* Welcome to The Big Jewel, your one-stop shop for all of your Rodney Dangerfield needs. Do you need a bit about Rodney spouting Elizabethan English? We have it, courtesy of our good friend Jon Sindell.

Sir Rodney Of Dangerfields Takes The Mic


A hey and a ho and a hey nonny no, how ya doin’, how ya doin’? Nice crowd, lovely crowd, beautiful crowd — zounds, now I know why they call ’em “groundlings!” I’ve seen ground mutton fairer than these faces!

But I should talk, I should talk! Oh I’m ugly, very ugly. By the rood I’m an ugly knave. Even as a child I was ugly. One look at me and Oberon tells Titania, “On second thought, you can keep the changeling!” I tell ya, none accordeth me respect.

Ken thee who else is ugly? I can’t say out loud, but her name rhymes with “Clean Ebizeleth.” Have you seen that kisser? No wonder she’s “the Virgin Queen.” No jack would touch her with a ten-foot stave!

O, but I’m the ugliest one of all. And not just ugly, I’m fat, too. In troth I’m fat. “Fair round belly with good capon lined.” But I’m no Falstaff. Marry, he’s a fat one. Plump Jack’s so fat, when he sits around the tavern, he sits around the tavern!

Alas and alack, no laugh at all! What is this, a comic interlude or Juliet’s wake? I get more laughs when I talk to a skull! “Alas poor Yorick, I’m dying out here!” Even Horatio’s biting his thumb!

Speaking of dying, I pray let me tell thee, that sad sack Hamlet is one melancholy Dane. Have you seen his inky cloak and customary suit of solemn black? “Hey kid,” I ask him, “who gives you your fashion tips, Lady Macbeth?”

O, he’s a mad one, that Hamlet. “See yon cloud that’s shaped like a camel? Methinks it looks like weasel. Or like a whale.” Hey Prince, something’s rotten in the state of Denmark — and I think it’s your mind! Cut off the meds, Polonius, please!

But I jest, Hamlet’s deep, very deep. He peruses me down the length of his arm, his doublet all unbraced, and says, “You should be as old as I am if like a crab you could go backward.” “Kid,” I tell him, “get some new material! That offal smells like a bawdy house jake!” So he punches me through the arras! And I got one big arras, I’ll tell ya.

Verily, man respecteth me not. No, nor woman neither. Take Lady Macbeth. O, she’s a hot one. “Take my woman’s breasts for gall,” she says. “Take my woman’s breasts!” So I reach out to grab her, and she cries to Hecate, “Unsex me now!”

No jot of respect is accordeth me. “Unsex me now,” I hear that at home. Many a night and oft, upon the Rialto — our bedchamber — I tell my wife, “Hearest thou the nightingale, my dove?” And she says, “No way, knave, it’s the lark, herald of the dawn,” and shoves me out the door! Then some Romeo climbs in the back window! No respect is accordeth me at all.

Even my children give me no respect. The other day, I’m making out my will and dividing up the royalties to my movies, records, all my work, and I say to my daughters — three lovelies, such princesses — “Come give your papa a great big kiss to see who gets the most opulent third.” So I pucker up — and Regan plucks her own eyes out! No respect, no respect at all.

In sooth, you’ve been a wonderful crowd. I’ll be here all week, if Queen Liz doesn’t slice off a pound o’ my flesh and feed it to the dogs of war!

The rest is silence — just like my audience!

[exit Rodney]


* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we still believe in love. Even the love between a beautiful blonde and a piece of street art.

Missed Connection: Beautiful Blonde Taking A Photo In Front Of Me, A Pastel Mural


I was the soft mint green mural adorning the eastern exterior wall of the Sprouts at the Wash Street corner mall. You were the sandy blonde in ripped “boy” jeans. You stopped by the other day and took over 130 pictures of yourself in front me.

I’m new to this town, so I was excited to learn this old place had some life in it. My creator birthed me six days ago, and I went unnoticed, seen as a convenient toilet or a good place to rest a weary back needing a smoke.

But then you came along cheerfully swinging your reusable Sprouts shopping bag. What was it you bought again? Ah, right, Boar’s Head Garlic Bologna. Quarter pound, sliced.

You called me beautiful. You complimented me, and I complimented your rose gold Beats By Dre. You called me perfect, and we made each other feel so. You said we matched. I’d never been anyone’s match until I met you.

