* Welcome to The Big Jewel, the world's foremost repository of radio history. Say hello to your Hindenberg announcer for the day, Dan Fiorella!

Great Moments In Radio History

By:
daf118@aol.com
danfiorella.com

It’s in your car. It wakes you in the morning. It’s on at the deli. It’s radio, one of the 19th century’s quaintest inventions! It’s still here, and it still works. Let’s see if KevinHart.com can make that claim down the road.

And you know why radio is still here? (No, not just to entertain the blind.) It’s built on a solid foundation of exceptional history.

It was in 1896 that Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi developed and tested the first radio device. He transmitted signals out over a mile from his home. It was an immediate success, as people contacted him…

Caller: Hello, Mr. Marconi? Yes, hi, I was listening to your transmission, but I’m a first time caller. I agree with your broadcast, all right, but what about the children?

Before long, amateur broadcasters had sprung up like so many walk-in medical clinics around the USA. The major drawback was that only broadcasters existed — there were no broadcastees. No one was listening. Needless to say, radio in the 1910s was thought of as a geeky, clique thing. The term “radio nerd” first appears around this time.

In 1920 the Westinghouse Company established KDKA, the first radio station, in Pittsburgh. It was here that we saw the birth of “stunt” programming, when the station sent announcer Wendell Fedlock up in a hot air balloon to broadcast live from the annual county fair. It did not go well.

The Fedlock Tragedy, as it came to be known, was a minor setback for the medium. By 1922 there were 60,000 radio owners in the United States and they’d pretty much listen to anything. Hit shows of the 1920s included “The Stereotype Hour,” with its catchphrase, “How about I make-a you some-a nice spa-ghet?”, “Mel Talks About His Day,” hosted by a guy named Mel who talked about his day, and “Breakfast with the Pets,” which involved animals wearing microphones at feeding time. Each of these shows stayed on the air for a surprisingly long time.

By 1934 there were 600 radio stations broadcasting to 20 million homes. And those homes were getting particular. Now any show featuring dancing or charades was quickly canceled. On the other hand, Edgar Bergen, with his puppet Charlie McCarthy, became a superstar in 1937 as the first radio ventriloquist. Other novelty acts attempted radio series as well, with limited success. They included The Amazing Atwell, radio magician; The Flying Pimento Brothers, radio acrobats; and Adam Davis, radio plate spinner.

By December of 1941, people were getting jaded about radio. They dismissed the reports of the bombing of Pearl Harbor as another “Orson Welles trick.” Who could forget FDR’s riveting speech afterward as he declared, “December 7, 1941, a day that will live in infamy! No, really. I’m not kidding. It really happened. Stop snickering! Eleanor!!!!”

It was radio that brought us the news of World War II. Edward R. Murrow began broadcasting reports live from war-torn London. I mean, he told us he was in London. How would we know where he really was? It’s not like we could see him or anything. And those bomb explosions could have been the sound effects man making the noises with his mouth, you know? In retrospect, I realize now that Orson Welles really ruined radio for everyone.

During the war, radio became the home for the great comedians of the day. George Burns, Bob Hope, Abbott & Costello and Red Skelton all hosted popular programs, all competitive and all trying to top and outdo one another. In 1946, Jack Benny set the record for radio’s longest comedic pause in this classic episode:

Mary Livingston: Oh, Jack, you sold those nuclear secrets to the Russians for one million dollars! How could you?

(Pause. Long pause. Audience laughter builds and builds.)

Mary Livingston: Jack? Jack? Are you okay? Jack!

As it turned out, it wasn’t a pause at all. He had passed out from a high fever. That’s the way it was back then. The show always went on, despite illness and buzz bombs. Of course the Golden Age of Radio Comedy came to a crashing halt when “The Marcel Marceau Hour” premiered and was canceled two weeks later, right during the bit where he gets trapped in a box.

During the 1950s, radio became over-shadowed by television. As its stars and series moved to the new medium, radio shifted from comedy and drama to music. It became the incubator for rock & roll and a Mecca for teenagers. Kids would cruise in their cars with the radio on, listening to disc jockeys like Alan Freed or Wolfman Jack, playing “stacks of wax” and “pimple cream commercials.” Sometimes these were indistinguishable.

Back then, DJs would play music loudly, howl, honk horns and accept payola. The music lived on into the sixties, as the counter culture made its home on the FM dial, listening to the likes of Hendrix, the Airplane and Janis, sometimes with the radio on.

