Posts by Dr. Boli

FIND THE SOURCE OF THE PICTURE.

This portrait of Christ is dated “13th century” by Wikimedia Commons. It was taken from a Web site that no longer exists. The portrait is attributed to Arsen Bulmaisimisze, a Georgian name that comes up in some Georgian sites, but Dr. Boli has forgotten all the Georgian he ever knew except “Peachtree Street,” and he suspects that may be the wrong kind of Georgian. Every other mention of that name in English on the Internet is connected with this image, which appears on a few other sites scattered here and there. Some of those sites are stock-photo sites that have clearly harvested the same image from Wikimedia Commons and would like you to pay them up to $200 for it, which is a useful cautionary tale for designers who buy stock images. Every site that mentions a date at all dates it to “13th century.”

Clearly, then, this is one of those cases where literally all the information on the Internet has propagated from one source, and that one source is egregiously wrong. If this is a painting from the thirteenth century, Dr. Boli will eat his hat with a side of Marshmallow Peeps. It cannot be earlier than the nineteenth century, probably late nineteenth century.

So your challenge (and it may be an impossible one) is this: identify the true source and date of this image. The prize will be the right to say, for one twenty-four-hour period, that you are smarter than the entire Internet.

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THE ANOMALY-HUNTER.

Here is a very good illustration, apparently made by adding drawings to a photograph, of Paul Whiteman’s band at the beginning of their career. Whiteman was already building a reputation; soon he would be King of Jazz, with the power to make George Gershwin write a Rhapsody in Blue even when he didn’t want to.

By the late 1920s, Whiteman’s band would grow to a monstrous thirty-piece organization, but here it is a typical 1920 hotel dance band of nine musicians.

Or is it ten? What inexplicable mystery have we uncovered here? Are we face to face with the supernatural?

Take a close look at the photograph. There is one extra character on the bandstand. Have you spotted him yet? Take a look between the legs of the second reed man:

Paul Whiteman, 1920, detail

Do we need any more excuse to hear a jazz record from a century ago? No, we do not.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ABOUT YOUR HOMEOPATHIC ECONOMIC STIMULUS.

Why did the federal government choose homeopathy for its economic stimulus package?

Your government, dedicated to serving you efficiently as always, looked for the largest effect from the smallest intervention. Our experts considered two avenues, namely voodoo and homeopathy; but while voodoo had the more plausible mechanism, it was determined that homeopathy was more economically feasible.

How does it work?

A charge of one mill has been added to the annual income-tax calculation of every American taxpayer. This infinitesimal subtraction will cause a tsunami of prosperity to roll back in the other direction.

How do I pay the one-mill charge?

The payment is not due until the charges have accumulated to the amount of one dollar. You will receive a bill one thousand years from yesterday.

Why is the President’s name microprinted on every stimulus notice in type visible only under a microscope?

Your government’s homeopathic experts determined that homeopathic doses of the President would assure continued good governance.

ANNOUNCEMENT.

The Boli Institute for Advanced Studies is now offering a Doctorate in Homeopathic Medicine. Instead of teaching the doctrines of homeopathy, which by homeopathic principles should have a negative effect, the Boli Institute’s course of instruction proceeds by exposing the student to small doses of medical misinformation, which will naturally have the effect of filling the mind with homeopathic wisdom. Other similar courses occasionally slip and let in a stray fact, which may set the student back months if not years. Dr. Boli, however, is uniquely qualified to dispense misinformation, and the Boli Institute course is therefore earnestly recommended as the only course in Homeopathic Medicine guaranteed free of accuracy in all course materials.

PROMINENT HOMEOPATH CALLS FOR HIGHER-QUALITY ANECDOTES.

A prominent researcher has called on fellow homeopaths to provide higher-quality anecdotes in their published studies.

Dr. Theobald Fungle, director of the Institute for Bespoke Research at Duck Hollow University, identifies low-quality anecdotes as the chief barrier to the progress of homeopathy in the medical establishment.

“All the evidence for homeopathy is anecdotal,” Dr. Fungle told homeopaths and science journalists in a conference call hosted by the Institute. “Many of those anecdotes, however, are of the lowest quality. They lack the most basic markers of a quality anecdote: good characters, a compelling situation, and a snappy and memorable resolution. Some are even missing the most rudimentary form of punch line.”

If homeopathy is to be introduced at the highest levels of medical practice, Dr. Fungle insists, these deficiencies in the evidence will have to be addressed.

“Money for research into complementary and alternative medicine is now readily available,” he told participants in the call. “Every homeopathic research project ought to be able to find room in its budget for hiring a good gag writer to ‘punch up’ the anecdotes, if I may be forgiven for using a technical term, thus making them suitable for publication in the most prestigious journals.”

Dr. Fungle then asked conference participants whether anyone could recall the one about the six Mongolians and Henry Kissinger, because he was a little fuzzy on the details, but he remembered it was a wowser.