* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where Halloween is our second favorite holiday (after Guy Fawkes Day). And we can think of no better way to scare off the little monsters than with Frank Ferri's latest.

Please Take One

By: Frank Ferri

Happy Halloween!

Please read the following carefully, then tick the box next to your name using the pen that’s attached to a chain — and an alarm system. Checking that box confirms that you accept and agree to my Trick or Treating terms and conditions. If you don’t tick the box, chaos could ensue.

Sorry I can’t personally hand you your one piece of candy, but I’m hiding in the house. Why do today’s costumes have to be so scary? Especially those High School Musical characters!

Anyway, I’m trusting in the honor system by leaving this cauldron of goodies on my porch. It goes against my better judgment after last year’s fiasco when I woke up on November 1 to find my name (and a not very nice word preceding it) spelled out in unsalted peanuts on my driveway. I know you spearheaded that roguery, Jimmy Fulton!

This year, I’ve caved. I’ll be giving out candy instead of peanuts. When I was a kid, I was glad to get any nut — salted or otherwise — for free. But “Generation Y Can’t I Have Candy?” made it abundantly clear that only junk food is acceptable.

Here’s a quick guide to the Trick or Treating fun at my house:

— Anyone inside the parameters of Marshall Avenue down to Amherst Way and Cardiff Drive to Granville Lane is welcome to celebrate Halloween with my candy. (It sounds overly restrictive, but if I open the markers of delineation beyond these streets, chaos will ensue.)

— Odd-numbered houses from 3 p.m. – 4 p.m.

— Even-numbered houses from 4:01 p.m. – 5 p.m.

— Houses that are prime numbers, please don’t step foot on my property. I’m sorry, it’s just this thing I have.

— The impish troika of Jimmy Fulton, Keith Starr and Lawrence Morris: don’t even think of taking my candy. I have strategically placed cameras and people watching you — and attack dogs trained to recognize your scent.

Just a few things to note before you take your one piece of candy:

Each week for the past two months, I’ve taken out an ad in the weekly paper announcing my official Halloween Website: frankferri.com/halloween2009. So it should come as no surprise that you needed to register online before visiting my home today. I also let people know not to come near my property on Mischief Night because I don’t suffer pranksters. If you were shot with a BB last night, I can only say that you were forewarned.

If you haven’t registered on the site, you can do so now by running home and logging onto frankferri.com/halloween2009. If you’re spoiled and have your own portable Web-capable device (and a portable scanner and a notary public with you), you can register right now on my porch. Just step aside and let those who followed the rules get their one piece of candy without delay.

Knowing the dullards in my neighborhood — no offense, neighbors — I probably have to repeat this: To register, you needed to enter your phone number, house number and your name exactly as it appears on your parents’ tax return. You also needed to scan and upload your Social Security Card as well as a piece of mail as proof of address. Everything should be notarized.

If you registered, you would have seen the dancing Candy Corn (animated by yours truly), prompting you to choose your one piece of candy from the drop-down menu in the upper-right corner of the screen. You were to have made a selection and so it could be added to your virtual Trick or Treat bag. The candy you actually take must correspond with the selection you made on the Website. Otherwise, chaos will ensue. (If you visited the TIPS & TREATS section on the Website, you’d have seen a tip telling you to print out your virtual Trick or Treat bag so you remember which piece of candy you selected.) I listed the candy in alphabetical order along with nutrition information for the Type 1 diabetic in our neighborhood, little Danny Cardiff. God bless him. But there’s no need to call attention to his incurable illness. Diabetic Danny is just like anyone else. He just can’t have as much fun on Halloween. Or Easter. Or any other sugar-focused holiday.

As you know, I keep things fun each year with a theme. Last year was “Peanuts: An Unsalted Love Story.” This year’s theme is “Ex Ovo Omnia.” So the candy is all different eggs. You’d be surprised how many creme-, caramel- and peanut butter-filled eggs are available even though it’s not Easter.

Kids get all sugared-up and have the potential to turn this fun holiday into an opera bouffe, so I bought a biometric device to keep things running smoothly. The optical fingerprint scanner was going to ensure that everyone got the right egg. But someone (Fulton!) broke into my shed and smashed it beyond repair. The DNA collection drive — which was also going to help avert chaos — was a failure. Turnout was embarrassingly low. (Thank you, Mark Olsen, for being the only one to show up. I wish I could have let you take two pieces of candy, but my Website is pretty basic and I didn’t have time to include some sort of coupon code functionality that would let you override the one candy limit.)