But again the times would change, and radio would reshape itself once more. In 1974 the FCC ruled that all morning radio DJs must be “wacky.” This, of course, brought the phrases “caa-caa” and “poo-poo” into the radio lexicon. Soon after came the rise of talk radio, a place with enough voices and opinions to drown out the voices and opinions in your head.

Today we live in a world with a thousand radio stations and podcasts that are just a click away. In an instant we can hear shows like “The Stereotype Hour,” “Mel Talks About His Day” and “Breakfast with the Pets.”

This is radio. It lingers on, and with it a tradition that broadcasters attempt to uphold and continue, from hot air balloons to lazy ventriloquists, to dining with pets and loud mimes. On behalf of them all, thank you for listening.

 

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* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we sometimes feel the Middle Ages get a bad rap. Our good friend Dan Fiorella agrees. Heed the wisdom of his ancient nostrums!

Other Medieval Solutions To Modern Day Problems

By:
daf118@aol.com
danfiorella.com

We live in an era in which the government is trying to hawk “medieval inventions” like the wheel and walls as solutions to our modern-day problems, like illegal immigration and climate change. But I think we’re only scratching the surface here. There are practically dozens of medieval solutions that can be applied to today’s problems. Our staff at the monastery has been hard at work researching this and has come up with a couple of winners:

Leeches
Sure, under “ObamaCare” you weren’t allowed to apply leeches to yourself to cure blood disease or imbalance of humors. We should seriously look into this. Do you know how many imbalanced people are out there?

Alchemy
Can you imagine how the economy would take off if we could take something like, say, clean, beautiful coal and turn it into gold? We need to get on this right now.

The rack
Face it: jails aren’t rehabilitating anyone, but what if we utilized a system of punishment that could make criminals taller? Wouldn’t that help them get jobs as professional basketball players?

Mace
Those stupid little cans of spray wouldn’t last two seconds against these spiked metal balls on a chain! People would enjoy self defense! That would be off the hook! Also, hooks.

The plague
Everyone keeps complaining about overpopulation and preserving our planet’s resources. The plague did the job once before — I bet it could do it again!

Moats
They’re like an ingrown wall, only filled with water. Maybe we should have made a stronger case for these.

The Crusades
Talk about getting the populace up and invoked! This would be a great way to motivate people and make them proactive. Also, it would help with overpopulation as well.

Chimneys
Too many buildings today are hermetically sealed against the elements to save energy. We need more chimneys or Santa won’t be able to give us all the toys and underwear we deserve!

The wheelbarrow
This was an amazing invention that combined the wheel and the barrow. You give them to immigrants, they load them up with all their possessions, and then they can’t get over the wall because the wheelbarrows are too heavy!

Hourglasses
Don’t you wish you could time everything like a three-minute egg? That’s what hourglasses do! And we wouldn’t have to change them for Daylight Saving Time — we’d just have to lay them on their sides for an hour twice a year!

The printing press
No more hacking into our websites! We would have hardcopies of all our data and would only have to worry about water and fire.

Roman numerals
Show all those ISIS people and Taliban-ers that we don’t need their stinkin’ Arab numbers! And these are Roman numbers, so you know they’re good — they’re like the Latin of numbers.

Soap
I love soaps. Whenever I was home sick, I’d watch them with my mom. I had no idea soaps went back to medieval times! Oh — maybe that’s where they got the idea for those theme restaurant shows!

Armor
How cool would it be for our police to dress like old-fashioned robots? And how well protected would they be? If you’re against armor, you’re against America!

Spurs
They cause bone spurs and that can come in very handy.

 

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* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we take almost nothing seriously, except for the history of cinema and its greatest innovators. Our man Dan Fiorella is here with the story!

The Films Of The Lumière Brothers, Rebooted

By:
daf118@aol.com
danfiorella.com

Renewed interest in early movie history was generated this year when the first-ever film poster went up for auction at Sotheby’s. This was the poster used to promote the first public screening of the Lumière brothers’ short films back in 1895! What we didn’t expect out of this attention was the recent announcement by cinematic enfant terrible, director Wes Ravenspool, about his latest project: to reboot those Lumière brothers’ movies.

“Look, it’s a very different Hollywood today,” Mr. Ravenspool said at a press conference at Mercury Picture Studios, where he lamented, “I can’t just pitch a two-hander based on a dream I had anymore. It’s all about Intellectual Property, using pre-existing material to make ‘new’ movies. Studios only want to produce content based on previous content. That’s why we see all these remakes, sequels and sequels to remakes that were originally a single-panel New Yorker cartoon.”

