* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where animals have rights -- like the right to be devoured. But only after being raised on a diet of pure grass. Our resident expert in animal husbandry, Pete Reynolds, explains it all for you.

FAQ: Grass-Fed Beef


Why should I buy grass-fed beef?

It is delicious, for one. Nutritious. Proteiny. Red. Quiet. Oh, and one other little thing, in case you forgot: the beef is grass-effing-fed.

Is grass-fed beef really that different from regular beef?

Please. You must be a professional jokesperson who tells hilarious jokes for a living, because your question just made me laugh so hard that laughter came out of my face. The difference between grass-fed beef and regular beef is the difference between spinach-fed blueberries and asbestos-fed rat.

What are some of the health advantages of grass-fed beef?

Improved memory. Increased vertical leap. Enhanced dexterity. Resistance to polio. Sauciness. Immunity to shark bites. General allure. Success. Success. Success. Fact: you will gain these advantages whether you actually eat the grass-fed beef or just rub it all over yourself in the shower.

Is grass-fed beef more environmentally friendly than regular beef?

Whoa, whoa, whoa…slow down, Asky Askington. That was clearly not a grass-fed question, or it would have been the best question ever.

But you didn’t even answer.

Grass-effing-fed. That’s your answer. Pull it together, man.

I’m on a tight budget and can’t afford grass-fed beef. What’s the next best thing?

Well, I hate to be the one to break it to you, but there is a tie for second place among every other consumable solid on the planet. If you can’t afford grass-fed beef, then I’d recommend apologizing to yourself for not working harder, then preparing your will.

Who are some notable consumers of grass-fed beef?

Actors. Professional athletes. Scholars. Fashionistas. Illuminati. Presidents. Vice Presidents of Marketing. Logginses. Messinas. Wolves. McMansion garbage disposals. People, before the 1930’s.

How can I prove that my beef is grass-fed?

That’s exactly the kind of question I’d expect from a corn-feeder.

How does the processing of grass-fed beef differ from that of regular beef?

Imagine, if you will, a cow grazing happily in a beautiful pasture. It chomps away on delicious, chlorophyll-rich blades of grass, happy as all get-out. Now imagine this cow is moved to the slaughterhouse, where it is ushered, along with several hundred of its comrades, into a momentary vortex of searing pain, followed by the slow letting of brackish blood and the promise of everlasting nothingness. At this point, it is moved along to a processing plant where, amidst whirring bone saws and funhouse plastic sheeting, its corpse is ripped apart, shrink-wrapped, and loaded onto a truck heading straight for your dinner table. Now. Imagine how disgusted you’d be if your dinner had also been fed corn.


* Welcome to The Big Jewel. We are happy to report that no animals have been hurt in the making of this issue. Well, almost no animals. Maybe a couple of monkeys. Scary monkeys. Rifle-bearing monkeys. Is that okay? Only Pete Reynolds knows for sure.

On The Front Lines (With Monkeys)

By: Pete Reynolds

“…a report in the Chinese state-run People’s Daily newspaper alleged that the Afghan Taliban has begun training monkeys in areas along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border as part of the struggle against occupying NATO forces. According to the story, the monkeys are sometimes offered bananas and peanuts as ‘a series of rewards and punishments to gradually teach them how to’ fire Kalashnikovs, light machine guns and trench mortars.” –- Time

September 3: Arrived at camp late last night. What an assignment! The first Western journalist allowed in to report from the border. Just me, my notebook, and eleven hundred highly-trained monkey warriors. Also: lots of bananas and nuts and it smells terrible.

September 4: Word out of headquarters: fire exchanged 15 miles south. As of now, no known casualties (monkey or human). Scout team heading out to get a full report; said I could ride along. Cracked wise about it being “a zoo out there,” but got nothing in response. What gives, monkeys?

September 6: Heavy casualties today after a series of strikes from NATO forces. It’s sad to think that many of these monkeys won’t make it out of here alive. Won’t get to go home. And most of them are just so young, too — 18, 19 years old. It becomes way less sad, though, when you remember that they typically only live for about 25 years anyway and are monkeys.

