* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where it is always Lent, never Easter. Except for this week. We are having Easter this week, courtesy of our own associate editor Frank Ferri.

Concerning This Weekend’s Easter Egg Hunt

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From: Sylvialovesherchildthemostmorethananyofyouloveyourkids_1959@netzero.com
To: Moms of Blessed Epiphany Church
Date: Friday, April 2, 2010 at 3:38 a.m.
Subject: This Sunday’s Easter Egg Hunt!

Hello fellow moms! Spring is upon us. (Finally! Ugh, I am soooo ready for the cold to be gone for good.) April is here. And for us Catholics that means Easter. And Easter means one thing: that my child will destroy yours at the church’s Easter egg hunt.

Jake and I started training hard for this event beginning in November of last year. I hid everything from him: clothes, food, uncontaminated water. He had to find these items to survive. And it wasn’t long before he became a master at anticipating where the best hiding spots were. The only thing he couldn’t find was his father. But in all fairness, the deadbeat left us three years ago. His parole officer can’t even find him.

Point is, Jake was ready for the main stage. So we took our training to the church courtyard, where the hunt will be held this Easter Sunday. While training in that courtyard, I hid my pills — the pills I need to control things like high blood pressure, cholesterol, and distorted thoughts. Do you know how dangerous it is to go without these medications? Do you know how small a pill is? A lot smaller than an Easter egg.

Thanks to my encouragement (“Jake, I’m going to die if you don’t find my pills.” “Jake, mommy feels sick, I don’t have a lot of time, not without my pills. I’m not long for this world. Jake, I love you. Even though it’s you who’s killing me.”), Jake found my pills time and again. In fact, on only one occasion did he take too long, and I found myself in a minor battle with one of my voices — the one that’s kind of a know-it-all. Other than that, smooth sailing. Which means anything but smooth sailing for your kids. LOL!

But all LOLing aside, your kids are toast.

Do your kids have the ability to camouflage themselves? To blend in seamlessly with the rhododendrons that border the church courtyard? Then just as quickly disguise themselves as the Japanese maple, which beautifully punctuates the center of the yard? Can your kids slink up to the Easter Bunny without him hearing (despite his huge ears), then kill that bunny with one swift, forceful twist of the neck and then sniff out and confiscate the bunny’s cache of backup eggs? Jakey can. And Jakey will — if it comes down to it.

I have this feeling. Maybe it’s just the uplifting time of year signaling new beginnings, but this feeling tells me that Jake is going to fill his basket with more eggs than all of your kids combined. I imagine Jake’s basket overflowing with eggs — plastic eggs filled with candy, dyed eggs of lavenders and pinks, and blood-stained eggs captured from your kids on the field of battle.

Oh, and by the way, I’m calling it now: No complaints about Jake’s age. The four-year-old group was the only one with space still available. But if your kids need help with organic chemistry homework or parallel parking advice, Jake has volunteered his services. That’s the kind of boy Jakey is.

See you Sunday, when we celebrate the Resurrection — and Jake’s victory!

xoxo,

Sylvia

P.S. Coffee Saturday afternoon? Can’t do it in the p.m. — Jake needs to get to sleep EARLY that night. Let me know if any of you are up for it! Otherwise, see you in war!

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* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where you are always in good hands, except for the editor. His hands are not good. They were transplanted from a convicted strangler and are constantly trying to revert to their old ways. Anyway, this week our good friend Whitney Collins has some words of wisdom for you.

New Old Wives’ Tales

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If someone dies on Good Friday, they go directly to heaven. If someone dies on Fat Tuesday, they probably had diabetes.

If your nose itches, a fool is about to kiss you. If your crotch itches, blame Derek.

Be sure to wait an hour after eating before dumpster diving.

If you carry an acorn in your pocket, good luck will follow you wherever you go. If you carry a lamb chop, the same holds true. Except you can replace good luck with possum.

