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.
Penguins! Time to converse with John! Time to synnovate and penguinate…
ELLEN’S QUESTION TO JOHN:
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
JOHN’S REPLY TO ELLEN:
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
I refuse to comment on Penguins. Let it be remembered that from 1948 until 1955 I was an Eagle. Vice captain of Eagles no less, and Lola was the feminine version of Eagle vice captain.
We flew – we were Eagles!
I later became Drake, for five years, I was Drake.
Now I am F.P. Chewyscribe of “Monet’s Hill”.
May all your fitness go right and may single malt bring you cheer over the Festive season.
F.P. Chewyscribe of “Monet’s Hill” – despite your past, admirable commitment to Eagles and Drakes, because of your protestations, I do believe you were once a cute Penguin.
See, I was a Penguin once before I became an Eagle.
This is very interesting, Ellen. Believe it or not, I used to perform at “The Penguin Club” in Atlantic City, New Jersey back in the early 60’s. The owner had a pet penguin and I never realized how small some of the species are. I recently saw a wonderful documentary that took place in Antarctica, where they were documenting penguins and their behavior and intelligence, or lack of it. It made me sad to discover that the brain of a penguin is about the same size as that of a chicken. Regardless, I do love them!
Just found a write up about The Penguin Club. It was a private Key Club. Notice the Key below. Back then, I was going by my real name of Dennis Cosh. After leaving The New Christy Minstrels in 1966, I changed my name to Eric Cosh.
Here is the article:
Eric, funnily enough, I had a hunch you were connected to penguins in some way – so to think you actually performed at the Penguin Club! I find penguins to be just the cutest of creatures – so comical-looking. I believe the smallest of them, actually called the Little Penguins, are only about 13 inches high! Thank you for including the article about the Penguin Club and to think you were a regular entertainer there when you still went by your given name, Dennis, and not by your stage name, Eric Cosh. So you were at the Penguin Club after you had been with The New Christy Minstrels, right?
Actually Ellen, I was with The New Christy Minstrels after The Penguin Club. In April of 1965, I recorded the album “Chim-Chim-Cher-ee” with the Christy’s but didn’t actually join them until September 1965 because of previous engagements.
Thank you, Eric – what a great photograph! To add to our “Let’s Imaginate and Penguinate” conversations, we now have “Vocalizations and Penguinations”. What a great encapsulation of time – and now you produce movies…
Fen Montaigne features this quote in his unforgettable book FRASER’S PENGUINS:
“All the world loves a penguin. I think it is because in many respects they are like ourselves, and in some respects, what we should like to be. Had we but half their physical courage none could stand against us . . . [They are] fighting against bigger odds than any other bird, and fighting always with the most gallant pluck.”
Apsley Cherry-Garrard Terra Nova expedition, 1910-1913
I’m keen on penguins myself and would love to see one up close, or even from a distance, in its habitat.
Thank you, Juanita, for the quote from Fen Montaigne. Yes, they do appear gallant – the formality of their attire adds to this perception. I love the way they stand in their groups seemingly deeply involved in discussions. Actually, they are among the most social of birds. There rookeries can be huge – thousands, even.