Thursday, 28 August 2008

Uncle Shrugged



peter said...

Uncle: you seem to have gone all Ayn Rand. We prefer the aristocratic dissimulation


Whilst it is true that many people have commented, over the years, on my aristocratic bearing it must be borne in mind that I am a self-made elephant. I do not wish to dwell on the struggles of my early life, for they are wont to bring tears to my eyes, suffice to say that I have had to work hard to gain my place in society.

As for your suggestion of the use of deception - moi?

When referring to Ayn Rand - I presume that you mean the pseudonym of that famous elephant authoress and philosopher Alice Rosybum?

A rather strange lady.

For some reason she was obsessed with me as some kind of heroic figure.

She often said that the goal of her fiction was to project her vision of an ideal elephant.

She wrote a number of far fetched books that she claimed were about me. Notably Unclehead and Uncle Shrugged.

The first title concerned my interests in the design of large towers.

I must say that this represented a somewhat overwrought and melodramatic re-telling of the creation of the architecture of Homeward.

Whilst I, of course, believe in many of her arguments about the importance of individualism I had to part company with her over views expressed in the book "I like Being Selfish" .

As a firm believer in good works, her philosophy of the destructiveness of altruism is one I can hardly agree with. The notion that it is not a moral duty or a major virtue to help the less advantaged is appalling.

Where would I be myself if not for the kindness of the person who lent me a bicycle?

Even if he was not aware at the time of this benevolent act.

Some readers have suggested that I follow the teachings of the great thinker Sir Alan Price

The cognoscenti of philosophical thinking, however, will realise that his thoughts are more attune to those of the Badfort Crowd - somewhat on the revolutionary wing.

You will no doubt be interested to know that my charitable giving will soon be put to the test.

I am to appear on the popular Badgertown Broadcasting programme "Secret Trillionaire".

I will live undercover for a week in one of the poorest areas of Badgertown doing a menial job for the minimum Badgertown wage. At the end of this period, during which I will get out and about in the community, I will decide which individuals deserve some of my money.

Be upright, pay your rent, avoid brawling and disorder, and you will find Uncle a friend and protector at all times.

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Sunday, 24 August 2008

The Closing Ceremony



The last days of the Homeward Olympic Games have been spectacular.

The Old Monkey even managed to persuade me to let Beaver and his Gang take part again.

In the interests of not allowing politics to interfere in the Olympian ideal.

I must admit Beaver excelled himself in the Dwarf Throwing event. Although, I suspect, that this was merely an excuse to vent his anger on certain dwarfs who deserted his so-called cause.

Unfortunately, because this was the final competition of the Olympics, it meant we had to listen to that dirge "Carry On Revolting" (the Badfort National Anthem) at the Closing Ceremony.

I was supposed to hand over the Olympic Flag to Noddy Ninety, Mayor of Badgertown - the venue for the 2012 Olympics.

He said he was not coming, however, as the ceremony clashed with a steam traction rally he was going to.

So the King of the Badgers has put that buffoon Boris Badger in charge. He turned up looking a sartorial mess as usual. I had to prod him at the ceremony as he was about to stick his hands in his pockets - as usual. Has that badger got no sense of protocol?

Anyway he waved the flag around a bit, and then we had to sit through some entertainment he had laid on.



It consisted of some badgers prancing around with umbrellas (some reference to the weather, which is always appalling in Badgertown) then a red bus came on. Almost immediately the roof fell off. If this is Boris's proposed solution to Badgertown's transport problems I can only say that I feel sorry for the commuters of that fair city.

At this point the famous pop star Cliff Badger started warbling his hit song from the film "Badger Holiday". This was clearly a reference to the fact that, in the film, Cliff Badger traveled around Europe on a red bus.

The film won many awards in its time with it's Bergmanesque treatise on the subtle psychological traumas we endure whilst on holiday.

Cliff had written new lyrics to tie in with the Olympics.

We're all going to the Badgertown 2012 Olympics.
No more working for a couple of weeks.
Hopefully the recession will be over by then.
Lots of Gold Medals for Team Badger.
For a couple of weeks.

We are sure Uncle will bail us out if things get tough.
We are sure it won't all be a complete disaster.
Everybody says it will put us on the map.
Now lets see if its true.

Everybody loves Summer Olympics
Watching athletes doing stuff.
But those buildings better be good.
To make our dreams come true
For me and you.

