* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where our good Canadian friend David Martin shares some secret insights about our Northern neighbor. When you're done perusing his newest nonsense, click on the link below or in our blogroll to buy his most recent humor collection "King Donald" on Amazon. Do it now before we really do become a divine monarchy and the king forbids it!

Dear American Reader

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

Dear American reader,

 

For far too many years, you have been made to feel embarrassed regarding your appalling lack of knowledge about Canada. All too often, the media — especially the Canadian media — have reveled in exposing your ignorance of your northern neighbor.

 

Well it’s time you struck back. And here’s how to do it with the following little-known facts about Canada that even most Canadians don’t know:

 

Maple syrup does not come from the sap of sugar maple trees. Rather, there is one huge factory in northern Ontario that produces the nation’s entire supply, made from recycled chewing gum, maple-flavored bacon and leftover Girl Guide cookies. All those maple sugar farms, sugar shacks and sugaring off parties are nothing but an elaborate hoax to attract American tourists.

 

Hockey is not Canada’s national sport. Nor is it lacrosse. Our national sport is, in fact, quidditch. Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling did not invent it; she was paid by the Canadian government to include it in her books to promote our game worldwide. Every Canadian town and village has a quidditch pitch. It just happens that it can also double as a hockey arena.

 

Canadians do not say “eh.” This is a myth that began when a German tourist mistakenly misinterpreted Canadians’ tendency to list examples in their speech as in “I really like winter because (a) it’s so beautiful, (b) it lasts so long and (c)…….”

 

There is no such thing as a tuque. Canadians have been having fun for ages telling Americans that we all wear knitted hats for half the year. We do, of course, but we don’t call them tuques. We were paid to make up the word by Alfred Mosher Butts, the creator of the board game Scrabble.

 

Ottawa is not the capital of Canada. We just like to watch you struggle when asked that question. As you have guessed all along, Toronto is our real capital. After all, why would we make some backwater, overgrown town the home of our national government?

 

Canada is mostly winter. We like to laugh at Americans who visit expecting snow anytime of the year. Sadly, that can be true and our mockery is just a defense mechanism to cover up the sad reality that we really do have ten months of winter and two months of tough sledding. You’ll rarely see us crying about it, however, because our tears usually turn to ice.

 

We are not a monarchy. Even Canadians get confused by this one but the reason Queen Elizabeth’s likeness is on our money is the result of a bet we lost with England some 200 years ago. As you have long suspected, we are governed by a president, usually one from the Trudeau family.

 

Not every Canadian owns a snowmobile. That’s a bit of an exaggeration; only every second Canadian owns one. After all, most snowmobiles can carry two people so having one for every citizen would be excessive and ostentatious. However, every Canadian does own a snowmobile suit.

 

Canadians are not polite. Yes, we like to promote this myth but it’s simply not true. You can be forgiven for thinking our constant use of the word “sorry” suggests we’re courteous to a fault but we’re not. “Sorry” is Canadian slang for “screw you.” That, and not hockey, is why so many of us have black eyes and missing teeth.

 

Canada does not use the metric system. That 100 you see on our highway signs really is a miles-per-hour speed limit and if any cop or Mountie tells you otherwise, just tell him “sorry.” We do use the Celsius system for temperatures, however, but only because we have a national shortage of numbers over thirty.

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* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where you may be wondering why we didn't run this piece last week -- you know, in time for St. Patrick's Day. Well, mind your own business. And drink your craft beer!

Choosing The Perfect Craft Beer — A Guide For The Perplexed

By:
jtrapani@hushmail.com

Buying beer used to involve as much choice as shopping in a Soviet supermarket, and Budweiser and Miller loved it that xy. But these days, with the explosion in craft beer, the selection is overwhelming. Choosing a beer can be stressful enough to drive you to drink! Here are suggestions to help you find the right beer.

Style
Scientists recently concluded that the number of craft beer variations exceeds the number of atoms in the universe. There are more seasonal pumpkin ales alone than there are people in China. Not to mention more dubbels and tripels than in major league baseball, more porters than Stanley and Livingstone ever had, and more stouts than you can find in the food court at the Mall of America. If you’re stumped by the variety, ask the clerk for help. Through his smirk, he’ll happily recommend his favorite IPA, which retails for the bargain price of $18.99 for a four-pack. Enjoy. Note that after two sips you’re already hungover. Don’t worry — the heart palpitations will cease within 36 hours.

