Ask Montezuma

It’s the Anwer Man from Tenochtitlan

Former Aztec Emperor Montezuma II
owns two cats; Scruffles and Tybalt.

Dear Montezuma,
Why is it that earthling is a slang term for lesbians?
Tracy Vacuumhindu
Bataang, Wisconsin

Tracy, the term is most likely due to fact that both the female vagina and Fuller’s earth make one sneeze.

Hi Montezuma,
I’ve owned the same carrying bag for nearly ten years. It’s still serviceable, but looks incredibly dingy. There are some deodorant stains on the strap (which also smells like old sweat), the dye is faded, one buckle is broken, the bottom’s a bit worn, the inside smells and is stained with I don’t know what. Also, if I carry it fully-loaded or with something heavy in it, it hurts my shoulder. After hearing all of this, do you think I should wear it on my right shoulder instead of the left?
Eduardo Rivadavia
Poncetown, EL

Dearest Ed, I think it would behoove you to consider the ineffable memories contained in those stains. Perhaps one is from the leftovers of a particularly fine meal, or the remains of that one chicken that angered you so. Objects can be so full of memories. Why, once I owned an empty bottle of soda which evoked very fond memories.

Dear Montezuma,
Which is larger: the Sun or a baseball?
Phil Plait
Rhonert Park, CA

What’s with the obsession about size? Many things are larger than other things. Then again, many things are smaller than many other things. It’s even true that some things are the same size.

¡Hola Montezuma!
¿Habla Español?
Samantha Lennon
New York, NY

I believe you’re asking me if semaphore is preferable to spritzes of lemon in other people’s eyes. On most occasions this is true, but you must be aware that during solstices occurring in every sixth year, it is considered polite to communicate with a shot of lemon in the eye.

Dear Montezuma,
I desperately want to be Spider-Man. Should I accomplish this goal by interacting with radioactive spoonbills? What about covering myself in fancy hamsters? Will swimming in toxic waste work just as well? Also, the costume: should it be made of wool or burlap?
Chip Taylor
New York, NY

Chip, I would suggest a daily vitamin supplement coupled with a protein shake at lunch and supper. Perhaps that will solve your obesity problem and allow you to take a greater part in society.

Dear Montezuma,
I have a really silly faux pompadour hair style. I’d like to change it, but my barber is very deaf and keeps interpreting everything I say as asking for a faux pompadour. The styling gel is becoming expensive.
Sandy Heflglot
Middle Middle, WD

Mr. Heflglot, there is no known cure for deafness. Fortunately, it has lately been discovered that the application of a sharp object such as an awl to the tympanic membrane of the ear can be an aid in communication. Simply insert the awl into your
barber’s ear and poke out your desired hairstyle in Morse code. Be careful, though, you could get splinters from an improperly waxed awl handle.

Hi Montezuma,
When I have an itch, is it really a small fairy making a nest in my epidermis?
Lothario Johnson, Age 18
Batty, PL

It’s a sad state of affairs, LJ, when the nation’s youth believes as you do. What improper training must you receive in your schooling! Have they not engaged you with biology? Have you not discovered the wonders of physiology through your secondary education? It is all so sad. No, LJ, it is not a fairy making a nest in your epidermis making you itch, it’s a fairy in your dermis making a nest which
causes the itch.

Dear Montezuma,
Recently, I purchased two clocks; one of them is metric and the other is imperial, though both are in pristine condition and painted in a slightly light cobalt blue color with black hands and Arabic numerals. I’m looking for an Inuit metal chick. It’s a bit difficult. Any tips?
Gordo Balvalardorgo
Sao Paolo, Brazil

Unfortunately for you, Gordo, the Inuit never attained the technology of smelting. You see, smelting requires mining, and mining is next to impossible for a stone age society in an Arctic environment. This is why they are stone age, you see. One might even posit that they are bone age, as there are few rocks above the Arctic Circle. In any event, since there is no mining and thus no smelting, the Inuit never developed electronics. It follows that because of this undevelopment, they consequently never came up with the quite obvious invention of the electric guitar. Thus, no Metal, Heavy Metal, Death Metal, Progressive, or other-adjective Metal musics.

Hey Montezuma,
How come I always see Mexican nationalists wearing tee-styled shirts with you on them? If you’d won out, wouldn’t there be few or no Hispanics at all?
Steven Wright
Pituitary, WI

This is absolutely correct. However, I do receive royalties for every such shirt. Unless they are counterfeit. If you see such a counterfeit shirt, please feel free to douse the wearer in an accelerant and alight them.


