* Welcome to The Big Jewel, America's only true hope of escape! Say hello to our good friend Dan Fiorella.

Internet Ratings Of Escape Rooms

By:
daff118@aol.com
danfiorella.com

Crazes? We love crazes! The newest craze sweeping the country is the Escape Room, where someone locks you in a room and you have to figure how to get out. In the old days this would be a felony, but now, it’s a fun day out! But not all escape rooms are created equal, so we’ve scanned the internet in an attempt to separate the best from the less best:

 

Alice From Wonderland Escape

** This was a multi-room adventure, all with the theme of Alice in Wonderland. The walls were decorated with scenes from the Walt Disney version of the story, while songs from the movie played. The puzzles and clues were very tricky. The tasks way too hard. In the end, the only way we got out was because Disney lawyers came in and shut down the whole enterprise for various copyright infringements.

–WhiteRabbit428

 

Riddle Room Escape Room

** We still haven’t escaped yet. But the wi-fi is excellent!

–MIA1234

 

Prison Break Out!

** I was really disappointed by this Escape Room. There wasn’t hardly any prison raping at all.

–Squirelly248

 

BREXIT

* We thought we really wanted to escape from this, but now we’re not so sure…

–TerryM

 

Family Trip Get Away

*** You’re in a hotel room with 3 daughters and your wife getting ready for a wedding and you only have 1 bathroom. Too scary to be fun.

–Whiskerking500

 

Blonde Escape Room

* It was a patio. In a back yard. Come on!

–BrunettGurl44

 

** Too hard!!!!!!

–Blondie12

 

The Hot Box

* I didn’t think an Escape Room that is like a POW camp’s hold could be much fun. I was correct.

–Hogan553

 

Escape From No Escape

**½ This Escape Room is based on the movie “No Escape” which no one can escape from because no one saw the movie “No Escape.”

–MovieGuy440

 

Hoarder’s House

*** This was very hard. You had to navigate around piles of newspapers, broken appliances and cat droppings, figuring out clues based on the expiration dates of canned goods. And finding the mummified remains of rats really doesn’t count as clues.

–Dave@aol.com

 

Al Capone’s Vault

* Waste of time.

–Geraldo1980

 

Escape Away

? I can’t honestly rate this Escape Room. I got locked in the men’s room stall and couldn’t get out. I was there quite some time and afterward didn’t feel much like getting locked in somewhere else. But the bathrooms are very clean.

–MartyBGoode

 

Escape From the Planet of the Apes

*** Okay, my bad, not an escape room at all but a pretty good 1971 sci-fi movie.

–Sisbert@large

 

Trump Tower’s Best Escape Room Ever

* It’s bad enough I have to pay to be locked in a room and try to escape, while not being allowed to touch any of the expensive gold-leaf bric-a-brac, but what’s even worse is that at the end of the hour I had to pay an “escape fee” and “roaming charges” to be let out????

–HillaryRC

 

The Glue Factory

* Very sticky. Maybe too sticky. And all the whinnying from the next room was very distracting.

–The Wilsons

 

Solitary Confinement

**** This Escape Room is so awesome it was actually ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court as cruel and unusual punishment!

–MAGA2020

 

Sweeny Holmes’ Escape Room & Meat Pies

**** No reviews on the Escape Rooms but the Meat Pies are amazing!

–Carnivore222

 

Pop-Up Escape Room

** Okay, it looks like this place used to be a Radio Shack, based on the fact that all the shelves and signage are still in place. Did they put any effort into this at all? We got out in, like, 20 minutes. I’m pretty sure it took me longer to get out when it was an actual Radio Shack. I think someone was trying to cash in on a fad here. However, I did find the type of battery charger I’ve been looking for, like, forever!

–CBRadioIXI

 

* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we yield to no one in our admiration for Ernest Hemingway, master of the short story. Or in this case, the really short story. Let's also take our hats off to Karl Lykken, who has found half a dozen ingenious new ways to interpret Papa's tiny masterpiece.

Alternate Interpretations Of Hemingway’s Six-Word Story

By:
knlykken@gmail.com

“For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”

