* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where getting a few well-placed literary laughs is easier than taking candy from a -- wait a minute. According to Bruce Harris, that metaphor may not always work.

When Taking Candy From A Baby Isn’t So Easy: A Baker’s Dozen Of Reasons, And One That Doesn’t Count

By: Bruce Harris

  1. Setting must be considered first, prior to determining the ease at which one is able to put grubby fingers on an infant’s sweets. Let’s say the baby is atop a large Ferris wheel with an unopened Baby Ruth bar. You love Baby Ruth bars, but you suffer from acrophobia. See where this is going? Or, you could be in a library and the baby starts screaming. Never one to bring attention to yourself, you are understandably reluctant to approach. The baby could be a member of a leper colony. Or of a nudist colony. Still, you might find yourself one or more rows away from the candy-holding baby on an airplane while the captain has illuminated the “fasten seatbelt” sign. Perhaps the baby was born premature and is in an incubator. Doctors and hospital staff frown upon unwanted intrusions. Then again, the baby’s whereabouts might be unknown. The little tyke might have fistfuls of candy, all varieties, but if you don’t know where he/she is, what good is it? Enough on setting.
  2. Okay, maybe the baby is sitting out in the open with a wrapped 3 Musketeers bar waiting to be had. But, you’re blind and you don’t see it. Or, you see the infant and sweet confection plain enough, but due to a nasty fall from a Ferris wheel, both your hands are in casts.
  3. What about the condition of the baby? Let’s say the diaper hasn’t been changed in weeks. I didn’t want to go here, but when you get right down to it, a dozen valid reasons aren’t easy to come by.
  4. Forget items 1 to 3 above. Let’s say none apply. It’s summer. There is no air conditioning. The baby is sweating and clutching pieces of unwrapped chocolate in his/her palm. When chocolate gets warm, it softens. Scientifically speaking, 85 degrees Fahrenheit is the magic number. At 93°F the stuff melts and liquefies. You might want to turn and walk away from the baby at this point.
  5. The crib is on fire. Unless you have a fire extinguisher and the candy hasn’t burnt to a crisp, this is going to be an all-around difficult situation.
  6. The baby has already eaten the candy. You can resort to stomach pumping and/or induce regurgitation, but neither of these solutions comes under the “easy” heading.
  7. M&M’s are arranged to form the words “TOUCH ONE OF THESE AND DIE.” Looks can be deceiving. Even the most innocent face can hide a violent streak.
  8. The baby’s mother (or father) is transporting their bundle of joy in a baby wrap carrier tightly against her (or his) chest. I guess this could fall under the “setting” rubric, but it’s arguable.
  9. Sitting next to the baby and her Butterfinger bar is the family pet. It’s a pit bull and hasn’t eaten in a couple of days and is staring at you with a not-so-friendly look in its eyes.
  10. The baby is sitting next to you on a bus. He’s already eaten the red, green, orange and yellow sugared Jelly Delights. Only the black Chuckle remains and is within reach.*
  11. You’re one of the unfortunate few with a conscience. The Eighth Commandment has meaning to you, unless you follow one of the traditions that recognize “Thou shalt not steal” as the Seventh Commandment. Nevertheless, there is consistency for the religious among us. “Thou shalt not covet” is the Tenth Commandment across the board. Makes things tough, no?
  12. The baby is the current Prince and future King of England. Ask yourself: how are you going to penetrate that security blanket?
  13. The little tot has measles, chicken pox or some other communicable disease. On a related front, the infant’s body might be covered with a nasty rash from poison [fill in the blank] ivy, oak or sumac. No thanks.
  14. Considering that the average piece of candy contains virtually zero nutritional value and about 200+ calories, 4 grams of saturated fat, 30 grams of carbs, and 25 grams of sugar, maybe the prudent thing is to “just say no.” On the other hand, if the diminutive gal or guy has s’mores, ignore everything and go for it.

*Note — In this case it’s easy taking candy from the baby, but who really wants the licorice-flavored Chuckle?



* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where you will almost always receive exactly the same treatment whether you are handicapped or non-handicapped. And when we say "almost always," we mean you should let Jack Bedrosian explain it to you.

