Just the links this time, for some holiday reading:

1. On Slate, if you have time for a mind-bender, The Philosophical Underpinnings of David Foster Wallace’s Fiction (hint: rhymes with Littgenstein). For some prime DFW himself, check out his renowned profile for the NY Times, “Roger Federer as Religious Experience.” For all of our posts on DFW, click here.

2. Also on Slate, in a column entitled “Nearer, my God, to Thee”, former poet laureate Robert Pinksy takes a look at man’s relationship to the divine via two Jeremiah 12-based sonnets, one from John Donne and one from Gerald Manley Hopkins.

3. Comedian and actor Ricky Gervais, a favorite of ours, offers a pleasantly humane/funny explanation of his atheism over at the Wall Street Journal. Almost makes up for the ueber-preachy “The Invention of Lying” (ht JD).

4. In the Atlantic, an amusing and highly informative look at The National Bible Bee.

5. From the NY Times, a harrowing reality-check about infidelity and its fallout, A Roomful of Regret and Yearning (ht VH).

6. A post on the Times’ Freakonomics blog asks the question, “Do Smoking Bans Lead to More Fires?” A recent paper responds… yes.

7. According to a new poll by the Center for Disease Control (last seen in The Walking Dead), 60% of American adults claim to have had troubled childhoods.

8. Finally, there’s this:

And with that, Merry Christmas from Mockingbird! Thanks for reading this year. We’ll see you in January (if not before).