Never, ever lay a hat on a bed. Unless it’s a blond, inflatable sombrero.

Make a wish on the first robin of spring. If you finish wishing before the robin flies away, you’re not greedy enough. Who convinced you to reach so low? Man, you’re a real, underachieving asshole. I don’t know how you look at yourself in the mirror. Hey, look! A robin!

Grapefruit at dawn, live real long. Steak for dinner, bad gas.

Always bury your fingernail clippings under a full moon; if it doesn’t get rid of your plantar warts, it’ll get rid of that perfectly nice guy you’ve been dating. You know, Derek.

Feed a cold, starve your son’s guinea pig.

If you dream of fish, you’re pregnant. If you dream of fish sticks, your mother wishes you’d never been born.

Never walk under a ladder. Unless, of course, it’s wearing a diaper.

An apple a day keeps the blood-sucking, well-endowed, super-sexy vampire-robots away.

If you say goodbye to a friend on a bridge, you will never see each other again. Probably because it’s that “friend” whose boyfriend you borrowed and she’s been hoping to get you on a bridge for a couple of years now. See ya.

Housecats can’t suck the breath from a newborn, but they will steal your condoms.

The child that is born on the Sabbath day
is fair and wise and good and gay.
Not Rosie O’Donnell gay.
More like Portia de Rossi gay.

If the eyes are the windows to the soul, then the navel is the peephole to the lint.

The knuckle-bone from a piece of mutton was once thought to be a preventative charm against rheumatism. A bison’s bladder, filled with M&Ms and worn about the neck, will probably get you that nanny job.

Chewing gum takes seven years to get out of your pubic hair.

In German lore, if you sneeze three times before breakfast, you’ll receive a present by day’s end. If you sneeze four times, Hitler’s ghost will piss in your oatmeal.

Red sky at night? Sailor’s delight. Red sky at morning? What a delicious peyote Danish this is!

If the first baby calf of spring is born all white, you’d better have your lawyer draw up a living will. Be sure to have a lengthy discussion about feeding tubes.

A rabbit’s foot, dyed the colors of your favorite NFL team and made into a keychain, pretty much makes you a cruel bastard. So does a jockstrap made of veal.

If you put a cabbage leaf in your underwear, well, then, so will I.

Lucky omens: a magpie, a shoelace knot, a penny, a chimney sweep. Unlucky omens: a black cat, a shotgun between the shoulder blades, a layover at the Pittsburgh airport, heart disease.

A cricket in the house is really fricking disgusting.

Every time Derek rings a bell, a Kevin Bacon movie comes on TBS.

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* Welcome to The Big Jewel, home of the mindless primitive, otherwise known as the modern male. Our own Associate Editor Tyler Smith knows more about this subject than he ought to.

The Caveman Diaries

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“[There is]…a small New York subculture whose members seek good health through a selective return to the habits of their Paleolithic ancestors.”
— NY Times

1/1/2010
Aooooooogggghhhaaa! That’s my primal scream, yo. It’s New Year’s Day today and last night, after hunting wild game near by the New School, I partied my supraorbital torus off at a sweet club over in the meatpacking district. The bouncer gave me attitude for smelling like rotten hamburgers and being prehistoric and nude, but he saw me for the tribal leader I am, and he knew not to step to me. I make it a point to put out an uber-masculine Cro-Magnon vibe, and anyone can see that I could outrun a mastodon if I could find one, so ditching this bouncer would have been a cinch, and he knew it. Ran into a few problems finding a woman, though. I take my obligation to keep the species afloat seriously, but how am I supposed to tell who’s ovulating and who’s just hopelessly irascible? Ended the night alone, regarding the wonder of fire in a dumpster off of Bleecker. Tomorrow I hunt and/or gather.

1/2/2010
I’m exhausted. Up all night watching Jersey Shore on DVR (Cro-Magnon man must have splurged occasionally). Is it wrong to feel attracted to “The Situation?” In Paleolithic times there was probably more dude on dude anyway, because where the hell is everybody, right?

