* Welcome to The Big Jewel, which is like your personal Advent calendar for this joyous holiday season. This week we look at the advent of ranch dressing, perhaps the most beautiful holiday story of all, courtesy of our good friend Luke Roloff!

The Advent Of Ranch Dressing As Told By The Rancher

By: Luke Roloff

The query I’m often riddled with is: How was ranch dressing invented anyways? Bein’ I was there on the morn of its zesty conception, shoot, I ‘spose it’s time I broke my stoic silence and provide the world a worthwhile answer.

This here is the tale of how ranch dressing came to be.

I remember it as clear as day. It was an icy winter eve when my Granpappy come bustin’ through that ranch house front door. Brrr. Pappy just done come straight from workin’ the spread, and with him come two buckets of fresh milk for Gammy to use for supper — actually…scratch that.

It was sweltering hot that day. Yes. I remember now. Hotter than Pappy’s cast-iron poker. Well, not that hot obviously. But it was super hot, okay? My Gammy, sweet Gammy. That woman could whip up a — wait a second…Gammy was always the one making a stew that gave me indigestion. She kinda struggled with her craft as a cook, truth be told. Also, she smelled like spider webs.

It was my Aunty Doris who was the cook. Yes, sir, finest peach pie in bi-county. She could uncover flavor combinations like Pappy slaughtered animals. And as memory serves, by god, she churned those buckets of fresh milk into buttermilk, and now the more I think of ole Doris, the more I’m reminded I didn’t care for her much. My Momma’s sister. She killed Momma. But on that particular eve, birthing rich buttery salad sauce, when she sprinkled dem dill spices, well, doggone she was creative.

Please don’t get the wrong idea here. We’re a simple people who like to keep it simple, but when it comes to seasoning cream, well, we’re pretty much like astronauts exploring galaxies that simply haven’t been imagined. It’s no big secret our unbridled affinity for enigmatic salad fixins. And obviously, a ranch is the only place on earth where herbs can coalesce with such grace and magic. And Doris, that boob, she done proved it with her virtuoso performance, gunslingin’ ingredients, speaking in tongues — she was acting like an alien, one who’s bringin’ new information to our planet, such as the recipe of an out-of-this-world salad topping. From where I sat, looked like she was buildin’ a bona fide time machine. If only we could go back in time and save Momma, then she could taste her killer’s creamy concoction. That ranchy taste. A giant mouthful of a pure ranch. Mmmm.

If I’m not mistaken, Doris said something about chives. Or was it parsley? Or were the haunting screams of Momma’s ghost too loud to hear ol’ Doris? Hold your horses. No, that’s right, I believe Doris got choked out by Momma’s ghost. Once we scooted the body out of the way, it was her daughter Cynthia who grabbed that spatula by the horns. No. Not Cynthia. In fact, I think I was out of town that weekend. You know what, storytelling isn’t my strong suit.

Listen, how the hell should I know how a salad dressing is made? That’s not what we do on ranches. We raise livestock, not the tastiness levels of lettuce.

Can’t we just let sleeping dogs lie and enjoy our slathered greens?

Okay, just looked it up on Wikipedia, and it was invented by some feller livin’ up in the Alaskan bush. He was a plumber. Well there ya go — shoulda named it Plumb dressing.

Now quit askin’ me.

* Welcome to The Big Jewel. We're glad you made it! Various studies, which I am making up as I go along, conclusively prove that this site can help wean you off of YouTube, if YouTube is a problem for you. Heed the questionable wisdom of Luke Roloff.

I Went To YouTube Tonight And Didn’t Come Back

By: Luke Roloff

What led me down this path? Where did I lose my way? Where did my legs go?

I can’t see my legs.

One minute I’m minding my own business watching other people’s lives unfold on social media, and the next I’m neck deep in a paralyzing cage of wonder.

From what I can remember, I went to YouTube real quick to watch this one video, but before I could even type it in the search bar, I was ensnared by the trappings of a sweet temptress known as Recommended.

I believe it was at this junction that I went down a bit of a rabbit hole, a splendid hole where cat and chicken are best friends. Yes, a cat, and a chicken — buddies! I simply couldn’t look away.