An Open Letter To Non-Handicapped Patron Of Handicapped Bathroom Stall

By: Jack Bedrosian

Dear Non-Handicapped Patron,

It is at this juncture in our unique relationship that I feel I must bring to light an issue that has been bothering me for some time now.

You are not handicapped.

As I am sure you are well aware, I am generally reserved for those with some sort of disability that may disqualify them from my peers’ services. Surely, this cannot be news to you.

Why then, as a perfectly able-bodied person, do you insist on using me when there are three other perfectly good bathroom stalls that could accommodate you? I see many other humans use them throughout the day and I assure you they do just fine.

There are a few reasons in particular that I feel this may be the case, and I would like to address them with you now.

  1. Proximity. I understand that I am the closest stall to the door, but again, that is to serve the physically less fortunate. It is in no way a subliminal strategy on my part to subconsciously ingrain myself into your daily post-lunch routine. I would appreciate you using the very functional, non-handicapped legs the good lord gave you.
  2. Image / Convenience. It is clear to me that you are appropriating the handicapped experience. Why? No seriously, of all the things you could appropriate, why this one? Is it strictly so that you can use whatever bathroom you please?! Either way, rest assured that this will not increase your status or popularity. Quite the opposite, actually.
  3. Privilege. I’ve noticed that often when you use my services you do so standing. STANDING. Need I remind you that many of the handicapped patrons I deal with wish they could stand, and would give an arm and a leg (pun not intended) in order to have the pleasure of using an actual urinal. Check your urinary privilege. Also it simply must be said that you are much too nonchalant penis-wise. As in, your clean-up job is horseshit.
  4. Space. I understand that I am generally larger square feet-wise than my colleagues. However, I would implore you to really think deep down as to why you need more space when using the bathroom. Is this your ego talking? I can assure you that no genitalia are SO big as to require a larger bathroom stall — and I’ve seen quite a few. Do you use this time to practice knitting or drawing and the elbow room is insufficient? Perhaps you are just doing it wrong.

It is my request that from this point forward I be treated with the same respect as a close friend of mine with whom I believe you are quite familiar, Handicapped Parking Spot. Something tells me you don’t ever use Handicapped Parking Spot. The reasons for which are unimportant. Okay, yes, admittedly there are certain legal provisions asserted against your parking dominion, but I will have you know that at the present I am wading through a sizeable amount of paperwork that will make the pushing through of comparable jurisdictional revisions a mere inevitability. I have been assured by a very impressive-sounding young intern that legislation is indeed pending.

Needless to say, I hope it doesn’t come to that.


Handicapped Bathroom Stall


* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we are always happy to hear from our good friend Matthew David Brozik even if it's not visiting day. When you have perused his latest piece, please click on the ad for his book "Whimsy & Soda" on the right-hand side of this page, and the nice judge will give you time off for good behavior.

Corrections For The Previous Issue Of “Corrections,” The Magazine Of The Department Of Corrections

By: Matthew David Brozik


Due to a continuing proofreading error, each instance of “inmate” was printed as “intimate.” In only one place was “intimate” the correct word.


An article about the Angola Red Hats’ 3-2 victory over the Blues Singers gave the wrong reason for the incarceration of the inmate-athlete who intercepted and returned quarterback 10237-597’s pass 54 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter. Defensive back 73362-953 is serving five consecutive life sentences after a 1998 conviction on one count of espionage and four counts of high treason, not two counts of human trafficking and three counts of aggravated arson. We regret the error/libel.


An article about the comeback of black-and-white striped prison uniforms described the stripes incorrectly. They are horizontal, not vertical.


The letter to the editors expressing the view that the assignment of numbers to inmates has the effect of dehumanizing imprisoned men and women referred to the writer’s relative incorrectly as 90303-799; he is 90303-979. In the same item, the name of the penal facility in Kentucky where inmate 90303-979 is being held should have been given as the United States Penitentiary, McCreary, not MacCreary.


The pilot column entitled “Missed Corrections” was in its entirety a mistake and will not be included in future issues.


