Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Mr. Cheese's Cabinet

Neil's Note: Rather than bombard you with a diatribe about why I (and you) shouldn't vote, I'll give you my anticipations - before the fact - of how the 2010 election would turn out. I don't think I was far off.

This time? I have no idea. Except that all the politicians will be dishonest as usual, and that all human beings in the islands I call Brutesville will be even worse oppressed after than we were before.

This speech was made by Mr. Cheese shortly after his election as British prime minister on 7 May 2010.

You, the British public, asked for change. You have got change. You have elected ME, Wensleydale Cheese – The Big Cheese, as I prefer to be called – as Prime Minister.

My first job is to announce my Cabinet. That is, to name my cronies who will be lying to you, oppressing you and ripping you off for the next five years. So here goes.

My Chancellor of the Exchequer will be Rob Steal. I can safely say that he will be very good at screwing tacks out of you.

My Home Secretary, who will take special delight in criminalizing anything you enjoy, will be Mr. Petty. He will be closely assisted by the Minister for Constant Surveillance, Mr. Pryer.

The Department of Organized Crime (DOC) and the Seriously Fraudulent Office (SFO) will be amalgamated under the shared leadership of Mr. Bent and Mr. Crook.

The Minister of Education, with particular responsibility for Very Bad Verse, will be Mr. Doggerell.

My joint Ministers of Health, who will minister to the health of my joints, will be Dr. Quack and Mrs. Nostrum.

Four Ministers will be responsible for the climate. The Ministers for Cold will be Mr. Snow and Mr. Frost, the Minister for Heat will be Mr. Power, and the Minister for Rain will be Mr. De Wet.

The Minister for Exclamations will be Gordon Bennett.

The Minister for Losing Data will be... what was his name again? He will also be the Minister without Portfolio, having left it in a taxi.

Mr. White will run the Department of Racial Discrimination, and Mr. Mann will be responsible for sexual discrimination.

The Minister for Getting Drunk will be Mr. Tippler.

The Minister for Children’s Games will be Haydn Sikh.

The Minister for Ogling Young Girls will be Mr. Totti.

The Minister for Making You Angry will be Mr. Madden, and the Minister for Complaining will be Mr. Grouse.

Mr. Gaff will be in charge of the Department of Mistakes, and Mr. Balding will head the Department of Hair Loss.

The Minister for Lies, Spin and Propaganda will be Mr. Bull, assisted by Mr. Wittering.

I will announce tomorrow the remaining three Cabinet posts: the Minister of Hypocrisy and Double Standards, the Minister for Hare-brained Schemes and the Minister for Forgetting What He Was Going to Say Next.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Another Political Hymn

(To be sung to the “Rocking Carol”).

If there is to be a “we,”
It must come from you and me.
Not by edicts from King Vulture,
Not by race, or birth, or culture,
But from values that we share;
Peace, abundance and what’s fair.

Friday, 3 April 2015

Neil's Foibles: No. 1 - King Cuss

(Neil's Note: Apparently from nowhere, a brand new short story just came out of 't mill.
The first of many on similar themes, I hope. Enjoy.)

Neil’s Foibles: No. 1

King Cuss

Long ago, so long ago that most people considered writing to be a tremor in the hands, there was a king called Cuss.

And I hope you don’t find it hard to work out why he was called by that name.

Be that as it may; Cuss came from the family of Truss, the first king of his dynasty. Truss had been a despotic ruler, as evidenced by what our good friend Mr Webster says of his name:

“1 a : to secure tightly : b : to arrange for cooking by binding close the wings or legs.”

But Cuss fancied himself as a progressive king. He preferred crooking his people, rather than cooking them. Indeed, a theory posits that today’s phrase “Cusstoms and Excise” owes part of its derivation to his name.

So, Cuss surrounded himself with advisers. By this, he hoped to gain enough knowledge to defeat neighbouring kings, and so to expand his kingdom. One of these advisers was called Muss.

If you ask why every name in this fable so far ends in “uss,” the answer is: nepotism. Surely, there were families in Cuss’s kingdom called Oof and Ug and Crit and Shap and... But Cuss would only accept advisors from his own family, the Uss.

Now Muss was an intellectual, and a dreamer. He convinced Cuss to go on military expeditions. And, at first, the strategy worked. Cuss quickly subjected the kings of Bog and Brownstuff, and excised their people.

Side note: The Brownstuff people, experts tell us, were a great loss to humanity. For they were, at that time, the best linguists on Earth. They had been the first to invent two syllable words! The Vietnamese, so I’m told, haven’t managed that even to this day. Furthermore, the Brownstuffs had a better (e)scatological understanding than any of their rivals.

But then Cuss, on Muss’s advice, attacked Dong, the king of Bel; generally known to those he had conquered as “the man of iron, who sings.” It was a close battle; but Cuss was defeated. So, Cuss had Muss killed.

