Dear Dr. Boli: Why did built-in gutters go out of style? They are sturdier, more capacious, more attractive, and less likely to collapse while you hang onto them for dear life. Was it some insidious plot by Alcoa to get us all to hang flimsy aluminum boxes on our houses? Why, these structural abominations even require trips up an unstable ladder every few months for cleaning and can barely support the weight of a child, let alone a full-grown adult. Any wisdom which you could provide on the matter would be greatly appreciated. Also, can you recommend a good ambulance service in the vicinity of Pitcairn? I fear that I may soon require their services. —Sincerely, A Man Hanging From an Insubstantial Box Gutter in the Process of Pulling Out its Last Nail.

Dear Sir: Surely the business of teetering on a ladder is a matter best left to your servants. Dr. Boli himself has a reputation for being unusually indulgent to his staff, but there is such a thing as carrying indulgence too far. Your gardener or maintenance man or upstairs maid—the decision as to which one being, of course, best left to the butler—will soon become an expert at gutter-cleaning, if only you will not stubbornly insist on doing the thing yourself.

As for the ambulance, Dr. Boli would recommend dialing 9-1-1 and taking the first one that comes. To paraphrase Ecclesiastes, there is a time for comparison shopping, and there is a time not to be too fastidious.

Published in: on August 8, 2012 at 6:53 pm  Leave a Comment  


Dear Dr. Boli: The world is out of control and I’m writing to get your advice on how to start a movement.

The world has been plagued and brutalized for centuries by a certain group who have it in their heads that they own the entire planet. Some individuals may not be aware they are a part of this elitist demographic. Perhaps some are part of your readership. I am speaking of those schlemiels who have the ability to raise one eyebrow.

In pre-school, I saw Ms. Ahern raise an eyebrow in confusion over my use of the “Thinking Chair” to think, when its true purpose was to punish misbehaving children. From that day on, I have tried to raise one eyebrow without success. I consulted the a film developer at Giant Eagle about cosmetic surgery, but he advised against it saying uni-brows don’t count.

As I said, I would like to start a movement, and seek your advice on what to occupy.

—Sincerely, Concerned Citizen Who Can’t Raise An Eyebrow (CCWCRAE).

PS. Mal-mart (where I work) told me that consultations with actual health care professionals are considered “pre-existing” and not covered by my health insurance. However, the film developer WAS wearing a lab jacket during consultation.

Dear Sir or Madam: The ability to raise two eyebrows at once must logically be twice as useful and praiseworthy as the ability to raise one eyebrow at a time. Why anyone would consider the opposite a mark of superiority is a mystery, but certainly not the only manifestation of this peculiar perversity of human nature. Monks of the Dark Ages took personal filth as a mark of exceptional holiness; the barbarian chiefs of the same era considered their illiteracy a badge of superiority. There were in the not-so-distant past whole groups of people who considered themselves superior to the general run of humanity on the grounds of a deficiency in so obviously useful a substance as melanin. The illogical elitism of the raisers of one eyebrow is no more absurd than any of these other inexplicable affectations.

Whether anything can be accomplished by protest is questionable. In preference to demonstrations, Dr. Boli would recommend a concerted and persistent campaign of withering scorn, frequently demonstrated by the raising of both eyebrows together.

Still, if you mean to occupy something, Dr. Boli would suggest occupying banks and brokerages and other denizens of Wall Street as usual. No one really likes them, and their notorious and multitudinous sins make it difficult for right-thinking citizens to take their side when they are mildly inconvenienced by harmless demonstrations.

Published in: on August 6, 2012 at 10:49 pm  Comments (2)  


A series of helpful suggestions for actions you can take that will bring the downfall of the establishment a little bit closer.

No. 4. “HATING” stickers. One of the most efficacious methods of bringing about the downfall of the establishment is to equip yourself with a large supply of stickers that say “HATING” in large white letters on a red background.

What good will that do? you ask. Ah, but this is the clever part: you will affix those stickers to stop signs all over the city, neatly centered under the word “STOP,” so that the signs will now read “STOP HATING.” The entire military-industrial complex will be confounded by your apt repurposing of already-ubiquitous signage. Thousands of drivers will see the new message, and their minds will be awakened for the first time. They will realize that it is their hatred of the Other that has kept them in chains. When people stop hating, war will cease to be profitable; and, as war is the engine that drives the machinery of oppression, the masses will at last be liberated. Starvation will be unknown; crime will wither away to nothing; and beer will be free at Primanti’s every Saturday afternoon.

Published in: on July 17, 2012 at 6:34 pm  Comments (7)  


Dear Dr. Boli: I have just been hired as an art critic for my local alternative newspaper; but, in my zeal to obtain the fifteen dollars a week associated with the position, I sort of forgot to mention to the editor that I knew absolutely nothing about art. Now what do I do? I have to write a review of something every week, but how do I review it when somebody tips over a garbage can at the Mattress Factory and puts a plaque beside it? —Sincerely, Margaret Pinchnettle, Art Critic, Weekly Standard.

