Posts filed under “General Knowledge”

ASK DR. BOLI.

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Dear Dr. Boli: Why do I hear so many crackpot conspiracy theories lately? —Sincerely, Arethusa Rathermore, Bilderberg, Netherlands.

Dear Madam: Dr. Boli believes that the profusion of conspiracy theories is actually the result of a vast conspiracy by the governing powers to conceal their own incompetence. Consider it for a moment: suppose—merely for the sake of argument—that the world is run by lazy feckless unqualified clock-watchers who want nothing more than to collect the largest paycheck for the least work. If that were so, then we, the ordinary people who hold the real power, could simply vote them out, or overthrow them if they refused to go (for we outnumber them by a fair margin), and hire competent professionals to do their jobs.

But suppose—again merely for the sake of argument—that we, the people, who hold the real power in our hands, could be made to believe that the world was actually run by an ancient and sinister cabal of such ruthless and efficient power that nothing can stop it, and that the seemingly random events which a judicious observer would put down to the incompetence of our governments were actually cogs in the great machinery of the worldwide conspiracy. Why, then, believing we could do nothing, we would indeed do nothing, but rather fall into despair and apathy, leaving the lazy feckless incompetents to watch their clocks and collect their paychecks in peace.

We can see the benefit to the rulers of instilling such a belief in the ruled—a benefit so great that they might indeed be persuaded to rouse themselves to the fifteen minutes or so of effort it would take to post an anonymous rant on a conspiracy-theory bulletin board every once in a while. When looking at conspiracy theories, we should always ask the important question, Cui bono? (which is Latin for “Who gets the gravy?”). Dr. Boli believes he has found the most satisfactory answer to that question.

ASK DR. BOLI.

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Dear Dr. Boli: As a young voter doing my best for the country I love, I must confess that I was a little confused by the choices that faced me in this, my first election. Do you think you could help me understand the positions of the various parties? —Sincerely, Britney, a student at Pennsylvania University of California.

Dear Madam: It gives Dr. Boli great pleasure to assist a young patriot in understanding the mysteries of the democratic process. He hopes that his explanations will help you and many other young voters make responsible choices in future elections.

The Democratic Party believes that most problems can be solved by government.

The Republican Party believes that most problems can be solved by government, provided that the government is run by Republicans.

The Tea Party believes that most problems can be solved by government, and specifically the problem of too much government.

The Libertarian Party believes that government should be operated for the benefit of a small privileged class of business leaders.

The Socialist Workers Party believes that government should be operated for the benefit of a small privileged class of union leaders.

The Green Party believes that nothing should be red or blue.

The Bull Moose Party believes that it is still 1912.

Dr. Boli is confident that, armed with this information, you will be in a very good position to make responsible political decisions in the future. He encourages you not to lose heart if the party you choose sometimes loses at the polls, assuring you, from the point of view of his uniquely long experience, that the end result will be much the same either way.

YOUR CALL IS IMPORTANT TO US.

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In honor of the thirteenth anniversary of his migration to the World-Wide Web, Dr. Boli is reprinting a few favorite articles from the past thirteen years.

Thank you for calling the 911 Emergency Services Hotline. All our operators are busy at the moment, but your call is very important to us. Please stay on the line and your call will be answered in the order in which it was received.

Did you know that the 911 Emergency Services Hotline is now a county-wide service? All our operations have been streamlined for maximum efficiency to better serve you, our customers. Your county government cares about you.

All our operators are still busy at the moment, but your call is very important to us. Please stay on the line and your call will be answered in the order in which it was received.

The Yohogania County 911 Emergency Services Hotline utilizes the latest in emergency-response telephony to improve your 911 service experience. Your tax dollars have been wisely invested in the most modern computerized switching and call-transfer equipment. Your county government works hard to make the best use of the money you entrust to us.

All our operators are still busy at the moment, but your call is very important to us. Please stay on the line and your call will be answered in the order in which it was received.

On-hold music for the 911 Emergency Services Hotline has been provided for your listening pleasure by Acoustic Relaxations, Inc., a Yohogania-County-based service providing fine unchallenging solo guitar music for background purposes to businesses and institutions for over fifteen years. Your county government supports the arts.

All our operators are still busy at the moment, but your call is very important to us. Please stay on the line and your call will be answered in the order in which it was received.

Your Yohogania County 911 Emergency Services Hotline is supported in part by a grant from FEMA, the Federal Emergency Medley Administration, which promulgates standards for on-hold music for emergency hotlines nationwide. You may be assured that the on-hold music you are enjoying right now meets the strictest federal standards.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the 911 Emergency Services Hotline is experiencing a heavier-than-normal call volume at this time. Please hang up now and call back at a less congested time. We apologize for any inconvenience. Thank you.

