AN ORDINARY PIGEON kept by Mr. Ecgfrith Shoemaker can transform itself into a dove without breaking a sweat.

By turning his exercise wheel, a hamster named Charlie generates electric power for as many as half a million Duquesne Light customers in southern Pittsburgh and adjacent boroughs.

“Lambert,” a Siamese cat in Wolverhampton, Mass., has voted Socialist Workers in every election since 1998.

A squirrel in Sandusky, Ohio, knows every song Cole Porter ever wrote, but has never succeeded in teaching himself to sing.

A single alpaca named Manuel provides the raw material for all the Peruvian hats sold at street markets in the United States.

Published in: on August 25, 2012 at 10:43 pm  Comments (1)  


Second Series.

Hummingbirds. Ornithologists have known for some time that so-called “humming” birds actually practice a modified form of Gregorian chant.

Do you worry that your through knowledge of ornithology and allied subjects may be hindering your social life? Misinformation is the cure for social awkwardness, as well as hives, restless-leg syndrome, and the common cold.

Published in: on August 14, 2012 at 10:09 pm  Comments (1)  


Published in: on July 30, 2012 at 8:49 am  Comments (3)  


Dear Dr. Boli: What are “antioxidants,” and what do they do for people? —Sincerely, P. H., Famous Nutritionist.

Dear Sir or Madam: Antioxidants are molecules that inhibit oxidation, or rusting. Sometimes, no doubt, you have seen a musician or an acrobat or some such performer give a substandard performance, and offer as an excuse that he is “a bit rusty.” Such performers are lacking in antioxidants. The next time you attend a poor performance of any sort, you should hold the performer down and stuff blueberries into him until he feels better.

Published in: on July 24, 2012 at 8:03 pm  Comments (8)  


SEVERAL YEARS AGO, Dr. Boli offered his readers “The Darwin Diet,” in which he explained his discovery that evolution had provided us with a sense of taste in order to guide us to the foods ideally suited to us. As he wrote at the time:

To eat a perfect diet, we must eat exclusively food that tastes good.

As an illustration, observe the following two lists:

Things that taste good:

Fresh blueberries
Yunnan tea
Stilton cheese
Stayman apples
Rhone wine
Home-grown tomatoes
Whole-grain bread

Things that don’t taste good:

Sewing machines
Plastic bags
Light bulbs
Aluminum siding

Now observe that we could, without altering the lists at all, change the headings above the lists to “Things That Are Healthy to Eat” and “Things That Are Not Healthy to Eat.” The correspondence is perfect. Things that taste good are things that are healthy to eat. It follows, of course, that the things that taste best are the healthiest to eat.

Today a correspondent from Australia, who has also published a nutritional program called “The Darwin Diet,” takes issue with Dr. Boli’s claims:

This is plainly balderdash! Chips taste good as do ice cream sundae and sticky date pudding, but they will all make you fat. Whoever wrote this garbage has no knowledge of nutrition. Thank you for letting me reply. J. Duncan McNeill, author of “The Darwin Diet: Survival of the Leanest” and numerous articles on nutrition that have been published internationally.

First, please allow Dr. Boli to say how envious he is that his correspondent lives in a country where sticky date pudding is common.

Second, Dr. Boli is suitably impressed by his correspondent’s Web site, which has nearly four thousand words on the home page alone, along with numerous illustrations of fat people with bad posture and slim people with good posture. Clearly Mr. McNeill has devoted many more words to the study of nutrition than Dr. Boli has.

Nevertheless, Dr. Boli takes issue with the unqualified claim that eating sticky date pudding “will make you fat.” Many people have eaten sticky date puddings repeatedly and not got fat. Obviously, one would not want to eat sticky date pudding for every meal of every day, and one would want to get up and do something between meals. But a reasonable amount of sticky date pudding would be good for the soul, and it is well known that psychological well-being is one of the most important predictors of bodily health.

Dr. Boli worries that Mr. McNeill may have fallen prey to the fallacious puritanical assumption that earthly pleasure is contrary to heavenly virtue. Creation may be tainted by our sin, but it is still “very good” (Genesis 1:31). Dr. Boli still stands by his two lists. He hopes that Mr. McNeill does not expect us to live on a diet of kerosene and aluminum siding.

Incidentally, Dr. Boli clearly has a prior claim on the name “The Darwin Diet,” having used it in this Magazine three years before Mr. McNeill’s book was published. He does not wish to cause his correspondent any inconvenience whatsoever, and it is of no consequence to him whether Mr. McNeill uses the name; he merely wishes to prevent any misunderstandings that might lead to the involvement of attorneys.

Published in: on July 23, 2012 at 1:44 pm  Comments (2)  


Dear Dr. Boli: I heard someone say recently that all dogs go to heaven. Does that mean cats go to hell? —Sincerely, A Maine Coon.

Dear Sir or Madam: Only in an administrative capacity.

Published in: on July 18, 2012 at 9:40 pm  Leave a Comment  


WERE YOU AWARE of homeopathy this week? As World Homeopathy Awareness Week draws to a close, Dr. Boli takes a moment to recall the very special place homeopathy has always occupied in the pages of this Magazine.




Dear Dr. Boli: I have a small splinter in my toe, and my friends recommended digging it out with a sterilized needle. That sounds like it would hurt. I was wondering: Is there a non-invasive homeopathic remedy for splinters? —Sincerely, A Man with a Splinter in His Big Toe, Specifically the Left One.

Dear Sir: Dr. Boli is not a doctor of homeopathy, but he has consulted with a number of well-known homeopaths who prefer to remain anonymous. This is the answer they provided.

