Ask Montezuma: Caliguly 2006

Montezuma II
Besides being a syndicated columnist,
Montezuma is also a talented light-house
refurbisher, fisherman, and watercolour

Dear Montezuma,
I noticed that in some of your earlier columns it was called “Dear Montezuma.” This was discovered because I lost one of my favorites and had to go to the library to look through their back issues, where I discovered that all the columns were now called “Ask Montezuma.” I couldn’t find any of the “Dear Montezuma” columns. In fact, even your images have been changed. Did you, in fact, die in a car crash? Are you, in fact, an imposter created by the Axes & Alleys editors?
Lois L. Louis
Peoria, IL

In the earliest part of my tenure with Axes & Alleys I attended a wonderful meeting of minds at the national headquarters of the Union of Advice Columnists United. Many days were spent imbibing various European liquors, supping on barbecued oysters and discussing the advice-giving methods of the day. Several of my colleagues queried me about changing the font of the column. Many thought their readers might confuse my column with theirs if it was titled in the same font. Fonts are of interest to some, but not to me, so immediately I gave over. However, according to the layout director, the new font simply did not balance well with the page. He valiantly attempted changing the size of the font, unlimbering his fingers to help him select a new size from a drop down menu, but at its very end the title still didn’t look good in his eyes. I suggested that since most people ask me questions, we might consider trying “Ask Montezuma” instead. This caused a flurry of excitement in the layout director and he spent several hours changing to the new name, which according to him “looked okay.” And so that was the title with which we went. Even in the small things I proffer excellent advice.

Hey Montezuma,
I want to know what the best way is to get ear wax off of a cat.
Tegan Quin
Vancouver, BC

Tegan, Cat Fancy, Kitty Cat Care Weekly, and the MCATDA Veterinary Medicine Department all recommend using the Extra-Feline Substance Removal Manual IV as a reference for all such needs.

Dear Montezuma,
I love giant roadside attraction figures, like that life-size Jolly Green Giant in Minnesota, or the vengeful Father Junipero Serra in California. I don’t care what they’re made of. It can be plaster, fiberglass, chicken wire and goat carcasses. I really don’t care. Can the blood of a mongoose truly offer salvation?
Highway 45 West

Oh dear, Zigger, you’re in quite a conundrum there. Your interest in salvation via the ichor of a member of the Herpestidae family coupled with your five-lettered name beginning in Z shows me via deductive reasoning that you are a member of the Pleistopodean religion. As such, and given the location from which you are writing, I must remind you that you may have excommunicated yourself by writing a letter whilst facing west. The imperilment of your salvation has, unfortunately, likely been assured.

Do 24 hour candles really burn for 24 hours? Is there a way to test this?
Eli Jitney Bamburger
Grand Flemish, AC

Unfortunately I am at this time involved in a lawsuit with several makers of 24 hour candles and unable to comment at this time.

solar system

Dear Montezuma,
How come I am forced to go to a public indoctrination facility for six hours out of every day for 14 years, because if I don’t gun-toting thugs who call themselves the government will come to my home and kill my parents?
Moog Mossberger
Helena, MT

MM, although incidences of parents who have refused to send their children to public indoctrination centers and thus been killed by the government has decreased somewhat in the first two quarters of the year, this continues to be a concern to many Americans. Of course the military operations conducted against thousands of citizens for tax evasion in conjunction with the court system maintains its place as the number one problem in the country today. The best solution is a system whereby small groups of families and residents band together by voluntary agreement in order to manage their affairs. Public sanitation, light and heavy industry, technical innovation and mutual defense are more easily carried out by untaxed citizens controlling their own affairs rather than the monstrous indignity and inevitable infringement of rights inherent in a centralized federal government.

Dear Montezuma,
My dad got a promotion, we’re now wealthy and live in a different city. The neighbors have a ton more money, but they’re a bunch of no-good snobs who look down on me and my family. The other kids sometimes snicker at me and run after me yelling “nouveaux riches.” Nevertheless, my mother thinks they’re perfect. We’ve argued about it constantly, but she says their coffee table books are better than ours. Is it true that the neighbors are perfect and better than us?
Sally McPhee
Yonkers, NY

Sally, yes it is true. The more money you have, the better kind of person you are, both by society’s standards and natural law. The high-quality coffee table books are simply further proof of the state of affairs. You might complement the other kids on their enlightened embrace of the endowments given to them by their Creator as well as their excellent grasp of French phraseology.