  • A man found a magic lamp and was granted three wishes by a genie. Concerned that wishing for money outright would result in some sort of trickery, he wished for a baby shoe that would never wear out, figuring that such a shoe would be a big seller to families in Utah. However, the genie granted his wish by giving him a shoe that was unwearable. He decided to try to sell this shoe anyway by putting an ad in the paper, only then to realize that this was the genie’s way of fulfilling his second and third wishes of becoming a published writer and having the woman of his dreams finally want what he had to offer.
  • Jane was unaware that the commune her pregnant daughter, Lanie, recently joined strictly forbade the wearing of shoes, as the loud clacking of shoe soles on the floor gave the Most Woke Leader splitting headaches after a late night of drinking the Sacred Elixir for Mindfulness Expansion. Before Lanie threw the shoes away, however, the Leader informed her that while the possession of money wounded the soul, the giving away of money could heal it. He was willing to sacrifice his own soul by accepting the money in order to heal hers if she sold the shoes. Lanie felt bad about hurting the Leader’s soul, but she figured someone as selfless as him must have plenty of soul to go around, so she placed an ad in the paper.
  • When Sonny Castanetti told Big Tony that Marie May, the most prized porcelain baby doll in Big Tony’s collection, wasn’t quite so cute as Mary Mae, Sonny’s newborn daughter, Big Tony shot Sonny through the ear, saying that if Sonny assaulted his ears with his insulting words it was only fair that Big Tony strike back in the same location. Sonny Castanetti, Jr. took offense to his father’s murder, as he was now a grown man and felt that all major decisions concerning his family should be run by him first. Consequently, Sonny Jr. decided to lure Big Tony into an abandoned warehouse to ambush him. Knowing of Big Tony’s passions both for accessorizing life-sized porcelain baby dolls and for good deals, Sonny Jr. decided to bait him with a sale offer he couldn’t refuse.
  • On planet Rigdal 9, the Kilgorfo Clan use small, furry Pigdalias as shoes, as they find the Pigdalias’ soft fur, ample fat layers, and continual whimpers of pain quite satisfying. Bludbuth, the infamous Kilgorfo actuary, ripped the sobbing newborn Pigdalia twins Ewoto and Ewota away from their parents. Delighted by the thought of the twins’ bleak future of constant, involuntary close proximity to the rank feet of the Kilgorfos, Bludbuth took out an ad in the Rigdal 9 Dark Times.
  • Johnny Lee really wanted a baby, but his wife Carol did not. Carol had a recurring nightmare in which she was forced to wear baby-sized outfits that suffocated her, and this led her to develop a phobia of baby clothes. The best way to avoid baby clothes, she thought, was simply to avoid babies, which meant having one of her own was out of the question. Johnny Lee, desperate to change her mind, decided to get Carol over her phobia through exposure therapy, so he bought thousands of baby clothes and then arranged them all over the house in the dead of night while Carol was asleep. When Carol awoke to find herself surrounded by the miniature outfits, she went into a frenzy and wound up forcing a duck-covered onesie down Johnny Lee’s throat, suffocating him to death. Since Johnny Lee had spent all of their savings on the massive collection of baby clothes, Carol didn’t have any cash on hand to hire a top-notch defense attorney for her murder trial. Thus, she was forced to face her fear after all, selling each terrifyingly tiny item of clothing, starting with a pair of shoes.
  • Shelby bought a pair of aquamarine shoes even though little Davy’s eyes are cerulean blue. It’s not like there aren’t a thousand pictures of Davy’s eyes, each tagged with #babyceruleans, that Shelby could have looked at on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or even on Stormfront, because, let’s face it, they appreciate a good cerulean eye. But no, Shelby didn’t look at any pictures to see if the shoes would complement his eyes or clash with them, and no, she didn’t look at the baby registry either, because why would you look at the list of everything Davy’s actual mother wants for him when you can just let your complete lack of experience guide you in picking out a hideous pair of shoes? Seriously, the ad should have read, “For sale: Shelby’s brain, never used.” Aquamarine. Jesus Christ, Shelby.

 

* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we care about social justice almost as much as we do about tasty and affordable fast food. This is Nick Logsdon's first piece for us and it's quite a slice!

We Are Your University’s Student Social Justice Committee And We’re Here To Incentivize You With Free Pizza

By:
nick.logsdon5@gmail.com
@nickloggy

Hello, passing white student trying not to make eye contact! Do you have any interest in changing the current tide of discriminatory social norms? Do you like free food? How about pursuing the interests of minorities and making our country a safe and welcoming place for them to live? How about fresh, hot pizza? We understand social justice requires an extra saucy kick in the pants to get into, so riddle me this: how do two free slices of pizza and a side of buffalo wings sound?

You won’t find a deal like that at Dominoes.

Just sign our roster acknowledging that you’ll come to next Monday’s new member meeting and you can take your pick of any slice of the pizza pie you want — well, any among the pepperoni, cheese and combo options we have here. We ordered way too much! We always do! And also free of charge are the means and willpower to dutifully enact change in our communities small and large.

How does justice taste now? Like tomato, garlic and basil? I know.

Awesome. Welcome to the committee. Now that you’ve put the pen to the paper, you’re ready to put the mouth to the ‘za. So, I’ll tell you that the meeting will take place next Monday evening in Robertson Hall, room 303. If you get lost, let your hungry nostrils be your guide. Or give Lewis a call.

We’ll cover issues like solutions to housing and education discrimination as well as dignified representation of minorities in media. As if those issues aren’t intrinsically valuable enough for you to attend, then let us entice you with more glorious food.

The Social Justice Committee always provides donuts, ice cream, pound cakes, cream puffs, Twinkies, Ding Dongs and malt balls, and our very own Italian immigrant Matteo has his Nona ship her famous bruttiboni from Prato every week to keep your sweet, socially conscious bellies satiated. But don’t burst your buttons just yet. Get this: at all of our meetings we discuss one major issue affecting the globe that week.

We encourage you to bring some treats to share, but we know you won’t, which is why we guarantee there is always plenty, and always so much left over. That’s how we get ya!

Twice a semester, we hold two major fundraising events that center on the cultivation of intercultural relationships. We invite the diverse members of our campus to mingle, get to know each other, grab a quick couple lobster rolls, and hopefully develop a more connected understanding of themselves and their neighbor.

If establishing budding relationships with the marginalized is simply not enough to get you on board, have no fear, because Cheesy Chuck’s Grilled Cheese Truck is here. Our pal Chucky Boy has been catering our events for the past two years because, like us, he’s an advocate for social change. Because of his advocacy and love of large profit margins, he’s dedicated to helping you and students like you get fully on board with tackling (your appetite) our country’s most pressing issues.

Now we’re speaking you’re language, huh? Not only are you in a bubble, you’re still on the bubble when it comes to the whole helping others thing. We get that. Look, all 22 members of our committee were like you at one point or another. Even if we are using service as a way to save money on food, we’re still serving. All it took for us to come around were weeks of catered meetings, hundreds of dollars worth of free pizza, and a semiannual food truck parade. After that we got to work. So what the heck are you waiting for besides being on the right side of history? Our fried chicken Fridays? We can’t wait either.

