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COLLEGE FOOTBALL RESULTS

I didn’t put up the college football results from the NAIA the other day to gauge the reaction. Enough readers DO still want the results and were curious about the missing football post, so here we go:

NAIA

Benedictine RavensROAD SHUTOUTS – The BENEDICTINE COLLEGE RAVENS crushed their hosts the CLARKE UNIVERSITY PRIDE to the tune of 38-0   ###    Meanwhile the DAKOTA STATE TROJANS dismembered the PRESENTATION COLLEGE SAINTS 42-0 in their own house   ###   And the CENTRAL METHODIST UNIVERSITY EAGLES likewise won 42-0 at the GRACELAND YELLOW JACKETS.

Ave Maria Gyrenes helmet GNO WIN FOR YOU! – The AVE MARIA UNIVERSITY GYRENES kept the visiting FLORIDA MEMORIAL UNIVERSITY LIONS winless. The Lions are playing in their very first year of intercollegiate football and the Gyrenes made them 0-2 with a 42-6 beatdown.

Concordia (NE) BulldogsWORKIN’ OVERTIME – The CONCORDIA (NE) BULLDOGS hosted the HASTINGS COLLEGE BRONCOS on Saturday. Four Quarters weren’t enough for these two Great Plains Athletic Conference foes, with Regulation ending in a 28-28 tie. In Overtime Concordia shut out the Broncos then scored a Touchdown to win it 34-28. Continue reading

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MALDOROR 2:5 – INDELIBLE BLOOD GLITTERING LIKE A DIAMOND

mascot sword and gun picBalladeer’s Blog resumes its examination of the macabre 1868 French language work The Songs of Maldoror.

PLEASE NOTE:

As I’ve warned in the past, don’t let the 1868 date fool you. There are disturbing elements to this.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you if this really gets to you. 

INDELIBLE BLOOD GLITTERING LIKE A DIAMOND

Maldoror 2 5Back to the insane, taciturn and blood-thirsty Maldoror we’re used to this time around. The supernatural being has been strolling through a particular narrow Paris alley as part of the ground he covers while taking his walk. A slender ten year old girl, oblivious to the danger she’s courting, takes to following him each time until he gets to the end of the alley where she and her mother live.

Growing bolder she even takes to playfully blocking his way sometimes. On occasions when Maldoror tries to walk through at a brisker pace she speeds up her own gait to keep pace with him. On occasions when he goes slowly through the alley the little girl matches that pace, too. When she tries to start a conversation with the monstrous figure by asking him what time it is he coldly replies that he has no watch. Continue reading

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NOVELTY PRESS SUPERHERO PANTHEON

You demanded more superheroes, you got ’em! Here is Balladeer’s Blog’s look at the neglected figures from Novelty Press.

TWISTER

Secret Identity: Bob Sanders

First Appearance: Blue Bolt Comics Vol 2 #1 (June 1941)

Origin: After getting carried up into the funnel of a tornado which killed his parents, teenager Bob Sanders learned he had somehow (you know comic books) acquired tornado powers. He donned a costume and fought crime as the superhero called Twister.

Twister 2Powers: Twister could spin around so quickly that he could generate, control and become part of a tornado strong enough to send cars and trucks flying. By punching villains while spinning around he could k-o them through walls. In addition, by breathing in a lungful of air, this hero could exhale it as gale force winds.

Somehow, Twister’s powers enabled him to construct and use a Cyclone Gun which shot intensely powerful bursts of air.   

Comment: At one point a Twister story tried justifying this hero’s powers by saying he was a direct descendant of Odysseus. But all Odysseus did was temporarily control the winds in a bag as a gift from the god Aeolus. Why didn’t they say Twister was descended from Aeolus instead?

White StreakWHITE STREAK

Secret Identity: Manowar/ Dan Sanders

First Appearance: Target Comics #1 (February 1940)

Origin: Manowar, called White Streak by the media, was an android left behind by the lost civilization of Utopia thousands of years ago. The Utopians destroyed themselves with war so they left their super-powered android in suspended animation to come to the aid of the next civilization if war caused by greed again threatened destruction.

White Streak picWhen the South American dictator Don Ruizen of Bolita went to war with his neighboring countries over oil, the Utopian robot Manowar activated itself in the volcano where it was hidden. After defeating the armies of the warmongering Don Ruizen, the android moved to America, from then on battling the forces of evil as White Streak.

Powers: White Streak had superhuman strength, invulnerability, the power of flight and could shoot rays of white energy from his eyes. That last ability prompted the press to give him his nom de guerre.

