Category Archives: videos

If I Were a High School English Teacher…

Darwin city skyline from East Point Reserve

Darwin city skyline from East Point Reserve by Bidgee

If I were a high school English teacher, I’d have my students write a compare and contrast essay on the Hoodoo Guru’s song Tojo (lyrics) and Santa Never Made It Into Darwin by Bill Cate.

First I’d have them listen to Tojo, with a printed version of the lyrics in front of them, and write their initial impressions of the meaning. Then I’d play for them Santa Never Made It, with the lyrics to reference. Then I’d ask them:

The relative sizes of the United States, Cyclone Tracy and Typhoon Tip, the smallest and largest Pacific tropical storms recorded, respectively

  1. What did you think Tojo was about when you first heard/read the lyrics? Turn your page of initial impressions in with your essay. (I was thinking it was a love song: his girl abandoned him on Christmas eve, and he was so devastated that he didn’t bother with the traditions that year.)
  2. What motivated David Faulkner to write Tojo?
  3. The meaning of Santa Never Made It is pretty clear; what is the meaning of Tojo?
  4. What is different between the two approaches?
  5. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the two approaches?
  6. What information would be important to know before listening to Tojo for the first time to interpret it correctly? How does world knowledge affect our ability to comprehend the messages we receive from art, from media, etc.?
Hideki Tojo

Hideki Tojo

I’d award some bonus points to students who accurately describe who Tojo is; slightly less points for making a good guess. I would also possibly award various levels of bonus points for various levels of answering the question, “What would be required for a computer to understand either song?” It’s probably a good thing I’m not a high school English teacher: my students would have too much fun. Or I’d get fired for not following Common Core.

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“Weird Al” Yankovic’s “Word Crimes”

This video cracks me up. A few of these “Word Crimes” are rebutted by videos by Merriam-Webster, but that doesn’t change the hilarity of the video.

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Computer programmer teaches homeless to code

Wow. This is pretty cool. I’ve been wanting to do something similar to Patrick for several years now, though I was thinking on a larger scale. Now I feel like, “What was my excuse?” Oh, it was that I didn’t want to do fundraising to start my own non-profit. Props to Patrick, Logan, and Leo!

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Make the Homeless Smile

Another video on the same theme (well, visually at least) as the one I posted three weeks ago.

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Universal Languages?

Some say math and music are universal languages. This video is in Russian. I don’t understand Russian, so I don’t understand the words to the song. There are no mathematical equations in the video. But, provided the song matches the video, somehow I think I understand what is being said. It seems to fit really well with this proverb from the Old Testament book of Proverbs, as well as with this passage from the Book of Mormon. If anyone who understands the lyrics would like to enlighten me as to whether they match the video, I’d be grateful.

Based on what I see, I’d say love (in this case, charity as the Romans called it; agape to the Greeks) is the most universal language.