* Wecome to The Big Jewel, where we like to take our New Year's Eve cocktails with an extra shot of navel-gazing, courtesy of Paul D. Mooney.

Metaphysical Mixology — A Cocktail Menu

By: Paul D. Mooney

The Known Universe

Purveyor of Specialty Cocktails & Fine Spirits

Hours: Open from the start of the Planck Epoch until Midnight on The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists’ Doomsday Clock

Measurable Time — Four shots of vodka (one for each dimension) poured into an hourglass. Sprinkle liberally with cesium-133. Drink in its entirety in the time it takes for the cesium to undergo 9,192,631,770 periods of radiation transitioning between two hyperfine levels of its ground state.

Fleeting Contentment — Half a shot of Johnny Walker Blue poured into a pint glass, the rest of which is filled with tap water.

The Visible Spectrum (or The ROYGBV) — Equal parts Fireball whiskey, Cointreau, oro tequila, absinthe verte, blue Curaçao, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Stirred with a flashlight and served in a pair of laboratory goggles.

The Metabolism — Coffee liqueur and club soda mixed in a sourdough bread bowl.

Tactile Perceptions — Leather glove filled two-thirds with spiced rum and crushed ice. Topped with grain alcohol and lit on fire (bar is not liable for failure to extinguish prior to consumption).

Emotions — Our most expensive Barolo mixed with two shots of our cheapest bourbon in a child’s sippy cup. Served while the bartender kisses you passionately on the mouth, then quietly whispers how much happier all your exes are without you.

Existential Suffering — Your all-time favorite mixed drink served in a gag dribble glass.

Thirst for Knowledge — A blended margarita with a twist: lots and lots of salt. Like, a shitload of salt. Too much salt, frankly. It’s basically a bucket of salt with some crushed ice and tequila drizzled on. Garnished with a slice of fresh lime.

Entropy — An ice-cold beer is poured into a heated glass and served only once both elements have reached room temperature.

Historical Record — Pick another patron. Fight him or her. Whoever wins gets to create/decide the cocktails both participants will drink for the rest of the evening. Or until the next such fight.

Evolution — Pick whichever alcoholic beverage will most likely enhance your ability to reproduce. Probably a light beer or a Prosecco, if we had to guess.

The Fallibility of Memory — Whatever you order, the bartender brings you something slightly different. Or…do they?

Fear of the Unknown — Customer is blindfolded and must choose one (or more) of five shots placed in front of him or her. Four are filled with Goldschläger, one with Habu Sake (strong Okinawan rice liquor with a dead pit viper soaking in it that tastes and smells even worse than you think it does).

Cognitive Dissonance — Everclear grain alcohol and yellow Gatorade in a red Solo cup.

The Meaning of Life — 16-year-old Lagavulin scotch poured over ice made from crystal pure mountain spring water, served eight fingers at a time. Repeat until sleepy, horny, and/or furious.

20% gratuity added to all forgotten credit cards and parties of eight or more who actively participate in the suppression of scientific study.

No refunds.


* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where men are men and women are women. Unless they're girls.

Stop Calling Adult Women “Girls,” Except For Me Because I’m Still Very Young And Cute

By: Ginny Hogan

Enough is enough — we cannot keep letting men call adult women “girls.” It’s degrading and wrong — women aren’t children and they should not be referred to as such. I demand that men worldwide stop using the term “girls” for anyone over the age of 18. Except for me. Please continue to call me a girl because I’m still very young, youthful, and, most importantly, cute.

I can’t count on one hand how many times I’ve had to tell a coworker not to call the women at our office “girls.” In fact, I can’t even count it with the number of years I’ve been alive because I’m very, very young. As a young 26-year-old, I definitely am still a girl. That’s not to say I don’t have the intelligence and emotional maturity of a full adult woman, but I have the glowing eyes and innocence of a girl. That’s more important, so you should continue to call me a girl. If you are my coworker and also an attractive man who sometimes flirts with me, then definitely not refer to me as a “woman.” That’s probably how you describe your mother.

