Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Stuff That Happened in the 80's: Sistine Chapel Restoration

In June of 1980, a restoration team started scrubbing approximately five hundred years of candle smoke residue off the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, revealing Michelangelo's famous frescoes as he (theoretically, anyway) originally painted them. The restoration process took up two whole decades--the wall frescoes, the last part of the chapel to be restored, were officially unveiled in 1999--and the results are pretty dramatic:

There had been previous attempts to restore the Sistine Chapel, but none this ambitious. By the way, did you know that art restorers in the 1600's cleaned unwanted mineral deposits off frescoes by rubbing them with bread? I sure didn't.

This modern restoration was also noteworthy because there were people who hated the crap out of it. Andrew Wordsworth, a reporter for a London-based newspaper called The Independent, complained that the restored artwork "has a curiously washed-out look, with pretty but flavourless coloring--an effect quite unlike that of Michelangelo's intensely sensual sculpture." My giant, paving-stone-like vintage copy of Chronicle of the 20th Century tells me that one particularly offended critic "compared the project to a nuclear disaster," thus proving that hyperbolic nerd rage is not unique to the internet generation.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Music Video Monday: Hammer Swings Down

This is a public service announcement for hair metal groupies:

Did you know that if you break up with Babylon A.D. vocalist Derek Davis, he can and will have you thrown into his private prison?

First you'll be stripped to your underwear and locked up a cramped cell:

Under the watchful eye of a female warden, who has such bloodthirsty zest for her job that she frequently forgets her pants in her hurry to get to work:

And if you step out of line, the inexplicably hot and scantily clad female guards will take you to the interrogation room and strap you...into the torture chair and tell you...what a...bad girl you've

Okay, this is just getting gratuitously creepy. It gets even creepier when you consider the fact that the band is obviously inside the prison while they're performing this song. See the giant cement overpass/guard catwalk and barbed wire fence in the background? Derek Davis apparently hangs out in his prison of scantily clad ex-girlfriends. Probably "supervises" their weirdly erotic punishments too. Pervy.

But maybe I'm being too hard on the guy. From the looks of some of these inmates, he may have locked at least some of them up because they made him genuinely fear for his safety:


Here's a suggestion, Derek. Maybe you should stop dating towering amazons who pump iron and can swing ginormous hammers around like Thor at a concrete-smashing contest. Then you wouldn't have to preemptively incarcerate every one of your exes out of sheer terror of them beating you into a puddle of pulverized flesh and shattered microphone bits.

Also, I don't care how easy you've heard it is to hide a shiv down a shirt or pant leg, you've got to get these ladies some real clothes. And stop hanging around the prison to make sure the cells are still secure. You're giving people all the wrong ideas, man. 

"I am a metal god! I fear nothing! Except Rhonda, my ex. And Laurie, my other ex. And Jennifer. And Alice. And...Well,  I do still have the occasional nightmare about Carol. But other than that...Fearless!"

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

On This Day In 1987...

...Hulda Crooks became the oldest woman to climb to the top of Mt. Fuji. She was 91 years old at the time.

91. Years. Old.

Oh, and Wikipedia informs me that Crooks got her endearing nickname, Grandma Whitney, by scaling 14,505-foot Mt. Whitney a couple times between her 65th and 91st birthdays. And by a couple times, I mean 23 freaking times. At a time in life when most people start using the handicapped ramp at the local library because they just can't maneuver their walkers up those three stairs very well. Way to make me feel dismally inadequate for finding yet another excuse not to get on the elliptical today, Grandma Whitney. 

You know, I've always wondered why the Japanese have that old saying: "He who has not climbed Mt. Fuji is a fool. He who climbs it twice is a bigger fool--unless they're Hulda Crooks. She's just up there because she had some time to kill before her lunch reservation."

Monday, July 21, 2014

Music Video Monday: Scared

Gather 'round and listen, my children, to the tragic tale of the Foolish Little Metalhead.

Once upon a time, there was a Very Foolish Little Metalhead. He is given no name in the video, so let us call him Pete. See him blissfully sleeping in his cozy bed:

As long as Pete could remember, his older, wiser metalhead friends had always warned him never to put a pan full of cold water on the stove and repeat the words "Dangerous Toys" thrice over. Pete always promised them he would not, but Pete was also a Very Curious Little Metalhead. One evening while his friends were all out scoring weed, he filled a pan with cold water, placed it on the stove, and fearfully whispered, "Dangerous Toys! Dangerous Toys! Dangerous Toys!"

