Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

R.I.P. Dolemite

I just saw that Rudy Ray Moore has died at 81. This is the original 1975 trailer for Dolemite (NSFW), it's awesome:

In a doing a quick image search for the Dolemite poster, I found this site for an auction that has tons of Blaxploitation posters. The following three are all for movies I have watched repeatedly.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Old School

I recently designed this 8.5x11 flyer. Lately I've been under the influence of the kind of mid-century modernity they feature over at

Saturday, October 18, 2008

More Randomness from my Color flash Holga

This is a double exposure, the gull was actually shot in an open sky. If this were shot with a better camera, you would see Toronto protruding at the center of the horizon.

This is one my prized possessions, a taxidermy duck purchased for $20.

Wonderful melons

I took this picture(s) at Monsters of Nature and Design II a performance that took place outside the Albright-Knox Art Gallery on September 5th. The finale featured the dropping of a piano from a crane onto another piano. This image captures the before and after.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Far Away Bird Guides

There is something fascinating about the way these wren tails fill the pages.

As people who have been reading this blog from the beginning (does such a person exist?) know, I have a small but growing collection of Field Guides (see scanned covers here). I just found the above A Field Guide to the Birds of Australia in a used book store. This Helvetica heavy style of cover design is one of my favorites. One of the things I like about buying these old guides is that sometimes the previous owner has checked off the birds they have spotted. My copy of A Field Guide to the Birds of East Africa, is full of check marks. I like the idea that the book that I now own has been carried to the other side of the earth and thumbed through in the presence of the birds it depicts.

Friday, October 10, 2008

I'm in a Steven Heller Book!

Last week I received a copy of The Design Entrepreneur, by Steven Heller and Lita Talrico in my mailbox. The book interviews designers (and some design/art types like me) about, as the subtitle reads, "Turning graphic design into goods that sell." The book is full of impressive design figures like, Constantin Boym, Seymour Chwast, Jim Coudal, Jessica Helfland, Shepard Fairy, Ellen Lupton, Gary Panter, Mike Mills, and dozens of others. Buffalo typography titan Rich Kegler (P22 Type Foundry) is also interviewed in the book. It was his suggestion that I send my book to Steven Heller (Thanks Rich!)

Heller, is one of the few writers on graphic design that matters. His writing played a big part in my self education in design. I'm very excited to be included in one of his books.

My spread

Dave Eggers

Paul Budnitz, founder of Kid Robot

Thursday, October 9, 2008


One of the hazards of working at home is that sometimes the Jehovah's Witnesses catch you there. I answered the door today to two very friendly people telling me that we are in the final days. The man showed me the above illustration and asked "don't you want that to happen?" I said yes, but that I had my own religion (I actually don't, I'm a militant agnostic–I don't know and you don't either). But I was not in a mood to argue about it, so I let them think I am a hardcore Presbyterian and closed the door.

One of the many interesting things about the JWs is this (from Wikipedia):
Jehovah's Witnesses distinctly believe that only 144,000 people will be raised to heaven, and will thus spend eternity with God. They do not believe that this number necessarily comes from descendants of Jacob, but from early Christians, and those of Jehovah's Witnesses who profess to be "anointed" (or "spiritual Israel"). Witnesses believe that the 144,000 have been selected by God from the time of Jesus' apostles through to today. They believe that the 144,000 (those having a "heavenly hope") will reign with Christ in heaven, while all other people accepted by God will live forever on a paradise earth (an "earthly hope").

The illustration must depict the "Paradise on Earth." It seems nice with racial unity and all, but people don't seem to be mixing. And it seems weird that the predator prey relationship has been suspended in the after life, but judging from the leaves, Fall is on the way, so they will still have to deal with winter.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Tiny Snakes

I took a bike ride down to Tifft Nature Preserve today to scout out some photo locations, along the way I came across two snakes in the space of five minutes, which, for me, is unusual. I looked through my reptile guide books and a little on line but I still have not positively identified either snake.

