A Guide to Giant Monster Country Cuisine

Visitors to Giant Monster Country often express an interest in sampling the delightful native cuisine. Here are some things you need to know.

First, it is not possible for the natives of Giant Monster Country to decide in advance which giant monster will attack. Thus it is important that the visitor understand that no matter how reasonable their requests the people of Giant Monster Country can only prepare the monster that is available. Most monsters are peanut-free but many are glutinous. One can expect several kosher monsters to attack in any given month, but a giant monster suitable for vegetarian consumption (e.g. a vampiric plant, radioactive plant, or evil plant) attacks only three or four times a year. The diet of Giant Monster Country is generally unsuitable for vegans unless they are visiting during Giant Robot Month.(1)

Whichever region of Giant Monster Country you visit will be attacked by a new monster each week. Currently the giant monster attacks on a Tuesday but the attacks are occasionally shifted to a different day or pre-empted for a message from a giant politician.

Once the monster begins its attack you should immediately rush to the street and begin pointing and exclaiming. As the people of Giant Monster Country say, “A monster that no one exclaims over can’t taste sweet.” The best exclamation is the monster’s name, which is generally written inconspicuously on its otherwise smooth crotch. If you wish to point and exclaim a monster’s name but are unable to read kaijukanji do not feel embarrassed about asking a native for help!

It takes roughly 25-50 minutes from the monster’s initial appearance for a team of plucky heroes to defeat the monster. Even if you are very hungry you should respect the customs of Giant Monster Country and wait until after the monster is defeated before taking your first bite. Also please do not bother the hotel chef about preparation details during the rampage or they may irritably claim that monsters do not exist and laugh you off as a drunk.

Do not expect to eat the giant monster in the American style, tearing off and frying or barbecuing large chunks. Every monster must be carefully portioned out and prepared so that it will last the entire region one week. This is the origin of the “eccentric” cuisine of Giant Monster Country; if you have ever wondered why so many recipes focus on unblinking eyeball soup or giant small intestines, now you know! They are driven by this inexorable economy.

It is proper to eat a slice of pickled ginger between each course of monster.

Sometimes a monster will be particularly tasty or, conversely, particularly high-yield.(2) In these cases you would think that the people of Giant Monster Country would preserve the excess monster against future famine.(3) This is not so. Monster meat must be used up within the week, if necessary by feeding it to pets or shipping it to starving children in China or India.(4)

Here is the reason.

Monsters are extremely durable. If you store or freeze part of a monster there is a very good chance that it will reconstitute and attack Giant Monster Country again. Everyone will say, “Look! This is what your arrogance has unleashed!” They will shout at you and call you a mad person. You will feel humiliated and may be driven out with pitchforks and torches. Nobody wanted to eat the same monster two weeks in a row!

The best times to visit Giant Monster Country are probably Sweeps Week (when the Iron Chefs are most likely to confront the giant monsters directly) and the summer. In the summer no new monsters attack Giant Monster Country; instead, various monsters that were particularly popular return for an encore attack. The annual return of everyone’s favorite monster, Crazy Love Fish, is the centerpiece of the quixotic but unforgettable Crazy Love Fish Festival; people say that if a bit of exploded Crazy Love Fish falls on you and your boyfriend or girlfriend that you will stay together forever.


(1) Giant Robots do not suffer, but only wish to kill.
(2) For instance, an environmentally-conscious team of heroes, confronting a Lernean hydra, will often take care to generate as many heads as possible before they kill it. This maximizes the caloric return on the energy they spend.
(3) Famine . . . from the FUTURE!
(4) Thus obviating their pedagogical purpose and rendering them full of lassitude.

On the Origins of Common Foods

Flying on a plane is very nice.

It is not as nice as wings. But it has more peanuts. Unless you are a peanut elemental, spreading great peanut-pattern wings. Then the peanuts of a plane are comparatively few.

This is not to say that peanuts are always an advantage.

Some people are allergic to peanuts. They do not value the peanuts on a plane. Some peanut elementals are allergic to peanuts. They go immediately into anaphylactic shock and die. We do not talk about them much unless they fall through our roofs, at which point it becomes difficult for the rest of the year to talk about anything else.