How to Make Your Own Beef Jerky
Every human being, including miners, jockeys, shortstops and Merriwhether Lewis, enjoys that delectable treat we call beef jerky. No one alive today knows when beef jerky was first invented, though it is most probable that the toughened muscle tissue comestible dates to a time in the early Pleistocene. During that period, hunter-gatherers first hunted, killed, skinned, cleaned and dried a sort of primeval cow into something almost reminiscent of today’s beef jerky. One would guess they used a stone attached to a stick to accomplish the deed, but we may never know as it is difficult for stones to fossilize. The same goes for obsidian which, while quite likely to make for a wonderful spear point, also does not fossilize well. Scienticians have often posited that oak bark, stripped and soaked in water for a day or so, could be used to fasten obsidian to a long stick. If you try this, make sure to strip off the bark and maybe wrap a fern frond or two around the end so you don’t get callouses. Callouses impede the eating of good jerky.

Ask Montezuma: Mapril 2007

It’s The Answer Man from Tenochtitlan!

Montezuma is a collector of Meno Corporation macaroni and cheese
products and maintains an almost-complete collection in his home.
He is missing only the #5 rotini style from the summer of 1956.

Dear Montezuma,
My aunt is 56 years old and dresses inappropriately for her age. She wears very short dresses and skirts, usually in a floral print. She also likes to bake, so we unfortunately get ample view of her procedural cop show-themed thongs. She is also at least 300 pounds. Do you think it’s possible to find a way to make her change her personal style for everyone’s personal comfort without hurting her feelings?
Tiger Tanaka
Kobe, Japan

TT, I would be incredibly interested to know your aunt’s choice of thong. I am, in actuality, quite a fan of procedural policeman television shows. My favourite this season is Crime Haven Belgique which is all about the intricacies of tax investigators in Antwerp. Last week’s show involved the assessment of a fee against a man who left his government ceiling repair assistance remuneration off of page four of form 35a. It was quite exciting.

Hi Montezuma,
Every fall I get depressed. It’s not a deep depression. It’s just sort of a general feeling of sadness that pervades my psyche when the temperatures and colors change. Which is better: the catamaran or the canoe?
Jason Vitali
Habberdasher, WI

Mr. Vitali, have you perhaps considered a super tanker or super carrier? Both have super in their name, so they must be better than any other type of ship. Of course, choosing between those two might present one with an incredible challenge. Never fear, though, for I believe I’ve solved the conundrum. You see, a carrier implies moving things around, whilst the tanker reminds one of tanks, which are mighty powerful.

Dear Montezuma,
I heard that tobacco is bad for you. Is this true?
Louis C. Camilleri
New York, NY

To me visiting Australia sounds terrifically bad for anyone. The sheer number of poisonous shellfish, insects, arachnids, snakes and other reptiles, and even mammals would turn anyone off to visiting such a continent. Australia is also rather out of the way, you see, so were you to become empoisoned by one of these creatures, you would be leagues and leagues away from medical treatment. Avoid Australia altogether.

What’s a Rorschach test?
Robert Pollard
Dayton, OH

Bobby, I cannot say with certainty. Once I received a “TB” test, but with surety I also cannot respond in its regard. Children supposedly take what is called an AP test, however these at least sound dirty and likely are, due to the fact that they involve children. The HIV test is quite popular, or so I hear. I am quite positive that has something to do with allergens. Tests are often administered to cars in states such as California, New York, and New Jersey for something called smog, though I am not sure how an object of mechanical manufacture could contract a disease. The only other test I know of is the DNA test, but I can only guess this has something to do with whether or not one is able to properly alphabetize files.

Dear Montezuma,
My fiancé has just told me that he is bisexual. He said that he has never told anyone else and has hidden it from me until now. I cried all night. I have many self-esteem problems. He also said that if he were in my shoes, he would end the relationship. However, he is glad that I haven’t. He promises me he will be true. What should I do?
Viviane Travin
Ramstein Air Base, Germany

Why are you such a cry baby? Some men simply enjoy the sound of four testicles slapping against each other.
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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.

Ask Montezuma Justinuary 2006

Montezuma II

Besides being Aztec Emperor, Montezuma also appeared as the star of the classic radio program Lucky Strike’s Amazing Adventure Quarter Hour Program. In his spare time he inspects Nok sculptures and rides the world’s only two-wheeled unicycle.

Dear Montezuma,
Since Axes & Alleys has now opened one of those nifty Café Press stores to sell t-shirts, mugs, thongs and F-22 Raptors, perhaps this should go on a tshirt:

“Ask Montezuma what this shirt means.”

Tim Wright
Elizabethville, PA

Tim, I believe that to be an excellent idea, but it’s missing something. Perhaps the wonderful picture of me should be included between “Ask Montezuma” and “what this shirt means.” One of those handy ellipsis punctuation marks would serve well after the “Ask Montezuma” portion. I will recommend this to my editors at the next meeting.

During my tour in Southeast Asia last year, I met a Hmong sniper in Laos. His rep said he was a crack shot with a lot of kills under his belt, but he said something curious to me when I met him. He said “I shoot. They run.” Now, if he’s so good, why wouldn’t his targets just be dead?