Eight minutes deep into watching two animals flop around in the dirt, I lost peripheral vision and basic motor skills. One thing led to another, and before I knew it I was a mere puppet dancing in the hands of my penchant for pretty much anything.

You’re probably asking yourself by now, once a digital paradigm has been crossed, isn’t there an instructional video on YouTube explaining how to return? No, there isn’t. I checked.

But you know what is on YouTube? Back episodes of Xena Warrior Princess!

Despite losing all control and sense of physical self, I eventually felt a soothing warmness come over me. Accompanied by a wetness. Then later, a coolness. Followed by a smelliness.

Make no mistake, my soul has officially crossed the Rubicon of online content. My body, morphed into a cushion for my laptop. And my mind, it’s totally engrossed in this home video about a guy who designed a solar-powered chocolate skateboard.

Before I lost my hearing, I would periodically get wind of what sounded like my wife. I believe she was trying to send me a message from the physical world. Something like, “Will you take out the garbage?” She kept repeating it, over and over. And while the code meant nothing to me at the time, now it really means nothing because I’m in the middle of watching upside-down rainbows from New Zealand!

Okay, I’ll admit, some of the videos are a little silly, but others are actually quite moving. I can feel them drawing me in, almost dragging me, really, gnawing at my feet, and growling like a hungry and neglected dog.

Sometimes, I can even see things in 3D. Like the hands of little children frantically waving to get my attention. Or moths. It’s so lifelike!

After about another dozen or hundred videos, I was watching a tutorial on how to watch every celebrity interview ever, when suddenly, virtual reality musta kicked in, because it was like I was surrounded by celebrities, yeah, and they were acting out this elaborate intervention scene about video-watching addiction, and all the actors looked identical to my friends and family. The resolution was astounding!

At one point I even had this weird feeling that my house was being robbed, and then I got the impression someone was reaching into my pocket and snatching my wallet, and then I felt this zinging sensation as if someone punched my nose and gagged me and tied me up, then I found my favorite music video from 1994!

Lately, my favorite video is the one with all the really best things I like! LOL! Though my favorite favorite video is every video!

Once I added my iPad to the mix, then I taped my iPhone to my face!

From time to time my brain comes on, and I have to wonder, Good grief, what’s that smell? But you know what they say, time flies when you have no clue how much of it has passed!

And now look at this smoke! WOW, those flames are so hot it’s as if they’re burning my flesh off. I can’t even breathe — so lifelike!


* Welcome to The Big Jewel, a site so warm and comfortable it will put you to sleep instantly! But when you awaken it will be from this nightmare brought to you by our good friend Luke Roloff.

Does My Tempur-Pedic Bed Know Too Much?

By: Luke Roloff

My Tempur-Pedic bed knows every single inch of my body. From the small of my back to the girth of my buns. My upper traps. My inner thighs. Even my inner thoughts.

And boy, did I used to have a tough time sleeping. I’d wake up for work feeling all groggy — now I don’t wake up for work at all. This bed has changed my life. I’m so happy!

Soon as my head hits the pillow, my stress and ability to perceive reality just shed away!

This euphoric cradle is so intuitive, it knows the curvature of my spine like the arc of my depression. When I toss and turn and weep, it rebounds like only cellular-engineered sleeping equipment can. I wake up so refreshed I feel like leaving the house for the first time in three months!

I can’t begin to tell you how much I love this bed, because it’s been over a year since I’ve spoken to another human being, leaving me speechless when I come into contact with one. That’s probably when you know you’ve selected the right bed for your unique sleep habits — when nothing gets between you and your remote control adjustable base or the notion that you no longer have a need for the outside world.

This bed knows me so well it molds to my body like the mold growing around my headboard. No one knows me like this omniscient rectangle. Certainly not the homeless people I invited in after I lost my family. Those hobos will never comprehend the way I sleep on my stomach or why I’ve let my townhouse become a breeding ground for vampires.

It stimulates my reticular activating system for achieving the deep, deep sleep that’s so deep I experience night terrors in which I don’t know if I’m awake or asleep. Which is really the only way to elicit the supine position I need to snooze through the noise of the wildlife nesting in my kitchen.