Some people are not allergic to peanuts. They have the advantage in that if they do meet a peanut elemental they do not necessarily die; and if they meet an elemental of non-peanut-ness, they are still generally all right.

(An elemental of non-peanut-ness is an elemental spirit formed from and exemplifying the conceptual category “not a peanut,” such that, when you see them, you immediately recognize that here is the pure distilled essence of not being a peanut—possessing none of the trace impurities that exempt most things in the world from Platonic non-peanut-ness. For example, the Earth is shaped too closely to resemble a peanut to qualify, while Eggos are legumes.)

This advantage of being able to survive contact with a peanut elemental is principally intangible and a matter of form (unlike the peanut elementals themselves) because peanut elementals are rare, and, when encountered in flight, have difficulty forcing their way onto the plane. Nor are they able, in this era of heightened security, to sneak easily onto the plane as a passenger unless they are willing to take off their shoes, limit their toothpaste allowance, and have names that do not resemble a terrorist’s name. (So, for instance, Mr. Peanut would have trouble, as would Al-Qaffar, but Mr. God of the Thousand-Slaying Legume Kick is probably okay.)

In the old days peanut elementals were a greater trouble for air traffic. This is how Mr. Carver invented peanut butter. People will say that he developed peanut butter in the laboratory but in fact George Washington Carver was the preeminent air ace of World War II. His contribution was ignored at the time as the United States government feared that, if they acknowledged it, the Axis would deride them as politically correct.

During one of many dogfights with German nationals Mr. Carver caught a peanut elemental in the engine of his plane and the rest was secret history.

But peanut elementals were not the only inhabitants of the stratosphere who would prove troublesome for air traffic in those troubled years. The Metatron Incident (wherein Metatron descended to the earth in a cloud of grace to reveal the new gospel and was caught in the engines of an uncertified Boeing) made angelfood cake possible for the first time in the history of the world. The efforts of hundreds of French chefs to reproduce this masterwork of massacre eventually created the “vegetarian angelfood” that we know today, using baking powder, whipped eggs, and flour to approximate the manifold virtues of Heaven. Masons traditionally added a snake, which they would wrap around the egg and convince to bite its own tail before baking; this added a sense of timeless mysticism to their delicious recipes and rightly they were honored throughout the culinary world.

The impact of the Metatron Incident was not to end there. Many of the people on the plane became focal points for mysterious phenomena. One of them, struck on the forehead by a bit of Metatron debris, became Billy Graham. Another became Vice-President Cheney. The plane plowed into the East Oak Lake house of a previously ordinary schoolboy; he would later grow up to become Noam Chomsky!

Tofu was originally made from ufos.

—Not to quit talking about Noam Chomsky when we’ve barely just begun, but he’s really not a common food!

So, anyway, tofu was originally made from ufos. Japan never admitted it, but you can tell because of the letters of its name.

—And why are the letters in tofu’s name in English, anyway? It was probably made from *British* ufos! Back benchers probably evolved into ufos because somebody fed them after midnight, and then they flew unwisely into Japan. All of this is hypothetical, because the true nature of the ufos is still unknown. But it seems likely—and yet, like Noam Chomsky, ufo pedantry is not a common food, and we must leave it lie.

Tofu, as noted earlier, was at one time made from ufos. But now it is not made from ufos. There are simply not enough ufos in the sky to support the scale of the modern tofu economy. So now most tofu is made out of a blend of textured swamp gas and weather balloons. Only trace impurities of alien origin remain!

Ballet is a wonderful art. Often in the grand jete the dancer will appear to fly. Conversely, while not so very grand, Boeing jets do fly. On one occasion, a joyous serendipity generated the Reese’s peanut butter cup; on another, to speak very delicately, battement fondu.

Ironically despite its historical origins fondue is rarely served on planes. One reason is that there is not enough leg room on a plane for a ballerina to survive. Confined in the middle seat they wither away and die. Another reason is that in the event of turbulence it is hard to explain to people that they will need to wear clear plastic masks to minimize the risk of cheese burns. The third and last reason is fear. In the post 9/11 era, fondue is just too scary for the no-longer-friendly skies!

7 Things Not To Do With Ice

1. Build a rocket and fly to the sun.

The rocket is made of ice.

