* Welcome to The Big Jewel, the preschool of literary humor sites. And speaking of preschool, our good friend Karl Lykken has a few words for you...

Re: Parents’ Concerns Over Practices At Pull-Ups To Start-Ups Technical Preschool

By:
knlykken@gmail.com

Pull-Ups to Start-Ups Parents and Guardians,

You all should be happy to know that your children did quite well in their Customer Data Aggregation Practicum today (except the Fischers, as I’m afraid young Tina just can’t seem to understand that if you didn’t want us monitoring your conversations, you would be conducting them in sign language in an empty, windowless room). However, as I was reviewing some of the data that your children had collected on you to see how our school newsletter’s ads could better suit your individual needs, I happened to hear a rather disturbing conversation on the feed of a webcam in one of your babies’ pacifiers (I won’t say whose baby this was, as we keep all data anonymous to preserve your privacy).

In this video, a woman who appears to be the sister of a PUSU parent (who shall remain nameless outside of my personal notes and those of the other staff and students) was expressing her doubts about some of the methods we’ve been using here at Pull-Ups to Start-Ups. Naturally, controlling the opinions of customers’ loved ones is a critical part of brand management (Silicon Valley wouldn’t be investing so much money in developing robot lookalikes of all our family members if it wasn’t). Thus, I’m going to nip these slanderous comments in the bud, and assure all of you that if you’d seen some of the results from your children’s Data Aggregation Practicum, you’d realize that all of your siblings are depraved and should not be trusted.

Now, onto the specific concerns raised. It was suggested that having eight hours of class followed by eight more hours of homework is too much, as four-year-olds need time to play. However, for a true software engineer, coding is playing, and the only way to ensure that all of your children feel that way is to keep them too busy to engage in any other sort of recreation. In Plato’s Code Cave, work is the only fun they know.

Second, while my lawyer informs me that we can’t deny that staring at a screen for sixteen hours every day may have a less-than-positive effect on the development of our Junior Entrepreneurs’ eyes, this shouldn’t be seen as a bad thing. If your finger is on the pulse of tech, you’ll know that by the time your children reach high school, brain implant technology with have made the primitive five senses as obsolete as face-to-face conversations, so a little blindness won’t be holding anyone back. To the contrary, there is evidence to suggest that having a disability can provide an entrepreneur with extra drive to create a business or product that can help with their condition, and there’s nothing more important than the will to succeed. Besides, suggesting that a visual impairment is something bad that should be avoided is ableist discrimination, and we have no place for that at Pull-Ups to Start-Ups Technical Preschool.

Also, it was claimed that our “only tattle if you’re blaming a scapegoat for widespread misconduct in which you’re a participant” policy teaches children to be hypocritical. This is nonsense. What is hypocritical is spending years working tirelessly to advance your career — neglecting your family, your love life, your scheduled doctor’s appointment to see why you’ve been coughing up blood — only to say that you don’t deserve what you’ve earned just because you “harassed” a few coworkers or “sold an untested AI program to the military and assured them it was safe to put in control of our nuclear stockpile” or whatever. That’s what’s hypocritical.

Finally, it was insinuated that if I knew as much about what it takes to found a billion-dollar company as I claim, that I would have done so instead of founding a preschool in Nebraska. Apparently it didn’t occur to the sister in question that, while majority ownership in a billion-dollar company is obviously worth taking out a second mortgage on your soul for, education is priceless, as is helping our children attain it. Besides, you all know what the tuition here is, so it’s not like I’m stuck using a two-year-old iPhone or anything. And anyone familiar with startup culture knows that just because I lost my seed funding and went under six times doesn’t mean I wouldn’t have succeeded the seventh if my mom wasn’t so small-minded as to insist that she’d only invest again if I moved back home and started a business catering to people she personally knew to be suckers.

Anyway, I hope this has assuaged any concerns you may have had. If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me, or just state them clearly while within a twenty-meter radius of any of your electrical appliances or children’s toys.

Yours,

Peter Bolton
Founder, CEO & Principal
Pull-Ups to Start-Ups Technical Preschool

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* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we have nothing better to do than keep up-to-date on the latest in funeral tech.

New Features in FuneralLive Version 3.0

By:
knlykken@gmail.com

— MournerCount: Our definitive count of how many mourners tuned into the funeral livestream for at least 30 seconds finally gives us a quantitative measure of the value of our lives. An official MournerCount Report is easily shareable on all major social media platforms and tombstones.

— Tears On Demand: Boost your MournerCount with professional funeral viewers. You worked hard for your money while you were alive, so why not let it work for you after you die?

— Cameos To Die For: When it comes to mourners, do you value quality over quantity? Hire a tearful celebrity to tune in to watch you or your loved one’s final send-off. From government officials to tech moguls to Instagram all-stars, FuneralLive’s celebrity partners will make it clear that while the guest of honor’s life has ended, it definitely mattered.

— Mourner Filters: Finding the right balance between hot and grief-stricken in your Sadness Selfies just got easier. Add in virtual tears to express your sorrow without smudging your makeup or wrinkling that beautiful face. After all, if you weren’t meant to look good at a funeral, they wouldn’t require you to wear such a flattering color.

— Corpse Filters: Don’t you and your loved ones want to be remembered at your best? With our new corpse filters, you’ll have one foot in the grave and one on the runway. Add or subtract a few pounds, give your cheeks a lively color, or edit out those bullet wounds (or edit them in — why not look cool even after you’re cold?). We can add in a halo to let people know you’re an angel, or give you a kooky zombie look if you want to put the “fun” in “funeral.”

— Laugh and Sob Tracks: Grief affects people differently, but don’t let an emotionally numb crowd ruin the reception of the eulogy you worked so hard on. Our customizable recordings of laughter, wailing, and tearful sniffs can give your livestreamed speech the response it deserves.

— Cry Wolf Alerts: Did you fake your own death to watch your FuneralLive, and now you’re worried that people will stop following your social media accounts because they think you’re really gone? Let FuneralLive take care of cluing them into the good news. We’ll contact every livestream attendee and let them know that while this one was fake, the next one might not be, so they had better tune in again!

— Green For Black Crowdfunding Integration: Want your funeral followers to chip in for your final expenses, or to reward the highest scorer on our Tear-o-meter for their devotion? By integrating with most major crowdfunding sites, FuneralLive has made turning grief into green easier than ever.

— Reap What You See: Worried the mourners will tune out of your big day halfway through? Encourage audience engagement by having them count the appearances of the Grim Reaper during the livestream, and reward those who paid attention directly out of your will.

— Live After Death: It’s your funeral. Shouldn’t you be there? FuneralLive can cut your prerecorded reactions into the feed, making sure you’re still the life of the party.

 

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* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we are rumored to be on the cutting edge of advanced workplace design. Heed the forward-thinking, futuristic-type thoughts of our good friend Karl Lykken.

Employee Detention

By:
knlykken@gmail.com

TO: Warren Pullman, CEO, Next Level Software Corporation

FROM: Darren Waters, Business Analyst, Wade & Dade Consulting

SUBJECT: Recommendations on boosting recruiting and employee retention & productivity

Our research indicates that if you want to attract top talent, your company needs to appear innovative, which is best accomplished by copying business strategies that are already widely adopted by more fashionable companies. The primary trend you should focus on is constructing a new, modern office park, which you should call a ‘campus’ to facilitate employees deluding themselves into believing they are still enjoying their college glory days.

The primary entrance to the office should be a ten-story slide, as this will make coming to work seem like a fun activity and should assuage any uneasiness your employees may feel when you search them for contraband prior to entering the building. The slide must be too tall and steep for employees to scale, however, so they will be forced to exit the office through a different path, preferably a six-mile maze with moving walls that steer employees back toward their desks. Thus, workers will be encouraged to remain at the office, rather than wasting precious hours at home.

Accordingly, you should provide cots in your employees’ cubicles to accommodate those who choose to sleep at the office. The cots should have mattresses of low but not abysmal quality, so that employees will wake up with enough energy to accomplish their daily slog of work but not so much energy as to be able to effectively reevaluate what they are doing with their lives. Installing individual toilets beside the cots may prove a worthwhile investment as well, as it will make it easier for employees to reach our target of spending 23 hours per day in their cubicles.

