* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we are always ready to admit our mistakes. Especially when they were really made by Erik Cofer.

We’d Like To Apologize For Last Season’s Egregious Oversights

By:
erikcofer@gmail.com

As you can probably imagine, running a television series is no easy task. We try our best, but even so, sometimes we err. Many of you have brought last season’s errors and incongruities to our attention, and for that we thank you. Rest assured that the concerns you voiced have been heard loud and clear.

For instance, several fans sent us visual evidence that proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the gilded silver vase resting atop the Henderson family hearth in episode 3 appears in episodes 4-7 as a gilded bronze vase. The silver vase was dislodged and destroyed in the midst of a rehearsal for episode 4. We improvised the best we could, but alas, it clearly wasn’t good enough. Please accept our sincere apologies.

Others have stated their displeasure at the use of contemporary music to accompany a show putatively set in the 1970s. Again, that’s our bad. Ditto with the cell phones. With a show as intricate as this one, these little anachronisms will occasionally rear their ugly heads.

Perhaps the most befuddling question we repeatedly received was “What happened to Cecilia’s pregnancy?” None of us could recall Cecilia ever becoming pregnant, so we went back and reviewed the tape, and sure enough, the previous season ended with a dramatic close-up of Cecilia’s positive pregnancy test. That was a pretty embarrassing gaff on our part — admittedly punctuated by her revelation in the ensuing season premiere that radiation from the thermonuclear terrorist attack had rendered her infertile.

And we could have sworn that we had chronicled the nuclear holocaust at the end of season 3, but it turns out we decided at the last minute to end on Edward’s birthday party instead, which is of course where Cecilia took the pregnancy test. Once we realized this narrative omission, the confused faces of our actors made a lot more sense — as did your puzzled and indignant responses to the new post-apocalyptic plotline.

The copious death threats you’ve made on the lives of our writing staff solidify your status as an attentive, learned audience. You perceive every detail, and have no qualms about bluntly informing us when we’ve offended your sense of televisual authenticity. It’s really a treat for us to write, produce, and direct a series for fans as savvy as you.

We’re always seeking new ways to surprise you guys, but not every attempt to do so proves successful. We truly had only your gratification in mind with the big twist in episode 8 that Ken was actually a cyborg. Little did we know at the time, we were only fooling ourselves. As you, our viewers, have astutely pointed out over and over again, Ken was already revealed to be a cyborg five episodes earlier. Now we know why the idea seemed so familiar to us. Anyway, egg all over our faces on that one. (Of course, it sure would have been nice if a certain actor had spoken up before we proceeded to design a pseudo-cybernetic body cast for him for the second time, but hey, there’s only so much you can ask of someone being paid $25,000 per minute of screen time.)

And yes, you’re all totally right. Not only would Sarah not be twerking to the Miley Cyrus song playing on her iPhone when she’s suddenly invited to compete on Wheel of Fortune in 1973, but she also wouldn’t be live tweeting her whirlwind of emotions on the set. That’s another anachronistic blunder on our part, no doubt. Nonetheless, the persistent e-mails reminding us that Wheel of Fortune didn’t first air until 1975 kind of seem like piling on.

With the network’s renewal decision rapidly approaching, it’s understandable that so many of you have questioned the show’s future viability. We absolutely have every intention in the world of continuing the series, though we acknowledge that killing off the entire cast in the season finale seems to indicate otherwise. Don’t worry, we’re diligently devising a way to bring everyone back — yes, even Ken, whose half-human, half-machine body was ripped to shreds by that new radiation-generated hybrid species introduced in the last two episodes.

Once again, we’d like to apologize for the numerous faux pas that may have diminished your viewing experience this past season. We will not, however, apologize for the alien abduction subplot introduced in episode 7 and promptly abandoned after episode 9. Continuity issues aside, those were three rock solid episodes, and we defy anyone to attest otherwise.

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* Welcome to The Big Jewel, the place where it is safe to admit your demons and then carefully, methodically attempt to exterminate them. There is no medicine like internet medicine, as Dr. Erik Cofer will be the first to tell you. Let us also take this opportunity to draw your attention to a new anthology of mom-related humor that includes contributions from several Big Jewel writers. The book is called Moms Are Nuts and you can get either the Kindle version or the paperback at Amazon by clicking on the ad to the right of this announcement.