On the counterstroke, the enlightened Dong, in contrast to normal practice of the time, ordered killed only those men that had actually fought in the war. And he had his warriors Ding most of the women of Cuss’s tribe, particularly the belles. In less than a year, they would no longer be a nation.

Cuss, now in hiding, wanted to justify himself to his people. And he had heard that there was a new skill called “writing,” which could preserve his sayings for days, weeks or more. The inventor was another family member; his name was Suss. So Cuss called Suss to his hide-out.

Cuss said to Suss, “Write me the story of Muss and his wrongdoings.”

Suss replied (and he sang the reply in his tenor voice, as Cuss permitted for those within his family who could sing well):

“Bring me a leaf large and light green,
Bring me a feather with a point,
Bring me bull’s blood, a big tureen;
Soon, I will write what you appoint.”

It was done. There were many arcane procedures before Suss was ready to write; but eventually, all was finished. Then Suss took the feather in his right hand, dipped its point in the blood, and moved it slowly over the surface of the leaf. The pattern it was tracing became clear.

“Marvellous!” exclaimed Cuss. “But what does it mean?”

Suss cleared his throat. “It says:

There once was a young man called Muss,
Played a trick on the great, good King Cuss.
Muss took us to war;
He was wrong, and we’re sore.
But now he’s up his own Anuss.”

At that moment, Dong entered the room, iron sword in hand and followed by several of Cuss’s personal guards who had defected to Dong.

Time out... Our charter does not allow the depiction of violence or killing. So, we’ll be back after these messages from your local station.

Dong turned to Suss, and asked: “What does your writing really say?”

Suss looked into Dong’s face, and saw a friend. So he replied with the truth. “This is what it says:

Here lies Uss Muss,
Murdered by bad king Cuss;
No fuss, no Muss.”

To which Dong replied, singing loudly in the deep bass which fitted his name so well:

“Dong dinged Cuss’s womenfolk,
And soon there’ll be young Ding Dongs!
I won’t put you under yoke,
As long as you have sing songs!”

Fortunately, Suss was an excellent singer, so he was able to pitch correctly the long, slow words which go with the next part of this beautiful melody.

Dong was very pleased with Suss, and appointed him Vice Regent as well as his Master of Writing. And so, even today, there is still a region of Dong’s former empire which goes by the name of Sussex.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

What is a statist?

By the Darn-Poor Rhymer

(After the model of “What is a communist?” by Ebenezer Elliott, the Corn-Law Rhymer)

What is a statist? It’s one that has yearnings
For pogroms, and witch-hunts, and wars, and book-burnings;
While all the time spouting forth lies fear-instilling,
And trashing rights, stealing our earnings, and killing.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

More Limericks by the Darn-Poor Rhymer

There once was a metaphysician

There once was a metaphysician,
Who asked, in time-honoured tradition,
“Is the Universe real?
Or just something I feel?”
He couldn’t prove either position.

In Memory of Nelson Mandela

I remember old Nelson Mandela,
I thought him a rather strange fella.
But the reason, one fears,
Was the twenty-seven years
That he spent locked away in a cellar.

The Poet who could Only Defame

There was once a young man I won’t name;
His verses were totally tame.
He said, “As a poet,
I’m poor – and I know it!
For all I can do is defame.”

Descartes and Ayn Rand

Descartes said, “I think, so I am.”
Ayn Rand said, “Descartes, you’re a sham.
It’s ‘I am, so I’ll think.’”
Such talk drives me to drink;
So, who’s going to buy my next dram?

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Selected Limericks by the Darn-Poor Rhymer

There was once a computer at Hadley

There was once a computer at Hadley,
Which forecast the weather so badly,
That they gave it more pop.
But with each teraflop,
It became still less accurate, sadly.

King Canute

There was once a young king called Canute,
Who said to his witangemoot,
“See? I sit in this chair,
And the sea won’t come here.
If it does, you can give me the boot”.

On Temperature Trends

Now let’s see if I’ve comprehended
How temperature data gets “mended.”
They make the past cooler,
Then they take a ruler,
Et voilȁ! The warming’s not ended.

In Memory of Chris Huhne

There was once a politico, Huhne,
That fiddled an anti-car tune.
Yet it drove, in its car,
Far too fast – and too far!
But from justice, it wasn’t immune.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Political Hymns

(Neil’s Note: Here are three of the Darn-Poor Rhymer’s more recent offerings. Each is to be sung to a well-known hymn tune.)

England and Britain

(To be sung to the tune “Bemerton (Caswall)”)

England is a nation,
Britain is a state.
England’s past redemption,
Britain’s out of date.

On “My” Member of Parliament

(To be sung to the tune “Franconia”/“Blest are the pure in heart”.)

My MP’s name is Hunt,
I think that he’s a prat.
A better word would rhyme with “punt,”
But no, I can’t say that!

England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales

(To be sung to the tune “Innocents”/“Conquering kings their titles take”)

England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales,
When the state that rules them fails,
They won’t sink into the sea!
They’ll be ours, and we’ll be free.