* Welcome to The Big Jewel, proudly located somewhere between the eighth and ninth circles of Hell. This week Jamie Brew brings us a new view of that magical place, as told in the poetic voice of its most famous publicist, Dante.

Dante’s Infernet

By:
brew.jamie@gmail.com

CANTO I

When, in the course of browsing, I grew bored
and clicked one link too many waywardly,
I stumbled on the Internet’s great fjord

by which all information flows to sea.
Concluding that I could not cross, I went
to double back, but found in front of me

a blinding, pixelated silhouette!
It took some time to load, but finished soon,
whereon with coarse and raspy voice, it set

itself to song, and eulogized the moon.
“We like the moon coz it is close to us,”
it sang, and I recalled this pair of loons,

the Spongmonkeys, who caused such joyful fuss
in that archaic year, two thousand three.
Stumbling o’er my words, I bade them cease

their bawdy instrumental revelry
and, awestruck, asked the beings to disclose
to me their actual identity:

“Are you then they? The mascots of Quiznos
who ruled the Internet in days of yore?
O spirits, pray, reveal yourselves as those

prosimians whom all the world adored!”
The singers now acknowledged me and spoke:
“Indeed we are, but who are you, and wherefore

have you traveled out so far, strange bloke?”
So I confessed to them that I was lost,
and must have come here by some wrong keystroke.

“Well, we can guide you home, and at no cost,”
intoned the primates cheerily, “Obey
our words, have faith, and follow us across

a bleak hellscape. It is the only way.”

CANTO II

I can but humbly ask you to accept
the sequence of events I now relate.
Down a ridge, with Spongmonkeys, I crept;

and at the base, there stood a mighty gate.
Upon its arch, it bore a warning sign
denoting contents inappropriate

for mortal apprehension such as mine.
But blithely I ignored it, clicking on
the button indicating “I’m divine”

and passing through, I came upon
a wide expanse, the realm of viral limbo,
whose denizens my hosts described anon:

“Residing here are those whose videos,
though worthy, chanced to live before the birth
of YouTube; so they have become mere sideshows;

prematurity meant unfair dearth
in viewership. We count ourselves among
such luckless memes, the has-beens of the earth.”

So they explained, and led me through the throngs,
who wailed and moaned, complaining of a major
slight against their souls, a slight that stung

and paralyzed their online selves. “Our pages
are ignored!” cried one, and cried another:
“Badger badger badger badger badger.”

As we trekked on, my sight began to blur.

CANTO III

There, like a lightning-ravaged bosque, before
us lay a broken webpage, badly scarred
by server error number 404.

And though a posted message gave its word
that admin personnel had been deployed
to remedy the problem, it was hard

for those poor wretches bound within the void
to think that this time it would tell the truth;
so long with their quick patience had it toyed.

“Found here are souls of spammers most uncouth
who hawked their hollow links ad nauseam.
Condemned are they to fates that dwarf the ruthless

hardships down in hell; it’s tedium
that makes up their unenviable lot.
They waste away down here, awash in scum

of their creation, forced to read through what
false ads they wrote, and click on them, and hope
that they will lead to happiness, and not

to viruses and bugs and other creeps
infesting the wide, digital domain.
But pity not these evil misanthropes,

for they have brought upon themselves this pain.”

CANTO IV

Within the central circle of the site,
amid a swath of rotten data, here
I saw a pit devoid of any light.

My guides, inviting me to lend an ear,
began a rambling, seething diatribe
against the miscreants imprisoned there.

“Dislikers, heathen sinners of YouTube,
are guilty of that most abhorrent crime,
one even worse than clicking ‘Unsubscribe,’

or sullying the comments with their grimy
trollish filth. These fiends have had the nerve
to hate on videos; they’ve spent their time

deriding others’ work, therefore they serve
out sentences made by their peers to fit
the felony. For instance, NaStYcUrVe

decreed that all who disliked ‘Charlie Bit
My Finger’ should, by way of punishment,
see Charlie bite and gnaw upon their digits

for eternity; these souls in torment
writhing, seized by pure, untrammeled hate.
Or take another righteous comment

made by BALLERina518,
who saw that sixty people had disliked
a video of kittens lying prostrate

on a dog, and wished a thousand spikes
would come and run those cretins through
who dared disparage such cute, furry tykes.

And as they wish, so it is done unto
these hordes of villains.” Now I gauged
the Spongmonkeys were through; indeed, the two

told me I could return to my homepage.
But, strange, I found that I’d quite lost the will
to stop observing sinners in their rage.

I chose to stay; I had some time to kill.

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* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we don't deign to notice stories of global importance until they are more or less over. Topicality is not the only virtue, people! Let's not forget procrastination. Hence, first-time Big Jewel contributor Jamie Brew and his take on the nastiest environmental problem this country has ever faced.

We Are Dealing With The Olive Oil Spill

By:

I understand that many of you are angry. As frustrating as the situation is for you, imagine how frustrating it is for all of us here at Sorrento Olive Oil, as we find that our flagship olive oil bottle’s record six-month accident-free streak, as well as the celebratory dinner we were holding in its honor, have both been tragically interrupted.

We can discuss who knocked over which container of olive oil while pretending to drink directly from it using a straw later, but for now let us focus on the task at hand: we must act together to stem the flow of olive oil that is still pouring forth onto the tablecloth and floor of Lino’s Traditional Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria. The chief obstacle to this endeavor is that unfortunately, the little spout on the top of the bottle that regulates how much olive oil comes out fell off in the spill and has not been retrieved. Because of this we have so far been unable to prevent further spillage, but I guarantee you a new solution is in the works.

Yes, I know that I have said that before. To be fair, a solution was in the works at the time but, as you all know, the Fight Olive Oil With More Olive Oil strategy was unfortunately even less effective than the preceding vinegar-based method. Some would even say it exacerbated the problem. The same critics would say that there are now three olive oil bottles pouring onto the table instead of just one. I remind those people that playing the blame game will get us nowhere, and that there are bound to be challenges when the field of technology and innovation is called on to solve the problems of our changing world. At the very least, we have improved on our water-based strategy, which was admittedly more of a solution to our original fire-based approach than it was a remedy for the oil spill.

Let’s try to move on, and focus on the present. Our most recent attempt was entitled Operation Smash-Kill; it entailed smashing one of the bottles with a shoe. We saw results almost immediately, as the number of leaking bottles decreased from three to two. However, what we did not plan for — indeed, what no one could have foreseen — was the rapid release of nearly all of the olive oil previously contained in the third bottle, the one we smashed. It appears that the table is even more drenched in olive oil than it was before, and a new glass problem has presented itself.

Yes, that is correct. Now there is olive oil all over the shoe. But let’s not get distracted.

Our scientists are currently at work assessing the feasibility of addressing the problem using bread. However, we must remember that our supply of bread is limited. This is not Bottomless Basket Night at Lino’s, and even if it were, we have reason to believe the restaurant staff would be hesitant to continue producing food that is only being used to mop up other food.

Rest assured that we are devoting our full attention to the proper handling of this disaster. Several napkin-reconnaissance teams have been dispatched, and we cannot make a fully informed decision until we receive their report. In the meantime I ask you to keep things in perspective. The restaurant is a very big place — thousands of square feet! — and the olive oil spill, at least for now, has spread only ten or so feet in each direction. And let us thank good luck that there have been precious few casualties.

Please, go back to your meals. We have this under control.

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