Behold the most excellent first official White House portrait of Melania Trump

I think it's amazing. It's more Scientology than Scientology. She looks like she's about to drop the first forty minutes of Mallwave, a genre of electronic music made of irony that's been aged in acrylic casks since 1987, ready to blast all the other waves into space to dance among the stars.

Update: of course it turns out Mallwave is not only already a thing but is already over.

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Shaun Cassidy sings "Rebel Rebel" (1980)

Today, Shaun Cassidy is a successful TV producer. In the 1970s he was better know as the little brother of David Cassidy. In 1979 Shaun hired Todd Rundgren to produce his album Wasp. I don't think the album did well, but is has some great tracks on it, including a cover of David Bowie's "Rebel Rebel," "So Sad About Us' (Pete Townshend), "The Book I Read" (Talking Heads) ,"Once Bitten Twice Shy" (Ian Hunter), "It's My Life" ( Animals) and "Shake Me Wake Me" (Four Tops).

It was his last album.

Here's the whole album: Read the rest

Rogue Wave's new video for cover of Pete Townshend's "Let My Love Open the Door"

Today my friends in Rogue Wave released the video for their lovely cover of Pete Townshend's "Let My Love Open the Door." The track is from their latest release "Cover Me," a quite wonderful covers album that consists entirely of Rogue Wave going back to their 1980s musical roots, influences, and mix tape favorites. Songs include The Cure's "In Between Days," The Cult's "She Sells Sanctuary," The Church's "Under the Milky Way," The Romantics' 'Talking In Your Sleep," and many more 80s MTV classics. "Cover Me" is available for digital download or colored vinyl -- pink or splatter paint, natch.

The video for "Let My Love Open the Door" was directed and edited by Jim Granato with color effects by Truckee Lynch.

"The idea for this video has been circling around my brain since we finished tracking it," Zach Rogue says. "A fantasy about what I could tell my younger self if I had the chance."

Check out Rogue Wave tour dates here.

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How the Nintendo NES Zapper gun worked (and why it doesn't on today's TVs)

My 10-year-old son Lux is a retro videogame historian who collects and studies 1980s consoles and games with the gravitas of a PhD student working on his thesis. Last year he acquired Nintendo's NES Zapper gun controller from 1984 that was used to play shooting games like Duck Hunt. (Below, a TV commercial for the NES Deluxe Set including the Zapper and R.O.B. The Robotic Operating Buddy.) Unfortunately, the NES Zapper doesn't work with modern LCD televisions. The video above from "Today I Found Out" explains the clever technology behind the NES Zapper gun. And here's a great text explanation from How-To Geek about why it doesn't work on non-CRT screens, something my son already knew but, of course, wanted the Zapper anyway for, er, display purposes:

First, it requires extremely precise timing between the trigger pull on the Zapper and the response on the screen. Even the slightest difference (and we’re talking milliseconds here) between the signal sent to the NES and the signal displayed on the screen can throw it off. The original timing sequence was based on the very dependable response time of a CRT hooked up to the analog NES signal. Whether the old tube TV was big, small, cutting edge or 10 years old, the speed of the signal via the CRT display standard was reliable. By contrast, the latency in modern digital sets is not reliable and is not the same as the old consistent delay in the CRT system. Now, this doesn’t matter in most situations.

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Yugoslavian computer magazine cover girls of the 1980s-90s

From Flashbak:

Računari was a computer magazine of the former Yugoslavia which lasted from 1984 until the late 1990s – surviving the economic turbulence and wars of the 1980s-90s, and even outlasting the country itself. The title simply means “computers” – and its content was just that: very bland, very technical, nothing flashy… but its covers were another matter entirely.

Despite the very low-key tech content, the guys at Računari decided to put some spice on just about every cover. Nearly every issue featured a ravishing Eastern Bloc Beauty straddling computer hardware. Let’s have a look at some of these covers spanning the late 1980s and into the early 1990s. Enjoy.

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Watch George Michael and Morrissey discuss breakdancing and Joy Division

In May 1984, George Michael and Morrissey, promoting respectively “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" and The Smiths' "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now," appeared on the BBC program Eight Days A Week. They discuss such urgent matters as the film Breakin' (released as Breakdance outside the US) and Mark Johnson's book An Ideal for Living: A History of Joy Division.

