* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we have often been accused of having no manners at all. If only we had followed David Jaggard's advice and asked Miss Manners for advice. When you're done reading this excellent new piece, click on the Amazon link below, which leads to the Kindle version of his humor collection Quorum of One: Satire 1998-2011. Many of the pieces originally appeared right here. We also invite you to check out David Jaggard on Paris Update. The link is in our blogroll on the right-hand side of this page.

Questions Miss Manners Is Never Going To Answer

By: David Jaggard

Dear Miss Manners,

My wife and I pee in front of each other. We’re both used to it, so that’s not the problem. The reason I’m writing you is this: while seated on the toilet, she often picks her nose.

I say it’s rude to engage in such a disgusting, although common, activity when anyone else can see you, no matter what the circumstances. She says that since she’s already attending to one private bodily function it’s perfectly acceptable to engage in another.

I also think that she’s exploiting an unfair advantage. I can’t reciprocate to balance things out because it pretty much takes both hands to urinate standing up.

So please settle a bet: who’s right? Should she or should she not be permitted to pick her nose? There’s a meal in this for me.

Dear Miss Manners,

I’m in the Mafia. As you probably know, protocol requires those of us who have been formally inducted to introduce non-members to other inductees as “a friend of mine” and to introduce members as “a friend of ours.”

My etiquette question concerns those occasions when I cross paths with a “made” gentleman whom I have not previously met. This happens a lot at funerals. What is the proper way to introduce myself? I have tried saying, “You don’t know me, but I’m a friend of yours,” or just “Hello, we’re friends,” but they usually think I’m talking about Facebook. This makes it awkward to steer the conversation away from, say, lolcats to the topic that I actually have in mind, such as moving a truckload of, ah, salvaged goods.

Please advise. Sometimes it’s urgent, like with frozen shrimp.

Dear Miss Manners,

I never have sex with a guy until the third date. This is the way I was raised.

But there’s one thing that Mom and Dad never told me: how many times must I have “run-of-the-mill” sex before moving on to oral activity? Also, is it proper to measure this milestone in nights spent together or in individual sex acts? And if the latter, should I be counting the sex acts themselves or total orgasms? Mine, his or both? It’s not always an even number, if you know what I mean.

As you can see, this is quite a sticky mess. I hope you can clear it up. I’m sure many of your readers often find themselves in the same position as me.

Dear Miss Manners,

Don’t ask how, but I recently happened across some very explicit photos of my former fiancée on a pornographic website called “Coeds Galore.” I feel that it’s my duty to inform her about this but I’m not sure how to go about it, especially since she has repeatedly said (in fact screamed) that she never wants to hear from me again.

If I tell her directly, not only will it violate the terms of the restraining order, but she will probably think I’m the one who submitted the photos, which might not actually be true. So I need you to tell me the proper way to contact her anonymously and share this important information that she has the right to know.

And there¹s something else that bothers me even more: she is not a coed. She never even graduated from high school. As a matter of form, shouldn’t she now be required to enroll in night school or something?

Dear Miss Manners,

Why do so many people seem to be just naturally rude? This baffles me. It literally took me years of near-constant reminding to get my children, husband, siblings, cousins, in-laws, co-workers, neighbors and former classmates to remember to buy me gifts for Mother’s Day, and later, as soon as my son’s girlfriend missed her period, Grandparents Day.

Well that was bad enough, but I doubt that you have ever heard anything as horrendous as what I had to suffer through last week: my cleaning lady didn’t get me a gift for Secretary’s Day! And I assure you it wasn’t out of ignorance: I had “casually mentioned” to her a whole month prior (out of politeness, to give her ample time to find just the right thing) that I once had a summer job as a secretary when I was in college.

Of course I fired her. Isn’t it astonishing how some people only ever think of themselves?


* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we make a clear distinction between ice cream worth dying for and ice cream worth killing for. So does our good friend Luke Strickler.

Buy Black Mamba Delights From Magnum Ice Cream

By: Luke Strickler

Think you’ve experienced the decadent, rich taste of chocolate before? Think again, shitheads, because you haven’t let the new Black Mamba Delights from Magnum Ice Cream fuck a bucket of wonderful into your face yet. You didn’t seriously think we were going to stop with our signature “Iron Panther Fudge Supreme,” did you, dickhead? No, if we wanted to softball you, we would’ve started practicing our shortstop game a long-ass time ago. That was all just the dark, creamy ramp leading up to the high-octane Evel Knievel stunt of flavor in your tongue box that is the Black Mamba Delight. This is chocolate, bitches, and here you either go big or go to hell, and right now we’re as cold as your ex’s heart in a liquid nitrogen-filled fridge floating through the goddamn Boomerang Nebula.

