In days long past, this list would take the form of a mixtape. Collected and copied on actual recording tape. Later the songs were distributed on a CD. New medium, same idea.
Although we could have another millennial-class argument about the timing, most people have decided we started a new decade on January 1. Which means we also get lots of retrospectives on the previous ten years. I guess that’s better than trying to make historic sense of only the past twelve months.
In one of the more entertaining entries, posted just before the turn of the calendar, The Verge offered their review of the 84 Biggest Flops, Fails, and Dead Dreams of the Decade in Tech.
Washington Post columnist Alexandra Petri has posted her insightful and very funny list/ranking of 100 Christmas songs. With two exceptions (71 and 2), none of her choices are in my collection, to which these fine musical works are being added this year.
All of them should available in your favorite digital store or streaming service. So listen and enjoy.
- Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight) – Ramones
- The Big Opening (Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch) – Danny Elfman
- Monster’s Holiday – Bobby “Boris” Pickett & The Crypt-Kickers
- I’m Not Ready for Christmas – Alicia Witt
- Deck the Halls – Walk Off the Earth
- Come On Santa – The Raveonettes
- Fall in Love This Christmas – Dia Frampton
- Mele Kalikimaka – The Monkees
- A Marshmallow World – Walk Off the Earth
- Holiday – Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Zooey Deschanel, James Corden, Ron Funches, Caroline Hjelt, Aino Jawo, Kunal Nayyar, Christopher Mintz-Plasse & The Bergens
- Christmas Is You – Swear And Shake
- Santa’s Messin’ with the Kid – Lynyrd Skynyrd
- The Nice List – Dia Frampton
- Christmas Tree – Zac Brown Band (feat. Sara Bareilles)
- 2000 Miles – The Pretenders
- Making Christmas – The Citizens of Halloween & Danny Elfman
- Auld Lang Syne – The Cast
Photo is of Georgetown as seen from Kennedy Center on the foggy Christmas eve of 2014, and posted to my Flickr account. I have great hopes for Flickr under it’s new, non-corporate owners in the new year.
This is my idea of an annual tradition: a collection of the holiday-related songs I can stand to have on heavy rotation over the next month or so. As opposed to the traditional playlist of earworms that even the programmers at Muzak must be embarrassed to let loose on the world.
But regardless of your musical tastes, and whatever you are celebrating this time of year, enjoy!
- Strangest Christmas Yet – Steve Martin & The Steep Canyon Rangers
- Christmas Coming Home (feat. Lennon & Maisy) – Nashville Cast
- To Christmas! (The Drinking Song) – Straight No Chaser
- Christmas Is the Time – Katharine McPhee
- Naughty Naughty Children (Better Start Actin’ Nice) – Grace Potter & The Nocturnals
- Santa Claus Is Comin’ (In A Boogie Woogie Choo Choo Train) – The Tractors
- Warmer in the Winter (feat. Trombone Shorty) – Lindsey Stirling
- Santa Stole Thanksgiving – Jimmy Buffett
- Feels Like Christmas (feat. Jana Kramer) – Straight No Chaser
- Santa Claus, Santa Claus – Dennis Turner
- California Christmastime – Rachel Bloom, Vincent Rodriguez III, and the Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Cast (the video)
- Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin’ – Bill Kirchen & Austin de Lone
- They Don’t Make Them Like That Anymore – Great Lake Swimmers
- Santa Bring My Baby Back (To Me) – Davina & The Vagabonds
- Santa, My First Love – Swear And Shake
- Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy – Lindsey Stirling
- Santa Looked A Lot Like Daddy – The Tractors
- Baby Don’t Leave Me (All Alone on Christmas) – Echosmith
- Schedryk – Pink Martini
- The Way-Too-Early Christmas Song – Paul and Storm
From the Washington Post’s Grade Point blog we have a list of “five critical skills every new college graduate should have”. It begins with
Every graduate needs to be “digitally aware.” Students entering college and the workforce now often are referred to as “digital natives” because they were raised on technology from a very young age.
And stop right there.
Anyone still using the “digital native-digital immigrant” trope is, at the very least, being intellectually lazy. As with many other concepts about people, especially kids, that phrase is a binary, either-or shortcut that excuses the writer from the responsibility of explaining the complexity of the subject, and their readers from having to understand it.
Being “raised on technology from a very young age” does not convey the expertise implied by calling them “natives”. For those kids who have easy access to digital devices and networks growing up (which excludes large numbers of children, even in the US), most acquire a comfort level with the tools that connect them to their friends and personal interests. They are not computing geniuses – or “hackers” when a negative slant is needed.
For most students, their “native” digital skills don’t automatically translate into using the technology tools for learning skills needed to live in the broader world. They still need parents and teachers to guide them in those areas.
Continuing in the same brief section, the writer also leans on another, more recent, flawed assumption about the needs of graduates, from both college and high school.
It’s no longer good enough to know how to use a computer. Understanding the programming language behind the apps on your iPhone, or the basics of Artificial Intelligence are all now seen as basic foundational skills by many employers. Learning to program is much like learning a second language was in the 20th century: You might not become proficient enough to move overseas, but you could get by if you traveled to a particular country.
I’d love to see some statistics about the “many employers” who see programming as a “basic foundational skill”. Plenty of politicians, business-types, and other education experts, tell us that kids need to learn to code. The president is asking for $4 billion to provide computer programming classes for all students in K12, without a clear definition of why it’s that important.
And equating learning to program with learning to speak a second language is yet another lazy, not to mention very wrong, shortcut. Beyond both being classes offered in many high schools, the two require different skill sets and processes in the brain. But it’s probably not as bad as equating coding with being able to read and write in your native language.
Ok, so the writer goes on to present his four other “critical” skills for graduates, but that first one is bad enough. I really don’t want to waste time on figuring out how one becomes a “learning animal”, or explain why lacking the ability to “navigate through life without a syllabus” is a failure of their schools, not the graduate.