* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we agree with our Canadian friend David Martin that America has made some unsound purchases in the past. Well, he has some ideas on how to correct those mistakes. When you're done reading his latest piece, click on the link below or in our blogroll to buy his most recent humor collection "King Donald" on Amazon. That is a purchase you need never regret, America! Special holiday note: we are taking a short break, and the next new material on this site will appear on Wednesday, January 4.

Seward’s Folly Undone

By:
david.martin@bell.net
https://www.amazon.com/King-Donald-look-Presidential-campaign/dp/1537150944/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1471903069&sr=8-1&keywords=king+donald+i

Americans are often reluctant to part with their possessions even when it becomes necessary to jettison some assets in order to balance the books. But once it becomes evident that they simply can’t afford to keep everything they own, they’re usually willing to engage in a debt-clearing fire sale.

On a much larger scale, I think that’s what’s happening to the United States. The country has acquired a lot of assets over the years and now that the economy is on the decline, it can no longer afford to keep all fifty bedrooms. There is obviously a sentimental attachment to many of these properties but the ever-increasing national debt dictates that some hard decisions have to be made.

The first and easiest decision is to reverse the Alaska Purchase of 1867. Even at the time, many observers ridiculed the $7.2 million acquisition as “Seward’s Folly” in honor of then-Secretary of State William H. Seward, who was responsible for the deal. Critics argued that nothing was gained from this vast wasteland, and the last century and a half has done little to change that view.

Despite their libertarian self-image, Alaskans cost the nation a great deal of money. The federal expenditures to keep Alaska afloat far outweigh the sealskin and mukluk revenues earned from that remote territory. In short, America would be better off without that non-contiguous icebox of a state.

With any luck, you could sell Alaska back to the Russians. 1867’s $7.2 million purchase price works out to roughly $20 billion in today’s dollars. Hopefully, the Russians would cough up something close to that figure which could then be applied against the national debt.

If Russia won’t bite, maybe Canada would take the bait. Since Alaska is right on their western border, it should be an attractive acquisition for them. They might even pay full price if you sweeten the pot and exclude Sarah Palin from the deal.

Once you start the divestiture ball rolling, it becomes easier and easier to unload unprofitable properties. It’s kind of like when you finally start cleaning out the basement and decide to get rid of everything from the second beer fridge to Uncle Ernie’s ratty old moose head trophy.

Take Hawaii, for example. It’s a pretty spot, no doubt, but it’s so far away that few Americans even consider it a real state. Since it only cost $4 million to acquire back in 1898, it should turn a tidy profit on today’s global real estate market. Let’s say you could sell it for $50 billion. That could buy a whole lot of pineapples and surfboards.

Speaking of a waste of space, how about getting rid of that ugly peninsular appendage on the southeast coast, namely Florida? It cost less than $7 million back in 1821 when it was purchased from Spain. Given its current status as a readymade retirement community, it’s quite likely that some giant corporation would be willing to take it off your hands. I can see “God’s Waiting Room” going for $100 billion or more.

Remember the Louisiana Purchase of 1803? Me neither, but apparently the U.S. paid France over $23 million for a huge swath of what is now the Midwest. Superficially, it sounds like a great deal until you consider that it basically covers the modern states of North and South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Iowa and Nebraska. Honestly, now, unless you’re a right-wing Republican presidential candidate, are you really going to miss any of those states if the whole territory goes in a giant prairie clearance sale?

Perhaps the best real estate do-over to consider is the island of Manhattan. There’s no telling how many hundreds of billions of dollars the denizens of Wall Street have cost the nation. But one thing is for sure: if you could re-sell the island for the $24 worth of trinkets and beads that the Dutch paid for it back in 1626, you’d be making a better deal than even Donald Trump.

Share
* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we live in hope of contacting an alien consciousness, and possibly of attending an alien university. As far as we know, author Christopher Haygood is not an alien intelligence. He prefers the term "undocumented extraterrestrial."

To The Straunzinililielius 922-V University Admissions Board

By:
Christopheralanhaygood@gmail.com

To the Straunzinililielius 922-V University Admissions Board,

I have lived what you might call an eventful life. A child prodigy, I was making breakthrough discoveries in chemistry and astrophysics before my age hit the double digits. By fourteen I had acquired my doctorate from Harvard (one of my planet’s most prestigious colleges, though paltry by your standards I’m sure), and I don’t mean to brag or anything, but when I was twenty-three I invented an artificial gateway system for Earth, my home planet, which allowed my species to make the prodigious jumps through hyperspace needed to get anywhere.

Yes, I realize it must be surprising that an Earthling is applying to one of the most challenging institutions in the universe. I believe I’m the only Earthling to do so, and as you’ll see, the only one with any qualifications.

After my gateway breakthrough, I set out to explore the now-open rest of the universe. I’ve borne my fair share of trials, let me assure you: two years spent shucking Gloosles on Armine for a ticket off the planet, six years on the prison planet Hockthoros over what turned out to be a misunderstanding. But I never once let my aspirations waver. I knew I was destined for greatness, and I kept living in search of the path that would lead to it.

Finally I found a planet that treated me like a living creature. They taught me the Universal Language and extended my lifespan indefinitely, which was necessary, since the Universal Language took fifty years to learn by itself. What was this hospitable planet? You guessed it: Straunzinililielius 922-V. It didn’t take me long in your solar system to discover your illustrious university, and after visiting it some weeks ago I knew at once that it was the right one for me. I may be 700 years old, but I feel it’s never too late to start fresh.

