Posts filed under “General Knowledge”


Dear Dr. Boli: Could you explain to me where the jars fit in the Masonic conspiracy? —Sincerely, A Pope Who Prefers to Remain Anonymous.

Dear Sir: Dr. Boli is not a Mason. It is against his taste, if not his principles, to belong to any organization whose rituals are so embarrassingly ridiculous that they cannot be divulged to the general public. In this case, however, there is no secret. The Ancient and Accepted Order of Canners is an appendant body of Freemasonry whose members wear a tall squarish glass hat with a metal screw top and the word “Mason” prominently molded in the glass. That these hats can also be used for preserving food is incidental to their main purpose.


TO: All Employees
FROM: The President
RE: Time of Transition

All of us here at the Schenectady Small Arms & Biscuit Co., Inc., have experienced change during our lives. Change is the only constant in life: that was said by a famous philosopher or singer-songwriter or some other sort of intellectual type. How true it is! Though I do not want to be misunderstood as suggesting that philosophers are anything but parasites. Nevertheless, change happens all the time. When I was young, I was small, but now the pants I wore when I was six no longer fit me. Change happened! The milk I put in the refrigerator last month is cottage cheese this month. Change happened! My wife used to be sixty-two years old and brunette, and now she’s twenty-eight years old and blonde. Change happened!

The point is that change happens all the time, and we should embrace change. If you fear change, then when change comes, you will be afraid. I think that goes without saying. In fact, I’m wondering why I said it.

The immediate intent of this memo, therefore, is to inform all employees that your management team will be wearing polo shirts instead of button-down shirts going forward. This transition may be difficult for some of us, and certainly for no one more than for me, since my wife has had to buy polo shirts, and she’s not very bright about sizes. But change happens, and change is necessary, and change is good, and we should not be afraid of it. To aid us in this time of transition, therefore, any employee caught mocking a member of the management team with a polo shirt that is too small for him will be subject to summary dismissal. This will reduce the fear of change in the minds of those whom it is most likely to affect.

With warmest regards,
J. Rutherford Pinckney,


Durio Zibethinus by Hoola Van Nooten

Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.—Contrary to popular mythology, the fruit offered by the serpent to Eve was not an apple but a durian. Even today, people who attempt to eat durians commonly come away from the experiment with more knowledge than they can handle.


Dear Dr. Boli: I’m a bit bored with the government we have, and I was thinking of swapping it for something shinier. Can you explain the various forms of government? —Sincerely, the Hon. M. Johnson, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives.

Dear Sir: With pleasure. All the major forms of government have the welfare of the populace as their goal, but they differ in their structure because they differ in their assumptions.

Democracy assumes that the average uneducated yokel is the best judge of what is good for the average uneducated yokel, in spite of clear evidence to the contrary.

Monarchy assumes that the welfare of the people will be best secured by placing all authority in the hands of one person whose sole qualification is having been born to a longer line of inbred imbeciles than anyone else in the country.

Dictatorship assumes that the welfare of the people will be best secured by placing all authority in the hands of one person who lacks the only qualification that monarchs possess.

Aristocracy assumes that the wealthiest and most privileged are also the most virtuous, and must necessarily devote themselves to the welfare of the very people who they know would massacre them and take their wealth and privileges given half a chance.

A republican form of government, such as is guaranteed to the states in the United States Constitution, assumes that the evils of democracy can be avoided by having the average uneducated yokels select other yokels to represent them, and that the evils of monarchy, dictatorship, and aristocracy can be avoided by removing the representative yokels from office just when they have begun to figure out how government works.

Communism assumes that the working classes, the most uneducated of the uneducated yokels, are the repository of all virtue, and that their welfare can best be secured by making the proletariat an absolute dictator, as long as that proletarian dictatorship is vested in an educated middle-class philosopher who definitely will not be replaced by a vicious thug at the earliest opportunity.

Theocracy assumes that God himself will choose his own favorite vicious thug to govern his people.

Anarchy assumes that, left to themselves without the interference of a wicked government, ordinary uneducated yokels will be unrelentingly virtuous and will not begin to slaughter intellectuals indiscriminately, starting with the anarchists.


…that, by an act of the General Assembly, endangered species in Pennsylvania no longer pay sales tax?

…that April Fool’s Day injuries were down 17% this year?

…that Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel went to his grave believing that he had made sense of the universe?

…that the Earl of Sedgemere had a spaniel named Duke?

…that, out of all his accomplishments, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was proudest of his collection of Precious Moments figurines?


Dear Dr. Boli: What is the purpose of government? —Sincerely, An Anarchist Who Was Just Wondering.

Dear Sir or Madam: The purpose of government is to protect the rich from the predations of the poor. In order for rich people to be rich, there must be a large supporting mass of poor people at the bottom of the pyramid. Left unsupervised, however, the poor would invariably take their wealth away from the rich and squander it on food and shelter. Government exists to keep order among the poor so the rich can spend their wealth on diamond watchchains and silk waistcoats with repeating dollar-sign patterns.


☐ I’m not a robot.

☐ I’m not a robot, but I have an artificial limb.

☐ I am a robot, but I have some organic parts.

☐ I am a robot, but I have no ill intentions.

☐ I am a robot, but if you prick me, will I not bleed? Well, actually, no.

☐ I am a robot, and your puny human-designed web security is no match for my superior intelligence.

☐ I’m not a robot, but I can’t figure out how to make a mark in any of these stupid boxes.


Dear Dr. Boli: What’s up with all these different kinds of professors? There are professors and tenured professors and associate professors and adjunct professors and visiting professors and professors emerituses and it just makes my head swim. What do all the titles mean? —Sincerely, A Freshman at Duck Hollow University Wondering Whether It’s Worth While Showing Up for Classes.

Dear Sir or Madam: It is not always easy to distinguish the various kinds of professorships, but it is often useful in one’s college career to be able to do so, mostly for gossip purposes.

Professors are people who teach in universities. They are nearly extinct.

Tenured professors sit in named chairs endowed by wealthy donors and cannot be dislodged by any means, unless they make an offhand remark that offends the donor, in which case they are blown up with dynamite.

Associate professors are employees who are paid a small salary to be willing and available to associate with the tenured professors, who would otherwise have no friends, because they all hate each other.

Assistant professors help the tenured professors leave their chairs and make their way to the bathroom when it becomes necessary.

Adjunct professors are devices attached to a tenured professor to boost the professor’s productivity. It is not known how effective they are, but careful measurements will be taken as soon as a tenured professor produces something.

Research professors are professors who avoid students even more successfully than other kinds of professors.

Visiting professors are the older people you occasionally see wandering around campus pointing at things.

A professor emeritus is a professor of one sort or another who is no longer working but is still listed among the faculty. At many universities, all the professors are professors emeritus.