* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we are still recovering from our last breakup. Fortunately, we are not alone. In fact, many of the world's most famous writers are just as hurt and angry as we are. Only a bit more eloquent, as Ryan McDermott rewrites them.

Excerpts From Breakup Notes By Famous Writers

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Shakespeare:

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? No, I do think I shall compare thee to sewage and refuse.

Charles Dickens:

It was the best of times and it was the worst of times, but mostly it was the worst of times.

J.D. Salinger:

I fell in love with you goddamn it. I thought I knew you. You just turned out to be a goddamn phony.

Mark Twain:

A lie can travel around the world before truth can get its pants on, but I saw the darn truth. I saw that guy in your room without his pants on.

Allen Ginsberg:

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, and you.

Ernest Hemingway:

We dated. It was good. Then it got bad. We went fishing to try to fix it. That didn’t work. I took you to a bullfight. You didn’t like it. We drank wine in Paris and that didn’t help. Now it’s over.

Chuck Palahniuk:

There was vomit everywhere, dripping down the side of the bed with all the other bodily fluids. I barfed because I never really cared for how you look.

Sun Tzu:

All warfare is based on deception. Apparently our relationship was too.

William F. Buckley Jr.:

Our romantic accord was pulchritudinous but it must come to a surcease because it was a malapropos and your congeries of furtive prevarications have led me to regard you with sheer animadversion.

Emily Dickinson:

The brain is wider than the sky, and so is your lazy ass.

Hunter S. Thompson:

We had two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high-powered blotter acid, a saltshaker half full of cocaine, and a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers. Too bad we didn’t have any love.

Charles Bukowski:

The whores down on Sunset Boulevard crowded around near the smack addicts and the winos. I saw you were one of the whores. I never had a damn clue.

Edgar Allen Poe:

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary, over a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore, all about how happy I was before you came along Lenore. Now quit rapping at my chamber door.

Dr. Seuss:

Oh how you used to be so cool, now I wish you would drown in the pool.

T.S. Eliot:

April is the cruelest month. Is it any coincidence that is when we started dating?

Kurt Vonnegut:

You pretended to be faithful. I guess I was wrong when I said you are what you pretend to be. So it goes.

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* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where our funny video of us chasing one other around the office and hitting one another with water balloons is already a big hit on YouTube. Gosh, I wonder where else we can get it played? And what if we could get, like, a real director to direct it?

Contemporary Directors Do America’s Funniest Home Videos

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Jerry Bruckheimer Does Skittish, Jumpy, Overreacting Cats

This opens to a sunrise on an aircraft carrier, or a helicopter crash in enemy territory, and some cat is going ape to a Kenny Loggins guitar solo. Next, there’s a silhouette shot as a cat jumps up on all fours, because of a moth or a mouse or a MiG-21. Whatever the case, in Scene 3, there is no feline, just somebody looking hot in uniform. Probably Val Kilmer. Now, cut to a tabby on the Sergeant’s ceiling fan, a Persian in the locker room getting snapped by a towel, and a calico walking through a Miami crime scene. Finally, three kittens claw the patch off Johnny Depp’s eye. People say cats are hard to direct, but they don’t know Nicolas Cage. One last thing: it fades out with a cat running into a plate glass patio door that looks open but isn’t. That’s funny as all hell.

Stanley Kubrick Does Fathers Getting Nailed In The Groin

Here, a bunch of dads and kids bide their time in a white room heavy on crown molding and velvet drapes; in the background are crates of economy-size cans of franks-and-beans. The children are dressed in pastel bunny costumes and jazz plays on a phonograph. Or better still: off-key polka. Next, the children are given antique badminton racquets while shuttlecocks are affixed to each father’s crotch. Then things just get confusing. There’s maniacal laughter; a toilet in the corner (clean then dirty, clean then dirty); and a close-up of the phonograph needle stuck on a merry stretch of music. It might end with a lingering shot of a father whose head is tilted down and eyes are peering up, but it’ll probably just close with an overly theatrical whack to the groin. Either that, or a giant teddy bear wielding an obelisk.