1/10/2010
Could a date go any worse? I do realize it’s important to be considerate of other people’s diets, even though I, personally, am a ferocious caveman. Sally from 9B came up for dinner and a movie. Sally looked bored until I brought out the first course — four pints of blood. She went completely berserk. In an effort to make amends, I grabbed her ponytail and ushered her into the living room and onto a love seat fashioned out of a hollow log. With a nice bowl of twigs and berries to munch on, we were preparing to watch Caveman with Ringo Starr and Barbara Bach (and a young Dennis Quaid!), when she escaped out the door, no doubt into the arms of Federico next door in 7C. Federico is a weak-willed herbivore primed for extinction, yet he exhibits an unerring sense about when a woman is ovulating as Sally’s orgasmic screams wafting through the thin walls of my apartment so aptly attest. I may be one of Rousseau’s “noble savages,” but if I see Sally struggling at the door with a bunch of groceries again, she’s on her own. Would sleep in the Sheep’s Meadow tonight, outdoors as is my nature, but the Geek Squad is coming early tomorrow to fix my hard drive.

1/30/2010
Went to my first New York Cavemen Society meeting. Some trader from Goldman got in my face saying I was a wanna-be. Fortunately, my boy Oog, the host of the meeting and an excellent Evolutionary Fitness trainer, set his pug “Phantom Killah,” on this guy’s gonads, and we all got a sense of just how brutal life could be 200,000 years ago. Moreover, they had no margarita machine, because ice is a luxury in which a troglodyte could not indulge. I made a joke about hoping for another “Ice Age,” but the room got really quiet and I had to apologize. The winter here has been tough enough, and I regretted it right as I said it. I felt like jumping in a tar pit, but I just went to the bathroom and did a crossword puzzle with my own feces in an effort to get back to a good, prehistoric place. I missed out on the smorgasbord of assorted raw meats, and I heard later that somebody (probably the Goldman douche) got drunk and claimed to have invented the wheel. Right, like, what are those four things on your Aston Martin, you F’ing phony!?

2/15/2010
You know what? It occurred to me that cavemen probably didn’t know how to read (except for that precocious chick that wrote The Clan of the Cave Bear). So, I’m doing my best to unlearn this futuristic conceit. The VP doesn’t buy it. I tried to tell him I’d unlearned reading, but he tricked me by writing “You’re Fired” on a piece of paper, so I clubbed him with my Mets pennant. I think he knew that I knew what the paper said. Was going to try to woo a cave wife with some Alpha behavior, you know, feats of strength, but when Sally was struggling at her door and I brusquely snatched her bag of groceries grunting primally, “Go ahead, I’ve got these,” she shoved me and I bumped into that vegan Brontosaurus Federico who shanked me in the gut with an organic carrot and told me to “grow up.” Grow up?

As if evolution was something so simple.

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* Welcome to The Big Jewel, a bucolic safe house for those in full retreat from reality. This week please welcome Elizabeth Bastos, whose first piece for us shows that, while she may be somewhat behind the times, she is always up front.

Holiday News From The Bastos Household

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I meant to write this in time for it to get to you in December for the holidays, friends, but there has been so much going on since we turned urban homesteaders. We do a lot of our own canning now and it took us the whole month of December to lay down the late fall kale crop so, sorry. Also, it’s taken longer than expected for the kids to train our Golden Retriever to deliver the mail, so please don’t fear him or take a broom to him; he’s just waiting by your door for a tip. Simply say, “A Bientot, Emil,” and send him on his way, reattaching his little rucksack. You could put a rawhide in it, if you have one.

I’ll come right out and say it: at first our decision to homestead was about the economy. I was laid off from writing my novel. But there is opportunity at every crossroads, and I discovered what people are calling “the farm to table pipeline.” I followed the egg man from the Giant, all the way back to a warehouse in New Jersey after I picked up the kids from school like I usually do on my retrofitted cold-weather bike with panniers. The kids wondered what we were doing, but this is the other part of my journey: home schooling.