Taste
Beer taste is described by International Bittering Units. Don’t confuse IBUs with IOUs, IUDs or IBS, though too many of the first can certainly lead to the others. Think of IBUs as the beer metric system. And just like the metric system, no one understands it. Here’s the truth: remember the Hall of Justice from the Superfriends? It was based on IBU Headquarters, located in The Hague. Inside, in a secret room, sit a dour red-faced German in lederhosen, an Irishman bearing an uncanny resemblance to the Notre Dame mascot, and a smug bearded hipster from Brooklyn. After tasting each beer, they hold up cards with scores scrawled in magic marker, like judges at a local figure skating competition. The average score, multiplied by a closely guarded proprietary factor, becomes that beer’s IBUs. I hope this explanation helps!

Strength
The alcohol by volume of most beers is in the five to six percent range. But lately there’s been a trend toward stronger beers, with some beasts clocking in with double digits. Look out for these super-strong beers. It’s cheaper to guzzle a bottle of Popov, and the results will be pretty much the same.

Color
This one’s a nonstarter when you’re at the store. Unless you’ve got x-ray vision. Duh.

Learn More Online
If you’re still flummoxed, pull out your phone and check out a site like BeerAdvocate.com. Every beer you might conceivably buy has been rated by dozens of proud beer snobs — people who, if you met them in real life, you’d want to punch in the face. You’ll learn in excruciating detail about their beer-drinking experiences: the ambient latitude, longitude, altitude, barometric pressure and temperature to the nearest tenth of a degree Kelvin, what type of glass they drank from, what they had for lunch beforehand and the last time they got laid. They’ll also discuss features like “mouthfeel,” “palate” and “nose.” And provide narrative descriptions like “Tastes of strong spicy hops, slight pale caramel malt, clove, grassy citrusy sour, floral pine, hint of shoe polish.” It’s like Proust let loose in a brewery!

Visit a Brewery
Speaking of breweries, if you’re interested in exploring craft beer more deeply, you may wish to visit one. Simply head to the farthest corner of the bleakest, most godforsaken industrial area of your city and there, between the lead paint plant and the parking lot for municipal garbage trucks, you’ll no doubt find a brewery. Try as many of their 17 varieties of IPA as you like while sitting on a backless wooden bench and listening to the owners — two twenty-something guys with handlebar mustaches and tattoos on their calves — engage in a heated discussion about whether it’s better to utilize the rest of their rented space for hide tanning or manufacturing crystal meth precursor chemicals. Upon inquiring, learn that each month, on the first day of the waxing gibbous moon, a food truck from which you can buy raspberry crepes parks outside the brewery from 3:00 to 3:45 pm; besides this, there’s nothing to eat within three miles. Enjoy your experience at the brewery. Then go home and remain in bed for the next week until your massive headache dissipates.

Label Artwork
If you’re getting desperate, pick a beer based on label artwork. Looking at craft beer labels is reminiscent of browsing the heavy metal section of Tower Records circa 1982. Some breweries clearly spend more on art than on quality control. An experienced craft beer drinker can tell a bottle of Rogue from a bottle of Ballast Point at a distance of 50 yards. Each brewery has a distinctive style. 21st Amendment brewery, for example, is known for line drawings depicting scenes from American history. Uinta brewery, in Salt Lake City, uses western landscapes. Flying Dog’s bottles appear to have been drawn by Berkeley Breathed on peyote. Don’t worry about what’s inside — just pick whichever one you think would enhance the feng shui of your fridge.

Making Your Final Selection
If none of this helps, here’s a last-ditch solution. Head to the back of the store. Keep going. Farther! There, in the last refrigerator case. At the bottom. No, not the spring-themed cherry gose that’s somehow still sitting around a week before Thanksgiving. Behind it. There you go: a clear winner. Ignore the clerk’s raised eyebrows as you pay.

Enjoy your Bud Light.

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* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where -- when we aren't making funny prose available to this and every other universe -- we can usually be found helping our local superheroes fight crime. You know, just like Lee Blevins.

Schedule Of Events For National Superhero Police Confidant Convention

By:

Day 1 / Monday

 

7:30 am – 8:00 am

Registration

* Includes compulsory shapeshifter screening.

