* Welcome to The Big Jewel, your source for all professional sports logo wear. This week please give a warm welcome to Luke Kelly-Clyne, whose first piece for us is a left-handed compliment to one of the greatest figures in modern sports.

To The Forty-Five-Year-Old Man Wearing A Tom Brady Jersey At My Local Supermarket

By: Luke Kelly-Clyne

Hello, sir.

I don’t want to take up too much of your time but I noticed you at the supermarket yesterday, wearing that Tom Brady jersey. You intrigued and confused me. To be frank, I can’t get your image out of my head. I wonder if I might be able to ask you a few questions, you know, to clear things up, so I can start to think about something else. I’ll be brief. I promise.

What were you thinking about when you put it on? The jersey, I mean. Do you believe you’re Tom Brady when you wear it? Were you hoping you’d slide the silky mesh over your head and find that you’re suddenly rich, handsome, and married to a supermodel, instead of a single, pot-bellied, pharmaceutical sales rep who has lost quite a bit of hair?

Or was it a showing of support for the team, and for Tom specifically? Did a part of you think that the Patriots would be watching you from their off-season Fan Monitoring Facility in Palm Beach and that, when they saw how striking you looked in the blue and red, they’d send a representative to inform you that you’d won a lifetime supply of player-used plastic cutlery and would be inducted into the Tom Brady Look-Alike Hall of Fame on the Moon?

Maybe it wasn’t that at all, though. Maybe you were hoping that someone in the Towson, Maryland Costco would mistake your five-foot-eight, one-hundred-ninety-nine pound frame for an athlete’s and would give you a toss. “Heads up!” he’d yell as he hurled an official NFL football he’d found wedged in between a jumbo tub of nacho cheese and a plasma TV. And you’d be ready — weaving in between carts overflowing with Kirkland bluejeans and half-priced Wii Fits, making an awe-inspiring catch right before the T-Mobile kiosk representative politely asked that you “pick up the Blackberry Curve you just knocked over.” And then you’d run the ball back to its origin and realize that Tom Brady is the one who threw it! He’d thank you for making “a great play” and compliment you on how well your jersey fit. Then he’d tell you that he needed to talk to you about an opportunity…”with the team.” Three days later, you’d be the Patriot’s new third string quarterback. You wouldn’t get much playing time but, hey, “that’s how Brady started,” you’d tell yourself, in between dead-lifts at the Patriot’s Workout Facility made of million dollar bills. Is that it?

The only other thing I can think of is: The year is 2024 and you actually are Tom Brady. You left the NFL years ago, after a scandal involving your refusal to abuse dogs or carry an unregistered, concealed weapon landed you hard-up and alone. While living in your parents’ basement and trolling Monster.com, you stumbled upon a job in Pfizer’s Baltimore office, moved south, and packed on the pounds after discovering the Sunday-night-magic of Comedy Central and ring-dings. The only thing you kept from the old days is that jersey, the one I saw you wearing yesterday. It helps you remember the good times.

But, if all that’s true, and the year actually is 2024, then where does that leave me? Where have the last 13 years of my life gone? Why aren’t there more movies available for Instant Play on NetFlix? Why does Ashton Kutcher still look so damn good?

Nope, just checked my phone. It’s still 2011.

So, what were you thinking when you put that jersey on, sir? I just really need to know.

Oh, and when you respond, can you let me know how you deal with stains? I just spilled strawberry smoothie all over my favorite limited edition “Katy Perry for President” tee-shirt.




* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where the new journalism meets the new economy in a head-on collision with no survivors. No, wait, there is one survivor. It's our good friend Becky Cardwell, whose profession is the very embodiment of the new economy.

Acting Tips From A True-Crime Re-Enactor

By: Becky Cardwell

I am an actor. My parents were actors as well, which is undoubtedly how I developed an appreciation for the craft. My father was a successful real estate agent who engaged in role-playing with his secretary, and my mother a housewife/aspiring rug hooker who acted oblivious to my father’s transgressions.

I was discovered at the age of four in the local supermarket, by a pageant mom who, after seeing me perform “I’m a Little Tea Pot” next to my grocer’s freezer section, called me the “Next big thing in animate tea-brewing vessels.”

Still, it wasn’t until a few years later — while I was heaving into an outdoor recycling bin after eating the Spamwich my mother made for my lunch — that a vegan television producer took notice. Impressed by my eco-friendly vomiting skills, he offered me the lead role in his new reality show, called Girl Who Dies After Stranger Slips a Meat-By-Product Into Her Tofurkey Wrap.

From there, I went on to play a vegetarian in the wrong place at the wrong time, then a vegetarian in the right place at the wrong time, eventually landing the coveted role of “Trashy Vegetarian-Turned-Mistress,” brutally murdered by her lover’s meat-eating wife.

Being a re-enactor is a million times harder than being a regular actor. Especially when the person you’re reenacting was an actor. Not only do you have to memorize his natural persona, you also have to get into his acting mind. This means you’re actually getting into two minds. Actually, no…make that three minds — I forgot to include the mind of the character that your actor is acting.

There are no classes that can prepare you for this type of career. You either have the talent or you don’t. That being said, there are certain things you can do to fake like you have the talent.

If I could give aspiring crime re-enactors any advice, it would be as follows:

Show Honesty in Your Work. Ask yourself these questions: Who am I? Where am I? Where am I from? What time is it? What period? If playing a woman, am I on my period?

Once you have these answers, you can then go on to tackle the more difficult questions. Should I sprawl out on the dirt with my eyes rolled back in my head? Or do I want to seem peaceful, like if someone didn’t know any better they might think I was just taking a catnap on the asphalt?

Be Flexible. You might start out in misdemeanor crimes: things like simple assault and battery, drunkenness in public, various traffic violations, etc. While they may not be as exciting as actual homicides, it’s important to remember that true petty crime is a gateway to harsher, more serious true crime.

Hone Your Craft. People think it’s easy to play a dead person. They’re wrong. Just because there is no actual personality in a dead person, that doesn’t make them easier to play. If anything, it makes it tougher. Dead people aren’t around to give you advice on how to play themselves. Nobody truly knows what it’s like to be a dead person, and anyone who says they do is lying. Or dead.

To prepare for these types of roles, I often spend days lying motionless on a park bench, just to get a feel for the deadness of my character.

Be Realistic. Say you’re a short blonde Polish girl in her early twenties. Are you going to audition for the part of a sixty-year-old Garifuna man with a short blonde Polish girl fetish? Hells no! That would be career suicide.

But would you consider gaining thirty pounds and getting a lower fraenum ring to play an Emo who falls in love with a mentally unstable piercing artist? These are the kinds of questions you need to ask yourself.

I remember one audition I had for a woman named Mary. Mary was a deaf Southern Baptist in her late sixties who didn’t drink alcohol because it caused her psoriasis to flare up.

Now, I had never been deaf, nor had I ever gone a day without getting my party on. But I was dedicated. And by the time we went to shoot, not only was I (relatively) sober, I could sign all the lyrics to Bette Midler’s “The Rose”!

Commit to the Role. If you sign up to play a street thug, you may have to endure fake beatings. You need to be open to that.

Stay Positive. There are times when you might not work for months, due to a decrease in violent crime rates. Be patient. Remember, the Law of Duality says that what goes down will eventually rise again.

About Your Portfolio. While you want the casting agents to see you in a crime-related light, you don’t want to pigeonhole yourself. If all of your headshots are of you playing a dead person, they’ll think of you as being one-dimensional. Just because you’re a victim, that doesn’t mean you will end up dead. You might just be brutally stabbed. Or beaten to the point of unconsciousness.

Speaking of pigeonholing, do not fall into this trap. If you’re European, try not to act like one all the time. Or, at least don’t limit your Europeaness to one region. If you’re Romanian, don’t be scared to play someone of Bulgarian descent.

