Another valuable Spanish painting is ruined by someone who's all thumbs and no skills.
Spanish art restorers are in the news for the wrong reasons again. You may remember the infamous Ecce Homo disfigurement—the early 20th century fresco by Elías García Martínez that was ruined by amateur restorer Cecilia Giménez. The restoration, which took place in the town of Borja, was so botched that many Spaniards stopped referring to the painting as Ecce Homo—“Behold Man”—in favor of Ecce Mono—“Behold Monkey.” We've posted its Christ figure, angelic before, and afflicted after, below. We think the name change fits, though we think the after Christ also looks a bit like Leatherface.
The Ecce Homo fiasco soon grew to exemplify the divergent incentives of the modern world. The painting was destroyed. Its destruction turned the painting and the town of Borja into a tourist attraction. The restorer now claims she's proud of her work because of the money that tourists bring which can be used for good causes. The fact that these calamity tourists are posing with the painting only because it looks like Giménez restored it using a brush held between her ass cheeks is now immaterial. Only money matters. The money made has absolved her of responsibility for ruining the art.
The latest incident involves a more-than-century-old copy of Bartolomé Esteban Murillo's baroque painting La Inmaculada del Escorial, which you see at top. An art collector in Valencia hired a furniture restorer to clean the painting, but the face of the Virgin Mary was damaged. The collector then hired an art restorer to repair the damage, was forced to hire a second to fix the damage done by the first, and, well, see below. Now look up top again. Now look below.
Yeah, that actually happened. We can't figure out how the second restorer made the painting look even less like the original than the first restorer. Did they not understand why they had been hired? These paintings aren't pulp art, but their destruction is like something from a comical crime novel. Not surprisingly, some Spaniards also consider these blunders criminal, and are now calling for regulation of the art restoration sector, and who can blame them?
Spanish art experts say botched restorations are more common than people know. We searched around and found a couple more, also hilariously awful (see the sculpture of St. George from the town of Estella, below). Generally, these incidents only become public when they're reported to the press or on social media, which isn't the norm, considering the embarrassment involved. But we can't help wondering if, going forward, ancient artworks will be deliberately ruined as a ploy to generate calamity tourism. We wouldn't put it past people. Maybe Behold Monkey should be renamed again, to Behold Money. Maybe Jesus has shown the way—to financial salvation.
Political situation in U.S. critical after radical surgery to transplant corrupt old politics onto fresh new voters.
We wrote a polemical subhead. Heh, sub-head, see what we did there? Because it's a substitute head and— Anyway, this cover of Midnight published today in 1967 touts a medical miracle, but of course in reality it was beyond the capabilities of science then and remains so today. But one day. And when extra-long lifespans arrive, horrible old ideas will be near impossible to change because the same geezers will be in charge for hundreds of years. You think seventy-something is old too old to be president? Just wait. On another note, you may have noticed we haven't posted many tabloids lately. Our scanner has developed the habit of placing a bright blue line on our scans, and during the quarantine the electronics store was closed. We'll wander over that way pretty soon and get to scannin' again. In the meantime, we have 399 tabloid posts in the website, and if you're inclined you can access them here.
There's more than just a killer virus flying around out there.
Just in time to distract you from the unstoppable flying virus, the U.S. government has gotten people talking about something else aerial and threatening—unidentified flying objects. This happened yesterday, when the Pentagon released footage of two close encounters of the mysterious kind. The videos are from the cameras of navy fighter jets and were made during two separate encounters in 2004 and 2015. One of the pilots had discussed the 2004 incident with the New York Times in 2017, and described an oblong object forty feet long hovering over the Pacific Ocean, accelerating “like nothing I've ever seen.” The newly released footage corroborates his account, seemingly. The 2015 video, which is FLIR footage, or infrared imagery, shows a rapidly moving object above cloud cover but seen from the vantage point of a higher flying jet. The pilot says over his radio, “Yeah, [that's] a fuckin' drone, bro.” Someone responds, “There's a whole fleet of them. Look on the ASA.” Response: “My gosh!” Followed by: “They're all going against the wind. The wind's 120 knots from the west.” Response: “Look at that thing, dude.”
