* Welcome to The Big Jewel. If for any reason you are not satisfied by this week's bit of nonsense, we invite you to try and find us so you can ask for a full refund of the purchase price. Or not.

Reason For Return

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We at HockeyFanatics.com want you to be completely satisfied with your purchase. If you are not pleased with your merchandise for any reason, you may return the product within 30 days of receipt using the enclosed return postage form. Refunds will be issued in the same manner as the order was paid.

1. Complete the Return Reason form.

RETURN REASON:

_Changed my mind

_Didn’t Like

_Received Damaged

_Product is Defective

_Received incorrect item

_Received incorrect size

_Size didn’t fit

X Other

Well, actually, your product was fine. It is a beautiful NHL Men’s Melange FZ Hood. But, alas, I have to return it as I no longer need it. You see, Dave, my boyfriend, well, now ex-boyfriend, is a huge Mighty Ducks fans. Frankly, I don’t think they’re as good as they were in the movies and they’re certainly not as cute as they were in the movies. I’m sure this discussion must come up all the time in your whole hockey line of business. Anyway, when your up-until-recently-boyfriend says he’s a fan of an NFL team and his birthday is coming up, why wouldn’t a hoodie with his team’s logo be the perfect gift? It’s a no-brainer. Certainly more thoughtful than the box of scotch tape he gave me for Christmas so I can “stick things together.” I don’t even want to get into the thing where he gave me Christmas M&Ms last Valentine’s Day because they were on discount at the store.

So, anyway, having received the enclosed merchandise in fine condition, I wrapped it to present to my then-boyfriend. Of course I should have been a bit put off when Dave mentioned to me during the previews of Green Hornet that he was spending his actual birthday day with his “homies” or “posse” or whatever he calls that group of adolescent peers. But he added that we can “hook up” later in the week. Obviously, he took my pout of hurt and disapproval as some sort of green light. Anyway, no biggie, as I decided to use this change of plans to my advantage to increase the “surprise” quotient of this fine, fine product.

Now, he likes to hang at Chucky Mack’s on 23rd Street. They have really good Texas Chili Fries™ that can feed a small family. And free beverage refills. So I trot on down there with my wrapped gift to surprise him on the day of his actual birth. Well, the surprise was on me! There he is, sharing an order of Texas Chili Fries™, not with his “home boys” or “cohorts” but with Jean Marie Becker!

Now, if you haven’t met Jean Marie Becker, you’ve probably heard the rumors about her and her unsavory reputation. If she were any easier she’d be rated “E for everybody.” Not to mention all the unexplained vacations to various health facilities. I’m just saying. And here she is with my steady! So, naturally, I confront him and he’s all “I told you not to come here.” And I’m all “It’s your birthday, where else should I be?” And he’s all “I can’t believe you are checking up on me!” And I’m all “Apparently not often enough!” At this point Jean Marie Slut decides to get all up in my grill about hassling “her man.” So I declare that he is neither hers nor a man. She begs to differ on both accounts, with this wicked smug smile. So I hit her with some chicken wings. She countered with a pitcher of unsweetened ice tea, which I was nimbly able to side-step, but which did soak Dave. He got all upset because he was wearing a leather jacket which he claimed was now ruined and not his. Then Chucky Mac himself came out and started hurling insults and chased us all out, screaming that he was going to call the police, which he wasn’t really about to do, based on the ethnic and legal makeup of his kitchen staff. Then he banned us all from ever going there again. This totally freaked out Dave, who claimed it was his “home base.” He stormed out, dragging the wanton Jean Marie with him so I assume he has made his choice. Now, since I don’t follow hockey, I’m returning the merchandise.

2. Pack the items in original packing if possible

Sorry, it’s no longer available. After we left the restaurant, I beat Dave about the head and shoulders with the box until it broke apart. But this pizza box should do.

P.S. If you get any orders for hockey wear from a Jean Marie Becker, could you just lose them? TIA!!

