The New Book Is Here!


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It’s here! Our new book is now up on the Createspace site and you can order it:
https://www.createspace.com/6456156

Just go to the page, hit “Add To Cart” then check out, and in some amount of time the book will be in your hands to read, admire, impress friends with, trick museum employees with, confuse art historians with, or to use in any other way you see fit, though we ask you to be nice to the book.

The book features more than 40 works of hedgehog-centric art from various periods of art history along with original amusing and delightful commentary.

Also available on amazon here:

https://www.amazon.com/Hedgehog-Through-Ages-Steven-Bach/dp/1539641880/

For those across the pond, it’s available here:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1539641880/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_x_sqkkybZ6B5EGM

If you’re looking for Hedgehog Art Through The Ages Shirts, they can be found here:

http://urchinwear.net/product-category/shirts/hedgehog-art/

Princess Pricklepants and Hedgehog Art Through History – A Book Review


Dear reader, sorry for the brief blog hiatus.

In today’s unique post we review the interesting and sublime book, Hedgehog Art Through The Ages by S. M. Bach and P. P. Pricklepants.  For our book review, we will include very special guest hedgehog spokesmodel, our very own Princess Perdita Pricklepants.

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We begin with the front cover, which is nicely illustrative of the nature of the contents. Despite the appearance of an expression of disapproval, Her Highness fully approves of this cover.

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The book has quite striking and impressive cover art, that looks just like the kind of cover art a book of this type would have.

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The cover also serves as a convenient teacup holder/coaster.

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The back cover is both attractive and helpfully illustrative of the contents of the book as well, with hedgehog-scale photos of some highlights of the contents, and a general feel of an actual book, which it totally is.

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The book is also simply marvelous to behold.

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Interior illustrations include write-ups full of witty, delightful flowing prose.

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The interior takes the reader through many periods of art history from the Renaissance through the Modern period, all of which are wonderful, delightful, and fascinating.

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This book includes an extensive and delightful section on Japanese hedgehog art, with a fascinating and delightful look at Hedgezilla.

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This book is also suitable as a playscape for smaller pets.

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The cover/binding are designed with safety in mind with pets, even when presenting the sometimes dangerous Modern art.

We’re excited and pleased to announce that this book will be available soon – we’ll update this site once we have order information.

Princess Pricklepants, Disliker of Manners


Dear reader,

After a helpful delay to teach readers patience, we have returned.  In the interim there’ve been few messages other than Quentin saying things we won’t repeat on this blog to avoid embarrassing him.

Things have been marching along with Her Highness’ education, without any notable issues or events.  She saved Tokyo, continued in truly fascinating art research, had a Disney adventure, and a few other things, but nothing so noteworthy as to mention in a blog.

And so we begin our story with a picture with words under it.*

*We also being our sentences with conjunctions.

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Princess Pricklepants woke up to another day of learning to be the proper Princess she was born to be, regardless of free will.

Her manners education was not a thing she was very pleased about.  Living with Dinomarm, her manners educator, was not like My Fair Hedgehog. Dinomarm made her walk with books on her head to develop grace and poise.

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The staying on the head part really never quite worked out, and Her Highness really wasn’t so sure about grace and poise.

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Worse, there were tables to crawl under with great grace and poise, but apparently this was poor etiquette according to some picky manners instructors.

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She also had to wear fancy hats.  She was not fond of wearing fancy hats.  Not at all. She was certain that hedgehogs were not born to wear hats.

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Sometimes hats were even worse.

Since she wasn’t delighted by her manners lessons, for a while she’d tried to find places to hide.

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The living room’s IKEA table was too small.

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The kitchen’s IKEA table was also too small.

With no places to hide, Princess Pricklepants decided she did not want to be a hedgehog princess anymore.

And so, Princess Pricklepants decided to be a squirrel.

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Being a squirrel was not bad at first, but when she got hungry, she learned that squirrels eat acorns.  She did not like eating acorns at all. Princess Pricklepants did not want to be a squirrel any more.

And so Princess Pricklepants decided to be a Viking.

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Being a Viking sounded great at first, though when she found out about needing to ride in boats and raid villages in East Anglia, it sounded less great.  When she decided to eat, though, that’s when it all fell apart.  Apparently Vikings only eat lutefisk, and that’s not something anyone should ever eat, really.  Also Vikings wear hats.

Princess Pricklepants did not want to be a Viking any more.

And so Princess Pricklepants decided to be a pirate.

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It turns out there’s really very little difference between being a pirate, and being a Viking, besides the food, but pirate food is best left not discussed, since it’s almost as bad as Viking food.  Also Pirates wear hats.

Princess Pricklepants didn’t want to be a Pirate any more.

And so Princess Pricklepants decided to be a stop-motion animated hedgehog in a dark fantasy musical film feature.

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While there were no hats, this experience immediately failed to be nearly as satisfying as it first seemed, and was deemed a terrible idea quickly. Stop-motion animated hedgehogs in a dark fantasy musical film features don’t eat.

Princess Pricklepants didn’t want to be a stop-motion animated hedgehog any more.

And so she decided to be a clothing model.

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She quickly realized that this was not her calling.  If hats were bad, clothes were much, much worse and not at all suited to a hedgehog, princess or otherwise.

Princess Pricklepants didn’t want to be a clothing model any more.

Her Highness realized that none of these were suited for a hedgehog princess, and that being a hedgehog princess was not nearly as bad as it first had seemed.

So she went back to studying etiquette again since studying etiquette was not nearly as bad as being a squirrel, a viking, a pirate, a stop-motion animated hedgehog in a dark fantasy musical film feature, or a clothing model.

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After all, there was tea and cookies.

 

The New Princess


We’ve adopted a new Princes.  Princess (Name To Be Determined) Pricklepants.  The Council hasn’t come to a decision on a final name.  Some candidates are:

Perdita

Pepita

Petunia

Poopopotomus

Persephone

Primrose

Prudence

Her Highness is eating and drinking in her new home, and enjoyed anointing the hand servants with the two offerings.

As a result, she’s already had her first bath:

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The princess also been given her first lesson:

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“Wait, you want me to do what!?”

 

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No!  No!  No no no!

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“Hold on, I’m busy checking email.”

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“Heh, nobody will ever find me here.”

Her place upon the throne has been secured.  More updates to come.

Princess Penelope Pricklepants, Sept 2013 – July 2016


Alas, there is no good way to say this.  Her Highness, Princess Penelope Pricklepants has passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. Beloved by friends, family, pets, and fans, she will be sorely missed. She was a light that burned twice as bright, but half as long, bringing delight and wonder.  All the best to her in her journey across the Rainbow Bridge.

Princess Penelope Pricklepants
Sept. 2013 – July. 2016
RIP, dearest sweetest hedgehog ever, you will be sorely missed.

rainbow bridge

rainbow bridge

Twenty Incredible Hedgehog Facts That Will Astound You


Dear Reader,

Here we have one more selection of hedgehog facts following on our last Twenty Two Mind-Blowing Hedgehog Facts That Will Change The Way You Think About Hedgehogs Forever. We apologize for this introductory paragraph, which serves little to no purpose.  We love introductory paragraphs so much that even when we don’t really need one for an article, we still feel compelled.  This one’s even worse since not only is it unneeded, but at this point it’s rambling on without even saying anything of any significance.  At this point we’re basically trapped, unable to find a suitable ending to a paragraph that need not even exist, so we’re just going to stop and again beg our pardon.  So now, on to the facts.

1. Hedgehog fact: More than one hedgehog fact is just an excuse to use a picture.

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2. Attention deficit disorder hedgehog fact.

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3. An incredible Sonic The Hedgehog related fact.

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4. Fact: There are a lot of dorky hedgehog facts.

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5. Fact: “The Trouble With Hedgehog Facts” is nine out of ten hedgehogs’ favorite Star Trek episode.  The rest prefer “The City on the Edge of Forever.”

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6. Fact: hedgehog facts that are images with white backgrounds look a little funny.

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7. A self-evident hedgehog fact.

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8. Something all hedgehog owners know.

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9. Don’t we all, though?

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10. Mine! Fact!

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11.Sometimes hedgehog facts are complicated.

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12. Fact: Venti cups are objectively anti-hedgehog.

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13. Fact: Hedgehogs are fun in many work environments, as well as non-work environments.

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14. Fact: This is not just a problem for hedgehogs.

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15: Cheese facts are the best facts.

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16. Fact: We used this fact last time, but liked it so much, we’re using it again.

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17. This fact is so true it doesn’t even require a brief preceding description, though we put one here anyway.

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18.  Fact: We’re not air conditioning the entire neighborhood, young man.

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19. Fact: So far as recent hedgehog art discoveries go, this is historic. In early 2016, hedgehog art researchers at the Louvre applied laboratory analysis of reflective light and color analysis to the Mona Lisa and made a truly remarkable discovery based on a recently discovered notebook by Da Vinci. The notebook referred to the work as “La Gioconda con Riccio” (happiness with hedgehog), while underpainting analysis now confirms the original work is actually a masterwork of hedgehog art. These are exciting times for hedgehog art critics and historians. We now know what the Original Mona Lisa looks like.

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20. Fact: All fear the Hedgehog of War.

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21. Bonus fact.

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22. A first for hedgehog facts – a bonus bonus fact.

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For awesome shirts and other delightful merch related to the art presented here, visit http://urchinwear.net

Twenty Two Mind-Blowing Hedgehog Facts That Will Change The Way You Think About Hedgehogs Forever


Following on out last Hedgehog Facts post, we offer another.

These hedgehog facts are all to true, amazing, and mind-blowing that we don’t even need any introductory text here, though we feel compelled to put something here anyway.

1. A hedgehog hubris fact.

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2. A meta-hedgehog fact.

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3. Hedgehogs are fashionably late with their Shark Week references.

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4. A hedgehog fact you can’t debate.

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5. A reliable hedgehog fact.

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6. Please…

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7. A not quite literary hedgehog fact.

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9. The grooviest hedgehog fact, man.

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8. Maybe not a hedgehog fact. Still a fact…  They’re so bad, sometimes it makes it hard to count.

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10. A cryptic hedgehog fact.

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11. Arr, another fact for ye.

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12. In case you wondered.

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13. A dynamic next generation strategic hedgehog fact focusing on core competencies.

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14. A very important fact.  One day we look forward to a world without hedgehog witch trials.

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15. Mmm, pie.

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16.  Hedgehogs, why can’t they just share the hedge?  And also donuts…

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17. A stellar hedgehog fact.

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18. In hedgehog language “one who puts hats on hedgehogs” is a mild curse word.

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19. Another Snow White related fact because we’re like that.  Dear Disney, please don’t sue us.

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20. Fact: This fact was mostly an excuse to use this picture.

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21: A fact for the nerds.

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22. Another fact for the nerds.

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23.If you look carefully you might be able to discover a hedgehog fact hidden in this photo.  Bonus fact: we were mistaken about there being 22 hedgehog facts in this article.hh_fact58

For awesome shirts and other delightful merch, visit http://urchinwear.net

For even more facts, check out Twenty Incredible Hedgehog Facts That Will Astound You

Hedgehog Facts


Today we present an amazing collection of virtually believable hedgehog facts for your wonder, delight, and edification:

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The truest fact of all.