As I suspected the lyrics somewhat gave away the King of the Badgers philosophy on these Games. He is always banging on about 'legacy'. He wants to make sure that he can reuse everything that is built. For instance, the badgers of Badgertown might be looking forward to moving into the Olympic Village when its all over - but will the athletes really want to live in underground burrows?

It is clear to me that the King of the Badgers has underestimated the cost of laying on something like this - no doubt it will not be long before he is coming to me for a handout.

The Badgetown hand-over entertainment was a lot of fun, I grant you, but hardly the well honed entertainment that I have laid on for this years games.

There have been accusations that the breathtaking spectacle was over controlled - but honestly the dwarfs are a recalcitrant bunch and they needed a bit of discipline instilled in them to pull of the Old Monkey's choreographed routines.

Mind you, I was not too happy when I found out that he had promised them a rent free year.

As for the Badfort News's accusation that I only won the Gold medal for kicking up because I caught Beaver off guard (and bribed the judges not to notice) - I will not even sink to their level by discussing such base allegations.

I must say it was a brilliant idea of mine to hire Simon Smith and his Amazing Dancing Bear to provide the spectacular finale to the games.

Certainly put the King of the Badgers efforts in the shade.



He is well loved by all - with his sincere smile, he and his bear manage to be outrageous , yet charming. However, the Old Monkey had to lend him a coat because he does not like to perform unless stylishly dressed.

Even the Badfort Crowd love him - they see him as a working class boy made good.

Personally I find it somewhat galling that I have had to work hard to gain world-wide celebrity and he has managed to achieve it merely by dancing with a bear. An American composer has even written a song about him!

Although my achievements have been detailed musically they have, as yet, failed to 'chart' - as I believe success in this field is termed.

I also believe his attitude towards money sets a bad example to the younger generation. Who needs money when you are funny ! - I ask you - a rather poor role model, I fear.

Who would think a boy and bear could be so well accepted everywhere?

It never ceases to amaze me how fair people can be!




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Wednesday, 20 August 2008

The Electric Custard Pie Cannon



Beaver has stolen one of Cowgill's new inventions - an Electric Custard Pie Cannon.

He has set it up outside Badfort and is threatening to bombard Homeward unless I give in to his demands. He wants the total contents of my Treasury and all future rental income from my properties.

He has even persuaded some dwarfs from Homeward to join him - with the promise of free rents.

I took a delegation of my followers to confront him.

"We are sick and tired of you smilin' while you're makin' it, Laughin' while you're takin' it- all the while fakin' it with your charitable works!" shouted Beaver from the ramparts of the cannon.

"It's no use mumbling, It's no use grumbling, Beaver. Someone has to win - if it isn't you then it has to be me!" I retorted.

Poor people are poor people - and they don't understand - an elephant's got to make whatever he wants- and take it with his own trunk.

"Not this time!" responded Beaver "This time we win! - do you surrender?"

"Never!" I replied.

"Right! - Hitmouse, fire up the cannon!"

Hitmouse flicked a switch on the control panel. Nothing happened. He whispered in Beaver's ear.

Beaver went puce, clearly furious at this unexpected development. He shouted to the expectant crowd - "Has anybody got a shilling for the meter???"

I shouted across to him - "It will do you no good, Beaver, I have spoken to The Badgertown Electric Company and they have switched off your power supply."

As the dwarfs wandered back to Homeward, leaving the Badfort Crowd forlornly on their own, Beaver became absolutely enraged. "Life just isn't fair," he screamed "only wealth will buy you justice!"

He needs to face the facts - there's no easy days, there's no easy ways, you just have to get out there and do it - like me!

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Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Going for Gold



The Homeward Games had been proceeding splendidly - today saw tough competition between the dwarfs and the badgers in the tunneling event. Sadly, they were all beaten by Hitmouse who showed devilish skill in the use of a skewer as a digging implement.

The inhabitants of Homeward have done particularly well in sailing, rowing and swimming. This, despite the fact that the Badfort Crowd stole our teams oars in the middle of the race.

Allowing the teams to train in the Homeward Moat has certainly paid off!

We have also done extremely well in the cycling events. I insisted that the 'Stolen Bike Race' be re-staged with legitimate bicycles - and, of course, this time I won!



We have not done very well in the athletics events - it has to be said that the Badfort Team appeared to be the strongest contenders in this sphere.

