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You Don’t Say!: Nicolas Cage’s face on pillows, bedding, & wallpaper
10.01.2018
10:09 am
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A shirtless Nicolas Cage lying inside of a banana peel. Get it here
 
I’ve seen Cage’s latest cinematic masterpiece of WTF, Mandy at least three times since its release last month. If we have learned anything from Nicolas Cage during his long acting career it is this—never count the man out. Cage has been everything from hero to anti-hero, and even had a short run as a tasty Japanese snack. He’s been a loser, a winner, a punk, a prisoner, a terrifyingly authentic drunk, and most recently a relentless backwoods lumberjack out for revenge.

Of course, a large part of society’s younger members became acquainted with Cage’s incredibly emotive face thanks to a legendary meme of the actor giving us his best crazy face in a scene from the 1988 film Vampire’s Kiss. The Nic Cage “You Don’t Say!” meme is almost as famous as the actor himself and to prove this point, many of the items featured in this Cage-centric post use this image of Nic as well as a variety of others for pillows, bedding and yes, even wallpaper. If you’ve ever wanted to hug a pillow with a photo of a shirtless Nic Cage sitting inside a banana peel (gloriously pictured at the top of this post), then goddammit this is your lucky day.

All of the items in this post can be yours for about twenty bucks or so depending on how deep your love for Nicolas Cage is. I’ve included links below each image in case you just realized how incomplete your life is because you don’t own a fleece blanket with Cage’s mug eerily photoshopped with the Declaration of Independence. Some images might be slightly NSFW.
 

Nicolas Cage mashed up with the Declaration of Independence fleece blanket. Get it here.
 

Nicolas Cage hugging a rainbow. Squeee! Get it here.
 
More Nic Cage merch, after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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10.01.2018
10:09 am
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Undead, Undead: John Coulthart’s beautiful illustrations for Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’
09.04.2018
08:50 am
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We all know what Dracula looks like. Bela Lugosi and innumerable Hammer horror movies starring Christopher Lee have fixed the Count in our imagination. He’s tall, gaunt, interestingly pale, with slicked back hair, and a set of unfeasibly large canine teeth. He sports a cloak, and what appears to be an evening suit which can often make him look like a nightclub doorman or a shifty croupier at a Mayfair casino dealing from the bottom of the pack. When commissioned to provide the illustrations for a new edition of Bram Stoker’s enduring tale, artist John Coulthart decided to keep his work faithful to the source material.

Coulthart had previously been commissioned by the same publisher to illustrate Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein with which he had similarly “opted for fidelity to the text and period details “:

Despite its epistolary form, Dracula is much more readable (in a contemporary sense) than Frankenstein, so more people will have read Stoker than Shelley; but the sheer scale of cultural mauling that Dracula has been subject to means that—as with Frankenstein—even the allegedly faithful adaptations often deviate from the novel. The lounge-lizard vampire that everyone knows was a creation of Hamilton Deane’s 1924 stage adaptation, the success of which led to Tod Browning’s film and Bela Lugosi’s performance (which I’ve never liked); film and theatre may have made Dracula universally popular but the Lugosi stereotype has overshadowed the more powerful and violent character that Stoker gives us, with his bearded face, hairy palms and glowing eyes. So that’s who you see here, although the restrictions of time and brief (one picture per chapter) meant that some of the moments I’d have liked to illustrate had to be forfeit. Poor old Renfield gets short shrift, and some of the minor male characters are out of the picture altogether.

Regardless of the constrictions of time and remit, Coulthart’s illustrations for Dracula are among the very best ever produced, as his detailed work fully captures the intense, eerie, menacing, and almost dreamlike atmosphere of Stoker’s novel where you can “believe in things that you cannot.”

See the complete set of John Coulthart’s marvellous illustration fro Dracula here.
 
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See more of John Coulthart’s superb illustrations for ‘Dracula,’ after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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09.04.2018
08:50 am
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Some favorite record covers with one letter removed
08.28.2018
08:55 am
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A misplaced letter can make a whole lot of difference, as anyone who’s seen that classic episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm knows. In that particular show, poor old Larry caused righteous outrage after his obituary notice for a “beloved aunt” had one vowel replaced with a consonant.