An incorrect answer to the final Jumble, That Scrambled Word Game clue was given. The correct answer is FOLLOW THE RULES.


We regret that in the death notice for inmate 42581-105, recently executed by the State of Colorado, we wrote that her DNA was “99.99% a match” with blood found at the scene of a double homicide. The sentence should have read “99.99% not a match.”


Because of an editing error, an article about the prison library system misidentified the most popular book among inmates nationwide as Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections. The most popular book is in fact Mr. Franzen’s Freedom.

Corrections Magazine welcomes comments, suggestions, and complaints, but reports of persons behaving in contravention of the law should be made directly to local authorities.



* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we enjoy taking one obscure thing and mixing it with another obscure thing to make a third thing that is still pretty obscure but also pretty damn funny. This week first time Big Jeweler Mark Pfennig takes down Billy Corgan and the Canadian children's show "Caillou" by putting them in the same alternate universe. Who knew these two whiny little bald bastards had so much in common?

Billy Corgan Discusses How The Show “Caillou” Is Based On His Life

By: Mark Pfennig

I’m sure you’re probably tired of talking about it, but do you mind if I ask you a few questions about Caillou?

Billy Corgan: Not at all. Go right ahead.

Can you tell me a little about how you first came to be involved with the show?

BC: Sure. Back in ’96, around the time we were touring for Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, I was approached by PBS Kids with a proposal to create an educational half-hour animated series based on my childhood. I didn’t really know what to make of it at first, but I got on board once I met with [show creators] Christine [L’Heureux] and Hélène [Desputeaux] and they explained to me the specific narrative conceit behind the show.

Which was?

BC: That it would be a painstakingly accurate recreation of my experiences as a four-year-old.

So all of the plot lines on Caillou are taken from actual events?

BC: Yes, without exception. Everything you see on the show literally happened to me, exactly in the manner depicted, including the dialogue.

And are the characters based on real people as well?

BC: That’s correct. Everyone from my little sister, Rosie, to Gilbert, the cat I had when I was a kid who had a mutant patch of blue fur around his eye for some reason. The producers even insisted that we only ever refer to my character by my given name, Caillou, rather than the odd-sounding “Billy Corgan” stage name I’ve been using since my twenties.

Did that cause any confusion? Did audiences have trouble identifying Caillou as you?

BC: No — I think everybody made the connection from day one. The physical resemblance between Caillou and me is obvious, and the show’s casting director went to great effort to model the way Caillou speaks on the somewhat distinctive sound of my singing voice. Not to mention that most people know that when I’m offstage, I only wear clothes that are red, yellow, blue, or green.

Did everyone you knew growing up dress like that too?

BC: Yes. Also, all of the buildings, cars, and everyday objects in the town I lived in were exclusively those colors as well.

Is that a Midwest thing?

BC: I believe so, yes.

And what about the narration on the show?

BC: That’s true-to-life too. I’ve been told it’s uncommon, but when I was younger, the disembodied voice of an old woman narrated every aspect of my life in the third person.

And how long did that go on?

BC: It stopped for the most part when I was twenty-six or twenty-seven. You can actually hear it very faintly in the background on some of the tracks on Gish and Siamese Dream. [Affecting old woman’s voice.] “Caillou loved to play guitar. Caillou and his friend James would play guitars all day long.” And so on. It still happens occasionally, but these days we’re able to record around it.

Did you write the Caillou theme song?

BC: Of course.

Do you ever perform the song live?

BC: All the time — it’s a staple of Pumpkins sets. Everybody in the band loves it. Sometimes an audience member will call out “Hey! Play the Caillou song!” and we’ll start playing it, even if it’s the song we just finished playing.

Do you feel that there is any thematic overlap between your songwriting and the ideas and stories presented in Caillou?

BC: Absolutely. My music deals a lot with topics of disaffection and alienation — the indifferent rejection of an equally indifferent world and the inexorable decay of love and joy into misery and madness and darkness — which is also pretty much what the show Caillou is about, when you think about it. Caillou, notwithstanding his boundless imagination and the love and encouragement he receives from his family and friends, is clearly just another rat in a cage, so to speak. That’s why he whines so much.

