Monitor picks

2006 in a time capsule

This is not your farmer's almanac. (Hardy-har!) In just 352 pages, Schott's Almanac covers everything from 2006 news events (remember the Danish cartoon incident?) to words of the year (entries include "elbow bump" and "drawing down") to Lindsay Lohan's tabloid travails. Each entry, brimming with verve, is illustrated with Wall Street Journal-style pointillist portraits.

Outnumbering Sudoku fans

Sudoku maniacs have a lot in common with fans of crossword puzzles – they crave a challenge. Now they have a new one: the 3D Sudoku Cube, the Rubik's cube of number puzzles. Scramble the cube and then make all six sides read 1 to 9. It'll keep you busy long after the stockings are hung by the chimney with care.

Animation: the final frontier

Gene Roddenberry had little faith in "Star Trek: The Animated Series," which is ironic since it was faithful to his original creation in ways that later spin-offs weren't – it's set on the old Enterprise and features fantastical missions to strange planets. All 22 half-hour episodes have been packed into one big box set. Beam me up, Scotty.

Giants of the podcast world

Half a decade after alt-rockers They Might Be Giants last ruled the airwaves, the band is capturing fans' attention again – this time, with cheap digital recorders. The TMBG podcast, a hodgepodge of outtakes, swirling static, and musically kaleidoscopic asides, is heavily downloaded. And for good reason: few podcasts are this much fun. Join in:

Helmet-popping hits

It's not too soon to start planning your February pregame party: NFL Films' Greatest Super Bowl Moments I-XL celebrates the first 40 takes of the Greatest Show in Sports. Highlights include the Dolphins' Larry Csonka busting through the line in his "bull ring" face mask in Super Bowl VIII, and the Patriots-Panthers aerial duel in XXXVIII. Fans of Jerome Bettis will love the three Steelers-focused extras.

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