“Amazingly, we have overlooked a vast source of IP: these earliest movies can be remade! It’s both a celebration of cinema’s past and an exploitation of it!”

“Look at Le Repas de Bébé from 1895. It’s a masterpiece!” The 30-second film is called Baby’s Breakfast in America but sounds classier in French. A husband and wife (uncle and grandmother? Some cousins? It’s really not made clear) feed their toddler porridge and then give him a biscuit.

“It’s all there! Suspense! Comedy! Nutrition!” Mr. Ravenspool said. “Will the baby eat? Why does he try to give the biscuit away? Why is mom futzing with the tea set?” Mr. Ravenspool admits that, at 30 seconds, the black & white silent movie will have to be expanded and updated for today’s audiences. “Yes, we will have to work on the next two acts, which is why I have terrorists come in and kidnap the baby! After that, the father, who is a former Navy Seal, is forced to hunt them down. Talk about your great inciting incidents! Also, the baby will now be a CGI character.”

When asked if he has any plans for a remake of La Sortie de l’Usine Lumière à Lyon, Mr. Ravenspool replied, “Absolutely! This delightful 30-second film of workers leaving the Lumière factory is going to be a rousing tale of workers vs. the corporation, as the employees leave the factory to strike. Naturally, the owners of the factory bring in thugs, who gun all the workers down. One surviving worker, who called in sick that day, is driven by guilt to avenge his co-workers! The Lumière brothers would have totally made this film if they had invented the technology back then.”

We continued down the list of films shown and Mr. Ravenspool’s pitches:

La Pêche aux Poissons-Rouges: an infant attempts to fish in a fish bowl. “The child gets pulled in and finds himself in a magical animated world, where he must team up with the goldfish to battle an evil diver and find the lost treasure chest! It would be like a wet Jumanji. The infant will also be CGI.”

Le Saut à la Couverture or Jumping the Blanket: a man does a forward roll over a blanket held by four friends. “Ah, but it’s not an ordinary blanket!” Mr. Ravenspool began. “No, but a flying carpet that will carry the group to a small country being invaded by space aliens. It writes itself!”

And of course, the most famous of the Lumière shorts from 1895 is L’Arroseur Arrosé (Tables Turned on the Gardener), which is regarded as the first film comedy, if not the world’s first fiction film: while the gardener waters the plants, a boy steps on the hose. The water stops and the gardener confusedly looks into the hose to see what the problem is. The boy takes his foot off and the gardener gets doused. The film finishes with the gardener chasing the boy and giving him a spanking. “Actually, I see the chase being the film, as the gardener uses all his resources to track down and capture the boy, who is a master of disguise. And a cannibal. This is what the people are clamoring for!”

After that, a Mercury Studio security guard called the police, saying we weren’t supposed to be on the lot. Yet, the press announcement confirmed that everything old is new again and Hollywood wouldn’t have it any other way. Now excuse me while I finish up my spec of Fred Ott’s Sneeze.

 

 

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* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we are joyously celebrating the most wonderful time of the year -- the Purge! Blessed be the New Founding Father of America, Dan Fiorella!

Hallmark Memo: The Purge

By:
daf118@aol.com
danfiorella.com

Memo

From: Hallmark Corp. Headquarters

To: Hallmark Gold Crown Retailers

Re: Purge 2041 AD

 

We had an excellent Christmas 2040 and sales were very strong for Valentine’s Day, making it a solid first quarter for 2041, praise be to the New Founding Fathers. Naturally, we are expecting to do very well for our next Hallmark Holiday, The Purge! As our retailers all know, the day was created by “The New Founding Fathers of America,” in their great wisdom, to help stabilize American society after that really bad economic collapse and to quash all that rising social unrest caused by radicals and leftist and traitors.

It was a rough couple of quarters for us here at Hallmark, we don’t have to remind you. But now every March 21 all crime, including murder, becomes legal for 12 straight hours, all part of the blessed New Founding Fathers’ plans to keep our nation great. And Hallmark has the perfect greeting cards to mark the day! We are going to push this hard with the slogan: “Hallmark: cards that care! Blessed be the New Founding Fathers!”

Note below some samples of our latest line of greeting cards covering the various aspects of the day:

 

Cover: “Happy Purge Day!”