I can already see your heart growing full. It swells with compassion, and your arteries clog with cholesterol. I can tell that you’ll make a great member of our committee. Between your appetite for a good, hot, free slice and your lukewarm interest in helping solve major socially degrading issues, you’re exactly what we’re looking for. Remember, real change starts with you, me, and Pizza Hut. But we can get Dominoes, or something more local, like Vinny’s, which is up the street.

 

* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we still believe in the Tooth Fairy. We're just not sure we believe in all of his methods.

Tooth Fairy Rants

By:
marxman@comcast.net

Tooth Fairy here, with big problems. First off, I’m running an incredibly unbalanced budget. One-way cash flow is a recipe for disaster. It isn’t quite as bad as the USA’s nearly $20 trillion dollar deficit, but my operation has no positive outcome in sight.

Some of you may have heard about the most recent tooth fairy survey. It wasn’t fake news. Believe it. I paid out an average $4.66 per tooth last year, up 75 cents from 2015! And if that isn’t bad enough, the average for a first tooth in 2016 was $5.72. It doesn’t matter the type, incisor, molar, or canine. All that equates to nearly $300 million dollars in the U.S. alone.

Who needs to raise the minimum wage? Just keep putting teeth under your pillows and I’ll keep paying. Is that what you think? Well, I have news for you. The well is running dry! Who can sustain this kind of business model?

What? Did I hear you say Santa Claus? Don’t make me laugh. For starters, good old St. Nick works one day (actually night) a year. That’s a really tough schedule. Second, he has so many helpers I’ve lost count. Doubt me? I urge you to stop by New York’s Radio City Music Hall during the Christmas Spectacular show. You’ll see so many dancing Santas on one stage that your collective heads will spin. How many tooth fairy helpers have you encountered? I thought so. I’m a one-person operation. Third, do you think Santa goes into his pockets to buy all of those toys? Give me a break. Among numerous other charities and programs, Toys for Tots provide the jolly one with an unmatched supply chain.

Another one-day-a-year worker is the Easter Bunny. Don’t get me started. I work nights 365 days a year. Easter eggs and candies and chocolates all add up to one thing: rotted teeth that fall out more quickly than bunnies…never mind. My costs always rise following Easter.

It’s too bad baby teeth fall out and are replaced. There are so many. Why couldn’t it be baby arms or legs that fall off and grow back? The Arm Fairy or Leg Fairy would only have to pay off twice per child. That’s fiscally responsible. So what if an arm or leg is too big to fit underneath a pillow? Just slip it under the bed. I’ll find it and leave the money. But that’s not reality.

Given the current deal-making climate in the U.S., let’s deal. If you want me to continue paying the rates to which your spoiled brat kids have become accustomed, a few changes have to take place. I propose a self-sustaining system that will keep this operation in the black.

Let’s look at the numbers. The average child gets 20 baby teeth over the course of several years. Baby teeth stop coming in at age 12. There are approximately 24.7 million children ages 0-12. My proposition? Mr. and Ms. Parent, you pay me 75 cents for each baby tooth. Why should teething pain be limited to your child? Simple math tells us that that equates to $15 into my coffers per kid. Multiply that by 24.7 million rug rats and my operation has an annual income exceeding $370 million. I can live with that.

Stop squawking. My job isn’t getting any easier. You millennials are having lots of kids. Always in a rush — how about taking the time to wash the blood off your kids’ teeth? Is that asking too much? I have to wear protective latex gloves when handling those crimson things. Gloves cost money, and finding them to fit my hands isn’t easy. I have to purchase them online, they’re produced overseas, and that gets into the whole free trade thing and shipping and brokerage charges and whatnot. And another thing, how about doing me a solid and turning off your home security systems on those nights when you put a tooth under your precious one’s pillow? A little cooperation on your side goes a long way.

I have some other business-friendly ideas, like non-payment for teeth that are knocked out, either intentionally or by accident. Do you have any idea how much my expenses increase during youth hockey season? Why reward the little tykes for roughhousing? And, I don’t pay if a dentist has to pull a baby tooth. Let nature take its course. Speaking of nature, ours is an aging population. Permanent teeth eventually fall out and are replaced by false teeth. Believe me, I’ve seen my share of bedside choppers languishing in glasses and cups. How about throwing me a couple of bucks for every elderly permanent tooth that falls out?

I’m not only a fairy — I’m also a job creator. I have plans to offer franchise opportunities. Think about it. We could call it TF Enterprises (don’t want to spoil the Tooth Fairy surprise for the gullible). I see a future with TF Enterprises in every city. Working nights only, you could keep your day jobs while running a TF franchise. That would save buku dollars in pillow-to-pillow travel.

The more I think about it, the more your franchise and I could mutually benefit from technology. Think about a business model where email photos of teeth (proof may be required that nature caused the loss) are sent and funds forwarded via PayPal or by some other electronic means. No travel. Instant payment. It’s a win-win.

But, as always, I’m open to negotiation and the art of the deal. You want me to pay double if your child loses both front teeth at the same time? Interesting proposition. I won’t rule it out. Let’s talk.

 

 

 

* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we are committed to supporting the rights of each and every citizen, including one certain not-so-silent majority that receives its due from our own Associate Editor David Jaggard. When you're done reading this fine new piece, click on the iTunes link below, which leads to his audio humor album "Totally Unrelated," or stream it for free on Spotify. We also invite you to check out David Jaggard on Paris Update. The link is in our blogroll on the right-hand side of this page.