It’s hard to fathom that I ever slept a wink without a symmetrical posturing mattress or a moat of lit candles keeping the ghost of El Diablo at bay.

Best of all, I’ve noticed a dramatic improvement in my posture and archery skills. Fending off the crusade of Medusa and her coterie of serpents has become a breeze!

It’s like this bed hugs me. And cuddles with me, too. Basically it strokes my hair and says it’ll be okay when the monsters come. I know how I must sound. I’m only whispering so I don’t wake them.

Some people say I don’t know what I’m talking about. That the elaborate fire dancing and ceremonial offerings are “inhumane.” The envious ones say that. The police. They don’t have a clue. They can’t get it through their thick skulls how crucial a well-rested lifestyle is for your health.

The moment I decided against my will to try the Tempur-Pedic padded white walls, that’s when it finally hit me — I’m Hypnos, the royal guardian of celestial slumber, sent to slay insomnia and shield the somnolent whom dwell in kingdoms near and far!

Yet to this day, when I melt into the proprietary spring-coil padding and my own empty toil, I can’t help but feel the flawless suspension and a sinking suspicion that maybe this clairvoyant comfort has gone too far. Perhaps I’ve flirted with too much mattress ingenuity? Am I in over my head, too far under the sheets or possibly behind on my payments?

Back and forth I sway in this emotional tug-o-war, rocking side to side in pure comfort.

* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we are always looking for a better bargain in air fare, no matter what the consequences for life and limb. Heed the terrifying airborne ravings of our good friend Luke Roloff.

Scary Cheap Flights

By: Luke Roloff

Welcome aboard, and thanks for risking your life on the cheapest airline you could find! Rest assured, here at Scary Cheap Flights, safety is our top priority after anything related to making money.

We’d like to extend an extra special welcome to our regular survivors. We appreciate your business while it lasts!

We’ll now play a brief in-flight safety video prior to takeoff — because if you think about it, nothing can go wrong while we’re just sitting here. And we want you to feel safe even though you aren’t.

(Cue video)

Hello! The following presentation has not been vetted by our safety department because we don’t have one, but marketing says, “It’s got a lotta legs.”

First, please ensure all aisles and exits are clear for the inevitable race against time.

Put away all electronics — you don’t need those where we’re goin’.

Be sure that all carry-on items are wedged tight enough in the overhead bin to shatter. And you can misplace your small items in the black vortex by your feet.

You’ll see that the seat pocket in front of you doesn’t exist. Surely you’ve noticed by now that we don’t have a lot of things — like razor-thin blankets or clumpy baby pillows or a dependable airplane.

If you’re sitting in an emergency exit row, there’s a slim chance you might make it out of this alive. If you are not able or willing to assist in the event of an emergency, join the club.

As we push back from the gate, make sure your seat belt is properly fastened, or not. No difference.

If at any time this ole bag-a-bolts starts-a-shakin’, do not be alarmed, but be ready to work when we divvy up the duct tape and rope. And if the windows bust out, do not try to grab a goose — it’s nearly impossible.

(Video pauses)

We’ll now be coming around to peddle $12 trail mix and credit card offers. Also at this time, we’re looking for volunteers to push us onto the tarmac. Thank you.

(Video resumes)

Please remain seated any time the “fasten seat belts” sign is on, and at all other times also, because things gets real when there’s nothing separating you from a 30,000 foot free fall except metal and fear. And please note, if we descend into one of our trademark pelican dives, additional fees may apply.

(Video pauses)

One other thing, if anyone has any experience flying an airplane, please come up front ASAP.

(Video resumes)

In the likely event that cabin pressure changes, AKA part of the plane is ripped off, oxygen masks will go like hotcakes. Probably should take a moment to see who you can muscle one away from. If your Darwinism kicks in, and somehow you don’t get sucked out of the plane like a rag doll, we have not thought that far ahead.

Water evacuations — despite sounding terrifying, they’re far worse. For those of you who’ve crashed with us before, you know what we mean — ha! You’ll find a life vest underneath your seat if you brought one from home. Rip ‘er open, strap in, and pray we don’t hit shark-infested waters again. And please, no flare gun fights before setting up teams.