I came across this 8 inch snake on the gravel road into the Preserve, I ended up moving it with a stick (Crocodile hunter style) because it was in danger of getting run over.

This is a cropped close up, I could have gone closer but I was uncomfortable about having the snake strike at the lens, it would have been harmless but unnerving

The second snake was probably only about a foot long, I spotted it swimming in the water. It's difficult to see at this size (click to enlarge) but the snake's body is submerged, only the head is above water.

I nudged the snake with a stick so I could see it swim (I suppose that was selfish and probably against the guidelines of the Preserve, sorry), it ended up swimming a little ways and sticking its head under a rock, it seemed to think it was hiding, not too smart.

This cropped close up of the head underwater clearly shows the serpent's forked tongue.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Puff Daddy

Today I took pictures of a moderately sized Puffball fungus (Langermannia gigantea) in my parent's front yard. This one is only about 10 inches wide in the past I've seen them grow to the size of soccer balls on the same lawn. A few years back I ate one of the puffballs with a co-worker (who knows about mushrooms), we sliced it into thin pieces which we then cooked in olive oil in the toaster oven at work. It tastes a bit like tofu. There is some good info on David Fischer's American Mushrooms site, to get to the site you have to click two pop-ups that implore you to read the text on the entries so that you don't accidentally get yourself killed eating the wrong mushroom. Here's a quote from Ficsher's site:
Puffballs are unusual mushrooms, lacking gills or any other exterior spore-producing structures. They produce their spores internally (Note: the spore-producing interior of a puffball is called the gleba) and then releasing them in astronomical numbers. The Giant Puffball, in particular, is a reproductive wonder: Specimens can attain diameters of two or three feet or more, and a single specimen has been estimated to produce as many as nine trillion spores!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Selections From My Old Stamp Collection

This one is a Wim Crouwel classic

Canada really had a good thing going with their stamps in the 70s and 80s

I recently discovered Grain Edit, a great site that focuses on graphic design from the 50s, 60s and 70s. One of their posts on postage stamps (HERE), inspired me to dig into my childhood stamp collection in search of 1970s golden-age-of-Helvetica style graphic design. The above selections are some of the best of what I have. My collection is not big or very organized. As a kid my interest in stamps was all about graphics, I was never on my way to becoming a real philatelist. I had a similar interest in baseball cards,
I knew nothing of the game, but I liked the uniforms and logos (The Montreal Expos and Houston Astros were my favorites). Colette (Mrs. Projects) has a similar stamp collection from the same era ("Prevent Drug Abuse" is one of hers), I have yet to go though it and weed out the good stuff.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Bike Messenger 1913

Click to enlarge

I just found this picture on (I highly recommend visiting this site daily). The photograph was taken in Dallas in 1913. This is the original caption by photographer Lewis Wickes Hine:
"Messenger boy in the heart of the Reservation (Red Light). Prostitutes run back and forth. Business beginning at mid-day. I saw messenger boys and delivery boys for drug stores from 15 years upward. Some still younger told me that they go there. This was in spite of a strong agitation being waged to close up the resorts."
What I find fascinating about this picture are the handlebars on the bike, they are incredibly wide and seem to consist of two separate bars bolted onto the stem.

Watching the Debate at Founding Fathers Pub

Warren G.

Last night I watched the Vice Presidential debate at Founding Fathers, a Buffalo bar that is decorated floor to ceiling with stuff relating to the Founding Fathers and Presidents. The place was packed with pro Biden debate watchers. The crowd generally kept quiet except that everybody yelled/groaned each time Palin used the word Maverick, which was a lot. I was hoping for a Palin meltdown but overall she probably did just well enough to "stop the bleeding" with the base and the conservative Punditocracy.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The World's Least Inspiring Coloring Book

I forgot where I acquired this coloring book, probably at a garage sale or thrift store. I love the way it captures exactly how dull the legislative process appears to children.