Ask Montezuma: Gregor 2007

It’s the Anwer Man from Tenochtitlan

Aztec Emperor Montezuma is a member
of the Emperor Hall of Fame in Scranton.
While he has, in the past, claimed his
favorite soup was borscht, he has since
changed it to chicken with stars.

Dear Montezuma,
Has anyone ever been the victim of apathy?
Bertrand Russell
Purgatory, The After Life

Bertie, a recent study of global mortality rates over the last 4000 years has found the mortality rate due to apathy quite steady at “0 per 1000 people.” Even more staggering are the numbers when you expand the sample size, because at 1,000,000 the rate remains at 0. Comparatively, the mortality rate due to caring is a disastrous “a lot per 1000. (ibid.).”

Hi Montezuma,
I am scared. You see, because of the recent outbreak of viral Yacht Rot, which has already destroyed over 300 yachts, I’m worried about my yacht The Nothing But The Truth So Help Me God. She’s a fine boat and I’d like to make sure she doesn’t succumb to this nasty virus. Any tips or tricks?
David Sanders Muttonmere IV
Kennebunkport, ME

Tricks you say, DSMIV? I am astounded that someone could send such slanderous invective through the mails. I’ll have you know that never once have I resorted to trickery. Certainly there were accusations brought up in the civil suit a few years back, but under the conditions of the settlement of that case (which included this magazine allowing me to publish my column) I cannot speak more on the subject. Now, perhaps I’ve been hasty in judging your letter. You seem like a nice-enough fellow, so perhaps you simply heard this bit of drivel from another person. Please send their name and the time and location where they told you this to me, as well as a copy to the editors of this publication.

Dear Montezuma,
Which is better: hooded sweatshirts or unhooded sweatshirts?
P. Esther Clemens
Labia County, Dry Michigan

Esther, it would behove you to take a peek at an English grammar book or two. You see, when you are referring to something in the plural, the proper being verb would be “are” in this instance. I find this all the more puzzling due to your proper usage of the colon. The colon is a lovely punctuation mark suitable for denoting a list of things, separating a book’s title from its sub-title, or making a formula work across several cells in Excel. Much better than that bastard semi-colon, if you ask me.

In The Epoxies song “Molded Plastic,” lead singer Roxy Epoxie says that she is, among other things, made of molded plastic, that her eyes are “blue electric,” and that her circuits are “unwired.” Is Roxy Epoxie a robot?
Andy Woggin
Mispelled, OT

Roxy Epoxie is definitely not a robot and I am terribly vexed by the continued queries regarding the robotic status of female rock musicians. In any case, this sounds less like a racialist letter full of bigotry and more like a misunderstanding of the concept of metaphor. Many lyricists employ metaphor in order to make a point. So do poets. For instance, in Keats’ “Ode on a Grecian Urn” the urn is really a stand-in for sausages, with which Keats’ was obsessed. “What little town by river or sea-shore, Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel, Is emptied of its folk, this pious morn?” You see, sausages are rivers or sea-shores of meat stuffed into citadels of intestines or artificial sausage skins, which are then emptied of their meaty townsfolk by the person consuming the sausage. Keats very much loved sausages. In fact, that love of sausages likely led to his early death from heart disease.

Dear Montezuma,
My friend Kitty Parker likes to eat caterpillars. She’s always asking me if I would like one and I usually say no. Caterpillars are cuter than cows, calves, and other mammals people eat, so why should I eat them?
Leroy Vinnegar
Blister-Exists, NY

Cute you say? Have you ever peered at microscopic photo slides of the creatures? They’re astoundingly hideous! Enough to give me nightmares. Great, gnashing, clipping mandibles to rend your flesh. Corpulent body segments eager to lay upon and flatten you. Sickly-glistening protuberances emerging from all portions of the body. And all accompanied by those tiny, beady, multi-faceted eyes. Also they make silk like spiders. No, my friend Leroy, consume them lest ye be consumed first. (Do not consume spiders though. When you see them they’re usually just trying to say hello. Wave back kindly and with enthusiasm.)

Dear Montezuma,
I’ve been in love with Millenarianism for quite some time. I truly enjoy the whole concept of the coming Apocalypse and the possibility of living through it to enjoy the fruits of the Post-Apocalypse. When you consider it, if you’re a canned tuna lover, there will be plenty free for the taking. Anyway, I also like the imagery inherent in Millenarianism. So,, to get to the point, since I love Millenarianism so much how would I go about proposing marriage to it?
Danielo Cabrisi
Conclave, MV

Proposing to Millenarianism is difficult, not least because it has been rejecting such offers for nearly 2000 years. Cobbler Johnson of Derbyshire came closest in 1577, but after thinking it over for two weeks, Millenarianism declined the offer. You might try something romantic like sky-writing or doing it at a major league spearball game.

Dear Montezuma,
I am terribly crabby all the time and often this seems to bother people. I think this results from my lifelong dedication of curing people of their delusions. A lot of people don’t react well to a dour old man telling them they’re being foolish. Is there a way for me to fix this?
James Randi
Fort Lauderdale, FL

Hey there Amazing! I’ve always wanted to receive a letter from you, but I’ll leave the gushing of a fan for a private return letter (hope you enjoy the photographs). Have you attempted to smile? In all of your numerous television appearances you never seem to crack a smile and, in fact, appear quite combative. Slapping a smile on that handsome mug of yours might put people off of getting angry about things. It would certainly cure the dour adjective.

montys hints

Most people enjoy collecting bottles. A recent survey of North America and Europe found that 67% of adults and 22% of children enjoyed collecting bottles, while 12% and 40%, respectively, found collecting bottles to be mildly entertaining. One problem with collecting bottles is storage. Bottles do take up a lot of space. You can save a lot of space by removing the labels from the bottles. Simply soak the bottles in warm, soapy water for an hour or two, then scrape off the remaining bits of label with the edge of a trowel. This will save you 1/100th of an inch or so of diameter for each bottle, allowing for easier storage.

