* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we are still finishing the leftover turkey. Molly Schoemann is no leftover. She's brand new to this page.

Bunnytown Village Requests The Following Permissions

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molly.schoemann@gmail.com

Before you can begin playing Bunnytown Village, it requires access to the following:

Your Basic Profile Information:

Bunnytown Village may access your basic profile information, including your name, date of birth, photos, employer information, home address, cell phone number, astrological sign, deepest fears, and a copy of your driver’s license, which Bunnytown Village may obtain by removing it from your wallet in your pants which you always leave draped over a chair while you are in the shower.

Your Email Account:

Bunnytown Village may email you directly or send text messages to your cell phone to alert you of special offers and promotions. Data rates may apply. Bunnytown Village may text you after midnight on Saturday, just to see if you’re around. If you don’t respond though, it’s cool; Bunnytown Village sees how it is. You can unsubscribe from Bunnytown Village’s texts and emails any time you would like, as long as you provide a satisfactory reason for doing so. Please allow up to 8 weeks for Bunnytown Village to review your request. Continue reading

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* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we welcome your online reviews of everything except what we do and how we do it. Please use this week's somewhat disturbing piece by Daniel Kibblesmith as an example of what NOT to do.

Three Stars — Grill Is Incredibly Difficult To Assemble, Even Sober

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User Review by LetsGoBruins77

Let’s get the record straight — I’m a charcoal man. But when we invested in a new deck (linseed oil-sealed Western Red cedar), my wife didn’t want me scarring it with ashes, so it was time to take the propane plunge. The CharKing T-860 won me over with its porcelain enameled heat deflectors and 12,000 BTU side-burner (no more congealed sauce!). Unfortunately, none of these other reviews prepared me for one major issue: grill is practically impossible to assemble, even sober.

The instructions looked easy enough at first, and after loosening up with a couple of beers, I dug in, hoping to be up and grilling in time for dinner that evening. Boy, was that optimistic! I barely had everything out of the box, when, wouldn’t you know it, I got a little distracted by my wife’s constant hovering, and ended up slicing open my hand on the underside of the grease catch. Luckily, the blood washed cleanly off its stainless brushed-chrome finish. Continue reading

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* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we like to think we hold you hostage in a pleasant way once a week. Say hello to Eric Hawthorn, whose first piece for this page reads like a Coen Brothers script. And we mean that as a compliment.

Ransom

By: ,

WE HAVE YOUR SON. IF YOU WANT HIM ALIVE PLACE $1,000,000 IN UNMARKED NONSEQUENTIAL BILLS IN A DUFFEL BAG AT THE HARBOR AT MIDNIGHT.

OR ELSE…

* * * * * * *

WE STILL HAVE YOUR SON.

WE ASSUME YOU MISPLACED OUR FIRST NOTE AND THEREFORE COULD NOT FOLLOW OUR DIRECTIONS. YOU HAVE ONE MORE CHANCE. NO DOUBT THE LOVE YOU FELT FOR YOUR SON AS A CHILD ENDURES TODAY. IF YOU WANT TO SEE HIM AGAIN YOU WILL PROMPTLY COMPLY.

$1,000,000. HARBOR. MIDNIGHT.

* * * * * * *

WE WILL ACCEPT HALF A MILLION.

YOUR SON IS TROUBLED. WON’T STOP COMPLAINING ABOUT HIS CHILDHOOD: NO NINTENDO, NO DOG, FEW FRIENDS. FORCED TO SHARE A BEDROOM WITH HIS YOUNGER BROTHER, WHO WHIMPERS IN HIS SLEEP. YOUR SON MAY BENEFIT FROM THERAPY.

$500,000. DUFFEL BAG. HARBOR. MIDNIGHT.

THIS IS YOUR LAST CHANCE!!!

* * * * * * *

You are bad parents. No wonder your son has wasted the best years of his life drinking Robitussin by the bottle and watching bad television, which he quotes to us incessantly. We can only take so many Adult Swim references in one day. We are prepared to kill him.

$100,000. Duffel bag. Harbor. Midnight. Continue reading

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* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where all we have to fear is fear itself. That and the vast empty white expanse in front of us. And no, we're not talking about a Romney rally. We're talking about this new bit by our good friend Michael Fowler. Be sure to check out the link to his new funny novel A Happy Death in our blogroll at the right-hand side of this page.

The Terror Of The Blank Page

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As a writer, I am surely among the bravest people in the world. Others may defend the country on battlefields in foreign climes, rescue folks trapped in collapsed buildings or in roaring fires or swift currents, stare down armed criminals, but I surpass them all: each day, or each day I can summon the fortitude, I stare at a blank page and wait for the words to come.

You scoff? A great writer whose works we still read today, though he wrote months ago and is rather dated by now, put it like this: “I suffer as always from the fear of putting down the first line” (John Steinbeck). But I go Steinbeck one better. Each line terrifies me and makes me suffer as much as the first. So does the punctuation. And so does the spacing. I don’t know which is more terrifying: pages that are single-ruled, or those (pardon my shudder) that are double-ruled. This pertains as much to real, paper pages as to virtual, computerized documents; they are alike horrifying.

As another self-sacrificing writer put it, “Blank pages inspire me with terror” (Margaret Atwood). But it isn’t so much the blankness of the pages that makes sanguine writers like Ms. Atwood bite their lips to shreds and scream at fifteen-minute intervals; it’s what that blankness implies: the need to fill it in with characters and scenes that stand up to the highest artistic principles and will not shame them throughout time. This applies to me as much as anyone. I have felt my knees buckle and fainted at the sight of an unmarked legal pad, and even an envelope to be addressed reduces me to double vision and stomach cramps. After an hour’s writing, I don’t see why someone doesn’t hand me a medal of honor or badge of courage. It’s the least I deserve. Continue reading

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* Welcome to The Big Jewel, your one authorized escape from reality. Your guide this week is Kevin Shustack, whose first piece for us recounts his own escape plan. Personally, we feel the monkey is the weak link, but you be the judge.

My Escape

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I have come up with a plan to escape from prison. I think it can work, but I will require the following basic items:

  • One spoon.
  • One nail file.
  • One map of prison with the locations of all exits and security cameras carefully marked.
  • One chainsaw (the quiet kind).
  • Paperback copies of The Great Escape, Midnight Express and The Shawshank Redemption, to pick up some good tips on breaking out of jail.
  • One copy of Eat, Pray, Love, because my book club meets next week and I haven’t even started it.
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