* Welcome to The Big Jewel. Just to clarify things, we are NOT your local Chrysler-Plymouth-Kia dealer. And based on what Curtis Edmonds says about them, we don't want to be...

Admit It, Central Jersey Chrysler-Plymouth-Kia, It’s Over

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If we’re being honest with each other, we’ve both known it for a long time. The unanswered phone calls. The missed service appointments. The growing distance between us. We might as well just say we’ve broken up and move on with our lives.

Really, it’s best for both of us.

I am not saying we didn’t have some good times. I remember the first time we met, on the used car lot, when I was in grad school and needed a used Spectra for basic transportation. I thought it was just a one-time fling, but then I got a job and moved to Bridgewater and passed you every day going to work there on Route 22. I thought we could make things work if we kept at it, and if you kept offering free tire rotation every ten thousand miles.

Then I got that bonus, and it was like destiny. You had a like-new Sebring with wire wheels. I had the money for the down payment. That night we spent going over the finances –- you poring over my credit report, me trying to lower your interest rate –- well, I don’t mind saying that I think about it from time to time. I drove off the lot that night, but I kept coming back for oil changes and tune-ups and that thing with the spare-tire sensor that never did get fixed.

Those were happier times.

It’s easy to blame the accident for what happened. I know you wanted to give me that Pacifica as a loaner car. And I shouldn’t have been so upset that you got me the Sedona instead. But when you couldn’t find the replacement bumper, I saw it as a betrayal of trust. It hurt me, deep down, and I don’t think our relationship ever recovered from that.

I said then that I’d never go back, and I meant it, but when you offered me full trade-in value to get that new Charger, I couldn’t resist. I couldn’t stay mad at you, not then.

I thought we were going to be able to patch things up when the recall notice came. That was just the start of it. Then there was the check-engine light, and the passenger seat that came off the rails and made my cousin spill that milkshake everywhere, and it never smelled right after that. I know you did what you could, but it just didn’t feel like enough. You let me down, and I just can’t be with a car dealership that keeps letting me down.

I have a new life now. I moved to Princeton. I bought a new Audi. I’m happy with my choices in life for once. But you keep calling, telling me about your service department specials. About how Kia is offering cash-back on select Optima models. I got three e-mails from you yesterday telling me that I was overdue for a radiator flush.

I know that maintaining our relationship is important to you. And I know you will be there if I ever need a Town and Country, or even if I just want to hang out for a while over a cup of cold waiting-room coffee. But it’s time to admit it. It’s over.

I am not talking to your supervisor. That’s why we had so many problems in the first place. I would come to you with my concerns, and you would have me talk to your supervisor, and he wouldn’t resolve them, either. Do you know how that made me feel? Do you?

A big full-service dealership like you should have no problems finding another customer.

No, I don’t care what kind of satellite navigation package you have in the 300. And I’m not taking a test drive.

Let’s be mature about this. It’s over. Goodbye.

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* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where God knows we love our country. And by God, we mean Curtis Edmonds, assuming he wins the election.

I Am A Candidate

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Every November, Americans go to the polls to elect our leaders. Every two years, we elect our Congressmen, every four years, we elect our President, and every six years, we elect our Senators. And this year, we finally have the opportunity to cast our vote for the highest office in the land. This November, you and I will go to our polling places and cast our vote for who will serve in the position of God.

Everyone knows the record of the Incumbent. All of us in this country — those who believe in Him, anyway — have been praying to Him all of our lives. He has unlimited power and influence, a fervent network of supporters, extremely high name recognition, and high poll numbers. The conventional wisdom says He should win this election handily.

But in the last few years, I think all of us have asked ourselves one question — can we do better? Can we expect more from our God? Should we ask God to do more to impact the lives of the less well-off? I believe that we can do better, and we should do better in this election. Therefore, I announce today that I am a candidate for God.

This election will be a fierce uphill fight, but I am undeterred by the battle ahead. I may not have omnipotence, omnipresence, and His world-spanning omnibenevolence, but I believe I have the skill, the experience, and the dedication that this country is looking for from its God.

In fact, I wouldn’t even be running in this race if I didn’t think I had some distinct advantages over the Incumbent. This country needs a young, dynamic God to meet the challenges that we face, and there are real questions as to whether the Ancient of Days is still up to the job. And as a mortal, not only do I have a real understanding of the suffering of ordinary people, but it serves as a built-in term limit. Once I die, that’s going to be the end of my service as God — and I give you my word that I won’t resurrect myself.

Another thing I have over God is my longtime residence in this country, something that He can’t match. As your God, it will be my intention to stay right here on Earth, with ordinary Americans just like you and me, and not spend all my time seated on the Throne of Grace. And when I travel across the country to visit the Faithful, I’m going to fly coach — and we’ll sell the flaming fiery chariot on eBay.

Most importantly, I am the candidate that can address the issues of the modern world. My Opponent’s platform dates back to the First Century and doesn’t even pretend to address net neutrality, dependence on foreign oil, or what the heck is up with Lady Gaga.

First of all, as God, I intend to address the important issue of climate change. Winter snowstorms will be restricted to ski areas whenever possible. All holiday weekends will have guaranteed clear skies and warm weather. And the current Administration’s practice of subcontracting the end of winter out to some groundhog is going to end.

The next step after climate change is disaster reform. As God, I will take an active role in routing hurricanes away from Caribbean resorts and cruise-ship routes and towards areas suffering from droughts and wildfires. There will be strict rules against tornadoes, floods, tsunamis, and Michael Bay movies. And God’s current practice of sending earthquakes to poor tropical countries with lax building codes will be suspended indefinitely.

As God, I intend to take a more active role in national defense. The Incumbent’s slogan has always been “Vengeance is mine, I will repay.” If I’m elected God, vengeance is going to be more than just talk. Our foreign enemies — whether that’s Ahmadinejad, Kim Jong-Il, or Simon Cowell — will know My wrath. And I’m not going to send any of our country’s brave men and women into battle without a whole host of flaming thunderbolts to back them up.

Of course, as God, I will be a strong force for world peace. And I will go to the United Nations and give a speech where I just go up there and talk, but everyone there hears my speech in their own language, just because that would be a cool thing for God to do, don’t you think?

I expect this to be a long, tough road to victory. I pledge to run a clean, positive campaign, and not bring up little things like the Crusades or religious intolerance or any ancient history like that. If I am elected God, I pledge to do my best to live up to your faith in me. Thank you again, and come November, I hope to be able to say — I bless you, and I bless America.

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Directions To The New House

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The get-together for next Friday is still on, despite the difficulties many of you faced last time in getting here. Unfortunately, Google Maps and the major commercial GPS systems have yet to put the new development in their databases, so please pay close attention to the new directions. Of course, once you get to the development, ours is the seventeenth house on the left — the one with the garden gnome that looks like Lyndon B. Johnson sucking on a kumquat.

From Philadelphia: Take Interstate 95 north across the Scudder Falls Bridge to Trenton. Take Route 31 north, turning right at the Quick-Chek two miles north of the Pennington Circle. Follow the signs to the Charles Lindbergh Jr. National Historical Site in Hopewell. (Note that the signs are in the familiar National Park Service brown, but utilize a more readable sans-serif font.) When you arrive at the Lindbergh house, walk around to the back, and climb the makeshift ladder up to the second floor, taking care to watch out for splinters. In the bedroom, you should find a light blue cashmere blanket, with a detailed map embroidered in the center. (The map is not to scale; I didn’t have enough red thread to make Cherry Valley Road as long as it by rights ought to be.)

From Atlantic City: Take the Garden State Parkway north to Interstate 195, then take Route 9 north to Freehold for seven miles. Turn right on Route 33 to Freehold Raceway. Walk to the paddock and ask for Stubby, who will guide you to the stables. (If Stubby offers to shake your hand, please do so; he’s very sensitive about his physical limitations.) If you decide to purchase racing silks, I would strongly advise that you get them one size larger than you think you’ll need, especially if it rains. As always, take extreme caution in crossing the New Jersey Turnpike, as harness racers do not have the right of way.

From New York: Take the subway or taxi to Madison Square Garden. Stand out front of the Garden and yell, at the top of your lungs, “STEPHON MARBURY IS A CRYBABY LOSER.” (This isn’t strictly necessary, but it will make you feel better, and you’ll be surprised how many other people start doing it, too.) Go to the bottom level of Penn Station and buy an NJ Transit ticket on the Northeast Corridor line. Take care not to make eye contact with any leprechauns that might be aboard. Depart the train at Princeton Junction. Send up one green flare from the flare gun you will find attached underneath the third bench from the right. Make sure, however, before you fire the flare gun that there are no hot-air balloons overhead. We don’t want a repeat of what happened last time.

From Allentown: Take Interstate 78 east to the junction with Interstate 287. Take I-287 south to Route 202-206 south. Take Route 206 when it splits off at the Somerville Circle. About a mile after the circle, there should be a Stop-N-Shop on your right. Go inside and get two six-packs of Heineken, a pack of Hebrew National reduced-fat hot dogs, and a large bag of Cool Ranch Doritos. You will find additional directions printed on the back of your receipt, unless you’ve made the mistake of getting Nacho Cheese Doritos. If the receipt paper gets jammed in the register, ask Jeff in frozen foods, because he’s the only one who knows how to fix it.

From the IKEA in Elizabeth: Pick up a large container of Swedish meatballs, some lingonberry juice, and an Ingolf chair (black, no armrests). Take the Turnpike south to the Route 1 exit, keeping an eye out for harness racers. Follow Route 1 south until you hit the Delaware and Raritan Canal, where you’re looking for Skippy’s Kayak Rental. Do not sign any documents Skippy hands you, especially those related to kayak damage waivers or white-water travel insurance.

From Los Angeles: Take Interstate 5 north to Granada Hills, taking the Balboa Boulevard exit and heading west. Take the third right until you find the warehouse complex that reads “U.S. Department of Energy, Restricted Access Only.” Tell the guard, “I heard there was a fire at Topanga Canyon, but the radio says it’s under control.” When he waves you through the checkpoint, drive to Building F and wait for the automatic door to open. Once it does, you’ll see a good-sized discontinuity in the fabric of space-time. Accelerate to thirty miles an hour and drive straight through the discontinuity, which should transport you to the Princeton high-energy physics lab on Route 206. However, if you find yourself in an unfamiliar location — such as downtown Camden, the north end zone of Giants Stadium, or the Old West — honk your horn three times and wait for assistance.

From Dublin: Take the Airlink bus from Dun Laoghaire to the Dublin airport. Order a caramel macchiato at the Starbucks, making sure to ask for extra nutmeg. Your Aer Lingus boarding pass should be folded inside your napkin. On arrival, take the AirTrain from JFK, connecting to the LIRR, which should drop you off in Penn Station. Take the NJ Transit train to Princeton Junction. Do not make eye contact with other passengers. We don’t want a repeat of what happened last time.

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