Made from ingredients so fucking good Snapple had to change its slogan to “Made from some pretty good stuff on Earth, but nothing like the dick-chilling orgasm on a stick that is the Black Mamba Delight.” First, we start with coca leaves so rich Warren Buffet would bend over to spit shine their shoes if they even had feet, and not the thick mahogany stick needed to hold up the Mona Lisa of desserts, guaranteed to make any mouth shit its pants. The rest is a mystery so great that when the Hardy Boys saw it they got Crohn’s disease. What we do is we take the ingredients to the top of Mount Kangchenjunga and leave them there with a newborn baby for six days. When we return, a fresh batch of Black Mamba Delights is being held by a stark naked George Clooney. Sure, the new George Clooneys have to kill the others Highlander-style, but it’s worth it for chocolaty treats so mouthwatering that you patsies will die of dehydration just staring at it.

The only reason we’re telling you all this is because Black Mamba Delights are so mind-shatteringly delicious they give you Jim Carrey’s 24-hour truth curse from Liar Liar with every bite. Don’t believe us? Go fuck yourself, but do it with a Black Mamba Delight so that every time you sit down it’ll feel like a cloud giving you a rimmer. Still not convinced that this delicious auburn treat could change your life? Come down to 847 Cross Street, Santa Clara, CA, and I will fight you myself, asshole. Bring whatever weapon you want — I’ll use only a Black Mamba Delight so that when I watch the life leave your blasphemous little eyes, I’ll know that the last thing you’ll have tasted was the motherfucking Stone Cold Steve Austin of zest giving your taste buds an atomic wedgie so hard they spit Hanes boxer briefs. Just try me.

What, now you think you can handle the Black Mamba Delight? You think you’re able to take the most viscerally pleasurable dessert since Nikki Sixx filled a birthday cake with heroin? Save it for your diary, chocolate Icarus, because the Black Mamba Delight isn’t for the weak of heart, the young, the old, or anyone under 6’2″. This icy idol of widow-making chocolate caramel is so medically questionable, the only question on the MCAT’s this year is a box of these creamy killers and a question mark. If you think you’re getting out of this post-dinner tongue enlightening easy, you must have already eaten a box of Black Mamba Delights, because you’ve lost your goddamn mind.

So go on, buy a box. See if you’ve got what it takes to tame the Mao Zedong of the freezer section. See if your mouth can withstand this chilled typhoon of cocoa without looking like a Hershey bar Chernobyl. Buy Black Mamba Delights in stores today, or live in the desolate shadow of your own cowardice until the day the Black Mamba Delight finally drives you to your fucking grave.



* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we think globally, act locally, and make our artisanal soaps wherever the hell we happen to find ourselves. Even in outer space with Anders Yates.

The Challenges Of Creating Artisanal Soaps On Board The International Space Station

By: Anders Yates

For the last eight months, Commander Ian Finch has been living and working as a NASA astronaut on board the International Space Station. Astral Magazine caught up with him via satellite to find out about life on board the research vessel.

Astral Magazine: Everybody knows that life on board the International Space Station is full of research and maintenance and exercises, but what our readers have been wondering is: what are the biggest challenges to creating your own artisanal soaps while in space?

Commander Ian Finch: Really it comes down to keeping up with demand. When you’re up here it’s not as if you can just go to Lush and pick up whatever aroma you’re looking for, so there really is a constant need for this. We’d love it if this were something NASA could send us during their regular supply runs, but it’s just too personalized and case-based of a process. By the time a fresh delivery arrives, your mood, your personal body chemistry, all your aromatic needs will have subtly changed, so it’s up to me to make artisanal soaps for the whole station, and it’s a lot of work, both physical and emotional. It’s the same with the dreamcatchers.

AM: The dreamcatchers?

CIF: They obviously don’t function on the same gravitational principles as the ones you hang over your bed down on earth, but the spiritual dream-catching aspects are virtually identical. The point is, I’ve had to make those from scratch for each of my fellow crew-members. While I don’t really have any indigenous heritage to fall back on here, I did have a summer job in a tourist gift shop in Yellowstone once, so I think I know what I’m talking about. Everybody on board the station has reported better sleep since we set up the catchers. Renatta, our Science Officer, was even able to communicate with her cats in one dream, which is of course tremendously important in order to ensure a strong continued relationship with them upon returning to Earth.

AM: How is the feng shui on the ISS?

