Finally, the Air Guitar World Championship has been returned to the US of A. Not since Craig "Hot Lixx Hulahan" Billmeier took the Golden Axe in 2008 has an American proudly stood above the world's best. Not until Justin Howard, better known to mortals as Nordic Thunder, took the prize this week at the competition in Finland.

Mr. Thunder (we'll do this Times style) broke out the early Metallica and wowed the judges at the 17th annual championships, becoming just the third American to do so—this, after not even winning the U.S. regionals, and having to qualify as a wild card. His victory was not without pain: check those bloody knees at 2:52 of the video, suffered while performing his signature "power slide."

Now it's back to the day job for Mr. Thunder. In his case, that means film editing, but he says of his fellow air guitarists, "most are teachers, some are attorneys. There's a guy that works for The Huffington Post." John Conyers?

[Chicago Tribune]