Happy Birthday, Mr. Miyazaki

Hayao Miyazaki

Today, Hayao Miyazaki, director, animator extraordinaire, and beloved guardian of imagination, celebrates 72 years of making the world a happier place. His works and the colorful characters that populate them are absolutely endearing. Watching a Miyazaki movie is like being allowed to step outside of (if only briefly) the chaotic reality where we usually reside. Our respite takes us to an alternate universe where beauty reigns supreme. During our visit in Miyazaki’s constructed world, we generally meet a strong female protagonist and explore themes such as the wonder of flight, the importance of nature, and the transition from childhood to maturity, and the power of kindness.

Miyazaki’s stunning works of cinematic art include:

Happy Birthday, Mr. Miyazaki!

Note: The image used in this post was a derivative of the original photograph composed by Natasha Baucas on July 28, 2009 at the San Diego Comic-Con.

Slim, Vout, and All Kinds of Hep Conlangs

Slim Gaillard, musical Renaissance ManThe world became a little more grar-sa on this cee-met-o in 1916. That’s when Mr. Bulee “Slim” Gaillard first graced the universe with his unconventional presence. Actually, the date of Slim’s birth, his birthplace, as well as his lineage are still being disputed. What is known about this remarkable fellow is that he was one of America’s most innovative performers. Gaillard was something of a Renaissance Man. He was a clever songwriter, jazz singer, guitarist, and thoroughly mesmerizing pianist. For an entertaining sampling of Gaillard’s vocalese variations, drop by the Internet Archive’s collection of Slim’s collaborative tunes with Slam Stewart or listen to the embedded selections below.

Gaillard also constructed his own language, a lingo called Vout. Slim’s tongue-in-cheek speak is sometimes referred to a conlang or constructed language. Wikipedia has an engrossing list of constructed languages that features communicative creations of authors like J.R.R. Tolkien and J.K. Rowling. Also of interest is the Wikiportal devoted to constructed languages.

Note: The picture accompanying this post was constructed from an image that was originally posted to Flickr by Never Slim at http://flickr.com/photos/39989459@N00/371852605. The original image is licensed under the terms of the cc-by-2.0.

A Band-Aid Approach to Fighting Cancer That Just Might Work

I’ve just finished reading Alex Goldmark‘s uplifting article for GOODThe Next Time You Cut Your Finger, Save a Life. Go read Alex’s work! What makes this story so compelling is how wonderfully simple and powerful an idea be. You’ll also get to know Graham Douglas. Graham has a brother who, despite daunting odds, was fortunate to find a donor match for bone marrow. The treatment helped Graham’s brother survive leukemia. The experience inspired Graham. He focused on how to find even more potential donors. His approach was both unorthodox and brilliant.

Help adhesive bandages

What the Dickens?

Celebrating the birth of a literary legend, Michael Cavna‘s thoroughly enlightening and entertaining Comic Riffs blog inundates readers with a deluge of Dickensian delights.

Other delicious Dickensian diversions:

Google Doodle celebrating Dickensian characters


Viral Kindness?

Random Acts of Kindness WeekEver wonder how or why sarcasm and snarkiness get so much attention our culture? When was the last time someone was kind to you in a quiet but genuinely profound way? Even more important, when was the last time you willingly went out of your way to be kind to another?

What if most–not all, mind you, just most–of the basically good people walking on the surface of this planet decided to make kindness an accepted cultural norm.

What if most people tried, at least once a day, to do someone a kind turn.

What if most people did this consistently, making a chain of days linked by gracefully kind acts? What if that chain extended weeks, months, and years in time?

Do you think it can happen?

It can.

Random Acts of Kindness Week (February 13th – 19th) is quickly approaching. Now is a perfect time to exercise your compassion and proclivity toward doing good. It’s easy: be kind and be kind consistently.

Help others.

Need some inspiration? Start by visiting Storytellers for Good. The site explores how people are making a difference in the world. These folks do it. So can you.



Planting a Passion for Polychromatic Pleasure: Design Seeds

Screenshot from Jessica Colaluca's chromatically enchanting Design SeedsSearching for ideas, beauty, and or trichromatic transcendence? If so, be sure to visit  Design Seeds on a regular basis. Jessica Colaluca, an individual with a finely honed sense of chromatic compatibility shares captivating color combinations via her blog. It’s a tantalizing treat for the eyes. Drawing upon 17 years experience working in color design and forecasting, Jessica kindly allows visitors to her site to accompany her on a journey of inspiration through a prismatic paradise that surrounds all of us. Viewing her images makes one wonder what other alluring color palette prizes we might be overlooking during our daily hustle and bustle encounters with the world.

Related resources: