A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Christmas Prize Competition 2013 - results

Thanks to everyone who submitted an entry, and also to those who thought about it but found something more interesting to do. The challenge, you may recall, was to guess what message was in Napoleon’s cracker, which might explain his grumpy demeanour.

I received a goodish number of entries, mostly by email this time. Since they ranged in style from one-liner gags, through the philosophical to the patently bizarre, I applied a methodology which awarded points under a number of headings:

  • Originality
  • Humour
  • Relevance
  • Some kind of cute historical tie-in
  • Anything else which appealed to me at the time

In the time-honoured, runners-up-first system much loved by award ceremonies the world over, I’ll start with some decent efforts which pleased me enough to get into the short list.

“It’s from Ney, he says the NapoleoN miniatures will definitely arrive........” - sent by Rod

“Q. Where did Napoleon keep his armies?  A. Up his sleevies!”   - amazingly(?), this identical entry was sent by no less than 6 people, which seems suspicious to me - Jacko, Stryker, Fran, Jurgen Altdorf, someone known only as Anonymous and one other whose entry I managed to delete by mistake (oops) – it is, of course, an established cracker joke, and very amusing, but I’ve heard it before…

“When Massena said he would help me 'pull a cracker' I did not imagine this...”  Arthur1815

“Napoleon says ‘Who is this Tom Conti guy anyway?’" – submitted by Arlen Vane (come on – that can’t be a real name, surely) – I had to do some research on the Internet to understand this one – I got there, but it isn’t really all that funny

“How many generals does it take to change a lightbulb? It only takes 2, but then it takes millions of people to fight a war over whether it needed changing, and whose lightbulb it was, and then a lot more millions to bring civilization back to the stage where they have lightbulbs” - Minnie the Moocher – this was certainly one of the more weird entries - presumably Napoleon is bemused by the reference to lightbulbs 

“Tell Murat that I left him in charge of the army, and I am coming down to Naples to stick his bucket and spade up his ----!” - Martin Corlett

“It’s a requisition from Berthier for 600,000 pairs of Wellingtons” - Mikey Mac

OK – modest fanfare – we now come to the winners…

Dr I H De Vries, who is not interested in the prizes (which is a shame, since he would be able to understand the film with the Dutch subtitles), sent a quote from Epictetus:

“You may be always victorious if you will never enter into any contest where the issue does not wholly depend upon yourself” – which is hardly a good laugh, but has a pleasing resonance, given the nature of Napoleon’s ultimate military downfall. You may dispute this, but it doesn’t really matter, since the Professor is my List B Winner and gets nothing anyway.

And (at long last…), the prize of 2 moderately-rubbish DVDs goes to David Bean, who offered the following:

 “How does Napoleon keep warm in Winter? He wears his Corsican Ogre-coat!”, which I embrace as a snappy, previously unheard effort entirely in keeping with the traditions of awfulness appropriate to Christmas crackers.

I’ll get the films in the post next week – thank you all, once again. Thanks, also, to PaK for his super cartoon – if you haven’t checked out his website, please do so.


  1. Ok so I know it's all over but how about this late entry:
    Q. What did the military policeman say to Napoleon?
    A. Eylau, Eylau, Eylau !

    1. By Jove, I believe that might have won - if only…

      Cheers - Tony