Then you and I posed for 132 semi-distinguishable photographs for your Instagram. You laughed without noise. You stared longingly at that crack in the pavement. You blew a kiss to no one, though the liberty auto-insurance sign spinner thought otherwise. The one you ended up picking, the one where you twirled your hair like it was a bowl of linguine floating in dark matter, that one was special. And that’s when I fell for you.

I remember you slid your finger indecisively across the bottom of your Galaxy S7 and by extension me. You adjusted how the light played across my exposed body to reveal who I am. And what draws me to you even more, while I know you did it all with care of your followers in mind, I couldn’t help but notice you seemed to care for me, the wall.

I don’t want to presume, but I venture to guess you shared our photo with the world because hundreds of others have come and taken thousands of near carbon copies of the moment we shared not two days ago. Yet somehow, all I can think about — yes, I can think — is our moment. I’m led to think that maybe one of them will bring out my best self and adjust the color saturation like you did. They never do, and it all feels so fleeting.

They don’t appreciate my originality like you. No one spends an hour and thirty minutes in heated debate with themselves over which photo of us they should share. It’s always which photo of them. They come, they snap, they leave. Perhaps I’ve yet to arrive at the gross realization that you weren’t different.

My cousin, a cheap Shepard Ferry rip-off two blocks up, warned me of this. Said I shouldn’t get attached to the “grambots” and the “snapturds.” Maybe I’m foolhardy for not believing him, or a quixotic wall for holding onto the hope that you’ll be able to read this letter, because in my heart of hearts I know translating Stucco to English is a chore. I fear that when you decide to become fluent, some damn ad for the American Health Fund may come and take my place.

If you do learn my language in time, or at least one of its three claddings, understand this: I want you. I want every piece of you — your insecurities, your ambition. I want to feel your soft human skin on my bumpy hard composite flesh. I want to tear down this fence dividing you from me, but I don’t have hands. I want to have intercourse with you but I don’t have a urethra to carry my dusty seed. I want to sweep you off your feet and run away to Aruba, but I don’t have legs, and hell if know how to swim.

I guess, and maybe it’s just wolly — that’s wall folly — what all this boils down to is love. I love you, and if you love me like your followers love you, I’ll be here waiting patiently as the sun rises and sets — because I can’t physically sleep — until the city’s mural ordinance approves the next guy, or worse: I find out you’ve run off with a giant inflatable swan.


* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we enjoy beginning the New Year with yet more sordid details about a revolting topic, thanks to our sordid, revolting friend Michael Fowler. When you're done with his latest bit of hilarity, see our blogroll on the right for a link to buy Michael's book, God Made the Animals.

Am I The Next TV News Person To Be Sidelined For Sexual Misconduct?


I won’t identify myself, since I don’t want to start speculation, but I’m an attractive, not to say amazingly attractive, thirtyish male who just got hired to co-anchor at WNOX, News of the Tristate Coming to You from Wapakoneta, Ohio, and already I feel that my days are numbered. My first 15 minutes on the job, and who do I meet down the hall from my office but the weather lady Cassandra Mintloe? There she was, inches from me, the local and thoroughly professional celebrity. I stammered out a “Hello, Ms. Mintloe,” and her friendly “Hi there” warmed my Midwestern heart. As soon as I turned on my work computer, I composed a “Let’s get to know each other” note to her, complete with descriptions of my prowess in bed, my athletic trophies, and an attached GIF of my genitals. I was about to send it off when I thought, “Steady on, Jose,” (not my real name). “You might end up in hot water.” It was Cassandra, after all, who forced the anchor I was hired to replace into early retirement when she complained about his unwanted advances. How could I have forgotten that critical point, when it was all the scuttlebutt when I came here to interview? In my excitement at beholding Cassandra’s modest form, it jumped clean out of my head. So I saved myself a headache and didn’t contact her, and still haven’t. Instead I clenched my fists, pressed my manly thighs together, and determined to hang tough.