 

8:00 am – 8:30 am

N.S.P.C. President Renee Montoya: Opening Remarks

* There will be no QUESTIONs at this time. She insisted on the capitalization.

 

8:30 am – 9:00 am

In Memoriam

 

9:00 am – 9:30 am

Barry Allen: Forensics in Shifting Timelines

 

9:30 am – 10:00 am

How to Spot an Off-Duty Superhero

 

10:00 am – 10:30 am

April O’Neil: Their Girl Friday, or Journalism Ethics in the Age of Ooze

* The “their” in the above presentation title refers to four anthropomorphic turtles who live in the sewers beneath New York City and fight mostly ninjas.

 

10:30 am – 11:00 am

Mass Prison Escapes and You

 

11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Eustace Dolan: My Daughter Fell in Love with a Masked Man

 

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Lunch

* All food and drink has been tested for Joker venom.

 

1:00 pm – 1:30 pm

Nelson & Murdock: Civil Rights and Vigilante Justice

 

1:30 pm – 2:00 pm

Tactics to Restrain a Mind-Controlled Citizenry

 

2:00 pm – 2:30 pm

Supervillain Safety Drill

* Courtesy of the reformed supervillain team known as the Thunderbolts. ** Anyone who has had a loved one murdered by a Thunderbolt in the past is asked to leave the room for the duration of the drill.

 

2:30 pm – 3:00 pm

Afternoon In Memoriam

* Afternoon In Memoriam only to be held in event of non-drill supervillain incident resulting in significant casualties.

 

3:00 pm – 3:30 pm

Dr. Jeremiah Arkham: Mental Health – A Troubling Subtext

 

3:30 pm – 4:00 pm

Frank Castle: I Ain’t Sorry

* Note: Frank Castle a.k.a. The Punisher is currently incarcerated and will be speaking to us via videoconference. There is always a chance his presentation will be cut short by a prison riot or maybe a shanking.

 

4:00 pm – 5:00 pm

The Spectre: I Used to Be a Cop (Now I Cop for God)

* Warning: The Spectre is a nigh-omnipotent entity with a strict moral code. Attendee discretion is advised. Last year he turned someone into a toad for a minor traffic violation.

Day 2 / Tuesday
8:00 am – 9:00 am

Col. Nick Fury: Interagency Relations in Intergalactic Crises

 

9:00 AM – 9:30 AM

Vampires, Werewolves, Witches: Not Your Jurisdiction?

 

9:30 am – 10:00 am

Police Sketch Artist Showcase

* Copyright notice: all sketch art is done as work for hire. No sketch artist has any future right to any sketch or any subsequent adaptations of said sketch. Especially Jacob Kurtzberg.

 

10:00 am – 10:30 am

George Stacy & Jean DeWolff: They Died for Spider-Man’s Sins

* A special presentation paid for by J. Jonah Jameson.

 

10:30 am – 11:00 am

If a Mad God Takes Over Your Precinct

 

11:00 am – 12:00 pm

James Gordon: Why I Need Batman (And Why Batman Needs Me)

 

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Lunch

* All food and drink has been tested TWICE for Joker venom.

 

1:00 pm – 1:30 pm

Hank McCoy: Mutant Lives Matters

*Note: Hank McCoy a.k.a. Beast looks like a big blue cat. Do Not Shoot! Repeat: Do Not Shoot! (Unless he goes feral, of course.)

 

1:30 pm – 2:00 pm

Harvey Bullock: Good Cop, Bad Cop, Mediocre Cop

 

2:00 pm – 2:30 pm

Supervillain Safety Drill

* Courtesy of the explosives-attached-to-neck controlled supervillain team Suicide Squad. ** Anyone who has had a loved one murdered by a Suicide Squader in the past is asked to leave the room for the duration of the drill.

 

2:30 pm – 3:00 pm

Closing Day In Memoriam

* Closing Day In Memoriam only to be held in event of non-drill supervillain incident resulting in significant casualties. Historically, this is the more eventful of the two afternoon In Memoriams.

 

3:00 pm – 3:30 pm

Guardians of the Galaxy Q&A

* Please don’t attempt to arrest the Guardians of the Galaxy for any of their many crimes unless you have jurisdiction in the sectors in which said crimes were committed.