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They also hedge their bets

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100% gnarly fact

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Fun fact: Hedgehogs stand for Liberty, Justice, and Equality.

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Surprising, but true.

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Sadly, Walt had to remove the hedgehogs he originally put in his films due to complicated licensing issues.

 

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“Looking sharp”

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…and sometimes afterwards…

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However, hedgehog programmers are quite talented.

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Bonus fact: If you divide a hedgehog fact by zero, you get three wishes.

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This is more advice than a fact, really.

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Hedgehogs whose name starts with the letter ‘P’ get an additional 3% bonus multiplier.

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Empirically verified by etiquette scientists.

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Well known, but still fascinating.

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The second most true hedgehog fact available.

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This fact has raised a great deal of interest in hedgehog Patronus research.

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A hedgehog Haiku and also a fact.

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A shirt that will make the wearer seem smart, attractive, and interesting.

You can even get the shirt here.

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Caution, beware of this hedgehog fact.

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A startling hedgehog fact.

If you enjoy these, you might enjoy our amazing merchandise available here:

http://etsy.com/shop/UrchinWearShirts

For more facts, see Twenty Two Mind-Blowing Hedgehog Facts That Will Change The Way You Think About Hedgehogs Forever

Princess Pricklepants and the Mystery in the Hundred Acre Woods


Hello again dear readers,

While there hasn’t been nearly a long enough delay, here we are with another post.  Like many others, it’s going in a slightly different direction.  If there are three phrases that describe us, they are “somewhat inconsistent,” and “not great at counting.”

A reader, Quentin, wrote in to mention that they did not believe the art works we had been posting recently were real art.  We can only say that art is the thing artists make, and we aren’t in any position to judge besides that since we’re not artists.

No readers wrote in to ask about their homework though many visited searching for answers to Princess Penelope’s Figurative Language homework, which we hope we were able to help with in our small way.

One person also arrived here searching for “can a hedgehog die by being too loud,” to which the answer is that hedgehogs do not like loud noises at all, it would cause them chronic stress, and they definitely shouldn’t be kept in loud environments.  Even if they don’t die, it’s cruel to expose them to loud noises. Don’t do that.

We’ve promised to move on from Hedgehog Art Through History series, as it was time for a proper story, so that’s what we’ll do.  Pretty soon.  Since we aren’t going to do a post on art, we wanted to share this remarkable illustration of a squirrel drinking coffee from a crazy straw from a rejected Alice in Wonderland story to make sure we’re not foolishly consistent.  This also give us the opportunity to subtly plug the new shirt with this design. Sorry.alice_squirrel_colorAnd so, as we always try to do, we begin our story with a picture with words under it.

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Once upon a time, a very long time ago now, around last Friday, Princess Pricklepants was taking a lovely stroll in the garden.  Through a bit of digging, a few extra left turns, and perhaps not quite the right number of right turns, she wound up in a very unfamiliar place.  The colors were so very wrong that they weren’t even there, and everything smelled strangely, almost like paper.  She decided to pause, close her eyes and take in a nice deep sniff to see if she could smell the right direction to go.  In mid-sniff she heard a small squeaky voice.

“What is it Pooh?”

“Oh, I think it’s a Pricklebump.”

Her Highness was not a Pricklebump, but for the time being chose to let it pass as there were greater concerns, “Oh, hello, I’m afraid I’ve become so very lost I can’t even find my name to properly introduce myself.  So very sorry.”

“Well, hello whoever you are, I’m Piglet,” said Piglet.

“And I’m Pooh,” said Pooh bear, “Could we help you find your way?”

“I’d really be grateful, though there’s something else I’m missing I’m more worried about, but I’m not exactly sure what it is.”

Piglet was very worried, “Oh no!”

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“Don’t worry,” said Pooh, “We can take you to Owl.  If anyone knows anything about something, it’s Owl who knows something or other.  Or maybe the other way.”

Piglet seemed slightly relieved, though not very much so.  “I s-s-suppose it’s not s-s-so bad, then. An adventure with Pooh and the Primpole will have t-t-to t-t-turn out.  I g-g-guess, unless there are W-W0ozles.”

He Highness decided the polite thing to do would be to just let the piglet with an anxiety disorder use an incorrect name since she didn’t have a proper name to offer.  These monochrome animals certainly did have a lot of odd pronunciations, and very strange habits with capitalization as well.

Her Highness wasn’t fully sure about the plan. “So, this Owl, does it eat rodents?  What about hedgehogs?”

Pooh giggled, “Oh no, Owl doesn’t eat.”

Her Highness was relieved, so they set on their way.  As they walked Pooh hummed a tuneless little melody which turned into a song about bees and honey and things.

Her Highness decided to make an attempt at conversation.  “You know, you’re a very unusual bear.” Her Highness was used to bears with Canadian accents who didn’t hum and sing about bees.

“Well, you’re rather unlike any, um, Prickly Animals I’ve met either.  Delighted to meet you.”

“Delighted to meet you too.”

They arrived at Owl’s home in a lovely old tree which was drawn really nicely.

Pooh said, “Now all you have to do is walk to the door and ring the bell, since a knock means you’re there to eat honey.  Or maybe it’s the other way.  I never remember.  Still, maybe you should knock, I could use a little Smackerel of something.”

pp_owlHer Highness wasn’t fully comfortable with this arrangement, but happily it didn’t matter, as Owl was already outside, hopefully not in the mood for eating any hedgehogs.

“Why it’s a Periwinkle,” exclaimed Owl, with his huge deadly talons gripping the branch.

Her Highness was working diligently not to lose patience with these creatures and their habit of calling everything the wrong name with strange capitalization, but knew better than to offer a correction to a rodent and hedgehog eating predator, as this wouldn’t be polite.

“Why hello Owl, it’s very lovely to meet you. I’m afraid I’ve become very lost, so lost I can’t find my name.  I met a bear named Ooh who suggested you might be able to help.”

“I’ve never met a bear named ‘Ooh.’ Very strange. Well, this thing you’ve lost, can you describe it?”

“It’s, well, you see, it’s difficult to describe.”

“Well, when you lose something, the customary procedure is to go back to the first place you saw it, then go to every other place you’ve ever seen it and eventually it’ll be in one of those places.”

This was helpful advice in a sense of trying to help, but also unhelpful in the sense of not being practical for someone who’s lost, or even for someone who wasn’t lost.

“Well thank you, I’ll toddle off and see about going to many places.  Oh, also, the bear wanted honey.”

“Oh, I’m afraid I’m all out due to a recent bear visit.  You’ll need to try a bee hive to find honey, maybe you could use a balloon to get some?”

“I’ve always had very bad experiences with balloons I’m afraid, but thank you. Very lovely visiting you, good bye.”  She hurriedly made her way from the large-taloned raptor.

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As she scurried politely, she remember back to her last balloon adventure.  It had all started off so nicely, with a lovely balloon and no bees at all.

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Then several seconds later there was a terrible sound, just the kind of loud sound she liked least in the world, really, and after the sound her former balloon wasn’t very lovely any more. No, there would be no balloons.

When she got back to Pooh and Piglet she carefully forgot to mention the balloon, bee, honey idea, but related the rest of the advice which they chose to ignore.  Not being sure what to do, they decided to walk about to see if the right idea might visit, though all the ideas that came to visit were never quite right.

As they walked, they eventually came upon a morose donkey despondently looking at its feet.

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“Good afternoon, Eeyore” said Pooh.

“Oh, Good afternoon, Pooh, Piglet, hedgehog,” said Eeyore gloomily. “If it is a good afternoon,” he said. “Which I doubt,” said he. “It’s probably going to rain.”

“We seem to have a very confuddling problem, you see, this Pricklebump has lost a Thing, but she’s not sure what it is.”

“Oh, well.  Probably will never find it.  All the same, it’s better to lose Something and not know what it is, than to know what it is.  Then you can forget it, and go somewhere else to be Alone and Forgotten sitting in the Rain. Like me.”

“You’re not alone, dear Eeyore, since we’re actually here, silly.  Also it’s not raining.” said Her Highness, who was still quietly losing her mind at their capitalization habits.

“Oh, well it might not be Raining now, but one day it will. This Thing you’re looking for, what does it look like?”

“Oh, if I could draw it, I’d remember it for sure.  I went with Ooh Bear to see Owl, but they didn’t exactly help, and I’m quite erplexed, and at a loss for what to do.”

“Hmm,” said Eeyore.

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“Does it perhaps look like the letter you keep forgetting to use?”  Eeyore made a P on the ground with some sticks.

“That’s it,” exclaimed Princess, “You’ve found it!  You’re positively perfect!”

With the letter P found, Princess Pricklepants was at last able to mention her name, which was a relief, as the pressure of being powerless to proffer polite greetings was perturbing. Pooh led the way to Christopher Robin who it turned out followed her on Twitter (Facebook being for old people), and so was able to help her find her way home, and all was well in the world again, wrapped up remarkably quickly since there was a 1,000 word limit which we actually passed a surprisingly long time ago.

So we must say, “The End” for a post that was mostly an excuse to show off some line drawings we’ve been working on as a trick to continue with Hedgehog Art Through History even when we weren’t supposed to.

Stay tuned for our next episode: Princess Pricklepants and the Mystery of Monkey Voters (working title)

 

 

 

Princess Pricklepants and Yet More Hedgehog Art Through The Ages


 

Previously.

Dear reader,

Apologies for the infrequent updates, Her Highness’ schedule has been busy with the duties of running for president and engaging in extensive art research while maintaining a fourteen hour sleep schedule (and responding to queries regarding etiquette advice).

While this post is about art, we did want to share this glorious vision of the future:

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And, while we’re on the topic of the Princess Pricklepants’ Prickle Party run for President, for those who might have missed it, we wanted to mention that Her Highness’s Patronus is a hedgehog, which has made for a powerful campaign poster.

pp_patronus_pres

And so this time we begin or post with our third picture with words under it.

mona-lisa

So far as recent hedgehog art discoveries go, this is historic.  In early 2016, hedgehog art researchers at the Louvre applied laboratory analysis of reflective light and color analysis to the Mona Lisa and made a truly remarkable discovery based on a recently discovered notebook by Da Vinci. The notebook referred to the work as “La Gioconda con Riccio” (happiness with hedgehog), while underpainting analysis now confirms the original work is actually a masterwork of hedgehog art. These are exciting times for hedgehog art critics and historians. We now know what the Original Mona Lisa looks like.

Irises-Vincent_van_Gogh

Here we have another fascinating and historic work, Vincent van Gogh’s “Irises and Also a Hedgehog.” An immediately striking painting created in the last year before his death in 1890, he considered this painting the study on which the later more famous hedgehog-less Iris painting was based on, though it stands alone as a sublime and magnificent work of post-Impressionist hedgehog art.

Belshazzar

Rembrandt’s first version of Belshazzar’s Feast was an enigma to hedgehog art historians for decades until it was discovered that Rembrandt had initially read a faulty Dutch translation of the book of Daniel that had translated the word “Writing” as “Hedgehog.” This work is housed in the National Hedgehog Gallery, London.