I look forward to your acceptance. Because I mean, come on: of course you’re going to let me in. I’m the one who allowed Earth to travel the galaxies.

Sincerely,

Dr. Tad McCollam

P.S. I doubt that I need to inform you about your Affirmative Action policies, requiring a minimum number of race- and species-based acceptances from the board, which I assume includes Homo sapiens.

P.P.S. My father is a lawyer.

* * * * * * *

Mr. McCollam,

We regret to inform you that we cannot offer you a place in our school this semester. Yes, our application pool is large, and in fact the three million students we have enrolled at any given time only constitute .0000005 percent of total applicants, but to be direct, the issue here lies solely with your so-called “qualifications.”

It’s not that we aren’t impressed that you, an Earthling, were able to create wormhole technology at such a tender age, but you have to understand that that’s like — we’re using our telepathy here to find an appropriate comparison — that’s like you being impressed at a dog who put sunglasses on his own face by himself. You should know that Straunzinililielian babies have to invent wormhole technology just to make it out of the womb, and if that doesn’t drive the point home, consider this: it took you fifty years to learn the Universal Language, but we glanced at one of your sentences and became fluent in English instantly.

And while it is true that we enforce Affirmative Action policies, and thus must fulfill certain quotas for students of all species, if you refer to the list of prerequisites you will find that we also utilize a minimum age requirement of thirty Staavs for enrollment, or, in Earth time, 14,196 years. Unfortunately, your 700 Earth years aren’t enough to meet our requirements, as we do not accept infants into our college. If you would like to apply in 13,496 years, we will be open to reviewing your qualifications at that time.

Finally, a note: it is considered bad form to use subtly placed threats of lawsuits in an admissions letter’s postscript. But more importantly, we would like to warn you that Straunzinililielius 922-V, and indeed most of the civilized universe, has forbidden lawyer-related practices as an unforgivable crime. If your father — who, by the way, we know is just a piddling defense attorney operating out of a tiny office next door to a Quiznos — were to come within 35,000 light-years of this planet he would be promptly vaporized by the Reaper Drones of All Space. We suggest you tell him to stay in Duluth.

We wish you the best of luck in finding a college that suits your abilities/accepts toddlers.

Please don’t call us,

Straunzinililielius 922-V University Admissions Board

P.S. Hockthoros was not a misunderstanding. You were incarcerated for assault of a mailbox while inebriated by illegal narcotics. Drug abuse is not something we condone at Straunzinililielius 922-V U, Mr. McCollam, and neither is lying. Good day.

 

 

Share
* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we feel it is never too early to start thinking about Christmas presents. Listen to an experienced Tad-user, Kathryn Higgins, and then decide whether you should get Tad for your loved ones. And by the way, happy Pearl Harbor Day!

Get Tad!

By:
kathrynahiggins@aol.com

Do you have problems with alcohol, illegal drug use, compulsive neatness, hot flashes, ennui, indigestion, bad manners, weight gain, random pain, hoarding, vertigo, or crankiness?

 

If so,

GET TAD!

 

Are you experiencing an inner void that yearns to be filled? And by inner void, of course I mean your vagina.

 

If so,

GET TAD!

 

Have you suffered from twenty years of celibacy, with that twenty years including the ten years of your marriage?

 

If so,

GET TAD!

 

Tad’s missile will fill your void, guaranteed. Tad’s skillful skills are proven to:

  • Reduce stress
  • Relieve pain
  • Improve cardiovascular and muscular health
  • Improve mood
  • Make your friends jealous

 

Our basic TAD package is $19.99/day. For an additional fee you can add:

  • Tad’s magnificent massage
  • Tad’s tuna casserole
  • Tad’s advice

 

And in our premium package, Tad will:

  • Wear his blue striped shirt
  • Wear his jeans
  • Wear his heart-emblazoned boxer shorts

 

Tad will make you feel all warm and creamy inside, and he can even provide additional cream. Within one week, you will be free from stress, pain, boredom, indigestion and addiction (except to Tad; you may become addicted to Tad). I should know. I used to suffer. Now I don’t.

 

***Tadisfaction guaranteed.

 

DISCLAIMER:

Use Tad with caution. Tad does not like his member mishandled, yet he will scramble your insides with it if he’s so inclined. Users have experienced swelling due to vigorous pounding from front, back and side while using Tad. Befuddlement has been reported, especially immediately after using Tad. Consult your doctor if you find yourself putting the chicken in the cupboard instead of the refrigerator. Consider an alternative if you find yourself sighing, texting at midnight, and yearning to make mix tapes while using Tad. Colitis, heart murmurs and tingling have been reported, but only from users who previously suffered from colitis, heart murmurs and tingling.

 

Late payment penalties may apply. Penalties may include 1) being subjected to Tad’s driving and 2) having to listen to Tad discuss the price of bananas at Shop-Rite versus Safeway.

 

CUSTOMER REVIEWS:

Customer 1:

I am very Tadisfied.

 

Customer 2:

I have an unusual build — sort of pear-shaped, and Tad fits me perfectly. Or perhaps I should say he fits in me perfectly.

 

Customer 3:

I was disappointed with the color.

 

Customer 4:

Make sure you pay on time. You do not want to have to listen to Tad talk about the latest banana deals. Not to mention coupons — if Tad gets a supermarket flyer with banana coupons you are in for it. And don’t get in his car, no matter what. Besides that, I would highly recommend Tad.

 

Customer 5:

Wha-wha-what???!!!?? I didn’t know this offer was open to everyone. I would like a refund. And have Tad call me immediately.

 

Share