Arts! Lots of arts.

1. Did you know that Edward Gorey created illustrations for H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds? I didn't. Did you know that they are awesome? I bet you could have figured that out on your own.


Not pictured: Tom Hanks.

2. Some artist named A. Paul Weber created this fantasy piece with a staggering level of fine detail (view in Gigapan, it's neat) back in 1953.


If you know anything about this guy, do fill us in.

3. If you have a few hundred dollars burning a hole in your pocket, Adrian Tomine is selling prints of his recent New Yorker covers and some other things.


Buying an expensive print of a New Yorker cover is the final boss one must defeat to find the Triforce of Whiteness.

4. A new book, A Map of the World: The World According to Illustrators and Storytellers delivers…what the title promises. A bunch of artists, designers, and illustrators offer some remarkably colorful takes on the world (scroll down here for a nice gallery).


5. Oh don't worry, I'll work some Cold War shit in here. Here's a large gallery from Dutch photographer David Galjaard's prize-winning series on Albania's national network of concrete pillbox bunkers courtesy of ex-dictator Enver Hoxha. They built 700,000 of these cement pimples, a sort of Albanian Maginot Line.

From the series "Concresco" by David Galjaard

They're everywhere and no one really knows what to do with them. Fortunately they were built with all the expertise, craftsmanship, know-how, and quality materials of communist Albania. So the odds are they will turn into dust soon if we're patient.

18 thoughts on “NPF: PILLBOX CHAMPION”

  • The pillboxes are still everywhere in Albania, to the point where a common souvenir in Tirana is the alabaster bunker ashtray. You life up the top and your cigarette can rest in one of the gun embrasures. I never had the chance to inspect one up close but I could see them almost immediately in between the airport(which is smaller than a Wal-Mart) and Tirana.

    They were built as a response to the Brezhnev doctrine, which was laid bare in Prague in 1968. Previously Albania had faced threats from Yugoslavia and Greece, plus some armed gangs of Albanian nationalist emigres who tried to infiltrate the country in the late 40's. As Albania had a very small standing military, defense fell mostly on the shoulders of villagers themselves, who were trained and armed. The pillboxes typically had large metal rings in them which allowed them to be moved around and dropped into a hole.

  • Did you mean Tom Cruise? Or is there some kind of Tom Hanks-War of the Worlds-Edward Gorey connection of which I'm not aware?

  • Eric the infrequent says:

    Look, if Ed listed all the Toms not shown, he would still be typing. Don't be so demanding.

  • c u n d gulag says:

    So, the Albanians spent so much money on national security – building, in their case, concrete pillboxes, to protect a poor country with increasingly less worth protecting – that the economy constantly suffered, the rest of the countries existing infrastructure was left to rot, and no new much-needed infrastucture could be afforded.

    Where have I seen this formula recently?

    Oh, wait – I've got it!

    We don't need no STEENKIN' PILLBOXES!!!
    We've got our Military Industrial Complex – and its variety of ever growing, expensive, mostly useless, "Defense" projects and military weapons! And outdated ones at that – designed to fight the Soviet threat, 20+ years after the USSR ceased to exist.
    All to protect a dying country with increasingly less worth protecting, the economy is constantly suffering, the rest of our countries existing infrastructure is left to rot, and no new much-needed infrastucture can be afforded.

    American's: WE'RE ALL ALBANIANS, NOW!!!
    Ready everyone?

  • All excellent. May I also recommend, as I flee for work, this site?

  • Regarding Paul Weber, his illustrations are quite popular over here. Never knew his name, or cared, but here's what wikipedia has to say:

    Born 1893 — Wandervogel — drafted for WWI, but spent the war in relative safety — married, 5 kids.

    Used to be a "national revolutionary", that is, basically from the same soup that made up the SA, but even more radical — he opposed the nazis because of their lip service to the west, and for keeping up the pretense of elections (in his opinion, a straight coup was called for).

    Ongoing anti-nazi activities got him into jail and concentration camp for a few months in 1937. Later, during the war, he obviously reconsidered what side was his; his works found use in, or possibly were made for, nazi propaganda.

    After 1945, having been a confirmed anti-nazi activist who spent time in a concentration camp made itself well on exhibition posters and book covers.

    Quite a few (and may good) pictures can be found here:

    Although I have to admit: now that I know a bit about the person, I see the pictures in a different way. Even the late environmentalist ones. Don't know if I should thank you, Ed.

  • That Map of the World book is the bomb. The map of Helsinki is just so beautiful I could stare at it for hours.

    And regarding the Albanian bunkers, if you go through the photos, the last ones are of industrial interiors. The photo of the exercise bikes (at least I am guessing that's what they are) reminds me very much of the stationary racing set-up in Triplets of Belleville, if anyone here has seen that. Funny.

  • The New Yorker. Yeah, Eustace Tilly and the cartoons and those covers. But they do some fine journalism; probably the best national weekly out there today.


  • We should use the Albanian bunkers as a means by which to refine the precision of our Drone Hellfire missiles.

  • Ah poop. Forgot that angle brackets would be eaten by the HTML monster… Make that:

    #disclaimer "just a happy subscriber"

  • Already said, more or less, but I don't think it's entirely irrational for a country sandwiched between the USSR and Western Europe, and not especially friendly with either, to build defensive structures.

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