The Assholes’ Bill Of Rights

By:
djaggard@noos.fr
https://geo.itunes.apple.com/us/album/totally-unrelated.../id1082542414?mt=1&app=music

I. Congress shall pass no law limiting the right of the people to complain, carp, gripe, grouse, grouch, whine or bellyache about any and all topics of their own choosing, at any volume level and for any length of time as they might see fit.

In particular, the people of the United States shall have the express right to bitch at will about things that they are unwilling or unable to change, including but not limited to the weather, their own health and finances, acts of Congress, kids today, and the religious and/or sexual practices of total strangers.

II. Any citizen who attempts to cut to the front of a line, consume tobacco products in a legally designated no-smoking area, use express checkout lanes to purchase more than the posted maximum number of items, circumvent traffic jams by driving in the emergency lane, park without authorization in a handicapped space or across two spaces in a crowded lot, or in any other way seeks to defy and evade the established rules and regulations of a well-ordered society is entitled to special preferential treatment over the rest of humankind upon simple demand.

III. The right of the people to tease, taunt, bait, badger, deride, rib, razz and needle their friends, relatives and co-workers shall not be impinged.

IIIa) In particular, every citizen has the right to invent and repeat perfectly plausible falsehoods for the sole purpose of finding humor in the fact that someone else might believe them. The people’s right to exclaim “Can’t you take a joke?” and “You actually believed that? Bwahahahaha!!!” shall not in any way be limited by law.

IIIb) Out-of-towners’ ignorance of the pronunciation of local proper names shall be considered hilariously ludicrous in every state and territory of the union.

IIIc) Whether in the home or the workplace, no limitation shall be placed on the number of weeks, months, years or decades that a citizen may be ridiculed for any mistake, lapse, faux pas or miscomprehension, no matter how understandable or inconsequential. Nicknames arising from childhood incidents involving pants-wetting, inopportune vomiting or the ejection of brightly colored beverages via the nostrils shall forever take precedence over any other subsequently earned titles, such as “Doctor,” “General,” “Your Honor,” “Your Holiness,” etc.

IV. Citizens who wish to express a vague, general dissatisfaction with their lives shall have the right to vent their frustrations by treating their friends, family members and co-workers as utter imbeciles in spite of any number of years of evidence to the contrary, finding and expressing fault with their every action and utterance. In particular, the people shall have the right to state for the first time any question, request or order in such a way as to imply that it is in fact the one-hundredth time. Congress shall pass no law restricting the people’s right to react to common everyday occurrences with exaggerated, virulent responses, including “Are you deaf?” “Can’t you read?” and “What are you trying to do — KILL me?!”

V. Every citizen shall have the right to shirk his or her duly assigned job, household chores and/or scholastic homework until threatened with physical or financial retribution. When finally coerced by a parent, teacher, spouse, employer, military superior or other person of authority to rise from one’s buttocks and get a move on already, the people’s right to engage in eye-rolling, dramatic sighing and moving as though encumbered by heavy weights shall not be infringed.

VI. The use of chemical intoxicants being necessary to the preservation of a sustainable shitty attitude, the right of the people to bend elbows shall be guaranteed in perpetuum. Citizens who perceive, wrongly, that they enjoy the consumption of alcoholic beverages or other mood-altering drugs shall have the inalienable right to consume any quantities of said substances in the name of “feeling better” or “having a good time” and then proceed to feel, in fact, worse and ruin their own day, evening, night and/or life as well as that of anyone unfortunate enough to stray within a 200 yard radius (350 yards in Texas and Montana).

VII. Any citizen who has formed an emotional union with another citizen shall have the right to presume said union to be the one and only such bond ever formed or ever to be formed by the other party throughout his or her entire lifetime.

Violations of this principle in the form of the reception of unsolicited communications from exes, casual mention of the physical attractiveness of a third party (including celebrities) or looking at or being alone with any other member of the opposite sex for more than 2.5 seconds may be dealt with in an exaggerated, logic-defying manner, accompanied by pouting, tantrums, fantastic accusations, the willful destruction of crockery or “the silent treatment,” as the individual case may require.

VIII. Citizens who deem that life is too expensive shall have the right to cheat, chisel, weasel and stiff any and all of their friends, business associates, relatives and casual acquaintances out of any sums of money whatsoever, no matter how small, and with no regard to their own actual financial capacities. Congress shall make no law respecting the people’s right to “forget” loans, steal hotel linens, sleep through tolls, time trips to the restroom to coincide with the arrival of the check and undertip in a blatant and shameless fashion.

IX. As of the date of ratification of this amendment, the world does in fact owe you a living. Citizens who feel that they are not receiving remuneration commensurate with their talents and abilities shall have the right to portray themselves as hapless victims of uncontrollable circumstances attributable to God, political/financial institutions beyond their comprehension, society at large, or implausible and unprovable conspiracies perpetrated by any ethnic or other special interest group of their own choosing.

Panhandlers, hitchhikers, buskers and ambulant vendors of all kinds shall have the right to abuse roundly anyone who fails to respond favorably to their solicitations, to their face or behind their back, in the form of snide remarks, grimaces, gratuitous speculation on the other party’s ancestry or erotic predilections, and/or the isolation of the longest finger of either hand.