September 8: Funny story from the mess hall. This one monkey (I call him Twinkie) saw that dinner was peanuts (again!) and threw up his hands like “Gimme a break!” Pretty hilarious. Anyway, dinner interrupted by mortar attack, bloodbath, etc., but man, that thing with Twinkie…

September 12: Monkey warfare reaches predictable result. Running low on ammunition, monkeys construct a mid-sized catapult, which they then use to assail NATO forces with their own feces. Have no choice but to call it the “scatapult.”

September 13: Improved scatapult now reaching distances of up to 5000 meters, but it isn’t enough to slow NATO. Thought of a good one today about “damn, dirty apes,” but later was informed that monkeys ? apes. Thanks, Captain Sensitive.

September 16: “Monkey see, monkey do, monkey mercilessly torture POWs with a nail gun.” Not as pithy as the original saying, but EVERY BIT AS TRUE.

September 20: Yet another mortar attack. NATO is bearing down pretty hard at this point, and I’m not sure how long the monkeys can hold out. Hey, remember when NASA sent a monkey into space? They were like, “Hey, monkey, get in this rocket so we can blast you into space!” And he was all, “Sounds good, scientist guys!” Priceless.

September 21: Morale has disintegrated. The monkeys pretty much lay around all day smoking cheap hash and listening to Buffalo Springfield. This morning I saw one wearing a bark helmet with “Born to Kill” etched on its exterior. When pressed, he muttered something about the “duality of primates.” Hate to sound callous, but that’s pretty cliché, even for a monkey.

September 23: It’s all over. NATO forces arrived at dawn. Luckily, I hitched a ride on the last chopper out. As we flew away, I could see tanks losing traction on banana peels and the throats of those soldiers with peanut allergies swelling shut in the distance. The monkeys who stayed behind and fought would have been remembered as heroes, except instead of fighting, they pretty much just ran around shrieking before joining the NATO soldiers in toppling the scatapult. Oh, the horror…the horror…

* Welcome to The Big Jewel. Won't you please donate to our fictional charity? If not, please consider reading the following piece by Pete Reynolds in lieu of a donation.

I Wish You Weren’t Pro-Breast Cancer

By: Pete Reynolds

From: Grider, Michael

Greetings, co-workers. As many of you may have noticed from my previous emails, the posters in the break room, and/or the friendly reminders that I glued to your computer screens, I’ll be participating in the very charitable, very real, Mosey for Breast Cancer 2010. The Mosey supports breast cancer research in the DC area, is a great way to get involved in the community, and is in no way made up. I’m really looking forward to presenting my pledge sheet to the organizers, who are also real and distinct from me, so they can see how hard I worked (and how much I spent on glue) on behalf of this worthy cause.

There is, however, one small problem: you are not supporting my efforts. It’s been a week, and the only entries on my pledge sheet are a currency-free “Not a real charity!” from Mary in Accounts Receivable, a valueless “This is a scam” from Ted in the mail room, and an equally bankrupt pledge “to help Michael be less of a doushebag [sic]” from one “Ash Holman,” which I can only assume is fraudulent (and not particularly funny). Also, someone tacked up a copy of the company’s employee conduct policy on charitable solicitations (like that’s going to help cure cancer!). Given your poor performance in support of the Mosey, the realness of which cannot be questioned, I have no choice but to conclude that each of you is, in fact, pro-breast cancer.

An unfair critique, you say? I’m not so sure. After all, I couldn’t help but notice that Jeff from Sales isn’t having any trouble raising money for his drive (“Beat Multiple Sclerosis!”). Even if we were to assume that Jeff’s drive was authentic and not a front for the pro-breast cancer lobby, since when is there a limit on charity? You know what they say: “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” Or maybe you don’t know what they say. Maybe when they said it you were off injecting people with particularly virulent strains of breast cancer. Or maybe, just maybe, you were too busy being a bunch of selfish jerks who wouldn’t know a real charity if it jumped up and glued its very official-looking flier to your computer screen.

