* Welcome to The Big Jewel, the most unabashedly literary of all the half dozen or so literary humor sites. Take that, internet! Listen in as our good friend Jon Sindell introduces some familiar faces at a reading that must be taking place somewhere in the Great Beyond.

Author Bios From An Extraordinary American Lit Reading

By:
jsind@sbcglobal.net
jonsindell.com

Good evening, literature lovers. It is my honor to introduce the famed authors who will read their work tonight in an evening unique in the annals of annals.

Our first reader, WALT WHITMAN, is the poet of the body and the soul, and what is in them is as much in him: the stevedore with his hearty “Heave ‘e’ yo!”…the wagoner with his bulging biceps…the spinster in her chamber, penning poems by the oil lamp’s glow; as well as the whale that rendered the oil; and the harpoonist with his mighty thighs; and the krill swirling in the leviathan’s gut; and also the gut. The krill, the oil, the gut, the harpoonist, all spill out of me — wait, how did I get here? That’s him, not me! He, Walt Whitman, is the poet of the body and soul! Of each several body and each several soul! Sing glory hallelujah, world without end!

EDGAR ALLAN POE, our second reader, must not be thought mad, though his pen drips with fantastic terrors never seen before, severally induced by the Fiend Intemperance, the spirit of Perverseness, and the demon that preys on the melancholic soul. Edgar loathes neither black cats nor ravens, but, frankly, that egomaniac Whitman gives him the fantods.

emily dickinson is at Home tonight, yet far from Home — and has “consented” — better, in Truth, to say “relented” — to her Poetry being read by a bolder Spirit here in her stead, one whose Constitution can abide the Presence of the Abominable Poe.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN has written innumerable spoken-word pieces that charitable commentators have hiked up as “orations.” One of these was a flash hybrid piece that Abe read at a Pennsylvania battlefield to honor the Union war dead. Though Abe is amused by the legend that he penned the piece on the back of an envelope, he thinks postcard prose could well be a thing. A melancholy optimist, Abe seeks through his writing — against the odds, it seems — to arouse the better angels of our nature.

FREDERICK DOUGLASS is the author of Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. That’s slave, people! He hasn’t the time to write dandified bios!

HARPER LEE wrote To Kill a Mockingbird. She also, it would seem, wrote Go Set a Watchman, or a draft that she left in a drawer somewhere with some dried-up Jujubes and a spelling medal. Where’s my water! I can’t swallow this horse pill! Who are you? Sign what? What sequel? What mockingbird? If you see a mockingbird, shut the damn window! Atticus who? What Scout? I’m not in the Scouts! Oh, why can’t everyone leave me alone!

That summer RAYMOND CARVER rented a little house on the north coast with a drinking buddy named Gus. Ray, Gus said. You should write now. Right now? said Ray. Well, Gus said, I mean, write. Write now, or write later. Ray said, Write what? The window was cracked and a breeze came in. It tasted like salt. I don’t know what, said Gus, and waved his hand like he was shooing a fly. Gus had a box of old dry Hydrox cookies from the Safeway. Eat one, he said. Alright, said Ray. It’s a small, good thing.

Where J.D. SALINGER lives or what he does besides writing are none of your damn business.

ARTHUR MILLER married Marilyn Monroe. Have you seen a picture of Miller? Have you seen her? In scaling such prodigious matrimonial heights, the scrawny bespectacled playwright foreshadowed the dreck film Revenge of the Nerds by thirty years. MILLER also wrote The Death of a Salesman and The Crucible, which won major awards, he supposes — but good god, Marilyn!

F. SCOTT FITZGERALD distilled the incomparable milk of wonder into words in The Great Gatsby. He drinks incomparable-milk-of-wonder laced with bootleg bourbon nightly.

ERNEST HEMINGWAY writes lean, supple prose and drinks whiskey straight, unlike that Ivy League pantywaist Fitzgerald.

NORMAN MAILER wrote The Armies of the Night and The Naked and the Dead. He’ll knock Hemingway’s block off if the drunken bastard drops his left.

 

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* Welcome to The Big Jewel, your one-stop shop for all of your Rodney Dangerfield needs. Do you need a bit about Rodney spouting Elizabethan English? We have it, courtesy of our good friend Jon Sindell.