Well, what can we say? Probably the same thing we've said before, which is that if alien civilizations were advanced enough to come light years from another star system we'd certainly never see them. We primitive earthlings have already figured out rudimentary stealth tech, and are seriously working on invisibility, and we presume we could see aliens that came from a distant advanced world? For that matter, why would they even need to get near us? We can read license plates from space with our primitive satellites. Why wouldn't aliens be able to set up in undetected orbit and observe everything they needed? Of course, maybe they're here and we can see them because they don't care if we do, but if that were true why not take a really good look? Why not hover above Sunset Boulevard and rubberneck at all the party girls and film execs? In our opinion, the first pilot got it right. That's a fuckin' drone, bro. Consider: an advanced drone could perform high-g maneuvers far beyond the capabilities of a human pilot to withstand, and if it were sent up against military jets, since they can't fire outside a wartime setting without chain-of-command approval, you get a real world test andyour drone back. But alien hunters are creaming their undies right now, and why not? The footage is interesting. And we admit, of course, we weren't there, and we aren't pilots. Our drone opinion is just that. What you see here are screenshots we made, but you can view all the fun video for yourself in the document library of the Naval Air Systems Command, located here. Whether you believe in UFOs or not, watching the videos is at least a break from reading about the virus again.
Edit: the Pulp Intl. girlfriends demur. They suggest it's possible the aliens are just playful dicks, like this fella here that got a laugh from ruining a guy's paddle boarding experience.
Pram, girl, that thing is the bomb!
Once upon a time in England, some industrious genius came up with the idea of poison gas resistant baby prams. This photo was shot in Kent in 1938, when the threat of war with Germany loomed large and the fear of bombs—gas bearing and otherwise—was in everyone's minds. This pram is not just a historical oddity—it's a sociological statement. Think about it. How many parents could afford one of these things? Certainly not the countless coal miners and haddock fishermen who made up so much of the British workforce, we'd wager. So it's also a symbol of capitalism at its finest—that part where the rich always have better survival odds.
Some websites caption this photo things like, “Mother in gas mask with infant in gas proof carriage.” Are they kidding? It would be the nanny who gets sent out to risk a poison gas attack. Upper crust mommy stays home for tea and scones in the drawing room, and maybe tops that off with a little medicinal scotch for her nerves. If the baby never makes it back she'll just make dirty spoons with the lord of the manor and give motherhood another go in nine months. As for the pram, it would probably be reusable after a gas attack. In fact, it's more than just durable—it's versatile too. Assuming it survives a long, ugly war of keeping German gas out, it can be used during peace time to keep baby gas in.
We're ready to explore the depths of our local convenience store.
We had this contraption sitting around in the wine cellar. Conceived by inventors Alphonse and Theodore Carmagnolle in Marseille, France, it's a deep sea diving suit made around 1878. It's truly amazing—800 pounds, something like 20 little portholes for good vision, and tricked out with more gadgets than Iron Man's suit. But here's the best part—in a lighting stroke of pure genius we realized we could use it as a hazmat suit. So we got it out, oiled its joints, and now the Pulp Intl. girlfriends are going to try and pick up some toilet paper. Yes, both of them. One has to stand on the other's shoulders to make this beast work.
You're asking, why are they going for toilet paper instead of us? Because they use twenty times more than we do. It's incredible. It's like they go into the bathroom and incinerate the stuff, it goes so fast. Now you're asking, why not venture out in their stead as an act of gallantry? We could do that. We really could. In fact, we even kind of want to, just to use that wicked-looking hook on the back of the suit's right paw with ill intent. That will definitely help you keep order in the market: “Line forms after me, virus boy!” But gallantry is so last century. This is 2020, people. We'd get destroyed on social media for it. But we'll be in constant contact with the girls via radio: “Baby, are you receiving? Make sure you get beer. Over.”
On a slightly different note, let's just get this disclaimer out of way: this coronavirus is serious as a heart attack, as far as we're concerned. Where we live a lot of people are dying. We're doing quarantine to the letter of the law. We haven't left the premises in twelve days, but considering how lax people are in this town about behavingsensibly, we aren't 100% confident this thing won't still be rampant months from now. We can see one our of neighbors coming and going like nothing is wrong, and even having friends over. “Baby, still receiving? Hook our neighbor in the neck. Over.” Anyway, while we wait for this to (hopefully) blow over we have to while away these isolated hours some way or other, and this is how—talking shit online. It's the only social life we've got for the time being.
The worst part is when he takes the car without asking.