Comment: This android superhero was programmed to blend in with human beings and adopt the language and customs around him. He accomplished this so well he often used the secret identity Dan Sanders, FBI Agent.      Continue reading

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VENUS IN FURS: OPERA VERSION OF THE 1870 NOVEL

VENUS IN FURS: AN OPERA – Here at Balladeer’s Blog I love sharing my enthusiasms. My blog posts where I provide contemporary slants to Ancient Greek Comedies to make them more accessible have been big hits over the years, so I’ve begun trying that approach with operas, too.

Previously I presented how I would handle opera versions of the 1930 science fiction novel Gladiator and of the original 1966 Spaghetti Western Django. This time I’ll deal with Leopold Von Sacher-Masoch’s erotic 1870 novel Venus In Furs in opera format.

VENUS IN FURS

LANGUAGE: French.

SINGERS: A Tenor, a Baritone, a Soprano, 3 Mezzo-Sopranos and 2 Basses

I would present Venus In Furs as a two-act opera. I originally pondered a one-act format but that would have run into the same problem as the Richard Strauss opera Capriccio with the length pretty much dictating an intermission at some point.

Obviously what was daringly explicit in 1870 is just a bit titillating – even silly – here in 2020. I would not treat the story as outright comedy but like a more serious version of battle-of-the-sexes tales like The Taming of the Shrew with elements of Gothic Horror and dark comedy thrown in.

That fluctuation between opera seria and opera buffa would reflect a bit of the approach used in the 1786 opera Prima La Musica E Poi Le Parole. Act One would be a bit light in tone with the real darkness coming in Act Two. 

ACT ONE: A POSH HEALTH RESORT IN THE CARPATHIANS, 1870. Continue reading

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NAVIS AERIA (1768): ANCIENT SCIENCE FICTION

Navis AeriaNAVIS AERIA (1768) – By Bernardo Zamagna. Written in 1768 Navis Aeria (“Ship of the Air”) was the Italian Zamagna’s attempt to take concepts we of today would associate with science fiction and present them in the old, quaint format of Epic Poetry.  

The verse story detailed a flight around the world in a flying machine which was basically a sailing ship with four huge balloons around the sails and connected to a main mast. Zamagna presciently observed that one day aircraft would constitute “other Argos to carry chosen heroes” on their adventures.

The entire First Canto (Or “Canto the First” as some of the more pompous translations put it) is a poetic glorification of science, mathematics and what we now call aeronautics. As poetry it’s as lame as poetry by the Wright Brothers might have been but as a very early work of science fiction that opening Canto is very moving and ground-breaking, especially the end which excitedly predicts vessels that will one day take human beings to the moon.
Continue reading

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PULP HERO G-8 AND HIS BATTLE ACES: STORIES TWENTY-EIGHT THROUGH THIRTY

G-8 Skeletons of the black crossBalladeer’s Blog resumes its examination of the neglected Pulp Hero G-8. This continues a story-by- story look at the adventures of this World War One American fighter pilot who – along with his two wingmen the Battle Aces – took on various supernatural and super- scientific menaces thrown at the Allied Powers by the Central Powers of Germany, Austria- Hungary and the Ottoman Muslim Turks.

G-8 was created by Robert J Hogan in 1933 when World War One was still being called simply the World War or the Great War. Over the next eleven years Hogan wrote 110 stories featuring the adventures of G-8, the street-smart pug Nippy Weston and the brawny giant Bull Martin. The regular cast was rounded out by our hero’s archenemy Doktor Krueger, by Battle, G-8’s British manservant and by our hero’s girlfriend R-1: an American nurse/ spy whose real name, like G-8’s was never revealed.

Blood Bat Staffel28. THE BLOOD-BAT STAFFEL (January 1936) – Doktor Krueger strikes again! This time our hero’s archenemy has created menaces that seem more in line with something the Austrian villain Dr Mollfuss would come up with.

Scores of monstrous man-bats are flying through the skies over No Man’s Land, terrifying and killing Allied pilots in this latest super-scientific offensive by the Central Powers. G-8 recognizes the hand of his nemesis Doktor Krueger behind this deadly and horrific threat (though as I mentioned above I’d have laid my money on Dr Mollfuss given his love of animal-men). The man-bats are also able to shoot bolts of electricity from their fingertips for no apparent reason!  Continue reading

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MALDOROR 2:4 – THE MIDNIGHT OMNIBUS

Balladeer’s Blog resumes its examination of the macabre 1868 French language work The Songs of Maldoror.

THE MIDNIGHT OMNIBUS

Midnight strikes in Paris. An eerie double-decker horse-drawn omnibus bursts forth from the ground and begins making its way through the nearly empty, night-darkened streets.

A few late night wayfarers regard the unusual omnibus with a shudder as it goes by. The vehicle carries the full passenger load of twenty-four but all of the travelers on the upper deck appear to be lifeless corpses leaned against each other.