The Internet is good at making you aware of how frequently things are repeated with often differing results. Sometimes they’re diminished, sometimes improved. A few years back, Reddit featured a thread of band names with one letter replaced. This led onto Pigeons & Planes making a series of album covers with one letter missing.

Returning to this theme, the various creative talents at b3ta have come up with a whole new batch of record covers with one letter absent, most of which, like some of their predecessors, are pretty damned amusing—though tbh I’m not quite sure if there is any letter missing from the Coldplay cover…

See more than 230 other record covers with one letter missing here.
 
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More classic album covers minus a letter, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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08.28.2018
08:55 am
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The Fool: The Dutch artists who worked for the Beatles (and made their own freak folk masterpiece)
06.12.2018
06:32 am
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“It appears that some part of Slothrop ran into the AWOL Džabajev one night in the heart of downtown Niederschaumdorf. (Some believe that fragments of Slothrop have grown into consistent personae of their own. If so, there’s no telling which of the Zone’s present-day population are offshoots of his original scattering. There’s supposed to be a last photograph of him on the only record album ever put out by The Fool, an English rock group—seven musicians posed, in the arrogant style of the early Stones, near an old rocket-bomb site, out in the East End, or South of the River. It is spring, and French thyme blossoms in amazing white lacework across the cape of green that now hides and softens the true shape of the old rubble. There is no way to tell which of the faces is Slothrop’s: the only printed credit that might apply to him is “Harmonica, kazoo—a friend.” But knowing his Tarot, we would expect to look among the Humility, among the gray and preterite souls, to look for him adrift in the hostile light of the sky, the darkness of the sea…)”

― Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow

Although they are hardly household names today—and they should be—the Dutch art collective The Fool created some of the most potent, striking and exotic imagery of the psychedelic era. Their hippie-gypsy clothing was seen on the Beatles and their wives, Cream and other rock stars and their album covers and other creations have today become iconic. They also recorded an incredible, but long-forgotten album—its limited edition vinyl re-release is the occasion of this post—but more on that below.
 

Marijke Koger
 
The Fool, before it was so named, started with just with two members—Marijke Koger the visionary psychedelic artist who was the collective’s leader and Simon (or Seemon) Posthuma—and later Josje Leeger, Koger’s friend from art school. Englishmen Barry Finch and photographer Karl Ferris were also involved.
 

 
Posthuma and Koger met in 1961 and participated in a nascent counterculture boutique in Amsterdam called Trend. Posthuma staged a “happening” in 1965 called Stoned in the Streets featuring an “electronic striptease” from a bodypainted Marijke, future Firesign Theatre member Peter Bergman reading poetry and weirdo medical student Bart Hughes revealing the trepanation hole he’d drilled into his own skull to grossed out hippies. The two were living on Ibiza selling posters and making clothing when they were “discovered” by Ferris. His photos of them and their work caused quite a stir when they were published in England, which was then starting to turn from drab postwar black & white to swinging psychedelic day-glo. The pair relocated to London and began to design clothing and more for bands like Cream and Procol Harum. Cream manager Robert Stigwood had Koger and Posthuma paint Eric Clapton’s Gibson SG—one of the most iconic guitars in history—as well as Jack Bruce’s bass and Ginger Baker’s bass drum head, the stage clothes and posters for Cream’s first US tour. They did album covers for the Move, the Hollies and the Incredible String Band and an illustration for the concert program at Beatles manager Brian Epstein’s Saville Theatre in Covent Garden. Of course it’s not surprising that the Beatles themselves wanted to work with such forward-thinking and creative young people. One day, as Simon told it, John Lennon and Paul McCartney simply turned up at their home:

During John and Paul’s first visit to our house in Bayswater, they saw the ‘Wonderwall,’ a composition consisting of a decorated armoire and a bust, against an arched wall, painted in the style that was up until then new to the world. “I love it, I want to live in it,” John said when he saw the ‘Wonderwall’, and Paul agreed. Afterwards, Marijke laid the tarot cards for Paul. It turned out to be his inspiration for writing “The Fool on the Hill.”