Here's a photo of Sunscreen Chimp, or Bobo as he likes to be called, who is almost identical to a chimp we showed you in an Acme Newspictures photo a while back. You may remember we went searching for one of these fellas to rub sunscreen on the Pulp Intl. girlfriends' backs so we could relax in the shade. Seemed like a good idea at the time, but as you can see, Bobo, that cheeky fucker, has made himself at home, and is sunning himself by our pool instead of doing the job the animal traffickers guaranteed us he'd do. Now not only do we still have to rub sunscreen on our girlfriends' backs, but we also have to fetch Bobo banana daiquiris. We just can't win.
I have a vision... It's getting clearer... It's you... buying the updated and revised edition of my book.
Above you see the cover of Old Aunt Dinah's Dream Book of Numbers. We've already talked about Gene Bilbrew's covers for 1970s dream books. We're revisiting the subject today to give you this additional look at his work, but also to take a historical angle on his specifically African American art. Playing daily numbers was an African American invention, part of an underground economy that flourished in many large cities, but reached its apotheosis in Harlem.
It's impossible to know when playing the numbers began—certainly long before the turn of the twentieth century—but the practice took off during the 1920s when a black West Indian man named Casper Holstein began using bank-to-bank transaction data published in New York City papers as the selection mechanism for his daily numbers. Previously, numbers had been chosen in various unreliable ways, but Holstein's innovation placed the selection of numbers in public view, removed any suggestion of corruption, and as a result Harlem's daily lottery thrived.
Which is exactly why the city of New York decided to take it over in 1980, a coup it managed in part by promising to use a portion of the numbers revenue toward public education costs. And of course, proving once again that politicians are the lowest creatures that ever crawled from beneath slime covered logs in miasmic swamps, the city then cut its contributions to the education budget so there was ultimately no net gain for schools, while profits were neatly excised from the black community.
Old Aunt Dinah's Dream Book of Numbers is the third dream book illustrated by Bilbrew we've shared. We're fascinated by the exotic, made-up personae on the covers. The idea of gypsies, Arabs, creoles, Asians, or very old people somehow tapping into mystical power thrived in pulp fiction, early movies, cartoons, and, as you see, even on the covers of dream books. Old Aunt Dinah is our favorite dream book invention, but the characters Madame Zodia and Princess Shaharr—the latter of whom we'll show you later—are close runners up.
For those who don't know what books like these are about exactly, we explained that in our typically roundabout way in previous write-ups, here and here. Shorter version: Dream until your dreams come true. We already have a couple more to share, and we'll keep an eye out for others. And of course we'll continue to be on the lookout for paperback art by Gene Bilbrew. You can see what he's about by clicking this link.
After you finish doing me we'll switch and I'll pick the lice out of your fur.
There's no date on this interesting shot of a model and a chimpanzee from ACME Newspictures, but since ACME folded in late 1951, we think this was made that year or in 1950, just one of many weird and wacky photos the group accumulated in its thirty years of existence. The Pulp Intl. girlfriends love going to our local beach, but since we're more fond of sitting in the nearby terraces and sipping cold white wine, this photo led PI-1 to say that she needed her very own sunscreen chimp. To which we replied that it would probably be considered animal cruelty today and she'd get destroyed online. Stupid thing to say, because her response was, “Then I guess you'll have to do it after all.” So we're heading out a little later to try and find a sunscreen chimp. Wish us luck.
In search of Schrödinger's loophole.
Hope springs eternal in the hearts of lifers. A convicted murderer named Benjamin Schreiber claims he should be freed because he fulfilled the terms of his life sentence when he died during a prison medical procedure. Schreiber, 66, suffered from acute kidney stones, and in March 2015 the condition triggered septic poisoning that rendered him unconscious. Doctors rushed him to surgery, where he died—only to be revived. This despite the fact that he had signed a do-not-resuscitate order, which did him no good at all as the doctors ignored it like it was a patient in one of their waiting rooms.
Fast forward to April of this year, when Schreiber filed an appeal stating that he had served his life sentence, and keeping him in prison was life-plus. Let's take a moment to bask in the incandescent genius of that idea. If we were ever to be friends with someone who bludgeoned a guy to death with an axe handle, it would be Schreiber. Unfortunately, an Iowa appeals court has denied his motion and he looks set to spend a second lifetime behind bars. Judge Amanda Potterfield responded to the sheer quantum weirdness of Schreiber's argument by stating, “[he] is either still alive, in which case he must remain in prison, or he is actually dead, in which case this appeal is moot.” Scientific observers say Schreiber is in fact neither, but none of them have jurisdiction over the case.