 

3:30 pm – 4:00 pm

Tony Stark: Iron Boar Presentation

 

4:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Judge Dredd: How We Do Things Where I Come From

* The views of Judge Dredd as regards police states and summary justice are not necessarily endorsed by N.S.P.C. ** Special thanks to Reed Richards for creating the interdimensional portal that brought Judge Dredd to our conference. *** Mr. Richards would like us to note that the incident last year when he brought Groo the Wanderer by mistake wasn’t his fault but the fault of a fight that Ben Grimm and Johnny Storm had about the last piece of angel food cake.

 

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* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we are always looking for a better bargain in air fare, no matter what the consequences for life and limb. Heed the terrifying airborne ravings of our good friend Luke Roloff.

Scary Cheap Flights

By:
lukeroloff@hotmail.com

Welcome aboard, and thanks for risking your life on the cheapest airline you could find! Rest assured, here at Scary Cheap Flights, safety is our top priority after anything related to making money.

We’d like to extend an extra special welcome to our regular survivors. We appreciate your business while it lasts!

We’ll now play a brief in-flight safety video prior to takeoff — because if you think about it, nothing can go wrong while we’re just sitting here. And we want you to feel safe even though you aren’t.

(Cue video)

Hello! The following presentation has not been vetted by our safety department because we don’t have one, but marketing says, “It’s got a lotta legs.”

First, please ensure all aisles and exits are clear for the inevitable race against time.

Put away all electronics — you don’t need those where we’re goin’.

Be sure that all carry-on items are wedged tight enough in the overhead bin to shatter. And you can misplace your small items in the black vortex by your feet.

You’ll see that the seat pocket in front of you doesn’t exist. Surely you’ve noticed by now that we don’t have a lot of things — like razor-thin blankets or clumpy baby pillows or a dependable airplane.

If you’re sitting in an emergency exit row, there’s a slim chance you might make it out of this alive. If you are not able or willing to assist in the event of an emergency, join the club.

As we push back from the gate, make sure your seat belt is properly fastened, or not. No difference.

If at any time this ole bag-a-bolts starts-a-shakin’, do not be alarmed, but be ready to work when we divvy up the duct tape and rope. And if the windows bust out, do not try to grab a goose — it’s nearly impossible.

(Video pauses)

We’ll now be coming around to peddle $12 trail mix and credit card offers. Also at this time, we’re looking for volunteers to push us onto the tarmac. Thank you.

(Video resumes)

Please remain seated any time the “fasten seat belts” sign is on, and at all other times also, because things gets real when there’s nothing separating you from a 30,000 foot free fall except metal and fear. And please note, if we descend into one of our trademark pelican dives, additional fees may apply.

(Video pauses)

One other thing, if anyone has any experience flying an airplane, please come up front ASAP.

(Video resumes)

In the likely event that cabin pressure changes, AKA part of the plane is ripped off, oxygen masks will go like hotcakes. Probably should take a moment to see who you can muscle one away from. If your Darwinism kicks in, and somehow you don’t get sucked out of the plane like a rag doll, we have not thought that far ahead.

Water evacuations — despite sounding terrifying, they’re far worse. For those of you who’ve crashed with us before, you know what we mean — ha! You’ll find a life vest underneath your seat if you brought one from home. Rip ‘er open, strap in, and pray we don’t hit shark-infested waters again. And please, no flare gun fights before setting up teams.

(Video pauses)

Okay folks, just a quick update that we don’t have a clue. Our company is literally run by feral monkeys.

(Video resumes)

More importantly, smoking is not allowed if you can’t get away with it. Federal law prohibits any tampering, disabling or destroying of a restroom smoke detector — so you got to get creative. If you happen to be working with explosives, try not to let the cigarette smoke get in your eyes and mess up what you’re doing.

When we begin crashing, feel free to help yourself to a complimentary beverage — one per customer, please. This is our way of saying “goodbye.” And if you care to watch a movie during this frightening time, try filming the crash with your phone or just watch your life flash before your eyes.

Before we see if this big bird can fly, please put your seats in the upright position, put your tray table up, slap on your chute, pop some pills and get right with God.

On behalf of everyone at Scary Cheap Flights — hope to see you again in the next life!