(Video pauses)

Okay folks, just a quick update that we don’t have a clue. Our company is literally run by feral monkeys.

(Video resumes)

More importantly, smoking is not allowed if you can’t get away with it. Federal law prohibits any tampering, disabling or destroying of a restroom smoke detector — so you got to get creative. If you happen to be working with explosives, try not to let the cigarette smoke get in your eyes and mess up what you’re doing.

When we begin crashing, feel free to help yourself to a complimentary beverage — one per customer, please. This is our way of saying “goodbye.” And if you care to watch a movie during this frightening time, try filming the crash with your phone or just watch your life flash before your eyes.

Before we see if this big bird can fly, please put your seats in the upright position, put your tray table up, slap on your chute, pop some pills and get right with God.

On behalf of everyone at Scary Cheap Flights — hope to see you again in the next life!

(Video concludes)

This is your captain speaking. Please sit back and relax — I’m as scared as you are.





* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where it's always your lucky day! Oh, the luck you're about to have. You have no idea! And neither do the makers of Lucky Charms. Heed the blarney of Luke Roloff.

Some Lucky Ideas For Making Lucky Charms Luckier

By: Luke Roloff

To the Lucky Charms R&D Team:

Hello! My family and I love your product — especially the luck it brings me. Odds are, I bet you get this type of letter all the time, so I’ll just cut to the chase. While I have long relied on your hardened mallows for a serotonin boost at the breakfast table as much as a rush of dopamine at the roulette table, I see a few missed opportunities I hope I can tip you off on.

Lord knows your horseshoes, rainbows and shooting stars are proven ironclad luck makers, though I’d like to share with you a few additional charms bound to help me settle my scores around town. Starting with an obvious one — the Pot O’ Gold. Maybe I’m missing something here, but it’s pictured on the front of your box – why isn’t it floating in my bowl?

Every morning after spending some time and serious money playing online poker with the kids, I finger through a box of Lucky Charms probing for a Pot O’ Gold sugar nugget lucky enough to keep the bookies from breaking both kneecaps. I comb and I comb, but no matter how many deformed bits of brown I dig through, there’s no gilded pot to be found. All I can do is look down at the faces of my children and say, what are you looking at?

I make it a priority to teach my children that life isn’t a big game of trying hard and doing your best. I pray they’ll come to understand that it’s better to be lucky than good, and even better than that to be good at luck. Because as we both know, luck doesn’t just come along by chance. It’s not some hocus-pocus fluke. No. Good luck is the product of a good luck ethic.

After getting the kids off to the park to pick 4-leaf clovers for the day, I swing by the local cockfight and then head to the horse track. The key to me not losing borrowed money is my lucky underwear. Classic white briefs, if you must know. This is another missed opportunity I don’t quite comprehend. Lucky underwear is a common thread in achieving luck. Please add the white briefs marshmallow. And, I’m embarrassed for you to even have to bring this up, but the lack of a little horsey/jockey marshmallow in your lineup is as sorely missed as my left pinky.

The lies I told myself to justify losing my kids college tuition in scratch tickets alone – ha! There’s nothing you can do but shake your head and laugh as you blindly lay down another wild bet and constantly look for ways to acquire more luck. It’s a game of attrition. The more you look for luck, the less time you have for unlucky things.

This may come as a surprise, but I have a love for gambling. When I’m not on a bender in Vegas, I spend most nights bunkered inside a seedy underground card room while my kids are safe in the adjacent room playing craps. But not without my lucky jackknife I don’t. I’ve fought off dozens of cold streaks and angry thugs with it. And I feel the addition of a steel shank to the Lucky Charms family is long overdue.

What is luck, really? Some days you have it, most days you don’t. And on those days, you need even more of it. It ebbs and flows like the tide of the sea. You dip your toe in for the cool rush, and before you know it, a tsunami crushes the skull of your financial well-being and possibly your head if you don’t pay the piper. That’s when you begin to wonder, are my Lucky Charms magically delicious? Or are they just delicious? Deep down you know they’re infused with lucky magic, but sometimes you lose sight of the truth when you lose your house and family and kidney due to illegal sports betting.