Inside: “Hope you survive! Kinda!”

“Blessed be our New Founding Fathers and America, a nation reborn and may God be with you all.

 

Cover: “Purge Day is your Birthday?”

Inside: “Well, then maybe I’ll wait before I buy you a present.”

“Blessed be our New Founding Fathers and America, a nation reborn and may God be with you all.”

 

Cover: “I wanted to get you a nice present for this year’s Purge…”

Inside: “…But all the good stores were already looted!”

“Blessed be our New Founding Fathers and America, a nation reborn and may God be with you all.”

 

Cover: “Thank you”

Inside: “For hiding us during the Purge. Anonymously yours, some stranger.”

“Blessed be yadda, yadda, yadda.”

 

Cover: “Thank you”

Inside: “For turning over that criminal we wanted to hatchet to death. It saved us the trouble of burning your house down. See you next year!”

“Blessed be our New Founding Fathers and America, a nation reborn and may God be with you all.”

 

Cover: “Deepest Sympathy…”

Inside: “…On your family’s decimation. Although they probably had it coming.”

“Blessed be our New Founding Fathers and America, a nation reborn and may God be with you all.”

 

Cover: “We heard you complaining about The Purge.”

Inside: “So we reported you to the state police. I guess that makes this a ‘Goodbye & Good luck’ card.”

“Blessed be our New Founding Fathers and America, a nation reborn and may God be with you all.”

 

And, of course, our new tag to every single card we print is our national oath “Blessed be our New Founding Fathers and America, a nation reborn and may God be with you all” printed in a much larger font than the rest of the card.

As usual, we will coordinate the release of the cards with the Hallmark Channel’s “Countdown to Purge” movie slate, with one movie airing every weekend in March. Viewers will see delightful tales of love and mayhem when we show fan favorites like One Lonely Purge, and The Guy Hiding in My Attic as well as the premiere of this year’s new movies Peer Pressured, Another Lonely Purge, and ‘Til Purge Do Us Part.” Based on the ratings of past years, we’re expecting these movies to raise awareness of the new card lines significantly.

Additionally, we’ll be releasing the new Purge Tree ornaments just prior to the Hallmark Channel presentation with a “Buy one, get one half off” sale. Although, I suppose, people will just wait for The Purge and loot the stores like they do every year.

Be that as it may, we here at corporate are looking to make this the Purgiest Purge ever, with Hallmark! Blessed be our New Founding Fathers and America, a nation reborn and may God be with you all.

This communication and any attached files may contain information that is confidential or privileged. If this communication has been received in error, please delete or destroy it immediately. Unless it’s during the Purge — then you can do whatever you want with it. Sigh.

 

 

 

 

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* Welcome to The Big Jewel, which we hope you will think of as your company newsletter. Please welcome back our good friend Dan Fiorella, who had to take some time off at the request of HR.

