Saturday Song: Butterfly Lovers

Okay, so this is the most magnificent thing I’ve ever seen human beings do. Well, do while dancing, anyway. I mean, she’s standing en pointe on this dude’s head, and – just watch.

Words. I haven’t any. I just. That’s simply. Mwah.

You know what, that’s art. That’s pure bloody art right there, and it’s one of the reasons why I don’t give up on humanity in despair (you, my darlings, and my fellow Freethought Bloggers, plus the other folks out there doing magnificent work making this world better and more beautiful every day, are the other reasons). All right? It’s moments like these that just make me sit back with my jaw flapping gently in the fully unhinged position and my eyes popping out and my poor little tempted-to-be-misanthropic heart welling, and I burst out with a robust, “I bloody love people!” when I’m capable of drawing breath again.

I rather imagine this is what it’s like running about the universe with the Doctor, actually. [Read more…]

Sunday Song: Feeling Emu

You lot take me to some weird places.

So I post a picture of a green beach rock, and next thing I know, Heliconia’s comparing it to an emu egg and RQ’s asking if emu eggs are green. So I got curious. And I looked. And day-yamn. They surely are.

Emu egg purchased at the farmers' market in Mountain View, California. Image and caption courtesy Shuhari via Wikimedia Commons.

Emu egg purchased at the farmers’ market in Mountain View, California. Image and caption courtesy Shuhari via Wikimedia Commons.

Remarkable. The resemblance, as Heliconia said, is striking. Now I want an emu egg. Lots of emu ranches in Washington state, so perhaps, one day…

Of course, I resolved to post a picture of an emu egg for you, and then I couldn’t think of what I wanted for the Sunday Song, until I remembered emu eggs and wondered, are there emu songs? Lo and behold. [Read more…]

Tuesday Tunes: New Year’s Day

Oh, hai, 2013! Glad u maed it!

Gotz party favorz

Ai tink we shuld taek this srsly. We shuld haev srs tradishunal song. Culdn’t find wun in lolcat, soree. But it’s pritee.

We culd drink to dat! Who haz teh bubblee?

invisible champagne

Furst rool grate drinkin': start wid champagne an build.

tequila catDunno. Don’t tink moderashun iz here. We’ll have anodder drink while we wait. U culd haev wiskee, if u no like teekeela. Wiskee an a tradishunul sawng. Wi’ bagpipes!

We culd have anodder tradishun, too. Dis iz mai tradishun. Alwayz play dis sawng at Noo Yeerz.

An den I gives u mai favurite Noo Yeerz wish:

“May the best you’ve ever been be the worst you’ll ever see.”

Wuv u, mai darlings! Happee Noo Yeer!

Lol love

An latur tooday, we kin say:

rum gone kitteh

Dat’s how we know it wuz gud partee.

Sunday Song: The Bagpipes o’ War

I’m sorry. Yes, I know, there’s a great and noble history, and art, and skill, and all that, but when I hear this line:

“Bagpipers play the tunes of war”

I still burst out laughing. Every time. Something in me can’t accept bagpipes as instruments you’d go to war with.

I suppose they do look martial, for a given value of martial.

A pipe major of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (date unknown). Image and caption courtesy Wikipedia.

A pipe major of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (date unknown). Image and caption courtesy Wikipedia.

Also, it’s not many strange-looking traditional instruments suitable for taking on the march that you can rip pipes out of with both hands and beat people with, so there’s that.

Anyway. Here’s the song that brings on the giggles. It’s not a video that takes itself over-seriously, which is one of many reasons I love it. [Read more…]

Christmas Eve Sarajevo, Two Versions

So this is a beautiful song, one of my favorite pieces. It’s up to you which version you choose. There’s the Trans-Siberian Orchestra version, which is a little more fantasy and wonder and has kittens and a very sweet little girl.

And then there’s the Savatage version, used on their Dead Winter Dead album, and it has war and a love story.

That’s the album that started me toward becoming a peacekeeper. I won’t say pacifist – I think there are times, unfortunately, when a species of war is necessary. But it’s very different from the kind of war we’ve been fighting. It’s the kind of war that helps stop ethnic cleansing and unthinkable violence and allows people to put shattered lives back together, as best as they can, and go on.

I think of this story every Christmas Eve: that there was a war, and a cellist, and a Christmas Eve when the cello stopped, and two people walked away from a war.

And there was a cellist of Sarajevo. He played in the ruins as the war raged round him. He inspired the story of Dead Winter Dead. But his was a happier ending, and hasn’t ended yet.

Vedran Smajlović, in Sarajevo, 1992. Image and caption courtesy Wikipedia.

Vedran Smajlović, in Sarajevo, 1992. Image and caption courtesy Wikipedia.

I think of those who try, in the midst of ruins, to make this world a little better, a little more beautiful, when to those in the midst of those ruins it must seem there’s nothing good or beautiful left in it, and I’m grateful for them, this Christmas Eve.

Little kids and kittens are nice, too. And fantasy, and wonder, and beauty in the dark night, as the music plays, and stories unfold.

Sunday Song: Autumn’s Last Gasp

Really. This is getting seriously ridiculous. Autumn refuses to leave. But I think it’s on its last legs now, so this may honestly and actually be the last of it.

These lovelies are from my breaking-in-shoes walk a couple of Saturdays ago. For the most part, we’re down to a few bedecked branches, and some solitary leaves that have fallen artistically into the evergreenery. [Read more…]

Maya Apocalypse Day Music Madness: Only The End of the World Again!

Welcome to the Umpteen Thousandth Annual Apolcalypse! Brought to you by the Maya Long Count Calendar – and we all know that things carved in stone must be true. Never mind that people have based their idea that the end times are upon us on a cultural misunderstanding. Somehow, the fact that the Maya expected the world to continue after today never crosses their minds. Never mind that their doom scenarios are completely without foundation.

The small detail of end-of-world disaster scenarios being completely corny will not stop us from throwing end-times parties (because it’s Friday and damn it, we’ll take any excuse handy. Woo!). End-times parties need a soundtrack. I am here to provide. I also stand to lose ~90% of my readership if you all watch some of these videos sober, but I’m willing to take the risk, because they made me laugh.

Also, don’t forget: we have a very special Geopocalypse edition of the Accretionary Wedge up courtesy of Lockwood, and it has awesome content and valid points, so you lot who are stuck at work should absolutely read it while the clock ticks toward party time.

Soundtrack below the fold. Party on, my apocalyptically outstanding readership, party on! [Read more…]

Sunday Song: Neverworld’s End

It’s December 2012. End o’ the world, folks! What else can I do but feature end o’ the world songs? And laugh about people actually thinking this Mayan calendar hokum is right, and continue to think so despite thorough debunking. I do so love end of the world predictions! I especially love the morning after.

And I love a good theme. This will definitely do. Lots of end o’ the world songs out there that have been begging me to post them. We’ll begin with Xandria, which is a band that, until now, I’ve been fond of but not enthralled by. Some of their songs I do love deeply, mind you, but as far as favorites, the band as a whole was about middling on the list.

However.

Comma.

Jango recently played me a song off of Neverworld’s End, which I hadn’t heard of. Yes, I am horribly behind. This album came out nearly a year ago. Look, I’ve been bashing rocks. I’m busy. And Xandria wasn’t one of those bands I waited breathlessly for – until Jango played me this song, called “The Nomad’s Crown.” And I went, “That sounds like Xandria, and yet does not. It is delicious. I wonder why it’s so yummy?” [Read more…]