Rembrandt-Portrait_of_a_Lady_with_a_Hedgehog

Now as a first, here’s a second work from the same artist.  Forgotten for centuries, Rembrandt’s 1661 Portrait of a Lady With a Hedgehog is a high point in Baroque Hedgehog Art. While not as well known as his Belshazzar’s Feast With Hedgehog, this late work of Rembrandt’s, which highlights his masterful use of light, composition, and hedgehogs.  The work was only discovered post-WW II, having been lost in the basement of the Rijksmuseum.

Daybreak_by_Parrish_(1922)

Maxfield Parrish’s 1921 “Hedgehog Break” is regarded as one of the most popular hedgehog art prints of the 20th century. Parrish later produced the human-centric “Daybreak,” which went on to even greater fame, though he always considered this work’s composition and symbolism as more powerful.

isabelladelorraine

While less well known, hedgehog art historians have been spending more time researching this 1648 portrait by Renato d’Angio of Isabella, Duchess of Lorraine (mother of Margaret of Anjou).  Isabella is holding the traditional panier d’ hérisson (hedgehog basket), a symbol of the mythology behind the family’s regal hedgehog lineage.

homer

Alma-Tadema’s 1884 A Reading from Homer to a Hedgehog is a lovely late Victorian painting. Through attention to details such as architecture and dress, Alma-Tadema’s work imaginatively re-created everyday life for hedgehogs in ancient times.

mucha-1879

Next we present Alphons Mucha’s delightful “P. Pricklepants.” The work is a masterful Art Nouveau print from 1897. Little is known about its origin, though the work appears to have been a 1897 commission by Marchioness Pricklepants of Paris.  It’s quite lovely, really, so wonderful there’s not much to say.  Just look at it!

amucha

Her Highness was somewhat taken by Mucha’s work, so here is Alphonse Mucha’s, “Hedgehog Princess Perusing Art,” c. 1890. This is a truly lovely later work by Mucha, who clearly had a fondness for hedgehogs. Unfortunately, little is known about this work, though the greater subtlety and simpler composition than “P. Pricklepants” suggest this work was inspired by different themes.

Death_of_Socrates

Finally, we present Jacques-Louis David’s 1786 “The Discomfort of Socrates,” which details the event of the initial cup of hedgehog handed to Socrates, because the jailer misheard “hemlock.” David’s masterful rendering of the cup being handed over is a truly powerfully captured expression of awkwardness.  Created by David for Napoleon’s palace, the painting was poorly received, and has been much less popular than the later version.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this journey through the remarkable world of hedgehog art. We’re planning to post on other topics in the future, but may discover other works which you can keep up on via Facebook or Twitter (we’re not great about our Instagram account, sorry).

Stay tuned for our next episode: Princess Pricklepants and the Never Ending Story of Hedgehog Art

Finally, in an awkward act of gross commercialism, we also suggest you take a look at our fabulous, tasteful, and sophisticated merchandise that will make the wearer seem even more to smart, attractive, and interesting than they already are.  Look, aren’t they cool?

Raphael’s Birth of Hedghog

Mucha’s Art Nouveau Hedgehog

My Patronus Is a Hedgehog

Van Gogh Irises and Also Hedgehog

These and more available here.

Also, there are notecards and things here.

 

Princess Pricklepants and More Hedgehog Art Through the Ages


previously

Dear reader,

Sadly, or perhaps happily, we haven’t offered much coverage of Small Furry Animal Campaign 2016, something we’ll work to rectify in some future post if we don’t get distracted by arguing with squirrels on Twitter, reading wikipedia (did you know about Moon Trees?), or researching hedgehog art through the ages.  But lately we’ve mostly been arguing with squirrels and researching hedgehog art through the ages.

Despite efforts to build bridges and create a Small Furry Animals coalition, radical squirrel partisans have created strife that’s even extended to some humans.

Breakfast_Table

Once again, there will be no story in this post per se other than the magnificent story of hedgehog art, a story that needs telling, and which goes on and on, perhaps endlessly, like a run-on sentence of art.

Let us begin with our first picture with words under it.

whistlershedgiemother

 

Whistler’s Hedgie Mother (formally titled Arrangement of Pets in Grey and Black No.1) was painted in 1869. Whistler eventually managed to convince his mother to stop posing for portraits with her pets in 1871. While both the pet-free and petful works are held by the Musée d’Orsay, the hedgehog version has not been exhibited yet.

The_Lady_with_a-Hedgehog

Leonardo Da Vinci’s Lady With a Hedgehog (c.1488-1489) is a true high point of Renaissance hedgehog art, masterfully executed.  The human subject is not known with certainty, though the hedgehog is strongly believed by experts to be Contessa Mirandella di Pricklipanzia, a distant relation of Princess Penelope Pricklepants via the Venetian line of the family.  While the hedgehog is an actual noble-hog,  as a hedgehog she also serves as a symbol of elegance, grace, and excellent manners.

Raphael_unicorn

The enigmatic and sublime beauty of Raphael’s early work, Portrait of a Lady with a Hedgiecorn, has been a subject hedgehog art critics have discussed for centuries. The influence of Da Vinci on Raphael’s work is clearly seen here in the similarities to the Mona Lisa in pose, gaze, and format of this painting. Da Vinci’s influence can also be seen in the use of a hedgehog, following Da Vinci’s Lady with Hedgehog, and again symbolizing elegance, grace, and impeccable manners. A true Renaissance hedgehog art masterwork.

Caravaggio

Caravaggio’s Boy with a Basket of Fruit and Some Hedgehogs, c.1593, is a stunning work, the light, expressiveness, and technical execution are all superb, and illustrate the transition from the more constrained and austere styles of the Renaissance into the more dynamic, dramatic styles of the Baroque, as we can see by the pair of hedgehogs striking dramatic poses and the powerful lighting on the quills. Strangely, this work was not well accepted by the public. The culture of Renaissance Italy held unusual cultural superstitions regarding the idea of hedgehogs crawling in their food as “unclean.”  Caravaggio ultimately reworked the painting without hedgehogs (weakening the dynamics and drama the hedgehogs bring to the work).  The hedgehog painting was forgotten until it was recently rediscovered when a shopper bought the painting at a Goodwill in West Covina.

donatello

Donatello’s first version of this statue created for the Vatican was titled, St. Mark With Hedgehog  and was commissioned for St. Peter’s Basilica.  Sadly, Pope Leo X was not amused, and Donatello was forced to create another statue, this time without the hedgehog.  One little known fact about this work is that Martin Luther was finally motivated to write his 95 theses because of Leo X’s unwillingness to embrace hedgehog art (according to Uncle Pricklepants).

This work marks a true high point in our excursion through hedgehog art, as we’ve now shown hedgehog artworks by Michelangelo, Leonardo, Raphael, and Donatello, which completes the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle sequence, and unlocks the next level.

hogs_playing_poker

Hogs Playing Poker by Cassius Marcellus Coolidge (yes, that really is his name) has generally been looked down upon by art critics who accuse the work of being faddish, kitschy, lowbrow culture, and a poor-taste parody of “genuine” art, which is why modern art critics are not worth listening to.  Several critics who aren’t jerks have noted that this work was very significant in helping bring hedgehog art into the modern mainstream in America, and point out Coolidge careful studied and used motifs, styles, and composition from Caravaggio, Cezanne, and other greats of hedgehog art.

Wanderer_above_the_sea_of_fog

Once discovered, Caspar David Friedrich’s Wanderer Above the Sea of Hog (c. 1817) quickly became an iconic hedgehog work from the Romantic period. The self-reflective pose, and invitation to see things from the hedgehog’s perspective make this an incredibly powerful work which has been featured on the covers of hedgehog books, hedgehog album covers, and has become part of modern hedgehog culture.

popart

Finally, we turn to Warhol’s Four Hedgehogs (1962).  This work was accidentally left in the basement of the Tate until recently and was initially assumed to be some kind of parody of Warhol, while now art critics debate whether it’s parody, self-parody, meta-ironic parodying of self-parody, or the other kinds of things art critics argue about.  As with all Warhol works, it’s very hard to explain.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this continued overview of high points of hedgehog art and hope you may have learned something as well.  There are yet more works that we will likely share on Facebook and Twitter over time, and it’s likely our gift shop will be ultimately be carrying related merchandise over time, if you are a hedgehog art aficionado, keep an eye out.

Stay tuned for our next episode: Princess Pricklepants and the Mystery of Monkey Voters (working title)

Princess Pricklepants and Hedgehog Art Through the Ages


Dear Reader,

Since Her Highness has taken an interest in education, we’ve found a number of works of Hedgehog Art through the ages to share to aid the much neglected field of Hedgehog art education.  There is no story in this post per se, other than the magnificent story of hedgehog art, a story well worth telling.

We begin with this less well known Botticelli work, Birth of a Hedgehog. A beautiful and sublime work of art, and a true milestone in Renaissance Hedgehog art:

renaissance_hedgie

Next we have another Renaissance hedgehog art history milestone by Michelangelo. Sadly, the Vatican rejected Michelangelo’s first hedgehog-based design for the Sistine Chapel:
michelangelo_cistine

Grant Wood’s American Hegehog Gothic is less well known than his more popular painting, but this remarkable piece is truly iconic in hedgehog art and culture:

american_gothic

Leutze’s Hedgehog Crossing the Delaware is a high point of 1850s art – stirring imagery, truly remarkable artistic composition:

Delaware

When Hedgehog With a Pearl Earring went to auction in 1947, it was widely considered by experts as a forgery of Vermeer done by the notorious Van Meegeren. Thanks to painstaking research by Princess Pricklepants, the provenance of this piece has been authoritatively traced back to Vermeer, and it’s now a favorite piece in Her Highness’ collection. A true Dutch master-work:

pearlearring

Magritte’s Le Fils de l’Herrison is difficult to explain, but here it is:

Magritte

Edward Hopper’s Nighthogs was recently discovered in museum archives of the Art Institute of Chicago among works willed by Hopper to the museum that were lost in storage vaults. It’s very exciting to see this remarkable discovery come to light.

nighthogs

Norman Rockwell’s love of hedgehogs is not well known. He made this painting as a cover for the Saturday Evening Post in 1958. At the time, featuring an African on the cover in the diner was a brave move by Mr. Rockwell, but unfortunately the theme was too controversial and was ultimately not accepted until it was reworked.

therunaway.jpg

We hope you’ve enjoyed this overview of various high points of hedgehog art and hope you may have learned something as well.  There are many other works that we will likely share on Facebook and Twitter over time, and you can find awesome shirts here:

http://urchinwear.net/product-category/shirts/hedgehog-art/

Now there is a book available here: https://www.createspace.com/6456156

and also available on amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/Hedgehog-Through-Ages-Steven-Bach/dp/1539641880/

Stay tuned for our next episode: Princess Pricklepants and the Mystery of Monkey Voters (working title)

Next: Princess Pricklepants and More Hedgehog Art Through the Ages

Princess Pricklepants, Winning Hearts and Minds


Dear readers, our introduction will be brief for this, our latest blog post.

We are required to mention the existence of superb, compelling t-shirts that you clearly want:

 

Bat-HogDelightfulBig HogsHaiku

Feel their powerful draw, can you resist?

With that complete, we begin our story with a picture with words under it.

hedgehog at tea

Princess Pricklepants and friends were sitting in a new meeting about Her Highness’ presidential campaign.  They were gaining some supporters, but humans had a strange tendency to support one of the human candidates, despite her clearly being an ideal presidential candidate.