From now on, I’m taking a stand: to ridicule men who call women “girls,” I’m going to refer to men in their twenties as “boys.” However, I will only call you a boy if I’m interested in having sex with you, and I will assume if you call me a “girl,” you also want to bang me. Therefore, everyone should be calling me a girl because I’m very sexually appealing. I think it’s extremely important that we use the word for “female children” to describe women who are sexually attractive. Save me in your phone as “cute girl” and buy me several drinks. I don’t even get hangovers yet because I’m so young, and also because I don’t have a job so I sleep until 1:00 p.m. every day. I am youthful, precious, and full of wonder at this big beautiful world that loves me.

Adult women contribute to society even more than adult men do, and they are insulted by being referred to as “girls.” I don’t contribute to society at all really, so please don’t say I’m a woman or ever, ever, ever call me “ma’am” because I am so adorable and barely out of college. In fact, I’m so young that I neither drive nor vote even though I’m technically old enough to do both. Someone who’s still on their parents’ healthcare shouldn’t really qualify as a woman. You probably think I’m about to be kicked off their healthcare because I’m 26, but joke’s on you! New York State has a loophole that lets kids stay on their parents’ healthcare until they’re 29. So I will be a girl until at least then, at which point I will find another excuse for why I’m still a girl, because I will still be very cute and young in three years. I’m not a girl, not yet a woman, but I am still a girl because I’m adorable.

Men need to stop calling women “girls.” This is something I feel very passionately about. Almost as passionately as I feel about looking at myself in the mirror because I’m a young, cute, desirable female, otherwise known as a “girl.”


* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we specialize in bringing the lovelorn together. No matter what's wrong with them and what kind of hat they're wearing. Thank you, Rhys Morgan!

Dating, Disability And Sombreros

By: Rhys Morgan

For people afflicted with disability, dating can often be a daunting process. Whilst the afflicted person has, much like anyone else, an insistent longing to enter into a loving and fruitful relationship, they are inevitably anxious of the thought that, upon first encounter, their prospective significant other will be too closed-minded to look past their disability to observe the kind, sexual soul that inhabits them.

This is most certainly true in David’s case. David has been single now for what is approaching ten years, ever since developing a rare psycho-associative condition which causes him to compulsively wear a simply enormous novelty sombrero. The sombrero in question measures, in total, thirty-five inches in diameter, making it difficult for him to even walk through your average doorway, let alone consummate a newfound relationship. In fact, just attempting to figure out the mere logistics of sexual intercourse is, for David, a consistent source of anxiety. It is, to his mind, a strategic nightmare not worth thinking about, much like a game of chess, or sex-chess, if such a thing even exists. It probably doesn’t. Luckily for him, this is a bridge yet to be crossed.

But to his credit, David remains largely resolute in his search for love, even in the face of consistent and sometimes even severe rejection. Let us take his most recent first date with Helen as a case in point. Helen of course knew about David’s disability beforehand, but throughout the course of their date she became increasingly less and less tolerant of the manner in which it manifested itself. For David this was rather unfortunate, as upon entering the restaurant and seeing Helen for the first time in the flesh, he was mesmerised by her beauty and subtle mannerisms. To him, she appeared almost as a young Angela Bettis. However, before he could mentally deduce whether or not Angela Bettis was a real celebrity or merely somebody he’d just made up, the date was already well underway.

Right from the get-go, it was clear to David that Helen was yet another sexual prospect who was simply unwilling to look past his disability, or for that matter the jaunty tassels affixed to the rim of his novelty sombrero, which seemed to permanently conceal parts of his face during conversation. In fact, the ways in which these tassels swayed with the nervous shifts in David’s neck muscles made Helen feel physically sick, and far from jaunty. Due to Helen’s remarkably forthright character, she communicated this feeling almost immediately. Unperturbed, David explained that the tassels were as much a part of him as they were the sombrero, by means of a heart-warming oration which bordered on the poetic. Yet Helen simply didn’t buy this, expressing her harsh opinion on the matter by belching the word “bullshit” in between canapés.