But I was hardly out of trouble. There’s something about the prospect of appearing on live TV that gets me all tingly. When I stepped out for lunch, I ran smack into co-anchor Cathleen Cartwright at the soda machine. She, well-groomed and presentable as always, is the undisputed star of the morning soybean and corn forecasts, and her well-bred professionalism is a hallmark. She’s as wholesome as barley, and my first thought on seeing her was, “Can we take alternate swigs on your bottle of water, and then let our tongues really cut loose at my apartment in Bellefontaine?” Back at my desk I composed a memo to her, under my new alias Jose the Impulsive, but with my real email address, informing her of how I take a shower and which Victoria’s Secret garments I favor, along with an attached GIF of my member bearing a ring of red lipstick. She couldn’t resist that, I figured, any more than I could resist her prim demeanor. I was about to hit the send button when it struck me: “Hey, Jose, are you trying to be one of those lusty boys at FOX News who’s had to ‘go on sabbatical’ over sexual harassment charges?” That kind of FOX-y behavior, I should have recalled, had emasculated the network, to the point where it seemed to be approaching an all-female lineup, not counting a smattering of asexual esthetes and a handful of eunuchs. That realization brought me quickly to my senses, and again I didn’t send what might have proved to be a fateful email.

“Whew,” I thought. “Saved once more.” But for how long? That very evening, and bear in mind I’m still talking about my first day at WNOX, I encountered Judge Jenny, our senior news correspondent and roving reporter, in the garage. After I greeted the dignified judge with a star-struck hello, and she responded with a gracious smile, I thought, “What a cougar. I mean, do they come any more provocative than this hottie?” The previous evening I had watched a taped segment on WNOX of the regal, sexagenarian judge on horseback at the local county fair, and let me tell you, I could hardly stand how reserved she looked in her proper equestrienne outfit. I was inflamed to the hilt. After greeting her in the garage, my next idea was to take her on a thrill ride in my new sports convertible parked nearby, that I had bought the very day WNOX hired me. We’d see whose bedroom or what discreet hotel I could drive to in twenty minutes flat. Sure, I was thirty years younger than the judge, but I was as fired up as she was matronly and mature.

As I was about to issue the invitation, along with many a wink and leer to put my point across, a car pulled up beside us and its horn blasted. The driver was, I don’t know who, maybe the guy who produces the show. I don’t know who everyone is around the station yet, so I can’t say. Anyway I was once again saved from the inclinations of Jose the Impulsive, which I suddenly saw could only land me butt-first in the grinder, if the judge took things too personally. That’s right: a minute’s research online proved she wasn’t called Judge Jenny for nothing. She was a former trial judge and a dominatrix for women’s rights. Thanks to that car horn, I clammed up just in time.

Still, Jose is always on the alert, always looking for — dare I say it? — danger. Can he last a single year, or even one more day at WNOX News, surrounded by dozens of females who, no matter how demure, all strike him as irresistible, down to the clerical and custodial help? I’m beginning to doubt it.






* 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


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


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


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


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.


* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where what you eat and how you cook it says a lot about your disturbed state of mind. Just ask Travis Rave.

Messy Sandwich #4 (aka Cooking In Your Twenties And Maybe Your Thirties If You Had Your Heart Torn Out On Tuesday)


Ingredients: bread, mozzarella cheese, sadness, tomato, olive oil, pan, brick, kitchen with stove, penchant for danger and neglect.

  1. Get bread.

Preferably good wide, thick bread, but this is only essential if you’re particularly picky about burns.

  1. Thoroughly oil a wide pan and set the burner to medium heat.

Use a paper towel to spread olive oil evenly. If you are out of paper towels, just dump some in and swirl it about. I like to put in a little more than is necessary, so that if you spill a little water in there, it will spit out a dangerous amount of hot oil. This keeps things exciting and your mind from wandering too far down into “The Hole of Deepening Despair,” a Lifetime movie that seems to be on repeat this week.

  1. Sit down to watch something (not “The Hole of Deepening Despair”) that will undoubtedly make you forget that you’re cooking and alone.
  2. Panic as the smoke alarm goes off. Run to the oven and turn on the oven fan to clear any gathering smoke. Turn burner off to cool pan and then add more oil. At this point, screw the paper towel; just dump that shit in there.
  3. Return to your show, but set a timer because you’ve learned something. As you watch, slice the cheese.

Serrated knife or not, the cheese should cut. If the slices are uneven, that’s okay — it’s only cheese; don’t be bullied.

  1. Place cheese between two pieces of bread and put it into the pan.

Veteran cooks may want to risk a Frisbee-style toss, but this is not recommended due to the excessive amount of oil you put in the pan and your tendency to cause eruptions of flame.

  1. Swirl the sandwich around in the pan to soak up a bunch of the oil. Beware the heat. As it starts to sizzle, put the brick on top.

