Christmas List: Good Things of 2003: December 17, 2003.

1. AVI-MPG Movies with digital cameras, as in this short movie. You don't need an actual movie camera; many new digital cameras will take 30 seconds of movie, including sound, more conveniently.

2. 2. Weblogs, including mine. I read WSJ-Taranto and Brian Leiter and Christianity Today and Erin O'Connor and Instapundit and the Volokh Conspiracy.

3. Ian Ayres and Barry Nalebuff, Why Not? How to Use Everyday Ingenuity to Solve Problems Big and Small (2003) $19.25. An ingenious idea-- collect everyone's neat ideas for small improvements, and then let someone else put them into practice. The old Forbes columns are here and the website is

4. Luther (2003), a strangely touching movie with a superlative performance by Peter Ustinov in the small role of Duke Frederick the Wise. Note the crucial role of individual university professors Luther and Karlstadt--scholars had a high place in Medieval Europe -- and the pervasive religiousity of Europe then.

5. Ucluelet on Vancouver Island is a wonderful place-- clams and sea cucumbers, rain forest and seals. We stayed at The Cabins.

6. Adam Nicholson, God's Secretaries: The Making of the King James Bible, 304 pages, $17.47. Nicholson does an amazing job of making the religious politics of 1605 fascinating.

7. Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe war novels vary in quality, but the best are Waterloo, $9.60 384 pages, 2001, and Sharpe's Tiger: Richard Sharpe & the Siege of Seringapatam, 1799, (1999) $10.40.

8. Electric toothbrushes are really a great idea. I have the Crest Spinbrush Pro, $8.

9. We replaced our old 1990 Protege with the 2003 Mazdaspeed Protege, very similar but with an MP3 player, big tires, and a turbocharger to add horsepower to the nimbleness. $20,000 or so. The internet forum is a good place to look for complaints and add-ons.

10. David Frum, The Right Man: The Surprise Presidency of George Bush (2003) $18.17. Frum's best work yet.

11. Meir Ben-Dov, Historical Atlas of Jerusalem (2002) $50.00. A great way to get an overview of the prehistory and history of Israel, this atlas is good either for browsing or for reading straight through. Good photos and text as well as maps.

12. The cartoon movie, Spirited Away (2001), directed by Hayao Miyazaki, has great charm and spookiness, though it begins better than it ends, $22.49.

Other good things: Mozilla Firebird 0.7 Browser, Mozilla Thunderbird email program, Terra Yukon Gold Yogurt and Green Onion potato chips. Contact cement. Don Van Natta, FIRST OFF THE TEE, 2003. James Hogg: Confessions of a justified sinner. Greaves: Cancer the Evolutionary Legacy. Spiritual Lives of the Great Composers, Patrick Kavanaugh. The Bitter End. Pale Ale. Two Brothers Brewing. Really exceptional. Tablet PC's. Mine is an Acer 100 series, perhaps not the best, $1,200. Wireless internet connection and a pen-mouse are good. I've added a cordless mouse.

Riccardo Orizio had the good idea of interviewing ex- dictators, and wrote it up in Talk of the Devil: Encounters With Seven Dictators (2003) $15.40 He also wrote Lost White Tribes: The End of Privilege and the Last Colonials in Sri Lanka, Jamaica, Brazil, Haiti, Namibia, and Guadeloupe (2001) $17.50.

Lists of good things from other years.