Although you can see Marijke and Simon’s fashions on the Beatles during the “I am the Walrus” sequence in Magical Mystery Tour, it was not until a bit later, when the Beatles asked them to work on the Apple Boutique on Baker Street that they formed, and so named, the Fool artistic collective with the others. It was a big job, with the Fab Four basically charging the Fool to design the exterior of the store (including a controversial mural on the outside of the building that was painted by the duo over the course of a weekend with some art students including Mickey Finn, later the bongo player of T.Rex, assisting them), the interior, and all of the clothing sold there.

Film director Joe Massot was also inspired by the “Wonderwall” cabinet and it became the title of a psychedelic film he created of that name to showcase their striking vision starring Jane Birkin.The Fool, who also appeared in the quirky cult favorite, served as the art directors for the film and it’s clearly as much their vision as it is Massot’s. Indeed it was they who got George Harrison to do the Wonderwall soundtrack.

And speaking of soundtracks, the Fool made their own. Having met Hollie Graham Nash when they did that band’s Evolution album cover, they tapped him to produce their eponymously-titled psychedelic freak folk album that was released by Mercury Records in 1969. Whereas it’s a fascinating document of the era no matter the angle of regard, it also happens to be REALLY AMAZING MUSIC. The first time I heard it, my initial thought was “Oh, it sounds like an Incredible String Band kinda thing” and indeed it does, from the (fairly cack) singing to the use of exotic instrumentation, including tabla, Moroccan stringed instruments and Scottish bagpipes. One song even sounds like an ISB pastiche done by the Residents. But here’s the thing, also like Incredible String Band, you have to give this one quite a few spins before you really “get” it. Had I written this review a few days ago, it wouldn’t be such a “rave” review—because that’s what this is, in case you were wondering, I’m unexpectedly NUTS about this album—but after listening to it a couple more times over the weekend, well, I’ve totally fallen in love with it. I went from a generally positive, but lukewarm appraisal to thinking The Fool sounded like an album I’d known and loved since childhood. Every song on it forced its way into my head where they will now reside forever. Had I written this post last week, let’s just say it still would have gone over my head. At that point the magic of this album had not reached me. But then it did. This is one of those play-it-until-you-get-it things—like ISB, like Frank Zappa, like Pink Floyd even—that is absolutely worth putting the effort into. Even if you are initially turned off at the idea of flower children visual artists dabbling in pop music, get over it. This record is the real deal. I mean look at these people. Look at their artwork. They are authentically psychedelic!!! You can’t fake this!

The Fool has been lovingly packaged and released as a numbered limited edition turquoise vinyl longplayer (with an extra track) by Holland’s mighty Music on Vinyl label. They’ve pressed up just 1000 of them so if this is something that sounds intriguing to you—and I hope that it does—you might want to get on buying one stat before it’s sold out and selling used for $80 on Discogs. A final thought about the album is that Graham Nash did a remarkable job producing it. I realize that he got pretty busy right after this (it came post Hollies, but before CSN had ramped up) but this album is a lost masterpiece in so very many ways. It’s a pity that he didn’t have a parallel career as a producer like Todd Rundgren.

The Fool even made an American tour, but disbanded as a working entity in 1970, leaving Posthuma and Koger, who were married for a time, to continue as a duo, Marijke & Seemon. They relocated to Hollywood where they painted a psychedelic mural on the exterior of the Aquarius Theater on Sunset Boulevard for the 1969 production of Hair. Today, Posthuma is based in Amsterdam—he’s also written his autobiography A Fool such as I - The Adventures of Simon Posthuma, but so far it’s only in a Dutch edition—and Marijke is based near Los Angeles. She still paints guitars and in recent years has been commissioned to do some outdoor murals in Europe. She is open for designing album covers and can be reached at her website. Finch and Leeger married on the day man landed on the moon, had six children (each named for a color) and remained together until her death by stroke in 1991. A store in Amsterdam inspired by their mother’s work was opened by two of their daughters.

