Saturday, January 26, 2008

Proppian Fairy Tale Generator

from Yahoo!Picks

Trickery! Villainy! Violation! Pursuit! In the 1930s, a Russian scholar named Vladimir Propp studied the "basic plot components" of his country's folk tales and came up with a list of the mythic stories' "series of actions"—or "functions." Though the Eastern European thinker surely didn't imagine the rise of the Internet, an imaginative class at Brown University has brought Web and academic together with the Proppian Fairy Tale Generator. This ingenious online game presents the basic structures of the fables Propp dissected. You, the reader, select which functions you like. Click as many as you want: Mediation? Branding? Reconnaissance? Hit "generate" and a fairy tale based on your choices will appear before your very eyes. Note: Disney these ain't. Even the "preset" versions of Cinderella, Snow White, and Hansel and Gretel read like nothing you've heard (or seen) before. The legends woven by this raconteur of a generator are imaginative, richly detailed, and undomesticated. The Grimms would approve. So, we like to think, would Vladimir Propp.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Give Thanks with an Appreciative Note


Good manners start with good intentions. Etiquette experts postulate that writing thank you notes increases the frequency and quality of gifts you receive. But what if you're stuck and don't know what to write? The Thank You Note Samples site covers nearly every imaginable topic to give thanks for, from acknowledging the receipt of charity donations to expressing appreciation for hospitality arrangements to thanking your potential employer for an interview. Multiple letter formats are available to add variety (especially if you're spending the night writing the same monotonous notes due to a recent wedding). Additionally, the suggestions go a step beyond just the written word. Why not give thanks, for example, with a gift basket? If you want to express your gratitude and feel like you are not inspired, the Thank You Note Samples site will definitely get you back on your toes and you'll be filled with ideas for expressing appreciation.