HOW TO REMOVE AMBIGUITY.

Mary, Queen of Scots, shown with one head but not the other.

Pronouns are useful tools, but may sometimes cause ambiguity in a hastily constructed sentence. An example (from a Wikipedia article):

Mary, Queen of Scots, at one time owned her head, which was subsequently preserved by Jesuits in the Scottish College, Douai, France, from where it was subsequently lost during the French Revolution.

Here is how to remove the ambiguity:

Mary, Queen of Scots, at one time owned St. Margaret of Scotland’s head, which was subsequently preserved by Jesuits in the Scottish College, Douai, France, from where it was subsequently lost during the French Revolution.

 

A DELIGHTFUL FRENCH IDIOM.

It came up in a French news story: “Un quart d’heure de gloire warholien” (“A Warholian fifteen minutes of fame”). It seems perfect for dropping into casual conversation: “He will enjoy his quart d’heure de gloire warholien, and then we shall have done with him.” This will baffle your acquaintances and make them think of you as a pompous twit, which will spare you the necessity of any further conversation with them.

The phrase is also often translated “quart d’heure de célébrité,” as in “‘À l’avenir chacun connaîtra son quart d’heure de célébrité’ prévenait Andy Warhol en 1968” (from the France culture site).

THIS SITE USES COOKIES.

This site uses cookies to enhance the experience of the site editor in providing you with entertaining and informative content. If the content appears to be lacking in entertainment or information, it is most likely because the editor is lacking in cookies. This site also uses milk.

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.

MORE ABOUT FRYBREAD.

In response to our question about whether there is any subject about which it is not possible to become incandescently furious (Dr. Boli believes those words demand to be set in italics), our frequent correspondent Colin writes,

I suppose that a subject would be impervious to any kind of luminous fury if it is either devoid of any meaning whatsoever, or so unimaginably dull that nobody even wants to think about it.

To my mind, among the topics that meet these criteria are:
– The contents of The Museum of Bad Art
– The philology of the Klingon language
– The platform of the American Whig Party
– and of course, The Complete Works of Irving Vanderblock-Wheedle

Dr. Boli believes, however, that anyone who cannot become incandescently furious about those subjects has a rosier view of human nature than is currently fashionable. Let us take them one by one:

The first is too easy, because the Wikipedia article on “Museum of Bad Art” gives us a reason for outrage without our having to go to the trouble of inventing one ourselves: “The Museum Of Bad Art has been accused of being anti-art, or taking works that were sincerely rendered and mocking them.” If you are not already burning with incandescent fury on behalf of those sincere artists whose work is held up to ridicule here, you need only sincerely render a work of art yourself and then leave it in a trash can somewhere in the vicinity of one of the museum’s locations, and if it is acquired for the permanent collection you may tremble with outrage.

The second item, the philology of the Klingon language, must already have provoked blazing infernos of incandescent fury on a dozen different forums dedicated to the topic of the Klingon language. However, you may test whether the subject is capable of provoking incandescent fury by entering such a forum and posting a statement that is regarded as incorrect by the other members.

The platform of the American Whig Party:

As for the complete works of Irving Vanderblock-Wheedle, there were riots in Newport News when Mr. Vanderblock-Wheedle’s novel Perpetua-Lou was published. The mob was not pacified until the Superintendent of Schools signed a pledge that the work would not be included on any required reading lists.

Meanwhile, our likewise frequent correspondent Maypo writes,

What drives me past incandescent fury into spittle-flecked rage is the fact that I’ve never even heard of frybread! And it sounds delightful!

It is never too late. Here is Dr. Boli’s utterly simple two-ingredient recipe for frybread.

Instruct your cook to take

Self-rising flour

Water

in a ratio of about 8 to 3. For example, for a dozen medium-sized rounds, you might use 4 cups of flour and a cup and a half of water.

Mix the two ingredients in a big bowl.

Need the dough as much as it kneads.

Pull off pieces of dough, form them into balls, and have the servants flatten the balls into thin discs.

Fry the discs in a shallow pan of hot oil or shortening until they look golden.

Let the fried discs drain on paper towels or a wire rack.

Eat them with anything you can think of that you would like to eat with fried bread. As a general rule, if it is food, it probably goes well with frybread.

 

WHICH DOES SHE TEACH: MATH OR ENGLISH?

A correspondent with the mellifluous nickname “Alcohol Rehab Near Me” introduces herself:

Hello from Australia. I’m glad to came across you.
My first name is Ramonita.
I live in a town called Karrakup in east Australia.

I was also born in Karrakup 23 years ago. Married in May year 2000.
I’m working at the college.