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Bridging The Gap Between Taste And Creative Skill

A two-minute video by Daniel Sax featuring a brief clip from Ira Glass about the way to bridge the gap between how you good you want to be and how good you actually are as a creative.

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The Art Of Calvin And Hobbes

A short video appreciation of the comic strip Calvin & Hobbes.
It is a body of work that remains, and must be appreciated, as a comic strip; never adapted into other media, and having been the sole work of creator Bill Watterson from first strip until the last.
It was a surprise to hear John Calvin described as having a “broad imagination, an appreciation for art, and a disdain for authority”.

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Absurdity Instead Of Order: The World Of Wile E. Coyote

A very long essay on what makes Road Runner cartoons funny with some observations about life in general.
Late in life creator Chuck Jones composed what were purported to be the rules that the cartoons followed.
Articles such as this one I linked to a few years ago explain.
The article examines how closely the cartoons actually reflected these rules, and what Jones’ attempt to codify his own creativity suggests.
If you loved Road Runner, and secretly was hoping Wile E. Coyote would win, there are lots of remembrances of classic pieces from the series. (and a little bit of language)
If you’re too young to remember who Wile E. Coyote is then you had a seriously deprived childhood, and I feel sorry for you.
Read the article here.

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My Daughters Agree This Is A True Thing

Three out of three.
My youngest daughter’s silence in particular speaks volumes.

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The Rules Of Road-Runner Cartoons

This post on Mental Floss contains this list of eleven rules, attributed to Chuck Jones, for writing Road Runner cartoons.
It’s a great demonstration of a basic guide that helps make sure finished product has integrity to its creative purpose.

In preaching: a sermon should not have a main takeaway of ‘try harder’; the engine of activity is Jesus’ ‘done’, not the hearer’s ‘do’; when someone reads the text again they should be able to identify how the text produced the preacher’s points. There are more.

The list:

1. The Road Runner cannot harm the Coyote except by going “meep, meep.”
2. No outside force can harm the Coyote — only his own ineptitude or the failure of Acme products. Trains and trucks were the exception from time to time.
3. The Coyote could stop anytime — if he were not a fanatic.
4. No dialogue ever, except “meep, meep” and yowling in pain.
5. The Road Runner must stay on the road — for no other reason than that he’s a roadrunner.
6. All action must be confined to the natural environment of the two characters — the southwest American desert.
7. All tools, weapons, or mechanical conveniences must be obtained from the Acme Corporation.
8. Whenever possible, make gravity the Coyote’s greatest enemy.
9. The Coyote is always more humiliated than harmed by his failures.
10. The audience’s sympathy must remain with the Coyote.
11. The Coyote is not allowed to catch or eat the Road Runner.

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Vincent Van Gogh – A Life “In Sorrow, Yet Ever Joyful” (via Mockingbird)

Mockingbird have republished an essay about the life of Vincent van Gogh entitled ‘A Life Of Aching Beauty: Vincent van Gogh as Preacher, Failure, and Painter’.
The essay explores Van Gogh’s art and life, contrasting the bleakness of his experience with the vibrancy of his works, and drawing some thoughts about seeking transcendence amidst the brokenness of life.

A couple of quotes:

Always devoted to the Church, the Bible, and the example of Jesus Christ, Vincent next turned to the ministry. He began theological training, but found it both difficult and irrelevant, so he quit after a few months. He attended a three-month course for lay preachers, but after his final examination the examiners found him unsuitable for the ministry. On his own, he moved to a poor coal-mining region of Belgium to serve the miners and their families. He eventually obtained an official commission from his mission school, but lost this after three months due to his supposedly poor preaching skills, despite his undeniable and even extreme devotion and service to the coal-miners.
Given his sensibilities and his circumstances, we would expect Van Gogh’s art to reflect more and more his ongoing depression and troubled emotions. Yet somewhat the opposite is true. Vincent’s earlier paintings, such as The Potato Eaters (1885), have a limited color range of dark earth tones. The scene itself is somber, reflecting the hard life of Dutch peasants that he wanted to faithfully represent. From 1886 Vincent’s palette became lighter and more vibrant. Many paintings still clearly reflect the agitation of his soul, but we also see the longing to know and express joy. In sorrow, but ever joyful.

Read the whole essay at Mockingbird.

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All Country Music Songs Are The Same

And here’s the proof.
It also demonstrates that they’re not very deep.
Additionally it serves as a tutorial if you want to write your own country music hit.

Of course songs for Christian worship would be different to this, wouldn’t they?