CIF: Well, when I arrived it was terrible, but the Russian commander I was taking over from was a Capricorn, so no surprise there. For starters I had to add vibrant colors to the airlock to welcome good energy in, but you can’t exactly repaint up there, so we had to cut up all of our emergency fire blankets to create this great orange design. And we had to do all that without NASA’s help.

AM: Is NASA out of touch with the needs of its astronauts?

CIF: Not exactly, but at the same time it’s impossible to truly understand what you really NEED in space without actually being there. For instance, I could TELL people on the ground about the guided trance state we experienced last night where Alexei brought us all to a closer place of understanding with both our current and past lives, but you wouldn’t necessarily UNDERSTAND how hard it is to achieve that without candles due to restrictions on open flame. The mood flows from the lighting and into the chakras, and fluorescents are just so harsh.

AM: My skin can barely cope with an hour of fluorescent lighting. I couldn’t imagine the amount of time you’re forced to live with it.

CIF: It’s just one of the ways being in space forces you to toughen up.

AM: Of course. That being said, do you feel as if your research tasks suffer as a result of some of your needs not being met on board the space station?

CIF: We’re all very highly trained professionals up here, so we’re quite capable of opening our third eye without the aid of incense, for example. It’s all just a matter of making the proper adjustments. With regards to our research activities, I will say that there are times when my confidence in my work does waver given the fact that I’m so far away from Gaia’s energies up here. Of course, when I ask her for strength during a particularly precise recalibration of our Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, she has yet to fail me.

AM: Gaia is the mother of all things.

CIF: May her love be eternal.

AM: All of us down here wish you a peaceful journey.

CIF: Peaceful journey to all the people of Turtle Island and beyond.


* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we not only believe in fairy tales, we believe your wedding can be like one. But only through the magical power of Emily Powers.

Your Perfect Fairytale Wedding

By: Emily Powers

You’re engaged? Congratulations! We know that every bride dreams of that “fairytale” wedding, but many ignore or even forget some of the most crucial details. Here’s a handy checklist to make sure that your whole celebration stays on theme.

We all know it’s best if you marry someone you’ve never actually spoken to. Personally, we’re a fan of stalking your beloved from afar, whether that’s watching her pick berries from behind a tree, or looking in her windows while she brushes her hair. But however you met, make sure you don’t discuss ANY personal information before the wedding. Definitely don’t mention your last name, career, or any secret magical powers — how gauche!

Before you say yes to any proposal, make sure you give your betrothed at least three impossible tasks to complete. If you have lower standards, you could just make him solve one impossible riddle or stay overnight in a stable with a bear, but three impossible tasks is probably best — you want to make sure he knows you’re a prize!

Use a set of beautiful enchanted rings for the ceremony; the wearer can transport himself anyplace in the world. As part of your vows, make him swear he will never use the ring to leave you alone. Ever. Under any circumstances. Say it with me: you’re not being clingy, you’re being practical!

Sometimes, pirates sink all of your father’s richly laden ships and you are immediately thrust into poverty. Don’t panic — these things happen! If you can’t afford your dream dress, sit in a tree until a group of hunters walks by. They’ll take you to their king who will give you a rich silk garment festooned with gold — if you’re lucky maybe it will be a Pnina Tornai!

If your guests insist on eating and drinking too much at your outdoor reception (even though you told them that you didn’t pay for an open bar), just leave them out in the woods to die. Don’t let your husband leave any breadcrumbs leading back to civilization. They’ll get over it. Probably.

For a fun reception game, dump a thousand pearls into the bottom of a river and offer a fabulous reward to anyone who can collect them all by the end of the night. If no one succeeds, turn everyone to stone.

If you’re afraid that your guests aren’t going to dance at the reception, give them all red-hot metal shoes to wear. They’ll tear up the dance floor, all right!

What’s an outdoor wedding without wildlife? Sew a couple of fancy white shirts and wrestle them onto any children in attendance, turning them into swans (and perfect pond decorations).

Instead of buying your maid of honor a bottle of wine or an expensive necklace as a thank-you present, promise to give her the first animal that rubs against your leg on your 12th wedding anniversary. She’ll love that you planned so far ahead!

Band or DJ? Neither! Hire a man with a magic flute that can charm animals. Make sure you pay him though, or your ring bearer might disappear.

If you’ve murdered anyone recently, make sure your pets don’t know about it. They’ll tell all your guests at the ceremony and cause pointless drama!

Give your bridesmaids burlap sacks to wear and smudge their faces with ashes. If any one of them STILL looks prettier than you (we all have that friend with an alabaster brow and raven tresses), ask your yard guy to cut out her tongue. It’s your special day, and no one is allowed to look more beautiful than you!