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* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we celebrate the New Year by resolving to publish a new piece by Dan Fiorella. There, wasn't that easy?

Our Easy-To-Keep New Year’s Resolutions

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It’s New Year’s and you know what that means: making random resolutions to improve yourself while at some late night celebration when you’re inebriated that will inevitably fail. So why subject yourself to all that guilt over life-changing alterations gone unheeded? You want to make a resolution this New Year’s but not a hard one? Something that will be easy to stick to? Something that will allow you to feel superior to those failures and back-sliders you know? Then try one of our patented Easy-to-Keep New Year’s Resolutions:

No unnecessary space trips.

Place a ceiling on adopting third world babies. Or maybe even second world babies.

Resolve not to post government secrets online.

Cut back on bacon-flavor sodas.

Turn down any offers to be the subject of a reality TV show.

Cease spamming people unless using real Spam®.

Avoid midget tossing for sport. Remember, it’s a business, dammit!

Cut down on suicide bombing missions.

Reduce your eggnog consumption for a couple of months.

Try to put on a few pounds.

Resolve to use more contractions in your speech and writing.

Limit resolution making to once a year.

That guy living in the box in the alley? Just let him be.

Stop saying “Season’s Greetings” when what you really want to say is “Happy Holidays.”

Curb your stalking, especially at that place with all the security cameras.

Avoid producing Broadway musicals based on comic book superheroes.

Vow to remove any trees from your indoor living space.

Blink.

You’re welcome! So, enjoy your New Year’s to the fullest, but try not to be a jerk about it.

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Yule Blog

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December 13

The elves have been whining about getting cable installed. What’s the big deal about cable? Sure, reception is improved, but it goes out all the time. And how many times can you watch Weekend at Bernie’s? The man’s dead. Those sunglasses aren’t fooling anyone. Either way, I ain’t springing for anything unless those tiny bums finish wrapping presents.

December 14

Reindeer have some virus and have been sleeping a lot lately. Mrs. Claus mixed some orange rinds and a handful of old echinacea capsules into their slop trough this morning, so I’m hoping that’ll help a bit. Donner’s been complaining of stomach pains too, but I told him to shut up or go try finding work elsewhere. If he thinks there’s a lot of jobs posted on Monster.com for flying reindeer with stomach pains that whiney fur bag has another think coming.

December 15

Guess what? It’s Geraldo at the door again. He’s trying to prove that I run some kind of polar sweatshop violating child-labor laws. I tried to explain that the elves are, like, 120 years old and haven’t been children since Geraldo himself was the son of a wee sperm in his great granddaddy’s testicles. No good. He called his studio truck over to our front door and I had to get Dancer and Blitzen to charge him. Who’s gonna buy his story now? Yeah right, Santa Claus himself beat up, Geraldo? No one’s buying, Gerry. Don’t even try it.

December 16

Those damn coal miners have jacked up the price of coal again. They do this every year. And they have me over a barrel. They know that there are more bad kids then ever. Any foul-mouthed little puke with their hair dyed like Eminem is getting an extra lump.

December 17

Got another of those heart-wrenching letters from a poor child: “…you don’t have to get me anything Santa, but could you get my mom a warm coat?” Sure, kid. Like you aren’t just playing the good-kid card to score yourself an XBOX. What, do people everywhere think I’m an idiot now? I’ve been around for thousands of years and the tricks never change. Santa ain’t buying, Timmy. You want a warm coat? Sell your body.

December 18

Got drunk on rum and eggnog and passed out watching Seattle’s Santa Claus parade. And let me tell you, man, that is one sorry Santa Claus parade.

December 19

I have to get the freakin’ ASPCA off my back. They just sent me another letter asking about the conditions for the reindeer, claiming I’m cruel to them by underfeeding. Hey, ASPCA! You think fat reindeer can get off the ground? They can’t, and you better believe me, because I’m the only person in the entire world who owns any flying reindeer. The thinner they are, the better they fly. If your kids want any presents this year, ASPCA, you’ll shut up. Just shut up, ASPCA!