Nothing seemed to happen. Disappointed, Pete went to bed.

But Pete simply hadn't waited long enough:

That very night, Pete woke to find voracious snakes and tarantulas swarming him in his own bed:

A deadly red hellfire began to lick around the edges of his closet door, and poor Pete began to tremble with fear, for he now knew exactly what he had done.

He had summoned the powerful and unspeakably evil monster of the night known only as...

(whispers)...Dangerous Toys lead singer Jason McMaster.

Pete's friends came home to find his bed empty. Pete was never seen again, but they say that on certain dark moonless nights you can still hear him screaming...


Screaming forever.

And so, children, you must always take care to let sleeping demons lie. Also, you should probably run out right now and buy ten copies of every Dangerous Toys album. And plaster your walls with Dangerous Toys posters. And loudly proclaim to anyone who'll listen that Dangerous Toys is your favorite band ever, over and over again, for the rest of your life. Because Jason McMaster is watching you.

And he can totally see into your soul.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

On This Day In 1982...

...the Reverend Sun Myung Moon performed 2,075 weddings.

No, it wasn't part of the plot of some wacky 80's sitcom about a forgetful minister who makes 2,075 madcap, zany-accident-laden dashes between multiple churches in an attempt to perform all the weddings he's been booked for that day, eventually learning a Very Important Lesson about how trying to please everyone just leaves everyone unhappy. The Rev. Moon was the founder and head of the Unification Church, which holds enormous mass weddings called "marriage re-dedication ceremonies." This particular ceremony was held in Madison Square Garden, and most of the couples involved were personally matched up--only a few weeks beforehand, in some cases--by the Rev. Moon himself.

Okay, that sounds kind of creepy and cult-like, and I'd definitely run a million miles from anyone who asked me to marry some dude I met two weeks ago in a communal wedding with 2,074 other couples for Jesus. But the American Psychological Association (eventually) decided that they probably don't brainwash their members, so there's that. Besides, here's a picture of the Rev. Moon...

...and I just can't stay mad at a guy who looks like he just left the house to run a quick errand--and completely forgot that he never took off the sparkly dress-up clothes he was playing tea party with his granddaughters in.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Music Video Monday: Apple Pie


What to make of this video?

Let's review the evidence, shall we?

First off, it's shot on poor-quality film and set in some sort of weed-choked, rubble-laden cityscape:

Also, there's a guy with a bitchin' Road Warrior-style mohawk:

And an unkempt-haired, deranged-looking lead singer who lunges hungrily at the camera while lustily predicting that your flavor will be reminiscent of a delicious baked foodstuff:

While his bandmates/acolytes do a ritualistic dance around him:

Okay, I know exactly what's going on here. We're in the post-apocalyptic ruins of a major city, and we've run into a death-cult of mutated cannibal rednecks. I mean, the band is literally named White Trash,* for pete's sake! How could they be anything else?

So...yeah. I'd, um, stop filming them and run, Mr. Cameraman. They look kind of peckish...


Too late.

*Also, I'm not sure what to make of the fact that despite calling themselves White Trash, they have a Token Black Dude on sax.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

On This Day In 1982...

Pan Am Flight 759 crashed.

No, not that Pan Am flight. Or that one.* This particular plane was bound for San Diego when it got caught in a microburst and went down just a few minutes after taking off from New Orleans International Airport. All 145 passengers and crew on board were killed, and eight people on the ground died as well. 32 years have elapsed since the crash, but the Pan Am Flight 759 disaster still holds the dubious honor of being the fifth deadliest aviation disaster to occur on US soil.

By the way, check out this weirdly unsettling illustration of a microburst. Seriously, has anything ever looked more like the ravening proboscis of a rampaging insectoid wind god?

*Note to self: If trapped in the 1980's, don't fly Pan Am.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

On This Day In 1986...

A massive nationwide strike started in Chile to protest the Pinochet regime. General Pinochet reacted to the strike like only a tin-pot dictator butthurt that everyone doesn't love him can: by having protesters peppered with bullets and tear gas. Also possibly having some people set on fire.

By the way, Pinochet conveniently died of a heart attack in 2006 before he could be properly convicted of any human rights abuses. Feh.

And since this was a bit of a downer post, please enjoy this nice picture of a sunset in Florida: