Monday, December 30, 2013

Daily Links 12-30-13

Good morning. Here are a collection of links that will help start your week off right. In today's edition: minimalist Disney posters, the art of conversation, reflections from Richard Sherman, and more.


A really cool collection of minimalist Disney posters.

Hat tip: Neatorama


Seven weird (and sometimes dangerous) ways that kids amused themselves before video games.


Author Sherry Turkle is on a mission to save the lost art of conversation:

The conclusion she’s arrived at while researching her new book is not, technically, that we’re not talking to each other. We’re talking all the time, in person as well as in texts, in e-mails, over the phone, on Facebook and Twitter. The world is more talkative now, in many ways, than it’s ever been. The problem, Turkle argues, is that all of this talk can come at the expense of conversation. We’re talking at each other rather than with each other.
Conversations, as they tend to play out in person, are messy—full of pauses and interruptions and topic changes and assorted awkwardness. But the messiness is what allows for true exchange. It gives participants the time—and, just as important, the permission—to think and react and glean insights. “You can’t always tell, in a conversation, when the interesting bit is going to come,” Turkle says. “It’s like dancing: slow, slow, quick-quick, slow. You know? It seems boring, but all of a sudden there’s something, and whoa.
Occasional dullness, in other words, is to be not only expected, but celebrated. Some of the best parts of conversation are, as Turkle puts it, “the boring bits.” In software terms, they’re features rather than bugs.

Hat tip: Acculturated


Speaking of conversation, here is some timeless advice on the art of conversation from 1866.


Richard Sherman reflects on what it was like to work on bringing Mary Poppins to the screen with her creator, P. L. Travers:

"Nobody knows the Sturm und Drang we went though," said a vigorous Mr. Sherman last month, sitting near his two Oscars and assorted other honors in the library of the spacious Tudor-style house he has lived in for some 40 years. "Let me make a calculated understatement: She was a very difficult woman. It was awful to be in a room where everything you said was contradicted. She made us feel terrible constantly. But Walt said: 'Don't let her get to you. Just keeping doing what you do.'" 

As depicted in "Saving Mr. Banks"—and corroborated on audio tapes made at her insistence during story conferences—Travers was as determined to exclude songs or animation from any adaptation of "Mary Poppins" as Disney was to include those very things. "She didn't recognize that her character lent itself to a musical," Mr. Sherman recalled. "She had no imagination for other mediums, just the page. We added to what she had already created."

Travers wrote eight "Mary Poppins" books before she died, at age 96, in 1996, but in the 1960s there were only five—all loose collections of vignettes ill-suited, in their original form, to screen adaptation. "Everybody thinks Mrs. Travers wrote the story for the film, but it was Don DaGradi and Bob and Dick Sherman who wrote it," Mr. Sherman said. "Walt asked us to read the first book and tell him what we thought. We knew the gauntlet had been thrown. But these stories had no plot, so we created a viable storyline. And then Bill Walsh came in and made a great screenplay with Don."


Three influential writers share why they blog. I think folks will start blogging for any number of reasons and all three have some interesting things to say about writing and why they have chosen to blog.

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