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Will Our Patreon Be Poppin’? Eight Days Left on Our Special Offer

Our penguins welcome a new penguin

Winds in the east\ Mist comin’ in\ Like something’s a brewin’\ About to begin\ Can’t put me finger\ On what lies in store\ I’ll write an extra article\ If I get five more (patreon members)…

One-man band, poet, chalk artist, chimney sweep… Bert has a lot of jobs in “Mary Poppins” and he does them with style. Anyone who can go up on the rooftops and step in time or chase a cartoon fox through his own drawing has a flexibility of thinking that allows him to be more creative. Flexibility in thinking is one of the four key categories that are measured when scientists study creativity.

We have eight days left in our Patreon promotion. For every five people that join at any level before August 1, I will write an additional creativity article. I already have one ready to go for August 14: “’Popeye,’ criticism, and creativity.” If I did the next one on “Mary Poppins,” my Patreon will be popping!

Join our Patreon today and let’s see how many articles on creativity I can write in a month! (I could probably do a whole series on “Mary Poppins.” The Sherman Brothers, the animation/live action, Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke… That’s even without considering the sequel.)

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Heroes of the Haunted Mansion: Marc Davis

Marc Davis is one of Walt’s Nine Old Men, who worked many of the early films designing characters that included animals from Bambi and Maleficent. When Marc Davis came over to WED, he brought his sense of humor with him. He added humorous scenes to the Jungle Cruise and was one of the main designers of the Pirates of the Caribbean.

When he was brought on to the Haunted Mansion project, he had to struggle with Claude Coats and his design preferences. The two men were equals in the office. Coats wanted a scary Mansion; Davis wanted something funnier. A compromise of sorts was reached, and Coats’ influence can be seen at the beginning of the attraction with Davis’ scenes becoming stronger in the end.

“I think that’s the whole thing with creativity is if there’s something new out there, why not give it a try?” said Marc Davis (Disney Family Album). Use Marc Davis as your motivation and give something new a try.

Sources: “The Haunted Mansion: Imagineering a Disney Classic” by Jason Surrell.

“Disney Family Album #17 – Marc Davis” at https://youtu.be/pVf6DdqkpjU

For more on creativity and the Haunted Mansion, get “The Haunted Mansion Is Creativity” online or at the Candy Cane Inn in Anaheim.

For more on Disneyland and Creativity, order “Disneyland Is Creativity.” For deep thinking about the Disney Company, check out “Penguinate! The Disney Company.”

You can also find more articles about Disney, Disneyland and creativity at our archive website, www.penguinate.weebly.com, and on our blog. If you would like to get even more articles about creativity, join our Patreon and become a Penguinator.

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Is a creativity storm coming? You decide. Nine Days Left for You and Your Friends to Sign up!

The penguins are out of the box (even if the cat is still in it). A creativity storm is coming, but it can only happen with your help! For every 5 people that sign up at any level for our Patreon, I will write an additional creativity article. If you want to know more about creativity, this will get you there quickly!

Our current schedule looks like this:

  • August 1: The blog email list – this is open to anyone who has signed up for our email list at Penguinate.com and should include a summary of all the articles that we released on my blog.
  • August 2: I will post a copy of the blog email and add some tasty tidbits to it like a creativity tip.
  • August 14: Creativity Post 1 – What do 1980’s ‘Popeye,’ criticism and creativity have in common? This will be released on Penguinate.com with a reminder on Patreon sent the next day.
  • August 18: Our Patreon Anniversary!
  • August 22: Penguin of the Month photo

Join us at Patreon to make sure that I have to write something about creativity every day! The more people that sign up on or before July 31, the more articles you’ll see.

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Are There “Small” Choices? Free will versus Fate in “The Adjustment Bureau” and “The Good Place”

Spoiler Alert: This post contains spoilers for “The Adjustment Bureau” and “The Good Place” through season 3. If you haven’t seen either of these shows, I suggest you bookmark this page and return to it after watching them. The article is below the trailers.