December 20

Woke up with a bad hangover. I smacked the elves around a bit in the shop, had my way with Mrs. Claus. Then we passed out while watching Scrooged. That Bill Murray cracks me right up.

December 21

Guess what I did today? It’s funny. I always do this. I went down to the kitchen pantry to grab some shortbread cookies and guess what I find? You know it. My lousy Advent calendar. Scarfed 21 chocolates and fell asleep in front of the fireplace.

December 22

Watched A Christmas Story again. Man, the Ralphie kid cracks me up. I wonder what ever happened to him? I should check my list to see. Actually…yeah, actually, forget it. Who cares about Ralphie? What was I even thinking? Now…I do believe there’s an Advent-calendar chocolate waiting for me by the fireplace. To the fireplace!

December 23

Today Mrs. Claus and I did our last-minute shopping. The elves can hammer a mean rocking horse, but they ain’t so good at creating Palm Pilots from scratch. Note to everyone who wanted a Palm Pilot for Christmas this year: You’re all godforsaken, Star Trek-convention-haunting nitwits.

December 24

Well, I’m off, to hell with no-fly zones. Donner’s stomach pains miraculously disappeared today, and the elves finished up everything at the last minute. Well, mostly everything. Hope you weren’t expecting much, Nigeria!

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The Virginia Monologues

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Last night I attended the opening of a Yuletide play that is both powerful and provocative. This show is destined to be an annual holiday classic. It is The Virginia Monologues, by Mary Xmas.

The stage opens, bare, save for the three actresses seated on wooden stools. Ah, but what each does with her stool. The lead actress, Ginny O’Hanlon, begins the evening telling us what Christmas means to her: “I believe in Santa. No one else will. But I envision him on my roof. Making his way to my chimney. Slowly, tentatively, he enters. The prancing, the pawing. Yes, come down my chimney, Santa, come!” And this goes on for another 17 minutes. The female-centric play will take your notions of Christmas and knock them around like a piñata in a hammer factory.

One can only cry out “You go, sister!” when Donna Cannelloni takes center stage, stating, “I will kowtow to the public norms no more. I will reclaim my Claus. Take back my Claus from the commercialism, the garishness. My beloved bearded Claus. Claus. Claus. Claus! How I long for your lap.” Intensity has never felt so intense.

Once you get over the shock, the wincing is hardly noticeable, though my mom did say, “I can’t believe they allow people to say that kind of stuff in public.” These two actresses, along with their co-star, Norma Moldanado, display the breadth and depth of the female views of the holiday. It’s Ms. Maldanodo’s turn to rivet the audience when she takes center stage, proclaiming, “Naughty or nice? Who are you to judge? Who are you to judge me? You say you’re a saint, yet you break into my home and go through my things. Then, placing a practiced finger aside your nose, you once again pass through my flue.” As directed by Martina Beardson and choreographed by Ellen Eager, the performance pieces are a symphony of language, crescendos of passion and mistletoe.

This is a show in touch with itself. And it touches itself repeatedly. Especially in the third act. They mimic the concept of the tribal tales, with each actress waiting her turn to speak, left seated in the dark until she is handed the “Christmas Spirit” stick which gives her the floor. The stick is made to look like a giant candy cane, enhancing the holiday spirit of the evening.

The women are in fine voice as they expose the genre biases of the season. As Ms. O’Hanlon reminds us, “Christmas ‘carol.’ Christmas ‘Eve.’ Joy. Noel. Holly. So much exploitation of women. A birth celebrated. A woman’s job now controlled by the male-dominated society. How typical.”

The Virginia Monologues is now open for its annual run. And run you will. It’s a play that will have you on your feet shouting, “Lighten up, already!” Playing at the Indulgent Theatre — that’s theater with an “r-e,” so you know it’s classy.

