Geek-twisting Holiday Songs

Image By Rebecca Angel

Oh, who wants the same old boring lyrics to our holiday favorites?  Altering words to existing songs is a playful, challenging, and creative endeavor. It’s the fan-fiction of music. Winter and Christmas tunes are so well-known, it’s a great place to start. Here are some people who have already done so with a geeky twist:

The Twelve Days of Future Christmas created by Bridge 8, goes through a list of current science topics that are on the verge of becoming reality! “12 drones delivering…”

(TUNE: “Oh Christmas Tree”)
Oh, number Pi. Oh, number Pi. Your digits are nonending,
Oh, number Pi. Oh, number Pi. No pattern are you sending.
Want more math Christmas songs? Go here!

Hee-hee. This is some crazy editing. Star Trek TNG in “Make it So!”

You better watch out; you better not sneeze.
You better not cough, ’cause you’ll spread a disease….Viruses are comin’ to town.
“Catch” all the lyrics here.

This one doesn’t change the lyrics so much as it is performed in a geeky way. All electronic devices band in “Feliz Navidad.”

Pirate Christmas Carols! This is from me. I’ve written a lot of these. Here is one you can listen to with lyrics. No Ale!No Ale! No Ale! No Ale! Six months at sea with no dark, stout or pale.

So what’s does your family geek out about? Make it a family game to rewrite lyrics to a familiar holiday tune. You’ll be singing it every year afterwards!

Here’s one I wrote about my favorite Avenger…

Loki Was A Gentlemen
(To the tune of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen)
Loki was a gentleman when he took all the power.
His smile was quite debonair as he told us to cower.
“Sweet lady, kneel before me now, no need to look so sour.
Many thanks, this encounter’s been a joy, been a joy.
Many thanks, this encounter’s been a joy.”

Review: If I Ran the Rainforest Ebook

If I Ran the Rainforest © Oceanhouse Media
If I Ran the Rainforest © Oceanhouse Media

At four years old, my son is starting to develop a strong interest in the wider world around him. He is particularly interested in geography and learning about the different kinds of places there are around the world. The Cat in the Hat e-book series is a great fit for curious young children and the latest edition to the library teaches children all about rainforests.

If I Ran the Rainforest sees the Cat taking Sally and her brother Dick on a journey to a rainforest to learn more about them. What I really love about this book is that whilst keeping the tone simple and sticking to the classic Seuss rhyming style, the book doesn’t dumb down the facts. Inside, children will learn about:

  • The four kinds of rainforests, what they are called, and how they differ from one another
  • The four floors of the rainforest and the creatures who live in each one
  • The basics of transpiration
  • Animals and plants of the rainforest including information about their lifestyles and diets
  • The humans who live in the rainforest and how they survive there
  • How the floors of the rainforest form an ecosystem
  • A very brief discussion on the destruction of rainforests
Thing 1 and Thing 2 teach us about transpiration © Oceanhouse Media
Thing 1 and Thing 2 teach us about transpiration © Oceanhouse Media

There was enough information contained in the story that I was able to learn some new facts too, such as the name of the plants that grow on trees high in the rainforest canopy. Potentially tricky new words like these are written and sounded out clearly; these plants are shown as “e-pi-phytes” and the tallest trees in the rainforest written down as “e-mer-gents.”

The app has the option to switch between “read to me” and “read it myself” options so it can progress with your child as they get better at reading alone. You can also choose to record your own narrations, perfect for parents who are frequently away and unable to read bedtime stories themselves, or for other relatives who are not around as often as they’d like. Tapping on objects causes the word to be spoken aloud and words in bold, e.g., equator, can be tapped to see a simple definition.

This is another great release from The Cat in The Hat’s Learning Library and one that will be of use to children at a variety of levels from curious toddlers to grade-schoolers needing a basic introduction to the subject for homework projects. It makes learning fun and that’s one of the best things we can ever hope to do.

GeekMom received this item for review purposes.

Review: The Big Lie by Tanya Selvaratnam


The Big Lie: Motherhood, Feminism, and the Reality of the Biological Clock by Tanya Selvaratnam has a very important message, but I’m not sure that it will reach its target audience.

Fundamentally, Selvaratnam believes that Western, working women have gotten complacent about the possibilities of late childbirth. She herself waited until she was 37 before trying to conceive. After three miscarriages and an IVF attempt that was called off when it was discovered that she had cancer, she wants to remind younger women that it’s not always that easy.

While it seems reasonable to wait until you have found the perfect partner with whom to raise a child and the financial stability with which to do so, if all those things don’t happen until you are in your late thirties it may be much, much harder than you think to have a child of your own.

The problem is that the women who most need to hear this would be the ones in their late twenties. However, if someone had given me this book when I was that age, I would have rolled my eyes and considered them pushy. I had exactly zero desire for children or even to think about children at that point in my life (even though by most measures I had the right partner and finances to do so).

And in fact, I described the book and its message to a friend of mine in exactly the target demographic, and she gave me exactly the same polite eye-roll that I would have given me. It’s almost impossible to convey the message “if you wait too long to have children you may not be able to” without also conveying the subtext: “so you’d better have kids right now.”

The book itself is a combination of memoir and scientific information. The memoir is particularly well-done, with Selvaratnam managing to elegantly discuss very personal parts of her life that must still be quite raw. The book is current through early 2013, and it is clear that the worst parts of her personal story are not yet part of the objective past. I admire her for writing this as she did, and I do not envy her experience at all.

However, that sits uncomfortably with the mountains of statistics and research that she presents. With number after number presented without very much context or analysis, these chapters rapidly become overwhelming and overbearing.

In laying out the difficulties faced by older parents, the litany of things that are more likely to go wrong with a child conceived by older parents simply made me really, really scared for the baby I’m currently pregnant with, seeing as I’m 34 and my husband is 44—not something I needed right then. That’s after a round of feeling really super guilty that having kids in my thirties was easy for me (conceiving when I was 31 and 33), compared to all the women who desperately want children and can’t have them, or can only have them after tremendous outlays of expense and emotion.

The main take-away from this book should be that women need to have as much information about their own biology and reproductive cycles as possible, as early as possible.

I particularly like Selvaratnam’s suggestion that fertility information be as integral a part of high school sex education as birth control information is. It makes sense that women get as much information about having a baby when they want one, and what some of the potential pit-falls are, as they get about avoiding unwanted pregnancy.

Specifically, the information that fertility falls off in your late twenties and again in your mid thirties; that the vast majority of the eggs you are born with die off by your mid thirties (dwindling from millions to tens of thousands), that IVF currently has a low success rate, and that very few children (so far) have been born from frozen eggs. I would definitely get behind a campaign to add this information to sex education classes. And the last part of the book, running to over 50 pages, is a list of resources where interested readers can go for more information.

Still, I can’t help but think that those who are planning to wait to have families, or don’t yet think that they will ever want them, won’t necessarily appreciate the book as it is laid out. Selvaratnam’s personal story of tragic failure to conceive necessarily places the focus on “if you wait too long to have children, you’ll regret it” and away from those who are happily child-free or unhappily parenting.

And while there is some discussion of the societal lack of support (e.g. affordable high-quality day care) that makes it difficult for women to start families earlier, that gets drowned out by the tsunami of statistics and studies on infertility.

So while I definitely agree with the message of this book, I am not sure that it is the best messenger for its cause.