(via Dangerous Minds)

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Listen to Wham's "Careless Whisper" before George Michael fixed it

This is Wham's "Careless Whisper" (1984) before George Michael took matters into his own hands. (The visuals are from the music video we know and love.) From Wikipedia:

The song went through at least two rounds of production. The first was during a trip Michael made to Muscle Shoals, Alabama, where he went to work with producer Jerry Wexler at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio. Michael was unhappy with the version that was originally produced and decided to re-record and produce the song himself, this time coming up with the version that was finally released. The version Wexler produced did, was released later in the year, as a (4:41) B-side "Special Version" on 12" in the UK and Japan.

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The story of the world's worst videogame

For better or worse, video game designer/programmer Howard Scott Warshaw is perhaps best known for the Atari 2600 game "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" (1982). That game is considered by many to be the worst video game in history and blamed for driving the video game industry crash of 1983. (To be fair, it wasn't entirely Warshaw's fault. He was also the talented developer behind the classic Yars' Revenge and other fine titles.) Above is the Big Story of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and Warshaw, now a psychotherapist in Silicon Valley.

And in case you missed it, the film Atari: Game Over is a wonderful documentary about E.T. and the mass burial of unsold copies of the game.

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Watch "Terminal Madness," 1980 TV special about personal computers

In 1980, WMTV in Madison, Wisconsin produced this feature about early personal computers and the geeks who loved them. I enjoyed the discussion of The Source, which was the first online experience I ever had.

George Martin, who posted the video to YouTube, writes: "About halfway through the video there is a segment filmed at my home showing how I had programmed a Cromemco Z-2 computer to control lights and appliances."

(Thanks, UPSO!)

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Video: party with Keith Haring on New Year's Eve 1984

Keith Haring's New Year's Eve party in downtown Manhattan, 1984, as documented by video artist Nelson Sullivan. Those were the daze. (r/ObscureMedia, thanks UPSO!)

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Watch Pee-wee Herman's Halloween appearances on David Letterman (1983 and 1984)

Pee-wee's sage trick-or-treating advice: "Don't eat any apples you can shave with."

(/r/obscuremedia, thanks UPSO!)

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Dance to Ministry's "(Everyday Is) Halloween"

Al Jourgensen may prefer to forget that he once cultivated an English accent and created this underground club hit, but on this day, we happily remember Ministry's "(Everyday Is) Halloween" from 1984. Above, a fan video cut up from horror films.

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Europe's "The Final Countdown" as a spaghetti western theme

I enjoy Samuraiguitarist's spaghetti western cover of Europe's "The Final Countdown" much more than the 1986 original below.

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Pete Burns, singer of Dead or Alive, RIP

Pete Burns, fabulous freak singer of 1980s dance-pop group Dead or Alive, died yesterday of cardiac arrest. He was 57. From The Guardian:

Burns rose to fame in the 1980s with the band’s hit so ng You Spin Me Round (Like a Record). He also appeared on Celebrity Big Brother in 2006, coming fifth in the final.

A statement released by his partner, Michael Simpson, his ex-wife, Lynne Corlett, and his manager and former band member, Steve Coy, read: “All of his family and friends are devastated by the loss of our special star. He was a true visionary, a beautiful talented soul and will be missed by all those who loved and appreciated everything he was and all of the wonderful memories he has left us with.”

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100% CGI versions of 80s tech and toys

Mike Campau recreated Generation Gap, a CGI series of some of the most iconic items from 1980s childhoods, each one lit with gorgeous multi-hued gradients. Read the rest

Fantastic 1980s motion graphics of movie and TV production logos

And you thought Stranger Things had a cool opening. (via /r/obscuremedia)

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Watch all of the classic 1980s episodes of Ray Bradbury Theater free on YouTube

The Ray Bradbury Theater was a far out 1980s television series with each episode written by Bradbury himself. With 65 suspenseful (and sometimes terrifying) episodes of dark science fiction/fantasy, The Ray Bradbury Theater shined the freaky flame of The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits down the shadowy path of The X-Files and Stranger Things. And now you can watch all the episodes free on YouTube! Below are two to get you started: Marionettes, Inc. and The Playground:

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