Some Excerpts From The First Weeks Of Our Company’s New Message Board

By:
daf118@aol.com
danfiorella.com

9/1/18
Moderator: We are thrilled to open the McDougal Corp. Web-boards to our employees! Just like Facebook, but it’s our own place. So, post away!
9/7/18
Moderator: Just a reminder that the McDougal Web-boards are up and running! Inter-Share your thoughts about movies, TV, books right here with your fellow employees! Or your favorite websites that the company doesn’t block! But not the news. No news sites.
9/7/18
KenJones: So, anyone watching anything on Netflix?
9/10/18
MarilynReady: I just finished Lost in Space. It was ok. I heard The Crown was good.
9/12/18
KenJones: I heard “The Crown” was good, too.
9/20/18
TaraWelsy: I saw The Crown, the first season. Very good. I haven’t had a chance to watch the rest. We’ve been stuck working so much OT in Accounts Receivable because our knucklehead supervisor was too busy dealing with the lawsuits, I barely have time to see my kids, never mind Netflix.
9/20/19
DaveRobbins: Has anyone googled McDougal Corp. lately??? Have you seen the news??? No wonder our stock options are worthless OMG!
9/20/18
Moderator: Just a reminder, No discussion of company matters are to be posted here. No posts depicting the company in a negative light may be posted here. Remember, we’re all on the same team. I’ll be redacting some posts to have them conform to these rules. Thank you.
9/22/18
Moderator: So, anyone else watching Netflix?
9/23/18
Moderator: Any good books to recommend?
9/24/18
DanFiorella: Oh, actually I wrote a book and I’m selling it now online. It’s at https://amazon.com/Novel-Concept-Dan-Fiorella/dp/1508804982/ [link removed]
9/24/18
Moderator: Sorry, no solicitations are permitted on the company web-board.
9/30/18
PeterPannel: OMG, did you hear what happened to Debbie in Accounting???
GladysWatt: I heard! That’s terrible. How could they lay her off after all these years!?!
BennettJacobs: The word is her boss was harassing her and when she went to report him, he somehow made her the fall guy for all the lawsuits! And they fired her!
Moderator: I’ve had to step in and remove some posts. No discussion of company matters are to be posted here. No posts depicting the company in a negative light may be posted here. Remember, we’re all on the same team. Carry on.
10/1/18
JimJensen: Okay, turns out I have some STDs and I’m supposed to let people know, so I’m putting it out there. You’ve been warned.
Moderator: So, what kind of medications did they put you on?
10/13/18
Moderator: Plans for Halloween? Anyone? I’m going as Capt. Jack Sparrow.
11/19/18
Moderator: Don’t forget to post and share your Thanksgiving photos with us! Your co-workers! It’ll be fun!
12/15/18
Moderator: Don’t forget to post and share you Christmas/holiday photos with us!
BetsyWinters: I was going to post photos of our department Christmas tree but our manager had it thrown out because it “wasn’t professional and this is a place of work.” I think it’s really because he’s so freaked out over the you-know-what. So, I’d be curious to see if any other departments have Christmas trees or decorations.
BennettJacobs: Your manager is a jerk. I’m attaching a photo of Accounting’s tree. <photo attached>
JimJensen: No tree? That’s harsh. Here’s the decorations we put up in Legal. Everyone helped! <photo attached>
PeterPennel: I don’t deal with your guy much, Betsy, but the few times I have he was…what’s a good company Web-board-friendly term? Doofus. Okay, doofus. Anyway, here’s the set-up we have this year. Someone even brought in a mechanical Santa! Can you believe it? <photo attached>
SamJacob: I am so relieved that I was able to transfer out of there, Betsy. What a…doofus. Anyway, here’s a photo of us in Shipping with our tree. Everyone brought an ornament from home! <photo attached>
Moderator: Wow, great photos, people! Keep ‘em coming!
OscarPrivey: <attachment deleted>
Moderator: A photo has been removed from the last post. That was not a Christmas tree.
JimJensen: Here’s a photo of the VP hitting on Veronica at the office party. Note his hands. [attachment removed]
Moderator: A reminder to keep the board PG. And lawsuit free. We don’t need any new lawsuits.
1/03/19
Moderator: I regret to inform our users that due to legal ramifications, the company web-board is being closed down. See you all at the water cooler!
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* Welcome to The Big Jewel, which is often cruising for a bruising, but right now is simply cruising for a cruise, courtesy of our good friend Dan Fiorella.

#Live Tweeting My Cruise

By:
daf118@aol.com
danfiorella.com

Going on my first cruise. I can’t believe it’s here! #excited #BonVoyage

I was going to post that the food here is amazing. Turns out it was just a hot dog guy outside the port. I wasn’t on the ship yet. Fingers crossed. #HotDog

I think the cruise director used to be with Menudo.

I needed an extra towel for some…spillage. When I went to find the steward in the hall, he was talking heatedly with several other stewards. It was a stew of stewards! #LOL

What cruise companies don’t advertise is that any pool can become a wave pool if the seas are rough enough. #RidingTheWaves

The Captain announced the seas were a little choppy because we were sailing into the Gulf Stream. But our waiter at dinner insists it’s because Poseidon is angered by our “landlubber ways.” He says the captain “ought to know better” and that the chicken is “especially good tonight.”

Happy to learn there are no Legionnaires on board, so that’s one less disease to worry about! Now I just have to avoid this malaise the crew keeps muttering about. #Airborne

A big fight broke out at the poolside “Full Moon Party” tonight. It was Electric Sliders vs. Cotton Eye Joes! #TeamMacarena

I’m still upset that the karaoke guy didn’t have the full version of “Lydia the Tattooed Lady.” I’m sure I would have won! And there was a lot more flogging of the waitstaff than I thought necessary. #KaraokeKing @GrouchoMarx

Our shuffleboard game was interrupted by some crew members arguing about the captain’s plan to sail through the Bermuda Triangle to avoid some bad weather ahead. They said it was the “last straw.” I guess I have to switch to drinks with little umbrellas, then.