Sir Rodney Of Dangerfields Takes The Mic

By:
jsind@sbcglobal.net
jonsindell.com

A hey and a ho and a hey nonny no, how ya doin’, how ya doin’? Nice crowd, lovely crowd, beautiful crowd — zounds, now I know why they call ’em “groundlings!” I’ve seen ground mutton fairer than these faces!

But I should talk, I should talk! Oh I’m ugly, very ugly. By the rood I’m an ugly knave. Even as a child I was ugly. One look at me and Oberon tells Titania, “On second thought, you can keep the changeling!” I tell ya, none accordeth me respect.

Ken thee who else is ugly? I can’t say out loud, but her name rhymes with “Clean Ebizeleth.” Have you seen that kisser? No wonder she’s “the Virgin Queen.” No jack would touch her with a ten-foot stave!

O, but I’m the ugliest one of all. And not just ugly, I’m fat, too. In troth I’m fat. “Fair round belly with good capon lined.” But I’m no Falstaff. Marry, he’s a fat one. Plump Jack’s so fat, when he sits around the tavern, he sits around the tavern!

Alas and alack, no laugh at all! What is this, a comic interlude or Juliet’s wake? I get more laughs when I talk to a skull! “Alas poor Yorick, I’m dying out here!” Even Horatio’s biting his thumb!

Speaking of dying, I pray let me tell thee, that sad sack Hamlet is one melancholy Dane. Have you seen his inky cloak and customary suit of solemn black? “Hey kid,” I ask him, “who gives you your fashion tips, Lady Macbeth?”

O, he’s a mad one, that Hamlet. “See yon cloud that’s shaped like a camel? Methinks it looks like weasel. Or like a whale.” Hey Prince, something’s rotten in the state of Denmark — and I think it’s your mind! Cut off the meds, Polonius, please!

But I jest, Hamlet’s deep, very deep. He peruses me down the length of his arm, his doublet all unbraced, and says, “You should be as old as I am if like a crab you could go backward.” “Kid,” I tell him, “get some new material! That offal smells like a bawdy house jake!” So he punches me through the arras! And I got one big arras, I’ll tell ya.

Verily, man respecteth me not. No, nor woman neither. Take Lady Macbeth. O, she’s a hot one. “Take my woman’s breasts for gall,” she says. “Take my woman’s breasts!” So I reach out to grab her, and she cries to Hecate, “Unsex me now!”

No jot of respect is accordeth me. “Unsex me now,” I hear that at home. Many a night and oft, upon the Rialto — our bedchamber — I tell my wife, “Hearest thou the nightingale, my dove?” And she says, “No way, knave, it’s the lark, herald of the dawn,” and shoves me out the door! Then some Romeo climbs in the back window! No respect is accordeth me at all.

Even my children give me no respect. The other day, I’m making out my will and dividing up the royalties to my movies, records, all my work, and I say to my daughters — three lovelies, such princesses — “Come give your papa a great big kiss to see who gets the most opulent third.” So I pucker up — and Regan plucks her own eyes out! No respect, no respect at all.

In sooth, you’ve been a wonderful crowd. I’ll be here all week, if Queen Liz doesn’t slice off a pound o’ my flesh and feed it to the dogs of war!

The rest is silence — just like my audience!

[exit Rodney]

 

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* Welcome to The Big Jewel, which is sort of like the comedic CliffsNotes for great literature. And this week's offering is sort of familiar, because it sort of seems we may have heard lines somewhat like these before somewhere. Turns out author Jon Sindell has the right fake quote for any occasion.

