Ask Montezuma: Pentember 2007


Montezuma is an avid “Battleship” player, whose favorite move is the classic D9. His moped is coloured blue with while stripes.

Dear Montezuma,
Why don’t Hollywood filmmakers make movies for me, the guy who enjoys four hour epic explorations of the poor in 1830s-era Philadelphia contrasted with the poor of the same time period in Senegal as seen through the eyes of a lost Russian trader angry at life and the Patriarch of Moscow?

Eldridge Cleaver
Sonoma, CA

EC, just the other day I planned a national press conference in order to answer a similar question from Rodney Tripps, a communicant from Montsylvania. Then your letter arrived at my door-mounted mail-intake slot. One supposes there is no point now in holding that press conference. ‘tis a shame, really. All those reporters hungering for stories. Now they shall have to create some of their noted reportage on the local, duplicitous veterinary clinic billing customers for name-brand flea shampoo when in reality the shampoo they use is a generic from the grocery store next door. I believe the owners of both businesses are in cahoots. This is doubly ironic because your letter reminded me of the civet cat.

Dear Montezuma,
Is it possible for me to exchange cowrie shells for money in the United States? Alternately, is it impossible?

Doubles Farebanks
Hollywont, CA

Hallo Doubles! It is certainly possible to exchange cowrie shells for monetary units in the United States. Simply trundle down to your local cowrie shell purveyor, hand over the appropriate denominations and soon you too can experience the enjoyable effulgence of cowrie shell ownership.

Dear Montezuma,
I am a 1960s and 1970s cartoon character (briefly revived in the 1980s) which was used to advertise and promote certain products. For each advertisement I asked a question, but this question was never conclusively answered. Should I buy laser or mechanical calipers?

9358 Postern Rd.
Lemuria North, PA 20963

I would guess that 50 caliber is much too powerful for your use, Tootsie. In fact, a flare gun should suit your purposes quite nicely. However, if the neighborhood children still insist on stealing plums from your backyard, you might consider fencing. It is slightly more expensive than firearms, but it is also much easier to decorate.

Hey Montezuma,
Why do orthodontists have such bad breath?

Mary Pembroke
Evans, GA

I suppose the scope of their knowledge is impeded by being such intricate specialists of the orthodontic arts. Sometimes one gets the so-called tunnel vision when studying a specialty so closely. If you would like to work to fix the situation, you might consider tackling the problem by exposing your orthodontist to some great thinkers like Anaximenes, Anaximander, or Anaxagoras. They were mostly wrong about everything (though Anaximenes came pretty close on a couple of points), but this is something which will expand the breadth of your orthodontist’s interest through discussion.

Dear Montezuma,
I come from an alternate timeline where the mighty Roman Empire never fell. As I have been stranded in your timeline (where the Roman Empire fell almost 1600 years ago (we wouldn’t count those Byzantine shenanigans)), I have a very important question with which you can help me. What is a whisk?

Publius Morcarum, called Chuck
New York, NY

I wouldn’t count those foppish Byzantines either, Chuck. They attempted to hide this in those frescoes of theirs, but you can tell that they looked more Greek than Roman. Just look at those eyebrows! And, yes, they wore robes, too, but the colors are absolutely Hellenic.

cafe press store

Dear Montezuma,
My cat won’t make hamburgers. Is there a way to fix this?

Cat Won’t Make Hamburgers
West Philadelphia, PA

CWMH, clearly you’re trying for some type of Cornishsounding nom-de-plume, but even the Welsh use an occasional vowel.

Dear Montezuma,
If I drove from Bismarck, ND to Detroit, MI on my motorcycle, how much gasoline would I use?

Michael Oliver-Thomas Omar Ralph Matthew Andrew McMontenegro
Bath, SC

MOTORMAN, taking into account the average straight-line distance between Bismarck and Detroit, factoring in a southerly Arctic wind, and of course the likelihood of losing at least one wheel on the way, I would say three. Of course, if the interstate were to suddenly become sentient and motile, this would likely be almost, but not quite, four.

Dear Montezuma,
Why are there only two major types of chowder (clam)? Couldn’t there be three types of chowder (clam)?

Bindy Lumpkin
Lafayette, LA

I prefer a good boulliabase, Bindy.

Dear Montezuma,
I don’t have any CDs by the band Tilt. I enjoy their music very much, even so. Is it possible for me to acquire the music I enjoy for my own personal use?