I suppose you’d all be chomping at the proverbial bit if I told you that some very famous celebrities also support the Mosey. Hey, maybe if you stopped worshipping celebrities for two seconds, you’d know that the Mosey does, in fact, profess to count several super-famous and super-non-fake human beings among its backers. I can’t name their very genuine names, of course, but I can promise you that your failure to donate isn’t making it any less likely that those same very important celebrities will die — not of breast cancer, but of broken hearts — upon bearing witness to your complete philanthropic neglect of the Mosey.

So let’s just call a spade a cancer-endorsing spade and admit that you love breast cancer so much that, if given the choice, you would marry it. If breast cancer were on Facebook, you would become Facebook friends with it. If breast cancer were a professional sports team, you would root for it. You would buy season tickets, a replica jersey that says “Breast Cancers” in cursive on the front, and a giant, novelty foam finger, which you would then use to heartlessly point out people with breast cancer. This is not my opinion. It’s what you would do.

If I had a wish for you, it would be that you’d get off your high horse and back down onto a normal-sized horse and stop loving breast cancer so much, horse-face.

Right now, as I write this, you are thumbing your breast cancer-free noses at my efforts, which are not in any way ignoble, and funneling your donations to Jeff’s sham MS operation, or, perhaps, a terrorist organization (these are not mutually exclusive, by the way). If you can justify your actions with your god, then so be it.

I hate you all,

Michael Grider

P.S. Because of your collective failure so far, the organizers have graciously suspended the deadline for pledges indefinitely. I hope you’re happy with yourselves.


Breck Steele (Class Of ’89) Gives The Commencement Address At Schwarzenegger University, The University For Action Heroes

By: Pete Reynolds

Welcome, parents, faculty, alumni, distinguished guests, corrupt city councilman, Turkish arms dealers, kung fu street toughs, intergalactic robots, and members of the Class of 2009.

You know, if you’d told me twenty years ago that one day I’d be standing here on this stage giving the commencement address at my alma mater, I would have said, “You must be from the future…tell me who sent you. Was it Reknar!?!?” You probably would have spit in my face, and I would have pistol-whipped you. Yet, here we are.

As you move out into the world, or outer space, or some alternate fourth dimension involving jumpsuits and holograms, you will face challenges. These challenges will mostly come from people who think they can destroy the world or corrupt your city. But Schwarzenegger U has prepared you to say to them, “Think again,” which they won’t be able to help but do, because, let’s face it: it’s hard to not think, especially on command.

After you’ve forced them to think (again), they’ll often remember that they have a hostage, and it’s usually someone you care about. “Don’t hurt the girl,” you might say, and they won’t. Challenges, people. Challenges.

You’ll have to be careful, though, because those ruthless outlaws, be they Russian, Middle Eastern or space alien, will have henchmen, or, in some cases, sexy henchwomen, tortured by your animal magnetism into tipping off their boss’s location before plummeting to their deaths from a helicopter, or getting sucked out of the hatch of the space station. And at some point, you’re going to have to go toe-to-toe with the largest of those henchmen. But this is where you can apply the lessons you’ve learned here at Schwarzenegger U. Remember that this particular henchman will usually get the best of you for a while, and he’ll tell you that you just don’t know when to quit, do you? But stick with it, because you’ll eventually turn the tide and knock him out, or, in R-rated scenes, kill him. “I’m getting too old for this,” you will say, though your prowess in combat (and, let’s be honest, the bedroom) suggests otherwise.

I remember the first job I took out of SU: Special Black Ops X-Force Renegade Commando for the Inter-Stellar CIA. Almost immediately, I faced challenges, often in the form of an overbearing captain, or explosions. “This isn’t in my job description,” I used to say in complaints to Human Resources. But I overcame those challenges, often with the help of a wisecracking sidekick or the agonizing memory of a deceased fiancée. And today, as I stand here in Willis-Seagal Auditorium looking out at the Class of 2009, I know that you are well-equipped to handle whatever life or Ortega, the Nicaraguan drug lord, throws your way, and —

I’m sorry, folks, I hate to interrupt my remarks like this, but I’ve just been told that I don’t have much time. In the interest of full disclosure, I was pulled off of a secret mission to the Malaysian jungle in the year 2542 to give this commencement address, and I’ve just been informed by my second-in-command that we’ve got company, and that the fate of the Gorkon-Zeptor Interplanetary Union depends upon my timely return.

