Or even the ones that aren't so little. Give a big fat round of applause to Luke Roloff, here with his first piece for us.

My Little Fat Has Grown Up So Fast!


Seems like only yesterday my baby fat was born. Good god, how calories fly! It’s funny, my willpower and I had talked about having fat for some time. But we kept putting it off, putting it off, putting it off. Until one day, my willpower says to me, “Screw it. Let’s do this.” I can’t tell you how exciting it was! Yes I can. It was like a bloomin’ onion thrill-ride! The miracle of human fat hits you and your midsection like a ton of snack-sized Snickers! I mean, when you bring new life into your torso area, you can’t help but look down at your fat and think — I made this…it’s a part of me!

I still remember when we brought it home from the Chinese buffet that first night. I was full of joy and MSG, just cradling my newborn flab. And now, gee whiz. It’s like I turn my belly for one second, and my fat has grown up faster than America’s serving size! It wasn’t by accident, though. Haha! No, sir. I put a lot into it. Raising your own flesh and blood is not a job to take lightly. You have to nurture it. Constantly watch it. Sometimes hide it. I don’t want to take all the credit, but I’m absolutely going to — because I’m the sole reason my corpulent offspring has grown so rotund. Some like to call it genetic disposition. I call it “you better finish that.”

Ever since the birth of my fat, it’s been all about fostering growth. Some people don’t know this, but my little butterball was actually shy at first. In hindsight (and hind leg), all it needed was a morsel of momentum. Once my chicken fat spread its buffalo wings — hot dog, it soared to new rolls! Now, the older I get, the more it comes out of its shell and my shirts. I may have a slowing metabolism, but keeping up with fast food is a piece of cake!

I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been pretty strict on my fat. No excess cardio of any kind. We lay off the fresh fruits and veggies. We set limits on lean meats. We don’t get carried away with water drinking. We establish barriers to prevent self-control. And we gave up moderation altogether. But know this: on special occasions, and holidays, and many of the normal days also, we eat like kings — ravenous, gluttonous kings.

Not to get all preachy on you, but it’s imperative in the development stage to let your fat be itself. Call it what you want – chubby, pudgy, tubby, chunky, husky — but you must give it ample space to be its fatso self. Or in other words, the autonomy to pig-out. It’s also critical that your fat is constantly stimulated. In order to mature, it needs those late night pasta feeds with endless breadsticks that truly never end.

Remember, fat simply craves your attention and replenishing omega-3 fatty acids. If you want to see your fat flourish, treat it with respect and high-fructose goodies. And if you really want to cultivate new blubber, role model how to persevere. My little bugger’s biggest achievements have come on account of not giving up. We always say, you’re never full unless it’s of excuses! And, no carb unturned! We say that, too.

The day my bulge really rounded the corner, I mean noticeably so, with a sweatshirt on even, was when we stopped keeping track. When we quit consuming “nutritious” food. It’s this world of “take care of yourself” and “live longer.” What. Ever. I say enough is enough (except in the case of food portions)! I say, fat is the future! Am I worried about my diabetes? A little. Am I going to do anything about it? Fat chance!

Having fat is simply breathtaking. You feel it in your gut. That it’s there, sticking out. I wouldn’t know what to do without my flaccid paunch. Like, what would I be doing right now? Would I not be polishing off a medium-sized bag of Doritos that I had no intention of opening? Would I not feel constantly fatigued and short of breath? I’ll never know. But neither will the people who don’t have fat in their life. My advice to someone without fat? Maybe it’s time you start investing in something bigger than yourself.

* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where on some days more than others, we are very glad we are not in the insurance business. Let our good friend Abby Byrd explain.

A Letter From My Insurance Company Denying Coverage Of Mental Health Services For Show Choir-Related Trauma


Dear Ms. Byrd,

We regret to inform you that upon evaluating your appeal, we stand firm in our decision to deny coverage of the services in question. While we do cover mental health services, we do not consider “show choir-related trauma” an eligible condition.

We have received the photo documentation you have provided as proof that you were forced to wear a unitard.

We have received the (slightly mildewed) turquoise jumpsuit and accompanying gold-sequined overlay.

