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Distractions

>MUSIC: Rev it up

Revered experimental rock band Mercury Rev, formed in Buffalo during the late '80s, released a new album, "Snowflake Midnight," this week. Concurrently, the band unleashed a digital-only companion album, "Strange Attractor," through www.mercuryrev.com. If you visit this site, you can download "Strange Attractor" free of charge, which is a worthwhile activity, certainly. If all of this whets your appetite for all things Rev, go to www.npr.org/ templates/story/story. php?storyId= 95052634, where you can check out audio of an excellent NPR piece on the making of "Snowflake Midnight" and "Strange Attractor."

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>DVD: They're baaaack

The stores are already decked out in holiday fare -- and we're not talking Halloween either. So Tuesday, when the Grinch, Rudolph, Frosty, and the Little Drummer Boy are back on store DVD shelves, they'll fit right in with the festive decor. Get them all in the must-have "Classic Christmas Favorites Collection," a fantastic four-disc DVD set with nine Rankin and Bass animated holiday specials plus "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." At under $40, it's a bargain.

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>TV: Rerun heaven

Remember that episode of "Welcome Back, Kotter" when Horshack falls in love with Julie? No? Well, you can watch that one (it's Season 3, Episode 24), and tons of other TV shows both old and new, as well as movies, on the amazing Web site www.hulu.com. It's NBC and News Corp., streaming full movies and television shows with a few scattered commercials. Everything from "Kotter" to "30 Rock" is here. And they're in high resolution, not some YouTube screen-grab.

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>SABRES: Share the joy

Every serious Sabres fan has a need to discuss the game they saw last night. So when you're done doing that on the SabresEdge blog on buffalonews.com, it's worth checking out topshelfcookies.blogspot.com for a woman's perspective. On Top Shelf, the cheery proprietress, Heather B, shares her thoughts before and after Sabres games. What will keep Sabres faithful coming back is Heather's love of the game, and her rare talent at expressing, in fine-grained detail, the joys and tribulations of Sabres fandom.

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