A Trip to the Museum with Dirk Benedict


It was a an early day and though a haze seemed to break the sunlight into a thousand intimate shards, a glow of beauty hung about the city as Dirk Benedict and I strolled along the edge of Central Park. Smiling gently, as he often does, he pricked an already yellowing leaf from a nearby tree. Instantly he identified it to me as a North American white oak, of the species Quercus alba.

Continuing our saunter in the direction of the museum, he spoke a bit on the subject of forestry and of conservation. Never one to preach or even cajole, Dirk Benedict instead told me of the beauty of Montana and as his words melted into the sweetest of poetry, I thought I saw half a tear form in the corner of his eye. Not a tear of sadness, but a simple illustration of how moved by beauty Dirk Benedict can be.

Tossing the leaf aside in his robustly casual manner, he began to sing a lovely song of the Old Country and we picked up our pace and bounded up the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. With his Diner’s Club card in hand, he of course offered to pay for my entrance fee, but I declined his ever-present chivalry, though he did smile and assist me as I struggled to clip the little orange pin to my lapel. We made our way right, toward the Egypt section. It’s been said that Egypt is the gift of the Nile. Well, I must add my own comment that enjoyment is the gift of Dirk Benedict’s company.

As we strode down each hall, he would point to various works of art and make their beauty and history come alive in his eloquence. Mere oils on canvas became living legends as Dirk Benedict explained their significance. His words brought alive the torture and pain of each artist’s soul. In the hall of armor, Dirk eyed each suit of glistening metal intently, as if he could look into the past and see the glory and pageantry of ages long gone. Breaking the rules, as independent spirits oft do, he patted one of the suits of armor, closed his eyes delicately and almost beneath a whisper, released the ancient soul to Valhalla.

Before we left, he made certain to pause by a portrait of George Washington, and as Dirk Benedict’s eyes met the portrait, he inhaled defiantly and then invoked the painting, with a simple wish that our nation never fail to live up to the standards and dreams of the Father of Our Country. For a moment, I turned, lest I interrupt this private tête-à-tête. But before I could even look away, Dirk came springing up behind me with a playful twinkle in his eye.
You see, Dirk Benedict had an idea and I couldn’t help but go along with him.

Leaving the museum he paused by the door to recycle our pins and then out into the sunlight we went, where, from a vendor’s cart, he procured a couple of ice cream sandwiches and we enjoyed their cool, creamy deliciousness all the way back to the train.

An Editorial

From the Desk of Philip R. Dick


Pants: The Scourge of Humanity

Did you know that roughly seventy-nine percent of people throughout the world wear pants on a regular basis? This is a horrible fact when you think about it. In actuality pants are nothing more than exceptionally-loose tights or bifurcated skirts. There are those who claim pants are just long shorts, but this is a silly opinion as shorts are just short long pants.

Pants were invented by a Mr. Pants of the Seventeenth Century, who first donned what were then called pantaloons. Since that day men everywhere, and some women, have been forced to exist under the Tyranny of the Pants. This is most unfortunate as pants are an uncomfortable and unreliable garment.

Did you know that 78.5% of criminals wore pants while committing their crimes? It is true, most criminals are men; men who wear pants. A minority of crimes are committed by skirt-wearing people. Is the problem of crime in society caused by pants? It can’t be proven definitively, but the statistics seem to show that perhaps all ills in society find their foundation in the wearing of pants.

When the climate is hot, pants are uncomfortable. Pants are not quite acceptable. Everyone knows that skirts are far more comfortable. Skirts allow for free air flow and even freer movement.

In battle, pants are restrictive while skirts allow you to defeat your enemies in comfort, and in the latest fashions. Let us not forget that the brave Spartans at Thermopylae were wearing skirts while their insidious Persian foes were clad in leather trousers.

Pants come in only a few styles, fabrics and colors. Skirts come in brand new styles each season; from the monochrome mini to the long, patterned and flowing, to the dark and metal-adorned bondage style. Skirts allow each individual to choose their own style and fashion. Whether you prefer the thin pencil skirt or the flowing, flowery style, you can be certain that there will always be a skirt available to best suit your own particular mood or personality.