So, in closing, I’d like to offer a quote that seems particularly pertinent to today’s ceremonies. The quote comes from Professor Doan Klocket — an alumnus of this fine institution, the Vin Diesel Distinguished Professor of Train-Top Knife Fights, and the man who taught me how to defuse a bomb strapped to the wing of a 747, mid-flight. Said Professor Klocket: “The only thing I’m negotiating, Mikhailovich, is the price of the flowers I’ll be sending to your funeral!” These words are as true today as they were in Doan’s Day, which, incidentally, was the title of Professor Klocket’s last movie.

Congratulations, Class of 2009, and Godspeed. I’ll see you in Hell.


You’re Not Like the Other Women I’ve Dated

By: Pete Reynolds

You know, I’m really enjoying spending time with you. I must say, you’re different than most women I’ve dated.

Oh, I mean that in a totally complimentary way, really. I’m not able to pinpoint exactly what it is yet, but there’s definitely something different about you. You’re not like all the other women I know, that’s for sure.

Maybe it’s your height. What are you, 5’9? That’s pretty tall, probably taller than most women I’ve dated. But I guess 5’9″” isn’t that tall. Maybe it’s not your height.

Maybe it’s your red hair. I guess I’ve never really dated anyone with red hair. Although…I did date a woman in college who had reddish hair — more like auburn — so I guess technically that doesn’t make you different than all the other women I’ve dated.

You’ve got a really great laugh. Most women I’ve dated either have no sense of humor, or they have totally annoying laughs, but yours is really infectious. Really. Outstanding laugh, and I’m not just saying that. That must be what makes you different than all the other women I’ve dated. But, you know, now that I think about it…I did date a pastry chef once who had a really great laugh. Not as great has her cheesecake, that’s for sure! But still, good laugh. So I suppose you’re not all that different in that respect.


Wait a minute…I’ve got it! I know what makes you different than all of the other women I’ve dated: you’re not chained to the radiator in my basement.

How did I miss that? Here you are, very much not in my basement — not even chained to anything, in fact — just having dinner at this lovely restaurant, exercising your own free will. It’s so refreshing to see that once in a while, you know? All the other women I’ve dated were, at one time, chained to that damned radiator in my basement. It gets old after a while, hearing the same things over and over again — “”I’m hungry,”” “”Let me go,”” “”There are people looking for me right now, creep”” — you know, typical “”girl stuff.”” But I never hear those things out of you. Except, of course, for “”I’m hungry,”” which you said right before we ordered. How is your food, by the way?

What? Metaphorical? No, like real, actual chains.

Because that’s where the radiator is, silly. Is this wine a little too sweet? Be honest.

Hey, what’s gotten into you? I just paid you a huge compliment, telling you about how you’re not like any of the women I’ve ever dated before —

Why does it matter how I define “”dating””?

Oh, please, now you’re just starting to sound like everyone else. This is really disappointing. I mean, I thought I felt a real connection here. Not the kind of connection that binds you to a radiator, of course, but a real, emotional, non-radiator connection, one not even located in my basement. Frankly, I’m really surprised by your reaction. I thought there was a spark between us. Not the metal-on-metal spark you’d get if you tried to escape from my basement by rubbing your chains against the radiator, but a spark nonetheless.

So you’re just leaving? Just like that? Oh, right. No chains.

Well, it’s probably a good thing, anyway. It would have been tough to date someone who’s so different than the women I usually date. Although…now that I see you walking away, I can get a better look at your hair, and — you know what? Maybe it was the hair after all. I mean, it’s really red.


