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serious trio

The Dedes came accidentally  into being in 2012 and Devil was the very first Dede ever. So he is the wise old man and the only one, who is allowed to say what he likes to their Artist without fear of being reprimanded. Mouse is getting on in years as well. She too is one of the first fifteen and has the reputation of being a hard worker and gossip. At the same time everyone knows she is the good soul who holds everything together. L’Artiste arrived a little later on the scene and is naturally very close to their Artist’s heart. But like their real Artist, L’Artiste has the tendency to withdraw into his own little world when it gets too much. And boy, can it get too much with more than 70 Dedes overall. Though most of them keep a low profile, they are nobodies after all. It’s all in their heads.

Well Mouse and Devil always belonged to the management committee along with Detail. Unfortunately sometime last year Detail went missing. And Top Dog… shall I really mention Top Dog, the narcissistic puppet? I guess I have to, as he was the one that threw the Dedeworld into turmoil. Better leave it at this.

So, Mouse and Devil decided they want to get the band back together. With Detail missing, they want to get L’Artiste on board. The Dedes are very big on communication and finding amicable solutions, even though they don’t always succeed. They believe three Dedes make for  better discussions than two – as one will always have to tip the scale.

“Who do you think is interested in our sad little lives?” asked L’Artiste when Mouse approached him with the idea of a new project. “This is not the right question” Devil jumped in, “we have never done things simply to please the readers!”

“Why would we go through all this trouble, if not for the audience and the likes?” said L’Artiste surprised. “You as an artist should know best,” countered Devil, “aren’t you doing your art, to get your head around issues that trouble you?”

“Point taken” said L’Artiste

“I can count on you then!” said Mouse and moved a bit closer.

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The Dedes are the reflection of their Artist and truth be told they struggle. When they first popped up, the Artist was still working and had to deal with different personalities on a daily basis. As an educator it was the Artist’s intention to find win-win situations where possible, or if not possible, at least come to an understanding of the thinking of others.

The puppets provide an excellent tool to investigate any issue in an non-threatening way and from many different angles. Like in human society, different puppets have different opinions derived from their own individual experiences. While these, on scrutiny, often don’t even exclude each other, they often result in major disagreements – even animosities, when everyone stubbornly insists on their own position. The key to understanding is careful and sincere listening. A skill well worth developing.

Then Top Dog showed up in their little society and everything changed. All of a sudden there was this knifing, lying puppet that twisted words and didn’t care about reason, truth or the well-being of others, but only about his own advantage and power. In typical Dede-fashion they took it lightheartedly at first. Sadly, what happened to the Dede-society was mirrored big time in the real world shortly after.  Over night, the Dedes were no longer funny! And the struggle began: The Dedes’ life philosophy was challenged to the core, if not endangered.

Meanwhile, the Artist in her typical fashion is sitting on the fence. Should the Dedes die, or should they come out fighting? While there is no definitive verdict, the Dedes are still potting around on Instagram. So the Artist kept the Dedes alive as she believes coming back from the dead is arguably more difficult than coming back from sick-leave. While the Dedes were convalescing the blog was somewhat neglected. They really should be out of their sick-bed by now.

Well, of course I am the Artist and the Dedes reflect my own struggle. Personally, I am blessed beyond my own belief, and live an extremely rich and fulfilled life (not in the monetary sense, though). I haven’t always, and like everyone else I have my ups and downs. I invented Top Dog, when I had to cope with a bullying work environment. Writing Top Dog’s adventures helped me tremendously externalising the issue. Though in the end the real Top Dog and her antics did grind me down and even worse Top Dogs popped up everywhere in the political world, like mushrooms after a nuclear fall-out.

My solution was to withdraw back into the privacy of my own life and onto a 1.5ha lifestyle block being as self-sufficient as possible. It suits me to a tee, as I always had hermit-style tendencies (hence the first puppet book ‘Hermit’s Web’).

The Dedes on the other hand are public figures, they like an audience and once again, they complain that I am not doing enough for them. They believe they have a message worth hearing. And there we are…

Do they really?

The Super Dede Competition is well and truly over and the puppets have to find a new project. But before the next thing, they had to post the Artist’s Survival Cookbooks to the winners. Foxy Lady volunteered to go to the post office in town. As this is quite a trip nowadays, she made a real day out of it.

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After she had run the errand she visited one of her favourite places, the old Stone Store in Kerikeri, which is the oldest surviving stone building in New Zealand. Looking across the river she had an idea: “Maybe we should show our readers more of where we live” she said. “People in other parts of the world will yawn” said the Artist. “A building from 1836 is not something to write home about. Where I come from, there are building half a millennium old and older!”

