Each week our culture scientists rank their 10 favorite things in the universe. The resulting list is infallible. The list is perfect. If you don't agree with the list, you are wrong. Some items may stay atop the list for weeks, others may only make a brief appearance. Some items are Portland-centric, but only because Portland is at the center of the universe. Please do not write to us, asking for the metrics behind the list. We will not provide source material. We will not be swayed. Bow down to the list. Love the list, as the list loves all things. Let the list move through you. (And, you know, if you have suggestions for the list, stick them in the comments section below.)

1. Paul McCartney fronting Nirvana
For charity, no less. And, less memorably, on live late-night TV. It seems Paul has tucked in his middle-aged-hausfrau ‘do and possibly also tucked his wattle back into his neck: he looks kind of like a towheaded Betty Boop. It wasn’t a good song or a good performance, but it was maybe the best possible version of kabuki theater. By all appearances, Dave Grohl is having the time of his life, and meanwhile, Krist Novoselic confirmed he was still alive. Also? Pat Smear looked like he might try to initiate a make-out session with Sir Paul. This did not happen. What a world!

2. Pat Smear playing guitar in Wings 
Just. As. Awesome.

3. Jill Lepore's thoughtful piece in the New Yorker on the unlikelihood of our current Second Amendment stance.
“'If you had asked, in 1968, will we have the right to do with guns in 2012 what we can do now, no one, on either side, would have believed you,'" -NRA president David Keene. The piece was written in April of this year, but has sadly taken on much greater relevance: 

4. Snowfall
Out there in the world, it's true, there's a hard rain falling. But in the mountains the snow has also come to tamp it down and dull the echoes. Just a week before winter, Ski Bowl finally has started up its lift chairs. Cooper Spur picks up Friday. There will soon be so many tracks up there we won't even know which ones are ours.  

5. The Official Devin Ebanks Plain White T-Shirt
The Lakers bench warmer is selling these limited edition T's on his Web site for a cool $20. Get 'em while they're hot! SWAG! SWAG! SWAG! SWAG! SWAG!


6. Gluten-free cookies
This is a sad time of year to abstain from gluten (you can take your shortbread and SHOVE IT), but thank goodness for this biscotti recipe. We'll be dipping these bars into brandy-spiked hot chocolate all winter long. (And these gingerbread cookies ain't half-bad, either. Pro tip: sub the shortening for coconut oil.) 

7. Tony Romo
Yeah, Tony, you make the list again. You are obviously a second-tier talent, yet you're still playing for the chance to lead your team to a first-round playoffs loss. And our fantasy football team is about to play a two-week match for the league championship partly because of the clutch performance you gave during Drew Brees' off-week. You're on our bench, of course, while Dez Bryant is still in our starting lineup WITH A BROKEN FINGER because he still doesn't suck as much as you do even with bones he needs to catch a football snapped. Ugh, we hate you. But we love you. Just keep throwing it to Dez, OK?

8. Dan Reed Network reunion show 
Perhaps we’re a bit slow on the uptake, but we just finally got the memo that that other big Northwest band from 1989 is having a reunion. Nice-guy, moment-in-the-sun rock band the Dan Reed Network is reuniting for a one-off show this New Year’s Eve, with members hauling themselves in from as far away as the Czech Republic and Guatemala to celebrate the band's 25th anniversary. Don’t miss your chance to see the long-lost missing link between Boston and the Dave Matthews Band. Oh lord: Portland was such a different place in 1989....


9. Old Town Bro-Down Plaza
Portland Police plan to shut down Northwest Couch and Davis Streets between 2nd and 4th Avenues on weekend nights as soon as possibly December 21, plus Northwest Third Avenue from Burnside to Everett. Why do we like this? Well, here’s the deal: there simply was not enough room for everyone in Old Town to vomit their chocolatinis and Red Bull vodkas all at the same time, and it was starting to create a slick, messy sidewalk hazard. This will remedy that.

10. The Residents' $100,000 Box Set
Consider this a last-minute gift idea for the really eccentric billionaire in your family: 40 vinyl records, 50 CDs, a few dozen singles, EPs, DVDs and CD-roms of epically strange avant-rock spanning the entire 40-year career of the eyeball-headed enigmas, packaged in a 28 cubic foot refrigerator, all for the low, low price of a pretty nice home (in a red state, at least).