* Welcome to The Big Jewel, God's gift to literary humor. This week God's gift to our site, webmaster Amy Vansant, has a piece that will save your soul if anything can.

My Life As A Religious Miracle Marketer

By: Amy Vansant

A simple slice of toast launched my career as a professional Miracle Marketer.

I was peering, bemused, at what appeared to be the toasted visage of my Uncle Frank on a piece of rye, when my wife popped her head over my shoulder and said, “I see it. Like the Shroud of Turin, right?”

That’s when it hit me. I grabbed my coat and drove like a hellcat to my friend Ben’s downtown deli. I raised my toasted rye, triumphantly, for him to inspect.

“Can you see it?” I asked.

He squinted and leaned across the counter for a better look.

“It kind of looks like Donald O’Connor,” he mumbled.

With Ben’s permission, I set up the toast on his deli counter for all to see.  A last burst of divine inspiration had me instructing Ben to tell his customers the toast had come from his kitchen.

Ben sold over 500 corned beef on rye sandwiches that weekend.

From the 1999 Arthur Treacher’s “Loads of Fishes” event, to the “Weeping Michael Jordan” phenomenon at the United Center in Chicago, I have created Miracle Business Promotions since that humble piece of toast launched my career.

Selecting the appropriate subject for a Miracle Marketing campaign is of the utmost importance. You can’t just ask people to fill out a card that says “How was my service? Have you spoken to Jesus lately?”  The miracle should be immediately recognizable to customers. The sudden appearance of stigmata could be traumatic to a non-Christian. Apollo crossing the sky in a sun chariot these days would have little to no value. I need to go deep undercover, often posing as an employee in order to subtly poll my client’s customers.

For example:

Me: Would you like cream with your coffee, sir?
Customer: Yes, please.
Me: Sugar?
Customer: No.
Me: Hey, you catch the 700 Club last night?
Customer: What? No…
Me: Me either. *cough* Praise Allah. *cough*
Customer: What’s that?
Me: Hey, by the way, we have a special on bagels and lox today.
Customer: Really? That sounds good.
Me: Ah ha!
Customer: Ah ha what?
Me: Nothing, sir. I’ll be right back with your breakfast!

Next, it is time to pick the milieu. Burnt toast images are overdone at best (pun intended!).  I try to incorporate my client’s business into the Miracle. For instance, if they own a barbershop, I might have an image appear in hair clippings on the floor (Oklahoma City Hair Cuttery, 1996, “Samson Event”).

Miracles also can’t be too fleeting. We had to be very careful not to walk too quickly past the Samson image, or the hair clippings started to shift like the desert sands.  Someone trots by in a long skirt, and the next thing you know, Samson looks like Sammy Davis Jr.

But you also can’t be too obvious about the preservation of your miracle. If your spilled birdseed “happens” to form the image of St. Francis, you don’t want people discovering the seeds have actually been painstakingly glued to the floor. (Wild Bird Center, Maryland, 1997.)

Location is important. Everyone likes a good pilgrimage. But if your business is in the middle of the Utah desert, people are going to think twice before they pack up the kids to visit The John Smith Cactus. Frankly, the Utah desert was probably a bad place to set up that Coffee Beanery franchise in the first place, so I’m not going to take all the responsibility for that flop.

For the most part, I’ve learned to keep things simple.  Adding “tears of blood” to a statue or creating a Buddha that actually shakes with laughter will quickly rouse the scientists with all their “tests” and “facts,” and may shut down an event prematurely.

Done right, Miracle Marketing can increase business for a client 1000-fold in the short term, and a good 20% long-term.  On the other hand, depending on his or her beliefs, it may also damn them for eternity. For that reason, I have some pretty ironclad contracts.

Rewards in this world or the next: that is up to my client to decide. I’m just the man with the vision.

* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we sometimes publish things that even yo mama could understand. Like this one from our good friend Mark Peters.

The Book Of Yomamasis


In the beginning God created heaven and earth. Your mom was already around, looking for customers.

The earth was without form, and void, especially of moral fiber, what with your mom running around air-humping nothingness and offering five-dollar handsies to the void.

And God said, “Ew.”

God felt queasy and collapsed on the couch for a while. Then God got Himself together and moved upon the face of the waters.

And God said, “Let there be light.” And there was light. The light provided a clearer view of your mom, and God said “Ack!”

God said, “Jesus, that’s too much light! Way, way too much light.”

So God divided the light from the darkness and made damn sure there was always some darkness, because of your mom and her face.

And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night, and your mom he called “Ugh!”

And the evening and the morning were the first day.

And God said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters, and maybe if I get lucky your mom will drown.”

And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters that were above the firmament, and your mom said, “I like things that are firm!” God sighed.

And He called the firmament Heaven, and put up signs warning against your mom, and also some chicken wire.

And the evening and the morning were the second day.

And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters he called Seas, and God saw, much to his chagrin, that the abundance of waters had neither drowned your mom nor improved her complexion.

And the earth brought forth grass and herbs and seeds and trees, and your mom smoked or inserted or tried to sell it all.

And the evening and the morning were the third day.

And God said, “Let there be lights in the firmaments of the heaven to divide the day from night, and to shine a light about the earth, especially on your mom’s activities, so vice squads can catch her.”

And God made the sun and the stars. Lots of stars. Surely one could support life intelligent, violent, and wise enough to take care of your mom once and for all.

And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

At this point, your mom was really pissing off the supreme being, so God said, “Let the waters bring forth abundantly moving creatures that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.” The birds, God hoped, would crap on your mom’s head, and maybe something else would maul her. God had to catch a break sometime.

And so God created great whales, but they were not big enough to eat your mom. In fact, she molested them. And God created every living creature that moveth, and every winged fowl, and before the fifth day your mom had humped 71.6% of them. God was seriously thinking about nuking this planet and trying His luck on Mars.

But God blessed the creatures anyway, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, but not with your mom. She’s got hepatitis B, and God knows what else.”

And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.

And God said, “What the hell, let the earth bring forth more living creatures, such as cattle, and creeping things, including the creeping things in your mom’s hoo-ha.” God cracked Himself up with that one.

And God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, and let him have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over the Queen of Whore Island, your mom.”

And God said, “Behold, I have given you every herb-bearing seed, and every tree, and I tried my best to get rid of your mom. She is dumb, so I am hopeful she will soon eat a poisonous mushroom or choke on plastic fruit. Also, I am looking around for a good asteroid.”

And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

And on the seventh day, God took a long, sad nap. Maybe your mom was just another symptom of God’s medication. After God got some goddamned sleep, maybe she would go away. That would be good.


* Welcome to The Big Jewel, the only literary humor site made to be used once and thrown away. This week's piece is by Evan Waite, here channeling the essence of one Bob Callahan, Executive Vice President of Rumsen Food Service Industries.

When You’re Looking For The Very Best In Disposable Plastic Cutlery, One Of Our Competitors Is Probably The Way To Go


As you may know, we here at Rumsen Food Service Industries specialize in manufacturing plastic utensils for single-use dining. We have miraculously been in this business for well over thirty years, and in that time we have learned a few things. Speaking as an individual, I know I would never settle for a product that was second best, and the same ethos should apply to our customers. So, when you’re looking for the very best in disposable plastic cutlery, you would be wise to go with one of our competitors.

They are all better than us.

Nobody wants to have an important event in their life ruined by second-rate tableware, and I can promise without hesitation that that is exactly what will happen should you decide to purchase your plastic cutlery from Rumsen. All the advance planning in the world isn’t going to mean a thing once those knife blades start shedding bits of plastic into your risotto. You couldn’t do worse if you ate your dinner with twigs. In fact, you’d be less likely to end up with macaroni sitting in your lap.

