* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where new contributor Linnea Cooley has some words of wisdom for members of our little sorority.

An Email From The Alpha Zappa Pi President

By: Linnea Cooley

Dear recent attendees of Becca and Hayley’s Birthday Bash,

Thank you to everyone who came out to celebrate Becca and Hayley’s birthday at Club ChaCha this weekend. As the event organizer and Alpha Zappa Pi president, I am reaching out in order to recap the unfortunate events that transpired. A number of you have DM’ed me on Instagram with questions, but I decided it was easier to address all of you at once.

I will start with some of the more mundane announcements, before moving on to the more pressing issues.

First, if you left a teal blue cardigan at the bar, Sarah found it and she has it in her Jeep.

Second, a few of you forgot to refund me for Becca and Hayley’s birthday cake. Please Venmo me the agreed $5 by tomorrow night, (I’m not mad, but buttercream frosting is expensive, and we all agreed to chip in!)

Now, for the more serious announcements.

It goes without saying that Alpha Zappa Pi has been permanently banned from Club ChaCha. Unfortunately, the restaurant across the street also got a whiff of the events throughout the night, and we have been preemptively banned from Giorgio’s Italian Eatery as well.

I am very disappointed in all of you. The events of Saturday night did not represent our chapter in a positive light. Is this what Alpha Zappa Pi stands for? I think not! I organized this event so that we could celebrate the birthdays of our beloved sisters, Becca and Hayley. While we did a lot of celebrating, I think we can all agree that things got out of hand.

The first point that I would like to address is the kidnapping of the bartender and the subsequent selling of his possessions on the black market. Club ChaCha graciously let us reserve a room for Becca and Hayley’s birthday party and kidnapping one of their employees was in poor taste. This night was about celebrating Becca and Hayley, but in your quest to dominate the black market some of you completely forgot about that!!

Second, burning an effigy of the Xeta Bi president on the dance floor was completely inappropriate for this event. Who thought this was a good idea? While Xeta Bi does steal some of our best recruits each year, it is important that we continue to treat them with respect and good will. Club ChaCha follows a strict fire code, and open flames on the dance floor do in fact violate that code.

Third, mixing crystal meth in the Club ChaCha sink was inexcusable. I am pretty sure I know which Chemistry major was behind this (cough, cough, Kelsey!), and I am not impressed. Need I remind you of the Sorority drug policy? While the policy does not explicitly mention mixing crystal meth, I think we can all agree that it is implied.

Fourth, the orgy that occurred in the seating area made the other patrons of Club ChaCha extremely uncomfortable. According to the CDC, public sex with more than eleven participating bodies is highly unhygienic and raises the risk of sexually transmitted diseases or infections. It was too dark for me to tell, but I am fairly certain that not all of the Pheta Xau boys were wearing condoms.

The last point that I would like to address is the exorcism that occurred in the women’s bathroom. The demon that was summoned from the pits of hell ended up swooping around and devouring several people. For future notice, all summoning of demons must occur outside of Alpha Zappa Pi sponsored events.

Finally, if anyone has seen Brittany Pohland, the pledge with the long blonde hair and highlights, she has been missing since Saturday night and was last seen in the clutches of the demon.

That’s all I have for now, but once again,

Happy Birthday Becca and Hayley!!!

Your dutiful Alpha Zappa Pi President,

Jessica Hillman


Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we would never stoop so low as to snoop through other people’s mail. We have David Jaggard do it for us. After you’ve read this except from his e-book “Quorum of One” (available on Amazon) you can listen to his newly released comic song “Your Shoe’s Untied” by clicking the link under his name. Don’t forget: we’ll be watching your mail to make sure you did it.

From The Pop Culture Dead Letter Office: Revelations

By: David Jaggard

July 17, 1963

Malley & Torelli
Bill Collection, Private Investigation
2117 E. 58th St.
New York, NY 10138

Mr. Michael Corleone
1 Westshore Drive
Lake Tahoe, NE 80229

Dear Sir:

In our capacity as representatives for Bellini Bros. Inc., owners and operators of Louie’s Italian American Restaurant, 3179 Bronx Boulevard, New York, NY 10131, we are writing to request payment of an outstanding bill.

On the evening of February 12, 1946, you dined in said restaurant in the company of one Mr. Virgil Sollozzo, self-employed entrepreneur, and Captain Mark McCluskey of the New York City Police Department, both deceased.

The bill for your table shows one small antipasto platter, two orders of mussel soup, three orders of veal picatta (the best in the city), a magnum of Barolo Grigio 1932, two tiramisus and one slice of lemon cake. The total comes to $24.57, including the desserts, which were not served, but as they had already been prepared and entered on the bill are legally inclusive in the liability.

As the only surviving member of your party, we must assume that you were intending to pick up the tab for this meal. We hereby request that you remit payment in full, plus the sums of $37.40 for interest and damages (including the cost of replacing two chairs, one tablecloth, four glasses, the chef’s pacemaker and 24 rolls of paper towels) and $189.95 in collection and processing fees.

