Fred Gambino has worked as a diverse illustrator and artist, providing sci-fi book covers for publishing houses and high-profile concept art for a wide array of television programs, films and video games.Read the rest
Bülent Arinç, deputy prime minister of Turkey, told a good joke on Monday. Read the rest
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One evening several years ago my friend, the artist Coop, took me to the San Fernando Valley house of comic book art collector Glenn Bray. I was somewhat familiar with Bray, having read bits and pieces about his large collection. I knew that he was the first person to seek out and collect the work of the great Donald Duck comic book artist writer Carl Barks back in the 1960s, that he published some small books about grotesque-artist Basil Wolverton, and that he was the champion of forgotten genius Stanislav Szukalski (read my Wink review about Szukalski here). He was probably the first real comic book art collector, buying original work in an era when everyone else considered it to be worthless.
So I felt I was somewhat prepared for what was in store for me at Bray’s house. But when I stepped inside, I realized that I’d greatly underestimated the size and quality of his collection. Bray’s walls were covered with original art and paintings by the greatest comic book artists in history: Robert Crumb, Robert Williams, Jack Davis, Wally Wood, and dozens more. The second floor of his large house looked nothing like a home. It was a clean, organized library/museum dedicated to comic book art. I was stunned, not only by the amount of art Bray had amassed over the last 50 years of collecting, but by his aesthetic sensibility, which matched mine to a T. Like me, he was completely uninterested in superhero comics, concentrating mainly on old EC science fiction comics, MAD, and underground comics. That evening I studied the original art from many iconic comic book covers, but barely scratched the surface of his collection.
The Blighted Eye is a massive book containing samples from Bray’s collection. Arranged from A-Z by artist, it represents the tip of a comic art iceberg. The book also includes a long interview with Bray and many photographs of Bray with the artists he’s befriended over the decades.
The US Secret Service has strict rules for making replicas of paper currency. The bills must be: either substantially larger or smaller than real ones, and blank one side. But that sometimes isn't good enough for movies and TV shows that require scenes with lots of money. So currency prop makers sometimes break the rules, and sometimes get in trouble:
In late 2000, the producers and crew for action flick Rush Hour 2 gathered at the now-defunct Desert Inn in Las Vegas and prepared to blow up a casino. The scene, which pitted policemen and Secret Service agents against a counterfeiter attempting to launder $100 million in superdollars, was to culminate with hundreds of thousands of fake bills floating through the air.
After several days of filming, the sequence was a success. Then, something incredibly odd happened. The bills, which had been supplied by a major Hollywood prop house, were picked up by movie extras and passersby and were attempted to be passed off as legal tender in various stores along the strip. The authorities weren’t too thrilled. Secret Service agents glided in, swiftly detained somewhere north of $100 million worth of prop money, then accused the prop maker -- Independent Studio Services (ISS) -- of counterfeiting, and ordered a cease and desist on all of their faux cash.
"The pay was great and everything else about the job was a nightmare. I remember when a 90-year-old woman called to add phone to her account and my boss told me afterwards, 'She was probably senile… but you should have upgraded her cable. I don’t think you are going to be sitting in this seat for very long.'" -- From an interview with a Comcast employee who worked in the sales department from 2011-2014.
The fallout from Ryan Block's recording of an argumentative, bullying Comcast employee keeps getting worse (or better, depending on how you look at it). The Verge asked former and current Comcast employees to share their stories of what it is like to work at the company. It sounds like a horrible place: "customer service has been replaced by an obsession with sales, technicians are understaffed and tech support is poorly trained, and the massive company is hobbled by internal fragmentation."
Even the customer support troubleshooters are pressured by their bosses to try to sell customers new services. One customer account exec says that the call center he worked in had a "whiteboard with employee names and their RGUs, or revenue generating units."
A former billing systems manager says employees are fed scripts to boost their RGU score.
The name of the game is RGUs (revenue generating units). Even if the subscriber disconnects cable, maybe we can keep them on internet or voice. A script pops up on the screen, and then another one comes up, then another one, every single one you’re eligible for. "Is it too expensive? You don’t use it? Maybe I can downgrade you to something if you’re only home once a week. Or maybe I can upgrade you. What if I gave you all the channels for a year and you’re still only playing $90?"Comcast Confessions: when every call is a sales call
"Look at my bug." That's what 52-year-old Joseph R. Thomas, standing on his porch, uttered before tossing a spider on a police officer.
Thomas, who has been in jail for 390 days during the trial proceedings, was given a sentence of 30 months to five years in state prison on charges of aggravated assault, terroristic threats and resisting arrest.
The spirit of Boo Radley lives on in the hole of a tree growing in the hills above Berkeley, CA. Gareth says, "Lea Redmond, of Leaf Cutter Design and the World's Smallest Postal Service, did a photo illustration for Borg Like Me. She created a Lilliputian post office in a tree hole in the Berkeley Hills. She left it set up and it's still there 7 months later! People have not destroyed it; they've been ADDING to it and leaving mail for the fairies (it IS a post office, after all)."
This month's issue of Los Angeles magazine takes a look at the 1980s, with stories about the movies, songs, fashions, and cultural trends that defined that decade in LA. One trend that didn't fade away with ankle warmers and the Memphis Group design aesthetic is valley girl speak. My two daughters are living proof, and the "upspeak" style (ending every sentence as if it were a question) has spread around the world.
Mark Frauenfelder returns from vacation with a substantially-enlarged collection of tiki photographs.Read the rest