D. Leonard Pinkerto
Splatonville, EL

Tilt is certainly one of the most exciting hardcore music ensembles to come to prominence from the East Bay bastion of Berkeley. They also have a female lead singer, so there is of course not much more one could ask for in a musical grouping. Something fun you might try is to compare them to an ensemble of a completely different genre, for instance the music of artist, producer, and actor Ice-T.

Dear Montezuma,
I saw an old woman at the shops who had red hair. Then, I saw another woman on the roundabout near my house the other day and she had blue hair. A lot of other old ladies have white hair. It seems that they are supporting France. Why are old women so unpatriotic?

Elmo Fudge
Shropshire, UK

Mr. Fudge, it’s not that the old ladies are unpatriotic. It’s that the French have replaced all non-Frank elderly women with Frankish duplicates. In fact, they are quite patriotic, but towards France.

Dear Montezuma,
I met this guy today and he’s totally hot. The only problem is that I met him in an encyclopedia and he’s been dead since 1883. Maybe that’s two problems…anyway. Could you suggest a good brand of mixed, roasted nuts?

Sarah Brown
Augusta, GA

Sarah, I would suggest Peanuts™ from AgroFarm™. Peanuts™ are not, of course, nuts, but legumes, as you’ve no doubt been told by anyone with a second grade education whenever you say that Peanuts™ are your favorite nut. It’s always frustrating when people do that. Yes, I had a similar education and heard the same factism expressed by my teachers. I am also aware, because of my public school education, that it is one of only two contributions to the world made by African-Americans, the other being the chamber ensemble featuring both an oboe and an English horn.

Katie Stalin: Pentember 2007


glacier nation

Glacier National Park, Montana – My friend Thom told me I should check out a glacier before they’re all gone due to something he calls climate change. I looked it up and it turns out there are glaciers in the United States. So one of my editors gave me $25 for a bus ticket out here on the border with Canada on the condition that I mock Alberta during my visit. I just gave it the finger, British style, so that’s taken care of. Well, I don’t see what the BFD is. Majestic beauty, largest reservoirs of fresh water on the planet, blah blah blah. It’s a big hunk of ice and there are plenty of people who could, I don’t know, use fresh water that’s not stuck up on top of a mountain somewhere.

That’s another thing. I read in the Encyclopaedia Britannica that most glaciers are found on mountains. So you have to do a lot of stupid hiking through nature to get there. After you wear yourself out stumbling through wildflowers and other junk, the payoff is this big blue thing covered in dirt. That’s right, glaciers are dirty, just like the grubby nature lovers standing around gawking at them. And they’re too blue. Blue makes me angry.

Getting angry helped me prove another point. This one nature princess was going all Gaia Theory on me and wouldn’t shut up, so I kinda shoved her. Into a crevasse. Which brings up another point: you could die going to a glacier. They’re dangerous with all the crevasses in them and ice rivers flowing under them into hidden lakes. If there’s one thing I really hate it’s too many crevasses. I lost my beef jerky in one.

They’re also really cold. That’s another way to die; from cold. For instance, you could go scuba diving in those lakes I mentioned; but when I went, one guy got stuck, got that hypothermia thing, and died, all while I floated there watching him. I thought maybe all the thrashing he was doing would keep him warm, but it just ripped up that fancy thermal suit of his.

So, glaciers move, which is something else I read. They get warmed up by the sun and the ice melts and the water gets through all the cracks to the bottom of the glacier and it starts sliding around. Boring! Sometimes they flow into a lake or the sea, which is actually kind of cool because the ice makes a lot of noise and you can see the stupid thing falling apart right in front of your eyes. It’s sort of neat that glaciers move all those rocks and reshape the land. Then you get awesome-sounding topological features like moraines and drumlins. But when I think about it at the end of the day, there are better ways to move rocks around. I got one of those rock tumblers from Spencer’s Gifts which does it in two to three days.

The only good thing about my trip was the nacho stand near the Jackson Glacier. Except for the fact that I had to eat them in the freezing cold, and the melty Velveeta they used pretty much froze instantly, and the missing jalapenos on the top, it almost made up for coming out here in the first place. I thought of writing another book called Nachos of the National Parks, but when I got home I found out it was the only nacho stand in any of our national parks. That sucks, you know? The Department of the Interior should have a little more respect for one of our national foods.