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Don’t get the wrong idea about Supertramp

August 26, 2012
By WES BURNS - Copy Editor ( , Times-Republican

I've been listening to a lot of Supertramp lately.

They're good, I don't care what you think.

Frankly I didn't really know who the band was. I had heard the name "Supertramp" in my long forgotten youth and an image quickly formed in my mind of glammed-out rockers with keytars and vests playing lukewarm rock to screaming 50 year olds.

Turns out, I had the wrong definition of the band

For starters: Supertramp wrote "Take the Long Way Home," which, had I?not learned it was their creation, I would have gone to my grave believing that song belonged to Billy Joel.

Secondly: They have what appears to be thousands of Youtube videos featuring symphonic performances of "Give a Little Bit." Not a single video of the original song, mind you, but plenty that involve an oboe.

Thirdly: I was right about the vests. No keytars in sight, but definetly vests-a-plenty. And screaming 50-year-olds. Well, they scream as much as they can, anyway. They'd scream more but they've got work tomorrow.

This isn't the first time I've fallen to my prenomen prejudice.

Ever seen the movie "Million Dollar Baby?"

I haven't. And I don't think I ever will.

See the first time I ever heard about the movie was in a print ad, and when I read the name of the movie in my mind it sounded like Telly Savalas (ask your parents) saying "Million Dollars, Baby!!!"

I'm told the movie is not about a bald Greek guy winning the lotto; I?hear it's about something very different. I had the wrong definition of the movie. So very, very wrong.

Now, this can make for some awkward moments in life; like when someone asks you if you've seen "Million Dollar Baby" and you start laughing about the name ... then desperately try to explain yourself ... then realize that this is probably the worst first date you've been on since you took that nice girl from school to see "Eyes Wide Shut."

THAT was painful.

So I was certain I was having this problem again when I?recently read a story about a nun that was arrested for sneaking onto a nuclear security base to protest.

Now, I'm certain I?know what "protest" means. I've been to entirely too many concerts not to know what placard waving wackos look like, so it couldn't be that word.


Video games and a functionally useless bachelor's degree in History have taught me that these are powerful weapons, used as a last resort between warring nations or a first resort when playing Doom.

But, it couldn't be "nun," right?

I've got a relatively good idea what nuns do. I'm not Catholic but I'm pretty sure it involves rulers, those long black dresses and occasionally Whoopi Goldberg.

Turns out I was wrong again. Nuns, at least the nuns we have here in the United States of Awesome, don't just teach classes to children wearing blazers or occasionally fly using improbable hats. It turns out they also do things like sneak onto nuclear security facilities to protest the United States' continued manufacture of weapons of mass destruction. Also the nun that did this was 82.

The military has referred to this particular facility as the Fort Knox of Uranium, so an octogenarian nun and her two buddies sneaking past the guards was enough to raise some suspicions. Mostly in the "um, she was HOW old?" department.

I guess I wasn't the only one that had the wrong idea about nuns for some time. The Vatican recently sent down a decree (I'm assuming from a carrier pidgeon or one of those codex things) that the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, which is some kind of nun-union, need to cool it on the "radical feminist agenda" thing and start focusing on opposing gay marriage.

And nothing says "radical feminism" quite like "no more nuclear weapons." Oh, and they were teaching something about feeding the poor and being a keeper to your fellow man as more important than crass political agendas ... I?don't quite remember all of it.

I for one am glad to see the Vatican say something. A lot of the time you think you're the only person that gets these wrong definitions stuck in your head. It's good to see that it can happen to somebody like the Pope too.

Go get 'em nuns.


Copy Editor Wes Burns is a Sunday columnist. The views expressed in this column are personal views of the writer and don't necessarily reflect the views of the T-R. Contact Wes Burns at 641-753-6611 or



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