“Item one,” said Jane, “so far we haven’t sold any shirts.”

“The shirts are so delightful, this is a real puzzle,” said Her Highness.

delightfulshirt

“I feel like I’m living in a shameless marketing ploy,” said Boris.

“Deal, Mr. Existential. Anyway, they’ve only been up for a day, maybe we need to wait,” said Jane.

“Okay, so what can we do to win more voters,” Princess asked?

“I know what to do,” said Boris, “forget the humans, they’re fickle.  We need woodland creature support.”

Jane protested, “What about farm animals?  The cow vote is critical.”

“Cows never vote,” said Boris, “they’re sheep.”

While the others were bickering, Princess wandered off to go on Twitter, which was where presidents were made these days.  It seemed like just the sort of place for calm, mature discussions of political matters.

hedgehog reading boingboing

She decided to check in with the squirrels there, since squirrels were a key part of the small furry mammal base she wanted to win over.  She also had read a book about squirrels that she found deeply delightful for some reason.

1941346_886587401366880_3174169183037743045_o

In the Twitterverse, she found a politically engaged squirrel, and was delighted…

Wisconsin’s primaries were winding up, and she was excited to see the news about her support from squirrels there.  She didn’t want to hurt any squirrels feelings, so she apologized politely while sharing the news of her support.

The count was ongoing…

Happily, the final count put hedgehogs clearly in the lead:

For some reason there was skepticism.

Her Highness politely pointed to science to help the misguided:

Sadly a minority of squirrel extremists read some misinformation on the internet and became very upset.

But truth reigned supreme.

Sadly, it was clear that some squirrels were reading fringe conspiracy theory web sites…

While most squirrels supported Her Highness, these particular squirrels were less enthusiastic.  And definitely not polite.

Things got even more disappointing…

Disappointing, and clearly rooted in a handful of species-ists.

She realized that she had to reach out to squirrels with kindness and politeness to try to build bridges and promote inter-species understanding.

This worked out, squirrel polls showed even better numbers, so it was time to reach out to other woodland creatures.

With knowledge that support from squirrels, mice, and opossums was growing, she thought about the next core demographics for support – bunnies, guinea pigs, and chinchillas, but was a little tired.  She went back to the living room.  Jane and Boris were still arguing about cows voting. She got some tea, and went to bed.

bedtime

She was really not looking forward to the New York and California primaries…

Princess Pricklepants, Educator


A reader who is a 4th grade teacher, and generally awesome person (and also a fine quilter), uses our photos as writing prompts in her class, something we take pride and delight in.  (She’s the cool one who sent us the blankies we used in a number of photos, and you can find more of her fine work here.)

 

Recently she used Bat-Hog as a writing prompt for her class:
bathog

She was kind enough to send some of the amazing, brilliant, funny, and generally wonderful work her students used. Read these, and be pleased, delighted, amused, and generally a little more optimistic – they are all brilliant and need to be shared:

edicate

notwhatyouthink

superhog

backstory

lipsticklaser

backstory2

mission

bank

polite1

polite2

hogrises (1)

 

sheldon

office

drInjustice

Princess Pricklepants and the Pursuit of the Presidency


Dear readers,

Thanks for your patience during our brief hiatus.

Our reader Mike wrote in a while ago with this excellent bit of fan art, which caused us to need to run Princess Pricklepants for president.

princess for president

In those interim months our country has gotten steadily weirder, more confusing, and more absurd to the point that at this point were a hedgehog to actually enter the race it would barely be remarkable.  We apologize in advance that this post is less a story and more a heap of images with bits of text connecting them.

We’ll keep this introduction brief and bring in our first picture with words under it.

DSC_0024

Princess Pricklepants, Boris the Canadian Existentialist Bear, Jane the Cow Accountant, Bessie the Generic Cow, and Christine (Cow Safety Officer) were sitting around the living room.  Her Highness was displeased.  The hat she trying on was really not working, but the boutique it had been purchased from had a No Pets Allowed policy, so she’d need to send the hand servants along to sort things out again.  Usually she accepted these things with the dignity and grace befitting a hedgehog of high station, but this time this indignity, this utter injustice of Pet Prejudice touched a tipping point.

“I think we should do something to solve Pet Prejudice,” she said.

Boris was inspired, “Indeed, we must take a grand stand against these injustices humanity foists upon us.  I propose that we all go on strike, and refuse to participate as characters in any more stories.”

This idea was poorly understood, and not generally accepted.

Jane had an idea, “You could run for mayor and make a local ordinance.”

This idea was poorly understood, and not generally accepted.

DSC_0041 (1)

Princess Pricklepants proposed a profound plan, “All the humans on Twitter are constantly chattering about the election. I formally declare that I shall run for president of the United States. I will fix these foolish laws and also serve as a proper president.”

Jane was concerned, “I’m concerned.”

“How so?”

“I’m fairly sure that hedgehogs can’t be president. Even if you could, how would you run a campaign ? That would be expensive, complex, and totally impractical.”

Princess Pricklepants got Bessie and Christine to check into it. They googled the Constitution and verified that Article Two didn’t list being a human as a requirement.  This was not a problem.

Then she remembered, “You know my old friend Fancy?  They’ve served on a few campaigns as a campaign manager, we can get them to do the campaign-y things, then I’ll be elected, I’ll fix everything, and we do what Presidents do, teaching everyone manners, making new holidays, and putting an end to the perils of pet prejudice.”

“I don’t think that this is what Presidents do,” noted Boris, “also, Fancy is a puppet.”

Jane added, “Didn’t you have a bit of a falling out with Fancy?”

Princess Biting Fancy

There had been a few tense moments in the past, but Princess Pricklepants sent a few texts, and before they knew it Fancy had arrived to start their campaign. Thus they formed the Prickle Party since presidents were supposed to have parties.

Boris had a pointed question, “Fancy, you are a puppet.  Humans do not take puppets seriously.  How are you expecting any of this to work?”

Fancy had a simple response, “Well, Boris, you see, most politicians are puppets, nothing to worry about old pal.”

“Please do not call me ‘old pal'”

“Sure thing, old buddy.”

“Please do not belabor this conversation, there is a lot left to do if we want to have even a semblance of a plot.”

“K-O, old chum.”

“Please simply nod in agreement without using words from this point forward unless you have anything substantive to add.”

Fancy nodded.  It was a jaunty puppet nod, with a bit of a flourish at the end.

Christine had been looking into matter as well.  “Fancy, how do you explain this?”

Snazzy Misbehaving

“Look, that’s my cousin Snazzy.  They’re a triceratops, I’m a giraffe.  Come on, folks.  Now Snazzy, they’ve got a very long, very complicated relationship with the Jungle Cruise ride in Disneyland, and yeah, sure it’s weird, but that it’s nothing humans wouldn’t think of as totally normal.”

DSC_0613

 

This seemed reasonable enough, so they carried on with the plan.

Princess was delighted. A presidential campaign meant the opportunity to fight the good fight against Pet Prejudice.

Jane was delighted. A presidential campaign meant regular meetings, briefings, planning, and control.

Boris was delighted. A presidential campaign was as close to a mythic quest as they could ever get.

Christine was not delighted, as security was a huge pain, but nobody really listened.

While the others were busy being delighted, Bessie sat down and worked on a campaign poster:

campaignposter

Princess had a few points of constructive criticism. “Bessie, that is not me.”

“Oh, I just did a google image search for a hedgehog, did it need to be you specifically?”

“Yes.”

“Oh…  Are you sure?”

“Yes.”

“I guess we can fix that.”

“Also, the year is off, it should be 2016.  Besides that it’s excellent.”

Dates were hard since Bessie was a computer programmer, but she took a second try.

posterII

It was well accepted.  There were some grumblings by an unnamed bear that it looked more like a calendar than a campaign poster, but these were handled by indeterminate mumbling.

“Okay, poster complete.  Now we need a slogan.”

“Pets are people.”

“No.”

“Fight for the rights of pets and other disenfranchised animals that should have a part in the political process and enjoy the blessings of liberty.”

“Too wordy.”

Boris suggested, “Make America More Canadian.”

This was confusing and quickly rejected.

Princess came up with an idea, “Make America Polite Again.”

This was generally accepted well.  Boris mentioned that this would be making America more Canadian, so it was fine.

Bessie worked on some more campaign materials.

campaignposter3

This one was sublime.  Now they were cooking with gas.  Fancy mentioned that they needed to start a media campaign ASAP, so they started posting the image on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, and wherever else they could get the word out.

The word got out, but not exactly as planned.

The first to hear was Hillary Clinton.  She was not pleased, as dogs, guinea pigs, and birds were often Democratic voters.  Even with cats as swing voters this was a problem.

hillary copy

Fancy pulled some strings and managed to arrange a brief intro. between Princess and Donald Trump.

GOP 2016 Debate

This went very poorly.  Mr. Trump was not at all polite.  We cannot in good conscience repeat any of the things he said here.  After this meeting Her Highness was distressed. She decided she’d chat with him on Twitter instead, since with that many people watching he’d surely be more thoughtful and polite.

Fancy reached out to Ted Cruz.  Cruz stated he would not meet with Her Highness since she didn’t go to an Ivy League school.  He did send an autographed picture, though.

cruz

This was confusing and quickly ejected.  Boris was alarmed, “I now realize that the author is not merely incompetent, but horrifying.  I would like a new universe now, please.”

Princess was worried that Ted might become confused after his inevitable failure in the primaries and tried to keep him from worrying.

Screen Shot 2016-03-05 at 1.00.24 AM

Fancy arranged a call with Marco Rubio.  Rubio said she knew exactly what she was doing. Then he said she knew exactly what she was doing. After this he said she knew exactly what she was doing.  It was confusing, but seemed positive.  She sent him a  friendly note on Twitter, hoping that since they’d hit it off, he might be willing to assist.

Screen Shot 2016-03-05 at 1.18.15 AM.png

Bernie Sanders’ campaign did not respond, though apparently he did not take her very seriously, as Prickle Party campaign operatives overheard him say the following:

sanders_reacts

For reasons that are difficult to explain, Clint Eastwood believed he was running against Princess Pricklepants.  He spent an hour talking at an empty chair until an assistant brought in some poor assistant’s pet hedgehog (named Bruce Quillis).  Fortunately Bruce Quillis didn’t speak English.

Republican National Convention

While the other parties were holding their primaries to sort out which candidate would run for their party, the Prickle Party primary ended much earlier. Princess Pricklepants got all the votes since there were no other candidates running.

IVoted

Well, there was a single write-in for Boris, but there were nearly a dozen votes for Princess Pricklepants, Prickle Party Presidential Candidate, Protector of Pets Rights, and Promoter of Politeness.  A post-it note on the refrigerator demanded a recount, but in the end the votes were unnecessary, for the Lady of the Lake held aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water signifying by Divine Providence that Princess Pricklepants was the Prickle Party Presidential Candidate.

This inspired her to write a poem.

haiku11.jpg

 

Since they like making campaign art much more than talking to humans or campaigning, they worked on a delightful campaign poster.

Polite

With Princess Pricklepants poised as the Prickle Party Presidential pick, now was the long wait for the other parties to get themselves together and pick someone.