It will melt.

Also the fuel ignition may prove problematic.

All in all not the best idea.

2. Attach blocks of ice to pads, affix to a tiger’s feet, and slide tiger around on your hardwood floors.

This is an entertaining spectacle but tigers are an endangered species.

For example if you have stairs the tiger might slide onto the stairs, endangering them.

Or if someone ships you yappy dogs from amazon.com and you let them out because you do not rationally expect the large box from amazon.com to contain multiple yappy dogs, the dogs might gang up in primal rage and assault the relatively helpless tiger, endangering them.

Also tigers are not allowed in your house and may eat you if the floor proves insufficiently slippery.

3. Sleep buried under large piles of ice.

Regardless of what you may have read in the Enquirer this will not turn you into a yeti. Yetis are dependent on fringe characteristics of the Himalayan ecosystem to survive and it is not possible with current technology to transform into a yeti using domestic ice.

4. Pizza topping.

At first your mouth will feel pleasantly unburnt. However you cannot swallow the pizza until the ice melts, at which point it will offer no protection and the hot cheese and hotter tomato sauce will cause the usual burns. Ice in pizzas is best confined to stuffed crusts and the flavorful ice crystals that gazpacho pizza sometimes features.

5. Pens

Do not use ice as a pen. The idea that mortal works are inherently transient and pass like the winter’s snow at the coming of the spring is descriptive and not prescriptive. Also you can’t write anything with a clear pen which means using black ice which can kill unsuspecting hackers trying to download your writing.

6. Grand unified field theory

Bohr’s attempt at sticking the various field theories together with ice failed. As did his similar attempt involving tongues, field theories, and cold flagpoles. You’re not better at this than Bohr, so you need to find a new approach, like melting down various field theories in a pot or superglue.

7. Substituting for Folger’s Crystals

In general you cannot hope to win the arms race with Folger’s. Whenever I have attempted to substitute anything for Folger’s Crystals they have cleverly reversed my gambit and turned my initial sense of victory into ashes in my mouth. Sometimes, I think, they even substitute Folger’s Crystals for those ashes, although there is no time to notice any difference before I must swallow that bitterness of their revenge.

Very very tired. The canon entry slated for today will appear on Saturday or after the letters column, basically depending on whether my petition to the Vatican for two extra days in August goes through. With best wishes to all, including my friend who is awake again and still herself. Yay! (Historical note: this entry and that bit of the dedication was actually written about a week ago, which is why I’m cheering something you already know!)

A Leopard that Eats Too Many Books

A leopard that eats too many books becomes bulky and literary.

Such leopards are of great value in the wild where there are not many literary things.

For example if the leopard eats a lot of Don Quixote it becomes a valuable source of inspiration regarding breaking free of prevailing cultural ideals and replacing them with romanticized ideas from an earlier time.

“Raar,” such a leopard typically says, thumping down to the ground next to a gazelle.

Suddenly the gazelle realizes the value of impossible dreams.

Further the gazelle understands that modern life on the veldt is not right for it. Instead it harkens back to primevalism and the ways of its ancient ancestors.

“Raar!” the leopard says and claws at the gazelle.

The gazelle doesn’t run away. Instead the gazelle splits in half!

It’s asexual reproduction to the rescue!

The gazelle bounds in two different directions. This confuses the leopard. It paws uncertainly at one of the gazelle halves’ semi-permeable membrane.

The gazelle quixotically attempts to absorb protein from the leopard.

“Raar!” says the leopard, quite confused now, and hobbles away.

Alternately the leopard might favor the reality-bending works of Philip Dick. Thus when it leaps out of the grass towards a zebra the zebra’s mind will be totally blown.

“How can I know,” the zebra says, “that I am really here, right now?”


“How can I know,” the zebra says, “that I am even a zebra?”

The leopard kills the zebra. However the zebra simply wakes up on a different veldt. Also now it has four arms but none of the other zebras admit that anything has changed.

“Is reality, reality?” wonders the zebra.

But enough about zebras. They don’t eat books.

Sometimes a leopard eats a crate of What’s Happening to My Body?