We have also received your video documentation. It does indeed clearly show how what should have been clapping in unison during a performance of Three Dog Night’s “Shambala” degenerated into two warring factions of clappers, causing intra-choir strife and consternation in the audience.

We have reviewed the footage of your singing “Be Our Guest” from Beauty and the Beast while dancing with a giant cardboard teacup.

After viewing the incredibly awkward dance sequence during the fiddle solo in “Down at the Twist and Shout,” we understand your argument that radio stations should not be allowed to play Mary Chapin Carpenter without a trigger warning.

No, “They’re Playing Our Song” is not Marvin Hamlisch’s best work, although your assertion that it “ruined [your] life” seems to us a bit of an exaggeration.

We do not dispute that Andrew Lloyd Webber has suffered great injustices at the hands of your high school choral music program.

We acknowledge the torment that is “Jellicle songs for jellicle cats! Jellicle songs for jellicle cats!” on endless loop, and we feel the agony in your plea: “For the love of God, what the f*** is a jellicle cat?”

We also acknowledge your insatiable desire to initiate starburst formations during social gatherings.

Yes, we are aware that there is nothing sadder than getting felt up while wearing lamé.

While we appreciate the circumstances that led you to threaten us with an interpretive dance to “Memory,” know that security is tight at our headquarters, and it is unlikely you would be able to sneak in a fog machine, let alone construct the entire set from Cats.

Do not show up here wearing a leotard and a headband with cat ears taped to it.

Do not threaten us with a performance from another musical.

While we cannot assume financial responsibility for your mental health care, we wish you the very best on your healing journey.

Our jazz hands are raised in solidarity.


Kind regards,

Claims Department

LifeThrive HealthPartners



* Welcome to The Big Jewel, or as it will be known after this November, Trump World. We think it best to start preparing for the inevitable, and in that spirit we present a selection from the outstandingly funny new book by Onion founding editor Scott Dikkers, Trump's America: The Complete Loser's Guide. Read it and weep. Or read it and laugh. As always, America, the choice is yours. The book itself can be purchased from the link in our permanent blog roll on the right-hand part of this page. Do it now, while you are still more or less free!

How To Avoid Getting Sued By President Trump


Will the president sue you?

He might. And as a citizen, you need to be prepared for this eventuality. When Donald Trump is in the White House, he will use every advantage to make America great again, including, if necessary, suing you.


Know your rights

Trump has the best lawyers. They know every tool of the legal system and how to use each one with surgical precision to bring you to heel, bankrupt you, or simply drag you though the courts for years until you’re a soulless shell of your former self with no memory of the innocent bliss that was once your pitiful life.

In the likely event that you are sued by the future president, it will be important for you to remember that Donald Trump is the victim here. You are the defendant. Whatever your future offense, there’s only one person to blame: yourself.


What to do if you’re sued

Besides following the clear dictates of Trump’s legal team, articulated in your summons or cease-and-desist letter, you can also try one of the following:

  • Summon a demon more powerful than Trump.
  • Invent a time machine and go back in time before you did the thing that Trump is suing you for, unless Trump is suing you for stealing his idea for a time machine. In that case, doing this will only make things worse.


Simple Tips to Avoid Being Sued by President Trump

There’s no way to guarantee the president won’t sue you. Your most prudent course of action will be to decrease the likelihood of being sued by President Trump by employing the following helpful hints:

— When speaking of the president, be sure to use one of these acceptable adjectives:

  • Terrific
  • Amazing
  • Incredible
  • Very good
  • Very nice

— Refrain from using any of the president’s registered catch phrases:

  • “You’re fired”
  • “Make America great again”
  • “Complete disaster”
  • “Billions”
  • “Moron”
  • “China”

— Don’t disagree with Donald Trump.

— Don’t write a letter to Donald Trump.

— Chant, “Trump! Trump! Trump!”

— Never initiate eye contact. And if you do, never break it.

— Don’t marry Donald Trump.

— Don’t do business with Donald Trump.

— Live on a life raft in international waters outside the known boundary of any recognized legal jurisdiction.

— Be directly related to Donald Trump.

— Have Donald Trump’s blood type and be there when he needs your blood.

— Stop spreading the lies of science.

— Get your facts straight.

— Just shut up.

— Live in the sewers and emerge only under the cover of darkness to scavenge the filth of the street to survive.

* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we like our superheroes powerful and lightly pigmented. Say hello to Chris Partridge, appearing with us for the first time.

The Amazing White Man, Issue 1


Look! Up in the social hierarchy — He’s Caucasian! He’s cisgender! He’s…White Man!

Born in Connecticut to upper middle class professionals, White Man was gifted from birth with the powers of racial and gender privilege that aid in his noble quest to maintain hegemony and defend traditional values. But our hero must stay ever vigilant or risk losing everything to his patriarch-nemeses.

Fear not, for White Man has these astounding powers at his disposal:

Male Gaze

X-ray vision? That’s nothing! With his Male Gaze, White Man is able to objectify countless women with just a single glance. Male Gaze isn’t just about his pleasure though; it reminds his foes of their inferior status and vulnerability. And can he be blamed for ogling women on transit, at the office and in virtually every other public space? Just look at his rivals’ revealing outfits!

Superior Resources

Like Bruce Wayne, White Man’s inherited wealth and material resources help keep him one step ahead of the competition. Wonder Woman may have the invisible jet, but White Man has the Glass Ceiling in his arsenal. Those extra 23 cents on the dollar keep White Man financially safe and sound.

Stealth Attacks

White Man can lob microaggressions to disarm and disempower his enemies without being detected. And when his casual sexism and constant interruptions are noticed, White Man can artfully deflect accountability with his trademark catch phrase: “Geez, lighten up. Can’t you take a joke?”


White Man’s grandfather relied on the power of White Flight to escape The Other, but today’s White Man prefers to transform historic neighborhoods through gentrification. Loft apartments, pop-up shops and farm-to-table restaurants allow White Man to thrive in hostile territory and weather surging property values.

Super Hearing

Shhh, did you hear that? It’s the subtle, coded messages of dog whistle politics! White Man can instantly decipher racist and sexist subtext that seems perfectly innocuous on its face. That Hilary Clinton sure is shrill (wink!) and Obama wants to line the pockets of welfare queens (nudge, nudge). Plus, thanks to nationalist politicians and assimilationist laws, White Man can speak the universal language — “proper” English.


Cracker, dick, honky — slurs bounce off of White Man like bullets against Superman because they aren’t backed by the historical injustices of racism, homophobia and sexism. Sticks and stones may break his bones, but words can never hurt White Man. And White Man is almost physically indestructible too. When walking home from the bar alone at 2:00 a.m., White Man isn’t scared to take a shortcut down a dark alley. He’s not in danger; statistically speaking, White Man is danger.


Thanks to generations of privilege, White Man is capable and independent, but he doesn’t have to go it alone! White Man can count on law enforcement, academia, the courts, mainstream media, Christianity and nearly every major social institution across the country to have his back. And hey, come on, White Man has black friends. That’s why he feels comfortable stereotyping people of color and casually dropping the N-word when co-opting rap music.

So long as affirmative action doesn’t drain him of his power, White Man will continue to defend the all-American principles of truth, justice and victim-blaming. But just who is White Man? He’ll never tell! Because publicly admitting his privilege would be revealing his secret identity.

What’s that you say? No one has told that woman on the subway that she should smile more? This looks like a job for White Man! Up, up, and away!





* Welcome to The Big Jewel, the home of well considered jurisprudence. And also pieces like this one from James Warner. Mr. Warner last appeared here in 2005. Good to have you back, sir!

Final Scathing Dissenting Opinions From Antonin Scalia


We were saddened to hear of the passing of fiery conservative icon and originalist judge Antonin Scalia. Fortunately for those who enjoyed his cantankerous prose, it turns out the justice liked to write dissenting opinions even when on vacation. The following arguments, found in the late Justice’s game bag by a fellow hunter who prefers to remain anonymous, are full of significance for the ongoing Presidential election cycle.


