Dear Readers,

I want to thank you for inviting me into your homes every week; it has been a nice welcoming gift for me. See, I recently moved here from Missouri (that's Missour-ah, if you want to sound like a local), and this will be my first Christmas in Orlando – actually my first Christmas in the Southeast. There will be no snow for me this year, no chilly air (this isn't cold, you Floridian wimps!) and no family to surround me with love and presents and unwarranted advice. This will be a truly sad year at the Carlson household. But as I've learned – despite years of Hallmark cards telling me otherwise – the only thing that can bring me real, God-honest happiness is the gift of receiving stuff and things and packaged commercial goods. So if you have a heart for a lonely newcomer, then please send me something on my list. Thank you, in advance, for your generous offerings during this season of giving.


I come from the hometown of former Attorney General John Ashcroft and current House Majority Leader Roy Blunt (after poor DeLay was indicted). I thought moving from Missourah to the East Coast would remove me from an environment of moronic thinking. I was wrong. Florida holds its own with people like Jeb (a more eloquent G-Dub but no less scary) and our favorite sheriff Kevin Beary, though I admit he's nailed the idea of receiving gifts. (See Jeff Billman's wish list.)

So I'm ready to get out of here for a bit. Sure, New York has its own crap, but it's also got enough glitz to make me forget about it. I'll catch a couple of shows, peruse the museums, eat at quaint cafés and mill around Greenwich Village hoping for a photo of Gwyneth and Apple. I'm not looking for anyone to pay for all that, just my stint at the Ritz-Carlton.

Bass Pro Shops

Carabiners: you know, those clippy climbing tool things some people use as key rings? I know, they're, like, sooo 19 years ago … well, I'm not sure they were ever "in." I used to have one, a real one bought at an outdoor shop, not one of those rinky-dink ones sold next to the cash register at Old Navy. It was bulky, yes – when in my pocket, it created a bulge (not always a bad thing) – but for my forgetful mind, it ensured I never lost my keys.

But upon a trip to the Orange County courthouse a month ago, I was stripped of the could-be weapon and told they'd have to throw it away. I'd been through the courthouse numerous times with nary a word said. No matter. I had potential brass knuckles in my possession. Could I pick it up when I left the building? No. Could the officer at least tell me in what trash can he was going to throw it away? No. So now my keys hang from a plain ol' ring, which may be more grown-up but is also boring. And I kind of liked that bulge.

Best Buy;

My complete DVD collection is as follows: Sideways, Lost in Translation, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Before Sunrise, Before Sunset and Love Actually (shh, don't tell anyone). Even the melancholy of some of those movies doesn't pack that punch-to-the-stomach impact I sometimes want in a movie. So Requiem for a Dream could easily fill that void with its brutal look at drugs backed by a haunting soundtrack. Orlando Weekly's own Ian Grey had this to say: "It is one of the few possibly great films in this moribund year." Possibly great: How can you argue with such conviction?

Approximately $500
Bright House Networks

I'm not looking for anything fancy – just the basic set-up. Since my recent downgrade to solely network channels, I've missed my daily rerun of Law & Order and been forced to watch neutered South Park episodes in syndication. But if you must know why I need cable, it's this: I've got to see what happens on Blow Out, the reality show chronicling the drama of Jonathan Antin, the owner of two posh Los Angeles salons. Every character, from the stylists to the corporate hacks trying to get Antin's product line in stores, is a shallow, money-driven 90210 asshole. And Antin's incredible arrogance and the trouble it gets him in is a train wreck I can't pull my eyes from. Oh, and he does great hair.

Toyota of Orlando

I sat in my first Prius a year ago when my brother rented one while visiting. My liberal conscience hollered, "Hallelujah, praise the Earth!" as the motor practically shut off at stoplights. For a starving journalist, getting double the mileage is a gem of an idea. But I really like that's it's a midsize, rolling "Fuck you" to the oil companies and all their White House friends.

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