Dear Madam: Your position is by no means as difficult as you seem to suppose. In fact, it would be far more difficult for you if you did know something about art, since there is nothing intelligent to say about the kind of art you will be called upon to review in terms of composition or artistic technique.

Instead, remember that your readers believe that the message is the only thing that matters in art. If, therefore, you tell them that the art you have just seen raises important questions of identity, gender, or sexuality, you may be sure that your reviews will meet with approval. For example, an artist scrawls “AIDS IS BAD” in black paint on a bedsheet and hangs it on a wall: your review will mention that it raises important questions of sexuality. Or an artist places a pair of vacuum cleaners side by side; the installation raises important questions of identity. Or an artist cuts out random pictures of fashion models and Civil War generals and pastes them together in a clumsy collage: the work raises important questions of gender. If the work is particularly ambitious, such as the overturned garbage can you describe, you may say that it raises important questions of identity, gender, and sexuality.

So much for what you need to know about art. Dr. Boli recognizes, however, that you have column inches to fill, so he recommends padding out your review with highlights from the artist’s life, which can be found readily in Wikipedia. You must treat each incident in the artist’s life as if it were a work of art, which is to say that you must find the message in his dropping out of art school after three days or being arrested for driving while intoxicated. It goes without saying that the message you will find in these incidents is that the artist is raising important questions of identity, gender, sexuality, or all three.

Published in: on July 16, 2012 at 7:34 am  Comments (3)  


THIS EDITION OF Jots & Tittles, the parish newsletter of St. Aquila Evangelical Lutheran Church, is sponsored by ExxonMobil. The next time the pastor reads one of those pinko lefty environmentalist prayers about “stewardship of the earth” printed in the bulletin insert, remember to say a silent prayer for the good, honest, hard-working Americans who bring you the energy you need to maintain your civilized standard of living.

Pastor’s Message.

Dear friends in Christ,

Boy, wasn’t it hot last week! I heard my little boy Ralph saying it was hotter than H-E-double-hockey-sticks, and I had to laugh. Kids grow up so fast these days! It seems like only yesterday we were proudly announcing that he had spoken his first word, which for some reason was “turmoil.” Now he’s a big boy in the second grade already, and his teacher says he has quite a vocabulary. I just wish he would stop teaching it to his little sister. What a special time childhood is! This week I want every one of you to close your eyes, open your Bible, and pick a verse at random, and then think about what it teaches you. I just did it, and my finger landed on 1 Chronicles 2:53, which says, “And the families of Kiriath-jearim; the Ithrites, and the Puhites, and the Shumathites, and the Mishraites; of them came the Zareathites, and the Eshtaulites.” I think this verse teaches me to be more tolerant of my neighbors, even when they have funny names that I can’t pronounce. I know I need to work on that.

Yours in Christ,
Pastor Herb.

Member News.

Jeremy Bosch won honorable mention in some sort of “forensics” thing at school last month. We were all happy to learn that the “forensics” he’s doing doesn’t have anything to do with dead bodies. Jeremy says we watch too much television. Isn’t he a card?

Mrs. Blanton is going to be visiting Australia for the first time next month, and her son says she needs people to reassure her constantly that she isn’t going to fall off the bottom of the earth. If you see her around, you might just casually mention that Australians stick to the earth just as well as normal people. Just act like it came up in normal conversation.


Worship and Music Committee will be meeting Wednesday at 7 p.m. to tell the organist to knock it off with those noisy fugues he’s been playing for postludes.

Evangelism Committee will meet Sunday after church to discuss evangelization strategies. If you know anyone who isn’t a Christian, why don’t you ask him or her how he’d like to be evangelized? That way we can all come to the meeting with some good ideas.

Finance Committee will be meeting Friday at 7 p.m. Mrs. Ott has counted at least sixteen unauthorized copies made on the office copier in the last three months alone, and she’s on the warpath, so it would be to your advantage to fess up now if you know what’s good for you.

Published in: on July 7, 2012 at 1:16 pm  Comments (3)  


Published in: on July 2, 2012 at 5:20 pm  Comments (9)  


For the Back of Your Car.

Published in: on June 30, 2012 at 10:45 pm  Leave a Comment  


IN HONOR OF the fifth anniversary of his celebrated Magazine on the World-Wide Web, Dr. Boli is reprinting some favorite articles and advertisements from the past five years.

DR. BOLI’S I.Q. is 462. Are you smarter than Dr.Boli? Try this simple questionnaire to measure your own I.Q.

1. What is the next number in this series?
827, 827, 827, 827, 827, ___

a. 827.
b. 12,374,349,0354,498.58.
c. DCCCXXVII, just for variety’s sake.
d. Not enough information to care.