“All you need is love.” — The Beatles

Far from reflecting American majority values, this is the subjective view of four foreign hippies who do not come close to presenting any legal arguments to justify their claim. All you need is a faithful interpretation of the Constitution, reasonably construed and consistently applied would be closer to the truth, and I must confess to also finding it catchier. I respectfully dissent.

“Weird is a side effect of awesome.” — T-shirt

My copy of Noah Webster’s dictionary tells me that in the time of the Founders, “awesome” meant “inspiring solemn and reverential wonder, tinged with fear of the Divine or of natural sublimity,” whereas “weird” simply meant “wayward.” So this statement is best interpreted as meaning that awe will lead us astray. Whether true or not, this maxim has no foundation in American constitutional law, leaving me no choice but to dissent.

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it’s not.” — The Lorax

Whether things get “better” is not my concern. What we have here is a straightforward case of the Once-ler Corporation’s liberty to respond as seen fit to the truffula tree menace. To hold otherwise is to indulge in standardless and usurpatious judicial meddling, adding unnecessarily to the unfair burden already borne by the much-beleaguered thneed industry, and eroding the foundations of our democracy. I dissent.

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” — Bumper sticker

Such vapid and sententious gobbledygook is merely a smokescreen for the aggrandizement of judicial power, warping of our Constitution, and further advancement of the homosexual agenda. The unmeasured and misdirected arrogance of such an assumption of power, designed to subject our people to the out-of-control hegemony of activist mullah-judges, takes the breath away and boils the blood. I dissent.

“You gotta fight for your right to party.” — The Beastie Boys

This so-called right, unsupported in reason and ludicrous in application, is to be found neither in the longstanding traditions of our great Republic, nor in the text of the divinely inspired Second Amendment. At the risk of repeating myself, such wholesale invention of rights undermines the already embarrassingly enfeebled credibility of our judges, committed as these over-reaching obfuscators from second-tier colleges have become to the coarsening of our polity and imposition of minoritarian tyranny. I disrespectfully dissent.

“Rap is not pop. If you call it that, then stop.” — A Tribe Called Quest

My dictionary defines “rap” as a lay or skein containing a hundred and twenty yards of yarn, and “pop” as a brief explosive sound. Although there may be disagreement as to whether these two words are interchangeable, the only issue with any pertinence is whether the statement is supportable as an interpretation of our immutable and holy Constitution. You would have to be a jackass to think that it is, hence I angrily dissent.

“Don’t be evil.” — Google motto

I find this to be erroneous on numerous grounds, objecting among other things to the formulation of a standard so vague that it produces rather than eliminates uncertainty under most imaginable circumstances. It takes more than woo-woo aspirations of indeterminate content, pronounced with outrageous smugness and bereft of any reference to case law, to produce desirable concrete results, hence I furiously dissent.

“#TypeOneDirectionWithYourNose” — Hashtag

This is a strange jurisprudence indeed. We have traveled far from the sober and subtly cadenced arguments of Justice John Marshall and are lurching instead towards the naked imposition of homosexuality by willful, superannuated courts that sap the vitality of our traditions and insult our democratic process. I have never typed anything with my nose, and have no intention of starting now, hence I passionately dissent.

“You’ve eaten all the toothpaste again.” — Sext

If this suggestion isn’t what the kids today refer to as gammon and tilly-tally, I’ll eat my bonnet. Not only does it lack any substantive dimension, but I find it imponderable in its application to real-world events, an invitation to unprincipled experiment that flies in the face of righteousness, encouraging sandal-wearing apostates to wage a Kulturkampf against the proud traditions of our Holy Catholic Church. I devoutly dissent.

“Being gay is like glitter, it never goes away.” — Lady Gaga

My dictionary defines “gay” as “happy,” and “glitter” as those shiny mica flakes once commonly used in cave paintings. One can only wish that the state of happiness were indeed as permanent as a Paleolithic mural, but since extravagance of thought and expression are no substitute for the rigorous analysis of legally operative texts, I find this disedifying argument to be as mistaken as it is theologically unprecedented. I hereby denounce its author as a heretic and consign her to eternal hellfire.

