2. Freakonomics, by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, 2005, 256 pp. I don't like the title, but I do like the ideas and the clever ways of using numbers. This book's value is shown by how often its ideas on crime, sumo, abortion, and childrearing are relevant to conversations.
3. The game of Yut ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yut). See here too as an illustration of Korean thinking. Good for adults and kids both-- a party game, for people ready for hilarity.
4. Black Raspberry Chip ice cream, United Dairy Farmers. Raspberry and chocolate, like orange and chocolate, is a harmonious combination.
5. Lavender & Rosemary Essential Oil Hand Soap Adra. So fresh! It makes washing one's hands a pleasure.
6. The Three Kingdoms blog of Christopher Atwood. Political, social, and theological observations by a Lutheran Mongolianist. http://threehierarchies.blogspot.com.
7. Google Search for the PC . Applies the Google search algorithms to the vast pile of files on your own computer. Windows XP tried and failed to do this right; in a few year something like this will be standard.
8. The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. The curators have exceedingly good taste, in contrast to those of the new Indian museum nearby.
9. The Baylyblog of Tim and David Bayly, Calvinist pastors with insight, boldness, and practicality. http://timbayly.worldmagblog.com/timbayly/.
10. Wagner, Das Rheingold, video, James Levine, Metropolitan Opera, 1990. Our children like it a lot, and it conveys the spirit of this magical story of flawed gods, giants, dwarves, and fairies. Why aren't the three sequels nearly as good?
11. Sermons and Shakespeare plays in MP3 for the car. There are lots of sermons on the web, and I've bought Macbeth and Julius Caesar, which I will be able to listen to over and over and over. For free sermons, try http://www.sermonaudio.com.
12. Miktex, a free latex typesetting program for math notation and tables better than Scientific Workplace. It processes straight from ascii input to PDF.
Runners-up: McAfee, Competitive Solutions: The Strategist's Toolkit. Marble Blast Gold game Classics Illustrated Ivanhoee The Island movie. The Matrix, movie. My Neighbor, Totoro is a good Japanese cartoon movie. Like Spirited Away. Lots of good scenery, house scenes. Lay's Tastes of Canada Cape Breton Sea Salt & Pepper. Pepper is rightly catching on as a chip flavor. I like the regionalism too.
Lists of good things from other years.