John Hughes Does Babies Eating Peas

This one stars a baby dressed in pink training bra; a dumb, muscular baby; a baby with dandruff; a baby wearing a headgear; and a baby with horrendously huge nostrils who doesn’t give a rat’s ass about anything. The babies sit around most of the day not eating their peas, knowing that by the end of the day, they’ll have to either eat their peas or mug for the camera. That is, unless someone hid some weed in a sippy cup. Yay! Baby-with-the-headgear did! Also, John Candy comes in periodically to change diapers and the soundtrack is comprised of Psychedelic Furs songs that aren’t good, but everyone pretends are.

The Coen Brothers Do People Falling At Wedding Receptions

Sounds cliché, but this probably begins with the camera rushing forward as a clumsy guest foxtrots into a wood chipper or a bloody snow bank or straight into John Goodman’s gut. Or maybe it features a trippy dream sequence of bridesmaids floating over the Exxon Valdez crisis while a narrator quotes Aristotle in an Oregon accent. Hmm. Or how about all the weddings are set in Omaha and all the men are incompetent? Wait. That’s not the Coen brothers. That’s Alexander Payne. Same difference. Anyway, I bet ultimately they just get Cameron Diaz to play a disabled golfer who can’t cut the cake for Jim Carrey, the schizophrenic groom.

Judd Apatow Does People Feeding Zoo Animals But Then Something Goes Hysterically Wrong

This one’s easy: a bunch of grandpas attempt to feed elephants peanuts while Russell Brand and Will Ferrell get overly friendly with said elephants from behind. Body fluids should probably be involved, but since this is a family show, the grandpas will probably just vomit on one another.

M. Night Shyamalan Does The $10,000 Winner Thing

It comes down to these four:

“Man Hides Rubber Snake In Cookie Jar; Toddler Wets Pants”
“Great Aunt Betsy’s Dentures Fall Into Chili Pot”
“Fat Man Loses Toupee On Roller Coaster”
“Lady Drives ATV Into Chicken Coop”

And the winner is…Well. There is no winner. This isn’t a reality show. This is a classic Shyamalan world-within-a-world and every audience member is a prisoner, forced to watch videos symbolic of his or her meaningless life. Haven’t you always thought audience members laughed in a very forced, secretly terrified way? Yes. This is actually hell and Tom Bergeron and Bob Saget are campaigning for Devil. How’s that for a twist? Definitely better than The Village, right? And certainly not based on a crappy Nickelodeon show.

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* Welcome to The Big Jewel where, at last count, we like to think there are 118 elements in the periodic table. Today, however, in honor of Samantha O'Brien, there are only four.

Has Your Child Recently Mastered The Four Elements?

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If you’re reading this, your child has just conquered his fourth and final element (likely Fire) and achieved the rank of Master. You’re probably experiencing many emotions: pride, reverence, crippling fear. This is completely normal. You’re just adjusting to the fact that your little one has become the spirit of Gaia manifested in human form. While you may be overwhelmed, remember you’re not alone. Parents of little Masters have been tackling the same issues since the dawn of elemental manipulation. We’ve compiled their most frequent questions here.

What are some of the common mistakes parents of a new Master make?

The most common error parents make is using their little Master’s abilities for housekeeping or evil. Too often one hears of a child earth-bending the mulch in the yard, pyrokinetically heating up the family dinner, or flooding the basement of his mother’s book club nemesis. Beware of your selfish urges. They will only bring you shame. So will tattoos of Chinese characters. Don’t get them.

In his new enlightened state, I feel like my child thinks he’s better than me. Am I crazy?

No. Your child is better than you. You may grow tired of his disciplined, benevolent ways, but know that they are for a greater purpose. Why did he have to shave off all his hair? For aerodynamic efficiency and to symbolize his renunciation of vanity. Is he always going to make you pull over when he sees struggling peasant farmers or senses seismic disturbances? Absolutely. Your child has reached an astral plane of higher consciousness. Do not fight this. Seek his counsel on important matters.

My child is glowing and his eyes have rolled over, turning a brilliant white. It is strangely beautiful, but should I be concerned?

Your child is experiencing a rare loss of control. He has retreated from his body and entered the spirit world. Also, he is now in a state of unharnessed supernatural power. This happens in situations involving intense emotion. Has someone angered him deeply or threatened a loved one? Did he just lose a close game of Candyland? In a calm voice, state the consequences of such behavior: “If you don’t leave the spirit world right this second, I’m going to take the body you’ve vacated to your room.” If your child’s power only seems to strengthen, evacuate, making sure to grab sharp or flammable objects on your way out.