Like a hand in a glove; home schooling and homesteading go together, though the kids don’t see it yet, how important it is for them to learn to milk Madame Milch. Yes, of course we have a cow! And an apple orchard! Madame Milch lives in our bathroom that we converted to a stall. We go out back, where we’ve a rough-hewn outhouse, just like in olden times. The kids’ friends say that it’s only at our house that they follow a staked line of twine back to bed and they love it.

We’ve learned — as we could not have in a “traditional classroom” — that chickens come from eggs. My kids were like, wow. Can you strap us back into our panniers for the bike home now? Mom? We’re hungry. I produced from my rucksack home-smoked venison jerky, from the 10 point buck their daddy shot in Patterson Park before we knew what we know now about permits, public parks, and hunting seasons. This is the chaw of your forbears, I told them. Appreciate the taste and the calories because I don’t know if daddy shot any rabbits at the suburban office park for dinner.

There was silence and peace for twenty minutes. Do you all have these moments of peace? I doubt it. You all are still in the rat race, drinking from CapriSun pouches, your kids in the back seat of your car fighting for the attention that you don’t have to give. Not me, though. I bartered like, 200 pounds of kale for the lambs that gambol on my lawn. I have bundles of foraged, hand-tied lavender and other herbs hanging from the exposed beams in my kitchen. This is the life.

I get up early to feed the wild hogs that bed down in what was formerly my daughter’s bedroom. She sleeps with us now. So does my son. All of us in the same bed, the way it’s meant to be. The kids are so much better behaved and I believe co-sleeping is the reason. Why, anything but the family bed is unnatural and cold! And by huddling together under a handmade afghan made of celery stalks and watching no more television, we’re saving energy. What are you doing for Tierra Madre, friends? Think about at least composting your cashmere sweaters and gourmet food and shelter magazines.

All the best from our household to you and yours during this season of spring abundance and until after the hog slaughtering season!

The Bastoses

P.S. If you have a hatchet and some elbow grease to lend, come on over — don’t call first. Our hogs ate our phone and that’s just the way we like it.

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* Welcome to The Big Jewel, the gem that out-glitters even Hollywood. This week Andrew Kiraly has something to whet your appetite for the Oscars.

Taglines To Underwhelming Movies

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This time, they pushed him to slightly just this side of “too far.”

Part robot. Part woman. All nun.

HE’S BACK FOR MORE. (In moderation.)

A story you’ll never forget. For a day or two, tops.

Find out why the critics express an abiding tolerance for this movie.

For people who just can’t get enough epilogue.

He’s back for more chase scenes, explosions and so forth.

A film unlike any you’ve ever seen, technically.

This time-traveling ear, nose and throat specialist is going places. Mostly historical ears, noses and throats.

She’s an outdoor cat with an indoor heart.

What do you get the globe-trotting playboy who has everything? A committed relationship with a quirky woman who favors peasant skirts, apparently.

He’s back for more, and this time he’s got a medium-sized container to carry it.

Can’t get enough Children of the Corn?

History comes alive in this three-hour montage of Civil War daguerreotypes with a voice-over by Hal Holbrook.

He’s back for more of a slight variation on what he was back for in the previous sequel.

Uncomfortable silence finally hits the big screen.

He’s a farm boy. She’s a city girl. Can town and country meet in the middle? Yes, with good communication and a willingness to compromise.

A romantic comedy for people who are also fond of the frozen-Neanderthal-thawed-in-modern-times premise.

He’s back for more (of the same).

They kidnapped his family. They stole his identity. They shattered his life. But he’s got a secret weapon: small-claims court.

What’s a claustrophobic agoraphobe to do?

A movie, but with a twist.

He’s back for etc.

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