Project: The Simon Le Bon Aztec Bird(?) Shirt

I’m an 80s gal. I loved the music, the clothes, the TV shows, the toys and the knickknacks of our daily lives.
I was a big Duran Duran fan, too. I had a group of friends that shared my adoration for them, some to the point of being fanatical. A couple even signed their last names on notes back and forth with their last names as “Le Bon” and “Rhodes”. They are still my friends to this day, so if they are reading this I hope they share a chuckle with me. I preferred Andy Taylor myself,but I always tended to kinda go for the more unusual person in a band. Anyway, I was fortunate to be able to watch “Live Aid” when it happened, and I taped most of it, the whole day. It actually occurred on a day that we were having a birthday party for me at my parents’ house. I would run over to the TV periodically to check that it was recording or to shove a new tape into the VCR, and then get back to the festivities. I would watch my favorite acts when they happened..I remember it was just a very loose sort of day.

When Duran Duran came onstage, I was really wowed by Le Bon’s new look; he had very short dark hair instead of the frosted blonde mullet he had sported before. I was also very enamored with his outfit and have pretty much wanted to mimic it ever since. It was a red blazer(God,I loved the blazer-over-graphic tee look) over a white tee shirt with a black bird or dragon-bird in a very Aztec-like style.

Le bon shirt composite.jpg

This is a composite I have made of the shirt. I have paused and screencapped this video(the video is also known as “The Bum Note Heard Round the World” but I won’t go into that. I felt bad for the guy but I will admit cracking up when I heard it) over and over but I can’t get a shot of what the bird’s head looks like. Still,I think I could draw it if I wanted to, and I do want to. I want my own shirt, dammit! It’s long overdue.


Monsters of North America: The Piasa!


The Piasa (pronounced Pie-a-saw) is sometimes called The Piasa Bird. It is a legendary creature depicted in a mural painted by Native Americans on cliffsides above the Mississippi River. The ancient mural was created prior to the arrival of any European explorers in the region, and possibly before 1200 CE. The picture’s original location was at the end of a chain of limestone bluffs in present-day Alton, Illinois. The original Piasa painting no longer exists, but a new one has been restored in its position.
The Piasa is described as having a man-like face with sharp teeth, antlers, a scaly body,sharp talons,two huge wings, and a tail so long  that it passed around the body, over the head and between the legs. The creature was given its name by the Illini Indians: “Piasa” means “a bird that devours men”. The Legend of the Piasa, involving a brave Native American chief helping to save his tribe from the monster’s craving for human flesh, can be read here.

Monsters of Europe: Sleipnir, the Eight-Legged Horse of Norse Mythology


While not a “monster”, I suppose, Sleipnir is definitely what we’d call a “legendary creature” around here;his parentage is quite interesting. His father was Svaðilfari — a stallion that had “dealings” with the god Loki who was at the time in the form of a mare.

Long story short,  a stonemason (who so far has been unnamed) offered to build a fortification for the gods that would keep out invaders in exchange for the goddess Freyja, the sun, and the moon. He claimed he could complete it in three seasons.

The gods agreed, after some debate, but put many restrictions on the builder, including that he had to complete the work with the help of no man. Only one request was made from the builder–could he use his horse, Svaðilfari to haul the stones?Through the influence of the god Loki, this was allowed.

Utilizing his almost supernaturally strong stallion, the builder began to complete the fortification well ahead of schedule, and the gods realized that they may have had to live up to their deal with the him. They held Loki responsible for this mess, and proclaimed that he deserved a horrible death if he couldn’t figure out a scheme to make the builder forfeit his (well-deserved) payment.

So one night, Loki disguised himself in the form of a mare–in heat, to boot–and pranced out in front of the builder and Svaðilfari. Svaðilfari broke his tack and made a dash for the mare, who led the frantically amorous stallion on a wild goose chase through the woods all night. The builder lost all momentum with building the fortification, and Loki ended up birthing an amazing eight-legged grey foal somehow, sometime later.
In addition, it was discovered that the unnamed builder was a hrimthurs, in disguise,and he was later killed by Thor with his hammer.

Sleipnir, having eight legs and tremendous speed, was described as “the best horse among gods and men.” He is mentioned in the writings Prose EddaHervarar saga ok Heiðreks, and Völsunga saga, and the horse in Gesta Danorum is generally considered to be Sleipnir.

There are also picture stones from the island of Gotland, Sweden, that date from the 8th century and depict eight-legged horses: the Tjängvide image stone and the Ardre VIII image stone. Most scholars believe the images depict Sleipnir. On each stone a rider(generally considered to be Odin) can be seen sitting atop an eight-legged horse.

There is a poem in Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks— Heiðreks gátur, that has a riddle mentioning Odin on Sleipnir:

Gestumblindi said:
“Who are the twain
that on ten feet run?
three eyes they have,
but only one tail.
Alright guess now
this riddle, Heithrek!”
Heithrek said:
“Good is thy riddle, Gestumblindi,
and guessed it is:
that is Odin riding on Sleipnir.

Dragons of Europe: Storsjöodjuret!

Storsjöodjuret,© 2015 Liz Vitale

Storsjöodjuret, or the “Great-Lake Monster”,is  reported to live in the 300-foot-deep lake Storsjön in Jämtland, Sweden. The only one of its kind in Sweden, it had its first sighting in 1635.

Storsjöodjuret is described as a serpentine or aquatic reptile with fins across its back and a doglike head. It is reported to measure approximately 20 feet long, and some accounts describe it as having several humps. There have been over 200 recorded sightings of the serpent. In 1895 a group of men,sponsored in part by King Oscar II, attempted to capture it, even constructing a huge trap. Their venture was unsuccessful,but the trapping device can still be seen in the county museum.

n 1986, the Jämtland county administrative board declared the Storsjöodjuret to be an endangered species and granted it protected status. However, it was removed from the list in November 2005.