I’m concerned about my little Master’s ability to interact with kids his own age. What can I do to help?

At first, your child will struggle to relate to his peers. Nobody ever made friends meditating through lunch and moving playground pebbles with his mind. Don’t bother trying to make his skills seem “cool” to other kids (e.g., “Timmy can fly!”), for your little killjoy will humbly correct you (“I merely ask for Wind’s assistance and She, in her infinite glory, obliges”). Expose him to as many group activities as possible. He will insist upon solitude, but you must be firm. If he doesn’t learn social skills now, the next thing you know, you’ll have a forty-year-old chaste sage living in your basement.

My child took a little long than most to master Earth and Fire and he’s now a teen Master. Is this a bad thing?

Yes. Going through puberty and realizing one’s full potential to command nature makes for a very confusing and challenging time for a young Master. He may turn despondent, angry even. Common signs include:

— Refusing to leave the couch, instead blowing munchies to himself and rinsing off the crumbs with indoor rain

— A sudden lack of interest in saving humanity

— Crafting ice sculptures in the likeness of an unrequited love (often using own tears)

— An obsession with Sylvia Plath

Reassure your teen that his feelings are normal, but remind him that he must resolve them in a way that does not disrupt the balance and harmony of all living things.

With my child’s new powers, he’s become so independent. I feel completely useless. Help!! What can I do?

You must give your child space. Initially, you will insist on chaperoning all of his adventures in goodwill: the trip to the Somali village to end their drought, the pilgrimage to Caracas to quell that earthquake. You will smile as the villagers touch the hem of his garments and genuflect. They grow up so fast, don’t they? It’s time to let go and allow your child to make these journeys on his own

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* Welcome to The Big Jewel, which we are proud to note is read avidly even on remote planetary systems such as Dingus 7. So take that, Stephen "Xenophobia" Hawking!

Zurg Zang, Alien, Has Just About Had It With Stephen Hawking

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Dear Stephen Hawking,

Firstly, I hope that this is indeed your real Facebook page, sir, and that I am not posting on some imposter’s wall. I will attempt to be concise as I know you are a man who keeps his dance card full, as it were. Here on Dingus 7, approximately 13 billion light years from your planet Earth, my life would probably seem very dull in comparison to yours as I, Zurg Zang, am a simple being.

Now then, if I may address your new program on the Discovery Channel (yes, we get basic cable here). I understand you have long been preoccupied with aliens. While others might call such an obsession “creepy” or “weird and kind of childish,” I say “To each his own.” But you are not just preoccupied; you’re convinced that all extraterrestrial life forms are dangerous; you imagine planets with murderous, yellow reptilian creatures flying around feasting on bizarre animals all day. So my question for you is this: what’s your problem, pal?

Think about it, Stephen Hawking. Imagine that I decided to say to all the inhabitants on Dingus 7, “Hey everybody, I bet there’s a faraway planet somewhere full of dangerous humans with a bazillion guns and nuclear weapons who go around killing each other. Don’t contact them because they might not respond peacefully!” As it happens, this is already common knowledge on Dingus 7, but still — doesn’t feel so good, does it?

As to your absurd and amateurish depictions of aliens, I don’t know where you’re getting this stuff. Cliffs inhabited by flying, yellow reptilian predators? You portray nightmares! Visit our cliffs and you’ll find only the gentle dingatrons, our golden-scaled friends who keep to themselves high up in the stratosphere, coming down only to feed on the flesh of land-dwellers as their hunger/bloodlust dictates. You imagine our oceans seething with vast fleets of horrific fluorescent beasts, which is fairly accurate, and yet you utter not a word of our precious sea horses. That’s right Stephen Hawking; just like on Earth, our oceans are also home to millions of them — enormous, radioactive sea horses. Every third Dinguinox, we gather among friends and family; with the night sky illuminated by the constant bursts of gamma rays, we can see clearly as hordes of gigantic sea horses emerge from the oceans to devour the sacrificial offerings which we have so carefully prepared, turning to ash and shadows anyone who has disappointed them.