IXa) As of the date of ratification of this amendment, the world does in fact owe you a love life. The people shall have the right to expect fully 100% of all persons they might at any time find physically attractive to reciprocate said attraction. Any failings in a citizen’s efforts to locate, secure, and have usufruct of a little ass once in a while may be assigned to the shortcomings of the opposite sex as an aggregate group. Any and all such disappointments shall be legally recognized grounds for snorting “Men!” or “Women!” as the case may be, adding “you’re [they’re] all alike!” if the situation so dictates.

X. All citizens who so desire may declare themselves ex nihilo to be infallible and thereby entitled to prevail in any argument, disagreement or dispute of any kind, no matter how trivial. For citizens who have opted to exercise this right, pure bluster shall be accepted as a full and legally binding substitute for knowledge and honesty. “Infallible” citizens who nonetheless fail to get their way shall be entitled to piss and moan bitterly and incessantly until the disputed decision is reversed in their favor or the world comes to an end, whichever occurs first.

Xa) Self-declared infallible citizens shall have the right to suspend any and all principles of logic, common sense and/or physics as they see fit. The rules and conditions of games, sports, wagers and other types of competitions may be unilaterally changed before, during or after the event with no prior notice to the other participants.

XI. Citizens who wish to progress one step further from infallibility to invincibility will perforce be exempt from the usual precepts and requirements of safety and good sense.

XIa) Self-declared invincible citizens shall suffer no harm whatsoever from the consumption of fatty foods, tobacco, drugs or alcohol or the lack of physical exercise. They will furthermore be entitled to forego the principles of safe sex, ignore toothaches, and observe solar eclipses with no optical protection.

XIb) As concerns the operation of motor vehicles, they shall be endowed with miraculous powers enabling them to drive at any speed while under the influence of any quantity of any intoxicant(s) and with no need of a seatbelt. Any passengers’ comments or criticisms concerning an invincible driver’s speed or judgment, including involuntary exclamations of pure colon-draining fear, shall entitle said driver to become furiously angry, drive even faster and more recklessly, and blame his or her pointlessly aggressive mood on said passenger.

XII. Any citizen who has willfully and consistently exercised his or her rights as specified in points I through XI above for a period of one calendar year or more shall have the inalienable right to contact former friends, estranged family members and lukewarm acquaintances, either in person or via electronic communication, and demand, “How come you never call me anymore?”

 

* Welcome to The Big Jewel, your number one news source in this oh-so-post-news era. This week's wonderful new piece is by our star reporter Stacey Resnikoff.

Sleep-Deprived Journalists Divvy Up The News Deluge

By:
stacey@resnikoff.com

Let’s face it, Washington journalists, we’re wiped out. We’re just 104 days in and it’s impossible to keep up. We spend all day researching one story and we’ve missed three new ones. So we’ve developed a plan for covering politics in the age of Trump:

First, you, FOX News. You will be on one beat and one beat only: the debate over whether Trump is “crazy like a fox” or if there’s no fox there. Please get to the bottom of this one, FOX. It’s perhaps the most crucial conjecture of all the conjectures.

Next, you, CNN: you’ll cover only breaking news — those urgent stories that provoke the highest anxiety and most intense degree of in-the-moment speculation. In other words, no change.

You, Washington Post: you’ve been doing a great job on the Russia thing. Keep focus on that and you’ll not only win a Pulitzer, but also get your seat back in the briefing room in the Pence White House. Or will it be the Paul Ryan White House? Hatch? Sessions? Ben Carson? I don’t know: you’ll have to see how far this thing goes.

TMZ, we wanted to put you on the where-Ivanka-is-eating-lunch-in-DC beat, but it turns out you have much better presidential access than the Post, so please partner up with them on Kremlin ties. We’ll give you two a celeb-like portmanteau. How about WaZo? Too Swahili?

For the really out-there stuff like Ben Carson’s stream-of-consciousness speeches, fresh conspiracy theories about former President Obama, and confusing ISIS with IKEA in Sweden, we’ll create a new 24-hour news network: Repository of Unsubstantiated and Insane News, or RUIN. Any interest, Breitbart? RUIN will be found on channel 666 on most cable systems. No reason.

Food Network, you’ll cover all international diplomacy negotiated over dinner at Mar-a-Lago. You won’t need press credentials, just a reservation. And please investigate the Trump-Grill-has-the-best-taco-bowls claim.

Bloomberg, two words: tax returns. Two more words: sniffer canine.

PBSKids, you can bring the youngest news consumers into the conversation by animating the president’s Twitter stream based on beloved children’s books. Since your demographic watches TV in the early morning, it times out perfectly. Here are a couple ideas to help kick you off. “I do not like that bad (sick) man. I do not like him, Sam I Am.” and “The very angry president scorned immigrants, intelligence officials, federal judges, The New York Times, Saturday Night Live, CNN, network news, the word ‘fence,’ Arnold Schwarzenegger, Muslims, Mexico, the 44th President of the United States, and the cast and producers of Hamilton, and he was STILL angry.”

PBS, your NewsHour is very informative on a wide range of issues. We’re going to have to scale that back. We’re putting you on one topic only: the defunding of everything college graduates hold dear. Cover this for as long as you can, okay? And, you know, sorry.

Finally, Charlie Rose, we’d like you to explore one question: How is this happening?

Thank you, journalists, for working together to cover this breakneck news cycle. Oh, that reminds me: if any of you freelance reporters suffer an actual broken neck or any kind of fracture, attack or disease, try to get that in before Trumpcare goes into effect. We’ve heard some things.

Okay, Fourth Estate: let’s do this!

 

* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where nothing gets us higher than higher education. And Boldface University is the highest of them all! Say hello to Ron Singer.