Many people don’t think this is an appropriate book for leopards, particularly in quantity. It talks about sex and God doesn’t want leopards to know about that. Can you imagine how embarrassing it would be if every time you had sex with somebody the leopards understood?

But no amount of moralizing will stop a hungry leopard in a library. If it can’t eat good and moral books, it’ll eat the banned ones!

So sometimes they eat What’s Happening to My Body?

And sometimes one leaps out at a tribe of ibexes!

“Raar,” says the leopard.

It’s kind of hungry now because all it’s been able to eat in months was a lot of books, including What’s Happening to my Body?, and a zebra. The zebra turned out to be illusory so the leopard’s hungrier than you might expect.


One spotted ibex startles at the roar.

“Agh! Leopard!” it says. Then, looking at the leopard, it suddenly realizes, “Masturbation is a healthy and natural reflex!”

“Oh thank God,” says one of the other ibex in the tribe.

“It’s all explained by the literary value of this leopard,” the first ibex says.

That helped the tribe of ibexes a lot. It improved their self-esteem, making them healthier and more productive citizens of the veldt. But do you really want to turn to a leopard for help understanding the changes in your body as you blossom into adulthood? It might give good advice, or it might eat you!

Diverting, of Necessity, to Sports Commentary, before Hitherby Resumes

It’s hard to say, as the Superbowl approaches, which city would be the greater sacrifice.

If the Steelers win and the beast of football consumes Seattle, then we will lose Starbucks, Pike Place, and a large number of Microsoft employees. Furthermore throughout the coming year the beast of football will have the space needle caught in its throat. This will prove embarrassing when it interacts with other devastations.

That aspect of Shiva that exists amidsts endless sheets of flame in the darkness beyond the world, blue, four-armed, with ripped jeans and horns, might say, “Ha! You’re choking on retro-futurism!

Or the speculative anti-savior developed in the degenerate liberal physics laboratories of San Francisco could lecture it, saying, “This is what happens when you eat Seattle. That’s why I don’t eat Seattle. Spit it out already.”

Then it could burp Pike Place scents onto the anti-savior as part of a new, festive post-Superbowl tradition.

If the Seahawks win and the beast of football consumes Pittsburgh, we will lose the Heinz Foundation and the CMU Robotics Institute. This will make it much harder for ordinary American citizens to eat crunchy fried robots with ketchup. In addition, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra will slide down the beast of football’s throat into the terrible stomach stadium far below. This means that when the other devastations do their work the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra will be unable to accompany them with skirls and peals of apocalyptic music.

The First Unmaker Policy Institute will have to issue carefully-worded annihilation missives without the traditional arpeggio of doom.

The pirluie that munches quietly from the zig-zag trees will lack its pastoral; and, should a chance moment of reflection or turpentine spilled upon its page transform it into a ravening theovore, the Orchestra will not play the death metal to which pirluies are at such times accustomed.

It is a hard choice for the beast of football and a hard choice for America; but still, better that either city go down than our football return to the soccer that it had been before John Quincy Adams enacted his hideous and necessary rite.

It is the Doom of Man

Sometimes it is hard to get Vanilla Coke.

However anyone can add vanilla to their own Coke. It is also possible to add crispy noodles, tuna, or beef.

Beef Coke is best.

Beef Coke is much higher-protein than regular Coke. It builds strong muscles. Even after you lose your teeth from drinking too much Beef Coke, you’ll be able to chew through steel with your powerful jaws and gums.

It is not possible to get mad cow disease from a Coke. Even if the Coke has beef that is made from mad cows, the disease is not mad cow disease. Instead it is mad Coca-Cola disease. Instead of a progressive degeneration in your brain, you find yourself jumping about athletically while shouting things like, ‘Coke is It!’

(This is why it is so much better than mad Pepsi disease, the tragedy of a new generation. People who get mad Pepsi disease die as the skin sloughs off of their bones, leaving only the grinning ghouls you see in the Danse Macabre. The difference is the lovingly crafted beet sugar.)

People who get mad Coca-Cola disease often attract media attention because they jump and cavort so recklessly. To minimize this the Coca-Cola Corporation sends out unmarked limousines filled with black-suit-clad Coca-Cola operatives who seize the affected individual from the street and drag them away into perpetual indenture. This is legal because nobody is going to challenge Coca-Cola and risk excommunication by the popular soft drink company.