To the left of the candy, you’ll notice a copper samovar. It’s filled with warm homemade cider. If you’ve brought your own drinking vessel (this was mentioned under the TIPS & TREATS section), you’re more than welcome to have one cup. Just make sure it’s no more than a six-ounce serving. Otherwise, chaos will ensue.

As you can tell, I am very worried that chaos will ensue. You’d worry too if someone filled your gas tank with Peanut M&Ms (Halloween 2006). Or if one day, you found that someone left a colorful chair on your porch, ostensibly as a gift. But when you sat in it, you realized (too late) that it was a bunch of gummi worms woven together in the shape of a chair, and you crashed to the ground injuring your tailbone (Halloween 2007). Or when you go to get your morning paper and find unsalted peanuts mocking you in your driveway — well, I already went into that one. The point is that sadly, chaos does too often ensue.

Happy Halloween!

* Welcome to The Big Jewel, also known as the sport of kings. This week once again we feature the king of sports, football, as manifested in its favorite son Brett Favre. Consider this piece by our good friend Greg Boose the second in our two-part series on the not so retiring quarterback.

eBay Case Details for Minnesota Vikings Poker Chip Guard Protector

By: Greg Boose

Case details

Item: Minnesota Vikings Poker Chip and Guard Protector
Transaction end: Oct-11-09
Seller: BrettF4
Buyer: GregB
Case Type: Unpaid Item
Case status: Open


eBay: BrettF4 has opened an Unpaid Item case for “Minnesota Vikings Poker Chip and Guard Protector.” Please pay for the item or respond to the seller before Oct-31-2009.

GregB: Hey man, sorry I didn’t follow through with this purchase. The fact is that I was doing some research for a humor article I wanted to write, I came across this silly poker chip thing and its superfluous plastic case, and then one of my cats walked across my keyboard. Apparently he made me hit the “Buy It Now” button and then confirmed it with a back paw. Ridiculous, I know, but the truth. I will not be buying this item. I’m not even a Vikings fan (Go Browns!). Thanks for understanding and please close this case.

BrettF4: Hello, GregB. That’s funny about your cat, but the fact is that the button was still pushed and you are now committed under eBay rules to buy this Minnesota Vikings Poker Chip and Guard Protector. When you commit to something, anything, you must follow through. You cannot waver. People around the country, around the world, in Vegas for sure, will be affected by your decision. So the sooner you buy this (perfect condition) poker chip and its important (minor scratch) protector, the easier it will be on everyone. Although, after talking about it with my close friends and God, me keeping the poker chip could be a really good thing for me and my family.

GregB: Listen, BrettF4, I get where you’re coming from — the “Buy It Now” button was officially hit — but there’s no way I’m buying this item. Number one: What the hell would I do with a poker chip that has the Minnesota Vikings logo on it? Number two: Why would I need a plastic guard protector for it? I’m not 11 years old. I do not have a shelf in my condo for embarrassing sports memorabilia. I did not push the “Buy It Now” button on purpose. Let it go and put it back up for sale. Thanks.

BrettF4: I’m not going to lie to you, I believe that the returning of my poker chip to my collection would be great for me. I can’t see how it wouldn’t be. But if you’re going to criticize me for saying I’m going to take the thing back and then for me saying that you are obligated to buy it now, then don’t open your email and read these messages. If you’re a true poker chip fan, you’d understand.

GregB: ??? I’m not a poker chip fan; I’m a craps guy. The last thing I collected was Kurt Vonnegut’s entire catalog, and I’m kinda bored with that now. Keep the freaking thing. Me, and my roommates who have to listen to me, are totally over you and your keen ability to string me along with your indecision. Just retire the case already and move on. Leave me alone so we can all focus on other items like my bid to buy your half-bottles of “Vicodin-like, But Not Vicodin, Candy Pills.”

BrettF4: I’m happy about my decision and I haven’t once said, “I wonder if I made the wrong decision to sell this Vikings Poker Chip and its Guard Protector.” I know it’s the right one. I still have the itch. I AM RETIRING.

GregB: Dude, you’re losing me here. It’s almost like you are confusing me on purpose because you love all the attention you’re getting from me, and most likely from your other buyers. It’s narcissistic and isn’t as exciting as you must think it is. Are you saying that you are retiring from the idea of selling it, or are you going to continue to be vague and give me an “Unpaid Item” strike on my account? Because that would totally blow.