However, the Old Monkey spotted Beaver taking a swig from a bottle, prior to the long jump, and it turned out that the whole team had been using Gleamhound's Sleep Tonic. The label says that it is guaranteed to send you off to sleep immediately for a good nights rest. Of course, being a Gleamhound preparation, it had the complete opposite effect - giving them boundless energy.

I immediately disqualified the whole Badfort team and ordered their medals to be revoked.

It was as I was receiving my Gold Medal from the King of the Badgers that A.B.Fox arrived with some very bad news.



Whilst we were all distracted, by the Games, the Badfort Team had clearly been hatching a plan - their pretence of involvement in the Games was all a ruse.

They have launched an assault on Cowgill's workshop!

Beaver has taken over the armoury and has his hands on the latest weapons that Cowgill has been developing!

Not since the Battle of Badgertown have the Badfort Crowd seized such vast caches of Homeward weaponry.

I feel sick to the stomach.

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Thursday, 14 August 2008

Homeward Olympics 2008



I have hardly had time to catch my breath after my trip to the moon.

As soon as we returned I had to perform the civic duty of hosting the Opening Ceremony of the Homeward Olympics 2008.

It was all going rather well until it was discovered that Hitmouse had dressed up as a little girl again and pretended to sing "Hail to Uncle'. It turned out that Beaver had kidnapped a young dwarf, who was supposed to perform, and forced her to sing while Hitmouse mimed. I immediately became suspicious when the words "Hail to Beaver" were substituted for my own name.

Beaver then had the cheek to claim that the Badfort Crowd were merely seeking the "best voice and the best performer" for such an important ceremony - and anyway he was sick of the whole event being hijacked to bolster the ego of some jumped up elephant!

The whole farrago got worse.

Beaver has managed to bag himself a world record 12 Gold Medals!

He has won Gold for the "Yard of Black Tom' competition, Long Distance Skewering (even beating Hitmouse), brawling, the One-Legged Donkey Race (there was only one entrant!), haranguing polemics, both the Short and the Long Con (he managed to trick a number of people into buying fraudulent tickets for the event and sell the Stadium to a rich Texan), mud throwing, food eating (24 large hams!), debt collection (a lot of dwarfs will be ruing attending that event), the raucous singing competition, and the Stolen Bicycle Race!

You might well ask how all these strange sports came to be part of the Olympics?

So did I !

A.B.Fox interrogated the Olympic Committee - and it turned out that they had all been bribed by Beaver Hateman!

Needless to say, I won a Gold for my skills at Kicking Up - and I am sure you can guess who the recipient of the Kicking Up was.


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Sunday, 10 August 2008

Coming Home



Captain's Log - Day 35

We are on our way home from the moon.

The Old Monkey persuaded me that we could not leave the Badfort Crowd on the moon after the sterling effort they had made in helping us defeat the Pepperpot monsters.

We retrieved their rocket from the crater it had slipped into. We gave them just enough of the illicit Black Tom, they had been brewing on the moon, to use as fuel to get them home. I wonder how they will cope with staying 'dry' on the way home. I suspect that knowing they will be adrift again if they drink any of the stuff will be enough for them to resist temptation.

I insisted on disposing of the rest of the barrels of the dreadful brew down a large crater. It was only on the way home that A.B.Fox pointed out to me that, being prestigious tunnellers, the dwarfs had probably already got their hands on it.

No doubt they are having a merry old time by now - I expect a serious decline in the production of Helium 3 from the moon.

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Saturday, 2 August 2008

What !



Captain's Log - Day 27

Having repulsed the invasion of the Pepperpot mosters, we were now puzzling over the appearance of a Police Box on Homeward Moonbase.

They are not an unusual sight - there are a couple of them on the base and, of course, many dotted all around Homeward.

But no one could remember having seem one in this particular spot.

We were examining the box when the door suddenly opened and a rather untidy young man poked his head out.

"Hello, how do you do? - I expect you will be needing my assistance to deal with the Pepperpots." he exclaimed, somewhat brashly.

"Hello, young man, I am Uncle and this is my moonbase - may I inquire as to your name?" I replied.

"I'm the Doctor." he said cheerily.

"Well, we have no need of your assistance, Doctor...?" I replied

"What!" he exclaimed.

"I see, well Doctor What..." I began...

"Who?" he interrupted.

"You!..you just said your name was What!" I replied in exasperation.

