I have something for everyone today, but first things first...

Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty we are free at last! Yes, my first semester at Rotman is in the rearview mirror and the time has come to let slack reign. I've got the next two weeks to pursue any and all of the following activities: Movies, TV, alcoholic beverages, blogging, reading non-textbooks, working on my spelling, exercise and sleep.

I got a start on the first activity today as I got the chance to see Return of the King.

As you can see it rates a full five thistles out of a possible five - I simply cannot heap enough praise on this movie. It is the most visually stunning movie ever, hands down. The battle of Pelennor Fields makes Helms deep look like a tea party, Shelob the spider is awesome and Minas Tirith was just dazzling as well. All the performances were good, but I particularly liked Sean Astin as Sam and Billy Boyd as Pippin. I think also that the theatre I saw RoTK in must have been extremely dusty, because by the end I definitely had something in my eyes, as they were emitting some kind of salty discharge. And I'm not the kind of guy who normally gets dust in his eyes during movies. Just go see this movie. The only problem with seeing it so close to the release date is the geek factor. The bottom section of the screen was almost completely obstructed by people in front of me wearing tall, pointy wizard hats.

I am now rereading Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in the Markets and in Life by Nassim Taleb. This is one of my all time favorite books on the markets, and was sorely due to be reviewed. I recommend this to any and all TAMLers who are interested in securities markets or in probability. Taleb explains with great wit how to tell the difference between being lucky and being good. Great stuff, and yes, I do consider books as a part of pop culture.

I'm really on a roll recommending things here, so I'll keep it going by sharing some of my favorite blogs with you all. Check out Little Green Footballs for the truth about what's going on in the Middle East, and straight-shooting insight into politics and current events. Read Megan (aka Jane Galt) on Asymmetric Information for economics, satire and social commentary. For lighter fare, the busblog is the most entertaining blog on the net - and Tony Pierce (The King of Bloggers) proves you can use a blog as a way to get laid. Honourable mentions to Vodkapundit and, even though he isn't a blogger strictly speaking, Walter Williams. Gotta love Walter, there's no way he would get away with what he says if he weren't Black.

Here's an interesting item I came across today (with all this free time on my hands). The Bartman Ball has been auctioned off in Chicago, and it fetched over a hundred grand.

The word is the ball has been purchased by a coalition of Cubs fans who plan to destroy it in some bizarre public ceremony in an attempt to lift "the curse" from the Cubs franchise who have not won the World Series since 1901. Good luck with that. I can't believe these people can't find a better use for their money with so many people hungry and homeless at Christmastime.

On a more upbeat note, the TAML intern stationed at our Chrome Bolt bureau brings back word this week that Detroit Jay is going to be a father. Big, big, big congratulations to Jay and to Kaori. Man, that is going to be one cool kid. (S)he'll be the only one in the class whose Dad has more toys and comic books that (s)he does.

And finally this week, although there have been requests, no recap is available for Dave's stag last weekend.