The kidnapped diseased citizens are taken to a small island in the Bahamas where they dance endlessly, shouting paeans to their bubbling God, and star in occasional extravaganza commercials. Life for them is an endless joyous revel ungoverned by the laws of the United States and its territories. In this fashion does the sickness produced by feeding cows to other cows and then mixing the result with high fructose corn syrup, water, caramel, caffeine, cocaine (with the druggy part extracted and fed to different cows), and phosphoric acid become a transcendent universal meditation.

In the 22nd century, Coca-Cola’s executive laboratories will refine a strange syrup from the blood of mad Coca-Cola disease sufferers. This they will dub “midichlorians”—a drug capable of putting anyone in touch with the universal life force. That’s the secret Coca-Cola won’t tell you—it’s not long long ago! It’s not far far away! The Star Wars universe is a bitter vision of our own future: a galaxy where the power of Coke has usurped the Dao and the monstrous ghost of George Lucas forces his dialogue into every living mouth!

Drink Coke. Revel in it, while ye may.

It is the doom of man.

Wednesday 12/14

Wednesdays are probably made of a glittering, sticky tar that they mine in Mexico.

The tar miners must work hard and they work long hours. Wednesdays are particularly difficult for them because of the irony.

Here is a typical conversation that they might have on a Wednesday.

“You know, if we just stopped working,” one miner says, in Spanish or some other language as is that miner’s custom, “we wouldn’t have to work.”

“Ah,” answers the miner to his left, in between swings of the pick, “but isn’t that how it is for everyone?”

Then they will laugh. It’s true! You only have to look at a mansion or a cemetery to recognize that it is so.

Once the tar is mined it is processed. You cannot make Wednesdays out of unprocessed tar. Never ever! If you make a Wednesday out of unprocessed tar you wind up with a disaster like Ash Wednesday, when people have to rub ashes on their foreheads or die, or that Wednesday when daytar pollution killed off the last of the soul-eating fire bison. Those were absolutely the best bison in the world as long as you had a soul protector, so you can see why that Wednesday sucked.

Here is how they actually make Wednesdays.

At 12:01 on ex-Tuesday, the Local Time Management Bureau stops the atomic clock that Internet users in that time zone use as their authoritative reference for time. Business grinds to a shuddering halt. Clocks stop updating. Dogs, even if caught in mid-bark, go still. Birds on the wing do not fall out of the sky; instead, they just hang there, dying of embarrassment.

Swiftly, the sky painters begin to paint Wednesday on the sky. The processed tar spreads smoothly and easily. Sometimes they miss a spot but nobody ever calls them on it because it’s really hard to convince people that you’ve hit a spot of leftover Tuesday unless they are Bureau insiders who know about this kind of thing.

Once the Wednesday covers the whole sky there’s no escaping its fumes. The LTMB can safely turn the atomic clock back on, tapping its side and whispering, encouragingly, “Decay! Decay! GO!”

“Yay!” say the bureau operatives.

“Yay!” bark the dogs.

“Yay!” says the atomic clock.

Yay! Everyone! It’s Wednesday!

Your Yapline and You

In a yapline, each additional dog increases signal clarity but adds a delay (the yapline cerebration constant) equal to the mean processing time for a yappy dog’s brain. Thus traditional yapline architectures are a tradeoff between dense dog lines, which maximize clarity by ensuring that each dog can hear and reply to the yapping with 99% accuracy, and attenuated yaplines, which maximize efficiency by placing each dog and its signal delay at the maximum practical unit yapline range.

One augmentation that can increase the efficiency of a yapline without degrading signal clarity is the yapline hat. These are large hats that are placed on the dog’s head. One can hang signs from these hats such as “good dog” or “yap harder,” encouraging the dog. Alternately, when a yapline component proves faulty, this can be indicated on the sign to facilitate repairs. One must be very careful when writing on these signs as they have a limited amount of space and it is very embarrassing for both the operator and the dog if one scrunches letters together at the end of the sign.

One can further augment yapline components by adding tweeters—normally small tweeters such as finches and larks—to its yapline hat. Tweeters are naturally Internet-enabled and can bridge yaps from local yaplines across the Internet to yaplines anywhere in the world.

