Graduated Learning: Life after College

I got my degree, I got a job…now what?

Why the Barenaked Ladies holiday album is the best December 24, 2019

Filed under: Just for Fun,Music — Stephanie @ 9:25 pm
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(Disclosure:  The Amazon links in this post are Amazon affiliate links.  You can read more about this on my Disclosures page)

Every once in a while, it’s time for a silly post. Ten years ago I wrote what is my most viewed post, where I discussed how different people learned different “echoes” for Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Somehow it got on the front page of Google results when you search for lyrics with echoes. Go figure.

Anyway, this year my silly post is about the Barenaked Ladies holiday album, Barenaked for the Holidays. Why? I’ve loved the band for decades (wow I feel old) and I get so much joy from listening to this album every holiday season. So many fun songs to listen to!

You can listen to the whole album on YouTube; I’ll include the individual songs with each discussion.

So, without further ado, here’s why I love so many of the songs on this album.

Track 1: Jingle Bells:

It starts out with a beautiful, melancholic version with minimal accompaniment (piano and bass), then abruptly transitions to a loud, goofy version of the song including the “Batman smells” lyrics.

Track 2: Green Christmas:

Originally written for the live action version of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” starring Jim Carrey, this song still makes me laugh, with the lines “Carolers are at my door; Don’t want to hear them anymore”. They have carolers singing for the first line, then you hear a door slam you can hear muted carolers sing the next line.

Track 6: Elf’s Lament:

Super cute song exploring the idea of how Santa’s elves are overworked and under appreciated. Plus Michael Bublé adds his lovely crooning voice to this song.

Track 10: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen / We Three Kings

Quite possibly the best song on the album. This was recorded long before the rest of the album and features Sarah McLachlan. I remember loving this song decades ago. I love the harmonies in this one.

Track 12: Carol of the Bells

This is such a unique version of this classic Christmas song. The style reminds me a lot of Laurie Anderson’s O Superman (thanks to the modern music class I took in college for introducing me to Laurie Anderson music!). Very cool sounds.

I also like that they included a few Hanukkah songs so that it’s not all Christmas music.  This includes the standard Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah,  as well as Hanukkah Blessings, which incorporates the traditional Hanukkah candle blessings into a new song describing the holiday.

I fully acknowledge this was a very silly post.  I just think it’s been a super fun album to listen to over the years, and thought I’d share why I enjoy so many of the songs.

Happy Holidays!


Christmas Car Commercials, I Hate You: 2011 Redux December 2, 2011

Filed under: Personal Finance — Stephanie @ 7:08 pm
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You remember when I posted about my hatred of Christmas car commercials?  Well guess what.  I still hate them.

Again, it’s the Lexus ads driving me nuts.  This year, all the gift giving occasions revolve around recognizing the somehow universally known “Lexus song”.  You know, because when you hear that song, you know your significant other dropped a minimum of $34k to surprise you.  Was it on your Amazon wish list or something?

I did a little research, and it turns out that “Lexus Song” is actually called “Family & Friends“, written by Steve Kujala, a prolific composer and flautist.  I actually listened to the whole piece.  Luckily, listening to the actual piece doesn’t fill me with infinite range.

So, back to the commercials.  The couples are together, and then they hear the song, played by some clever means, like in a music box, as a ringtone, or the Muzak playing in the elevator.  I will admit, as a video game fan, I was least annoyed by the one where they programmed the song in Guitar Hero.  But still.  You don’t buy cars for people.

Unless, of course, you’re a millionaire:

Like last year, I was able to make an exception for commercials that amuse me and make fun of other ads. 🙂

So, what commercials are making you angry this holiday season?


Christmas Car Commercials, I hate you December 6, 2010

Filed under: Personal Finance — Stephanie @ 11:40 pm
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Well, the holiday season is here.  And with that comes lots of car commercials where one spouse surprises the other with a brand new luxury car, with a big red bow on top.  And guess what?  I HATE THOSE COMMERCIALS!

I suppose part of this is from my personal finance views.  Would you really surprise someone with a car?  I mean, that would be quite the surprise.  But that would also surprise me when I looked at my bank account and discovered $50k+ missing, or saw a new car loan in the mail.  It tends to be the more expensive, luxury cars or sports cars, too.  You wouldn’t surprise the love of your life with a Honda Fit, would you?  A large expense like that is something you plan, discuss, and make sure you can afford.

I started writing this post a while back, but I’m currently watching the Patriots/Jets game, and it seems like every other ad is a car ad, with most of them being the Lexus ads, all complete with red bows.  I’ll admit, the idea for the ads (that they need more giftwrap, or a bigger chimney, stocking, or tree) is a little cute.  But still…I don’t like the whole message:  give your love a ridiculously expensive car.

My boyfriend knows I hate these commercials.  I got a text from him the other day:  “Saw an ad for a car with a giant bow on top while I was watching the morning news.  Made me think of your infinite rage.”

I guess I just think cars are a weird and expensive thing to surprise someone with.  How easy is it to return it?  Exchange it for a different color or size?  I’d rather get a nice sweater.

I do have a few exceptions to my hated car commercial list:

From a few years ago, a Mastercard commercial promoting a giveaway they were hosting.  The commercial is mocking the traditional Christmas Car Commercials:



I also really like Pomplamoose’s music/videos, and so, even though it seems like they sold out a bit, I like their Hyundai ads:



How do you feel about these ads?  What Christmas (or general holiday ads) do you hate?  One from last year that I both hate and love is the one that lumps all the December holidays together

Do you have better ideas for surprising your loved ones this holiday season?


Variations on a Theme: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer December 24, 2009

Filed under: General Blogging,Just for Fun — Stephanie @ 4:20 pm
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Well, it’s Christmas eve.  And like many others today, we’ve been listening to quite a few Christmas songs.

One of the songs I’ve heard a few times on the radio this year is “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”.  It’s a classic, especially among children.  And something I think many children learned with this song was the “echo” that came after each line.

Growing up in Buffalo, my sisters and I learned one version of it.  When we moved to NJ, we discovered that my new friends had learned different echos back in the day.

I’m curious what lyrics you use(or used to use).  I’m including what I know (in parenthesis), and you can comment with your differences.  The ones I usually hear differently I’ll bold:

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (reindeer)
Had a very shiny nose (like a light bulb)
And if you ever saw it (saw it)
You would even say it glows (like a light bulb)

All of the other reindeer (reindeer)
Used to laugh and call him names (like Pinocchio)
They never let poor Rudolph (Rudolph)
Join in any reindeer-games (like Monopoly)

Then one foggy Christmas Eve
Santa came to say,
“Rudolph with your nose so bright
Won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?”

Then how the reindeer loved him (loved him)
As they shouted out with glee, (with glee!)
“Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer, (reindeer)
“You’ll go down in history!” (like George Washington!)

How different are your lyrics, and what are they?  And where did you grow up?  I’m pretty sure it varies by region, though it could vary by elementary school or music teacher, for all I know.

Anyway, just thought this would be fun.  Merry Christmas!


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