* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we promise to never, ever call attention to your disabilities. Speaking of which, we meant to ask: are you color blind? And when people point it out, do you see red? Then you need to read this week's piece by David Holub.

Fifteen Don’ts When Trying To Bring Awareness To Your Color Blindness

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1. Do not make your color blind awareness ribbon blue, because it is likely not blue at all, but purple, which is quite effective if you’re trying to raise money for lupus.

2. When going door-to-door and someone gives you lupus money, do not scoff and say, “Yeah, like that’s a problem,” because it is likely their uncle has lupus and they’re not at a point where they can joke about it.

3. Though you might avoid color-related ribbon gaffs and the idea seems perfect (like a big welcoming, color-inclusive tent), do not wear a rainbow ribbon or fly rainbow flags, as rainbows have been co-opted by (a) six-year-old girls, (b) the Hawaiians and (c) the homosexuals.

4. Do not then get frustrated with colors in general and opt for a see-through ribbon. No one will notice.

5. Do not give up on the term “color blind” for the more politically correct “color deficient,” as this makes you sound somewhat retarded.

6. Do not switch gears entirely and make a T-shirt that has a picture of a dog and then underneath says, “We see the same colors.” Not only is the analysis confusing but it offends both dogs and the color blind.

7. Do not come up with a new campaign altogether called “Guide Dogs for the (Color) Blind.” This immediately puts the blind on the defensive.

8. If you do go ahead with the guide dog idea, do not dye your dog’s fur orange, no matter what you are trying to bring awareness to. Your hands and the dog’s coat will itch like hell.

9. Do not take this orange dog into area malls claiming it is a necessary service animal.

10. When getting escorted from a store, do not mutter anything about civil rights or entitlements or anything constitutiony. The mouthy girl working at Banana Republic will be a civics major and point out a number of things, the most obvious being that your head is firmly planted up your high school-educated ass.

11. While walking your orange service dog, do not wear dark sunglasses. Do not tilt your head slightly upward. These will be seen as a further attempt to stereotypically and mockingly ape the sightless.

12. Just forget about dogs altogether, okay?

13. Do not underestimate the blind. Though they claim they can’t see much of anything, that doesn’t stop them from seeing your ass and then kicking it.

14. Do not be embarrassed to seek medical attention, regardless of who bloodied your face and whether or not there was anything “blind” about the cane they used to do it.

15. Do not wonder why they call it a black eye. Because even the blindest of the color blind among us know it’s more of a purple, and that it hurts just the same.

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* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where our idea of a good time is watching a bunch of old people wail on each other. Fortunately, our good friend Gregory Mazurek is here to indulge our strange tastes.

Geriatric Ultimate Fighting

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Dear Residents:

In providing quality programming activities at Richmond Rivers Nursing Home, we are pleased to announce that Thursday nights will be changed from bingo to Richmond Rivers Ultimate Fighting (RRUF) sponsored by the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

The UFC contacted me on Tuesday after reading in our community bulletin about Ethel Hendleman’s snappy comment that Lorraine Ginford was a “blind bat” for stamping uncalled numbers on her bingo sheet. After consulting with both Ethel and Lorraine, we agreed to allow them to settle their differences over a cage match.

Before you go back to your rooms after breakfast in Sunrise Dining Hall, you’ll be wheeled to the Comfort & Care Room where you’ll find sign-up sheets, liability release forms, and anabolic steroids. If you prefer, you can ask your nurse to include these injections in your morning routine, which will be slightly modified to account for your new exercise regime, tentatively called RUFF Hell Week.

In keeping with the guidelines set forth for RRUF, all participants will undergo a physical training program that would have tested your body’s limit sixty years ago. Today, well, that’s why we have you signing the liability release forms. It’s essential that everyone participates in order to get a chance at Netflix streaming our trademark-pending RRUF Thursday Night Xtreme Madness!

When you get back to your rooms, you won’t have much time to spend watching television, reading, or greeting your grandchildren because you will need to review the rulebook placed next to your emergency call button. Like bingo, you’ll enjoy RRUF because you’ll be playing with your friends, meeting new people, and spending time in the Sunset Recreation Room. Unlike bingo, you’ll be allowed, encouraged, and possibly compensated to kick, grab, punch, tackle, jab, and taunt. Like Tuesday Theme Nights, you’ll be allowed to wear costumes but you still will not be allowed to bite anyone. We cannot stress this enough.

For those who do not make it through the RRUF Hell Week training program, you will still have the opportunity to watch and cheer your fellow residents from outside the steel reinforced caged octagon currently being constructed by the Handy Guys community club.

This coming Saturday, we’ll have our first practice round in which 81-year-old Fletcher Thompson will bring his domino-steady hands to battle against 91-year-old Stewart Carrington and his bad knee.

“I’m going to send Stewart back to physical therapy,” Fletcher said in a statement yesterday.

Afterwards, 87-year-old Rebecca Sandrom will arrive straight from St. Steven’s Hospital to wage war against 89-year-old Lucy Jackson, who says she’s “been waiting since last month’s movie night for an opportunity at revenge.”

“My bad back won’t stop me from busting her knee again,” Rebecca stated at last night’s weigh-in.