Take it from me, Bob Callahan. Our products stink.

Dixie is just one of hundreds of rivals who make much better products than we are capable of. I highly recommend going with them for your catering supply needs. It’s a company that clearly has a lot of pride in what they produce, in stark contrast to the visceral self-loathing my colleagues and I feel for working in the absolute gutter of the cutlery industry. Dixie’s plastic utensils are consistently well crafted and reliable. Their fork’s high tensile strength ensures that it will be ready and able to handle whatever kind of meal you have on your plate. The tines of Rumsen’s signature fork on the other hand, will snap the second they sink into any food with a consistency harder than mushed carrots.

It’s a miracle the Better Business Bureau hasn’t come after us with both barrels.

Kirkland Signature also puts out a superior dinner set using the highest quality food grade cast polypropylene on the market. I know for a fact that their spoons don’t transmit toxins into their customers’ soups when they use them. Maybe one day Rumsen will be able to say that, although as of now, with the leadership of our rudderless company as flimsy as one of our medium-weight teaspoons in direct sunlight, I’m not holding my breath.

You would have to be a bonehead to spend one penny with us.

There are so many companies that are better than us that it is hard to recommend just one. Asda runs circles around us in terms of durability. We can’t compete with the price of Birchwood’s value pack. Tesco, John Lewis, Pirelli: all of them offer money back guarantees that can’t be touched by a bush league outfit like ours that unapologetically markets utensils that aren’t designed to withstand heat. Hope you like your chicken soup with a side of limp spoon.

Each batch of Rumsen forks contains a little more asbestos than the last. This is our promise to you. Sure, it costs more money to make our product hazardous to the health of our customers. However, we strive to be irresponsible not only from a manufacturing standpoint, but fiscally as well. I guess you could say we’ve always done things our own way here.

Our combo pack is an abomination. After opening up our poorly designed packaging, or more precisely, after watching the box’s side flap split itself open like an anvil careening through tissue paper due to the cheap adhesive we purchase from a fly-by-night manufacturer out of Mumbai who doesn’t have a website, spilling inferior Rumsen brand utensils all over the floor, several of the spoons are sure to have misshapen or inverted bowls. It is right then that you will know for certain that you went with the wrong brand.

That’s the Rumsen guarantee.

* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where every meal is improved by pepper spray. Or at least that's what Richard D. Allen says. If you don't agree, feel free to pepper spray him.

Cooking With Pepper Spray


“It’s like a derivative of actual pepper…It’s a food product, essentially.” — Megyn Kelly, The O’Reilly Factor, November 21, 2011



2 slices whole wheat bread

1 tbs peanut butter

1 tbs grape jelly

1 canister pepper spray

Lightly toast slices of bread. Spread peanut butter on one. Spread jelly on the other. Close the sandwich. Slice diagonally. Serve to protester. Wait for protester to share sandwich with homeless person. Pepper spray them both.



4 oz gin (chilled)

1 olive

1 canister pepper spray

Pour gin into martini glass. Garnish with olive. Mist lightly with pepper spray. Serve to protester.

For a dry protestini, simply pour the gin in the vicinity of a recently pepper-sprayed protester. For an extra-dry protestini, use a smaller protester, such as a child.


Up and at ‘Em

1 automatic coffee maker

2 tbsp ground coffee (heaping)

8 oz cold water

2 donuts

1 canister pepper spray

Pour ground coffee into the coffee maker’s filter. Pour water into the coffee maker’s water reservoir. Set the coffee maker’s automatic timer for 3:55 am. Set your alarm for 4:00 am. At 4:00 am, rise and consume the coffee and donuts. Travel to protest site. Confirm that major news media are absent. Locate a sleeping protester. Pepper spray him.


Double Pepper Surprise

2 canisters pepper spray

Spray a protester with one canister of pepper spray. Wait a few days for him to return to the protest. Pepper spray him again.