Princess imagined the eventual debate where each candidate could calmly and rationally offer their thoughts to try to show why their ideas and policy positions would be best and most effective.  Princess Pricklepants’ powers of polite persuasion would provoke a powerful positive change.  Surely it was a historical inevitability that we would soon see something like:

GOP 2016 Debate

And shortly after that manifest destiny would be realized:

wsj

And with that, our post has reached a point well past the 1,000 word limit that came and quickly flew past.

Stay tuned for our next episode to find out if the hedgehog will get on the ballot, if the media will allow her into the debates, whether Fancy will manage to get a ground campaign to take the states, whether campaign funding will come into play, whether Mitt Romney will somehow get dragged into all of this, and many other things unless in the next episode we just pretend none of this ever happened since this presidential campaign is somehow more ridiculous than anything we can manage to come up with.

Princess Pricklepants, Magnificent Mender of Monkey Manners


Dear reader, hopefully you were led here from this post’s immediate antecedent. Due to technical reasons far too risky to explain, we shall now only refer to that previous post as The Post That Must Not Be Named.  Still, there’s happy news – those previous complications, digressions, and Dark Arts can now be left behind (provided they are never discussed, explained, or named).

And so we begin with our first picture with words under it.

DSC_0935Princess Pricklepants was profoundly pleased.  After a complicated series of events and delays (which must not be discussed, explained, or named), she was finally able to fulfill her supreme destiny in teaching a monkey all the things a monkey should know – politeness, manners, and grace at a tea party (well, there was also dancing, singing, and proper diction, but those were a digression, and at this point Her Highness had become very suspicious of digressions). The tea was set out, there were some nice snacks, and she had her artful friend Artemisia as a model manners  assistant. There was even a fancy chair for the monkey. Things were going swimmingly.

Now all she had to do was teach the monkey.  She’d been so busy with email and avoiding meetings that she’d overlooked making a lesson plan. She decided to wing it as delightfully as possible.

“Now Monkey, um, let’s see.  To be polite, one should use the term ‘one’ instead of ‘you’, smile nicely (as I and Artemisia always do), and also… Hmm…”  She thought about having Monkey walk with a book balanced on the head to teach grace and poise, but that really didn’t seem like the right thing to do around cups of tea.  Enunciation lessons would be frustrating since Monkey didn’t speak English like a normal hedgehog, bear, or cow. At a loss, she decided to google something polite to do at tea parties.

DSC_0928Puzzlingly, when she looked up ‘Tea Party’ on google, the results were utterly bizarre and distressingly impolite.  Google was clearly confused, it seemed to be looking into some strange and rather grumpy alternate reality she was pleased to be no part of.

With no help from the internet, she bravely forged ahead. She began a lesson showing Monkey how to make a plate of treats with impeccable manners. Surely this would be a simple and foolproof lesson.

DSC_0947

She illustrated daintily placing a treat on a plate with grace and poise. Next came Monkey’s turn.

DSC_0948Unfortunately there was a mishap. But in every mishap, there’s an opportunity to be polite and helpful. “Oh dear, Monkey, are you okay? Let me help you back up.” She politely helped Monkey back to the seat. Monkey got back on the seat but at this point, things took a turn towards the complicated, as reality cruelly conspired against etiquette lessons.

DSC_0964Monkey sat upon the chair, but in a sense that was not so much “upon” as “upon, but in the entirely wrong way.” Monkey sat in a manner sadly lacking in refinement and sophistication. Princess politely looked away to give Monkey the chance to correct the posture problems.

In retrospect, looking aside was a poor choice. While looking anywhere but at the monkey, she noticed the wonderful beckoning dark space under the table. The beautiful, hypnotic, irresistible dark space. The allure was strong, so she decided to gracefully climb under the table.

DSC_0970She felt wonderfully sublime exploring this mysterious and fascinating new space, but the monkey posture problem remained. She had to think of a solution. She thought, and realized the solution. It was incredibly simple and elegant. “Monkey, perhaps you’d like to look under the table? It’s so lovely to crawl around there, and it’s so polite and refined,” she helpfully suggested.

DSC_0977It a was a perfect solution. The posture problems were in the past. There was a slight down side, though. The monkey’s trip under the table left Artemisia inexplicably distressed. Princess Pricklepants felt great concern. She tried to comfort her artful model friend.

DSC_0991Some aspects of this may have comforted her friend (though the quill stabbing aspect was much too uncomfortable to be very comforting), but it had an unfortunate complicating effect. Monkey noticed that comforting Artemisia looked incredibly fun and decided to try it too.

DSC_0983 (7)

Unfortunately, despite the monkey’s best efforts at being comforting, the end result was somehow not comforting at all, but distressing.

At this point Artemisia needed additional comforting due to these attempts at comforting. Princess politely jumped in great enthusiasm to offer aid and comfort. The outcome was truly memorable, which is the hallmark of a good party, so it worked out really well.

DSC_0995

There was one tiny issue. She may have jumped in a little too enthusiastically, since bits of party ended up strewn across the floor. Still, there was a happy side, since some cookies had fallen to the floor. With the floor cookies she could both practice and illustrate her manners at not eating off the ground (challenge level: extreme), and there was added bonus – she could say “excuse me” for the minor faux pas.

While the incident had many wonderfully polite and delightful aspects for Her Highness, there was one very, very unfortunate side effect. In clambering across the table, she spotted something with an allure even greater than the magnificent sub-table space. Out of the corner of her eye she spotted the wonderful, enticing, tantalizing Gap Under The Sofa (so delightful it had to be capitalized). An irresistible space with an allure so tempting that there was only one possible polite pursuit.

DSC_0997

Clambering under the couch was so fantastically, irresistibly polite that Monkey, as a new student of politeness, joined in happily. This pleased Her Highness to no end. These manners lessons were going so well!

DSC_1000

With Her Highness sniffing under the sofa in the most refined and delightful way she could manage, and with Monkey following suit, her heart swelled. Her charge in charm training was clearly getting the knack of politeness, grace, and delightful things! Monkey Manners Mission Accomplished!

And with that happy ending, she was as delighted as could be. Clearly Monkey had seen that manners are fun and would now behave like a proper monkey. With a bit of work at balancing books on heads, a bit of refinement of diction, and perhaps some ballroom dancing lessons, things would be peachy. Now she just had to get those chickens in shape.

Coming soon in our next episode:  Will the monkey manners be maintained?  Will the chickens learn civility? What happened to the skunk?  Will the story shift in some other unrelated direction pretending none of this ever happened?  Will the author lighten up on the adjective extravagance? Will the crocodiles (or is it alligators?) return? These and other questions may or may not be answered in Princess Pricklepants and the Chicken Charm School (working title – subject to change).

 

Princess Pricklepants and the Mystery of Monkey Manners


(previously)

Dear reader,

Please be advised that the following story contains graphic self-referentiality. Younger readers and those sensitive to chronic self-reference exposure might experience dizziness, confusion, and mild irritation when reading this post. Precautionary meta-measures should be taken, though were we to mention them, this in itself could trigger acute self-referentialititis in those afflicted.

Since this is a longer post somewhat past the bounds of prudence and justice in hedgehog-blog related literature, we’ll keep this preamble brief except for this one item of note: Someone came to this blog from a search for “how can make the models of cow & duck from waste materials.” We feel like someone who suddenly found a mysterious doorway in their home that they’d never noticed before. This opens new dimensions.

And now, our first picture with words under it.

PP and Boris“Good morning, Boris.”

“Good morning, Your Highness. I notice that we’re in a standard two character intro.  Lovely!  Things are looking nicely normal for the literary form. I assume we’ll be briefly describing an important detail of the plot’s conflict to the audience mixed with a bit of light banter to set the mood?”

“Not sure what you mean about standard intros, but I was just having some tea and sitting here working out my plan for Monkey.”

“Ah, yes, Monkey. Have you read my latest blog post on Monkey?”

“You have a blog?”

“How could you not know this?  I email links to it every time I post something… It’s a handy way for me to explain my displeasure at certain cows and other figures in a delightfully indirect way. I just skip sending links to the annoying… Uh… So, yes, eh, I have a boring blog.  You shouldn’t read it. Very dull.”

“Ah.”

“So, the monkey business?”

“Yes, I have a perfectly pleasant plan to promote politeness and philanthropy in our primate pal.”

“Interestingly, I wrote on my blog about alliteration recently…  Anyway, you’re going to send Monkey to a zoo?”

“No. I’ve realized the error of my ways. The key is the tea. That’s what I always say now. So we’ll have a lovely and tasteful tea party. Monkey will be pleased, delighted, and educated.”

“Do those three words usually go together?”

“Yes. Now you too are pleased, delighted, and educated.”

“You know, I suddenly have a new blog post to work on. Good day.”

PP and Jane

Jane entered in a way no adjectives could properly describe, so no description was offered. “So, the meeting. You ready? I’ve got a few new items. I found an amazing way to make models of ducks and cows from scrap paper! Oh, also it turns out the bear has a blog where he talks about us and how we’ve annoyed him. One of the chickens forwarded me a link.”

“Oh, maybe we could not have the meeting today? I have plans. Tea party plans with the monkey. It will be luminous.”

“So you’re really skipping an important meeting where you can contribute valuable time and resources to go have a tea party with a monkey?”

“It’s to teach Monkey manners.”

“I thought we were going to get that monkey a job. We’ll be going over this in the meeting we all really should be attending.”

“Would you mind holding on just a moment? I need to send a quick email.”

Checking Email

To: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
From: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
Subject: A Missive on Manners in Meetings

I have some incredibly important business to attend to teaching a monkey proper primate etiquette, but to do so would require skipping a meeting. Is it polite to skip meetings if it’s for the purpose of furthering a great and noble cause?
-PP

To: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
From: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
Subject: Re: A Missive on Manners in Meetings

Dear Somewhat Impolite Nickname,
Pursuing the promotion of proper politeness is a perennially perfect and proper plan. Perhaps you could try telling the meeting organizer you’re busy and see if they can reschedule.
-Princess Pricklepants

To: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
From: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
Subject: Re: A Missive on Manners in Meetings

What if they don’t agree?
-PP

To: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
From: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
Subject: Re: A Missive on Manners in Meetings

Dear Still Inexplicably Using That Somewhat Impolite Nickname,
Mention that they skipped the meeting yesterday. Note that there’s clearly some flexibility in scheduling.
-Princess Pricklepants

To: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
From: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
Subject: Re: A Missive on Manners in Meetings

Oh, that’s a great idea. But how did you know about the rescheduling? Oh, wait, you must read my blog…
-Princess Pricklepants

“Say, Jane, could we reschedule the meeting?”

“I really want to have a word with everyone about that bear and his blog.  He said I was a passive-aggresive control-freak!  You should hear what he said about alliteration!”

“Couldn’t you just talk to him?”

“That’s a kooky idea. We’ll talk about it in the meeting.”

“Remember how you rescheduled the meeting yesterday?”

“Yes, it’s been so long since we’ve had a meeting. I really miss our meetings.”

“Perhaps you could write a note about impolite blogging for the bear and leave it on the refrigerator? Then we could discuss leaving notes in the meeting tomorrow.”

“Fine. I’ll leave a note for the bear. I guess. But someone else might be seeing her own note about meeting rescheduling… And in the next meeting we’ll be discussing the importance of attendance.”