“You only regret the things you didn’t do.” — Fridge magnet

This insinuation boils down to little more than praise of novelty as an end in itself. It is a maxim as indefensible in theory as it is unworkable in practice, and acting on it would risk a massive disruption of the social order. And yet the main reason I have decided utterly to repudiate it is that I myself have no regrets, being infallible. Although it is a little poignant to reflect that I never sang in Der Rosenkavalier, and perhaps I could also have eaten more broccoli.



* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where cannibalism is just another way of saying, "Howdy, neighbor! What's for dinner?" Say hello to Eric Farwell, who would prefer that you put a little barbecue sauce on him first.

I Think Our Cannibal Holocaust Should Have A Vegan Option


Mom, Dad, I’ve been thinking. I know we’re gearing up to go out and slaughter thousands of people in order to cook them for our own delicious gain. I know years of planning have gone into this, and that both of you have emptied your 401ks in order to afford all the Saran wrap and Wolfgang Puck cutlery we’ll need. However, I just turned 14, which has really allowed me to wake up and see things for what they are. Mom, Dad, I’ve decided to become a vegan, and insist that there are options for me at the post-holocaust meal.

Did you know that veganism is a dietary practice believed to reduce colon cancer, heart disease, and a lack of entitlement? If not, I can show you the YouTube video that broke my mind open to the shackles of meat eating. It’ll only take two minutes and twenty seconds of your time. You’re always saying that cannibalism is what makes us special, makes us unique. I’m happy you both feel that way, but I’m pretty sure my diet is more special than yours. I mean, some restaurants are vegan only. Have you ever been to a people-only restaurant? That’s what I thought.

Think about it: after we kill all these people, we’re probably going to get arrested, like, immediately. I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but I think this cannibal holocaust is going to end up more like a cannibal rodeo. I mean, not everyone struggles with taking clear pictures with their phones like you guys do. Either way, what would you rather have: news coverage focusing on how horrible and evil we are, or on how brave you are to include a vegan option at your mass murder feast? If some of our future meals don’t die right away, maybe they’ll be hungry, and vegan. Offering them some roasted potatoes or broccoli stir fry could go a long way to expressing, “Hey, we’re not monsters. We just want to eat men, women, and children after we’ve tended to their dietary needs.”

Also, veganism is linked to healthy bowel movements. I don’t know about you guys, but after eating people for most of my life, defecation has become like a ghost: I believe it’s real, but I’ve no evidence to go on. I know you guys have had some medical scares in the last few years. Dad, before you ate him, our dentist said your teeth were riddled with cavities and close to falling out. Mom, you’re at risk for heart disease because you’ve been eating heavyset tourists for years. It keeps me up at night sometimes, because I want both of you to be around for a long, long time to eat many, many more innocent people. If this is too much to ask, how about a compromise? I’ll eat one small, frail adult if you’ll agree to have quinoa and tofu foie gras as your sides. At the very least, please watch that YouTube video. It’s very informative.

* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we are sitting on the sofa, remote in hand, waiting for the new season of Game of Thrones to begin. So many cliffhangers to be resolved. What will become of Lady Sansa Stark, for example? If Karen Ritter has her way, the Lady will finally find the perfect mate.

Lady Sansa Stark Composes Her Personal Ad After Jumping Off The Ramparts


I hail from a noble, titled family but am open to almost anything. So far, I’ve had really bad luck with men. But still believe Mr. Right is out there somewhere — hopefully south of the Wall!

I’m a Winterfell girl but dig the parties (and clothes!!!) at King’s Landing. But then my stupid fiancé had to go and ruin it all by beheading my father.

He was a total hottie — my fiancé, that is. Poor Pops (R.I.P. Daddy!) had the body hair of a wooly mammoth. LOL. Thank the Old Gods, I got Mom’s silky auburn tresses, wide-set eyes, high cheekbones. And look bitchin’ in capes, gloves, leather…anything goth.

It’s true, Joffrey was cray cray but he was also King and totally crushed that sick royal robe, with the embroidered lions and shit. So you can’t really blame me. I was so young back then. (Now I’m seventeen.)