BrettF4: What don’t you understand? That I’m un-retiring from the idea of selling this amazing poker chip and protector guard? Or the fact that I’m officially retiring from being a collector of NFL poker chips and their protector guards?

GregB: Ugh. Confused…Please make up your mind of what you’re going to do. I think I’m going to close this eBay account.

BrettF4: GregB, I’ve given everything I can to this collection, to collecting as a whole, and I don’t think I have anything left to give. That’s it. I’m too old for this stuff. I know I can still collect, but I don’t know if I still want to. As I look back on my career in poker chips and their protector guards, and on my career with NFL memorabilia, I have no regrets. Also, hey, would you be interested in selling me back that Minnesota Vikings Poker Chip Guard and Protector for my collection?

GregB: Wait. Dammit. You want me to sell you that stupid piece of crap back? I haven’t even officially bought it.

BrettF4: Everyone who I’ve talked to; former collectors, poker players who use novelty chips, and people I accosted on the street who I begged to talk about me in the third person as if they were on SportsCenter said if I wanted to get back into it this, then the Minnesota Vikings chip is a perfect fit. It really is. Once again there’s no guarantee, but I have a really good collection of memorabilia going here with one New York Jets frisbee and several Packers beer koozies, plus I have an intention of getting my hands on a Tampa Bay Bucs iPhone case next year, and from my standpoint, I feel like I could offer some real collectible selling experience and leadership. I have to admit, through this whole process, after I said no seven days ago, at times I was okay with it but at other times I felt like I could really collect all 32 NFL poker chips, and I think that’s the competitive fire in me. As a collector, regardless of theme, you have to feel like you can make a difference. I truly feel like I can, so I just didn’t want to look back. I have no idea how I will feel a year from now, five years from now, 10 years from now. But I didn’t want to say, “What if I still had that Vikings chip and protector guard?”

GregB: For the love of God, keep it, please. It’s all yours. You are one frustrating eBayer to deal with, you know that?

BrettF4: Yeah, I’ve made mistakes along the way, we all have. But if I had to do it all over again, I would do it the same way.

eBay: This case is closed. The buyer and seller have agreed not to complete the transaction.

* Welcome to The Big Jewel, the undeniable sports news hub for the entire civilized world...whatever that is. In a better world than this one, perhaps famed quarterback Brett Favre would retire and stay retired. But we have to live in this world, and that means we have to watch Brett Favre go through retirements the way Larry King goes through wives young enough to be his granddaughters.

The Unretiring Brett Favre

By: David Martin

Having retired and un-retired twice in the last two years, one thing is clear: Brett Favre still has a lot more football to play. Here’s a brief peek into the all-star quarterback’s future:

October 14, 2009

Having turned 40 on Saturday, Brett Favre decides to retire once again. “I’ve accomplished just about all I can here with the Vikings,” said Favre. “So there’s really not much point in continuing.” Favre defeated the Packers a week ago Monday, making him the first quarterback in history to beat all 32 NFL teams. “Mission accomplished,” said the aging quarterback. “My only regret is that I was unable to add to my all-time interceptions record.”

October 31, 2009

Brett Favre reconsiders and returns to the Minnesota Vikings. “Just my idea of a little Halloween treat,” quipped Favre. “Since we’re playing the Packers again tomorrow at Lambeau Field, I thought I’d try to add to all my career records including my total interceptions.”

November 1, 2009

Immediately following the Packers crushing victory over the Vikings, Brett Favre once again announces his retirement. “I have to be honest and say I was not only disappointed by the game score but also by my inability to add to my records,” said Favre. “Mind you, you can’t add to records if you’re sitting on the bench the whole time.”

August 7, 2010

Brett Favre is inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The all-star quarterback graciously accepts the honor and proudly enters the Hall as a Green Bay Packer.

August 8, 2010

Brett Favre resigns from the Pro Football Hall of Fame. “It’s not that I didn’t appreciate the honor,” said Favre. “But I have to admit that I’ve got my eye set on an even higher accolade: membership in the International Football Hall of Fame.”

August 9, 2010

Informed that the International Football Hall of Fame only covers soccer and never really got off the ground, Brett Favre announces that he will seek reinstatement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and possibly the Baseball Hall of Fame as well.

