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.

 

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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.

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“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.

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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.

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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:
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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

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mission

bank

polite1

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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).

 

The Curse of the Controlling Cow


(previously)

Greetings dear readers, it is I, Boris Excelsior blogging once more. By now you’re all too familiar with the strange creatures with whom I dwell. Somehow they suffer an ontological blindness to reality (save the chickens, they see all). They are like people chained to the walls of a cave seeing only shadows on the cave walls. This leaves them in an odd state (though perhaps their ignorance is a blessing). I know too well the nature of our cruel authorial overlord whose completely derivative tropes, shallow whims, avoidance of metaphors, tortured prose, literary floundering, poverty of figurative language, and annoying tendency towards alliteration leave me in endless despair (and don’t get me started on the photos which strangely focus on hedgehogs over bears). Lastly, as the protagonist, you’d think I’d be more central to things, but sometimes the foolish author forgets me altogether(!), more evidence of my point.  Back to the others, they see only their world of appearances rather than reality, where their random wanderings from some improbable situation and lingering threads of plots are invisible.

Original_Owl

I feel like I am Owl from Winnie the Pooh, seeing all, knowing all, a fount of erudition, and another protagonist who strangely isn’t present as much as might be expected. I envy the others in some ways, free from seeing the literary crime that is my universe. Yet, their ignorance seems to be at the root of their lingering character defects (especially the cows). Take Jane, the unbearable. This bear bears umbrage at her bare cruelty. Perhaps her controlling passive-aggressive ways are a product of a complete lack of free will, dictated upon her by authorial cruelty, but I believe it to be deliberate choice. Those little notes complaining about the missing donuts, the way she hides pie, the subtly harsh way she sips coffee, it must be an indicator of some kind of vicious consciousness, no matter how dim.

And then there’s that hedgehog. She’s sweet, and while perhaps sophisticated in manners, that sophistication ends with her intellect. Perhaps free will is inapplicable and she’s driven by instinctive etiquette. When she opens her mouth it’s probably innate to endlessly endorse etiquette while abusing alliteration. And that alliteration! Always an abominably awful attack against articulation. Cringe-worthily contrived composition.

That’s all for now, more musings soon. Much to say about that accursed monkey and I have some thought to share on deconstructionism – the concept of the death of the author is fascinating. Off to the book club with the chickens, we’re reading Dostoevsky.

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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.