Boldface University Department Of Practical Rhetoric — New Course Offerings, Winter 2016-17

By:
ronsinger@nyct.net
www.ronsinger.net

UNDERGRADUATE:

 

P.R. 103. “Tread Lightly, or I’ll F— You Up”: The Rhetoric of Insult

Instructor (visiting): P.I. Scheisskopf

Have you ever been at a loss for words when confronted by “them”? Learn perfect put-downs for 200+ targets, including women, gays, New Jersey, animals (pigs/dogs), Muslims, Republicans, celebrities, journalists, fat slobs (“the obese”), the electoral process, Broadway musicals, Latinos, Jews, The United States and other nations, cripples (“the disabled”), Democrats, prisoners of war and Macy’s. “People have got to stop working to try to be so politically correct.”

 

P.R. 122. If It Was Good the First Time: The ABC’s of Borrowing in Political Discourse
Instructor: M. K. Dondikova III

What’s your M.O. for covering up the “P-word”? Learn to do the political catwalk! Dozens of undetectable methods, such as replacing source materials with details from your own rich life experience. To coin a phrase, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”

 

P.R. 161. Pants on Fire: The Big Lie

Instructor: Connie Anne Kelway

The instructor, who was named “Most Valuable Player” in the 2016 Hyper Bowl, will demonstrate tried-and-true techniques of prevarication, such as accusing opponents of what you, yourself, are doing, and practicing the time-honored adage, “If you say it often enough…” Cross your fingers and hope you’re among the lucky, lucky few selected for this mega-u$eful class!

–Enrollment limited to the first 5,000 applicants.

 

P.R. 199. “Wrong, Wrong, Wrong!”: The New Forensics

Instructor: Beauregard “Buster” Cow-Chips

You will learn classical techniques for holding articulate, well-prepared opponents to no worse than a draw in debates where you know nada. Climate science? Macroeconomics? Geopolitics? No problemo! A must for party animals, students who carry bigly course loads to pad their transcripts, and dudes (and dudettes!) who hate to read!

 

GRADUATE:

 

P.R. 250. Selling Out: Digital Marketing to America’s Shrinking Majority

Instructor: E. Z. Ripovski

At a time when so many real Americans have so little disposable income, you can become a slam-dunk digital marketeer! Learn the difference between 301 and 302 redirects, Alexa ranks and XML sitemaps. Don’t let your domain expire! Sell survival kits, ethnically-themed lawn statuary, potency enhancers, paintball paraphernalia, politically incorrect bumper stickers, weight loss/gain regimens, customized marksmanship targets, hair-loss remedies (“We shall over-comb”) and much, much more!

–Expect at least one guest appearance from You-Know-Who!

 

P.R. 333: The Great Ones: American Presidential Slogans

Instructor: A. Hicks-Cup

This course will begin with a historical survey, from “54-40 or Fight,” to “It’s Only Fair to Leave Taft in the Chair,” to “Make America Hate Again.” Then, since hindsight is foresight, why not consider a run of your own? (We’ve all been dissed, right?) Students will be taught to create their own campaign slogans.

–Victory guaranteed, or tuition may be partly refunded.

 

P.R. 417: Going Viral: Destabilizing the Traditional Dichotomy between Personal and Mass Communications

Instructor: Yolanda Spinner

Learn cutting-edge techniques for substituting “he said/she said” and faux news (terrorist attacks, climate change, pizzeria molestations) for fact. Ms. Spinner has worked as a senior publicist for prestigious social networking corporations across the globe.

Prerequisite: I.T. 419: Computer as Tool, Computer as Target: Fraud, Identity Theft, Malware, Hacking/Phishing.

 

P.R. 666: Byte Me: Elections in the Internet Age

Instructor (visiting): Valid Input

This course will demonstrate electronic methods for introducing global suffrage into national elections.

–Prerequisite: I.T. 419.

–Admission also subject to interview with Colonel Input.

 

 

* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where hard-boiled detectives crack cases and readers crack smiles. Or anyway they do if they're reading the latest by our good friend Matthew David Brozik. This piece is but an excerpt from the novella of the same name, which is now available in paperback and on Kindle. Just click on the link below, or the one at the right-hand side of this page, and you can buy the book at Amazon. Mr. Brozik says that for every Kindle copy sold at $2.99, he will donate at least $1 to the ACLU.

Danger…With A Hard G

By:
brozik@gmail.com
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06WLKSNKL

ONE 

“You won’t mind if I ask to see some identification, I’m sure. It’s precinct policy.”

The cheerfulness of the property clerk behind the window told me her shift had only recently started. And she was new to the squad on top of that. I could only see her head and upper torso, but that told me she was a short woman, and stout. Black curls peeked out from under her uniform cap. I didn’t recognize her, and she apparently wasn’t familiar with me. So I produced my license and braced myself.

“Private investigator,” she remarked, skimming my card. But I just waited for her to give my credentials more than a cursory glance.

“Harrison Danger Bennett? Your middle name is literally ‘Danger’?”

“It’s Danger,” I said. “With a hard g. It’s a family name.”

Soon enough came the other question I was used to getting when I reclaimed my revolver at a police station.

“No bullets?”

“Never use ’em,” I confessed.

“You pack cold heat?”

“I don’t really want to shoot anyone. This way, I probably won’t.”

“Sure,” the clerk agreed, “but what’s that people say? Better to need ’em and… no, wait. Better to have ’em and not need ’em than to need ’em and not have ’em?”