The office cafeteria should offer free foods of the greasy, fattening variety, leaving employees feeling sluggish and content to remain seated at their desks for hours on end. You should also have some flavorless foods on hand to serve to any employees who appear overstimulated.

To further encourage sleeping and eating at the office, we suggest locating the campus in San Francisco, where housing and food prices are high enough that being able to live at work can be advertised as yet another perk of the job.

We also encourage you to install an employees-only singles bar on campus. This will foster intra-office dating, thereby increasing the likelihood of employees’ private, romantic lives revolving around work and helping suppress any thoughts employees may have about reentering life on the outside. By also providing an office wedding chapel and a maternity ward in the campus health clinic, you can ensure that even the later stages of employee couples’ relationships can take place entirely within the confines of Next Level Software.

It is possible that, in time, these practices could give Next Level Software a reputation for being ‘cultish,’ which could discourage external applicants from seeking positions with you. To account for this, we recommend providing free on-campus daycare and private schools for employees’ children, allowing you to train and indoctrinate them from a young age to become the next generation of Next Level workers, with higher aptitude and lower expectations than any that have come before them.

We firmly believe that constructing such an office complex is the best way to remain competitive in the tech sector, or at least to convince the public of your competitiveness enough to significantly boost the value of your stock options. We recommend deciding if you want to act on this quickly, as Alcatraz Island just came on the market, and it would be an ideal location (ocean view offices are very hot right now).

 

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* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we yield to no one in our admiration for Ernest Hemingway, master of the short story. Or in this case, the really short story. Let's also take our hats off to Karl Lykken, who has found half a dozen ingenious new ways to interpret Papa's tiny masterpiece.

Alternate Interpretations Of Hemingway’s Six-Word Story

By:
knlykken@gmail.com

“For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”

  • A man found a magic lamp and was granted three wishes by a genie. Concerned that wishing for money outright would result in some sort of trickery, he wished for a baby shoe that would never wear out, figuring that such a shoe would be a big seller to families in Utah. However, the genie granted his wish by giving him a shoe that was unwearable. He decided to try to sell this shoe anyway by putting an ad in the paper, only then to realize that this was the genie’s way of fulfilling his second and third wishes of becoming a published writer and having the woman of his dreams finally want what he had to offer.
  • Jane was unaware that the commune her pregnant daughter, Lanie, recently joined strictly forbade the wearing of shoes, as the loud clacking of shoe soles on the floor gave the Most Woke Leader splitting headaches after a late night of drinking the Sacred Elixir for Mindfulness Expansion. Before Lanie threw the shoes away, however, the Leader informed her that while the possession of money wounded the soul, the giving away of money could heal it. He was willing to sacrifice his own soul by accepting the money in order to heal hers if she sold the shoes. Lanie felt bad about hurting the Leader’s soul, but she figured someone as selfless as him must have plenty of soul to go around, so she placed an ad in the paper.
  • When Sonny Castanetti told Big Tony that Marie May, the most prized porcelain baby doll in Big Tony’s collection, wasn’t quite so cute as Mary Mae, Sonny’s newborn daughter, Big Tony shot Sonny through the ear, saying that if Sonny assaulted his ears with his insulting words it was only fair that Big Tony strike back in the same location. Sonny Castanetti, Jr. took offense to his father’s murder, as he was now a grown man and felt that all major decisions concerning his family should be run by him first. Consequently, Sonny Jr. decided to lure Big Tony into an abandoned warehouse to ambush him. Knowing of Big Tony’s passions both for accessorizing life-sized porcelain baby dolls and for good deals, Sonny Jr. decided to bait him with a sale offer he couldn’t refuse.
  • On planet Rigdal 9, the Kilgorfo Clan use small, furry Pigdalias as shoes, as they find the Pigdalias’ soft fur, ample fat layers, and continual whimpers of pain quite satisfying. Bludbuth, the infamous Kilgorfo actuary, ripped the sobbing newborn Pigdalia twins Ewoto and Ewota away from their parents. Delighted by the thought of the twins’ bleak future of constant, involuntary close proximity to the rank feet of the Kilgorfos, Bludbuth took out an ad in the Rigdal 9 Dark Times.
  • Johnny Lee really wanted a baby, but his wife Carol did not. Carol had a recurring nightmare in which she was forced to wear baby-sized outfits that suffocated her, and this led her to develop a phobia of baby clothes. The best way to avoid baby clothes, she thought, was simply to avoid babies, which meant having one of her own was out of the question. Johnny Lee, desperate to change her mind, decided to get Carol over her phobia through exposure therapy, so he bought thousands of baby clothes and then arranged them all over the house in the dead of night while Carol was asleep. When Carol awoke to find herself surrounded by the miniature outfits, she went into a frenzy and wound up forcing a duck-covered onesie down Johnny Lee’s throat, suffocating him to death. Since Johnny Lee had spent all of their savings on the massive collection of baby clothes, Carol didn’t have any cash on hand to hire a top-notch defense attorney for her murder trial. Thus, she was forced to face her fear after all, selling each terrifyingly tiny item of clothing, starting with a pair of shoes.
  • Shelby bought a pair of aquamarine shoes even though little Davy’s eyes are cerulean blue. It’s not like there aren’t a thousand pictures of Davy’s eyes, each tagged with #babyceruleans, that Shelby could have looked at on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or even on Stormfront, because, let’s face it, they appreciate a good cerulean eye. But no, Shelby didn’t look at any pictures to see if the shoes would complement his eyes or clash with them, and no, she didn’t look at the baby registry either, because why would you look at the list of everything Davy’s actual mother wants for him when you can just let your complete lack of experience guide you in picking out a hideous pair of shoes? Seriously, the ad should have read, “For sale: Shelby’s brain, never used.” Aquamarine. Jesus Christ, Shelby.

