Monitor picks

Five things we think you'll really like

Huge draw

Think van Gogh and "Sunflowers" or "Starry Night" might come to mind, all colorful swirls of thick oil paints. But Vincent van Gogh: The Drawings, at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art through Dec. 31, reveals an artist in full control of the pen and ink. The 113 works, the first major US exhibit to focus on the Dutch master's drawings, show his deftness of composition and light, even when working in black and white.

Grin and Colbert it

Stephen Colbert cut his fake-news teeth on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart. On the spinoff The Colbert Report (pronounced col-BARE re-PORE), he riffs on the day's headlines, skewers "real" news anchors, and just plain makes stuff up. (On last week's inaugural show, "truthiness" was the word of the day.) Sidesplitting stuff.

For the true cineaste

In Guiltless Pleasures, former Monitor film critic David Sterritt writes graceful, thoughtful essays on everything from the experience of watching a 7-1/2 hour (!) Hungarian movie to how Hollywood has depicted the Holocaust and Sept. 11. And it turns out that he's a fan of Steve Martin and Monty Python.

Hoop it up

Forget the debate over the NBA's dress code - let's play some ball. The season tips off Tuesday with four games on the slate, including San Antonio embarking on its title defense in Denver.

Pop toon

However you feel about the politics of Doonesbury, you can't deny its longevity. Garry Trudeau's first strip ran 35 years ago (Oct. 26), and this year marks the 30th anniversary of his Pulitzer (he was the first strip cartoonist to win it). His book "The Long Road Home" follows the rehabilitation from Iraq war injuries of soldier character B.D. Even John McCain has saluted it.

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