VIDEOGAME -- Elektroplankton: The latest Japanese import -- like all those crazy singing, dancing games before it -- revolves around music. Literally. Players poke, rub, and circle lively, colorful squiggles on their Nintendo DS to make some noise (it's more like soothing ambient tones you'd hear at a New Age retreat, but it's still cool). Ten different planktons can be positioned to create a different audio and visual experience each time. 'Shrooms optional.
BOOK -- How Animals Have Sex: This breezy little volume includes color pics of more than 60 reptiles, bugs, and sea critters gettin' busy. Humpin' giraffes, snake orgies, and dolphins knocking fins -- they're all here, supplemented with fact sheets loaded with TMI. Best: the sexploits of the tentacle-flailing giant squid -- still less freaky than R. Kelly's mating rituals.
CD -- Our New Orleans: Of all the benefit albums that have emerged in the wake of Katrina, this is the only one that truly honors the Big Easy's musical legacy. Hometown heroes Allen Toussaint, Dr. John, and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band pay tribute to their damaged city with songs both solemn ("Gather by the River," "Cryin' in the Streets") and joyous ("When the Saints Go Marching In"). It's a celebratory record, in spite of itself.
DVD -- Sam Peckinpah's Legendary Westerns Collection: Maverick director Peckinpah influenced everybody from the cast and crew of Deadwood to Quentin Tarantino. By turning the Old West into a playground for varmints and villains, Peckinpah erased any memory of John Wayne's Hollywood code of honor. The four films here -- including a two-disc special edition of Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, starring a barely comprehensible Bob Dylan -- peak with The Wild Bunch, an outlaw tale soaked in so much blood, it makes Reservoir Dogs look like a harmless puppy.
MAGAZINE -- Wired: The latest issue of tech's best and most savvy mag features a cover story on the 50 best robots of all time. We're a sucker for any walking, talking vessel of steel, and the list doesn't disappoint. Real-life bots -- like the Roomba Discovery vacuum -- make appearances, but it's sci-fi's contributions (2001's prissy control freak, Hal 9000; Ah-nold's Terminator) that have us dancing the Robot.
COURTESY FLUSH, PLEASE -- The People Vs. : Rapper Trick Trick's debut album comes with Eminem's blessing and production, plus a pair of Slim cameos. Unfortunately, Trick has neither his homeboy's flow nor imagination -- as 16 tedious tracks demonstrate. He's extremely pissed off at everything and everybody . . . and he's just a little bit paranoid. It's prime stuff for a therapist to dig into, but listeners will quickly see through this one-trick phony.