“It’s not a competition” huffed Foxy Lady. And the readers agreed, they would like to see more of where the Dedes hang out.

Though not all Dedes agree.

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“I don’t think it is a good idea to show our readers our dilapidated realm” said Snotty Nosed Prince to his father Benevolent King, when he heard about the suggestion. “Why not? It is refreshing! Everyone on Instagram shows a picture perfect world.When we open our castle, people realise we are just as average as the next person.”

“I’d rather like to keep up appearances,” said the prince and walked away.

“One day you will realise, one-up-man-ship doesn’t get you anywhere!” said the king calmly and the benefit of old age.

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“No one is interested in how you personally live” laughed Court Jester and tickled Snotty Nosed Prince with the tip of a fern leave. “I understand our readers want to see more of New Zealand, our beautiful country!”

“Not quite” a reader responded. “We are interested in both.”

Some of the Dedes are still not convinced. Calamity admitted that seeing all these beautiful pictures on Instagram make her depressed.

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“We live in a beautiful environment, true, but seeing all these nice landscape images depresses me when I have to go back to work on Monday.” Some did understand her concerns, but others believe he should try to live in the moment. Well, good advice, but it is not that easy with her predisposition.

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Calamity found a supporter in Rob D Light who said he totally understands her. “Cheerful pictures on Instagram drag you down big time. It makes me so aware I never will be on the sunny side of life. I’ve tried and tried and tried!”

Now the readers started to get concerned that the Dedes are so down on their surroundings. Most of them are actually not! It is just that the sullen ones spoke up loudly and skewed the opinions so the world got the wrong impression.

You never will please Calamity. She puts a negative slant on everything and is terribly envious of anyone who has a better live than her (in her judgement). While Rob D Light is tired of trying to break down walls, busily put up by others to exclude him.

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“Sadly these two puppets have a point” admitted Philosopher to L’Artiste “the real Dedeland is a place in the mind. When you lack positive imagination it must be an extremely dreary place.”

 

 

The last week in the Super Dede Competition is question week. The readers can ask anything and one of the contestants will have to answer.

@francisvalela asked if the Dedes are ever making a video. “Funny you should ask,” said Push Push and ran off the stage to grab a tape.

“We used to make films in the old days. This one is footage from my first talent show!” she cried and waved the tape around. Then she added quietly “sadly I failed back then. I have worked so hard to improve and this is the reason why I am so annoyed about the size of the stage.”

The readers thought her dancing was tremendous and no one could understand how she she failed last time.

The next day @gulayse56 asked “When you are not interacting with humans and are offstage totally by yourselves, in which language / how do you communicate?” Monkey was very keen to answer that one. In lieu of enough monkeys he had to ask Mouse and Devil for help to demonstrate. “We have two native languages” he said

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“Firstly of course ‘Dada’ and secondly ‘No Evil’. Unfortunately ‘No Evil’ is spoken less than Dada and is on the verge of dying out. We really should start a programme to remind Dedes how it is spoken properly.”

@gulayse56 thanked Monkey for his response and believes ‘No Evil’ should be revived to exceed the boundaries of Dedeland. It should be taught to all humans as well.

We then had a question from our off-line friend John Doe, which Court Jester found interesting and was keen to answer. “You are nobodies and you even have to share your robes. How does it feel to be poor?”

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“We believe” said Court Jester for once seriously “rich and poor are comparative terms. Poorer than who? Richer than what? Okay we don’t eat caviar, but we eat well because we grow our own food. I have less possessions than the king, but I consider myself richer because I am free!” And on and on he went with his examples until Devil interrupted: “Is this leading somewhere or are you simply waffling?”

“Okay in this day and age feeling rich or poor is mostly a mental perception” summarised Court Jester, “and we Dedes feel rich despite being nobodies!”

This answer obviously brought on a flood of new questions and Mouse found a way combine some that were related: ” @angelcorpuschristi wanted to know about the Dedes secret language, @wizened_gnome was keen to find out whether the Dedes get all their knowledge from the Artist or also from other sources and @showtiart wanted to know if the Dedes were actors or real.

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Skeleton Edeltraut who knows all the secrets was the right puppet to answer. “Of course the Dedes are real, but they can’t talk to humans directly. Therefor they had to invent this Artist figure who communicates their story to the rest of the world. The Dedes do not learn from the Artist, on the contrary, they learn from observation and then educate the Artist.”

The last question was directed at Cool Cat, as she hadn’t answered so far. It was @theblanche who asked “If a Dede is stuck in the rain, what next?” Cool Cat got a big fright, as she knows ‘Self-regulation‘ lives with @theblanche and of course she immediately feared this ex-pat Dede had an accident. But no, @theblanche confirmed it was a more esoteric question.

