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2009-08-17 - On Our Next Episode . . .

2009-06-12 - RetroReflectionReaction

2009-04-13 - The Me Decade

2009-03-03 - Super Powered Sounds #3

2009-03-02 - Super Powered Sounds #2

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Super Powered Sounds #1

2009-02-28 - 3:50 p.m.

Potential Black Hole: Reading e-mails from 10 years ago

Listening To: The Eels, TMBG, The Gothic Archies, The Beatles

Quote:"Now I lay me down to . . . circus peanuts?!" - Bryan, texting to Zach

     And we're back. Sun is out. Snow is melting. Spring hints, but we've still got a long winter hedgerow to hoedown. Cruel, no? Cruel - yes. Today's special (shout it loud and clear!) entry is the beginning of what I hope will be a warmly received series called Super Hero Sounds! Zounds! Doesn't it sound electric?! Like a slide? Or an avenue? Or a feel? Either way - I assure you, you're about to go on a *real* party ride!

[Editor's Note: The reader should note that this entry will be much more enjoyable if he or she has already read the earlier volume - the prologue if you will - found HERE.]


     Ladies and Gentlemen, what better way to whet everyone's collective nerd whistles for the Watchmen premiere next weekend than to take a gander at some real life super heroes that have been in our midst this whole time without our knowledge. Sounds scary? It shouldn't. Well, perhaps we should withhold judgement about the freak factor until our parade is finished. But for now, let us gaze upon the majesty of, "The Glorious Sporked Angel"! The Angel has a small set of wings (well, at least compared to some red-skinned jedis I happen to know) and her trusty spork is used as both weapon and, well, spork. When not using the spork to ward off evil clowns & cylons, she uses it's oversized not-quite-spoon, not-quite-fork properties to shovel down all the soy, tofurkey, and dole whip she can while still maintaining her super hero figure.

     Mystery swirls around many aspects of the Glorious Sporked Angel. I feel she may welcome the mystery. Firstly, what is the strange marking (tattoo?) on her waist? A flower? An unfinished sketch of Woodstock from the Peanuts cartoons? Does it act as some sort of power storage? Secondly, is it true that she has an animal sidekick? Some have reported seeing her with sidekicks ranging from dogs to cats to rats. One report even claimed to see her on a friendly super horse. This may be explained twofold: She had been known to temporarily have her headquarters hidden within an old barn / farm area to help escape detection from her enemies. Also, it may be that it was actually her super hero sister, The Masked Equine Firebrand that was actually seen and mistaken for the The Glorious Sporked Angel. Thirdly, for someone who calls the Cylon race her enemy, why does she have a decidedly Cylon-looking visor on? Is she some sort of half-breed? Was her real father one of the missing Cylon models? How well can she play the piano with that there spork? We may never know the answers to these questions.

     What we do know is that her feathery appendages serve more of a purpose than just small boughts of flight and as an inspiration for her super hero name. The Glorious Sporked Angel also fears most all human (or super hero/villain) contact with anyone that talks too loud, talks too soft, wears bright (or muted) colors, has long hair or a shaved scalp, and especially those of short, middle or tall stature. Thusly, her wings help her to make quick escapes when she feels all the insanity of carbon-based objects (read: everything) too much for her to take. This makes her an ill fit for most super hero teams and some wonder if she's even anything more than an urban legend. But the next time you wonder why the New England area is so clown free and why that vegan peanut butter pie you left on the window sill that summer night had spork marks on it come morning, perhaps then you'll believe the glorious legend. The legend of the Glorious Sporked Angel!

     [My thanks go out to S. Cole, of Durham, NH, who did additional reporting for this story.]


     And now we find ourselves digging into the old vinyl racks to find this particular auiditory curio. Vijayabahu Infantry Regiment , or (VIR) to their fans, first started as a college band on the Cameron University campus in Lawton, OK in the late 1970's. While the line-up of VIR changed often over the years until their break-up in 1989, the most famous of the line-ups (Lee Tuska, George Rainwater, James Rothkegel, and Billy "Bubba" Cantin) was the one that started in 1977 and lasted until 1985, when this album, "Nothing Is Worse Than Active Ignorance" (or N.I.W.T.A.I. to their fans) came out. It was intended to tap into the global conscience that had paid such close attention to events like Live Aid and We Are The World.

     In this case, it was drawing attention to the the plight of humble cobbler Sirimavo Lampedeme and the fact that he was being held political prisoner in Sri Lanka. Of course, the fact that he was a "political prisoner" because he had tried to blow up the Sri Lankan parliment so he could replace it with balloon animals did not deter (VIR) from their unwavering support. The band's name had been chosen due to Tuska's close relationship to his Sri Lankan nanny while growing up in the suburbs outside of Tulsa. Siphandee Shipsharee, his nanny, had lost her father (infamous freedom fighter Skipass Shipsharee) to Sri Lankan civil war, where he fought in the infamous Vijayabahu Infantry Regiment, or (VIR) to it's members. What Tuska had suggested as joke had stuck and it wasn't long until (VIR) was selling out stadiums from the Rockport Arena to the Rapid City Amphitheater.

     VIR's attempt at trying to alter their stadium rock anthems down to pithy pop ditties on "Nothing Is Worse . . ." was the end of the band as most people knew it. Rothkegel tried to keep the spirit alive for three more years with such albums as, "Vijayabahu Infantry Regiment Live at the Belknap Mill!" and "V.I.R.? More Like V.I.P." but the magic had clearly been drained from the wand. The band never recovered from the 9 minute single released as part of their "Nothing Is Worse Than Active Ignorance" entitled, "Free to be You and Lampedeme" nor their spirited cover of Cher's "Half Breed" (which some questioned if its inclusion on a "statement album" only served to undercut their message. Given that their message was freeing a balloon-animal loving cobbler-terrorist, one can only assume that "Half Breed" would have brought them such much needed street cred). They said the cover was a plea to the world [represented by the left shoe] to come together to support misunderstood cobbler, Lampedeme [represented by the right shoe] with love in their hearts [represented by the whimsical shoe lace shape] and resolve in their souls [represented by the wooden floor].

     It would be unfair if I didn't mention that "Nothing Is Worse Than Active Ignorance" was released the same week as Phil Collins' "Sussudio". How could any piece of art, no matter how misguided on the geo-political stage, even hope to combat the juggernaut that was "Sussudio"?

     [My thanks go out to B. Harrison, of Ada, OK, who let me borrow this album in January when he was last in N.H.]

          It's been real,

                Hollis Mason

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