In “The Adjustment Bureau,” Senate candidate David Norris, played by Matt Damon, finds himself confronted by a shadowy organization of supernatural beings, who answer to the Chairman. The Chairman has set mankind on a path so that it doesn’t destroy itself. Norris’ burgeoning relationship with Elise, played by Emily Blunt, threatens this plan.

Norris is told that humanity has the illusion of free will. He can choose the brand of toothpaste he wants or what beverage to have with lunch, but some choices are made for him with an adjustment by the shadowy organization. It can be as something as small as spilling coffee or missing keys, or it can be something larger like a mind scan. These things affect what people do and thus affect the path they take in their lives. In this scenario, the type of toothpaste or beverage one chooses has no effect on the outcome of his or her life or the way the world will go.

Flip to “The Good Place,” a surprisingly smart sit-com that deserves a better designation. When people die, they are sent either to the good place or to the bad place based on how points they scored while alive. However, no one has gotten into the good place in 521 years because life and its choices are too complicated to sort out. A good deed can have several bad consequences, that though unintended, count against the person doing the good deed. (For example, a boy scout saves an old lady from being hit by a bus, but the old lady is a serial killer; the boy scout would get negative points, even though he had no way of knowing about her and actually believed he was doing the right thing.) In this world, selecting a toothpaste or choosing the wrong drink to have with lunch could have dire enough consequences to send someone to the bad place.

So, which is it? If we have free will, are there small choices? And if we’re constrained by some master plan? Which of our choices would affect our after-life destination and/or how the world would change as we make them? How would we know?

These questions are hard to answer. The only things we can do are treat each other with kindness and make the best decisions available to us with the information we have at the time we have to make those decisions. That still means we have to overcome our defects and work hard to improve ourselves and our decision-making abilities. With the Internet and media literacy, there’s no excuse for being uninformed. But starting with kindness, compassion and empathy towards others will make those decisions much easier.

Get “Penguinate! Essays and Short Stories” for ideas on how to improve your creativity for better life and world.

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Countdown to August’s Creativity Storm Writing: 10 Days Left to Add Your Presence

For every 5 people who join our Patreon between now and July 31, 2019, I will write an extra creativity article for Patreon members (Penguinators) only. So far, I write one article a month on creativity for Penguinators. The articles have included “The Secrets to Creativity” series, with supporting articles on Penguinate.com. You can read and work on:

  • The Real Secrets of Creativity: By the Books
  • The Secrets of Creativity: Paradox
  • The Secrets to Creativity: Deep Thinking
  • The Secrets of Creativity: Seeing for Penguinators
  • The Secrets of Creativity: Play

Those are the most recent posts, along with a breakdown of our success in June at comic conventions and with my books.

In August, I have already scheduled the first article I am writing for the creativity storm:

What Do 1980’s ‘Popeye’ and Criticism Have to Do with Creativity?

It will be released for Penguinators only on August 14. If you want to read it, you’ll need to join our Patreon at any level, even $1! Get four of your friends to join and I’ll write another creativity article! For as long as you’re a member, you’ll have access to all of the articles, great discounts at our events, and funny photos of stuffed penguins! Join us today!

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The Joy of a Carefree Saturday Morning

It wasn’t too long ago when I would get up early on a Saturday, sneak down the stairs with my favorite stuffed animal, Chrissi the Lion, and turn on the TV. I’d keep the volume on low so as not to wake my mom, who worked the night before. It didn’t matter what was on the TV because I would run back upstairs and grab a couple more stuffed animals to sit with. Then I would go to the kitchen and get some cereal. Most of the time, it would be something sugary like Mr. T Cereal, Cap’n Crunchberries, or Lucky Charms. One time it was Corn Bran; my grandpa had brought a case of the cereal with him during a visit, and they were surprisingly good in spite of the name and the fact that there was no surprise inside.