Although the Victoria & Albert Museum has some of the Fool’s creations in their permanent collection, there needs to be a full-on Fool museum-level survey. And a coffee table book! SURELY a museum in the Netherlands should be looking into this!?!?! Look at the work below. This art (and history) deserves to be cataloged and respected; and preserved for future generations to enjoy.  (I’m assuming that Karl Ferris took many of the photos below, but I’m not sure which ones.)


Painting John Lennon’s piano
 

Inside the Apple Boutique
 
Much much more after the jump…

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Posted by Richard Metzger
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06.12.2018
06:32 am
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‘The Shining,’ ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ and ‘Frankenstein’: Bags for Book Lovers
06.06.2018
11:00 am
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“If you go home with somebody,” John Waters once said, “and they don’t have books, don’t fuck ‘em!”

To save the bother of waiting until you get back to someone’s home before realizing they have no booklined shelves here are some neat bags that let any suitable mate, friend, or potential one-night-stand know you’ve got the literary smarts.

Since 2011, Moscow-based designers Max and Lyuba have produced a series of 129 book bags featuring covers from some well-thumbed classics like Alice in Wonderland, The Catcher in the Rye, and even J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels. Each bag is handmade and sold via Max and Lyuba’s KrukuStudio boutique on Etsy.
 
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More bags for book lovers, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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06.06.2018
11:00 am
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In their own write: Fonts made from the handwriting of David Bowie, Kurt Cobain, John Lennon & more
04.09.2018
10:15 am
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For some, the first step towards a chosen career is imitation.

Peter Capaldi is a fan of the great horror actor (and big screen Doctor Who) Peter Cushing. Once, when Capaldi was a child, he was fortunate enough to have met Cushing who gave him a signed autographed photo. Capaldi was so enamored by the actor that he spent many hours practicing his signature to look just like his idol’s as it was his ambition to follow in the great man’s footsteps as a thespian. He managed to make Cushing’s signature his own and forty years later Capaldi became the twelfth Doctor Who.

Nicolas Damiens is a French graphic designer with an impressive back catalog of award-winning work for a range of companies. He has won a trophy cabinet full of awards including a gold medal for his project Tokyo No Ads. Most recently, Damiens designed a series of Songwriters Fonts based on original handwritten letters and notes from the likes of Serge Gainsbourg, John Lennon, David Bowie, Kurt Cobain and Leonard Cohen. These fonts are available to download for free for personal use so you won’t have to practice your cursive writing skills for penmanship like one of your favorite pop stars.
 
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More Songwriters Fonts, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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04.09.2018
10:15 am
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There’s a restroom in Lithuania decorated with tiles featuring a Soviet high rise
03.27.2018
09:53 am
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Comrade, fed up with those white capitalist tiles in the restroom of your favorite people’s bar or local workers’ canteen? Then why not tell the capitalist pig owner to change them to more pleasing images of the glorious socialist high rises of former Soviet countries.

This is what you will find in the Galeria Urbana restaurant in Kaunas, Lithuania, where the walls of the comfort station have been decorated with tiles featuring photographic images of Soviet-era high rises or “небоскреб.” The tiles are the work of Lithuanian design studio Gyva Grafika, who wanted to bring the “outside inside” and re-examine the country’s “dark Soviet occupation history” and the “culture that was introduced to [Lithuania] by force.” Many of these Soviet-era high rises are now being demolished or modernized under EU-sponsored renovation projects as Lithuania hopes to move “forward to a better and more optimistic tomorrow” as “a strong north European country.” It certainly provides a talking point over dinner and a distracting way to spend a penny.
 
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More after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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03.27.2018
09:53 am
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Exquisite pages from the vintage design bible ‘The Inland Printer’
03.14.2018
11:54 am
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The Inland Printer was a trade magazine that showcased the best printing techniques and technology between 1883 until 2011. It has been described as a designer’s Bible and “the single greatest resource for the study of the American printing industry.”

The magazine kicked-off as a response to the booming Mid-Western printing industry which was supplying an insatiable demand for books, magazines, newspapers, advertisements, and other printed materials—from labels and wrapping paper to business cards and serviettes. The first issue of the Inland Printer was a mere “twenty-four pages, thirteen of copy and eleven of advertisements.” This quickly grew in size month-by-month until the magazine maxed at a hefty 200-pages for one of its editions.