Moses Abercrombie
Katharinetowne, WD

Hmong snipers are a special breed, Moses. You see, their religious leaders place certain blessings upon ammunition below 50 calibre. When the target is acquired and shot, the blessings cause them to run to the nearest body of water and drown themselves, even when they are dead. It makes no sense to me either why they don’t use magical fairy ping pong paddles to destroy their enemies like the rest of the Good Guy special forces do.

Dear Montezuma,
A friend of mine just asked me to prove to him that I’m not a robot. I’m a bit puzzled as to how to do this. Do you know how?

Eva Green
London, UK

One of the easiest ways to prove one is not a robot is by doing simple arithmetic. Try adding seven and four and see what your friend does.

Hi Montezuma,
I just bought a new computer, but I am having some trouble listening to my music. My grandson purchased the thing for me and it is cute as a button. Specifically, I wanted a disc drive so that I could play my LPs, but they don’t seem to fit.

Mildred Burch
Aiken, SC

Mrs. Burch, did you specify to your grandson that you wanted to play 33s or 45s? You most likely have a disc drive compatible with 45s and not 33s. Your grandson should have purchased a computer for you with a drive of the right size. As he has no doubt seen your record collection, I assume he was simply being lazy. Withholding the next batch of cookies should punish him enough in the meantime. If you take a picture of your computer with your digital Polaroid camera, one of my office assistants should be able to help you decide what type of external disc drives are compatible.

Dear Montezuma,
How many times can I ride the Mindbender at Six Flags Over Georgia before my circadian rhythms are disrupted and I find it difficult to sleep more than four hours at a time?

Lucy Scoggins
Marietta, GA

Seven, Lucy. Seven.

Dear Montezuma,
I’m a train pilot in the mid-West and I had a question about ground-traffic control. Well, you see, they’re supposed to be there to make sure two trains don’t enter the same groundspace and set up beacons at the train stations to make sure we don’t lose our way. But, these guys are really snotty about everything. What’s the best way to get rid of my protruding nose hairs?

Wayne Garmish
Mid-West, USA

WG, I believe you’ll find it as interesting as I do to note that you were the pilot on my train thirteen years ago when I took a scenic tour of Accadia. You are an excellent pilot. There was very little turbulence and you arrived at the station with nary a bump. I also appreciated your humorous tour leader persona as you pointed out various trees and bushes by name as we sped by. As if we were travelling slow enough to see them! Keep up the good work.

Can I use no-stick spray on stickers?

Jeremy London
Cantilever, VT

Jeremy, this is an interesting question I get from time to time, but never quite have the time to answer. It’s a difficult explanation due to the mechanics involved. You see, no-stick spray generally works by phasing the gluon (a subatomic particle) into and out of existence through a forced conversion from matter to energy and back again. Stickers, on the other hand, rely upon hydrogen bonds in order to adhere to surfaces. As you can see, one will clearly not affect the other and thus you cannot negate the tacky nature of your stickers with no-stick spray. Some form of plasma might work, though.

Dear Montezuma,
I don’t get the point of iambic pentameter. People like Shakespeare, Keats and Donne seemed to use it a lot, and I’ve heard their work spoken aloud. This pentameter thing just sounds silly. Is there some other type of meter and syllabic structure used in poetry?

Marty Gill
Plainview, OT

Unfortunately Marty, poetry can only be written in iambic pentameter.

Ask Montezuma T-Shirt

Ask Montezuma: Springtober 2006

Montezuma II
Montezuma was the ruler of the Aztecs at
the time of the Spanish invasion. His latest mystery
novel Tyndale and the Jade Scorpion has
been made into a film staring Michael Dunaway and
Lucy Flasch. He is not mentioned in the
Book of Numbers.

Dear Montezuma,
When talking to camels, I find it best not to use the pluperfect, even though they use the tense heavily in their language. Which is better: collard greens, mustard greens, or turnip greens?
Silas Marner
New Scotland, Nova Scotia

Silas, I have examined records back to the Sixteenth Century extolling the virtues of one or another greens. Upon scientific analysis I have found that all three greens taste exactly the same. Greens all contain essentially the exact same building blocks and it’s mostly the pork that provides the taste.

Hey Montezuma,
Recently I applied for a job I really wanted through one of those online applications. It showed my status as “in process” for over a month. Finally I wrote to the person who would nominally be my boss and they told me the job had already been filled. Why are computers such liars?
Joseph Rose
Astoria, NY

Hey Joe, computers are liars, though no one knows why. Humanity often places more than one hundred percent trust in these machines, for scientifically unexplained reasons. Day after day computers lie to us; from our bank balances to whether we are attractive to the latest popular internet video. Computers should never be trusted. Pursue long-division on a pad of paper.

Dear Ask Montezuma,
Why can’t cleaning the inside of a window also clean the outside of a window?
Roger Penrose
Moravia, UK

RP, mostly it’s a result of not using the spray bottle on the outside, but God also created windows so that they were impossible to clean properly. You may consider hiring a manservant.


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