I could go on describing such charms of daily life on my planet, but one must experience these things for oneself to truly appreciate that Dingus 7 is not a place of danger, but of splendor. And so, without further ado, I extend this invitation on behalf the D7 Board of Intergalactic Tourism (of which I happen to be Vice President): make Dingus 7 the destination for your next vacation!

With enchantments for the young as well as the young-at-heart, Dingus 7 is the perfect place to bring the whole family. While you’ll be far from home, our ubiquitous fog will make you feel like you’re right back in England! (Fun trivia fact: Did you know that all fog on Dingus 7 is fully sentient? Technically a parasite, our fog subsists on brain matter, which it accesses through the eyes of its “hosts;” once infected, these hosts are reduced to blind, vacuous shells whose sole purpose is to serve their fog “master.”)

Think Dingus 7 is just for families? Not so! Couples come to enjoy the romance of the lava spas, the nightly excitement of the sandworm attacks, and the cuisine — which is remarkably similar to a traditional English breakfast.

What are you waiting for, Stephen Hawking? Message me back to start planning your trip to Dingus 7 today!

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* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we put the "edgy" in "edgy T-shirt." And we couldn't do it without that living icon of sartorial splendor, Daniel Friedman.

Look At My Edgy T-Shirt

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Look at this edgy T-shirt I got on the Internet. It refers to that movie everybody saw, where the comedian everybody likes said the thing everybody laughed at. I’m a bold outsider with a bad attitude, somebody who chooses to self-identify with the kind of independent oddballs who bring in over $250 million in domestic box-office receipts. I don’t conform to the masses; I march to the beat of the drummer that everybody went to see last June, or rented from Netflix in October. When I wear this shirt, everybody will know that they’d better watch out, because I have the capacity to be mildly offensive to people who fall outside the primary viewing demographic for mainstream comedies rated PG-13.

And I’ll tell you something else; I didn’t have to order my clever Internet T-shirt from my mother’s basement, where my computer is. No, I can order T-shirts wherever I am, whenever I want, because I have an awesome smartphone. I bet you’ve never seen a phone like this, since only the world’s fifty million hippest people have them. Do you know how elite that makes me? Well, there are six billion people on the planet, so you do the math. Oh, wait; you can’t because your phone doesn’t have a calculator app. Face! Let me tell you, dude, you can’t just walk into any cell phone store and get a phone like this. It’s only available from one exclusive carrier. And at Best Buy.

By the way, have you heard that song that was in the movie my shirt references, and has been on the radio nonstop for the past year and-a-half, and was on that TV show everybody watches, and is also in all those commercials for premium fish sandwiches at that fast-food restaurant? As a fixture on the local music scene, I’ve heard that song, and I love it. It’s the ringtone on my smartphone. Does your phone have MP3 ringtones, by the way? Didn’t think so.

If the Internet made a T-shirt about that song, I would wear the holy heck out of it, because I totally feel where that singer is coming from. Unlike most people who lead anesthetized lives of post-consumerist bliss, I have been in that place that the popular singer is talking about. I have stood on the edge of utmost despair, at the precipice of the dark and throbbing night. I gazed into that profound abyss. That song spoke to me in ways regular people can’t possibly understand. It touched the very core of my soul.

And that premium fish sandwich is awesome as well, so I can see why that singer would endorse such an excellent product. I would not hesitate to wear a T-shirt that communicated my admiration for this culinary delight. I hope the Internet is busy making such a T-shirt, even as we speak. Have you tasted the premium fish sandwich? I bet you haven’t. You’re like most of these squares around here. You’re so unhip, you probably couldn’t even find the drive-thru, despite the clear and unambiguous signage.

Let me tell you about the premium fish sandwich, dude. If you share my refined palate and appreciation of haute cuisine, the premium fish sandwich is a life-changing experience. You don’t see anything special about the premium fish sandwich? Well, of course you don’t. It’s only made of line-caught North Atlantic cod. It’s only coated with special-recipe seasoned breadcrumbs. It’s only deep-fried until it’s a succulent golden beige. It’s only topped with a generous dollop of premium mango-infused tartar-mayonnaise. Not a big deal, right? You know what? Don’t order the premium fish sandwich. Its subtle delights would be wasted on you, because you lack the perspective and vocabulary to comprehend such a transcendent dining experience.

People who trudge through life swaddled in non-ironic, non-referential garments should stick to the dollar menu.

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