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« Chihuahua sues Paris Hilton | Page One | Sept. 11: Retrospective in satire »

Fall foliage Q&A with Dr. Leif Mann

By John Breneman

Everyone knows that the autumn foliage in New England is the finest in the world. But there is much about this annual cornucopia of color that we do not know. Therefore, I have decided to direct some reader questions to the Humor Gazette's resident foliage expert, Dr. Leif Mann.

Question: Where should I go to see the peak foliage?
-- Bud Smith, Exeter

Answer: The most glorious foliage in all the world can be seen in a quaint Maine hamlet called Carotene Falls. Unfortunately, you can't get there from here.

Question: If there is too much foliage in my yard, should I use a defoliant?
-- Biff Dupont, New Castle

Answer: Uh, no. A defoliant is a chemical that strips growing plants of their leaves. Believe it or not, if you just wait a bit the leaves will fall off the trees by themselves.

Question: My trees are still kind of green. Should I consider paying a college kid to come and spray-paint them?
-- Sherwin Williams, Portsmouth

Answer: No. I have found that it's best to hire an experienced painting contractor if you want the job done right.

Question: Where did the 2004 presidential candidates stand on foliage?
-- Joe Voder, Dixville Notch

Answer: John Kerry was ranked the 5th-most pro-foliage legislator in the U.S. Congress. He also voted FOR a $1.2 million foliage appropriation before he voted against it. George W. Bush believes we can stop unwanted foliage by increasing the amount of toxic emissions in the environment.

Question: Why are the trees so pretty in the fall?
-- Jenny, age 4

Answer: Well you see Jenny, leaves contain some green stuff called chlorophyll. But the cold weather breaks down the chlorophyll in most deciduous plant life forms. When that happens, other pigments contained in the leaves (xanthophyll, yellow; caretenoids, orange-red; anthocyanins, red and purple) come shining through.

Question: Oh, why are there no blue leaves?
-- Jenny, age 4

Answer: Uhhh. Because.

Question: How can I protect my children from seeing foliage on the Internet?
-- Jenny's mom

Answer: Of course it is best to shield your child from all external stimuli, but that is not always possible. Instead, you might consider raking up a big pile of leaves, starting a bonfire, and throwing your computer into the center of the flames.

Question: Who makes all the oxygen for humans to breathe?
-- Mikey, age 5

Answer: Plants and trees.

Question: Why are humans destroying the rain forests?
-- Mikey, age 5

Answer: Too much oxygen.

Question: How has the fluctuating stock market affecting the international market for foliage-related goods and services (cameras and binoculars, bus tours, T-shirts, petroleum products, etc.)?
-- A. Greenspan, Washington

Answer: Let's just say that black market "Genuine Maine Leaf Peeper" T-shirts are raking in quite a few million yen in North Conwei, Japan.

Question: Are travel agents authorized to arrange obscenely expensive leaf-peeping excursions for wealthy tourists?
-- Arthur Mulch, York Harbor

Answer: Yes, my sources in the industry tell me that a Hampton travel agent is now offering a seven-day, seven-night "Leaf Safari" package that starts with a champagne-and-hot-tub limousine ride to the White Mountains. There, the group will be flown to scenic Moosehead Lake aboard the S.S. Equinox, a luxury dirigible that serves braised lobster and offers unparalleled autumn vistas from the air. Tour organizers also have arranged for a partial eclipse of the sun to create a spectacular once-in-a-lifetime visual foliage extravaganza.

Question: What can we, as humans, learn from the humble leaf?
-- Kofi Annan, United Nations

Answer: Well, if we humans could all develop the ability to produce our own nourishment using the miracle of photosynthesis, why we could solve world hunger and increase our disposal income without triggering a windfall profits tax.

Question: Do leaves go to Heaven?
-- Jenny, age 4

Answer: Yes.

Humor Gazette columnist John Breneman has given up red meat in favor of photosynthesis.

Posted on September 8, 2006 8:42 AM | Permalink

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