Literary Outtakes

By:

jonsindell.com

One morning Gregor Samsa awoke from a bad sleep to discover that he was a pimply, scrawny kid in a cube, so he put on a bug suit to freak out his folks. ~ Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis

Two plus two equals four. ~ George Orwell, 1984

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, unless ’twere called privy or something — eeew, gross! ~ Juliet, Romeo And Juliet

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Chew on that and blow your mind. ~ Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

Gatsby gulped down the incomparable milk of wonderful cows raised on wholesome Kentucky bluegrass. ~ Nick Carraway, The Great Gatsby

And so we beat on, like boats against the current, borne ceaselessly into seasickness. ~ Nick Carraway, The Great Gatsby

Atticus always said that you never really know a man until you walk around a while in his shoes. Just standing on Boo Radley’s porch was enough to make me check my shoes for roaches and my head for chiggers. ~ Scout, To Kill A Mockingbird

Call me, Ishmael! I miss you big time! ~ Moby Dick

Isn’t it pretty to think that generations of English teachers will demand that their tormented students find profundity in the last line of this book, knowing they can find none themselves? ~ Lady Brett Ashley, The Sun Also Rises

I don’t feel like going into all that David Copperfield crap about what a lousy childhood I had and all, unless your definition of childhood includes ages thirteen through sixteen — in which case I am really gonna unload. ~ Holden Caulfield, The Catcher in the Rye

I saw the best minds of my generation, he said. And the drug–addled egotists swallowed it whole! ~ Allen Ginsburg

The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again — and realized they’d been goosed with a cattle prod. ~ Animal Farm

Great! One ring to rule them all — and in the darkness, I can’t find it! ~ The Lord of the Rings

 

 

 

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* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we don't know much about history, but we know what we like. We like funny pieces by Jon Sindell.

Historical Outtakes

By:

http://www.jonsindell.com

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to miss the jokes. ~ George Santayana

You et too, Brute? So what’s with the steak knife? ~ Julius Caesar

Give me liberty, or give me a favorable capital gains tax rate. ~ Patrick Henry

Seven-and-one-quarter-dozen years ago, our Fathers brought forth a new nation conceived in liberty and stuff — here! Right here, on this very continent! ~ Abraham Lincoln

You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you can’t fool — wait, it’s America in 2016? Never mind. ~ Abraham Lincoln

“A house divided against itself” is my second favorite koan, right after “The sound of one hand clapping.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

A Spectre is haunting Europe, but fear not — that dashing British chap, Bond, is on it. ~ Karl Marx

Religion is the opium of the masses, whereas the Gothic novel is the sedative of the elite. ~ Karl Marx

Buena suerte, Zapata. ~ Zapatistas

Those who cannot remember the password are condemned to retrieve it from a drawer full of clutter. ~ George Santayana

We have nothing to fear but a continued erosion of public confidence in the banking system, labor-management violence, class warfare, widespread hunger due to unwise soil management practices, race riots in our cities, a Bolshevik style revolution as in Russia, or the rise of fascism as in Germany and Italy. And fear itself, duh. ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt

I return from Germany bringing peace for hours at a time. ~ Neville Chamberlain

I have nothing to offer in the way of pecuniary contributions to the war effort due to a temporary illiquidity of assets resulting from wartime conditions, but I’ll gladly contribute all of the blood, toil, tears and sweat I can. ~ Winston Churchill

Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, roughly four-fifths of the way to the end of the beginning, more or less. ~ Winston Churchill

Never have so many owed so much to so few as a result of the rapacious Labour Party’s confiscatory tax policies ~ Winston Churchill

BRB ~ General Douglas MacArthur

An iron curtain has descended across the continent, calling Slavic taste in design squarely into question. ~ Winston Churchill

We must never negotiate out of fear, but we must never fear to negotiate out of doors in good weather. ~ John Fitzgerald Kennedy

¿Es posible, no? ~ United Farm Workers

Those who cannot remember the past are likely products of the American educational system. ~ George Santayana

“I have a dream that one day all of God’s children — and, yes, of course, all children of atheists — and children who are atheists themselves — a dream that all of God’s children — and all atheist children — and, of course, all children of any sexual orientation whatsoever, including ones I haven’t heard of yet…and, naturally, all differently abled children…and all abled children, to be sure — Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, black men and white men — and, yes, absolutely, black women and white women too — and red men and women, and brown men and women, and yellow men and women — I have a dream that all of God’s children — and all atheist children, and all… ~ Martin Luther King

Mr. Gorbachev, tear down that wall and plant a rose garden. Yes, of course red. A water feature and statuary would be nice too. ~ Ronald Reagan

Those who cannot remember the past are the majority of modern voters. And I’m pissed. ~ George Santayana

 

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