(Video concludes)

This is your captain speaking. Please sit back and relax — I’m as scared as you are.

 

 

 

 

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* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where sometimes we publish things about God and sometimes we publish things about Donald Trump, because we're curious to see if our sharper-eyed readers can spot the subtle differences between the two. Please say hello to our good friend Bruce Harris.

Who Is The World’s Worst Negotiator?

By:
marxman@comcast.net

The 45th president of the United States authored (co-authored, sort of), The Art of the Deal. His campaign decried that America doesn’t win anymore and that the United States makes bad deals. He billed himself as a master negotiator. Let’s take him at his word and go under the assumption that the 45th president is the world’s best negotiator. If he’s the best, then who is the worst? That ignominious label was earned during the world’s first negotiation, in biblical times…

Genesis (18:1) – translation in parenthesis

Then the LORD said, “The outrage of Sodom and Gomorrah is so great, and their sin so grave! (God is having a bad day and intends to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah.)

I will go down to see whether they have acted altogether according to the outcry that has reached Me; if not, I will take note.” (Not really sure what this means.)

The men went on from there to Sodom, while Abraham remained standing before the LORD. (First smart move by Abraham. He’s observing. Learning. Listening. These are proven successful negotiation tactics.)

Abraham came forward and said, “Will You sweep away the innocent along with the guilty? (Abraham asks a rhetorical, closed-ended question.)

What if there should be fifty innocent within the city; will You then wipe out the place and not forgive it for the sake of the innocent fifty who are in it? (Abraham begins the negotiation process with an opening offer of fifty.)

Far be it from You to do such a thing, to bring death upon the innocent as well as the guilty, so that innocent and guilty fare alike. Far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?” (Abraham personalizing the decision for God. In other words, he’s asking God if God has really thought this thing through.)

And the LORD answered, “If I find within the city of Sodom fifty innocent ones, I will forgive the whole place for their sake.” (Whoa. Wait. God, what up? You cave that quickly? You agree to Abraham’s first offer? Good thing you are not in the market for a new car.)

Abraham spoke up, saying, “Here I venture to speak to my Lord, I who am but dust and ashes: (Abraham playing to God’s vanity. And, kills time while he recovers from God’s foolish and unexpected acceptance of his first offer.)

What if the fifty innocent should lack five? Will You destroy the whole city for want of the five?” (Abraham regains composure. He applies more pressure, tossing out an offer of forty-five.)

And He answered, “I will not destroy if I find forty-five there.” (Is he for real? The number five principle in The Art of the Deal is to “use your leverage” during a negotiation. God seemingly has all of the leverage in the universe, but doesn’t seem to be taking advantage of it.)

But he spoke to Him again, and said, “What if forty should be found there?” (Abraham ups the ante. Heck, why not? God agreed to forty-five. Why not offer forty instead? Are there no limits to which God would agree?)

And He answered, “I will not do it, for the sake of the forty.” (Oh my God. Do you hear yourself? You’re making one concession after another without getting anything in return. Ask for something. That’s basic Negotiation 101.)

And he said, “Let not my Lord be angry if I go on: what if thirty should be found there?” (Now Abraham is feeling it. He’s down to thirty good people and practically toying with God. Where will it end?)

And He answered, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.” (God gives in yet again and gets nothing in return. A more appropriate response would have been, “Okay Abraham, I’ll go down to thirty, if you tell me your secret for impregnating Sarah when you were 100 years old. How on earth did you do that?”)

And he said, “I venture again to speak to my Lord: what if twenty should be found there?” (Nice and steady, down goes the count. Abraham appears to be in control of this deal.)

And He answered, “I will not destroy, for the sake of the twenty.” (God, do you know something we don’t?)

And he said, “Let not my Lord be angry if I speak but this last time: what if ten should be found there?” (Abraham is on his way down to zero. He knows nothing can stop him now.)

And He answered, “I will not destroy, for the sake of the ten.” (Is this really happening?)

When the LORD had finished speaking to Abraham, He departed; and Abraham returned to his place. (That’s it! So, what all along looked like a slam-dunk for Abraham winds up in a tie? No contest?)

Is God the world’s worst negotiator? Maybe, maybe not. A case can be made for Abraham. He inexplicably stopped at ten!

 

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