October 31, 2034

On his 65th birthday, Brett Favre announces that he is once again coming out of retirement, this time to join the newly formed World Wheelchair Football League. “Thanks to my many years in the NFL,” said Favre. “I’m not that mobile anymore although I can get around pretty good in a wheelchair.” Hoping to be the starting quarterback with the Detroit Wheels, Favre is looking to set a whole new bunch of football records.

February 23, 2044

Brett Favre once again announces his retirement, this time from the Pinegrove Manor seniors’ residential home in Sheboygen, Wisconsin. “I put in a good six years with Pinegrove,” said Favre. “And I think I’ve accomplished all that I can in that position.” Favre, however, wouldn’t rule out the possibility of joining another seniors’ home in the near future. “I’m open to any reasonable offers,” said the aging footballer.

June 13, 2056

Brett Favre retires from life and accepts an offer to play for the Heavenly All-Stars, a celestial team of former NFL greats.

June 14, 2056

Informed that he will be the third-string quarterback behind Johnny Unitas and Otto Graham, Brett Favre resigns from the Heavenly All-Stars. “Yes, I’m disappointed,” said Favre. “But I’m sure that there are plenty of other teams that will recognize my special talents.”

June 16, 2056

General Manager Satan announces the signing of one Brett Favre as the starting quarterback for his team: Hell’s Raiders. “We like what we see in Mr. Favre,” said Satan. “And we’re hoping he can play for us for eternity.” “I’m pleased to join the team,” said Favre. “But I can’t really make a commitment much beyond the next millennium.”

* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we know an emergency when we see one. However, like Kent Woodyard (who makes his first appearance at our site this week), we're not sure we know a trustworthy emergency contact when we see one. Better take this simple exam...

Before I Put You As My Emergency Contact, There Are Some Things I Need To Know

By: Kent Woodyard

1) Do you have permission to leave the state?

2) It’s three p.m. on a Wednesday. What are the chances you are too intoxicated to operate a forklift?

3) Please check any of the following that you own (should not be less than three):

* freeze-dried ice cream

* SpongeBob Band-Aids

* defibrillation paddles

* falsified foreign passports

* the book of Revelation (rest of Bible not necessary)

* ingredients for s’mores

* riot gear

* a panic room

4) Fill in the blank: There is literally nothing I wouldn’t do for my good friend, Kent. Yes, I would give him (one/both/all) of my ______________ if he asked for (it/them/her).

5) How many times have you read Kill It and Grill It: Ted and Shemane Nugent’s Guide to Preparing & Cooking Wild Game and Fish? (If you have not read it, please explain.)

6) Using the attached paper, describe in 500 words or less what “persistent, vegetative state” means to you. As part of your answer, please address the following scenario:

A friend is knocked unconscious during a mountain biking accident. His injuries are minimal and he will likely make a full recovery in a matter of hours. That being said, he was recently fired and dumped on the same day and has been growing increasingly dissatisfied with the quality of his life. Also, he has $23.00 and an Applebee’s gift card in his wallet. Would this qualify as a “difficult end-of-life decision?”

7) Rate from 1 to 5 your comfort with executing the following tasks:

* Cardiopulmonary resuscitation

* Forging a prescription

* Performing gender reassignment surgery in a typically-stocked Western kitchen

* Cutting the crust off a grilled cheese sandwich

* Firing an automatic weapon while riding in a motorcycle sidecar

* Amphibious evacuation from a hostile beachhead

* Conferring the Roman Catholic Last Rites or “Anointing of the Sick” from memory

8) Remember that episode in Band of Brothers that follows the medic around? You know, the one where Easy Company is under heavy artillery fire and a bunch of guys get killed by shrapnel and flying pieces of exploded trees and what not? Yeah, that one. List at least three things you would have done differently to prevent unnecessary amputation or death.

9) The Department of Homeland Security has placed the national threat advisory level for all domestic and international flights at Orange. Do you have any idea what that means?

10) Please list in order the parts of the human body you imagine being the tastiest.

11) Please estimate (in days) how long you would be able to keep yourself and one other person alive in the following environments:

* Baghdad

* Englewood

* Destin, Florida, during Spring Break

* Vatican City circa 1500

* Lollapalooza

* The gorilla habitat at the San Diego Zoo

* The Texas State Fair

* Jurassic Park

12) Can you be here in five minutes?