"That's not my name!" he said equally exasperated.

"So, who are you then?" I almost shouted.

"Yes, that's right!... Who, am I." he chirruped.

"Well, if you don't know what is your name, then how am I supposed to know who you are." I exclaimed.

"That's right Who, not What." he bantered.

I gave up on the argument - he was clearly an extremely bumptious and slightly deranged young man.

"Look, we have no need of your assistance - we have defeated the Pepperpots ourselves."

"What!" he exclaimed.

"Oh, please don't start that again! - the Pepperpots have run away. We don't need your help!"

At this he looked quite crestfallen. "You defeated the most dangerous aliens in the Universe by yourselves?....without my help?"

"Well, yes, it really wasn't that difficult, you know." I replied.

He looked very sad now, "Oh well, I suppose I better be going...", then he brightened up, he had clearly had an idea. "Would you like to look in my ship!...it's awfully special you know!"

He was clearly bonkers. "In your Police Box you mean?....alright I would be happy to have a look inside." I humoured him.

I walked inside. "I know what you are going to say, everybody says it...It's bigger on the inside than on the outside!" he shouted.

"Well yes, of course, it needs to be. Not much use as a Police Box if you can't get a decent force of coppers in it, is it?" I said, gently.

At this he looked crestfallen again. "You mean, you are not at all surprised?" he mumbled.

"Well, it's just playing around with the dimensions of space - isn't it? Wizard Blenkinsop has been making Police Boxes like this for years. Our boys in blue need somewhere that they can sit and have a brew up don't they? and then people know if they go to a Police Box they can get advice and assistance immediately. It's a lot cheaper use of land than having lots of Police Stations." I explained.

"Usually, people are quite impressed by my ship..." he muttered.

"Yes, now about your 'ship"...where exactly did you get it?" I inquired.

At this, the young man looked rather sheepish.

"Well, I sort of borrowed it..." he stuttered.

"Do you mean, you stole it?" I probed.

At this he suddenly panicked and pushed me out of the door.

The Police Box slowly disappeared.

"Hmmm, well I must admit I have never seen one do that before." I pondered to the Old Monkey.

Friday, 1 August 2008

Pepperpots repulsed !



Captain's Log - Day 26

Today we fought back against the Pepperpot monsters!

The combined forces of my followers and the Badfort Crowd launched an attack.

We burst into the dome of the moonbase to be confronted by what appeared to be a giant pepperpot with a sink plunger and an egg whisk attached. We knew from the description that the dwarf had given us that the egg whisk was in fact a lethal pepper spray.

We were soon surrounded by more of the pots. With their horrible grating voices they mocked us - "Resistance is useless, surrender now or we will fumigate you!"

"You are the ones who should be afraid," I replied "for you have made me very angry with your extremely naughty behaviour - you have clearly never faced a rampaging elephant. Nor have you faced the wrath of this happy breed of Homeward,("And Badfort" piped up Beaver), well yes, Badfort, as well I suppose, - our blessed plot, our little realm, our world - a precious stone set in the darkness of space.

It is ours and you shall not have it!!"

"You will obey!"came the reply from the heartless monsters.

" Come" I cried, rallying the troops, "We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; we shall save the world!"

"The elephant is initiating hostile action!" their leader squeaked.

"Fumigate! Fumigate! Fumigate!" they all cried.

They fired their pepper guns - which, of course, had no effect.

For Beaver, for once had had a good idea. We had all snorted some of Gleamhound's Sneezing Powder prior to our attack. As you know, all Gleamhound's potions work the opposite way.

The Pepperpot's spray had no effect on us at all.

We soon had them on the run - and I must say that the Badfort Crowd's Duck Bombs (which, ironically, they had intended to use themselves to overrun the Moonbase) worked a treat on the monsters eyestalks and motive ability - the sticky contents of the bombs both blinded them and gummed up their works.

They soon retreated back to their flying saucers with their sink plungers between their legs.

I think that they will think twice before making another assault on the people, dwarfs, and animals of earth.

We were just tidying up the mess of battle when we heard a strange wheezing and groaning sound.

"Hmmm, sounds like the noise you make when you are wallowing in one of your mud baths!" tittered Beaver.

I chose to ignore this sarcastic remark.

We looked around but could only see a Police Box. These are a common sight all over Homeward, and there are even a number of them on the Moonbase - but nobody could remember seeing one in this spot before?