Feeling Helen’s phone number quickly slipping from his grasp digit by precious digit, David decided to go all-out, thinking that an effort at self-deprecation would perhaps win her over. What’s more charming, he thought, than a disabled person, such as he was, who could laugh at himself, and be unsullied by his own illness as a result? He began to tell Helen about the predicament he found himself in a few days ago, in which he met his new next-door neighbor for the first time. He introduced himself, he explained, by way of a jovial hand-wave whilst mowing his front lawn.

However, seeing the giant sombrero perched exuberantly upon David’s head, and being a Mexican immigrant himself, the new neighbor took this friendly gesture as a racially motivated hate crime, and proceeded to deliver a long tirade in defense of his nation, which included many references to the Battle of the Alamo. At this point, Helen had had enough. She swiftly raised herself from her chair, before cruelly requesting that David not contact her again in the future, and left the restaurant altogether. His date with Helen was, on the whole, a veritable disaster.

And so, David’s quest for a meaningful and long-term relationship goes on, and we salute him, for he is a true underdog, or at the very least he is a fully-grown man who looks completely fucking ridiculous, almost like a cartoon character, and we all love those. It is therefore with the warmest of sincerity that we wish David luck in his search for womanly companionship. And who knows, he may even find something more, by which I mean: sexual intercourse.


* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where something very, very important is happening right now. Wait -- could it be? Really? Yes! It's Mitch Russell in his first piece for us!

I Am Going To Be Very Important

By: Mitch Russell

Here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to buy a pontoon boat, and float it into the Atlantic, tossing my phone, my license, and my Social Security card into the ocean as the shoreline recedes in the distance. This will begin a long and transformative journey. Days will pass, then weeks. I will run through my provisions. My beard will grow long. In desperation I will attempt to catch fish in my teeth. The sun will crack my skin and warp my mind. I will forget my old life.

I will float about under the open sky, carried by the whims of the current, carrion birds circling my small craft until one morning it abruptly comes ashore an island not listed on any map. Starving and broken, I will claw my way up the beach towards a village of islanders who have never come into contact with a man such as me before. Upon reaching them I will collapse face-first in the sand. They will nurse me back to health with strange fruits and coconut milk. As I grow stronger they will gather around my straw mat, enamored and terrified with my tales of the civilized world.

When I am strong enough I will waste no time in challenging the chief in hand-to-hand combat for control of the island. He will accept, though because I am as ambitious as I am craven, I will sneak into his hut late at night and conk him on the head with a rock instead. Then I’ll drag his body to the pontoon boat and set him out to sea. In the morning I will explain that I saw him cravenly escaping in the dead of night, and because these are an isolated people unfamiliar with trickery or schemes, they will take me at my word, which is really too bad for them, because those are two things I am just brimming with.

As their new leader, I will command that we move from this old system of “peaceful fishing society” to a more piracy-based system. I will advise my followers to simply regard cargo ships full of electronic goods, ivory or high-value hostages the same way they would regard a big haul of tilapia — insofar as they should deliver them to my feet or face horrible and disproportionate consequences.

With the riches stolen from Caribbean cargo ships I will quickly build up my forces from a ragged crew of bandits to a uniformed militia of armed-to-the-teeth minions. I will burn down the hut and build a mansion. I will dynamite the holy caves and a build secret weapons lab. I will dig up sacred burial sites and construct missile silos. I will come to rule over my island peasant subjects with the gusto of a calculating warlord, and far from the view of Western eyes I will fashion a society that, while crude, is reflective of my every whim. The history of my ascent to power will be speckled with bloody coups, subterfuge, femmes fatales, missing journalists. Exotic jungle cats will be involved.