Following this, a steel ceiling will be lowered upon the octagon for our main event. Lorraine and her 101 lbs. of geriatric steel will engage Ethel and her 103 lbs. of re-constructive knee surgery in what some residents are already calling “a legal nightmare.”

We hope you’re as excited as we are about this new program. A lot of the pent-up frustrations that have come to surface during recent bingo nights can now be released during what will hopefully be a cornerstone fundraising generator for the home.

Best of luck and remember to bend with your knees.

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* Welcome to The Big Jewel. We are not the greatest intellects in all of human history, but we make fun of the greatest intellects in all of human history. Does that count? We didn't think so. Nonetheless, we hope you enjoy Bryan Berrey's take on the godfather of Scholasticism.

Thomas Aquinas’s Childhood Journal (Excerpts)

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(Age 4)

Article XXXI: Whether I stole Laurie’s apple juice during nap time?

Objection I: It would seem that I stole Laurie’s apple juice during nap time. For it was said: “Thomas, go sit in the corner. And say you’re sorry to Laurie for drinking her juice” (Miss Ellen).

Objection II: Further, once in the corner, I wedgied Billy and made him eat glue.

On the contrary, it is written: “Share everything” (that poster on the wall, right above the carpet where Billy puked up the glue).

I answer that we all have to share like it says on the poster. Firstly, because Holy Writ says so: “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7). Also, everyone has to share because sometimes they have lots of something (juice, for example) that they never even drink and that someone else (me, for example) wants. When I play with my blocks, Miss Ellen makes me share with that Greek Orthodox kid, even though they’re my blocks and he picks his nose and smells and is dumb. Hence, I should get to have juice when I’m thirsty. For the best part about school is the juice (except on Fridays when we get chocolate milk).

Reply to Objection I: If I have to share my blocks with a smelly nose-picker, then Laurie has to share her juice. I was only sharing her juice, just like the poster says. For the poster says to share everything, and “everything” includes juice. Hence, Miss Ellen shouldn’t have made me sit in the corner.

Reply to Objection II: He started it.

(Age 9)

Article MCDIII: Whether we should let Laurie play in the treehouse with us?

Objection I: It would seem that we should let Laurie play in the treehouse with us. For it was said: “You boys better let that nice Laurie girl play with you. She’s as sweet as can be, and she never hurt anybody” (my mom).

Objection II: Further, the treehouse would be more fun if there was a girl. For according to Holy Writ (Genesis 2:18–22), “…the LORD God said it is not good that the man should be alone…and made He a woman.”

On the contrary, it is written: “No Girls Allowed” (the sign on the treehouse).

I answer that the law of the treehouse (by vote) is that no girls are allowed. Thus, girls can’t play in the treehouse, for as the Apostle shows (Romans 2:14-15), human law derives from eternal law, as dictated by practical reason. Laurie also refused to take the treehouse oath, whereby all new members must count backwards from ten while smelling the bag of old eggs (and a dead squirrel, now that we found one), then solemnly promise to uphold the rules (and seal the oath with a spit shake). Therefore, Laurie can’t be in our club, since according to the Apostle (Hebrews 6:16), oaths are used for the purpose of confirmation. Further, girls are lame.

Reply to Objection I: Laurie wasn’t so innocent last summer when she may or may not have put itching powder in Dave’s shirt. For it was said: “Wait — awww, geez! I think Laurie put itching powder in this shirt” (Dave).

Reply to Objection II: It is said: “Can’t live with ’em…Can’t shoot ’em” (that bearded guy who sits outside the Happy Goat Tavern and mumbles to himself about that farm Ms. Vergano lives on, who all the grownups call Ten Sheep Johnny even though he only owns five sheep).

(Age 15)

Article MMMCLXIX: Whether Vanessa will go to the dance with me if I ask her?

Objection I: It would seem that Vanessa won’t go to the dance with me if I ask her. For Antonio from the soccer team already gave her his class ring, and supposedly she’s totally into him, according to her friends (Cristina and Rosa). Hence, I shouldn’t even bother asking.

Objection II: Further, it seems that I should really ask Laurie anyway, insofar as I’ve known her since forever, and it is written: “A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter” (Sirach 6:14). Further, anytime I get a cold, she always brings me my homework or whatever, and she even made soup that one week I had the bad diarrhea. Further, unlike Vanessa, she’d definitely say yes.

On the contrary, it is written: “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye might obtain” (1 Corinthians 9:24).

I answer that things were totally starting to happen with me and Vanessa before Antonio even moved here from Florence. One time she asked if she could borrow my notes from philosophy, and I was like “Why?” and she was like, “Are you kidding? You’re like the smartest kid in that class.” Further, there were a bunch of times we’d see each other in the hall, and she’d smile and wave before I even said anything. Further, when I had Dave find out if she liked me — like, like-liked me – she said I was cute, when she could have just been like whatever. Further, one time, Dave told me that Cristina told him that Vanessa is into musicians, and she doesn’t even know yet that I play the lyre, and I can play almost every Summa 41 song (the old ones at least, before they sold out). Hence, I have as good of a chance with Vanessa as anybody.