WebMD’s Demonic Possession Health Center

By:
erikcofer@gmail.com

What is Demonic Possession?
Demonic possession is a serious illness characterized by the presence of a demon within your body. The affliction typically causes radical changes in demeanor and those suffering from demonic possession very often exhibit little regard for themselves or those around them. While demonic possession in itself is rarely life-threatening for the possessed individual, it may lead to more severe complications if left untreated.

Signs & Symptoms
Though the exact symptoms of demonic possession vary from person to person, some common signs and symptoms include:

Nausea

Headaches

Indigestion

Projectile Vomiting

Severed friendships

Newly-formed friendships with people who listen to obscure metal bands like Mayhem and Gorgoroth

Stigmata

Bodily movements and gestures that defy the laws of science

An impeccable basso profondo voice that really holds one’s attention

A tendency to decapitate anyone within a five-meter radius on a whim

Lethargy

Risk Factors & Causes
Experts are largely baffled as to exactly what causes demonic possession, though recent studies conducted at Johns Hopkins and Emory University suggest that naughty little boys and girls are particularly at risk.

Diagnosis & Tests
While there are occasions in which the presence of a demon within an individual is obvious, such instances are extremely rare. Most cases require the assistance of a professional exorcist. Demons thrive upon discord, and it is therefore crucial to select an exorcist whose cultural and religious beliefs conform to your own. For atheists who suspect demonic possession, see Dissociative Identity Disorder.

Your exorcist will likely begin by administering Reverend Bob Larson’s Demon TestĀ®, which can be purchased at www.demontest.com for the reasonable price of $9.95. If the test proves inconclusive, which it often does, your exorcist will perform a physical examination.

A typical physical exam begins with the exorcist alternatingly beating and kissing the stomach region with the intention of antagonizing the putative demon within. Should the demon refuse to reveal itself, it may be necessary for the exorcist to forcefully and repeatedly submerge your head in water until the demon responds.

If the physical exam fails to yield evidence of demonic possession, your exorcist may elect to perform a psychological exam. This examination is essentially a stress-inducing interview designed to unwittingly arouse the demon from its hiding. Common interviewing techniques include:

— Inundation of Puerile Insults (e.g., “Hey buddy, I had a romp under the covers with your mom last night. Oh wait — you don’t even have a mom, because you’re a demon. Punk.”)

— Appeal to Reason (e.g., “You know, actually, now that I say that, I’m sort of questioning myself. Do you guys have mothers, or, uh, what’s the deal exactly?”)

— Threats of Torture (e.g., “While I’m waiting for you to respond, let me see what I have here on my iTunes. Hmm, looks like nothing but Nickelbackā€¦”)

— Actual Torture (e.g., “It’s not like you to say sorry/ I was waiting on a different story/ This time I’m mistaken / For handing you a heart worth breaking.”)

By this point, it will be patently obvious whether there is a demon in you or not (see False Demonic Possession Syndrome).

Prognostication & Treatment
It is important that you and your exorcist work together to establish a plan of action in treating your demonic possession. Not all demonic possessions necessitate immediate exorcisms. Some demons are benign and can safely dwell within you for several years before action is required, possibly even evolving into a temporary source of comfort. It is important, however, not to get too attached to your demon, because there will inevitably come a day when it needs to be expelled from your body/soul.

Unlike benign demons, malignant demons do require immediate action. Neglecting such a demon may result in metastasis, and, potentially, the demonization of your entire body. Untreated malignant demons also leave you at risk for Demonic Possession Possession, a condition by which the demon possessing you becomes possessed by another demon, and you’re left to wrestle with multiple demons.

When the time comes for your exorcism, follow the instructions of your exorcist. You will very likely need to be tied down for the duration of the procedure. In severe cases, an ETA (Exorcist’s Tickling Assistant) may be necessary. Tickling functions as a sedative measure on summoned demons, allowing the exorcist to perform the ritual unimpeded. It is unclear exactly why this measure works or how it was originally discovered.

Exorcisms typically take between 30 seconds and six days. Most patients who undergo exorcisms experience full recoveries. In very rare cases, the procedure does not successfully remove the demon, resulting in the patient’s eternal damnation.

Home Remedies
There are no reliable home remedies for demonic possession currently documented, though many people attempt to simply outrun their demons.

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* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where weightier considerations have kept us from making something so devolved as a fat joke. Up until now, that is. There's a first time for everything, as Erik Cofer proves in his first piece for us.

