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BEST OF THE WEEK
BEST OF GATEHOUSE CONTEST: Submit your best work from 2010 now
KIDZBUZZ PAGE: Help someone this Christmas
MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. DAY PAGE: Key dates toward Dr. King's goal
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JANUARY FAMILY: Stories on sledding safety, cabin fever cures and comfort food twists
HOLIDAY CONTENT: Gift Guide, Songbook, TV page and last-minute gift ideas page
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News / year-end content
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GIFT ADVICE: Do hired professionals get a gift? -- Is there is an obligation to buy presents for people who are, in fact, hired professionals doing their jobs? Did our parents (or grandparents) set this precedent, or is it a new trend? By Sara Stevens Oot/ MetroWest Daily News (Boston)
* Callout idea: Who are the hired professionals in your life that always make it on your gift list? What do you give to teachers, house cleaners or mail delivery people?
HOLLY/MISTLETOE: What is holly, mistletoe? -- Many of us decorate our homes with familiar and attractive plants this time of year; but, my guess is that few people know much about the natural history of mistletoe and holly. By Don Lyman/ Daily News Correspondent (Boston)
JOINTS: How to get healthy joints -- Joint injury can be very debilitating. Knees, hips and feet are the most commonly injured joints. These injuries can lead to eventual arthritis. So taking good care of the joints is imperative. By Leah Boente-Hulcher/ State Journal-Register (Ill.)
* Localization tip: Get other tips and stats from local doctors and joint specialists in your area.
ASK DOG LADY: Are you sure dogs don’t need winter coats? - Weekly canine Q&A, with advice on dogs and clothes and puppy training. By Monica Collins, GHNS columnist.
LOOKING UP: Lunar eclipse on the longest night - Monday night and Tuesday morning, the full moon will be hiding in Earth’s shadow. Wouldn’t you know that the longest night of the year, which would have been brightly lit by the glorious full moon, coincides with a rare total lunar eclipse! Actually, the moon will still fill the sky with light most of the night. For 72 minutes, it will darken to a wonderful orange or red shade, and the sky around it darken revealing a canopy of winter stars. By Peter Becker, Hawley (Pa.) News Eagle.
* You can localize this by doing a poll asking readers if they plan to stay up to watch the eclipse, and you can do a sidebar giving information on when and where to watch.
SUZETTE MARTINEZ STANDRING: Those who string lights are holiday healers - This is what I’d like to tell all you decorating wizards. Thank you. Your efforts reap much more than you can imagine. To lift the spirits of strangers is a gift. It sounds ironic, but holiday cheer is hard to come by during the busy month of December. There are parties, concerts and plays to rush to after work. Making a potluck dish for 35 is no joke. Though love motivates our inner shoppers, the joy that comes with gift giving typically starts with a price tag. By Suzette Martinez Standring, The Patriot Ledger.
MURPHY'S LAW: A typical Murphy Christmas -- Ten minutes later, after finding the Scotch tape under the couch, I finish wrapping the present at hand and reach for the pen to write the nametag. Not only can I not find the pen, now I’ve misplaced the @#$%^$ name tags. By Barbara Murphy/ News-Tribune (Md.)
DAVID ROBSON: Gift ideas for the gardener -- Maybe you’re looking for the perfect gift for your gardening friend or relative. If so, here are some excellent gift suggestions that a gardener will love. By David Robson/ State Journal-Register (Ill.)
TRON REVIEW: Movie review: Jeff Bridges, special effects can't save 'Tron' - I’m willing to bet the house that most guys wouldn’t mind a childhood without a father if 20 years later Dad makes amends by hooking junior up with the hottest woman on the planet, Olivia Wilde. Maybe I am being too flippant in that statement because once all the trippy 3-D effects are stripped away, “Tron: Legacy” is a cautionary tale to parents, warning us to spend more time with our children. It preaches to be more in the moment because one minute you can be like Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges), tucking your son into bed, and the next stuck in a digital world with no escape. By Dana Barbuto, The Patriot Ledger.
KING’S SPEECH REVIEW: Movie review: Firth, Rush are royally great in ‘King’s Speech’ - Its opulence practically screams, “Hey, Oscars, look at me!” But “The King’s Speech” addresses something basically human in telling how a tongue-tied monarch overcame his greatest fear: himself. By Al Alexander, The Patriot Ledger.
TEMPEST REVIEW: Movie review: Latest take on 'The Tempest' a little over the top - You either like Shakespeare and Shakespearian language or you don’t. There’s never been any middle ground, and that’s not about to change with visionary director Julie Taymor’s take on the Bard’s sorta comic, sorta serious, ridiculously complicated “The Tempest.” By Ed Symkus.
KNOW REVIEW: Movie review: Reese Witherspoon strikes out with flick you don’t want to ‘Know’ - It’s fitting that a central character in “How Do You Know” pitches for the Washington Nationals. Like baseball’s perennial doormats, the latest romantic dramedy from Oscar-winning writer-director James L. Brooks languishes in a like-minded state of mediocrity. By Al Alexander, The Patriot Ledger.
ON THE SCREENS: Movies opening this week -- Here's what is playing in theaters this weekend: "Black Swan," "Burlesque," "The Warrior's Way" and more. By The Patriot Ledger (Boston)
CAPONE BOOK: An interview with author Chris Knight Capone - Chris Knight Capone’s moving novel “Son of Scarface” is the unnerving story of an abused child seeking to unravel the mysterious life of his beloved father and the mother who physically and emotionally battered her son and daughter. By DA Kentner, Freeport Journal-Standard.
GRANLUND CARTOON: Julian Assange of WikiLeaks and Michael Moore. By Dave Granlund, GHNS cartoonist.
GRANLUND CARTOON: Larry King is the real Father Time. By Dave Granlund, GHNS cartoonist.
BRITT CARTOON: Icy weather strikes Santa. By Chris Britt, State Journal-Register.
O’MAHONEY CHRISTMAS CARTOONS: Note that these are toons from the archive, and your paper might have run them in previous years.
JARED OLAR: The weather gods demand a sacrifice - For quite some time, I’ve harbored the suspicion that both the popular science and the political activity that create and sustain the belief in Global Warmingism are informed by a retrogressively pagan mindset. By Jared Olar, Pekin Daily Times.
PHILIP MADDOCKS: Lawmakers condemn WikiLeaks for imperiling their misunderstanding of the Constitution - American officials and politicians continue to condemn the leaking of secret documents by WikiLeaks, saying the organization’s actions are imperiling their misunderstanding of the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights. By Philip Maddocks, MetroWest Daily News.
ERIC P. BLOOM: The rules on ‘span of control’ - The term “span of control” refers to the number of direct reports a manager can personally manage effectively. The general rule of thumb is that a manager can effectively manage about seven people. By Eric P. Bloom, GHNS columnist.