Penguins, for me, with their human-like, upright stances and their waggish, clownish waddles, evoke creative opportunity. They are bustling invitations for my depiction and characterization. With their feathered white bellies and shiny black backs, they appear to be all dressed up in their formal tuxedos with somewhere special to go – the theater, the opera, or the ballet, perhaps. They look like politicians, like art critics – like Winston Churchill, Ronald Reagan, Albert Einstein, Pablo Picasso, Arturo Toscanini, Woody Allen; they look like just about everybody I know – and don’t know. Penguins seem to embody wit and wisdom – so many positive human identifications. I find them to be most type-castable – to be show-time – at any time. You can just penguinate while you illustrate as I did when I populated my book, HAVE YOU EVER HAD A HUNCH? The Importance of Creative Thinking, with many jolly penguins.

A few years ago, at UNESCO’S International Year of Planet Earth‘ conference in Arusha, Tanzania, South African paleobotanist, John Anderson and team, launched a publication titled Earth Alive! and also created a pack of playing cards: 101 Strategies towards stemming the Sixth Extinction & global warming. Among the photographs of them, I noticed a picture of penguins and also the Penguin papers.

Earth Alive! cards

Penguin papers

Penguins! Time to converse with John! Time to synnovate and penguinate…


Dear John of MoltenoLand,

Excited to see your Earth Alive Penguin Card 44 and Penguin Papers! Thank you for your Penguin Patter. I have an additional question for you:

I have read that there are fossil records of the earliest penguins dating back to more than 60 million years ago. Is that correct?

With love from,

Ellen of GlimpseLand


Dear Ellen of GlimpseLand,

That is surely so! The ancestors of the penguins, and of the pelicans, and of the owls and eagles, and the woodpeckers and parrots, and of so many others, had a common ancestor that survived the extinction of the dinosaurs all those 65 million years ago. And they lived on and spread to wonderful diversity to tell the tale! A tale which colors our world so prodigiously today!

Thanks Ellen! Spring forth!

Anthropologically, your loving cousin,


If any of our other cousins, anthropologically-speaking, would like to join in our penguin patter or some other patter, please do…

Ellen & John