Posts filed under “General Knowledge”

Meanwhile, over at Ink…

Are we becoming our devices? More and more it seems as though we perceive the world, not through our senses, but as it is presented to us on a screen. This observation suggests a useful principle for people whose business it is to communicate with the denizens of the twenty-first century.


Puzzled User. I want to do A in Useful App, but I can’t figure it out. I tried X, Y, and Q, in that order, like it says in the help file, but it didn’t work.

Mr. Helpful. Why would anyone want to do A? Nobody needs to do A.

Puzzled User. I want to do A because it is the standard practice in the field for which Useful App was designed. I cannot get my work done unless I can do A. I tried X, Y, and Q, in that order, like it says in the help file, but it didn’t work.

Mr. Helpful. Nobody does A. I’ve been a professional in the field for ten years, and nobody does A.

Puzzled User. Look, it’s a job requirement, okay? If I don’t do A, I get fired. I tried X, Y, and Q, in that order, like it says in the help file, but it didn’t work, and I’m getting frustrated.

Mr. Helpful. Well, I’d change jobs if I were you. But if you really want to do A, here’s how: do X, Y, and Q, in that order. Maybe you should read the help file.

Puzzled User. Forget it. I bought an abacus.

Random Flyby. Useful App works for me.


Cocktail.—A mixed drink consisting of one or more alcoholic beverages combined with flavoring agents of various sorts. So called originally from tasting like something that came out of the back end of a rooster.

Mocktail.—A mixed drink formed on the analogy of a cocktail, but containing no alcohol, invented as a practical joke upon drunkards.

Docktail.—Any mixed drink favored by sailors and served near the docks at a seaport. The best-known is the Captain Jack Rackham Docktail, which consists of rum mixed with a different brand of rum.

Schlocktail.—A cocktail with a name too silly to be mentioned in mixed company.

Hocktail.—A specialty cocktail so expensive that is is necessary to pawn one’s watch or jewels to pay for it.

Groktail.—A strong cocktail that causes the drinker to feel well informed on every subject.

Shocktail.—A mixed drink with an unpleasantly unexpected ingredient, such as brightly colored candy-coated chocolates.

Smocktail.—A mixed drink favored by artists and usually involving absinthe.

Clocktail.—The last drink before closing time.


Dear Dr. Boli: As a new reader, I was wondering whether any of the content on your site would be considered, like, NSFW. —Sincerely, Matt Gaetz, U. S. Representative from, like, Alabama or someplace.

Dear Sir: In Dr. Boli’s opinion, most of the site should be considered not suitable for work for most people, since, when you are reading it, you are not working. This answer does not apply, however, to positions where misinformation is a job requirement. In your specific case, therefore, his answer would be no.


In Long Flat, Indiana, rain is illegal on Memorial Day and Labor Day.

In Twigg, West Virginia, raccoons are prohibited from driving tractors or other farm equipment in school zones during school hours.

An act of the Florida state legislature prohibits physicians from weighing their patients.

In East Aurora, New York, every citizen of military age is required to own an easel, a watercolor paint set, and no fewer than eight paintbrushes in varying sizes.

In Bent Pin, South Carolina, September 28 is legally designated as Be Polite to a Colored Person Day; the law, however, has not been enforced since 1958, when the entire voting population of the town was arrested by the young and eager sheriff.

In Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, residents are required by a town ordinance to maintain a cheerful disposition during the tourist season, under penalty of being declared tourists themselves.

In Cincinnati, it is illegal to speak the name “Cleveland” without spitting.

In Dormont, Pennsylvania, a law prohibited restaurants from serving “weird food, such as Thai or Cajun”; after a number of setbacks in court, however, the law was repealed and replaced by one that requires any restaurant in the borough to serve French fries upon request.


Dear Dr. Boli: My appointments clerk has informed me that today is, by declaration of the United Nations, World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. I was wondering what I ought to be doing. I tried asking the Secretary General of the United Nations, but it seems U Thant died some time ago, and no one could tell me who replaced him. —Sincerely, P. Hubert Stockswindler, President, Dubious Investments LLC.

Dear Sir: The World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development was instituted to encourage the people of the world to think about cultural diversity as a factor in economic development. On this day, UNESCO encourages everyone to “Do One Thing for Diversity and Inclusion.”

Now, if you were ambitious, you could do more than one thing for diversity and inclusion. But if you can do only one thing, you should obviously order food from a restaurant nearby representing a different culture from your own. Dr. Boli sent his secretary out for Ethiopian food last May 21, and this year he has a generous order prepared for a Peruvian restaurant just a short streetcar ride from the Boli mansion.

If every one of us did this one simple thing, we would be including a diverse selection of foods in our diet, and we would be encouraging dialogue by striking up conversations with the staff and owners at the restaurants, and above all we would encourage development by promoting the proliferation of restaurants in our neighborhoods serving foods from the four corners of the globe. UNESCO is counting on you to try every delicious cuisine within reasonable dining distance from your residence. You may even discover, having celebrated World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development on May 21, that you are in favor of culinary diversity and inclusion every day of the year.


Power gone out? Not to worry! You have a crank-powered radio that can also charge your phone! How much cranking will you have to do? Here’s what the manual says:

Wind the hand crank at a speed of 130-150 RMP/min for power to be generated. Unit will be fully charged in 7 hours.

How difficult this may be will depend mostly on what kind of measurement is expressed by “RMP/min.” But, at any rate, if your power goes out, now you have a hobby.