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New Zealand: A Short Survey of New Zealand Penguins

marching penguins

Penguins are funny creatures. As my wife says they often look like they are running to hug you. My second favorite penguins are from the movie “Mary Poppins, and that’s where I got the idea as a penguin for my creativity mascot. Those penguins deliver fun, service and a dance-off with Dick Van Dyke before it was a thing. (Who would win in a dance off: the Mary Poppins penguins or Starlord?) From there, it was a short step to our stuffed penguins.

There is only a small group of penguins in the Galapagos Islands that live north of the equator in the wild. All of the other wild penguins in the world live south of the equator. Of the 18 or 19 species penguins in the world, New Zealand is home to three: the korora, the hoiho, and the tawaki. Knowing that, we, of course, are going to schedule some time to try to find some penguins in the wild. (We hear they are smelly, but we don’t care. They just look like fun to hang around near!)

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‘Mary Poppins Returns’ with a message the world will needs but will miss.

The original “Mary Poppins” is a ground-breaking cinematic achievement that is as magical today as it was in 1964. There’s no way a sequel could match it, and if this is the reason some people don’t like “Mary Poppins Returns,” they’re missing out on a story that this world, at this time, desperately needs and will probably fail to hear. “Mary Poppins Returns” isn’t about saving the children or saving the father; it’s about saving ourselves.

“Mary Poppins Returns” is similar to the 1964 “Mary Poppins” that it’s a sequel to. There are songs, hand-drawn animation combined with live action, a bunch of working-class men doing dancing in the most preposterous of ways, a female character fighting for a cause, a weird relation who’s facing an impossible affliction and a father whose situation has caused him to forget all of the things he learned as a child when Mary Poppins was his nanny.

From a time before the film was released, it was clear:

  • Emily Blunt is no Julie Andrews.
  • Lin-Manuel Miranda is no Dick Van Dyke.
  • Meryl Streep is no Ed Wynn, but you might not recognize her either.
  • Marc Shaiman is no Sherman Brothers.

I should probably repeat that last statement. There isn’t a tune that I was humming at the end of the movie. “Mary Poppins” gave us “A Spoonful of Sugar,” “Supercalifragilisticexpialadocious,” “Let’s Go Fly a Kite,” “Feed the Birds,” “Step in Time,” and “Chim-Chim-Cheree,” which won the academy award. “Mary Poppins Returns” gives us…

Whatever you’re doing this Christmas, go see “Mary Poppins Returns.” It’s grown up a little while keeping most of its innocence intact. (The “Book by It’s Cover” Sequence is a bawdy vaudeville style song.)