The top-hatted driver looks like another corpse, and the whip he uses to urge on his horses seems more alive than he is. That whip appears to be what animates the arm of the otherwise lifeless driver, not the other way around. Even the passengers on the inner deck remain mute and still and are likewise as pale as ghosts.   Continue reading

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL RESULTS FROM SEPTEMBER 12th

NAIA

Warner Memorial U Royals helmetCOMEBACK KIDS – The WARNER UNIVERSITY ROYALS hosted the WEBBER INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY WARRIORS yesterday. The Royals were chasing the Warriors 3-0 to end the 1st Quarter and 10-3 come Halftime. Late in the 3rd Quarter Warner University tied things up at 10-10 before finishing off Webber International in the 4th by a final score of 24-17.

Dordt College DefendersDYNAMIC DEFENDERS – The DORDT COLLEGE DEFENDERS took it on the road against the MIDLAND UNIVERSITY WARRIORS (should be the Lutherans). Neither team scored in the first 12 and a half minutes of the opening Quarter but the Defenders were on top 14-0 before the 2nd Quarter got underway. At the Half Dordt College was up 14-7 and 16-7 to end the 3rd. From there the Defenders won out 22-14. 

Dickinson State Blue Hawks helmet NEWAG BOWL – The 5th Annual Ag Bowl pitted the DICKINSON STATE BLUE HAWKS against the DAKOTA STATE TROJANS. A 14-7 1st Quarter lead for the Blue Hawks became a 14-14 tie by the midpoint of the game. After the break Dickinson State led the Trojans 20-14 in the 3rd Quarter, then carried through with a 26-14 triumph. Continue reading

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LONDON: NEGLECTED SUPERHERO FROM WORLD WAR TWO

This blog post was requested by several readers of Balladeer’s Blog. They loved the concept of Jerry Robinson’s Golden Age character from Lev Gleason’s publications and wanted to know more about him, so here is a look at ALL the stories in his sadly brief run. 

London picLONDON

Origin: While covering the Blitz during World War Two, suave newscaster Marc Holmes decided that his fellow Brits needed extra inspiration to maintain their spirit of defiance against the Nazis. He adopted the costumed identity of London and battled Axis Agents.

Powers: London was in the peak of human condition and excelled at unarmed combat. He also possessed the agility of an Olympic gymnast. In addition, this hero was a crack shot with the handgun he carried.

Daredevil 2STORY ONE – Daredevil Comics #2 (August 1941)

Title: London

Synopsis: Despite this being the very first published adventure of the superhero called London, the story establishes that he is already well-known from his escapades during the actual Blitz, September 1940 to May 1941. In his secret identity of Marc Holmes, our main character plugs his alter ego’s heroics during his nightly radio broadcasts.

mascot sword and gun picMeanwhile, Dian, a fictional niece of Winston Churchill escapes a Concentration Camp in Nazi-occupied Holland with a dissident educator named Franz. When the pair arrive in the city of London their escape is covered by Marc Holmes, an old friend of the niece and of Churchill.

Under cover of a blackout during a Luftwaffe bombing raid, Churchill himself is kidnapped by the treacherous Franz and some fellow spies. Our hero London battles and captures a few of the spies but three of them get away with the Prime Minister still their captive. Continue reading

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THE INCUBATED GIRL (1896): ANCIENT SCIENCE FICTION

Incubated GirlTHE INCUBATED GIRL (1896) – Written by F.T. Jane, as in THE Jane who originated the Jane’s Guides. 

It would be overly glib to describe this novel as just a sci-fi version of Alraune because it definitely goes in some unexpected directions. Plus Alraune itself borrowed heavily from Homunculus, Mandrake and Mandragore folklore. There’s a touch of The Great God Pan as well. 

The Incubated Girl begins with British Egyptologist Blackburn Zadara discovering an ancient coffin of a Priest of Isis. There is no corpse inside but rather a manuscript and assorted chemical concoctions. Zadara returns to England with the discovery and translates the manuscript – it is a guide to creating human life by using the chemical substances that were buried with the manuscript.

Blackburn closely follows the instructions and months later he invites his friend Meredyth Wilson Sr over to witness the initial results of the experiment. Wilson watches as Zadara opens a large egg-shaped pod from which he removes a little baby girl.  

Blackburn Zadara names the child Stella and tells Meredyth that according to the Egyptian manuscript Stella will be supernaturally healthy and will never experience death as long as she never drinks human milk nor eats any meat.

Over the years as Stella grows, Zadara tries to create additional humanoids but those efforts always fail. The Egyptologist has been using specifically deaf-mute servants to attend to Stella to limit involved interaction with other humans.

By her 18th year Stella is beautiful and highly intelligent but is as selfish as a newborn and enjoys enacting revenge against anyone who gets on her bad side. Blackburn takes the incubated girl to London with him, but she abandons him there, since she finds him ugly and unpleasant. Continue reading

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