I will call my kingdom Isle Paradiso, for reasons that have mainly to do with years of poorly remembered high school Spanish. On Paradiso I will rule over a cult of personality. I will be highly decorated in medals I myself commissioned, honoring great feats of valor which are as courageous as they are unverifiable. I will parade through sparsely paved streets wearing tiger striped fatigues, as will my all-female cadre of highly trained bodyguards/assassins. They will call me “El Tigre Pequeno” and my every utterance will spark both fear and admiration in the hearts of the island’s commoners. Mostly fear though.

Executions will be carried out atop the volcano jutting up from the thick jungle growth that otherwise covers the island. At the crack of dawn, a conch horn will sound and the announcement will be made through a series of speakers strung up throughout the villages. State media will be gathered and the accused brought, hands bound, to the rim of the volcano, where my jackboot thugs will have installed some sort of ramshackle diving board. Meanwhile, I’ll preside over the assembly in a tiger-striped judge’s robe and an askew powdered wig. Also a crown for good measure. As the hot lava bubbles and spits from within the volcano’s mouth, I will be fanned with the plumage of the island’s most beautiful birds.

“CITIZEN OF PARADISO,” I’ll announce into a big stupid megaphone, “YOU STAND HERE TODAY ACCUSED OF DISSENT, DISRUPTION, DELINQUENCY, DESTRUCTION, GENERAL DEPLORABILITY, AND A LITANY OF OTHER CHARGES RIDICULOUS AND FARCICAL. HOW DO YOU PLEAD???” (It doesn’t really matter how they plead.) Under my rule punishment will come swiftly and often, frequently in the form of a volcano high-dive, but other times by laser beam, sometimes shark tank, and sometimes dissidents will be tied to one of the many Soviet-era missiles in our highly illegal weapons program and just fired off into the ocean.

But it won’t be enough.

What no one on the island seems to understand is the sheer immensity of my vision. Peasants will be peasants, but I am a man born of greatness! Do they think I am writing all these self-serving polemics because it is fun for me? Do they think my captive scientist have been developing a giant death-ray in the secret lab for my own benefit? Do they suppose I am staging countless military exercises for any purpose other than the exaltation of our glorious Motherland? Of course I am! And who’s to say I shouldn’t enjoy a little light revenge on civilization? Certainly no one who has not yet been thrown into the volcano! Also I am completely drunk on power at this point.

So as any terrifying despot would, I’ll mobilize the fleet, launch the stolen missiles into orbit, start shooting the giant laser beam at random, just go absolutely bananas. And when I tune into the Western media, I’ll see maps, graphs, charts of missile trajectories. CNN will be super upset. And it’s funny because they will have all sorts of “experts” come in and say that this is all because of “increased tensions with so-and-so” or “destabilization of the whatever-region,” but not one of those idiots will be able to guess that all of this is because of a terrible, unshakable feeling of smallness.

And yes, my reign will come to a messy end. And no, I don’t think that that comes as a surprise to anyone, least of all the deep-cover CIA operative embedded in muggy jungle hideouts. It’s amazing what a couple hundred disgruntled peasants and a few Spec Ops teams can accomplish when they put their wits and also assault rifles together. The capital will be stormed, the mansion looted, my tiger-skin rug all scuffed up by covert hit squads, and I — unceremoniously shot in the face or something. That’s fine. Everyone’s free and there’s no danger now so, you know…yippee.

But as decades pass, and the sovereign nation transforms from a kingdom of brutal civil conflict to yet another tropical façade for cruise ships to float past, will history remember it for its diverse foliage? Its tropical birds? Its beaches lined with expensive cafés serving bland approximations of the feasts that once adorned the tables of my dining halls? No. Not a chance. I will have left an indelible scar upon history’s face, and when the island’s name is spoken my name will never be more than a whispered breath away, my legacy secured as the Tiger King of the Island! Scourge of humanity! The Tyrant Lord who brought Western civilization to its knees in the blink of an eye!

Anyway, that is my plan. I mean that or grad school.