CD -- Cross: The year's best disco album made by a pair of gadget-loving Frenchmen bounces over many, many genres. Punk-style distortion, old-school table tricks, and woozy techno beats collide in a barrage of giddy sounds. Frantically playful songs like the summertime jam "D.A.N.C.E." will have you chanting along with the footloose chorus of rhyming school kids.
CD -- Eat to the Beat: This reissue of Blondie's 1979 pop classic adds a DVD that includes a 12-track music-video collection the band made to promote the record back in the day. It's an intriguing artifact from the pre-MTV era. But the real draw is the hook-filled sequel to the previous year's breakthrough album, Parallel Lines. Faves like "Dreaming," "Union City Blue," and "Atomic" rank among the group's best.
VIDEO GAME -- Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords: This addictive game (for the Nintendo DS and PSP) unites geeky role-playing with brain-taxing puzzles. The story has something to do with a sword-wielding hero, out to clear his homeland of various evildoers. There are more than 150 quests, in which players square off against foes by matching colored gems. But beware: Vampires, zombies, and other creatures would rather eat your soul than engage in a friendly battle of skill.
DVD -- The Simpsons: The Complete Tenth Season: Hot on the heels of the mega-successful Simpsons Movie, these four discs gather all 23 eps from the 1998-99 season. Guest stars include Alec Baldwin, Elton John, and Mark "Luke Skywalker" Hamill -- who makes an appearance at a nerdy sci-fi convention. Best is "Viva Ned Flanders," in which Homer takes his neighbor-ino to Vegas, where they get hitched to hookers.
COURTESY FLUSH, PLEASE -- Reading Comics: How Graphic Novels Work and What They Mean: Think comic books are fun? Wait till you get a load of this overly analytical tome, which breaks down what Sin City, Batman, and the X-Men are really about. Writer Douglas Wolk puts comics in historical context and offers a list of must-read books. Then he piles on all the scholarly talk about the significance of men in tights. Verbal kryptonite.
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