March of the Depression

Just finished watching March of the Penguins.  Holy crap, what a depressing film.  I mean, it is fascinating and amazingly photographed and is truly a captivating film… but damn, you gotta feel for these poor penguins.

Back and forth… back and forth… tromp through the snow and ice to meet a female.  Then the egg comes and the female splits to go eat.  Then she comes back as the chicks are being hatched and they regurgitate some food into the new born penguin’s mouths.  There’s a welcome wagon for ‘ya: "break out of your shell so that you can see the vast wasteland of ice and snow that will be your home."  What about food?  "No sorry – you gotta eat this white phlegm-y stuff that your parents keep stored in their mouths.  Oh, and stay close, since, you know, its like 80 degrees below zero and the wind goes up to 100 miles an hour.  One last thing: once you get old enough, we dump you and then you get to do this 70 mile journey to get laid yourself"

Like I said – depressing.  The movie makes a good argument against the "intelligent" part of intelligent design and makes a good case for evolution: mainly that this is exactly WHY we evolve!!

Trans-Whatsian Whosestrea?

It amazes me how many people still don’t know who the Trans-Siberian Orchestra is. 

Not you too.  How dare a reader of my blog not know who they are!

Ok, first of all, just go to their web site, and listen to the music in their intro and you might recognize them.   If not that, you may know them as the band who did the hard rock version of "Carol of the Bells," the real name of which is " Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24."  (the song is now my ring-back tone on my cell phone) I remember hearing this song years ago on the radio and trying like hell to find out who it is.  I finally picked up the CD "Christmas Eve and Other Stories" and quickly fell in love with it.

Somewhere along the way, my parents heard it and they loved it as well.  Now they are possibly bigger fans of them than even I am. 

Seriously – if you want some different but beautiful holiday music, please give TSO a try.  It is emotional, powerful, visceral music.

And if you ever get a chance to see them live – DO IT!  WOW!  This was my third time seeing them, and the fist time in an arena.  Amazing stuff!!  The lightshow was breathtaking  – definitely the best I have seen since Pink Floyd.   The entire light rig moved – a LOT, from stage to roof of the arena – and the light show was perfectly timed to the music, which is tough, since the music is fast with a lot of stop-and-starts and quick blasts of music. 

In the first half of the show they played all of  "Christmas Eve and Other Stories" and  in the second half of the show, they featured an assortment of tunes from other  albums, an unreleased album, and a few cover songs (one of which is still bothering me.  They played it right after Led Zepplin’s "Rock n’ Roll").  During the second half, they pulled out the pyros – flame throwers that put Rob Zombie, KISS, and Ozzy (Combined!) to shame – and massive spark showers.   It was a little freak at first, considering RI’s track record with concert pyrotechnics.

All in all, a visually breathtaking show and a musicall satisfying one.  I even got to see Alex Skolnick, formerly of Testament, play Christmas songs.   During a quiet moment of the show while he was tooling around with an acoustic guitar, I came very close to yelling out "PLAY INTO THE PIT!" but couldn’t bring myself to do it.  If only John, Lynn and Erock had been there, I probably would have done it!