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Ursa Major (Hierarchy 17) Answers Your Questions

Sometimes it's hard being a bear, and we all need a bit of help and advice. Mr Vinnie Craps, special operative to the International League of Ursidae is well placed to offer help and guidance as one of the leading bears of the nation. If you have a question then get in contact by using the email box at the foot of this page.

Anon from Deepest Darkest Peru asks: "I'm finding it terribly difficult to get off the marmalade. It's all I've eaten since I was a wee cub and I'm required to eat the stuff when I'm working. Could I file for an exemption from the law under a grand-fathered claws?"

Dear Anon from Deepest Darkest Peru, It might be possible for some sort of exemption, although you might try to be a 'registered user' if you can hack the twenty-point drop in hierarchical ranking. Alternatively you could go into rehab where I understand there has been much success in weaning bears off marmalade with quince jelly. Drop into the Bob Southey and see the help desk - they can deal with pretty much any problem, as long as you are willing to change.

Rupert (H57) asks: "Dear Vinnie,

I was feeling rather tired with the repetitive urbane way of life recently and decided to take a break in the countryside. After driving out of Reading, and upon finding a convenient layby to park my Bristol Blenheim on the A4074 near Woodcote, I began my meandering.

In three hours I had walked over 12 fields, through four streams and skirted two different farmhouses before I realised I was quite lost. I sat down on a convenient hay bale to contemplate my situation. Then, judging by the angle of the setting sun and the north-westerly direction of the wind, I realised the simplest way back to my motor car was directly through a small forest in front of me.

I set off, glad that I had confounded the age old rumour of bears being terrible orienteers.

However, no sooner was I halfway through the wooded area, when a terrible pain struck my stomach. To my shame I had indeed overdone my porridge breakfast that morning and had devoured almost a quarter of my entire month's rations. My insides were clearly making a downwards bid for freedom.

I was filled with horror, I was still over an hours walk from my Bristol, and from there a good twenty minutes drive back to Reading. I wasn't sure I could make it. Unfortunately I had no choice but to relieve my pains whilst hiding within an overly large rhododendron bush.

So, Vinnie, my question to you is: is it socially acceptable for bears to crap in the woods?

Regards, Rupert"

Dear Rupert: Yes.

Bella (H22) asks: "I find it hard at my extended age to distinguish between buns and so am afraid of even trying to consume one. I feel the restrictions make it hard for me as they offer no help for me. Do you know of anywhere which would be willing to help out an old dancing bear?" "

Hello Bella, and thanks for writing in - may I say first how impressed I was with your pioneering work in Ursine self-defence issues in the seventies. Your H23 hierarchical rating speaks volumes over how high we respect you at the Ursine League. I'm sending a cub round with some colour charts and a pointed stick with instructions to help you on your bun identification problems. Thanks for your contribution, Bella.

Booboo (H2391) asks: "I am a twelve year old cub living in Jellystone National Park. The patriarch of my cave, who I would prefer to remain nameless, is constantly involving me in crimes against my will. While it started innocently enough with the theft of picnic baskets, he has in recent months, become decidedly more aggressive. I fear that his appetites will no longer be sated by mere foodstuffs any longer. We have had several close calls with a park ranger, and every outing I fear is my last. How do I confront the patriarch without upsetting him? I don't know what to do. Thank you for your advice." "

Hi Booboo. This is an Ursine hierarchical issue, and since you are clearly subservient, you are expected to do what you are told. I shouldn't worry about being caught. The hierarchical issue, although bad news if you're a submissive, does also mean that you can use the 'following a dominant bear' defence with complete success in any pending legal action. Just do as you're told, small fry. You'll get the hang of it. And remind Yogi he owes me a beer over that problem down in Nevada.

Paddy (not his real name) asks: "I suffer from a gastro-intestinal disorder, which manifests itself as sudden bouts of excretion. This can often cause problems when I am indulging in my favourite hobby, namely nature walks in heavily wooded areas. Please could you advise whether it is permissable for me to relieve myself in this situation, and what the correct protocol is?" "

Hi 'Paddy'. There's no protocol involved - just drop it in the forest - it's what we do. But listen, the fact that you have to ask me shows there is a sense of shame involved somewhere. There isn't. It's as natural as breathing. Remember that a bear who proscribes to being human has set his sights way too low.

Bobbie DeGrizzle (H115) asks: "I think that honey should be legal. I am an adult bear who has been eating it since I was a wee bear. Where can I complain? "

Hi Bobbie. You and me both, pal. But keep it under your hat. We're working on a leglislative package at the International League of Ursidae to present to parliament, so claws crossed. But listen, for the moment, keep it to yourself, yes?

Odie (H98) asks: "I stumbled on your site while bumbling about the Web underbrush, looking for berries. When I read the Illegal Substances column, I had to sit down on my butt, fold my great big forelegs with the powerful claws across my gigantic chest and go "Haw, haw, haw." You have managed to amuse an old bear, and I thank you for that. "

Glad to hear it, Odie.

Chloe Ours-Draag (H601) asks: "My husband, Michael, and I are becoming discouraged. After several friendly attempts at socializing with our non-ursine neighbors, it has been made clear to us that we will once again be omitted from every invite-list this coming winter due to the prevalence of the many Hibernation Myths and Misconceptions still embraced by the populace. Any suggestions?"

Hi Chloe. I'd just dump them as friends, to be honest. If it's getting to you, I suggest a long walk in the forest, and if that doesn't work, an even longer walk in the forest . What's with the need to make friends with humans, anyway? Keep an eye on them. One days it's all 'please and thank you' and 'would you like some cake?' and the next day you're a rug. Thanks for the email, Chloe.

Augustus DeBruin (H86) asks: "What's with all this shooting Bruno stuff about?"

Reprehensible, Gus - here we have an innocent bear doing his stuff and causing a small amount of mayhem along the borders of Germany, he kills a couple of sheep and gets iced. Quite apart from the cold-bloodedness of it all, it smacks of the usual Sapien double-standards. They tell the farmers of Africa to ignore elephants that trample their crops so they can go and view the mighty beats in their natural habitat, but when it happens on their own doorstep? At the slightest sign of any trouble they're reaching for the hunting rifle. What can I say? Bruno got a shitty deal.

Ed Bouncy (H351) asks: 'I've eaten all my porridge allocation in the first two days and I don't think I can make it until next month. What should I do?'

Not much. Maybe next month you'll think a bit before stuffing yourself silly. And if you even think about trying to buy some on the sly, I'll be down on you like a ton of bricks. Thanks for the question, Ed.

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