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After this was cleared up Cool Cat set out to answer, but Top Dog came on stage and pushed her to the side. “I am the only one who can answer that, as I am the only Dede, who has lived through this ordeal!” and then he told the story again, when this horrible Artist left him out in the backyard for two weeks around Easter time three years ago. Only after the insistence of a kind reader was he pardoned and let back into the house.

“Didn’t we learn yesterday, the Artist is only the figment of our imagination.” Cool Cat pointed out. “Obviously someone is lying!”

After Cool Cat had expressed her concerns for ‘Self-regulation‘ we received a picture from the puppet, showing her on an outing to Mt Hood. Not sure if she really enjoyed her outing, she looks pretty uncomfortably cold.

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The Artist also confirmed the truth of Top Dog’s story. He had indeed spent two weeks outdoors as punishment for bad behaviour. Much to the disappointment of everyone, he weathered all storms and survived unscathed. One of our readers suggested, next time we should try three weeks.

Charly, the unicorn Dede who lives in New York, wanted to be the judge of the competition, despite he is currently suffering from a cold. He had read somewhere that in the old days judges put a white cloth on their heads when they read the verdict. So he popped a cloth on his head and begged “let me be the judge.” Francis Valela had a hard time convincing Charly that he is by no means the judge and anyway it might be wise to wait until all the summaries have been published this week.

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“Fair enough” conceded Charly “but I can tell you now, I was very impressed by Court Jester’s response re rich and poor!”

To be continued next Monday.

 

 

Last week the competition started in earnest. And the contestants had to talk about themselves. Push Push was first up. But she started with a complaint. The stage was too small for her.

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Devil reminded here that she should talk about herself and why she wanted to take part in the competition. “Well,” said Push Push “it is a little known fact, that I am a sponsored Dede. That means I have been sold to a collector. Since I forgot to send my sponsor a Christmas card last year, I felt obliged to take part in the competition to push my value up”

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Cool Cat was taken by surprise that she made it into the competition and she let us in on her secret: “I am a fashion girl and want to look my best. When I first didn’t make it into the competition I was so upset I cooked myself a huge meal of mouse, my favourite. And then  when I heard I made it, I had to eat grass to throw it all up again. What a waste!”

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“Who likes Mouse pie?” asked Monkey. “I like pancakes with banana and I think the committee should announce that any comment in the competition goes into the draw for the ‘Artist’s Survival Cookbook’.” He showed the readers the page with his recipe in the book. “Stop it!” said Devil from behind the curtain “tell us something we don’t know!”

Monkey took a deep breath and said proudly “Once, an old lady said, I looked like Obama!” and then he added with a lower disappointed voice “but I think she wasn’t wearing her glasses.”

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Skeleton Edeltraut wasn’t too sure anymore, whether her decision was right. “Everyone said I will feel so much better, when I come out of the closet” she said while she was tightly holding on the curtain. “Now I am no longer sure, whether I can do it. You know, this is a point of no return. Once I am out, there is no going back! The door will be closed forever!” The readers were very supportive and encouraged Skeleton Edeltraut to continue.

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Court Jester was taken aback by the whole event. “OMG” he sighed, “are my competitors really taking it  that seriously? Where is the fun in their lives? What the heck, I dress up as Leprechaun and have a pint of Guinness. Cheers!”

And that was the end of the first week.

Now the next day Mouse had to make good for her omission. “Monkey is right,” she admitted very embarrassed dragging a copy of the Artist’s Survival Cookbook on stage. “I have forgotten to mention that any comment during the competition goes into the draw to win our flour and water recipe book. I so wish Detail was here, she certainly would have reminded me, but she is still missing.”

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The competition is always very stressful, so on Sunday Mouse and Devil needed to have some time out. They went to the beach, sat on a bench and didn’t talk all day.

To be continued next week….

Well, it should have been all easy peasy. But you would not believe what happened last week. As usual, the readers voted who will take part in this year’s Super Dede competition.  To give all contestants the same chance, voting closed on Tuesday, two days after the last contestant was introduced. Unfortunately the management committee gave an example on how someone could still affect the temporary result.  If someone wants Eve L. gone, they could leave a comment on Cool Cats post. NOT COOL at all. Sure enough two people followed that ‘advice’ and left a comment on the cats post, with the result that Cool Cat passed Eve L.

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Of course Eve L was not taking it lying down. As we already know he was working on a complaint but miraculously he also got a comment from St Petersburg, Russia. (Truly, I could not have made this up!)

