Monitor picks

Five things we think you'll really like.

Friends at any age

In Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont, now on DVD, a young bohemian (Rupert Friend) befriends a lonely widower (Joan Plowright) who's moved into a London hotel for retirees. The unconventional friendship – strictly platonic, this isn't "Harold and Maude" – is a moving testament to the common ties between generations.

Putting amid palms

This could be a nice weekend to head to Hawaii for some golf – or as close as your TV remote and a tape-delayed broadcast can get you. The Wendy's Champions Skins Game (ESPN Sat.-Sun., 4 p.m. EST) brings the titans of golf to the Wailea Gold Course. Raymond Floyd and Dana Quigley hope to defend after last year's record-setting heroics. Among those in their way: Arnold Palmer and partner Loren Roberts.

Better than Google

Wondering if listening to music really does makes you smarter? How to get in a workout if you only have 15 minutes? Or how to pick a mutual fund? New York Times editors, writers, and critics get to the bottom of such everyday quandaries in The New York Times Practical Guide to Practically Everything with quick-to-read entries. Topics span Health & Fitness to Careers to Law & Mores, placing expertise and wisdom at everyone's fingertips.

Who'll get the last word?

On Jan. 18, television will witness a historic meeting of two alter-egos (or just egos) when Bill O'Reilly and Stephen Colbert are guests on each others' shows on the same night. Colbert, who has modeled his TV persona on O'Reilly, said in a statement, "It is an honor to speak face to face with a broadcasting legend, and I feel the same way about Mr. O'Reilly."

Creating a scene

All across America, movie viewers are cheering during the midway mark of "Dreamgirls" after Jennifer Hudson – a rejectee from "American Idol" – sings And I Am Telling You, I'm Not Going with the fervor of someone who has her very career on the line. Perhaps the method actress in her was thinking about Simon Cowell?

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