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Office Politics

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Re-elect Jon Chironna for Copy Boy

“I promise to continue my record of crisp, clean copies for all!” — Jon Chironna

Why bring in new blood when Jon’s blood is just fine.

— Paid for by the Jon Chironna Re-election Committee

Vote Tom Drummon for Copy Boy

He stands for:

* Every photocopy in blinding full color!

* No lineups ever in the copy room!

* Photocopies of documents you might need additional copies of for future use!

Tom stands for what’s right. Tom sits for what’s right. So do what’s right. Vote Tom.

— Committee to elect Tom Drummon Copy Boy

Can we really go back to the Copy Room Malaise of fall ’99?

Remember the two-week-long toner drought?

Remember the finger smears on the glass that wouldn’t come off?

Remember the “hairy butt incident”?

Can we afford four more years of that?

Vote Smith & Vitelli ’03

“Keepin’ the copies flowing like water!”

— Committee to Elect Smith & Vitelli

Do you like paper jams?

If so, vote Smith & Vitelli!

— Committee to elect Tom Drummon Copy Boy

Do you like Copy Boys who can’t even handle double-sided legal-sized briefs over 40 pages?

If so, vote Tom Drummon!

If not, vote for a professional.

— Committee to Elect Smith & Vitelli

Hi, I’m Stan Delaney, former Copy Boy. You know me, and you know Jon Chironna. You know his copies. Crisp, clean, and collated. Jon follows the Triple C method of copying to perfection. Now ask yourself this: Are your copies better now than they were four years ago? Why, hell yes they are! Don’t turn back the clock to the dark, pre-digital days. We’re on the edge of a copier revolution and Jon Chironna is responsible for that. He wants to build a bridge to the copy room of tomorrow. Jon sees the copiers of tomorrow. He sees them humming and whirring on a bed of crazy green lasers. He sees them flying over to your desk on fiber-optic cables to deliver you your copies and your morning bagel. He sees them having awkward, clunky sex and producing stronger, faster photocopier offspring. Won’t you help bring in the future? I’m voting for Jon, you should too. “Re-elect Jon Chironna as Copy Boy. He’s an original.”

— Paid for by the Toner Society

Both Jon and Stan are part of a disgraced system. It’s time for a real change.

Vote for Harvey in Accounting for Copy Room Technician. He’ll bring “balance” to this current “liability.”

“New blood, new ideas, new vision, a guy named Harvey, great copies.”

— Soft Money Committee for Harvey

Jon Chironna wants to be re-elected Copy Boy. He tells you productivity is up. He tells you copies are plentiful. But what isn’t he telling you?

* Did you know that Jon Chironna has been caught using recycled paper?

* Did you know that Jon Chironna has been spotted resting his coffee on the feeder tray?

* Did you know that Jon Chironna may or may not lick his fingers between turning the pages of your document?

* Did you know that Jon Chironna’s real name is Jonathan Chironna? What other grades of paper will Jon stoop to using? What other hot beverages might Jon rest on the feeder tray? What rare, tropical diseases does Jon’s spittle contain? And what other mysterious aliases does this evil photocopying mastermind have? Vote Jon and we’ll unfortunately all find out.

— Committee to Elect Smith & Vitelli

Hi. I’m Jon Chironna. First, I just wanted to thank my supporters and staff, both those who are helping me in my re-election campaign and those who have made the last four years the most productive years this copy room has ever seen. Our run rate is up over 14% versus the previous three fiscals, and our toner to page ratio is the highest this company has ever seen. Canon has given me the Smudgefree Man Of The Year Award for two years running, and I have passed the Xerox Olympics test of producing a spiral-bound double-sided 200-page PowerPoint presentation on high-gloss paper with a blindfold on. I can run on my record of crisp, clean copies and a spotless record of collation. And I hope you agree when I say: I’m voting for myself. I mean, I’m voting for Jon Chironna, whether or not that is actually me. Thank you. Please vote Jon.