Dear reader,

An astute reader might have noticed that we’re already remarkably far into this story with a withering sea of dialog, but no tea parties, few photos, and barely any story per se. Yet adorable photos of hedgehogs participating in tea parties with monkeys are really the main purpose of this blog post. “Why?” You are probably asking, “Why no hedgehog monkey tea parties? Why all this dialog and email business? Why this rambling authorial intrusion?” The answer is perplexing to us all, I’m afraid, even to the narrator. Sorry. We’ve really been trying to make things go that way, but instead here we are not presenting you with hedgehog-monkey-tea, and are even talking about not doing that very thing, adding to the sense that this digression is as distressing as it is inexplicable, like a metaphor without a comparison. Apologies. We really ought to do something about that.

-Author

To: sirsandwich@princesspricklepants.com 
From: excelsior@princesspricklepants.com 
Subject: A Dramatic Failure

Dear Author,
I know you don’t read my blog. I check. You really should. You’re a terrible writer tormenting me with an endless litany of literary failures, non-existent dramatic structure, meandering prose, and peculiar diction. I have so much advice for you. Please subscribe to my blog. Regarding your current meandering malaise of muddled mystification, hideous whimsy, mutilated story progression, and crimes against literature I also have some advice. Instead of reading your email you might want to just write the story. Or at least plug some pictures in with our charming bear protagonist offering helpful advice and commentary to his hapless animal friends.
-Boris Maximus
“Excelsior!”

To: excelsior@princesspricklepants.com 
From: sirsandwich@princesspricklepants.com 
Subject: Re: A Dramatic Failure

Dear Bear,
Thanks so much for contacting us with your criticism. Negative feedback can be a valuable part of the development of a creative work, but sadly, we are busy writing a lovely story about a hedgehog having a tea party with a monkey and currently cannot accept your criticism. We also regret to inform you that we have no plans to process criticism anytime in the near or distant future, including complaints about not accepting criticism, complaints about spending time writing email about not accepting criticism when we should be writing other things, criticisms of literary structure, complaints about typos or or speling errors in response emails, or any other from of complaint, critique, denunciation, etc. For further details, please see:
http://the-toast.net/2014/09/19/no-criticism-thanks/
If you’re concerned about us effectively recycling someone else’s material, that too is a form of criticism which again falls under the category of things we are currently not accepting.
Kindest Regards,
Sir Sandwich
P.S. Please feel free to review this email whenever the thought of contacting us with criticism arises.

Soon another email arrived, but the Author had stopped checking email, since he was busy reading some articles found after googling procrastination, thinking about whether there actually was some way to construct a metaphor without a comparison (since that would be really cool), and trying to think of a way to work the phrase “bear umbrage” into the story somehow.

Things got complicated, and it didn’t seem like there was any hope the story could progress. How could a denouement be reached? With far more than a thousand words already spilled in a format with an arbitrarily self-imposed thousand word limit, a story that was in revolt against its own plot, and levels of self-reference that seemed like they’d suck everything into a swirling vortex of recursion the impasse seemed intractable.  Fortunately Her Highness had an idea.

“Perhaps you could just call this complete, then start a new story. In the new one, we just need to find the monkey, set up a nice tea service with a few treats, some tasteful decorations, and an environment full of sweetness and light. With that, things will naturally unfold just as they should, and all will be well in the world.”

So, it is your Destiny that you must click here to continue to Princess Pricklepants, Magnificent Mender of Monkey Manners (we were going to title it, “Princess Pricklepants and the Quest for Monkey Manners – A New Beginning,” but certain editors protested) in which there are many photos, monkey manners may be modified, and tea is served.

Princess Pricklepants’ Somewhat Distracted Guide to Manners, Monkeys, Etc.


Previously: Princess Pricklepants and the Monkey Business

Dear Reader(s),

Something odd happened recently – a story from our humble blog wound up briefly on the front page of a tech news site (news.ycombinator.com) – naturally it was Princess Pricklepants, Startup Founder Extraordinaire. So we got a lot of visits for a bit and were for a very brief moment slightly more famous (9,000 hits in a day), though things are largely back to normal now.

For perfectly good (though difficult to explain) reasons relating to that, Her Highness now has a LinkedIn profile, so if you’d like to add a Noble Hedgehog Adventurer/Farmer/Model/Space Traveler/Acupuncturist to your professional network, feel free:

https://linkedin.com/in/penelope-pricklepants-98198010a

There are a lot of words in this, our latest post (more than two thousand five hundred – sorry for the wordiness), so we’ll keep this preamble succinct, pithy, and free of superfluities, and will not drone on in a long run-on sentence about how brief, concise, and terse our intro. is, but rather will press on into the body of our story with no delays, distractions, or pointless diversions. And so we begin with our first picture with words under it.

The Quiet Place

Princess Pricklepants was rather irked by The Monkey Situation. She decided to be forthright, proactive, and assertive in dealing with the problem. She went off to be alone in her room to hide under a blanket and reflect on how best to be forthright, proactive, and assertive. In her room, she started writing a note to place on the refrigerator:

Dear Monkey,

Please do not leave the refrigerator door open. Please also be sure to help clean the dishes. While doing so, please do not throw any more dishes. Once again, Buenos Aires is the capital of Argentina. In addition, please stop harassing the alligators.

That font was all wrong, so she tried out different fonts for a while, bumped the font size and adjusted margins, and then went to Wikipedia to check on something. After a brief voyage through the Wikipedia spiral of distraction, she found herself logged onto the PrincessPricklepantsCentral Forum.

PrincessPricklepantsCentral Forums -> Community board

Her Highness – Nov. 22 2015 11:00 AM
DSC_0012

Senior Member

She of the tea

Hello, did anyone think of a job for Monkey?
Boris – Nov. 22 2015 11:01 AM
Clipjungle4new

Senior Member

“fourth wall demolitionist”

No. We’re all just avoiding the obnoxious food-stealing monkey.

Hey, you know why the monkey liked the banana? It had appeal.

Jane – Nov. 22 2015 11:03 AM
captainquillbeard

Admin

the accountant

Some of us are also avoiding the obnoxious food-stealing bear.

You know what you call bears with no ears? B.

Boris – Nov. 22 2015 11:05 AM
Clipjungle4new

Senior Member

“fourth wall demolitionist”

Sounds like someone is a mad cow, maybe it’s time for your check-up?

On a more important note, is this plot ever going to go anywhere? It’s like the writer’s just shamelessly making it all up as they go along…

What do you get when you cross a bear and an elephant? A revocation of your research grant and a stern rebuke from the ethics committee.

Her Highness – Nov. 22 2015 11:10 AM
DSC_0012

Senior Member

She of the tea

So everyone, shall we have a meeting to go over Monkey employment then? These forums seem too… frivolous.
Jane – Nov. 22 2015 11:23 AM
captainquillbeard

Admin

the accountant

It’s Sunday. Maybe we should hold off until tomorrow, then we’ll be able to call around to see if anyone will hire Monkey.

Also, agreed, Boris’ jokes are becoming unbearable.

 

She logged off the forums and tried to catch up on email. Being a hedgehog, her eyesight was poor. Happily, when she had difficulties reading things she went by smell which worked remarkably well (as far as she could tell).

To: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
From: [redacted]
Subject: Pinterest Advice

Dear Princess Pricklepants, I try to be a polite, refined, well-mannered person, so naturally I have been throwing tea parties. I’ve been getting great ideas from Pinterest. Recently my husband, Ned, has been joining us at the parties, which is nice except that he eats the kale and quinoa salad with his fingers, and drinks his hot tea in a mason jar. I’ve told him that mason jars are not for tea, but are for lemonade (or for candle-making, creating a sewing kit, toy storage, crafting, holding tortilla chips, salad, cocoa mix, potpourri, etc.). How do I convince him to be more genteel and refined in the ways of proper manners at tea?

– Pinterest Paige

No Touching

Touching non-finger-food with hands and touching all the cookies – troubling manners.

To: [redacted]
From: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
Subject: Re: Pinterest Advice

Dear Penless Page, thanks for writing. Table manners are oh so very important, and a domain in which I have an extensive background. Let him know that the appropriate way to eat is to sniff out food, then bring one’s snout to the food dish, grab the food with one’s mouth, or perhaps slurp it in a bit with one’s tongue (provided it’s long enough), then crunch away. That is, until the monkey shows up, grabs the food with his hands, then throws it, and the food spills everywhere, leaving you very confused, while your attempts to teach manners and geography are completely ignored. Gently suggest to your husband that using his hands is being like that monkey, and nobody would want to be like that monkey. Don’t be that monkey.

-PPP

To: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
From: [redacted]
Subject: Refrigerator Lurking

Dear Princess, my kids and my husband will wander into the kitchen, go straight to the refrigerator, and then just stand there with the door open staring into the void. It drives me crazy – it wastes electricity, risks food going bad, and it’s just plain frustrating. What can I do to help others to break free from their former lives as fridge dwellers?

– Wishing They’d Cool It With The Refrigerator

Fridge Time II

Loitering with the refrigerator door open – uncouth

To: [redacted]
From: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
Subject: Re: Refrigerator Lurking

Dear Wishing You Were As Cool As a Refrigerator,

When a person, beloved pet, or monkey spends a long time lingering in the refrigerator, this might be because they have already eaten all of your food and are just wishing more would appear. Or perhaps they just love the rich and interesting smells that refrigerators emanate (such a fascinating bouquet). But if you ask politely for them to stop, and they act like a tricky monkey, then I’d recommend you write a note and place it on the refrigerator. Be sure to use a nice font. Make sure the note is polite, thoughtful, and kind with a clear helpful lesson on manners (and perhaps geography), so it can ultimately lead to an outcome somewhat like the plot of My Fair Lady, with singing, dancing, and a somewhat ambiguous ending.

To: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
From: [redacted]
Subject: A Crumby Old Bed

Dear Princess Pricklepants,

My husband Vern is a good man, but he brings toast, cookies, crackers, and even cups of tea into the bed all the time while sitting to read. He creates terrible messes! What’s a polite way to tell him to stop bringing food to bed?

– Neat Freak

Eating In Bed

Eating and drinking in bed – a politeness apocalypse

To: [redacted]
From: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com
Subject: Re: A Crumby Old Bed

Dear Nut Freak,

Too often one may find oneself in the situation of a person or monkey climbing on one’s bed, eating bananas and leaving the peels all over, spilling drinks, jumping on the bed, and even throwing pillows. To deal with this, hold a household meeting to discuss a plan to deal with the bed crumbs. Then have a followup meeting to go over the plan’s implementation details, followed by a series of pre-planning meetings for each item, and ideally some off-site training. At some point the amount time used by all the meetings and preparation will be so great that there will be no more time for bed eating/hopping/sleeping/etc., and the problem will be solved. Be sure to follow Robert’s Rules of Order.

-HRH PPP

To: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
From: [redacted]
Subject: Teenager Acting Out

Dear Princess,

I have a lovely 17-year-old step-daughter. Recently she has developed a lot of anger issues and has loud, tantrum-like outbursts where she curses out her father and me, and says very hurtful things. She even called me a witch! What can I do to bring her in line?