One last question: The series ended its run back in 2010, but you’ve stayed active with a number of other musical and creative endeavors. What’s next for Caillou?

BC: Well, at the moment I have a few projects that I’m —

Narrator: Caillou was happy that the interview was almost over. He was feeling sleepy and wanted to take a nap with Teddy and Rexy.

I guess that answers the question!

BC: [Laughs.] What can I say? [Singing.] I’m Cai-llou!

You’re Caillou!

BC: That’s me!


* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where the only constant is change. That, and the humorous prose stylings of Mr. Terry McMenamin in his first piece for us.

Your Change Report

By: Terry McMenamin

You know how you keep hearing that your e-mail’s been hacked and your privacy is just about non-existent? Well guess what? We at the NSA didn’t screw up after all. Turns out we were doing you a favor.

We know some of you may still be a tad on edge about this lack of privacy thing, so we want to assure you we’re really sorry about it — especially now that it’s been made public. But here’s the thing — as a result of our so-called surveillance, every U.S. citizen can now receive a monthly report documenting the many changes that took place in each of their lives over the previous month. How great is that? We’re sure you’ll find this information invaluable as well as fascinating. God knows we did.

Yes, we know everything about you! And, because of that, we can offer you this value-added service — free of charge!!

What follows is the personalized, detailed report for you, Ms. Shirley Madigan:

The directions for updating your iPhone are incorrect on the Apple site. You’ll need to go to the Apple store (make an appointment unless you want to spend the day). Closest one for you is at Sunnydale Mall on 65th. Go to the 2nd level, it’s on the right, near Claire’s. There’s a Forever 21 across the way but DO NOT buy anything there. Not only is no one 21 forever, but you can’t even pass for temporarily 35 anymore. When you make the Apple appointment, ask for Morris — he specializes in helping females in your age and weight range.

The potato chips you can’t stop eating (no real judgment here but really, you do put those things away) now come in a bag instead of a box. They also went up in price (and calories! Again, no judging). Note that the recipe for your favorite flavor has changed — the honey barbecue is now just barbecue. We tried them — the U.S. government going the extra mile once more! Our opinion? New flavor’s gross. They’ve also been relocated to aisle eight at SaveMart; the CVS near your work no longer carries them.

Walgreen’s no longer sells the Maybelline “Mad for Magenta” lipstick you seem to think is so flattering. L’Oreal’s “Capetown Fuchsia” comes pretty close. With your coloring, however, we’d suggest a different direction. Cover Girl now has a new line geared specifically to those with your particular complexion, live in your geographical area, and who get approximately 3.5 hours of sunlight a week. It’s called “Perk up that Pallor.” Any shade in the new line would be a vast improvement.

The frozen yogurt store around the corner from your apartment went out of business. That crap is all sugar anyway. Besides, until you can stop eating all those damn chips (see above), who are you kidding — you’ve got no business there.

Your husband isn’t coming home tonight. Probably not tomorrow either, or ever. You know how you complained about his haircuts being too expensive — and how you set him up with your hairdresser, who’s cheaper? Well, the good news is, you’ve been saving money. Bad news is he likes her. Guess you’re the one who needs a new hairdresser. That may be a good thing — that last haircut she gave you isn’t doing you any favors. And don’t even get us started on those highlights — 1993 anyone? The woman who sits across from you at work — Peggy? She’s got a lawyer who’s exactly what you need right now. Her lawyer specializes in husbands who philander with service industry people — masseurs, hairdressers, plumbers and the like. (I know, everyone’s got a niche nowadays, right?) While we’re on the subject of Peggy, she has your same bone structure and hair texture; her present haircut is absolutely stunning and would totally work for you.

We hope you’ve enjoyed your report. Please do not reply to this email. If you have any questions, go to: http://www.usa.gov/ > NSA Email Reportage > Customer Service. If the customer service link doesn’t work, we already know about it and will fix it when we get a chance.

Until next month, Ms. Shirley Madigan. And, as always, God Bless America!!