— Collation Coalition to Re-elect Jon

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Yikes, Virginia!
The Further Correspondence of Virginia O’Hanlon & Mr. Francis Church

By:

We all know of the Christmas of 1897 when a perplexed young girl wrote to the editor of the New York Sun in her quest to prove the existence of Santa Claus. Mr. Frank Church’s stirring response truly defined the spirit of Christmas for all generations. And the phrase, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus,” has become the rallying cry of all true believers. But the story doesn’t end there.

*****************************************************************

4/12/1898

Dear Mr. Church,

Thank you for your wonderful answer to my letter. My family was very happy. And my little friends now truly and forever believe in Santa Claus. But now my friends are saying there is no Easter Bunny! What am I to do? Papa still says if you read it in the Sun it must be so. Please tell me the truth, is there an Easter Bunny?

Signed,

Virginia O’Hanlon

*****************************************************************

4/20/1898

Dear Virginia,

How terrible a place this gray little planet would be if there were no Easter Bunny! Why, no Easter Bunny? Then your friends may as well say “No springtime,” “No joy,” “No love!” They are wrong, Virginia, for as long as the human heart beats and carries in it generosity, devotion and charity, there will forever be an Easter Bunny.

Francis Church

Editor, NY Sun

*****************************************************************

10/2/1898

Dear Mr. Church,

I lost my tooth yesterday at school and when I told my little friends I was going to put it under my pillow for the tooth fairy, they laughed and taunted me. They said my Mama and Papa place the shiny nickel beneath my pillow during the night and then put the tooth in a jar and sell it to people in Chinatown. Can this be, sir? I know you will tell me the truth as you are kind and forthright. Is there a tooth fairy?

Signed,

Virginia O’Hanlon

*****************************************************************

10/20/98

Dear Virginia,

Okay, sure, tooth fairies. They exist. They will exist as long as people need love and hope and dreams. That’s good. There are tooth fairies, Virginia.

Signed,

Frank Church

NY Sun

*****************************************************************

7/12/1899

Dear Mr. Church, Is Bigfoot real? Inquiring minds want to know.

Signed,

Virginia O’Hanlon

*****************************************************************

8/08/1899

Dear Virginia,

I guess. I’ve never seen him, but a friend of mine has, so, sure, there is a Bigfoot.

Signed,

Frank Church

NY Sun

*****************************************************************

8/12/1899

Dear Mr. Church,

Leprechauns? Are there such things as leprechauns?

Signed,

Virginia O’Hanlon

*****************************************************************

10/02/1899

Dear Virginia,

No. Bigfoot ate them all.

Signed,

Frank Church

NY Sun

*****************************************************************

3/19/1901

Dear Mr. Church,

Where do babies come from? I say the stork brings them. My little friends say that Mama and Papa do vile, disgusting things to one another to make a baby. I know you’ll tell me true, ’cause Papa still says if it’s in the Sun, it must be so. So, does the stork bring the baby?

Signed,

Virginia O’Hanlon

*****************************************************************

4/01/1901

Dear Virginia,

I would seriously advise you to stop hanging out with these little friends of yours. Who are these kids? Where are they picking this stuff up?

Signed,

F. Church

NY Sun

P.S. We’re canceling your father’s subscription to the Sun.

*****************************************************************

5/23/1910

Dear Mr. Church,

My friends speak of a G-spot, but my boyfriend can’t find it. Is there a G-spot?

Signed,

Virginia O’Hanlon

*****************************************************************

5/30/1910

Dear Virginia,

My wife is the NY Sun and my children are its editorials so I have no idea what you are talking about. Virginia, I’m old and tired and the paper just announced it’s folding. I’m passing your letter to Dear Abby. Good luck to you.

Signed,

F. Church

*****************************************************************

8/05/1911

Dear NY Daily News,

I’m looking for a Mr. Francis Church, formerly of the New York Sun. Is he working there? I know you’ll tell me if he does, ’cause Papa says that since the Sun folded, you can count on the Daily News. Thank you.

Signed,

Virginia O’Hanlon

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