Robbing banks isn’t for everyone. It’s for people experiencing a small string of crummy luck. Now just spit-balling here, but I wonder if a machinegun marshmallow doesn’t make a lot of sense? And a little security guard man could be fun, too. Listen, with all due respect, I don’t want to tell you how to run your business, but I will if you don’t meet my demands.

Thank you for taking the time to read my letter in light of it being postmarked from San Quentin State Prison. I hope you find it lucky and not rude. Please consider making the aforementioned additions and greatly improving my odds of winning back my family from the bruisers who are holding them hostage.






* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we like to celebrate all of life's little accomplishments. Or even the ones that aren't so little. Give a big fat round of applause to Luke Roloff, here with his first piece for us.

My Little Fat Has Grown Up So Fast!

By: Luke Roloff

Seems like only yesterday my baby fat was born. Good god, how calories fly! It’s funny, my willpower and I had talked about having fat for some time. But we kept putting it off, putting it off, putting it off. Until one day, my willpower says to me, “Screw it. Let’s do this.” I can’t tell you how exciting it was! Yes I can. It was like a bloomin’ onion thrill-ride! The miracle of human fat hits you and your midsection like a ton of snack-sized Snickers! I mean, when you bring new life into your torso area, you can’t help but look down at your fat and think — I made this…it’s a part of me!

I still remember when we brought it home from the Chinese buffet that first night. I was full of joy and MSG, just cradling my newborn flab. And now, gee whiz. It’s like I turn my belly for one second, and my fat has grown up faster than America’s serving size! It wasn’t by accident, though. Haha! No, sir. I put a lot into it. Raising your own flesh and blood is not a job to take lightly. You have to nurture it. Constantly watch it. Sometimes hide it. I don’t want to take all the credit, but I’m absolutely going to — because I’m the sole reason my corpulent offspring has grown so rotund. Some like to call it genetic disposition. I call it “you better finish that.”

Ever since the birth of my fat, it’s been all about fostering growth. Some people don’t know this, but my little butterball was actually shy at first. In hindsight (and hind leg), all it needed was a morsel of momentum. Once my chicken fat spread its buffalo wings — hot dog, it soared to new rolls! Now, the older I get, the more it comes out of its shell and my shirts. I may have a slowing metabolism, but keeping up with fast food is a piece of cake!

I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been pretty strict on my fat. No excess cardio of any kind. We lay off the fresh fruits and veggies. We set limits on lean meats. We don’t get carried away with water drinking. We establish barriers to prevent self-control. And we gave up moderation altogether. But know this: on special occasions, and holidays, and many of the normal days also, we eat like kings — ravenous, gluttonous kings.

Not to get all preachy on you, but it’s imperative in the development stage to let your fat be itself. Call it what you want – chubby, pudgy, tubby, chunky, husky — but you must give it ample space to be its fatso self. Or in other words, the autonomy to pig-out. It’s also critical that your fat is constantly stimulated. In order to mature, it needs those late night pasta feeds with endless breadsticks that truly never end.

Remember, fat simply craves your attention and replenishing omega-3 fatty acids. If you want to see your fat flourish, treat it with respect and high-fructose goodies. And if you really want to cultivate new blubber, role model how to persevere. My little bugger’s biggest achievements have come on account of not giving up. We always say, you’re never full unless it’s of excuses! And, no carb unturned! We say that, too.

The day my bulge really rounded the corner, I mean noticeably so, with a sweatshirt on even, was when we stopped keeping track. When we quit consuming “nutritious” food. It’s this world of “take care of yourself” and “live longer.” What. Ever. I say enough is enough (except in the case of food portions)! I say, fat is the future! Am I worried about my diabetes? A little. Am I going to do anything about it? Fat chance!

Having fat is simply breathtaking. You feel it in your gut. That it’s there, sticking out. I wouldn’t know what to do without my flaccid paunch. Like, what would I be doing right now? Would I not be polishing off a medium-sized bag of Doritos that I had no intention of opening? Would I not feel constantly fatigued and short of breath? I’ll never know. But neither will the people who don’t have fat in their life. My advice to someone without fat? Maybe it’s time you start investing in something bigger than yourself.