I Will Eat My Way Into Your Memory

By:
erikcofer@gmail.com

Sure, I could lose some weight. I could devise an effective workout regimen and commit to it, maybe even establish a little muscle definition. More importantly, I could eat healthy foods in moderation instead of consuming and consuming until I succumb to the overwhelming fear that if I shove anything else down my gullet I won’t reach the toilet before an eruption takes places in my pants. I could do all of these things, but they just seem like futile measures for someone such as myself, someone seeking celebrity. When was the last time a friend stopped you on the street and said, “Hey, look over there. Do you see that slightly out-of-shape but not extraordinarily overweight guy?” Most likely never.

That’s why I can no longer settle for garden-variety fatness. I must eat my way into public consciousness. I will mine the human spirit and discover its core. Then I’ll douse that already sweet, succulent core in a thick layer of Kansas City-style barbecue sauce. It won’t be long before I’m too monstrously corpulent to even walk down the street. Two dozen pygmies will guide me through traffic on a hospital gurney, with a television crew following me the whole way. The head of the crew will be named Alex, and I’ll look up at him and ask, “How am I doing, Alex?” and Alex’ll smile, shoot me a thumbs up, and say, “You’re doing just fine, bud.” Sidewalks will clear as I approach. I will be a VIP, like the President of the United States, except morbidly obese and crested atop a steel-reinforced gurney.

I will be a media sensation. The paparazzi will close in and won’t be able to get enough of me. I mean literally, they’ll be too close to capture my entire torso in a single frame. Subway will hire me for a testimonial ad about what happens when you don’t eat Subway for every meal of your entire life. A reserve basketball player that few have ever heard of will use me as a prop for the NBA Slam Dunk Competition. He’ll finish with a perfect score, and he’ll get laid that night. I won’t, but only because sex will be physically impossible for me by that point.

I’ll feign modesty and annoyance at all the attention, but inside, I’ll be smiling and gleefully battling myriad health problems with varying degrees of severity. “It takes a concerted effort to be this fat,” I’ll tell Maury Povich. “Most days the eating is a chore,” I’ll insist to Katie Couric, with KFC gravy dribbling down my chins and onto the gown I’ve crafted out of a king-sized bed sheet. Letterman will dare me to eat his hand. I’ll reach down and begin to coarsely and vociferously devour it. He’ll raise both hands in the air and start to laugh, revealing the gag to the audience. After I’ve finished ingesting the plastic hand I’ll start laughing too, as if I was in on the joke the whole time.

I will have my own star embedded on Hollywood Boulevard made out of a crystallizing agent that eats away at the other stars. When Kim Jong-un flies me out to his palace and offers me a position as his human shield, I’ll politely decline. “There’s not enough food in your country to feed me,” I’ll say. He’ll reluctantly agree. On my flight back to the States, I’ll inject myself with the liquefied bacon my personal trainer smuggled on board for me, keeping one step ahead of my competition. “I never asked to be a role model,” I’ll tell Oprah via satellite, from my bed. I’ll plug my show, which airs every Tuesday at 9:00 p.m. on TLC.

I won’t make the mistake that’s hindered many of my porcine pupils. I shall not toy with the gods of decorated excess. The path to celebrity fatness is a one-way street, a flight with no return, something like an STD for the sexually deprived. Never will I face the mass derision that accompanies a highly publicized, triumphant case of weight loss. Believe me, I’m just as sickened as you are by the unadulterated smugness of the fat-to-fit crowd. Rest assured that I will content myself with the fame and fortune that my indiscriminate eating habits bless me with, not once allowing myself to forget that it’s about the people, not my own personal health nor general well-being.

Thanks to the staggering support of my fans across the globe, I’ll still be remembered long after I’ve infamously attempted to triple the world record for most cheese Danishes consumed in a 24-hour period, gone into cardiac arrest at cheese Danish #56, and died. The world will recognize my name, my face, the blubberous sub-cranial region where my neck used to be, and the graham cracker crumbs scattered about my bloated stomach in the photo taken for the cover of the New York Post. I will live on through the wildly unoriginal photo caption memes that your children will view on Facebook, 4chan, and reddit, and that your children’s children will view on whatever sites replace those. Your children’s children won’t have children. An asteroid will wipe out the human race before then.

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