December 19-23, 2011

It’s almost Christmas, but we’re not quite there yet, so there’s still time to wish that it were Christmas today. Mike Vincent does in “Christmas pinnacles”

The Casual Gamer rather perversely prides himself on being behind the curve, so if you’re shopping for the video game player who always seems to be playing catch-up, or if you’re just trying to catch up on some last-minute ideas, check out his end of the year “Casual Gamer Wishlist”

Sarah Pavis isn’t looking for something brainy, she’s just looking for something to keep her occupied before she hits the road for the holidays. Enter Limitless, in which Bradley Cooper first pretends to be slovenly, and then pretends to be really smart. Read Limitless: A movie where some things happen”

You can’t just watch the movie, you need to read the book, especially when you work in a bookstore. Except sometimes when the movie is a 10 hour miniseries. And the book is 864 pages. And the six volumes that follow are even longer. Read “Watching the book” by Kelly Hannon, before the film comes out.

The connections between food and family are indelible but not immutable. Sometimes the difference between the two can be as simple as a loaf of garlic bread. Read “Garlic bread” by Gavin Craig

Christmas pinnacles

You had to know it was coming. Jimmy Fallon hosting Saturday Night Live the WEEK before Christmas? You had to know that the show, at some point, would feature the wacky little ditty “I Wish It Was Christmas.” Many years ago the number, written by Fallon and Horatio Sanz, was premiered before the 30 Rock … Continue reading

Wishlist: The Casual Gamer

XBox 360 with Kinect Last year, the PS2 was my console recommendation, based on the assumption that “Casual Gamer” readers are either relative non-gamers, or already own whatever console(s) they really want. This year, coming to the end of the lifespan of the current generation of consoles, prices are down, game libraries are deep, and … Continue reading

Limitless: A movie where some things happen

My last few posts for The Idler’s “In The Queue” column were enjoyable to write but a bit heady. I don’t really want to carve out the brainspace for a post that requires thinking. So instead of packing or cleaning or any of the other things I should do before I fly for the holidays … Continue reading

Watching the book

This past summer summer my husband and I finally got around to painting our living room. The only way I was going to get any painting done was to distract myself with a massive amount of television. I started episode one of Game of Thrones, cracked open a can of paint and I was hooked. … Continue reading

Garlic bread

My grandfather wouldn’t eat garlic. While my family has produced a number of picky eaters, I don’t normally think of my grandfather as having been one of them. I don’t remember running into many things that he wouldn’t eat, although that may be been one of the privileges of eating mostly at one’s own house … Continue reading

December 12-16, 2011

Kevin Mattison is a man who spends a lot of time sitting in the dark, but he sheds some light on his end-of-the-year desires in his “Cinephiles Wishlist”

Kelly Hannon loves bookstores — she works in one — and she loves Netflix and Hulu. What then to make of’s recent promotion which effectively turned ordinary consumers into operatives against their local brick-and-mortar bookstores in return for a 5% credit? Read “Ambivalently anti-Amazon”

While the scientific evidence backing up the severity of the long-term impact of repeated had trauma in sports seems to be growing, there’s a lot left to be sorted out. Yael Borofsky argues that while it’s true that any action that the NHL takes on head trauma will be a policy decision and not a scientific one, the time for action is still now. Read “What science doesn’t say about head trauma”

Like a lot of people, when Netflix split up (and increased prices for) streaming and DVD subscriptions, Sarah Werner went streaming-only. There are a few things that you can only watch on disc, and Sarah makes some recommendations in “Going back to the disc”

Jason Segel may be able to get the Muppets back together, but he can’t take them home again. Ana Holguin gives you a tour of her (and their) postmodern crisis in “Where have all the Muppets gone?”

The Friendly Foodie apparently has a bit of a sweet tooth at the end of the year. Check out his wishlist (which really isn’t about food at all) in “The Friendly Foodie’s Wishlist”

Hockey is clearly the sport best suited to the winter holidays, and Yael Borofsky drops the end-of-the-year puck in her “Over the Boards Wishlist”

One of the burdens of growing up is the office holiday party. Jill Kolongowski steers you past the common obstacles (or at least lets you know that they’re there) in “Holiday party food and foibles: grown-up edition”

Wishlist: The Cinephiles

A new P.T. Anderson film So apparently The Master is back on! It looks like I got my Christmas wish from last year after all! I just had to be patient, which is a virtue I have in spades. WHAT?! It’s STILL in post?! Mother… Surround sound As a child I owned a tiny, red-and-white … Continue reading

Ambivalently anti-Amazon

Let’s talk about this whole Amazon thing. It’s difficult for booksellers to watch as online sales through Amazon take away from the profits of our stores. Music and movie stores already went through it, we know it’s not new. We know it’s not just us; Amazon sells everything. The recent coupon campaign wasn’t even available … Continue reading

What Science Doesn’t Say About Head Trauma

In an absurd collision with teammate Wayne Simmonds’s knee, Claude Giroux is now the third Flyer to jump on the concussion bandwagon. Sydney Crosby is out again due to concussion symptoms, and this series about the life and death of Derek Boogaard in The New York Times has swirled up all kinds of head trauma … Continue reading