Legal rulings are dry by nature, but you can picture Potterfield reading the filing and saying to herself, “The fucking cojones on this guy.” Did she save the story for when all the judges meet up to bar crawl and boast about who contributed the most to mass incarceration? We suspect so. We also imagine that the bold attempt by Schreiber to obtain freedom via a metaphysical loophole has made him a legend in the cellblock. But the real point is this: there's a bestselling novel here, aspiring authors. Imagine the person who comes back isn't Schreiber at all, but some random soul who drifted into his body. His only chance is to thaw the chilly Potterfield, who slowly begins to see something... different... in the ancient convict's doe-like eyes. We're giving that to you. Run with it, and thank us in the foreword.
I'm telling you, dammit, something's changed. His eyes are like whirlpools of pain and sadness. Look for yourself and tell me you can't see that this is not the same man as before!
Give us a second. We'll get our Bitcoin wallets.
When you have a website, every scam, grift, and cheat on the world wide web finds its way to your inbox. They're all amusing, but this sextortion gambit is by far our favorite. Have a read:
ATTN: The last time you visited a porn website with teenagers, you downloaded and installed the virus I developed. My program has turned on your cam and recorded the act of your masturbation. My software also downloaded all your email contact lists and a list of your friends on Facebook. I have the editor .mp4 with you jerking off to teens, as well as a file with all your contacts on my computer. You are very perverted! If you want me to delete both files and keep the secret, you must send me the Bitcoin payment. I give you 72 hours only to transfer the funds. If you don't know how to pay with Bitcoin, visit Google and search how to buy Bitcoin. Send $2,000 USD = 0.2407261 BTC to [snip].
As soon as you open this email I will know you opened it. I am tracking all actions on your device. This Bitcoin address is linked to you only, so I will know when you send the correct amount. When you pay in full, I will remove both files and deactivate my program. If you choose to not send the [money] I will send your masturbation video to ALL YOUR FRIENDS AND ASSOCIATES from your contact lists that I hacked. FINAL WARNING. You have the final chance to save your social life. I am not kidding!!
Who is this guy, Trump, with the exclamation marks and caps? We gather this has been sent to millions of computer users, pedophiles all of course, except for us. Well, if one in a thousand suckers pay, that's a pretty nice racket. Could this be why Bitcoin has been going up in value lately? Hmm... These scams have been said to come from Japan or China, and because Bitcoin wallets are in public view it's possible to see that people are actually paying. The poor, sad souls. Anyway, we got a grammatically horrendous follow-up:
I give you the last 72 hours to make the payment before I sending the video with your masturbation to all your friends and associates. The last time you visited a erotic website with young teens you downloaded and automatically installed the SPY software that I created. My program has turned on your camera and recorded the act of your masturbation and the video you were watching while masturbating. My software also downloaded e-mail contact list and list of your Facebook friends from your device. I have both the editor .mp4 with your masturbation and a file with all your contacts on my hard drive. You are very perverted! If you want me to delete both files and keep your secret, you must send me the Bitcoin payment. I give you last 72 hours to transfer the funds.
To which we say: you think we're fucking amateurs here at Pulp Intl? Our monitors don't have webcams. See below. Now back to masturbating.
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1995—Mickey Mantle Dies
New York Yankees outfielder Mickey Mantle dies of complications from cancer, after receiving a liver transplant. He was one of the greatest baseball players ever, but he was also an alcoholic and played drunk, hungover, and unprepared. He once said about himself, "Sometimes I think if I had the same body and the same natural ability and someone else's brain, who knows how good a player I might have been."
1943—Philadelphia Experiment Allegedly Takes Place
The U.S. government is believed by some to have attempted to create a cloak of invisibility around the Navy ship USS Eldridge. The top secret event is known as the Philadelphia Experiment and, according to believers, ultimately leads to the accidental teleportation of an entire vessel.
1953—Soviets Detonate Deliverable Nuke
The Soviet Union detonates
a nuclear weapon codenamed Reaktivnyi Dvigatel Stalina, aka Stalin's Jet Engine. In the U.S. the bomb is codenamed Joe 4. It is a small yield fission bomb rather than a multi-stage fusion weapon, but it makes up for its relative weakness by being fully deployable, meaning it can be dropped from a bomber.
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