– Frustrated Mom

Witch Trial

Witch accusations – ten points from Slytherin

To: [redacted]
From: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
Subject: Re: Teenager Acting Out

Dear Frustrating Mom,

I think you may have written in before, when I was interrupted due to some dinosaur-related business complexities. Apologies if that’s so. Witch accusations are no laughing matter, and not to be taken lightly. They must be followed up by a proper trial. Our favorite method for testing whether someone is a witch is to build a large set of scales and weigh the accused to see if they weigh more than a duck. If they weigh less than a duck, then they’re a witch.

If you find they are a witch, ask them which house they were sorted into to, ask if they’ve met Hermione, and see if you can help get a teacher to reward their house points. Also please let me know (unless they’re in Slytherin). I’ve been looking for the secret passage to Diagon Alley for a very long time with no luck yet. I love the Harry Potter documentaries, and really would love to visit the wizarding world.

-Her Royal Highness PPP Grand Duchess of Tiggy-Winkle, Defender of Hufflepuff, etc.

To: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
From: [redacted]
Subject: Miniatures Photography Woes

Dear Princess,

My husband is a bit eccentric. Or, well honestly, really eccentric. He is a photographer who creates little sets with miniatures and props for his photos (he even puts our pet in the photos sometimes). It’s a hobby and seems to make him happy, I suppose, though it’d be nice if he cleaned up his mess more. Sometimes our nieces and nephews come over to visit and treat his photography equipment like toys, which bothers him. How do I get him to put his equipment away before people come over?

– Really Not Toys

Miniatures

Playing with other people’s toys without asking – very impolite

To: [redacted]
From: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
Subject: Re: Miniatures Photography Woes

Dear In Reality Toys,

That sounds like a really wonderful hobby. We have a doll house also, and enjoy putting our toy cows and animals in little scenes, though recently we’ve taken on a monkey in residence who has been ruining our setups, creating general chaos, and leaving banana peels in the tiny, carefully set up doll rooms. It smells like you need to get a lot more toys for your husband’s doll house so that if there are visitors they can play too.

-PPP

To: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
From: [redacted]
Subject: Advice re: Uptight Cow

Dear Princess,

Sometimes at work (I work as a programmer writing robot controller software and internet forum software) I like to read Facebook or hit Pinterest or read Cute Overload. My overbearing cow-orker Jane has become a total control-freak, insisting I focus on my work and nothing else. How can I tell her to loosen up a bit?

– Bessie

18658501738_ce897ffcfa_k

Surfing the net – politeness will vary

To: [redacted]
From: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
Subject: Re: Advice re: ... Cow friend

Dear Bessie,

We’ll put this on the agenda for the next meeting. I’m fairly sure we just need to get an outsider from the big city to come in and teach us about modern music and dancing to loosen things up and revitalize the spirit of the repressed townspeople, but this will need discussion.

-PP

To: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com
From: [redacted]
Subject: Need Advice About An Accursed Monkey

Dear Princess Pricklepants,

Due to tangled reasons involving a turgid plot too difficult to describe for both emotional reasons and time limits, I’ve wound up with a horrid monkey living in my home. It eats all the food. It is a conniving, cruel taker of snacks. With the monkey menace so serious, I feel that it would be courteous to wage guerilla warfare against the monkey. I was thinking that we could let the Universe decide whether the monkey should stay here by loading the monkey into our catapult and flinging the monkey far, far away. Please tell me that this is the polite thing to do.

-Primate Adversary

Catapult

Flinging monkeys with catapults indoors – clearly not polite

To: [redacted]
From: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com
Subject: Re: Need Advice About A... Monkey

Dear Boris,

It smells like it’s not so much manners you’re worried about here, but your food. Instead of trying to throw the monkey out of your world, help Monkey to improve as a monkey – be the changed monkey you want to see in the world.

Regarding the catapult, it’s never polite to fling monkeys with catapults inside. If you take the catapult outside its polite to fling jewel encrusted antiques, rare glasswork, a cat, or other items that would be fun to watch fly, but not monkeys. Perhaps you could take Monkey on a trip to a farm where Monkey could live happily?

-HRH PPP

To: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com
From: [redacted]
Subject: Re: Need Advice About An Accursed Monkey (don't edit my subject either)

Dear Princess Pricklepants,

I believe we’ve established that deliveries are Jane’s job. It’s polite to lock Monkey in a cage, right? It feels very polite to me.

I would mention my concerns about the lack of plot development with this episode, it’s like this whole post is just a pernicious plan by a particularly peculiar person to post pictures of their pet posed with pleasant pint-sized props and pen pleasantries rather than pursue a proper plot.

At this point I have to say that I truly feel that my rights are being violated by being used in this way, and plan to contact Amnesty International’s fictional bear’s rights program. Regardless, I know you will just ignore it. How do you always manage to ignore these pressing literary matters?

-Primate Adversary

Caged

Caging monkeys – probably poor manners.

To: [redacted]
From: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com
Subject: Re: Need Advice About A Monkey, Now With Improved Subject

Dear Boris,

I am fairly sure it is not polite to put monkeys in cages. I checked Haley’s 2007 etiquette guide, but it didn’t say anything one way or the other.

On an unrelated note, I have happy news. I’ve discovered something that Monkey is very good at. Monkey is a skilled and talented illustrator of poor manners. I think we should give him a job as a politeness model for every conceivable item in the “do not do”column.

-HRH PPP

To: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com
From: [redacted]
Subject: Re: Need Advice About A Banana-stealing Monster

It seems fitting that Monkey’s purpose in life is to serve as a warning to others.

– Boris

In our next episode, will we just forget the monkey and finally get to Princess Pricklepants and the Live Action Role Playing Game? Will we just wander and digress pointlessly some more? Will we stick with the monkey so we can do Princess Pricklepants and the Code Monkey? Will an homage to Curious George appear starring Her Highness as the Hedgehog Princess in the Yellow Hat? Tune in eventually when we finally get to publishing the next episode to find out what happens next. With the Holidays things will be spotty.

Princess Pricklepants and the Monkey Business


Hello again, dear readers,

In the news, we’ve got two items for you. 

First, you won’t ever have to worry about fame going to our head.  We made the mistake of looking at Alexa, a site that shows the relative popularity of web sites.  Our humble blog is now even humbler after seeing that we’re the 5,568,903th most popular blog on the Interwebs. But that means you, special reader, can show how much cooler you are to your friends by referencing this very blog which they definitely will never have heard of.

Second, we didn’t have another item, but felt badly about only having one.

Third, with the holidays looming, we might be a bit spotty on posts.

Fourth, we really had a second item, but got to it third.  Sorry for the confusion.

Fifth, Her Highness has been in a bit of a poetic phase recently.  Behold:

haiku2

haiku

And now, we begin our tale with our first photo with words under it (except the photos above, which clearly don’t count.)

DSC_0118

Her Highness endured the trip back from the island with some discomfort, but they made it back home. There were some problems finding a new home for the chickens and monkey.  Her farmer friends on hedgehogfarmercentral.com already had too many chickens and monkeys, so they had to stay at her place until arrangements could be made.

mornings

As a result of the new guests, Her Highness was having a very trying morning. So trying indeed, that these were the times that try a hedgehog’s soul. Things had been oddly unpleasant since the return from their great adventure. Chicken noise, chicken mess, and other chicken problems were piling up around her home.

But the chickens were the lesser concern. The greater was the monkey business. At first the monkey had seemed nice enough, but for some reason the monkey refused to speak. It just said “ooh ooh, aah aah” and then jumped around. Sometimes it threw things that definitely never, ever should be thrown, like pillows. It was a troublingly monkey.

monkey business

While Jane wasn’t pleased by the chicken who’d decided to use her head as a nest, the monkey put googly eyes on Her Highness’s hindquarters. So distressing! So very discourteous! So incredibly impolite!

But this was a relatively minor kerfuffle when compared to The Starbucks Incident…

DSC_0196

Her Highness wasn’t sure how this had happened.  One moment the monkey was gesticulating, oohing, and aahing along, pointing at the gargantuan Starbucks cup prop that Boris had bought on a whim from eBay.  The next thing she knew, she was in a very undignified and distressing position.

Regardless, it was definitely the last straw. Princess Pricklepants decided it was time to take the monkey on as a project. The monkey must become a genteel monkey, educated in the ways of politeness, manners, geography, figurative language, and related things that would prevent another Starbucks Incident.  It would be rather like My Fair Lady, except My Fair Monkey. Soon the monkey would be singing lovely songs about dancing all night, and all would be nice and proper.

travel plans

She worked out a lesson plan on hedgehoglessonplancentral.com, set up a classroom in the kitchen, and began her lesson in politeness. “Now, monkey, after you’ve eaten your banana, where does the peel go?” “Oooh ooh, ah ah.” The lesson quickly became very trying due to the language barrier.

She called Boris the bear into the kitchen.

“Boris, this monkey isn’t speaking words I understand.  I think this may be a Canadian monkey. Perhaps you can translate?”

The monkey picked up a sandwich and said “Ooh ooh, ah ah.”

Boris said, “No, that’s not Canadian.  Perhaps ‘ooh ooh, ah ah’ means sandwich?”

“The monkey always says that.  Maybe the monkey’s always talking about sandwiches?”

The monkey threw the sandwich.

She addressed the monkey, “No, monkey, throwing things is definitely not polite. Now, what is the capital of Argentina?”

“Ooh ooh, ah ah”

“No, it’s Buenos Aires. I showed you on the map. I think that the monkey’s not saying ‘sandwich,’ it’s just speaking some strange language. I think there’s a figurative language barrier. Perhaps it’s speaking Cockney?”

The monkey left. It didn’t say goodbye or engage in any polite formalities. This was not like My Fair Monkey at all.

She sighed. This was a problem. It’s difficult to educate a monkey in manners when you can’t speak with it. She asked herself, “What is the ideal way to solve any problem?”

She called a meeting.

meeting

Jane: Item one, naming the monkey. What should we call it?

Boris: Monkey.

Jane: Yes, but what should we name it?

Boris: Monkey.

(After a much longer conversation than is polite to relate, it was decided to name the monkey “Monkey.”)

Jane (cow accountant): Item two. Snacks. We’re totally out of bananas.

Boris (bear): It’s the monkey. The monkey is a banana thief! A cruel taker of snacks.

Jane: Did the monkey take the three pies that were out this morning? Remember a few minutes ago when we had two dozen donuts? I count eight now.

Boris: This meeting is about the monkey.

Princess: The monkey is also very impolite. We should discuss monkey manners.

Boris: As a bear’s-rights snacktivist, I find eating my food much more serious.

Jane: Well, all the items are about monkey business. I suppose we can we just talk about the monkey business, even if it does ruin the meeting format.

Princess: So what is the appropriate thing to do in these circumstances?

Boris: I move that we send Monkey back to the island. Jane, you can take the monkey in the boat. We’ll wait here.

Jane: Boris, you are insufferable.

Boris. Label me all you like. I don’t believe in labels. I’ve recently stopped believing in pronouns or adjectives as well. Prepositions are also out.

Jane: Moving on… I just looked up ‘monkey business’ on the internet. Do you know how many jobs can be replaced with trained monkeys? I had no idea. We should get this monkey a job.

Princess: Monkey, what kind of job would you like to do?

Monkey: Ooh ooh, ah ah.

Boris: It seems to be saying it wants to make sandwiches. Does some kind of sandwich-making job exist?

Princess: Is there a job where they pay you to throw things and be impolite? Monkey is very good at that.

Christine (cow safety officer): I don’t think we want to encourage Monkey throwing anything. Seriously.

With much more discussion that went on longer than is decorous or seemly to relate, and in a manner that was as rambling, overlapping, and digressive as only meetings can be, they determined that they should find the monkey some kind of job, the exact details of which were only loosely agreed upon (no throwing, no making sandwiches, no computer programming, and acupuncture was right out. Songwriting seemed like a promising idea, though.)

With that decision complete (and us passing 1000 words), it felt like a full day. Princess Pricklepants retired to her happy place to read a book.

bedtime

Will the monkey find gainful employment? Will chicken troubles appear? Will peculiar and not very relevant photos be forced in? Will chicken crossing road jokes appear? Is a chicken crossing the road poultry in motion? Will they think to ask the strangely-ignored chickens to translate the monkey’s mysterious language? Will they do anything with the Gem of Destiny? Will a tea party involving monkey manners lessons happen? All these and other questions may be answered when the next blog post appears.

Next: Princess Pricklepants’ Somewhat Distracted Guide to Manners, Monkeys, Etc.

Princess Pricklepants and the Perils of Pirate Plunder: The Ultimate Finale of Completion


Dear readers, first we want to thank you for your amazing patience in tolerating this story that’s extended well past the polite and well-mannered bounds of storytelling.

One first thing to note is that the hand servants went to Costa Rica, which was fantastic.  While away we saw things, and did things that were unrelated to maintaining her highness’ blog. Her highness elected to remain at home in her dome of solitude as we couldn’t get her passport worked out in time. Yes, you don’t need to know this, since it’s not relevant to the hedgehog princess’s quest to discover the Gem of Destiny, but we will make you know it anyway, because it was that cool.

Look, we saw a toucan:

toucan2

A Toucan!

Also, we saw other cool birds:

Red-legged Honeycreeper

Red-legged Honeycreeper (Another Cool Bird)

But we will spare you vacation photos.  You can see them here:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/somebachs/

Except, wait, we also saw other things like a cool waterfall.

Cool Waterfall

Cool Waterfall

We also saw Costa Rican squirrels and coati, but will spare pushing the photos on you here.

Oh, but also one last thing, we saw a lot of chickens.

One of many chickens

Foreshadowing

We have a few more firsts to offer before we embark on our tale.

As our first first, we have some fantastic news. Someone, somewhere searched for “how to be polite at a tea party” and discovered our humble blog. This is an absolutely fantastic thing.

As a second first, several readers wrote in to ask whether we were ever going to finish this story thread and go on with other things. Well, no actually they didn’t, but we wish they did. Few readers have written in with anything besides Quentin who wanted to know about whether it was acceptable to end sentences with prepositions. Grammar’s something we have little to do with. Still, answering questions is what we’re made for. So we’ll pronounce that one should never end sentences with prepositions, nor use run-on sentences, and that’s what we’ll stick to.

As one post-ultimate first that makes that last first less of a last first, we wanted to mention that our marketing department had pitched the title, “Princess Pricklepants and the Perils of Pirate Plunder: The Grand Denouement’s Ultimate Finale – The Supreme Ending Part I,” but happily that didn’t happen.  “Princess Pricklepants and the Perils of Pirate Plunder: Ultimate Vengeance – The Final Denouement Part I,” also was rejected.  “Princess Pricklepants and the Perils of Pirate Plunder: The Toucan Terror,” was not pitched, though we wish it had been, and are now thinking about a toucan terror episode.

And so we begin with our first picture with words under it.

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With the guidance of Bubo, our intrepid heroes reached Henakau Island. They looked at it, then quickly turned away – having seen it they really wanted to not continue looking at it.

They decided to begin their daily Quillbeard Quest meeting as a way to do something that didn’t involve facing that scene.

Bessie the generic cow said, “Wow, that’s a lot of chickens.”
Boris popped in, “Ahem, the number of chickens is not on the agenda.  Item the first, the narrator doesn’t like using things like “Boris said,” and “Jane replied,” and so on, so we’re going to use something in line with the format in dramatic scripts rather than a story narrative. Given the theatrical nature of the set design, it seems fitting. All the world’s a stage, and all the men, women, cows, bears, hedgehogs, and various other animals are merely players, eh?”
Jane: What does that even mean? “Narrator?” We aren’t characters in some story or play. Can you stop for even a minute with this meta-fourth-wall-whatever business? You’re going to alienate readers.
Boris (annoyed): If there was an Olympic event in wrongness, you’d take gold. There are so many dimensions and aspects to how you’re wrong it would take an epic quest to…

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Franklin (calling down, interrupting): Excuse me, can we get to item two?
Jane: Yes, good. Item two. The skunk wants down. We will vote. All those in favor?
(Everyone but Franklin): No.
Jane: Decided. On to item three. We’re at Henakau island. Bubo, what do we do now?
Bubo: First, make sure we bring Boris as a translator. Also, let’s bring those bottles as a gift. Third, we’ll need to establish some kind of rapport with the locals.
Jane: Well, rapport with the cows shouldn’t be too hard. Hope the chickens like bears and owls.
Boris: My experiences with chickens have been generally positive.  Better than with the toucans.  Terrifying things, toucans.
Bubo: Chickens should have no reason to fear a large predatory bird.
Moonflower: I feel like you guys are ignoring me.
Jane: Okay, so bears and owls are fine with chicken rapport. Good. Now to get to the Boris item I wish we could skip. (pause and sigh) “Homericness.”

mast

Boris: Yes, thank’s, eh. I am deeply concerned – when this adventure began we had a fine start at following a heroic journey – we even had a reference to Homer’s Polyphemus from the Odyssey. There was even a visit to an island with a magician. Everything was copacetic. Then things stopped being copacetic. We have not had an ordeal of visiting the underworld, we haven’t reaped the hard gained rewards from that ordeal – we’re dropping the ball. I propose that we adopt a mission statement: “Homericness.” To live up to that mission statement, I suggest that we tie Princess to the mast while we pass through sirens singing beautiful songs that lead to our death if we hear them. All those in favor?
Christine (cow safety officer): While I understand you’d really like to do this, it would involve at least fifteen different violations of Hedgehog Adventurer Maritime Code Section VIII.
Jane: Also, a single word is not a mission statement.
Boris: Well, could we turn the boat around and be forced to choose either all dying in a whirlpool, or passing under a cliff-dwelling beast that will grab and eat a few of us at random?
Jane: Absolutely not.
Boris: Since the rules prohibit tying hedgehogs to masts, and the random death by cliff-beast suggestion was a non-starter, I propose a new mission statement: “Gilgameshness.”  We shall pick up the narrative themes of the Epic of Gilgamesh. Princess will battle an ogre named Humbaba.

troll
(Everyone else at same time): No.
Jane: Also, a single word is not a mission statement.
Boris: Deadly toucans?
(Everyone else at same time): No.
Boris: We’re doing it all wrong, you guys… All wrong. I guess we should get back to preparing to debark since we’re at the island. I fear we’re going to be way past our standard word count at this point, especially with all that’s needed to complete this epic.

DSC_0018

They looked out at the island. It looked remarkably similar to the other islands they’d visited in some ways, other than the inhabitants. They were somewhat interested, yet troubled, due to those inhabitants, and a little tired of islands, longing for living rooms, castles, farms, and other places that weren’t islands.

DSC_0055

They debarked. A rooster approached.
Rooster: Greetings to you, eh. It appears that we finally have adventurers worthy of the Gem of Destiny. Tell me adventurers, what are your names, eh?
Jane: What?
Franklin: Can anyone understand what he’s saying?
Boris: It’s ok, he’s speaking Canadian. I’ll translate, “Greetings to you. It appears that we finally have adventurers worthy of the Gem of Destiny. Tell me adventurers, what are your names?”
Princess: Oh, well I am Princess Penelope Pricklepants. I have a lovely and extensive title, but we can save that for later. These are my loyal friends who joined me on our quest. Perhaps we could skip listing everyone’s names for now, though?
Rooster: All’s copacetic then, eh.
Boris: He says that’s fine.
Jane: We should give him the bottles. We’re supposed to give him a gift.

DSC_0040

Princess: O noble rooster who has not yet shared his name, we offer to you these bottles of a fluid we assume to be wonderful as a gift.
Rooster: Thanks, eh. Well, we have a tradition here of giving a gift when one is received. Here.
(handing over gem of destiny)

DSC_0074

Princess: Odd, I thought it was red for some reason…
Rooster: Oh, the color changes.  Here’s an instruction manual, eh.  The Gem is pretty easy to use, and can be of great benefit to many if held in the paws of a worthy hedgehog.
Boris: No! We are not ending things like this!
Princess: What’s the matter Boris? We should be happy – we completed our quest. It would be delightful to return home and no longer live in close quarters with one another on a ship, we can all get back to my house and have a delightful tea party.  I could wear my favorite hat.
Boris: This is just what I’m talking about – this is no ending, this is a bolted on non-denouement with no dramatic tension and resolution, doesn’t even deal with the question of what the gem of destiny is for. Gratuitous monkey thrown in for no reason. No pirate theming. No fulfillment of the heroic quest. It’s a travesty! An outrage! I thought I was in some kind of existential nightmare, but I see this is far worse. This is postmodern! But being trapped in a postmodern work is an existential torture, so it’s even worse.
Jane (still in a poor mood from the long journey, and having not had a proper cup of tea in ages): Boris, let me offer you this sign from the universe – her death-facing trial was having to listen to you.
Boris (mumbling): That’s not even how the universe works.
Princess: Well Mr. Rooster, thank you so much for the gem, we appreciate it, and really want to get home, so bye.
Rooster: Say, could you give us a lift back to civilization, eh? I think we’re done, and it’d be nice to just live on a farm. Since the first days our ancestors have passed on a tradition of explaining how it’s not all that nice, and it’s much nicer on the mainland, eh. This isn’t even a cool island where there are toucans, and cool birds (besides chickens), or waterfalls.
Boris: I refuse to translate. This is killing me. Also, toucans aren’t cool birds.
Jane: I think he said they want to come back on our ship… Mr. Rooster, peck once if this is correct, twice if this is incorrect.
(one peck)
Jane: The monkey too?
(one peck)
Jane: You’re sure about the monkey?
(one peck)
Princess: Of course we can take you all (including the monkey) back to our vaguely-defined country/place of residence, it would be a pleasure.

They packed up, boarded, and most sighed with relief that they were done except for the trip home.

The sense of relief was very short lived.

The sigh of relief was very short lived.

Stay tuned for our post-ultimate finale episode: Princess Pricklepants and the Perils of Pirate Plunder: The Long and Tedious Ship Ride Back (working title). Will they resort to fisticuffs? Will Boris come to terms with his crisis of existing in an existential post-modern drama? Will we just skip that episode and call this the final finale? Will the author ever learn the meaning of the words “first” and “last?” These and other questions may be answered at some point in the future when the next blog post appears.

DSC_0076

Boris: I’m going to write a haiku about how unbearable it is to be on a ship laden with chickens.
Jane: Of course you will. Hey, what do you call bears with no ears?
Boris: What?
Jane: B