When I was finally set up and ready to eat, I’d switch the channel until I found a favorite show. “Disney’s Adventures of the Gummi Bears” were bouncing here and there and everywhere with their gummi berry juice. You can’t stop “The Littles” because the Littles don’t stop. “Hong Kong Phooey” was quicker than the human eye.

If my sister was up, we’d watch “Monchichi” because they were oh so soft and cuddly. “The Smurfs” facing off against Gargamel and Azrael were a favorite. “Punky Brewster” reminded us of my sister and served as a role model of sorts.

Of course, the commercials, with Time for Timer and his snack tips, Schoolhouse Rocks with their musical educational lessons from “Conjunction Junction” to “I’m Just a Bill,” and Tony the Tiger extolling the questionable virtue of a cereal that ended soggy in the bowl, were great!  I’d finish out the day’s TV watching activity with “Dungeons and Dragons” and “The Land of the Lost.” My cat Clyde sat on my lap purring.

We’d adjourn to the upstairs where I could make a little more noise. I’d grab my Legos to build spaceships or a model of some building (I never had enough Legos to complete the building), or I’d set up my Lincoln Logs with my action figures and army men and use my Burning Key Cars, cars with the key for speed, to knock down the fortifications.

If you’ve ever been a fan of Saturday morning cartoons, now is the perfect time for you to capture the feeling and essence of your inner child. For far too long, you’ve been hiding the best part of you behind a cloak of responsibility and adulthood. Now it’s time to unleash your creative self. Once you’ve rediscovered what it feels like to be young again, you can harness your curiosity and creativity.

So, get out your stuffed animals, set them up on the couch facing the TV, grab a bowl of cereal, and watch a couple of episodes of your favorite Saturday morning cartoons. Need to add some friends to your stuffed animals, check out our handmade penguins!

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Do You Know How Many Articles I Can Write on Creativity in a Month?

Have you ever wanted to know how many articles I could write on creativity in a month? Generally, I spread my writing out with travel articles, movie and book reviews, penguins and Disney-related material. Oftentimes, there’s an overlap between these subjects and creativity; sometimes, I don’t point the overlap out. What does this have to do with anything?

For the last week of July at our Patreon page, I am issuing a challenge to you, the members of my Patreon and myself. For every five new members that pledge at any level, I will write an article about creativity for all of the Penguinators. If 20 people join, I will write 4 articles for the challenge and one because that’s what I normally write. If 50 people join, I will write 10 articles plus one or more depending on the other goals we achieve. If 150 people join, I will write 30 articles plus one or more depending on the other goals we achieve. That would be at least one a day for the month of August!

I’m pretty confident I can write one a day because I’ve been able to do that at my website for the last 210 days. In fact, I think I can write as many as five articles a day, but that would mean 750 people would have to sign up at our Patreon page.

If you want to know how many articles on creativity I can write over the course of a month, you’ll need to join our Patreon and encourage your friends, family members and colleagues to join. Will you accept the challenge to find out what I am capable of? Let’s find out.

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Curiosity Leads Down the ‘Penguin Highway’

In “Penguin Highway” by Tomihiko Morimi, Aoyama is a curious boy in the fourth grade. He takes copious notes, researches everything, makes observations, and never gets angry. When ever he feels like he might get angry, he thinks of breasts, and it calms him down. Is that normal for a fourth grader? I don’t know, but it’s normal for Aoyama, who is clearly not an ordinary child.

When Aoyama is confronted with several problems, he decides to research them all. His friend Uchida and the girl Hamamoto help him with the time he has to spend on researching “The Sea.” Uchida is also part of his exploring and mapping the town. His side project is researching the lady from the dentist office who can make penguins, which is what sparks the whole story.

Aoyama shows that its not good enough to ask the questions. He keeps a journal with him at all times. Hamamoto does the same, and Uchida learns to use a notebook, even if he isn’t the smartest one in the group. Taking notes allows Aoyama to access the information he has learned at a later time. It also allows him to manipulate the data, so he can get a bigger picture.