Quickly remove the brick because you forgot to wrap it in aluminum foil, which means you just put a dirty brick on your sandwich. Consider throwing out the sandwich, but then shrug and quickly wrap the brick and replace it on top of the sandwich.

  1. (Optional) Push down on the brick if you like the sound of sizzling and the invigorating sting of seeing your girlfriend writhing gleefully beneath someone with a hairy back. I mean of hot oil; the sting of hot oil.
  2. After a few minutes, remove the brick and flip the sandwich.

A spatula works well for this. If you don’t have one because you left your old one in the sink after Messy Sandwich #1 and it grew friends, then use a fork. If your forks, too, have begun to socialize, then just use your fucking fingers, okay?

  1. Put the brick back on top and press on it lightly because sizzling and burning now help you to focus on the pain of the present. Ignore that some of the cheese oozes out and will cause you to not want to wash the pan because burned-on cheese is hard to remove and pans are lonely.
  2. After a few minutes (probably one longer than is ideal because you’ve ill-advisedly returned to the couch to nurse your scorched hand), turn off the burner, remove the brick, and slide the oozing mess onto a plate.
  3. Consider eating it, but then curse because you realize you’ve forgotten about the tomato. Quickly slice the tomato, nicking your finger because of the hurry and then curse again (recommendation: “Fuck you, Gina!”). Shake your hand vigorously, but then return to cutting because your stupid sandwich is getting cold. The acidic tomato juice will likely sting when it enters your now numerous wounds.
  4. Cut the sandwich in half, carefully pull the pieces of bread apart, and place two slices of tomato on each side.
  5. Return to the couch and eat with gusto.
  6. Realize you’re still hungry. Curse [Gina] again.
  7. Do your best to wake up tomorrow.


* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where your unborn child is almost our entire focus! Heed the clarion call of R.T. Sehgal.

Let Our Prenatal Analysts Reveal All About Your Future Baby!


In today’s fast-paced Internet-driven age, it seems like we have instant access to all the information important to making life’s big decisions. Unfortunately, as expectant parents, you’re still almost entirely in the dark about the little Joey or Joanna you’ll be taking home to raise for eighteen (or more!) years. Besides the baby’s gender, what do you really know? Will he be an artist or an athlete? Will she like sushi or burritos? We know that these are the questions that keep you up at night. But science has failed you…

Until now! Here at Ultrasoundz Plus, our goal is to get future parents the nitty-gritty details of their future Michael or Michaela. With our customizable Process-guided Reveal Plans, you can choose how much you want to know about your upcoming bundle. To help you figure out if our services are right for you, we’ve put together a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ):

Q: What information can you reveal about our baby?

A: We can currently evaluate your baby in over five hundred domains, including:

—       Political affiliation

—       Likely college major

—       Favorite sports team

—       Spotify playlist preference

—       Estimated lifetime number of tattoos and piercings

—       Estimated lifetime number of sexual partners

—       Eye color

Q: A lot of these seem oddly specific. How do you do it?

A: We’re able to estimate the likelihood of particular traits through a combination of advanced ultrasound imaging, blood sample testing and pseudoscience.

Q: Wait…pseudoscience?

A: Did we say pseudoscience? Must have been a typo. We meant real, hardcore, actual “science.” With beakers and lab coats. The whole nine yards. And don’t let the fact that we put “science” in quotes make you question our “scientific” integrity. Just one of those weird regulatory quirks that the Trump administration will hopefully be doing away with.

Q: Well, how accurate are your findings?

A: It varies, of course, depending on which trait we’re analyzing.  For biological sex, we hit the nail on the head a solid 55% of the time. Everything else is a bit more hit-or-miss. But that’s “science” for you!

Q: So, what do you mean by “advanced ultrasound imaging”?

A: Well, while your neighborhood fly-by-night ultrasound clinic just looks at the basics like fetal size and penis presence, our Processors go the extra mile by examining fetal response to stimuli ranging from various musical genres to TED talks to excerpts of Russian literature.

Q: That sounds in-depth. How long does this exam take?

A: Roughly sixteen hours.

Q: What?

A: It flies by! We offer a wide variety of second-tier Hollywood titles and quasi-religious Process infomercials for the mom-to-be to watch while we subject her little hombre (or hombrette!) to a variety of noxious stimuli.

Q: Wow. So, how does this actually work?

