Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Volcano Man Answers!

Our weeklong “Ask the Volcano Men” book giveaway has reached its explosive climax. And guess what? You're all winners. Except, of course, those of you who failed to succeed. Return to this url at 6 p.m. Eastern when I reveal the names of those lucky and inquisitive mortals who have won paperback copies of The Unknown Knowns.

But first, let’s review the kataklysmic Q&A.


How many cups of coffee* a day is too much?

(* with Goldschlager)

Dear Goldfrappe, 

Ask me again -- after you've spiked your Nescafe with molten gold -- and steamed your frothy Lamia milk over the fuming vents of Vesuvius! But seriously, have you tried switching to Mercuryschlager?



Who do i have to blow to get a cup of coffee around here?

Dear Harris,

Your answer lies in the hollows of Mount Aetna herself. When the giant Enceladus was entombed within her craggy bowels, he petitioned the gods in a very similar manner: "Who does Enceladus need to blow to get out of this place?" he begged. Unfortunately, the answer was Vulcan, blacksmith to Zeus, who was always really sweaty and kind of gross. 



Dear Volcano Man, I'm thinking about working for the Man, doing the U.S. Census thing. I guess it's important. And it would be cool because I could tell my parents I work for "the government," but otherwise I think it sucks. 

What would Volcano Man do? (WWVMD?)

And how hot is molten lava, really? It looks so inviting. Just wondering.

Dear Tottenville,
The US Census is admirable work. Your parents will be duly proud of their son. And trust me, they've been having their doubts, especially after that MFA thing. (What was that about?!) I'm speaking as a friend here—but when I put on my "Annihilator of Civilizations" hat, I have to say the census is a very valuable tool. How can you truly lay waste to a society if you don't know the mean travel time to work of employees aged 16 and over?

Oh, and as they say about molten lava, it isn't the heat, it's the utter humiliation of mankind in a fiery cauldron of anarchic geologic forces!

Thanks for your questions.


Dear Volcano Man,
I am a 7 year old boy named Graham Bailey. Why do people like to make other people sad and angry? My friend Dexter bosses me around and tricks me when we trade, so I do not have much when I leave.

Dear Graham,
This question has long vexed Volcano Man. Mere mortals—and I'm talking to you, young Dexter—should leave the "bossing" and "tricking" to the professionals. When this Volcano Man was but a Volcano Lad, a so-called "friend" hit him with—I won't say what...okay, it was a tectonic plate. The culprit was a small landmass named Gene. I did not retaliate immediately, but several eons later, toward the end of the Late Cretaceous period, I laid waste to Gene, sinking him irretrievably beneath the murky waters of great inland sea called Aeknor in a fiery upwelling of magma.

Beware, Dexter—beware the mighty power of the one they call Graham!


How do you survive the extreme heat of your lair? And, more importantly, how do i get access to the costume?

Dear dbiello,
Dare ye ask two questions? You will pay the ultimate price for your insolence, science scribe! But sure, easy: 1) cooling gel inserts hewn from the manifold soul of the Ice Worm. And 2) if you'd agreed to feed Volcano Man's cat, you'd have keys to my lair. The costume is next to Volcano Toddler's MacLaren.


Oh great Volcano Man what is the best way to prepare yourself for the 2012 apocalypse?

Dear knightb,
Prepare? Prepare? Cower behind the frail bulwark of your conscience, humanist dogs! Scant protection will it give! For the angel of the apocalypse comes swiftly on free-market wings! All shall tremble when the Milton Friedman Choir sings the mighty name of Ronicus Paullus! For he shall be our leader! Wait, you mean the presidential election? Or that Mayan thing?

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