First, it is important to determine whether the splinter is a wood splinter. We shall assume that it is; but if it is a splinter of something else–glass or ceramic, for example–then please write again and give more specific details.

As homeopathy operates on the principle that whatever in measurable quantities causes a symptom will in infinitesimal quantities cure the same, the homeopathic remedy for a wood splinter is, of course, sawdust highly diluted. The dilution must be in inverse proportion to the size of the splinter; for, as homeopathic remedies are stronger the more they are diluted, it should be plain to the veriest tyro that a larger splinter will require a stronger and therefore greater dilution. For an average splinter, a 15C dilution of sawdust is recommended.

It goes without saying that you should not attempt to manufacture this dilution yourself. Even if you could provide the properly sterile distilled water and the necessary measuring equipment, there are certain incantations which, without going into any detail, Dr. Boli’s homeopathic consultants have darkly hinted are required in order to render the remedy effective.

Dr. Boli’s correspondents asked him to remind you that homeopathic remedies may take some time to work through your system to the big toe, the time depending in particular on the strength and magnetic orientation of your vital force. Should infection set in, remind yourself that what allopaths call “infection” is in fact nature’s way of dealing with an interruption to your body’s perfect health. Should the infection progress, Dr. Boli’s correspondents have pointed out that amputation is an entirely natural and drug-free alternative to homeopathy.



NEW ALTERNATIVE THERAPY: Allopathic Medicine provides alternatives to traditional homeopathy. Allopathic Medicine is a science of the body that treats the symptoms of diseases, in many cases giving immediate relief. Based on the ancient wisdom of generations of African, Asian, Australian, European, North American, and South American scientists. Many Allopathic treatments are covered by major health-insurance plans. Look in the Yellow Pages under “Physicians” to find your local Allopathic practitioner. H. Albertus Boli Foundation for Alternative Medicine, Seldom Seen.

Published in: on June 21, 2012 at 9:13 pm  Comments (1)  


Dear Dr. Boli: I am one of your faithful followers…most likely your MOST faithful! I never start the day without reading your wisdom. My computer is completely covered in layers and layers of yellow highlighter ink. I’m writing you today to seek your wisdomous guidance.

Thank you for the above message. I was so moved that right after reading, I got in my car and drove around; just to be fuel efficient. I had no where to go, just wanted to be fuel efficient. I did the top of the hill one. It didn’t work out quite the way I expected, but each failure is an opportunity for another try, right? Besides, mother is getting the feeling back in her legs, the lawsuits aren’t as bad as people on TV make them out to be and (this is for your more stupidier readership), cops do not snatch licenses away, that only happens on TV.

As I said, I need your wisdomous omnipotenticular advice. What should I do to increase the fuel efficiency of my bicycle?

I humbly await your response. —Sincerely, Bopo.

Dear Sir: Since bicycles are human-powered vehicles, the “fuel” they burn consists of the various hamburgers, pizza rolls, cookies, doughnuts, papayas, 32-ounce sodas, quiescently frozen dairy confections, and energy bars you consume when you are intending to ride the bicycle. The more you pedal the thing, the more calories you burn, and the more fuel it is necessary for you to consume. You can therefore cut down on that fuel considerably by adding a small gasoline engine to power your bicycle, relieving you from the necessity of pedaling, and thus reducing the number of calories burned by a substantial figure.

Published in: on June 19, 2012 at 9:47 am  Comments (1)  


Dear Dr. Boli: Some people say that cell phones damage your brain. Other people say there’s no evidence that they do. Who’s right? And what should I do about it? —Sincerely, A Woman with a Smartphone That Isn’t Quite Smart Enough.

Dear Madam: The mistake most people make is in trying to design a scientific study to determine how cellular telephones affect the brain, rather than merely glancing at the evidence all around them. A quick look at our legislation, signs, and public announcements will reveal that people with cell phones have to be told that the things ought to be turned off at a violin recital, or that one ought to finish a phone conversation before attempting to place an order at the bakery counter, or that texting while driving is a very bad idea. If cell-phone users have to be told these things because they cannot figure them out for themselves, clearly their brains are damaged.

How that damage is inflicted Dr. Boli has not been able to determine. Science seems to have ruled out radiation as a cause, so we must look instead to psychology. Dr. Boli’s own speculation is that your cell phone, especially if you have text messaging enabled, exposes you to a constant barrage of the most inane and trivial thoughts that flit through the minds of your acquaintances, each one of which probably kills off a few hundred neurons.

Published in: on June 17, 2012 at 9:18 am  Comments (1)  


Always drive downhill. Many downhill stretches can be traversed with the engine shut off entirely, for an effective fuel consumption of ∞ m.p.g. When you reach a low point on your projected route, sell your car, and buy another one at the top of the next hill.

Remove excess weight, such as luggage, groceries, spare tires, children, doors, bumpers, etc. The heaviest single object in your car is usually the engine, the removal of which can lead to a dramatic dip in your fuel consumption.

Streamline your car by filling in irregularities in its shape with modeling clay. Of all the irregularities in the outline of your car, the one that usually affects fuel economy the most is the deep notch formed by the the obtuse angle between the windshield and the hood.

Instead of gasoline, try oxen.

Inflate your tires with helium to lighten your vehicle by up to 0.000018%.

Drive as fast as possible, so that you arrive at your destination before you have a chance to use very much gasoline.

Fold an origami car, following one of the many popular patterns available on the Internet. Paper is much lighter than the steel and plastics used in the construction of mass-produced vehicles, and you will be driving an original work of art as well as saving fuel.

Instead of going on a driving vacation this summer, sit in your chair at work with your hands on an imaginary steering wheel and say “Vroom, vroom” every once in a while.

Published in: on June 15, 2012 at 7:00 pm  Comments (2)