The mechanism for operating a tweeter is clicking. The operator clicks on a tweeter to open a new window. The tweeter flies into the window. THUMP! This causes the person inside to open the window. The tweeter then connects to that person’s Internet and broadcasts appropriate yapping. This is something that base yapline components cannot do because neither dogs nor hats can type.

To determine which kind of yapline is right for you it is best to consider the scale of your application. Small, backyard yaplines are generally best served by dense dog lines or even clusters. As your needs escalate, it becomes important to seek out first yapline hats, then tweeters, then google-equipped tweeters. For a multi-state yapline most experts recommend seeking professional help, as the exigencies of such situations defy traditional advice.

Laying the Moral Groundwork

It is bad to badger witnesses. It is worse to badger witnesses with weasels. It is worst of all to badger witnesses with sharks, unless the witness can turn into a shark and fight back. Then it’s entertaining!

You can’t badger people with lasers. For one thing, you use lasers to zap people, not to badger them. For another, the lasers are the wrong color.

Some lasers are red. These lasers are made with red crystals.

Some lasers are blue. These lasers are made with blue crystals.

Some lasers are weasel-colored. There are no weasel crystals so these are made with non-crystalline weasels.

The cool thing about using a weasel-colored laser is that weasels are highly resistant to the energetic impact. If your target is standing in front of a weasel and you want to use a red or blue laser, then you must wait until the target moves. Otherwise you might hurt the weasel. With a weasel-colored laser this is not true. You can fire straight through your target and the weasel will remain unharmed.

This also has benefit in medical situations where you need to operate on someone who is laying on a bed of weasels. You can carve gently and surgically through such a person’s body and rely on the underlying weasels to squeak in mild discomfort when the laser touches them.

The reason this works is that weasels inherently reflect the color of weasels. If they didn’t then they would be invisible—all of the weasel-colored light that hit them would be absorbed and you would be unable to see the weasel. It is very very rude to shoot an invisible weasel with a weasel-colored laser, since this will highlight its deformity while simultaneously inflicting a terrible weasel-colored burn.

Perry Mason was the first lawyer to use a weasel-colored laser to solve crimes. (He was not the first detective to do so; that, of course, was Sherlock Holmes, who made detection into a science and could use weasel lasers to highlight even the smallest non-invisible-weasel clues. As he put it, ‘the weasel reveals the game.’ However, given the rising use of weasel-colored lasers in important court cases, Perry Mason’s contribution remains significant.)

Perry Mason first used the weasel-colored laser in his classic clash with prosecutor Hammerhead Durgan. Hammerhead Durgan’s reign of terror relied on his use of a shark-colored laser to reveal the various defendants’ moral flaws. Perry’s weasel-colored laser cancelled out the shark-colored laser, since sharks are a totally different color than weasels, allowing Perry to see through to the facts of the case. Durgan went into a blood frenzy, murdering everyone in the courtroom but the quick-witted Perry and his client. This left the courtroom permanently cursed. Anyone whose trial the justice system holds there transforms into a shark or a weasel when badgered, reverting only when asked a leading question. Some of these witnesses are never asked a leading question—they stay a badger or a shark forever, just like people who win third prize in a “turn into a dangerous animal” lotto!

Lotto makes the state a lot of money, which it can use to build roads and pay police officers. Turning witnesses into weasels is not as good—it’s illegal to sell the weasels or the witness chair, so the whole process is actually terribly expensive! That’s why it’s so important not to badger witnesses. It costs the state money it could otherwise use for fixing potholes, manufacturing parents for needy orphans, or for graft.

Don’t badger witnesses! A balanced budget depends on you!

This Noble Plant

Abstract. Peonies are a plant often used in radioactive waste disposal. This essay gives some basic information on this noble plant and explains the increasing trend towards using peony gardens to efficiently and cleanly resolve radioactive waste accumulation issues.

Peonies are plants of the genus Paeonia of the family Ranunculaceae. They are hardy perennials whose large flowers often bloom in spring and are usually pink or white. Peonies are not generally considered dangerous flora: they have no natural weaponry and are not poisonous in nature. However it is still best to use caution around peonies unless one is a trained professional.