The total (see attached itemized list) comes to $251.72, not including the tip for your waiter, although since he died of shock shortly after your departure from the premises, we are willing to forego this customary nicety.

Furthermore, unclaimed property found near your table, in the form of a Smith & Wesson 38 caliber revolver, was auctioned and the value of the weapon allotted to defray collection costs, which otherwise would have been higher.

We realize that $251.72 is a sizeable bill for three partially-consumed, and in the majority of cases undigested, dinners, but you must consider that our agents have been trying to track you down for a number of years.

In the spring of 1947 they had located you in a villa in western Sicily, but they apparently arrived just moments after your departure. In the courtyard they found the burned-out, still smoking wreck of an automobile with a woman’s corpse in the driver’s seat.

Being professional investigators as well as bill collectors, they examined the hulk and determined that the explosion was caused by a leak in the fuel line which was ignited by a spark from the starter.

A local man, apparently a servant of yours, was seen running from the property as our men approached, but he returned in a few minutes, explaining that he had eaten some bad scungilli the previous night and had urgently needed to relieve himself. This person informed our agents of your sudden and inexplicable disappearance.

Several years later two of our agents attempted to serve you with papers concerning this matter by introducing themselves clandestinely onto the grounds of your property in Lake Tahoe during what appeared to be a celebration of some sort.

Since it was impossible to speak to you during the day, they approached your front door that night, intending to hand you the dossier and depart, but they became disoriented in the dark and found themselves in the back of the house, outside your bedroom windows. Shortly thereafter three of your own guards located them and opened fire with machine guns, killing both agents instantly and in the process spraying your house with bullets.

We hope that we will receive payment (certified check or money order only) from you soon so that we may clear this long-standing debt. In anticipation of your cooperation, we remain faithfully yours…


January 14, 1967

T.Q. Olufson
National Parks Service
1278 Jefferson Boulevard
Washington, D.C. 10203

Mr. Paul Simon
1759 Central Park West
New York, NY 10012

Dear Mr. Simon,

We have completed our review of the photographic documentation of the event described in your 1966 song “The Sounds of Silence,” and we regret to inform you that the figures cited in your lyrics seem to be grossly exaggerated.

In the third verse you report having seen “ten thousand people, maybe more.” The National Park Service monitored the entire crowd from helicopters and our estimate of the headcount that day is 3,550.

Since you claim to have seen the gathering “in the naked light,” surely you must have realized that there were nowhere near as many participants in this bizarre ritual as you allege.

We trust that you will correct your figures in all future performances of this song.

Sincerely yours…


March 23, 1962

California Highway Patrol
Branch Office 211
433137 Imperial Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 92451

Mr. Brian Wilson
1455 Hedgerow Circle
Hawthorne, CA 92438

Dear Sir:

Enclosed you will find a citation for a moving violation in the amount of $55.00 imputed to a vehicle registered in your name. This vehicle was recorded on traffic surveillance cameras engaged in what appears to be a “drag race” on Waterfront Strip, Long Beach, CA, on the evening of March 4.

The incident began at 9:27 pm in the 1800 block, where the road changes from four lanes to six. You have been identified as the driver of a silver Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. Yours and another vehicle, namely a blue Dodge 413, were photographed standing side by side at a red light with large quantities of exhaust emanating from the tailpipes. Of course our visual evidence is not a film with soundtrack, but one can only conclude that it must have sounded real mean.

In the next photo, the light had turned green and both vehicles apparently accelerated to a high rate of speed. You and the Dodge were then captured in time-stamped photos by cameras in subsequent blocks, which prove that you continued to exceed the speed limit for slightly more than one-quarter of a mile.

It appears that the Dodge, which given its rapid acceleration must have been equipped with dual quad ram induction, really “dug in,” so to speak, and gained an early lead in your little informal competition. Black streak marks in your lane indicate that your rear tires must have spun considerably at the outset (you might want to check the tread — just a suggestion). But given the fact that both vehicles arrived nearly simultaneously at the 2600 block, we have been led to understand that you have a fuel-injected engine sitting under your hood.

In case you, or millions of fans, might be interested, the end of the race was exceedingly close and only our final photographs show incontrovertibly who won. But we are not legally authorized to divulge that information.



October 12, 1964

Dear Gilligan,

Here’s your ring back, you spineless scumbag. I never want to see it or you again. Look, if you didn’t have the guts to break up with me in person you could have at least called. But no, instead you act all lovey-dovey and all “I just have to work for three hours this afternoon and then I’m taking you out to dinner,” and then you vanish for five weeks without so much as a postcard.

Five weeks! It’s like you got blown away!

Okay, so I just want to know one thing: who is she? Some rich bitch you met on one of your “luxury” tours who wanted a little hanky-panky with a mighty sailin’ man like you?