Pants represent nothing but structure, limits and death. Skirts are about freedom. Skirts are about comfort. Skirts are about individuality. So, next time you want to feel special, why not give the pants a miss and try a skirt instead. 83% of Scotsmen would agree with you.

An Interview with Rivers Cuomo

with Substitute Interviewer Tim Wright,
Sitting in for Regular Interviewer Timothy Wright (No Relation)

Rivers Cuomo

Weezer front-man Rivers Cuomo bears an eerily uncanny resemblance to Peter Parker, who is also known as Catwoman.

Just recently, I purchased the latest Assortment of Lackluster But Ubiquitous Music (ALBUM) by prominent rock & roll quartet Weezer, entitled Make Believe. I was highly disappointed by this CD’s general lack of musical quality, and it got me to thinking…what happened to the Weezer of yesteryear? The Weezer that delighted us with quirky acoustic ballads and whimsical rock concoctions? The Weezer that lit up the stage with soaring harmonies and awkward, geeky soliloquies? The Weezer that made us smile by taking home the gold for the US in the 2006 Winter Olympics Four-Man Bobsleigh and Short Track Speed Skating relay competitions? I missed the kind of music that I was used to hearing from Weezer’s first two albums, so I decided to track down lead singer and principal songwriter Rivers Cuomo and have a nice fireside chat with him to find out his perspective on the band’s musical development over the years.

I invited Rivers to what he thought was an interview for popular regional teen magazine Montsylvania Rox U!, a normally peppy and upbeat periodical that had just been the subject of severe government criticism due to the questionable employment practices of its X-treme Financial Services and Retirement! subdivision. Despite its recent troubles, however, I knew that Rivers still respected the magazine for its in-depth coverage of the Chef Boyardee spaghetti rebellion (and the ensuing processed noodle famine of 1998, which claimed over 170,000 lives in New Jersey alone), so I was sure that he would accept the invitation to sit down with me for a while.

However, when he arrived at our studio it became clear to him that he was going to be dealing with the uncompromising and nononsense reporting of this fine publication instead (one of the top three tractor repair and maintenance digests in the upper-Midwest tricounty area). He became slightly nervous, so I pulled up a chair for the both of us and offered him something to drink. Thus our interview began.

Me: Hi Rivers, would you like some coffee?

Rivers: Um, sure. Who are you?

Me: My name is Tim, but it’s only important that you know me as a somewhat disenchanted Weezer fan.

Rivers: Why do you say that?

Me: Well, I really liked Weezer’s early music, but these last few albums have just been…how can I say it…lamentable. What’s the deal, Rivers?

Rivers: I know, I know. Look, everybody loved our first two albums so much, and we were so busy touring, and…okay. This isn’t easy for me to say, but…

Me: You can feel safe here, Rivers. Have some more coffee!

Rivers: Okay. I haven’t told anyone this before, but something’s been happening to me these past few years when I try to write songs. I sit down, I pick up my pencil… and then Carlo starts screaming.

Me: Who?

Rivers: Carlo… My Sherpa manservant. He…he’s writing all of our songs now.

Me: What!? Your manservant? What are you talking about?

Rivers: I met him on the Pinkerton tour. We’re soul mates, you know. We do everything together. I can’t imagine my life without him.

Me: Let me get this straight. Your Sherpa manservant Carlo…is writing Weezer songs?

Rivers: Yeah, since The Green Album. He won’t let me write what I want to anymore. Every time I’m in the middle of coming up with an idea, he just starts yelling until I let him do everything his way. I still love him, though.

Me: You’ve gotta be kidding me.

Rivers: No, it’s true. Hey…this coffee tastes a little weir…

Me: …alright, now I really don’t regret what I just did to you.

Rivers: …what…what do you mean?

Me: That’s it? That’s your excuse for Weezer’s fall from grace? I can’t believe it. I don’t know what to say. I just don’t know what to say, Rivers. Other than this…

Rivers: …okay man, I wanna get out of he…

Me: I put three sugar in your coffee, you son of a bitch!

Rivers: … …

Thus our interview ended. I never found if Rivers was really telling the truth about Weezer’s musical decline or not, but he did drop his glasses as he ran out and I’m keeping them.