In medieval times peonies were grown principally by peons. This included serfs, servants, and flunkies, but not minions or the unattached lower class. As a rule the unattached lower class could not afford peonies and had to dispose of their own radioactive waste. Minions, conversely, grew minionies, hardy perennials whose large flowers often betrayed the minions to their doom.

In the modern day horticulturists use peonies to absorb excess radiation from the waste products of local nuclear power plants. This technique requires a secure facility and a number of peonies. The peonies absorb the waste through their roots and associated mycorrhizal fungi and then convert the radiation into mutation. Most of the resulting mutants die, after moaning things like, “Stamen! Stamen!” or “Leaaaaves.” A few peonies in each generation instead take advantage of the extreme environmental stimulus to pursue productive genetic differentiation.

Genetic differentiation has produced peonies with various new natural advantages. Some peony species have acquired new coloration, phosphorescence, increased lifespan, or the ability to speak with bees via “bee telepathy.” Others have become the national flower of China and the state flower of Indiana. It is not clear if the last two are two separate species, which has led leading Sinologists to postulate that China is located in Yellow River County, Indiana rather than the mysterious Orient as Fu Manchu would have us all believe.

Who is Fu Manchu?

Fu Manchu is a hardy perennial terrorist whose large followers often enact his terrible will. He plays a surprisingly critical role in the modern understanding of peony-based nuclear waste disposal.

This insidious mastermind is a poisoner based out of Beijing, a city that may be more familiar to some readers as Peking, Peiping, Indianapolis, or “Northern Peace.” He is a brilliant mycologist who develops many of his poisons from mushrooms (mycorrhizal saprophytes) growing on a picky child who likes Life cereal (Mikey.) He also distills traditional Beijing poisons from his Pekingese—a hardy yappy perennial of the family Ranunculaceae whose large flowers are often neurotic.

Fu Manchu is almost certainly the third-greatest threat to 21st-century America, second only to Al Qaida and Kim Jong-il’s terrifying “Space Terrapin.” Fu Manchu regularly patches his operating system but actively discourages Americans from doing the same to theirs. This creates insidious security holes which he can exploit to his own advantage. For example, when an American fails to patch his or her peonies, it may allow Fu Manchu’s poisoned seeds to take root and steal control over the garden from its rightful owner.

Fu Manchu discourages patching using two principal methodologies. First, he accentuates the natural human tendency towards laziness in patching their systems using his accentuator. Second, he regularly trolls gardening blogs to inform people that they are better off with the original unmodified codebase. His comments are generally flamed as partisan but his insidious ideas sink deep into the minds of his victims. Then those ideas eat those minds and grow mindies, hardy perennial thought-forms of the family Athenae whose large flowers are reknowned for wisdom and beauty alike.

Thanks to the efforts of Fu Manchu an unpatched garden is very dangerous. You might be strolling in such a garden on a sunny day with a cup of delicious iced tea in your hand. Suddenly spiked roots burst from the ground all around you. At this point you are still justified in optimism regarding your day. Then the roots seize your legs and arms and drag you into the air. Now your situation is not quite so excellent as at first it appeared. Struggling is only likely to intensify the problem with your garden’s codebase, causing the universe to segfault and turn blue.

As late as 1972, it was believed that the only viable garden-saving option for an American in this predicament was destroying the world and creating a new one from scratch. Most Americans, spoiled by the culture of victimization and their own unwillingness to work hard, lack the means and motivation to enact this procedure. This encourages Fu Manchu to cackle evilly and declare: “Ha ha! Thanks to insufficient precaution on your part, your decadent American garden has failed!”

That terrible laugh sends chills down a typical person’s spine. It has failed Fu Manchu in at least one case, however—when the blooming mindies of a scientist in this very predicament created the science of peony-based radioactive waste disposal. Terror gave rise to inspiration. She postulated that by spilling her vials of radioactive waste into the peonies she could convert the radioactivity into mutation, which would in turn grow mutinies—hardy perennials closely related to minionies. The large flowers of the mutinies would inevitably turn the large followers of the terrorist against their master, Fu Manchu.

An incredible waste disposal solution. An answer to Fu Manchu.

Two birds. One stone.

The noble peony.