We had a lifeboat drill today! It wasn’t so bad, even if the crew members kept muttering that “Lifeboats won’t do no good in the Triangle.” #BePrepared

Surprisingly there are only a few fish entrees on the menu in the ship’s fancy restaurant. I thought they would have caught a lot more fish by now. Plus all the knives are gone.

It was Captain’s Night. Got to meet the captain! I asked him “Who’s steering the boat?” Oh, how we laughed. Then his second mate whispered something in his ear and he hurried off. #Iceberg? JK!

I realize now my entire knowledge of cruise ships is based on watching Titanic, The Poseidon Adventure, and the stateroom scene from A Night at the Opera.

Saw an amazing show last night featuring all the understudies from all the biggest Broadway hits! It must be a tricky adjustment for the actors, having to learn stage right and stage left and now stage port and stage starboard. #BroadwayAtSea

Had breakfast in my stateroom this morning. Pancakes, bacon and sausage! Also a cryptic note warning passengers to stay in their rooms tonight. This worries me because it’s 80s Music Trivia Dance Party at the Main Lounge! #Culture Club

Why won’t anyone believe me when I tell them there’s a chocolate fountain over by the dessert station? They’re all just too wrapped up in the mutiny rumors! #TeamChocolateFountain

The stand-up comic wasn’t that good. The crew made him walk the plank. That struck me as harsh.

I am the captain! Though a remarkable series of events I’m now commanding the ship! All because I was doing my Capt. Phillips bit and the mutineers heard me say “Look at me. I am the captain now.” And they just believed me! Crazy, right? @TomHanks 1/3

I’ve called in to work and said I’m extending my vacation for the foreseeable future. We’ll be sailing the high seas. Maybe even spend an extra night in Bermuda! #AhoyMatey 2/3

And the chocolate fountain is now out 24/7! #excited #BonVoyage 3/3

 

 

 

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* Welcome to The Big Jewel, the literary humor site that brings lonely people together with people they should probably avoid as if their life depended on it. At least that seems to be what Dan Fiorella thinks we do.

Missed Connection

By:
daf118@aol.com
danfiorella.com

I would never normally try posting on Craigslist Missed Connections, but what the heck — here goes!

I saw you on the 1 Train. You were wearing a red woolen coat and a multi-colored wool hat. I noticed surgical leggings. You were reading your iPhone. You wore those fancy gloves that let you swipe on your phone. Our eyes met a few times and I smiled at you. You had deep, dark eyes. Twin pools of India ink. Is that even politically correct to say anymore? You tilted your head in such a way that your shock of black hair, which contrasted against your light porcelain skin, cascaded over your left eye, brushing up against your classic Grecian nose. You evoked the spirit of a Mediterranean goddess. After a moment, you gathered up your things and got off at the next stop, even though it was obviously not your stop. I returned to my seat.

It would be four or five days before I’d see you on the train again. Fortunately I have the unlimited MetroCard pass. This time I didn’t try to catch your eye or approach you, so you would be more comfortable and get off at your proper station.

Soho. I know it well. It’s a neighborhood in flux. I noticed you in that little vegetable shop on Broome. Then in the Duane Reade buying that laxative. It pains me to think of you in discomfort like that. But I was just too shy to come over and say so! But maybe you should cut back on all that cheese you bought. Just sayin’!

Anyway, after the drug store and the grocer, the hardware store, and the dress shop that apparently has a back entrance, I lost you in the crowd. But luck was with me: I stood across the street from that very same grocer until our paths crossed once again a scant week later! Kismet!

Your doorman seems like the suspicious type and treated me like I had no business coming into your building. First, what’s his problem? And, really, a doorman in Soho? Cheapen the bohemian atmosphere much? Later, much to my surprise, I learned that locksmiths will not simply make keys based on a description of the lock and the address. I cannot believe the ways in which the laws actively court “restraint of trade” lawsuits.

But I haven’t told you anything about myself. I enjoy cooking, deep sea fishing and spelunking, and people tend to forget how much climbing is actually involved in cave exploring, so, really, getting on the roof of your building was no big deal. I will note here that your building security is very impressive and the locks on the rooftop entrances are top notch! It puts my mind at ease to know that you can afford such stellar security. Also, I like a challenge. But I have since decided that a lighter, defter touch may be called for.