 

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* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where our devotion to the cause of orphans is beyond question. Unless you read this piece by Karl Lykken.

I Can’t Help Because I Care Too Much

By:
knlykken@gmail.com

No, I’m sorry, but I can’t help rebuild the Little Lambs Orphanage or go play with the orphans while they are living in the high school gymnasium. While I obviously support your efforts, being surrounded by constant reminders of the orphans’ plight would cause me more pain than any person can possibly be expected to bear. And really, it’s you who should be sorry for having even suggested that I should be subjected to such extreme emotional torture.

I don’t know why I should have to explain myself to you. If you follow my blog and social media postings, then it should be self-evident that I am not one of those heartless bigots who are too wrapped up in their own privileged lives to worry about the less fortunate. However, the fact that you would have the audacity to ask me to sacrifice even more than I already have proves that you don’t appreciate the suffering that my selfless labor causes me. Now you have forced me to take away time I had hoped to devote to spreading even more awareness of the orphans’ plight and instead spend that time educating you about what it means to truly care about others.

If you were capable of the type of empathy that I must bear every second of every day, you would know that for me, being around others who are in pain is just like being those unfortunate people, except even worse because I not only feel their pain, but also the pain of all the other people who are hurting in the world.

I wish I could take all of their pain away, but since there are just so many disadvantaged people faced with all sorts of dire plights — you should be aware of all of them if you follow my blog and social media accounts — I can’t save them all. And if I tried to just save a few, that would be terribly unfair to the others that I chose not to save, and I would then have to suffer through the additional pain of that injustice.

So I cannot in good conscience go to help these orphans and turn a blind eye to the rest of the world. Besides, I have already selflessly raised awareness of their plight among so many people via my blog and social media postings, despite the great emotional strain it put on me. So, really, I have already done more good for these children than you or your volunteers could possibly do. Honestly, it’s very unfair that you would even ask me to try to do more.

By the way, you may have seen my post from today about how I was unjustly asked to stomp on the pieces of my already broken heart. To be clear, this post was not aimed at you, even though it does describe exactly what you have done. But I am not so mean-spirited as to point out another human being’s shortcomings like that, so I just put that up as a general post, which happens to apply to you specifically.

Anyway, I hope you put in the time to reflect on just how cruel you have been to me, though you clearly aren’t in the habit of considering other people’s feelings since you asked me to do this in the first place. Also, make sure to tell the orphans to follow my blog, as it will help them to put their problems into perspective.

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