A couple of links to relieve the post-Christmas boredom:
1) Blogs have been understandably slow this week, but Rubber Buns and Liquor (where the haterade flows like wine) is back from its long hiatus, with excellent posts "Murder, She Wrote" and the Jason Mulgrew-esque "Aperture For Destruction."
2) Noelle Hancock, a former classmate of several contributors to this blog, recently landed a book deal with Harper Collins. Her blog Just Putting It Out There is always good for some chuckles.
3) NPR's poll of the best albums of the year is pretty good. I may be risking my indie/blogger/Brooklyn credibility by saying this, but I think that Coldplay's album got shortchanged by a lot of critics this summer. Vampire Weekend are friends of friends of mine, and I think they're very promising, but I can't say that their album is the second-best that I've heard this year. But the Flight of the Conchords is deservedly in the top ten, and the now-legitimately released, once-bootlegged Bob Dylan live album is excellent.
4) According to preliminary reports, retail sales are down about 8% this year, and are down as far as 20% in the areas of clothing and electronics. Do you know what that means? If you have a gift certificate - ANY GIFT CERTIFICATE AT ALL - use it ASAP because it is only a matter of time until everything is going out of business. Well, with the possible exception of Target.
5) In these anxious times, a good possible use for a gift certificate is Personal Days, a workplace comedy by Buffalo native and former McSweeney's editor Ed Park. It gets the CSD stamp of approval. While you're at it, check out Joshua Ferris' Then We Came To the End.
6) In the NBA, both games nationally televised on Christmas day were outstanding - Spurs-Suns and Celtics-Lakers. I am an outspoken fan of the Spurs, but, at this point, every NBA fan should love the Spurs-Suns rivalry - the teams hate each other and always elevate their level of play in the other team's building. In Thursday's game, the Suns scored a tough basket in the paint to take a two-point lead with seconds remaining. The Spurs called a timeout, inbounded the ball to Tony Parker, who penetrated and kicked out to an open Roger Mason for a game-winning 3-pointer. You couldn't draw up a better ending than that - both teams scored tough baskets in the last ten seconds of a closely-fought, physical game, and Shaq and Tim Duncn both played like much younger versions of themselves. Just a great game all around. Here are the (unfortunately rather heavily pixelated) plays of the day: