Posts filed under “Science & Nature”


Make a detailed record of everything you eat for one week. Then show it to your doctors. The looks on their faces will be priceless.

Vegetables are important in every meal. If you are invited to a fancy dinner and find the menu deficient in vegetables, you can skip the appetizer and eat the floral centerpiece.

If your doctor says you are not getting enough minerals in your diet, try eating Venezuela, which Wikipedia says is very rich in minerals.

Before you eat any packaged snack food, read the list of ingredients from beginning to end. By the time you have finished, you will probably be too depressed to eat the contents of the package. Success!

Books about a fiber-rich diet are themselves rich in fiber.


Dear Dr. Boli: I was looking at some jewelry because I’m thinking of proposing to my girlfriend, although don’t tell her that because I’m still weighing my options here, but I noticed that this jewelry was really cheap, and that made me suspicious. So I asked the guy who was selling it down on the corner of Penn and 19th in the Strip, and he said it was cheap because this jewelry was made of paste. What kind of paste do they make jewelry from? That’s what I want to know. —Sincerely, Cheapskate Might-Be Fiancé.

Dear Sir: Different types of paste are used to produce different types of stones: tomato for rubies, library for pearls, tooth for diamonds, and so on. Naturally, jewelry so produced is not as durable as that produced from minerals dug up out of the earth or yanked from an understandably irritated oyster, but it is an option for the gentleman on a budget. Dr. Boli would add the caveat, however, that, while budget-priced jewelry may purchase you a budget-priced fiancée, better quality may be more economical in the long run.


Herbert the Psychic Flounder

Dear Mr. Flounder: I need to get groceries tomorrow, and I was wondering: Is this a good week for watermelons? —Sincerely, Shopper.

Dear Shopper: While skating along the astral plane this afternoon, I had a vision that went something like this. There were two lampposts, an Irish one and an Italian one, and the Italian lamppost said, “I say, old man, my dog has no nose!” And the Irish lamppost said, “Indeed? But how does he smell?” But by this time the Italian lamppost had turned into a hygrometer the size of the Koppers Building, and because it was so tall it did not hear the reply of the puny Irish lamppost, which remained a lamppost. And then a stag with blue antlers trotted between them and said, “I know something you don’t know,” and then it went down into the subway and caught a Silver Line car headed for Library, but it got off at Washington Junction. I believe this means you should avoid watermelons this week.


Helium.—If you inhale helium and then speak, your voice sounds comically high-pitched because sound travels faster in a gas that is less dense than atmospheric air. This means that, if you speak long enough, you will hear words you have not spoken yet. Try it sometime!


Ice cream can be made into a health food by adding some granola.

A diet rich in rusty nails will remedy most iron deficiencies. Be sure you are up to date on your tetanus shots.

Yogurt will prolong life indefinitely. If you know any people who have died, it is because they forgot to eat their yogurt.

Swedish rye crispbread is high in fiber. We can say that much for it, anyway.

Beans have no nutritional value until they are doused in brown sugar.

Ask your grocer whether kale is right for you. In some states it is available without a prescription.

Granola can be made into a complete source of protein by adding it to ice cream.



Always pick your eggplants before they hatch into chickenplants.

When planning an orchard, make sure to plant your apple trees where their branches will overhang eminent natural philosophers.

Growing spinach directly in the can is a real time-saver.

If your tomatoes become overripe, they can often be sold at a handsome profit wherever bad opera singers are performing.

With sufficient motivation, sweet corn can be genetically modified to look and taste exactly like rhubarb.

Rutabagas are hard to spell. Try planting turnips instead.

Dandelions have an astonishing number of culinary and medicinal uses, and a canny recognition of their virtues may absolve you from the necessity of planting a garden altogether.


Dear Dr. Boli: I bought some organic whole flax seeds at the grocery store yesterday, because the last time I bought flax seeds they were made of aluminum, and they were too crunchy. So I got the package home, and I noticed it said this on the back:

Each of our Simply Nature products is free from over 125 artificial ingredients and preservatives.

I can’t stop thinking about this. I thought I understood math, but this just blows everything I thought I knew out the window. How do they count the ingredients that aren’t there? This has been driving me nutso. I’m thinking of throwing away the bag, because every time I look at it my brain spins in loops. Please help me, or call Western Psych and tell them it’s an emergency. —Sincerely, A Woman Who Wonders Why She Needed Flax Seeds in the First Place.

Dear Madam: You have no need to worry. The fundamental laws of mathematics are still operative, but so are the fundamental laws of marketing. You will note that the marketers have employed one of the most useful terms in marketing, namely the word over.

The word over has many uses. One of the most common is to say, “Here comes a number.” But another common use is to protect the consumer from numbers too large for her comprehension.

Marketers are keen students of psychology. They know that the human imagination is limited when it comes to quantities and magnitudes. Numbers in the dozens strike us as large. But we cannot imagine very large numbers. Thousand, million, billion—those are all the same to the human imaginative faculty, and they are all meaningless. It is not known exactly where the line is between large and meaninglessly huge, but current marketing research indicates that it is probably somewhere a little below 150.

Now, obviously, there are many more than 125 potential artificial ingredients—that is, substances that can be produced by chemists in a laboratory and added to food products without immediately killing the consumers thereof. But 125 hits your imagination as a large number, whereas an actual count of currently available artificial ingredients would simply wash over you as an incomprehensible parade of digits. Therefore, by saying “over 125,” the marketer engages your imagination and allows it to picture a large number of ingredients that are not present in your flax seeds.

We hope this explanation obviates the need for a call to the Western Psychiatric Institute.