“That’s what people say,” I confirmed. “But what can I say? I prefer to live dangerously.” I pronounced it with a hard g. The lady looked askance at me. “Have a good night,” I said, slid my gun into its holster under my arm, and walked out of the station house onto a chilly midtown street.

The misty face of my watch told me it was just shy of 3 a.m. Time for a hot cup of coffee, a congratulatory slice of pie, and some sleep. I’d get the food at a diner, but I’d wait until I was home to grab the shut-eye. In the morning — or the afternoon, if I was still celebrating — I’d tackle the paperwork for this most recent job well done.

* * * * * * *

I dropped onto a stool at the counter like a sandbag onto a pier. Despite the unholy hour I wasn’t alone in the diner. There were three other nighthawks, two men and a woman, but I made a point of noticing only that much about them. If a person’s haunting an eatery at that time, they’re not looking for company or attention. Besides, no one was paying me to pry into anyone else’s personal life just then, so I minded my own business and only that.

“Did ya get the number, Harry?”

The cook was making conversation as he poured me a cup of joe. Doxie was wizened, which is a fancy word for weather-beaten, which also described him pretty well. His creased skin was the color of a cup of coffee with three-quarters of a tablespoon of whole-fat cream and no sugar; it had taken me twenty-five minutes of quiet experimentation one afternoon at the diner counter to determine this. If Doxie’s apron had ever been clean, that was before I knew him. Sometimes, I liked to guess what a particular spot or splash of color might be — egg yolk? cranberry sauce? eye of newt? — but most of the time I was just happy to eat whatever came out of Doxie’s ancient cauldron in the kitchen.

“The number, Doxie?”

“Of the truck that fell on ya, Harry. You look like hell.”

“Just wrapped up a case. What’s your excuse?”

“I’m old,” Doxie said. “Pie?”

“Please,” I said. “Apple. Neat.”

“And how.”

While I ate, I jotted some notes on a napkin with a biro I found on the counter. By the time I’d swallowed my last bite of pie, the notes read: newspapers, barber, airplane, concussion, amnesia, identical twin, assassination attempt, uniforms, ducks, radio.

Finishing my coffee and looking over my list, I realized that those were plot points from Charlie Chaplin’s film The Great Dictator. I crumpled the napkin and left it with the crumbs on my plate.

“I’ll be seeing you, Doxie,” I called to the cook, who had disappeared again into the kitchen. I fished a couple of bucks out of my wallet… then realized I couldn’t go home just yet, damage it all.

* * * * * * *

“Nice to see you again, Harrison Danger Bennett,” said the property clerk. “I’ve been expecting you.” Still plenty cheerful.

On the ledge between us at her window was my identification. My private investigator credentials. The card I’d handed her an hour earlier and forgotten to take back when she’d given me my gun. I pocketed it.

“So why carry a heater at all?” she asked. Evidently, we weren’t done with this conversation. I was exhausted, but there didn’t seem to be any percentage in being rude. I mustered some strength and explained.

“The other guys, the guys who aren’t the nice guys, they expect a private eye to be packing heat,” I said. “If you’re not, they figure something’s up and they give you a harder time because of it. They frisk you a little longer. And a little rougher. So I carry a gun to save everybody some trouble. Now, if you’re wearing a gun, the assumption is it’s loaded. I’ve been relieved of my piece once or twice. The other guys didn’t look in the cylinder. They just stashed my gun out of my reach.”

“But,” the clerk started to ask me, then started again. “But those other guys will be carrying guns. And bullets.”

“I count on it,” I said.

“And?”

“Well,” I told her, “as it happens I’ve got a disarming smile.”

I’d have shown her if I hadn’t been so thoroughly tired. I was already working pretty hard to stifle some insistent yawns.

“Now, if you’ll excuse me, Sergeant,” I said, “I’m going to get forty winks. And maybe a couple more for good luck.”

* * * * * * *

“Honey, I’m home,” I called to no one when I got in. If someone had answered, I’d have been more than a little surprised and none too pleased.

I dropped my gun onto a small table near the front door of my apartment, next to some mail I’d eventually open and read or else sweep into the trash. I hung my holster on a hook in my hall closet. I placed my watch and cufflinks into a felt-lined lockbox I keep out of sight, so you’ll forgive me if I don’t mention where. And the next thing I knew I was painting a picket fence with a pair of Ziegfeld Girls, so I must have fallen asleep. A couple of hours later, I finally crawled into bed.

What a Christmas.

* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we believe that man's best friend can be an even better friend than we thought. If you're dogged by suicidal depression, then this week's piece by Vijay Ilankamban is for you!

Training Your New Owner

By:
vilank@umich.edu

You just got a new owner and it’s not everything you’d hoped it would be! You thought you’d have a new friend to play with, but your new owner is shy, confused, lonely, suicidal and attempting to kill himself around you. This can be frustrating and you’re wondering if it will ever change. Don’t fret — this is normal. Your new owner is just uncomfortable living in the human world and is seriously considering leaving it forever. But it’s not that big of a deal!

If you take a close look at him, you’ll see that behind the adorable little guy carving “What is the point of it all?” into his nightstand, there is clearly a happy and lively person. All you’ll have to do is teach him a few things on how to take care of himself in this scary world!

First, you’ll have to train your owner to go potty at the right time. Your cute little fellow has been so busy planning the day of his eventual demise that he has been unaware of his need to pee or poop. He’s been holding all that unneeded stress inside his body and it’s resulting in him sticking his head in the oven!

