Legendary old school tabletop RPG artist David Trampier (mentioned previously a few times on the blue) created some of the most striking iconic art which helped define the look of 1st edition Advanced D&D. He grew disillusioned with the business in the late eighties and cut off all contact with his former employers (ceasing cashing royalty checks), disappearing with such finality that Dragon Magazine assumed he was dead. By chance, some fifteen years later he appeared in a local news story in Carbondale, Illinois where he was working as a taxi driver. He politely but firmly rejected all invitations to step back into his previous career. This week he passed away at the age of 59. [more inside]
Nicholas f***ing Witchell is doing a special report from the gates of the palace later on in the f***ing afternoon.
"Piloting London’s distinctive black cabs (taxis to everyone else) is no easy feat. To earn the privilege, drivers have to pass an intense intellectual ordeal, known charmingly as The Knowledge. Ever since 1865, they’ve had to memorise the location of every street within six miles of Charing Cross – all 25,000 of the capital’s arteries, veins and capillaries. They also need to know the locations of 20,000 landmarks – museums, police stations, theatres, clubs, and more – and 320 routes that connect everything up." Acquiring The Knowledge changes the brains of those who acquire it.
Last month, The Atlantic reported that since 1980s, the price of a metallic NYC taxi license has grown four-times faster than the average home or a brick of gold, claiming it to be a wonderful "inflation hedge." This report proved prescient; on Friday two such medallions (which merely represent the taxi's license) just sold for $1 million apiece — a 42% increase just since August. Also on Friday, mere hours after reading the newsstand headlines, Midtown Manhattan resident Tom Poteat looked down to see a medallion, unattached to its taxi, lying on the sidewalk.
A New York City film location scout (mentioned before, here and here) revisits the scenes of the movie Taxi Driver (1976) and compares them to what's there now. [more inside]
Arthur Bremer was released from prison today, after serving a 35 years of a 53-year sentence for the attempted assassination of George Wallace. After Harper's Magazine published Arthur Bremer's diary in 1973, the manuscript inspired both the character of Travis Bickle in the film Taxi Driver and the Peter Gabriel song "Family Snapshot". After Bremer shot Wallace, Nixon obsessed about the shooting on his audio tapes and pestered FBI agent Mark Felt for information, which Felt a.k.a. "Deep Throat" leaked to cub reporter, Bob Woodward. Woodward's relationship with Felt would later crack the Watergate scandal wide open, but Nixon's plan to portray Bremer as a George McGovern supporter remains less well-known.