Particularly Overt Classified Ads

By: Pete Reynolds

MediocriCo, Inc. — Marketing Associate. Get started down the Long Road to the Middle! Looking for young, spirited, optimistic go-getters who are open to having their souls crushed by a lifetime of overwhelming monotony and trite, career-stunting office politics. Useless bachelor’s degree preferred. Ability to begrudgingly, but consistently, obey orders a plus. Willingness to wear ties with short-sleeve dress shirts also a plus.

Testostero Supply Co. — Secretary. Auto parts supply company seeking submissive but perky secretary that knows her way around a hard drive (ohhh!). Ideal candidate must be willing to wear tight clothing and retrieve dropped items. Experience dancing to ZZ Top albums a plus. Past abusive relationship with father and/or currently incarcerated ex-boyfriend also a plus. Associate’s degree or lower preferred. Unfamiliarity with Anita Hill and Gloria Steinem a necessity. Signing bonus available to candidates who lost their virginity in a van with an airbrushed beach scene on the side. We are looking to immediately fill this opening — if you know what we mean. HAYYYYY-OOOOO! Free gym membership included.

FirstBank — Securities Broker. FirstBank, one of the country’s oldest and most prestigious banking institutions, is currently seeking to add as many as ten motivated, sadistic jerk-offs to its hallowed ranks. The ideal candidate will tip poorly and wear blue shirts with white collars. FirstBank prides itself on hiring employees who pretend to own a boat, wear excessive hair gel, and swing an imaginary baseball bat while talking on a headset. Priority for interviews will go to those candidates who have a penchant for self-aggrandizement and cocaine, and an ability to be from New Jersey.

Factory 72 — Laborer. Wal-Mart supplier located in tropical, malarial locale seeks energetic youngsters with tireless, supple fingers. Previous experience embroidering American flag and/or bald eagle onto sweatshirts for sale to Uncle Dales and Aunt Brendas throughout America’s girthier regions a plus. Candidates requiring more than intermittent bursts of mat-based slumber on dank factory floors need not apply. Wages probable. Benefits include thrice-daily snacks of mealworms and rain water (subject to seasonal drought).

US Army — Volunteers. Do you love adventure? Awesomeness?? EXTREME awesomeness??? If you answered “Totally, bro!” to any of these questions, you might just have what it takes to join the world’s most ass-kicking organization — the US Army! Be immediately deployed to waterless beaches half a world away where you’ll spend your time off-roading in ATVs, learning how to play the electric guitar, and snowboarding! Earn college credit toward a degree…in Awesomeness Studies! Though you will become an Army of One, employer would like to hire several thousand Armies of One, so impressionable friends are welcome. Must be 18 years old to apply. Will consider extra-rad 17-year olds who can keep a secret!

Larry “Lead Pipe” Stinson — Victim. Do you carry excessive amounts of cash? Are you masochistic and weak? If so, this job is for you! I am looking for someone who is willing to go the extra mile — specifically, the extra mile to the 121st Street ATM, around 2:45 AM, Thursday, June 20th, for your guaranteed interview. Ideal candidate enjoys walking alone and has a pathological fear of cops. Amnesia and/or blindness a plus.

Ron Masterson — Emergency Room Surgeon. Construction worker badly injured in a freak backhoe accident urgently seeking to hire a physician of some type, preferably one trained in emergency responses and life-saving surgeries, to stop the bleeding. Must be able to start immediately, as I am quickly losing consciousness. Ownership of medical tools and whatnot a plus. Double life as member of the clergy also a plus. Priority given to those physicians who are members of the MedHealth Insurance Preferred Network.

Columbia Gazette — Classifieds Coordinator. Mid-Atlantic, small town newspaper seeks to replace Classifieds Coordinator. Candidate must be willing to stifle own dreams of journalistic achievement and overlook unrelenting grammatical idiocy from the general public. Ability to refrain from sleeping with the Managing Editor’s wife, even though it feels so right, is, apparently, required. Knack for recognizing cruel irony of being asked to write an ad seeking one’s own replacement recommended.