Anyway, it appears I’m reaching Craigslist maximum word limit. So, FYI, I’m standing outside your apartment now. Email me. Tell me what color hat I’m wearing so I know it’s really you.

XOXO

The Guy Outside Your Building

 

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* 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

By:
daf118@aol.com
danfiorella.com

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

“Fuggedaboutit!”

 

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!”

 

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* 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

 

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* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we take pets pretty seriously (we also take drugs pretty seriously, and pets are part of the reason). Heed the timeless wisdom of Dan "The Professor" Fiorella. Also feel free to click on the Amazon link below, which shows you how to purchase a copy of Dan's latest humor book, "Novel Concept."

Pet Parenting 101 — Course Description

By:
daf118@aol.com
https://www.amazon.com/Novel-Concept-Dan-Fiorella/dp/1508804982/

COURSE #7EKDF-332 Pet Parenting 101

$250 plus fee

Chris Peterson, Instructor

This course is designed to get you through the puppy and kitten months and help you make your fur baby a productive member of society. From feeding and exercise, to picking out the right obedience school, we lay out the full program. As so many new mothers and fathers are aware, there are a myriad of courses to take before you have or adopt a child. But for pet parents, there are none! Until now!

Syllabus includes:

Needs by Breeds: Here we will review the various bathing techniques for each breed of animal, from shaggy dogs to hairless cats. We will teach how to properly fit collars and harnesses. There will be a study of the many diet options available these days. We will also look at proper play toys and shelters. And demonstrate that what you are spending on them isn’t enough. Spoiler alert! We’re going to spoil them!

How to Adapt for your Adoption: There will be sleepless nights, carpet staining, vomit and chewed shoes, but first we prepare our pet parents for the unending prejudice and pet-ism you will face when you bring your newborn home. People will say things like, “You’re a pet owner, not a ‘Pet Parent’,” based on the ridiculous claims of biology or DNA. I mean, sure, it’s not like he’ll be going to college, getting a job or starting a family, but neither did my brother-in-law and yet he gets to collect government checks and live in my basement! Unlike my poor beagle with Tourette’s syndrome. I say to you, if corporations can be people, your pet can be your child!

Socialization: We will teach you how to properly socialize your pet through training and play activities. It’s very important not to leave a dog alone all the time, even though you can because dogs are just that smart. Try that with your three-year-old and see how quickly a representative from Children’s Services appears. Trust me on that. Socialization is as simple as walking your dog. And I mean you walking him, not hiring some random dog walker who is in fact an out-of-work “actor” who will probably steal your dog’s kibble and get him hooked on heroin. We emphasize walking your dog to meet other dogs, but boy, wouldn’t it be easier to meet other dogs if you didn’t have to deal with the goon at the other end of the leash?

Care and Cleaning-Up: Leashes and restraints will be discussed. There will be “hands-on” interaction with various approved “pooper scoopers.” Also, why won’t the Pampers Company make a pet diaper with a tail hole so I don’t have to cut my own? They refuse to respond to my letters, e-mails, tweets and picket signs, despite me pointing out all the advantages of such a product. You know, in New York City they revoked the public urination ban. Really! But should my ferret poop in Central Park, the SWAT team gets deployed. We need to end this defecation shaming! And another thing: I’ve seen people eat out of a dumpster, but I’m the bad guy just because my dog eats out of my neighbor’s garbage or drinks out of the toilet down at the YMCA? Just because your kid doesn’t hump strangers’ legs, you get to judge me? Ha! Which reminds me, pet parents should carry around a lot of tissues.

Demanding Equal Rights for Pets: We will look into the legal ramifications of having a pet in today’s society. We will study how society discriminates against pets. For example, when some person brings their kid to the park and lets him run wild, everyone stands there and says “How cute,” but if I let my pit bull off the leash the cops are called. How is this fair? Have you seen that kid? He’s a monster. I’ve seen him pee on the jungle gym! Or what about the fact that I’m forced to neuter my dog, while that brat down the block is allowed to procreate at will? Great, right? Because the world needs another mouth-breather manning the drive-thru window at Wendy’s that still won’t serve my cats despite the fact that they HAVE COUPONS! We will study and discuss these topics at length. Such length.

Also planned: “Bring Your Pet to Class” events and field trips to my apartment so you can meet my menagerie. There will be an additional $25 fee to cover the expense of lint brushes and iodine.

Prerequisite for Pet Parenting 201

 

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