Reply to Objection I: Cristina and Rosa don’t know anything. Antonio is a douchebag, and just because he plays sports that doesn’t mean girls will automatically throw themselves at him. Vanessa may be going through a phase right now, but she thinks I’m smart and funny, plus I’m sensitive and I listen. That must count for something.

Reply to Objection II: Meh.

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* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where religious conspiracy novels are more than mere entertainment, they're a way of life. Our good friend Mel Stefaniuk has studied the sterling example of Dan Brown and reached the only possible conclusion.

As Your Life Coach, I Strongly Suggest You Give Up On Your Dreams And Write A Religious Conspiracy Novel

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Oh boy. You’re interested in becoming a musician, huh? All right. I think you’d better sit down, we need to have a little chat.

I’m sure it seems cool to be a musician. You get to write songs about motorcycles and jukeboxes, call beers “brewskis” and have sex with a lot of women. It’s the ultimate life of no regrets. I mean, look at those debauched rock stars we see living the high life: Mick Jagger doing the “Harlem Shuffle,” Jimmy Buffet appearing barefoot on album covers, or even Kid Rock wearing those outlandish fedoras. Who wouldn’t want to live the life these freewheeling superstars have?

Well, it’s pointless to try. It’s just not a practical career choice in this modern world full of illegal downloading, music-less MTV and a Rolling Stone magazine no longer being edited by Joe Levy. Imagine if Bruce Willis released his album The Return of Bruno in this day & age…it’d be a flop! And if Bruno’s return couldn’t even get people to buy music, what chance do you think you’d have?

That’s why I’m going to tell you what I tell all my clients foolishly trying to do what they’re passionate about: you’ve got to write a religious conspiracy novel.

It’s not hard. Look at the shelf behind me — see those books? Yeah. I wrote all of them. The Magdalene Continuum, Apostle Protocol, A Conspiracy of Arks and Citizen Christ were all big hits, each one featuring a new religious conspiracy for veteran linguistics expert Donald Crane to solve.

Are they good? Not particularly. Did I make enough money off of them to buy a pontoon boat and start my own fledgling life coaching business? Yes. Religious conspiracy novels made my dreams come true and they can make yours come true too.

Don’t think you can’t do it. Anyone can create a religious conspiracy novel. Have you been to a bookstore recently? As soon as you open the front door you’re crushed under an avalanche of novels that have pictures of angel statues crying blood on the front cover. Look, here are the covers to all my books: each one just has a different species of snake wrapped around a cross!

Coming up with a cover image that blends religious iconography with an inanimate bleeding object or a mysterious animal is the toughest part of the job and even that’s not difficult. I can think of some stuff right off the top of my head: what about a close-up of a lion’s eye with the reflection of the Vatican in it, or maybe a cherub bleeding onto an ancient parchment and his blood is forming the image of a monk assassin holding a gun. Wait, that one’s pretty good, I call dibs on it.

You don’t have any writing experience? It doesn’t matter. Ninety percent of any religious conspiracy novel consists of fifty percent banal investigations of tombs/crypts/churches and fifty percent ridiculously implausible revelations. Here, let me read you an excerpt from Citizen Christ:

* * * * * * *

Donald slowly crept along the edge of the room, lightly tapping his gloved knuckle against the ancient wooden walls. Donk. Donk. Donk. Thonk. A grin grew across his face as he knocked against that part of the wall again. Thonk. He silently motioned for the priest to bring him a high-powered pneumatic drill, which he then proceeded to use to quickly and violently punch a massive hole into the church’s wall.

“Looks like this holy place just got a lot more holey,” Donald joked to the priest as he pointed to the hole in the wall to explain the joke.

After he finished laughing, Donald grabbed a lit torch that happened to be sitting on a pew and carefully made his way through the hole. A cold chill filled the room on the other side and the distinct smell of religious history wafted through the air. He swung the torch to the far corner of the room and there in the darkness, he could make out the shape of an old wooden bed. The same wooden bed that was mentioned in the missing pages of the Bible he had found in the diamond mines under Jerusalem. Dried blood coated the bed, soaked so deep into the wood that it would never be wiped off. Jesus’ blood. This was it. This is where they held him captive while his twin brother was being crucified.

* * * * * * *

You know what Dan Brown did before he started writing religious conspiracy novels? He was a musician. That’s right, like you, Dan unsuccessfully tried to follow his terribly misguided dreams. He released three albums in the early nineties, writing should-have-been-hits such as “976-LOVE,” a synth-and-sax-filled pop ode to telephone sex. You know where that song debuted on the Billboard charts? Negative four. It actually went into the negatives because four people paid to not have to buy it.

Sure, the fact that he was awful at it might be the reason he failed as a musician, but it still doesn’t change the fact that Dan didn’t find success until he wrote a religious conspiracy novel. Do you really want to toil away unsuccessfully at something you’re passionate about or would you rather just skip to the part where you make gazillions of dollars writing fluff disguised as spiritual gobbledygook?

It’s time to give up on your implausible ambitions and time to put on a turtleneck sweater and sport coat. You’ve got a lot of awkward back cover photos to pose for.

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