Taking notes requires observation skills. Aoyama has practiced observing, so he sees what others may miss. He then makes hypotheses and tests them to see if they can withstand the scientific method. He knows his theories are most likely wrong, but it’s important to make and test them.

Aoyama’s methods are honed and only missing one piece – sometimes, the answer doesn’t lie in the logic of a situation or possible behavior. In creativity, the process is similar: take notes, observe, ask questions and stay curious; sometimes, you have to make that intuitive leap to a better answer.

If you’re looking for another good read, check out these books on my website.

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‘The Lion King’ Be Prepared for Disappointment

When Pamela Travers confronted Walt Disney about changes she wanted to see in “Mary Poppins” after the film premiered, Walt Disney said, “Pamela, that ship has sailed.” It was one of Walt’s frustration with film. Once it was done, he could change it or tinker with it to make it better. It’s part of the reason he created Disneyland; it gave him something he could change and improve. You would think that the company’s live action – or in ‘the Lion King’s” case, CGI animated – films would allow them to improve on the story.

You’d be wrong. Jon Favreau’s self-proclaimed live action “Lion King” does nothing to improve up on the original and eliminates some of the best parts of the 1994 classic. Was there nothing the filmmakers thought they could improve upon?

The elimination of Ed the hyena who communicated through laughter is one large change. It was Ed’s change from bumbling fool to evil, backstabber that was the most frightening change in the original.

The “Be Prepared” sequence lacks the emotional impact that the Jeremy Irons number had. The visuals and message in the original are staggeringly relevant and scary. It may have been the best song in the movie.

Favreau’s animals are limited to the things that animals can do. This necessitated a huge change to the visuals for the “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” number. There’s no Hula dancing meerkat, and staff-wielding Rafiki is only revealed in a lackluster moment of no import. Rafiki pulls the staff out of a hiding place in the tree and says, “My old friend.” There’s no connection to this staff in the film, so this statement doesn’t serve a purpose, except as fulfilling fan expectations. Seriously, you don’t need any fan appreciation because it’s ALL fan appreciation.

I can respect that Favreau wanted to make these animals photo-realistic; it’s something Disney tried to do with Bambi in 1940. But in doing so, Favreau eliminated a lot of what makes the 1994 version a standout film. In fact, this new version doesn’t even do justice to the stage play, which was truly something new and fresh when it debuted – and it’s still a work of art.

The last battle between Scar and Simba has less drama than an episode of “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom” where the lions’ strength would be on full display. Here, it comes off as “Man, this would be powerful if they were real lions in the wild; instead, it’s artificially enhanced by sound effects.”

In the past Disney released their animated films in the theater every seven years so new children could become acquainted with them. That worked for the new “Aladdin.” There were enough changes that it was clear the movie was released for the next generation. “The Lion King” just seems like it was developed because the original made a billion dollars. For those who love the originals, the 2019 version plays like “Phantom Menace” without a new plot line.

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Things to Like about Independence, OR: The Independence Cinema

Few small towns can claim a valuable gem like the Independence Cinema. With eight screens, people who live in Independence or Monmouth, OR, have a variety of films available to see (not just one or two).

However, the biggest advantage of the Independence Cinema for those nearby is the price. With tickets at major chains running upwards of $10 for matinees, the local cinema is offering Super Tuesdays: all films, all ages, just $5. On Tuesday, every theater should be filled with people who love movies. People from Salem and Dallas should be making their way to Independence for a cheap date night. Take it one step further and be sure to get a rewards card. Then every movie you see and every combo you purchase gets you one step closer to free admission to a movie not exempted by the star policy.

 You can get a great deal on concessions, too. Popcorn and soda are still unreasonably high for any place but a movie theater. However, the pizza and the chicken basket are killer deals costing about the same price as a fast food restaurant. At Independence Cinema, dinner and a movie don’t cost an arm and a leg!