The great thing about being a True-Crime Reenactor is that you don’t have to worry about succumbing to the pressures of Hollywood. You might play the part of a guy who succumbed to these pressures, but if that guy were still alive he probably wouldn’t hang out with you. And really, that’s a good thing.

I’ll leave you with these words of wisdom: Dr. Kevorkian once said that dying is not a crime. He’s right. It’s only when someone makes you die that it becomes a crime. And that’s where we come in.

* Welcome to The Big Jewel, the WikiLeaks of literary humor. This week in her first piece for us Katelyn Sack takes aim at Julian Assange and his haters, otherwise known as the US government. And somehow the Walt Disney Company got in there, too. God bless America!

Enhanced Entertainment Techniques

By: Katelyn Sack

“Curbing piracy and making it easier to visit our country are straightforward and immediate ways to spur long-term job growth.” — Robert A. Iger, Walt Disney Company President and CEO, “Two Common Sense Ways to Improve the Economy,” The Huffington Post, Dec. 6, 2009

US corporate lawyers and government officials have recently come together to entice WikiLeaks editor-in-chief and alleged buccaneer Julian Assange and his mates to visit our country. Their collaboration has produced innovative plans — published for the first time here — to boost tourism and keep America safe by combining the best features of amusement parks and black sites. Here are a few of the resulting enhanced entertainment techniques.

Electrocuting Teacups — Bring the little ones along for an electrifying spin. Warning: attempting to board ride with more than 3 ounces of liquid on or in your person may result in death, disability, or detainment.

Waterboardwalk — Test your strength! Win a bear for your sweetie! Sign a release!

House of One-Way Glass Mirrors — Did you think we would never find out? Did you honestly believe no one would ever know? You’re so transparent. You make me sick. It’s not your fault, everyone’s done it. Only a monster would do that. Get it off your chest. Here’s a writing pad. We’re done here. I’ll be back after talking with the Chief. We’ll cut you a sweet deal. You’re a dead man. Wrong room. Fifteen years.

Tilt-a-World — Press the red button. Watch the world tilt to the left, then to the right. Watch as moderates are trampled by extremists, realists by utopians, minority Protestant football fans by majority pagan socialist World Cup fiends. Now you understand why we must liberate Tiltastan.

Balls Pit — Actually a pyramid within a pit. Still under construction – join us! Don’t forget your camera.

Colonoctopus — Snap on a neon orange jumpsuit and bend over for the world’s only Guantánamo Bay healthcare simulation outside Langley! Preparatory drink stands are located at the park entrance, along with your personal belongings.

Unfairest Wheel — Join your best pal, Pluto, for a scintillating tour of American historical plutocracy. Must be at least 5’11” and at most 120 pounds to ride.

Carousellout — So you want health insurance with vision and dental, and a steady pension? Paid vacations, parental leave, and guaranteed paychecks? Childcare, a 40-hour workweek, and a lunch break long enough to eat real food? Then don’t waste your time seeking American citizenship, unless you’ve already been offered a government job.

Bumper Czars — Pit drug lords on the government payroll against druglords not on the government payroll to help America win! Please keep arms and legs inside the armored vehicle at all times. On-site heroin purchase is discouraged, but be sure to stop by the Freedom Friends Café for some poppy tea, poppy seed cake, or smackaroons.

Giblet Fry — Did you know singed internal organs have 20 percent fewer calories? Snap, crackle, and pop your way to a lighter abdomen for only $9.95 a shock! Offer void in Continental US. Calorie and movement restrictions may apply.

Whack-a-Mole — This interactive 3D adventure illustrates what happens if you leak information about our enhanced entertainment techniques to Six Flags, China, or the New York Times.

American Idle — Compete with Sleepy, Dopey, and Blondie for fortune and fame by executing your best rendition of that timeless classic, “It’s a Galled World After All.” Better save this one for last — the line is torture.

* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we are not taking a position on gun control because we're afraid somebody might shoot us if we do. Thankfully someone has taken a position on gun control -- that is, if a multinational corporation counts as "someone." Let our good friend David Martin explain it all to you...

With A Shot?

By: David Martin

SEATTLE — Coffee chain Starbucks Corp. is sticking to its policy of letting customers carry guns where it’s legal and said it does not want to be put in the middle of a larger gun-control debate. — MSNBC – March 3, 2010

TO: All baristas, baristos and other in-store employees
FROM: Starbucks management
RE: Gun policy

As you are no doubt aware, management has decided to take a decidedly “hands-off” approach vis-à-vis the carrying of handguns into Starbucks establishments. Given that most states have “open carry” weapons statutes, it seems unfair to unduly restrict our customer base.

While we take pride in our non-discriminatory policy respecting in-store firearms, we do recognize that such a policy may involve the assumption of certain risks. For that reason, and to mollify our insurer, we are requesting all employees to follow certain common sense guidelines.

As a general rule, employees should not question customers about any weapons they may be carrying, regardless of number, size or caliber. Your initial assumption should always be that the customer is properly licensed to carry whatever weaponry he has on his person.

It is, of course, open to any employee to ask a customer to provide proof of ownership of any particular weapon or weapons. However, the guiding principle should be that the customer is always right, particularly when he has more than one weapon or the weapon in question is semiautomatic.

Starbucks employees are world famous for their friendly attitude and bonhomie. We do not want to diminish that jovial spirit in any way. However, as a precautionary measure, we recommend that servers do not engage in any gun-related joking or banter unless, of course, the server is also armed.

When it comes to the question of carrying your own personal weapon, we wish to refrain from taking any position on the matter. America is a free country and one of the things that makes it great is the freedom to bear arms. If you do choose to be armed, we would simply ask that you select a small-caliber handgun that can be carried discretely, will not interfere with your pouring duties and will not clash with the outlet’s decor.

Always be alert to a customer’s state of mind, particularly when that customer is bearing a handgun. If he seems jittery or agitated, remember that any caffeinated beverage is not likely to make the situation better. In such a case, gently suggest one of our fine decaffeinated drinks and, if gunfire seems imminent, offer to provide it free of charge.

If you sense that a dispute is brewing between two or more armed customers, feel free to intervene and recommend that they relax with our new special drink: The Second Amendment Latte. Stress that they all have the right to bear arms but instead of using those arms, they should exercise their right to enjoy a really heavenly cup of American java.

Also, please be very careful before asking a customer if he or she would like a shot. Although we recognize that selling an extra shot of espresso or a flavored shot is great for our profit margin, we don’t want to jeopardize employee safety. In order to retain this profitable sideline and still satisfy our insurer’s requirements, please simply ensure that the customer is not armed before making any shot-related inquiries.

Some employees have asked whether we can provide gun racks in our outlets for the convenience of rifle, shotgun or machine gun-owning customers. The short answer is “no,” as Starbucks does not wish to be seen to be taking a stand on the complicated issues of gun ownership and gun use. However, we have no objection if anyone wishes to take the initiative to modify any existing magazine or newspaper rack to accommodate long guns. Nevertheless, we remain adamant that we will not provide handgun vending machines in any of our domestic outlets.

While we abhor the use of violence in most public settings, we are particularly concerned about the comfort of our unarmed customers who may be reading or listening to music. To minimize any disruptions to that clientele, we think it is appropriate to display signage in each outlet requesting armed customers to use silencers whenever possible.

Finally, if any gun-bearing customer professes a preference for The Tea Party, don’t forget that we serve tea, too — our special Tazo blend. Just be sure to pronounce Tazo slowly to prevent any unfortunate misunderstandings. At Starbucks, we have a strict policy of not providing tasers to employees, but unfortunately not all customers are aware of that fact.

If everyone follows these few common sense rules, we are confident that we can keep gun-related accidents in Starbucks outlets to a minimum.