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Teach Your Children Well: An Aging Rock Critic's Album of the Year

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This is the first year in more than twenty that I haven't even bothered filling out any of those big, high profile critic's polls. Frankly, my beloved Dad is quite ill and it just hasn't seemed terribly important to let the world know that my own favorite album of the year is Home Before Dark by Neil Diamond or my personal favorite single of the year is "Waitin' On A Woman" by Brad Paisley. But as a concerned parent now myself, I wanted to take just a moment to honor one box set that I feel every parent with any disposable income ought to invest in even during these very trying times.

One Hundred Greatest: The Greatest Speeches, News Stories, Personalities, Scandals and Sports Event of the Last Century (Shout Factory) may not be everything your kids need to know about the history of this world they live in and some earlier trying time. Yet over the course of five CDs, it's sure one hell of a fine start. If we really want no children left behind, we all better try a lot harder to teach our kids the lessons of history that we as a country have been so busy ignoring these past eight years. Here's hoping that eight years from now, the folks behind One Hundred Greatest have to add a sixth CD that documents President Obama and some other inspiring men and women eloquently digging us all out of this huge hole of our own making.

No, Virginia, you can't really dance to Eisenhower's prophetic 1961 Farewell Speech or FCC chairman Newton Minow's visionary warning of a "vast wasteland" from the same year, but who knows, it just might make you -- or someone you love -- think.

Like the old song says, teach your children well.