2. Napoleon attempted to conquer Russia and failed. What should he have done instead?

a. Attempted to conquer China.
b. Taken up some harmless hobby, like building empires in a bottle.
c. Invited the Russians over for tea. Russians love tea.
d. Not enough information to care.

3. How many Frenchmen can’t be wrong?

a. 50,000,000.
b. Green.
c. The Battle of Lepanto.
d. Not enough information to care.

4. Mrs. Vihuela has two pineapples and wants to feed 11.83 friends with them. How should she divide the pineapples so that everyone gets an equal share?

a. She should dice them.
b. She should puree them.
c. She should give her friends aronia berries instead.
d. Not enough information to care.

5. Solve this traditional charade:

My first is a pill that just will not go down;
My second, the heel of a rodeo clown;
My third, an opossum who drove into town:
Together, we make Thomas Jefferson frown.

What am I?

a. A 1935 De Soto Airflow with a large dent in the left front fender.
b. The transcendental unity of apperception.
c. Three empty pie crusts in the back of the freezer.
d. Not enough information to care.


Each answer is assigned to a particular letter. Assign to these letters numerical values, as follows:

a = 9
b = 17
c = 31
d = 43

Now add up the numbers corresponding to your answers. This is your I.Q., and you are not smarter than Dr. Boli.

Published in: on June 26, 2012 at 8:23 pm  Leave a Comment  


ANY MILITARY STRATEGIST can tell you that it is simply impossible for Romania to have a war with Chad. Why? you ask (do not attempt to pretend that you did not ask, for Dr. Boli knows better). Because they have the same flag.


Left, Romania; right, Chad. Or vice versa.

It is simply impossible to coordinate maneuvers against an enemy whose flag is exactly the same, or so similar that the two flags are easily confused. The Confederate States discovered this principle early on in the American Civil War, though their original flag and the Union flag were much easier to distinguish than the flags of Romania and Chad. And what has been the result? During the entire time when these two countries have used this flag, there has never been a war between Romania and Chad. The similarity of flags has caused blessed peace to prevail between two nations which might otherwise have been at each other’s throats.

For similar reasons, there can never be a war between Monaco and Poland:


Left, Monaco; right, Poland.

The flags are not identical, but what general would be so presumptuous as to gamble on the ability of his troops to distinguish them in the heat of battle? Once again, the flags have preserved two great nations from a war that might have meant the ruin of both.

Again, it would be the height of folly for Luxembourg to declare war on the Netherlands:


Left, Luxembourg; right, the Netherlands.

A little fading in the sun, and the flag  of the Netherlands becomes the flag of Luxembourg. Nor would the addition of an illegible little rubber-stamp seal preserve Paraguay from ruin if it should declare war on either of those two nations:


For similar reasons, Chile can never go to war against Texas—


Left, Chile; right, Texas.

—or the Ivory Coast against Ireland—


Left, Ivory Coast; right, Ireland.

—or the United States against Malaysia—


Left, United States; right, Malaysia.

—without unspeakable confusion. Likewise, it would be foolish for the Netherlands to fight Yemen, or Luxembourg to fight Sierra Leone, if the war were fought in black and white:



The Netherlands, Yemen, Luxembourg, Sierra Leone.

Most wars in the first half of the twentieth century were fought in black and white, as documentary evidence shows, and it would be the height of folly to assume that it will not happen again.

In all these cases, peace has been preserved between potentially belligerent nations by the sheer impossibility of contemplating military action against a country with an indistinguishable flag. And this simple observation suggests a solution to the problem of world peace that, as far as Dr. Boli knows, has never been suggested before.

Dr. Boli’s proposal is as follows: Every nation may continue under its current government, ruled by whatever greedy and unstable despot it chooses to represent it on the world stage; but every nation must adopt a flag indistiguishable from those of its neighbors. Even this is a mere intermediate stage: the ultimate solution is for every country to adopt the same flag, or flags so similar that it would be impossible to tell the difference on the battlefield.

Dr. Boli is not a vexillographer (if the reader will pardon an ugly term made from Latin and Greek parts unnaturally mashed together), so he will not presume to dictate the design of that flag himself; but may he be permitted to suggest the French tricolor as a model? There are already so many tricolor flags, and so many countries whose flags consist of various combinations of blue, white, and red, that adopting a flag based on some variation of the tricolor would probably meet very little public resistance, if indeed anyone noticed the difference at all.

Dr. Boli would also like to inform the Nobel committee in Oslo that, should they wish to speak with him, he may be reached in care of this Magazine.

Published in: on June 20, 2012 at 7:52 am  Comments (12)  


Dear Dr. Boli: Do you have a toll bridge? —Sincerely, Frequent.

Dear Sir or Madam: No; in fact, it is one of Dr. Boli’s proudest boasts that, even at his advancing age, he still retains all his own teeth.

Published in: on June 19, 2012 at 3:53 pm  Leave a Comment