Or did you just decide to dump me in the wild hope of realizing your ludicrous fantasy of meeting some movie star and going off to a secluded island with her? As if! It doesn’t take a college professor to calculate the odds on that ever happening!

So let me know who it is — you owe me that much — and then you’re out of my life forever, you cowardly loser.

And don’t try to weasel out of telling me either — I know you’re still around because every time I drive by the marina I see your car sitting there, right in its usual spot.

It could really use a wash, by the way.

Get lost,



* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we continue our survey of modern Japanese literature with this new story from Haruki Murakami, as translated by Michael Fowler, who does not speak Japanese. Management assumes no responsibility. Once you've absorbed this bit of Far Eastern hilarity, we recommend that you follow the link below to purchase Mr. Fowler's riveting humor collection, "Nathaniel Hawthorne Is Dating My Girlfriend."

“Double Buds,” A New Haruki Murakami Story

By: Michael Fowler

She walked in front of him out of deference. But if it was deference, he thought, shouldn’t she walk to his rear? Show that she was his follower? After all, she was the producer of his cooking show, not the star herself. No one would tune in to watch Nikko gut a trout or wrestle an anemone or lick squid ink from her fingers. She remained in the background on his set at all times unless, in an emergency, he needed someone to pound his nori. His seaweed wrap was famous for its texture, and she had the touch.

And yet, as they walked to the studio past the gardens on Main Street, for assuredly there was a Main Street in Tokyo as there is in every city, and one lined with flowers at that, her lead position still somehow showed deference, even subservience. There is a saying: The upkeep of the blossoms at Mount Myogi will be added to your water bill. One thing was certain, her hoop earrings carried a lot of whoa babe. He had once heard an American use this term to describe an attractive woman in Kyoto, and although Americans were blunt you could say this about them: they also had other qualities. The term seemed to fit Nikko to a T. And her stylish earrings were the merest fraction of her appeal. She had whoa babe to spare, just dripped the stuff all over the street.

Two years ago they had been lovers, but no longer whispered to each other the tender words cameltoe and creampie. She, a native of the Kansai district, spoke with a Liverpool accent, a sign of her devotion to the Beatles throughout her youth. He, born and raised in Ashiya, sounded like a native New Yorker, due to his lifelong devotion to the Ramones. But he thought the Beatles were cool too, as long as Paul wasn’t singing. Though they no longer entangled themselves in knots of damp armpits and heaving thighs, they sometimes left together work together in the evening, hopped aboard the bullet train to a remote suburb, and cut a rug at a festive club. But they only did that after first gorging themselves on his culinary creations back at the studio.

And oh those tasty creations! Who but he could concoct a pickled rose that tasted like a McD’s cheeseburger? A sea urchin that conjured up a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Or tuna sushi that was finger licking good, like KFC? This was his success and the theme of his show: how to take rarified, costly ingredients and make them taste like junk or fast food. For mysterious reasons, it was a huge hit throughout Japan and in some former Soviet Bloc countries.

As always, her body segued seamlessly from watusi to masked potato as the music in the club washed over her. Was it his habit of losing the tempo and crushing her foot beneath his own that had led to their end of their romance? Very likely that was a contributing factor. But there was also professional jealousy, stemming from the fact that he possessed double the usual number of taste buds. This fortuitous birth defect, or perhaps birth advantage was the truer term, was the result of his being born with a forked tongue. No, not quite rattle-snake forked, and not a cleft palate either, but a split tongue that gave him double buds for tasting, and even provided the name of his hit show: Double Buds. How could she, a serious chef herself and his classmate in culinary arts at Waseda University, compete with Mister Double Buds? Life was so unfair when you had to compete with gifted genetic freaks like that banjo player in Deliverance who had like, what, 20 fingers?

She wanted to scrape those double buds off his tongue with a Ginsu knife and slather them in cheap tomato sauce.

After a single date with her when they both still attended culinary school, he felt her unease and competitive edge. Further meetings with her were disappointments, like opening the door to an empty room when you expected to find your drunken uncle inside. He liked Uncle Kato, no matter what the rest of the family said. Kato always had a snack of dried eel for him. And he wore Blue Cheer Hearing Aids, the loudest made, and could tell what song a rock band was playing 60 miles away. There is a saying: When a man is lazy enough, his spine will grow a chair.

And so she had changed her major from culinary arts to TV production. There double buds would not best her, there double buds would offer no advantage. No longer needing those damned double buds with her new major, she could come out first in her class, as she did. The downside to her success in TV was, they were split apart. Even working together on Double Budscould not reunite them, not wholly. It was all so sad, so infinitely sad. Sad, it was. He carried that sadness all the way to the bank, singing “All You Need is Love,” his favorite Beatles song even if Paul sang on it.

There is a saying: Love is a wonderful thing, but nothing beats double buds.