A: We’ll give you an example. Like most expectant parents, you’ve probably wondered, “Which side will my little angel take in the ongoing feud between Taylor Swift and Katy Perry?” This is exactly the kind of question our Process is set up to answer. Through headphones placed strategically over the pregnant belly, we’ll play selections from the catalog of each pop princess and monitor fetal movements. We’ll also examine fetal blood cells cultivated from a maternal blood sample. Did you know there’s a gene associated with the phenotype of preferring Taylor Swift to Katy Perry?

Q: Really?

A: Are you a geneticist, a family member of a geneticist or otherwise a member of the “scientific” community?

Q: No.

A: Then, really!

Q: You keep mentioning the “Process.” What is that?

A: Oh, the details aren’t important. Suffice it to say that Processors are the reincarnated soldiers of the Western Song dynasty, now training under the guidance of Master Tyler in preparation for the Third Intergalactic War.

Q: So…you’re a cult?

A: Wow! Slow down there with your trigger words! You sound just like the IRS. Are you from the IRS?

Q: Umm…no.

A: Great! We should leave the details of what’s a “cult” vs. what’s a legitimate ultrasound business to the results of several ongoing lawsuits. The only two things that you need to know are:

  1. We would like access to your human baby’s blood, and
  2. We would like to play that baby some messages in utero while you watch a series of increasingly brain-cleansing videos.

And, in return, you’ll get a seventy-five-page personality profile! Ready to sign up???

Q: [  ]

A: Think it over, but don’t take too long! Our current Groupon is only available through the end of the week. And once the Third Intergalactic War begins, our staffing will be pretty bare-bones.




* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where sometimes reality overtakes us but we run and run and do try to keep up as best we can. Words fail us, but fortunately they do not fail our good friend Dan Fiorella.

What A Dump


We know that President Trump isn’t shy with his opinions, no matter how misinformed, so it should come as no surprise that a recent article in Sports Illustrated (that well-known political publication of record) reports that the President told some fellow golfers he prefers his own housing because “that White House is a real dump.” So in the spirit of full transparency, we’ve obtained the President’s reviews of other American historical sites:


The U.S. Mint

“Is that the only flavor?”


Fort McHenry

“You call that a fort? I’ve built better forts with my pillows.”


Dinosaur National Monument

“It’s no Jurassic Park, believe me.”


Mount Rushmore

“Are they going to finish it or what?”


Governors Island, NY

“Well, I was never governor, so I don’t know about that one.”


Washington Monument

“Mine’s bigger.”


The Gateway Arch in St. Louis

“I looked all over, I couldn’t find that McDonalds! What a gyp!”


The Library of Congress

“Meh. Are my books in there?”


Independence Hall

“This was the place in American Treasure, right? I love that movie. Very historical.”


The Brooklyn Bridge

“I think I owned that for a while.”


Ellis Island

“How is there not a wall around this???”


The Statue of Liberty

“Maybe a four. Five, tops.”


The Liberty Bell

“Seriously? They can’t get that fixed?”


Grand Canyon

“What a waste of space! Do you know how many golf courses this thing could hold?”


National Mall, Washington D.C.

“How are there no stores here? It’s the worse mall I’ve ever been to! I would never let that happen. Whose fault is this, Obama’s?”


Sequoia, the former Presidential yacht.

“This is a yacht? I have tub toys bigger than this!”


The Supreme Court Building

“So plain. Where’s the gold plating?”


USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor

“I like memorials that weren’t sneak-attacked.”


The Capitol Building

“Can you imagine the casino this thing would make?”


Trail of Tears National Historic Trail

“What a bunch of crybabies!”


The Lincoln Memorial

“Have you seen this? It’s so out of proportion! I know Lincoln was tall, but this is ridiculous!”


The Alamo



The Jefferson Memorial

“Thomas Jefferson is amazing. He’s living a very interesting life, if you know what I mean. I think you do.”


The 9/11 Memorial

“9/11 is a very important date for me, so I totally get this place. You know, after 9/11, my buildings became some of the tallest buildings in New York City!”


Ford’s Theatre

“And this is why I only watch home video!”


Arlington National Cemetery

“Not bad. I could be buried there if I wanted to be, but I have this much better place picked out on my golf course in New Jersey.”


Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

“Well, he couldn’t have been that good if nobody knew him.”


Yellowstone National Park

“I love this place…wait, ‘Yellowstone?’ I thought you said ‘Orangestone.’ This place sucks.”


The Constitution

“So outdated!”