It was popular because it highlighted new techniques, offered a forum for discussion of ideas, and heralded the changes in design from Art Nouveau to Bauhaus and beyond. The magazine featured many of the big name artists and designers of the day like William Henry Bradley and Frank B. Nuderscher. The magazine was also the first American publication to change its cover every month which is now the standard for every periodical. A selection of these earlier covers can be viewed here. Below, a selection of pages from the magazine that feature many fo the cutting edge printing techniques of the day (like intricate and overly elaborate engraving) to use of color and photographic image.
 
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More design classics, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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03.14.2018
11:54 am
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‘Addams Family’ fan creates 3,000-piece LEGO Addams’ Mansion
02.23.2018
07:14 am
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Addams Family fan and LEGO enthusiast Hugh Scandrett has created a nearly-3,000 piece modular recreation of the creepy/kooky Addams Family mansion which he has submitted to LEGO Ideas. If 10,000 people support his build idea, LEGO will review it to possibly make it an actual set. So far, as of this writing, the project has nearly 3,000 supporters.

Scandrett had previously submitted a larger build of the Addams’ mansion in 2016—in honor of the show’s 50 anniversary—but the original build had 7,000 parts, exceeding the 3,000 piece limit imposed by LEGO Ideas.


Scandrett’s earlier 7,000 piece build.

Details of the new construction:

Three floor Mansion, each floor is a removable segment, like standard LEGO modular construction.
The Mansion measures 23” (57cm) high, 10” (25cm) wide and 15” (38cm) deep.
A full glass greenhouse.
Includes 8 minifigs: Morticia, Gomez, Wednesday, Pugsley, Uncle Fester, Grandmama, Cousin It and Lurch.
The build includes 2,975 original LEGO pieces, no modifications.

You can vote to support Scandrett’s set idea HERE. We give it TWO SNAPS.
 

 

 

 
Much more after the jump…

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Posted by Christopher Bickel
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02.23.2018
07:14 am
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Strange Illustrations of Robots, Devils, Fire-Breathing Witches, and Weapons of War from 1420
01.25.2018
10:00 am
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The Devil and all his internal works.
 
There’s an episode of South Park where Stan, Kyle, Cartman, and Kenny try out different routines only to find “The Simpson’s Already Did It.” Looking at the illustrations of technological inventions by fifteenth-century Venetian physician, engineer, and alleged “magus,” Johannes de Fontana, (ca. 1395-1455), aka Giovanni Fontana, it’s more than apparent that whatever invention we think is new someone (probably not The Simpsons...) has already imagined it.

In his technological or mechanical treatise, Bellicorum instrumentorum liber cum figuris (ca. 1420), Fontana imagined or rather devised a whole series of machines for use in war, traveling, entertaining children, flying, robots, rocket-powered craft, timepieces, fountains, and even a means of projecting images like a magic lantern. Unlike most other inventors at this time, Fontana showed the workings of his inventions—the pulleys and weights (sand, water) by which his mechanical devices worked. Most inventors illustrated their proposals “in action” as if functioning in real time, therefore, keeping internal mechanisms of cogs and wheels and what-have-yous hidden, thus to ensure they might be paid for developing such contraptions. Fontana presented his work with see-thru interiors, allowing the viewer to witness or rather imagine just exactly how this devil could fly or that vehicle move. This all well-and-good until one realizes many of these wonderful designs are utterly unworkable as they “do not conform to the principles of mechanics.”

Many of the ideas contained in Bellicorum instrumentorum liber cum figuris focus on weapons of war like exploding missiles, mechanical battering rams and alike. However, Fontana did also include a number of designs for children’s toys and several drawings that scorched myths about the supernatural and the occult by explaining how devils and witches were most probably just robotic automata used to terrorize his fellow citizens.

A copy of Johannes de Fontana’s Bellicorum instrumentorum liber cum figuris can be viewed here.
 
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A mechanical toy.
 
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More toy/entertainment for kids.
 
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A robot witch showing how it would move on rails, have wings that flapped and arms that moved, and an ability to blow fire or air.
 
More mechanical illustrations, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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01.25.2018
10:00 am
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