Plus, he had these yummy, to-die-for eyes. Joffs could literally slay you with those baby blues. One minute he’s gazing at you like you’re the only girl in the room. The next, lifting his crossbow, taking aim.

MOS, I whispered the first time it happened — cuz his seriously scary mom was glaring right at us.

“Joffrey Lannister Baratheon! How would it look if you shot your fiancée?” And she took away his weapon and gave him a time out.

After that, J-Ba was pretty chill and decided not to murder me after all. Just strip and beat me. Then he must have realized that would be wrong, too. So he ordered Ser Meryn Trant to strip and beat me instead.

I suppose there was some tension between us — ever since his mother killed my direwolf and pushed my little brother out the castle window, crippling him for life. Never mind all the stress of planning a big wedding. (Try drawing up a guest list when all your relatives have been, like, slaughtered! And how would I ever get Arya into a bridesmaid dress? I mean, I can’t even.)

Actually, though? It was the menu that put me over the edge. I’m thinking dragon egg caviar followed by a choice of braised basilisk or crushed Kraken but Joffrey was like, “Why don’t we serve your brother’s head on a platter, San-San?”

“Oh my God, did you really just say that? Maybe we should serve your head on a platter, Joffrey.” Then we got into this huge fight and I almost pushed him off the pier.

“My bad,” I said, later. “But I guess I’m still upset about that time you decapitated Dad. I mean, how can we move forward as a couple if you keep showing me my father’s head on a pole? That is, like, so one of my triggers.”

“A non-apology apology,” he said, lifting his crossbow.

“Go ahead, marry Margaery! See if I care!” I said, running for my life. Luckily, I have these long, supermodel legs and run mad fast. Still, I couldn’t stop crying. I mean, my bf was trying to kill me again, I was really PMS, and, for all I knew, the engagement was off!

That reminds me, I’m running from Ramsay Bolton now — my second husband. (I was briefly married to Joffrey’s uncle. Nice guy but way short and I’m like 5’9 so it didn’t work out.)

My new in-laws are a nightmare: they murdered my mom and brother at a dinner party. Which is pretty much a deal breaker, except that his family lives in the castle I grew up in and I thought it would be neat to move back in, get my room back…Not!

Turns out Ramsay has all these intimacy issues and is also a pyromaniac, but with, like, people. Being with someone who goes around burning others without ever taking their feelings into account is really difficult, besides being really gross. When I realized he was probably never going to change, I ghosted him. No good-bye, no note, just jumped off the parapet with Theon — aka Reek. (Don’t ask.)

P.S. Theon has this enormous crush on me. Awkward. The whole time we’re falling through the air, I just wanted to die. Then it occurred to me that I really was going to die. Or worse, get majorly injured, and if I landed on my face, who would marry me then? And OMG, was I even wearing clean underwear???

So I shut my eyes and prayed: Dear God of Seven, don’t let there be too much blood. You know everything (you’re God!) so you know that red, especially blood red, really sucks with my skin tones. Totally washes me out…

That’s when I noticed icky Theon was wrapping his scrawny legs around my waist…I was, like, totally creeped out when I had this ginormous epiphany: the Gods had put Theon there to cushion my fall! So I stopped punching him in the face and kicking him in the balls and hugged him back because it became super obvious to me that Theon was just a tiny cog in the wheel of a grand, cosmic plan designed to unite me some day with my real soul mate, the one I was always destined to be with, who was so not Theon, you know?

I must have blacked out then. When I opened my eyes, I was lying in about fourteen feet of awesome, fresh powder! Theon’s bones are crushed (bummer) but I’m as perfect as ever! And 100% available, by the way.

So here’s my ad: Loyal, gorgeous, modest, religious babe, into needlepoint and heavy metal, seeks tall, handsome knight in shining armor — noble and strong, tender and true, gallant and buff — to worship and love me till death do us part.

But whatevs. Will date anyone who’s not a total psychopath. Not being the product of incest also a plus. Man preferred but male-identified okay, too. (Miss you, Brienne of Tarth. Why have you stopped stalking me?)

Willing to relocate. Wildings fine but no White Walkers, please. Those rags you’re wearing? So last season.