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No idea what it says**, but nifty as Eve L is, he figured out the rules mention comments but don’t stipulate the language or whether the comment makes sense.

The next day Mouse, the organiser, wanted to chuck it all in after she looked the the revised vote count.

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“This competition is such a mess.” she said. “Now Cool Cat and Eve L. both wiggled their way into the competition and they pushed Push Push, the elephant out. ”

Devil had enough of the kerfuffle “I am making an executive decision here” he said firmly “Eve L is under suspicion of colluding with a foreign power and should be barred from this year’s competition!” Does anyone dare to disagree with Devil?

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Meanwhile Push Push was so anxious whether she gets in this time, that she did her own recount and had to find out that Foxy Lady did better than her as well. Honest as she is, she admitted the fact to Foxy Lady “nobody seemed to have noticed that you have a point more than I as well.” Luckily, Foxy Lady absolutely hates talent shows and patted the elephant sisterly on the back while she replied: “And we won’t tell anyone either. With your colourful circus personality you will do so much better than I. I am just a cranky old liberal academic. No one seriously wants to see me in a talent show!”

Well, she hadn’t reckoned with our readers. Sure enough someone said “I do!” But by then voting had closed.

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Finally the group picture of the five contestants was released. Not a particularly happy bunch, I must say. Who can blame them. After these two chaotic weeks, they were totally exhausted and they were allowed to go off for a weekend of golfing to get a good break before the competition starts in all seriousness today.

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Problem is, the Dedes can’t play golf at all. Gifting them a golfing weekend just sounded good. So, how do the Dedes relax? They went to a spa anyway. Sitting in a hot tub is no good either, as they are not water tight. To make the best of it Cool Cat treated herself to a massage by Chance. Pity the Dedes have no bodies and a massage is somewhat wasted on them too.

…To be continued next week.

**PS: We tried to find out from enders_production what their comment meant. While they responded, they didn’t engage with our request. It happens that we have Russian friends of our own and even though we did not get a direct translation from them either, we were told it is a word of encouragement. And we opted to believe it.

 

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Finally the birds managed somehow to peck Cash Cow’s tummy. This gave her a big fright. “That hurts, you silly things,”  shouted Cash Cow angrily, while she let go of them and they could escpae. “And you also  ruined my ear drum.”

“What were you thinking?” asked Nitpicker who also has a rather large beak.

“What’s it to you?” asked Cash Cow dismissively “they are not even Dedes!”

“Only because you have Cash to your name, doesn’t give you the right to use whatever or whoever you want!”

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Cash Cow figured out quckly that using the birds was a dumb idea. They didn’t give her the expected relief. In their distress they started chirping like there is no tomorrow, right into the cow’s big ears. You should have seen how quickly she pulled them out!

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Oops, I am a bit behind with the storyline here on the blog. When I wanted to post last night, we had a power cut and it didn’t come back until sometime in the middle of the night.

So Deutsch Fraulein did indeed make her cinnamon short bread. But Rob D Light wasn’t impressed, he doesn’t feel like short bread, instead he lamented: “I need no Christmas cake. I need a house and a job.”

“I’ll build you one” offered L’Artiste in the spirit of Christmas and grabbed a few pieces of short bread. At first Rob was terribly excited that someone would care so much about him, to actually help him. But then when he saw the result he said disappointedly “very artistic.” We all know what that means, don’t we?

Yesterday, the Dedes decided they have to do a bit more for a proper Christmas mood and they dug out their rendition of “Twelve Days of Christmas” they did last year as their first project on Instagram. The performance is strictly for tone deaf people only.

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And sure enough, Cash Cow, who is really stressed out with the Christmas season was driven bonkers by the singing. She looked everywhere for ear plugs, but all she could find where these two birds, with good sized beaks. They, on the other hand, weren’t too happy to help, really! But what can you do when Cash Cow is strangling you?

 

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The Dedes have two anniversaries to celebrate. In the week between Christmas and New Year the first Dedes turn 5. Yes, that is a biggy for some of the Dedes. But today is also a very special day for all the Dedes: exactly one year ago they started their journey on Instagram, and what a journey it has been! In this year they definitely lost their innocence and came of age. They believe it is a story for keeping and are currently collating it into a book, but it is not quite finished yet. They could not have done it without their audience and they want to  THANK ALL THE WONDERFUL READERS who enjoyed and participated in the spirit of the Dedes. As a special gift for you, I have put together a print-ready A3 poster with mug shots of the entire cast to date and their names. No more wondering who is who. If you send me a comment, or an email  I will pass the pdf file on to you.  In the meantime we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your support!

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