THU 12/25By now, all of your preparations had better be set. You should have strung up all of your billions of blinking lights. Boca Raton, particularly, is famous for its gargantuan FPL bills this time of year. The stockings are hung by the chimney with care. All that remains is to wonder whether they'll be filled with coal or nifty little doodads that supplement your larger, under-the-tree Christmas presents. Given what we've seen around town over the past year, we're ready to bet that, come Christmas morning, there's going to be an awful lot of air pollution in South Florida.
Was a year of unrepentant naughtiness really worth the lumps of coal that now mar the inside of your stocking? You bet! Nice people get presents once a year, but the naughty folks spread joy year-round! Merry Christmas!
FRI 12/26Interpol may be a New York City-based band, but it sure seems as if it loves South Florida. The recent show by the band at Ice Palace was pretty good, after a fashion (to lushes like us, the lack of booze was something of a challenge). But, hey, the lights and the fog were real pretty. Meanwhile, the band's Carlos Dengler just can't seem to stay away from Miami. He DJs at Club Revolver (5922 S. Dixie Hwy., Miami) in a show tonight that also includes Moving Units, the latest indie-rock band to create some ripples as one of the new saviors of rock 'n' roll by promoting a punky sound. Unlike most of their NYC brethren, though, Moving Units hails from Los Angeles. This makes the band's sound a touch different, but with the inundation of similar bands these days, that's a welcome change. Call 305-661-9099.
SAT 12/27Two days after Christmas. If you're like most people, you spent yesterday playing with all of your shiny new toys, never once leaving your home, and, in fact, barely getting off the floor. Dwelling among the leftover scraps of wrapping paper may be all right for a day, but pretty soon, you're going to have to get out on the town and work off some of those holiday pounds. After all, you've tested the very elasticity of the human stomach by consuming as much glazed ham, turkey, goose, or whatever other dish your family has on Christmas. If you're the outdoorsy type -- and doesn't exercise in the outdoors beat running to nowhere on a treadmill in your local gym? -- the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge (State Road 7 at Lee Road, Boynton Beach) presents a canoe trail exploration today. Meet at 8 a.m. at the refuge's boat ramp. Reservations required; $5 per car. Call 561-734-8303.
SUN 12/28Jonathan Dickinson State Park (16450 SE Federal Hwy., Hobe Sound) holds its annual Christmas Bird Count all day today, giving you yet another opportunity to work off those holiday pounds, this time by walking through a scenic area to check out the bird population. Experienced and amateur bird watchers are welcome to hike through the park anywhere from Juno Beach to Hobe Sound. The count is part of the National Audubon Society's Christmas Bird Count, which began more than 100 years ago and is held in locations throughout the Western hemisphere. There is no charge to participate. Call 772-546-2067.
MON 12/29The Art and Culture Center of Hollywood (1650 Harrison St., Hollywood) opens its latest exhibit, "Visas for Life: The Righteous and Honorable Diplomats," this week. The exhibit features archival pictures and accounts of European diplomats who, through issuing visas and other means, managed to save the lives of tens of thousands of Jews during World War II. In conjunction with the exhibit, Dr. Eva Fogelmanspeaks at the Hollywood Central Performing Arts Center (1770 Monroe St., Hollywood) from 2 to 4 p.m. Fogelman is author of Conscience and Courage: Rescuers of Jews During the Holocaust, as well as being the daughter of Holocaust survivors herself. Future related events at the performing arts center include documentary films, a human rights panel, and more lectures and discussions. Admission is free. Call 954-921-3274.
TUE 12/30When you flash a sign, it ain't just 'cause you want to. It's a way of life! Know what I'm sayin'? Well, at least it is if you're deaf. And if you know a few deaf people and you're just positive they're talking about you right in front of your face with their inscrutable hand signals, maybe it's time you surreptitiously found out what they were saying, then spring your knowledge on them once you realize that signal they always use around you is the sign for "buffoon." Beginning American Sign Language Classes are held today at the Anne Kolb Nature Center (751 Sheridan St., Hollywood) from 4:30 to 6 p.m. The six-week interactive course concentrates on vocabulary and sentence structure -- participants should bring a pad and pencil. Admission is $100 for all six weeks. Call 954-926-2480.
WED 12/31It's New Year's Eve! And if you're like most of us, you'll want to remember this day as, well, the sort of day that you can't remember. The sort of night that, when you wake up the next morning, you take a look around and say, "Oh, good. I made it home." Of course, a little care is called for -- no one wants to ring in the new year getting his or her stomach pumped in the hospital. And for Christ's sake, take a taxi home. We don't want to have to dodge your drunken-driving ass at 4 a.m. on a crowded street. But anyone with half a brain and a small helping of common sense can and should take care of those important sidebars to a successful NYE. The real question here is: Of all the nigh infinite New Year's Eve options, where do I want to be when the ball drops? The answer awaits you in our New Year's Eve guide. Check it out. It's got everything. Well, maybe not everything, but certainly a lot. OK, OK. About a taste, if you will. All the good stuff, certainly.