To train him, you’ll have to notice some signs — if his foot is shaking, if he is crossing his legs and pinching them together, or if he is pacing quickly back and forth ripping pages out of the Bible, screaming, “Are you there, God?!” When you notice a sign, you have to immediately grab his attention by barking at him and then lead him towards the bathroom, otherwise he might start cutting his wrists all over the apartment!

Second, you’ll have to train him on what to eat! Your new owner will grow faster than you can imagine. One moment, he’s a 140-pound man ready to jump off a window ledge, and before you know it he’s a 170-pound man standing on a window ledge ready to jump off.

Although it’s exciting to see your new buddy grow larger, you’ll have to make sure that his growth is healthy and doesn’t leave his body limp with no pulse. To keep your little cutie-pie in check, you’ll have to keep an eye out for what he’s eating. New owners will eat anything they can get their paws on. They’ll eat sleeping pills from the cupboard, lick spilled Windex off the floor, and even put a gun in their mouth and try to eat a bullet! So be careful!

Now last, but not least, you’ll have to take your new owner out for a walk every single day. Humans need to get a consistent amount of exercise. It’s good for their bodies and also relaxing for their brains. It helps them clear their heads and rethink the notion that life is meaningless. So, once a day, wag your tail and tug on his pant leg and he’ll know to untie the noose around his neck, step down onto the chair below him, and go for a walk around the block with you.

Over time, through consistent training and guidance, your new owner will settle himself into the human world. He’ll have the energy to play with you every day. He’ll start smiling and laughing with you. He’ll turn out to be one of your best friends and the person you look most forward to seeing! Also, at this point, your owner will probably start recovering certain urges. So when he starts humping the lamp, the Pringles can and your leg, just let him do it. Give the little guy a break! After all, he’s a human!

 

* Welcome to The Big Jewel, which is a great place to visit, and frankly we wouldn't mind if you lived here. However, we doubt that Joseph S. Pete's significant other feels the same way.

Great Place To Visit, But I Could Never Live There

By:
jpete@alumni.iu.edu

“I could never move to Chicago,” she professed breathily at the bar in Indiana. “So much crime. So many shootings. Tragic, just tragic. And it has more distressed properties than anywhere in the world, and trust me, I’ve been all over the world. It’s a great place to visit, but I could never live there.”

“I could never move to New York City,” she said a little later. “It’s too expensive. It’s like $3,000 a month to rent 250 square feet of space. You get bled dry to live in a closet and not even the whole closet — just the left side. You’re in the left side of the closet with a hamper wondering if you’ll need a roommate or a side gig selling black market HBO Go passwords, tainted heroin and bathtub kombucha just to make rent. Such a fun place to visit, but no one wants to live in the most populous city. And I mean literally no one.”

“I could never move to Portland,” she blurted out a minute later, apropos of nothing. “Too many hipsters, with their beard wax and artisanal beard wax and organic beard wax and locally sourced small batch beard wax. What about Big Beard Wax? Nobody ever thinks about the upper corporate echelons of multinational beard wax conglomerates and their feelings. All those hipsters with all their craft beer and vinyl records and ancient Sumerian records and historical Assyrian records and ahistorical neo-Assyrian records, clay tablets and whatnot. I heard that no one even can agree on whether Portland is in Oregon or Maine. How can you live with that type of uncertainty, not even knowing what coast you’re on?”

“I could never move to Atlantis. Too fictional. I don’t understand how anyone could live in a place that’s entirely made up out of whole cloth. Okay, out of all of Plato’s allegories, it’s the least livable. Can we all just agree on that? Would that be too much? Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great place for a vacation but I’m not going to develop gills just so I can live underwater. Perfectly happy right here in Indiana, thanks. It’s called land, and it’s actually pretty great.”

“I could never live on Mars. Too little oxygen. I prefer breathing. I’m almost addicted to oxygen. Like my yogi says, just breathe in. It’s so soothing. Don’t tell my doctor or anything, but I swear it’s habit-forming. Matt Damon made Mars seem so glamorous in ‘The Martian,’ but I didn’t see a single space potato the whole time I was there. No stranded astronauts, no terraforming, no spuds, no nothing. And come on, Red Planet? Great marketing, but why don’t you focus less on the color and more on an atmosphere that isn’t 95 percent carbon dioxide? I would totally go on a space mission there but don’t ask me to colonize.”

“I could never move to Dimension X. Trust me, I’ve been everywhere in the multiverse, and it’s the worst dimension. The worst by far, hands down. They don’t even have avocado toast there yet. Mark Twain talked about wanting to be in Cincinnati when the world ended because everything comes there 10 years later, so he had clearly never rocketed through an interdimensional wormhole into the lamest of all possible dimensions.”

“I could never live in a yurt in the woods behind the K-Mart,” she said, slapping a tip down after the bartender gave her another glass of vino. “My boyfriend asked me to move in with him. He’s a nice guy but I’m just not ready to take that step. I am so not a yurt person. I’m all for semi-permanent tents, but why does it need to be round? Is it a tire? A wheel of cheese? A sand mandala? I visited a round barn in Michigan once, and it was frankly a little too circular for my taste.”

“And frankly, I could never live as a single-celled organism. Cells are great. They’re totally underrated. And the more the merrier. Why would you want to settle for just one? Would you ever have a single Pringle, a single M&M? No. Thanks. Hard nope. Hard no…Wait, what was I talking about?”

“Oh yeah, I could never live as an inanimate object,” she said, staring at the bottom of her wine glass. “I mean, like, I know it’s not even technically possible, but it’s like they say, ‘Once you go animate, you never go back.'”