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[Note: Every Friday on First Thoughts we host a discussion about some aspect of popular culture. Have a suggestion for a topic? Send them to me at jcarter@firstthings.com]

You know how every September some blogger writes a post explaining why we celebrate Labor Day?

Yeah, we’re not gonna do that.

Nobody remembers, much less cares, why we get the first Monday off. We just do. We take a day off and call it labor day. That’s what makes America great.

But before you get to the long weekend celebrating this made-up holiday, you have to get through the rest of workday. You’re not going to do anything productive anyway, so I here are 30 videos—yes, thirty —to distract you from having to think about how bad traffic is going to be when you get off work.

1. The Trunk Monkey

Combing two things all men love: cars and monkeys.

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2. M. Ward - Chinese Translation

The greatest Johnny Cash song that Johnny Cash never sang. Charming and beautiful.

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3. Thien Thu Thien Nhan

This breathtaking routine is purportedly by a troupe of deaf Chinese girls performing in Vietnam.

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4. Economics Explained

If you’ve ever been bored sitting in Econ 101 you’ll enjoy this refreshing explanation by Yoram Bauman , “the world’s first and only stand-up economist.” I love how he differentiates between macro and micro: Microeconomists are people who are wrong about things in specific. Macroeconomists are people who are wrong about things in general.

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5. Star Trek Cribs

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6. Kung Fu Baby

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7. Dancing the Charleston to Daft Punk

This ingenious mashup of electronica and 1920s-era Charleston moves is one of my all-time favorite dance videos.

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8. Funny Babies

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9. Babies Eating Lemons

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10. Baby Argument

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11. Topsy Turvy

I didn’t even know this was possible. (Note: Nothing significant happens after the 1:15 mark. The driver is unharmed.)

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12. Coach, Wrong Ball

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13. The Lamp

This classic ad by director Spike Jonze shows how advertisers exploit the power of anthropomorphism.

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14. Lost on Gilligan’s Island

Here’s the true story behind the ABC Hit Lost:

In 1964, a dramatic TV series called “Lost on Gilligan’s Island” was filmed. Since it was too dark for a 1960s audience, the series was retooled as a slapstick comedy called “Gilligan’s Island.”

Four decades later, the ABC network remade “Lost on Gilligan’s Island,” this time remaining true to the original dramatic vision. The 2004 remake was titled simply “Lost.”

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15. The Fastest Gunman in the World

How fast? 8 rounds on 1 target in 1 second; 8 rounds on 4 targets in 1.46 seconds; 6 shots, reload, 6 shots in 2.99 seconds. [ Link to video ]

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16. The Geek King of Hip Hop — Move over Timbaland. The greatest hip-hop composer in music today is Ronald Jenkees , a brilliant, goofy white kid with wicked keyboarding skills.

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17. First Crush

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18. Procrastination

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19. Rush Hour

Le Parkour is a physical art form developed by French actor/acrobat David Belle. This commercial for the BBC demonstrates displays Belle’s amazing prowess.

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20. Brian Regan on Food Labels

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21. Brian Regan - I Walked on the Moon!

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23. Life after death by PowerPoint

Comedian/engineer Don McMillian has a humorous video on the dumb things people do with PowerPoint. (HT: Presentation Zen )

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24. Talk to the Fifth Guy I

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25. Talk to the Fifth Guy II

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26. Talk to the Fifth Guy III

A clever series of PSAs from the Florida Dept. of Health. My favorite line: “How would I describe Ben to you? The next Black Plague. They’re gonna say, ‘How did that happen? Was it rats?’ No, it was Ben over at Amalgamated. Responsible for the death of Europe.”

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27. Bolero on a 5-string cello

A clever family of Brits play Ravel’s Bolero on a shared cello.

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28. The Upside Down Room

9 days. 12 people. 600 galvanized screws. 1 great dorm room prank.

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29. Two chickens breaking up a fight between two rabbits.

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30. Counseling in Two Easy Words


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