Angry Food

An Enthusiastically Researched Essay by Oliver Cromwell


I love angry food. The kind of food with names you could shout out at your enemies before charging into battle. My life is unfortunately bereft of a lot of angry food. The cheap stuff at the store usually doesn’t cut it. Now think of yourself on the humid plains of Asia, approaching the enemy line with sweat pouring down the back of your halter and spear clutched in hand. As you meet the enemy and pounce with that spear, a bloodcurdling cry leaps from your lungs.

“Tzatziki!” you yell, as your spear thrusts into the yielding flesh of your opponent. That’s an angry food. It wouldn’t work if you screamed something like “salad.” Unfortunately life is replete with food names inappropriate for blood lust: potato, hamburger, flan, lemon chicken, shallots. Not a one inspires much of anything. I guess you could bellow out “squash,” which is something you could do with a shock weapon, but it’s still not too threatening.

Something that comes close and never quite makes it is “fritters.” Fritters is more of a calm and collected food. It’s the kind of thing you’d whisper to a prisoner before torturing him. Grabbing a rusty pair of pliers, you’d lean next to his ear and quietly say “fritters.” It would send shivers down their spine.

But, again, could you imagine spurring your howitzer crew on to the sound of “cous cous?” It, like so many other foods, just doesn’t fill you with the life that names reminiscent of violent, bloody death can.

The fact that “souvlaki” is an absolutely stellar angry food shouldn’t make you think that foods ending in “i” are good angry foods. One look at a list of Italian pastas should disabuse you of that notion fairly quickly. No enemy has yet run at the sound of “rotini.”

You want to mix your foods up, though. There are also the grunts and swears spoken while engaging in war. This is where “stroganoff” is perfect. Try saying it in loud, but low, tones when your column is grappling with the enemy.

One of the best angry foods, bellying its existence as a dumpling in soup, is xiao long bao. You can just imagine leading a troop of men, coming over a hill only to discover the enemy tens of yards downhill, and shouting the charge “Xiao long bao!” as you and your men fly down the hill towards certain death.

Next time, when you sit down for chicken strips, pizza poppers, “tater skins,” or some other milquetoast food, think of how much better it would be if your food’s name got you really pissed off. So pissed off you could kill a man. This is the reason that most of my meals consist of bok choy.

Helpful Vacation Tips

Helpful Vacation Tips

1. Be sure to take off work during your vacation. Nothing spoils a trip to Hawaii like having to commute six thousand miles back to work every day.
2. Before traveling abroad, first check with the U.S. State Department to make sure the country you’re traveling to actually exists. Remember, the Byzantine Empire hasn’t existed for 500 years, so you can’t actually go there anymore.
3. Mousetrap is an incredibly popular game the world over. Remember to bring it with you and you’ll be sure to make friends wherever you go, especially Laos.
4. In the Arctic, the sun doesn’t set for months at a time. It’s never night time, so you don’t have to sleep and can save a lot of money since you don’t need a hotel room or a bed. Bartenders are also never sure when it’s happy hour.
5. While airplanes do have an excellent safety record, they still occasionally crash. Keep in mind that there hasn’t been a Zeppelin crash in over eight decades. The record for manned kites and ironclads is even better.
6. To save money traveling overseas, just swim. A healthy adult should be able to make it across the Atlantic in only a month or two. Don’t forget your goggles.
7. Most foreign countries have their own currencies. But sometimes U.S. arcade tokens can be used in foreign skeeball games.
8. When abroad, you may need a knob converter to open foreign doors.
9. A handy phrase to remember is “I’m an American and your laws don’t apply to me.”
10. Never leave home without your spelunking trowel. Ever.
11. Time can drag on a long flight, so have some reading material on hand; like Churchill’s 20 volume history of WWII, or a pamphlet about Rock City. Either will do.
12. You might be tempted to get some local culture while abroad, but don’t be suckered into seeing local music. It usually involves weird instruments and costumes, not guitars.
13. Almost every country on the planet has its own species of magpie. Make sure you pack your magpie detector.
14. If you’re vacationing in the United States, remember that it has a handy interstate highway system for driving. Their names often start with a letter and end in a number.
15. Finland has no month of October on their calendar, so if you travel there during that month, keep in mind that for them it’s actually November.
16. Snakes can be found in many regions, if you’re into that sort of thing.
17. Duty free shops in international airports are where you can pick up stuff without paying taxes. Go for high-priced items like jewels or cars. You can try selling stuff there, too, but make sure you stand near the exit.
18. If you really like a place, consider staying there and never coming back. We don’t want you anyway.
19. Make a game out of your vacation by seeing how much work you can do away from the office.
20. Challenge yourself by using a large plastic bag as your only luggage. See what you can fit inside.
21. The point of going on vacation is to relax, but foreign countries can often befuddle one with their confusing customs. If you’re American, try eating only at popular American fast food chains to calm your nerves.
22. It is often said that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. This is not true of Portugal.
23. Hiking can be fun, but you do risk getting lost. If this happens you might be tempted to walk in the same direction to find your way. The world is round, though, so trying something of a spiral pattern would work better.
24. It has often been said that aboriginal peoples know their surroundings better than people living in the developed world. If you get captured, distract your captors by asking them what the plants and animals are called.