Fiction: Last Minute

25 Christmas Eves pushes on. Today's installment is a short piece of near-future science fiction titled, "Last Minute." By: Erin L. Snyder Adam’s car broke down on the way home, courtesy of a faulty valve. It took the internal diagnostic system almost twenty minutes to identify the issue and, thanks to the strain the holiday season was putting on the network, another five to download the schematics. And of course the emergency 3D-printer in the hatch required another fifteen to replicate a replacement. Then the site streaming the walkthrough crashed twice while he was installing the damn thing. All of this in the middle of a snowstorm, too: it was like something out of an old holiday movie. It was after seven before he made it home, which meant arming his eleven year-old son with a world-class extortion scam: “You left me alone... on Christmas Eve! I had to order my own dinner! I had to watch a movie... by myself!” And so on and so forth. Fortunately, Adam was u

Book Review: The Christmas Sweater, by: Glenn Beck

I sat down with Glenn Beck's famous Christmas story expecting to hate it. I started with low expectations - possibly some of the lowest I've ever had for anything, ever. But then something unexpected happened: something that can only be called a Christmas miracle: I hated it even more than I thought I would. The story of "The Christmas Sweater" is loosely based on Beck's childhood. The introduction seems like it's intended to mislead you into thinking it's a true story, but it's almost immediately obvious that's not the case. To be fair, Beck includes a section at the end offering a quick overview of what's true (the name of his parents' bakery) and what's BS (pretty much everything else). There's a lot to hate about this. The humorous bits aren't actually funny, the characters don't come close to feeling real, the last 99% of the story drags, and the writing's about as bland as fiction can get. But, more t

Even Stevens: Heck of a Hanukkah (2000)

Thanks to a clearance DVD called "Disney Channel Holiday," we wound up with a bunch of holiday episodes of shows from the Disney Channel. Several are absolutely abysmal, but a few are fascinating. It was difficult to focus on this one since the lead is portrayed by an extremely young Shia LaBeouf portraying the exact same character he played in Transformers. It was actually kind of surreal. The episode itself had highs and lows. Surprisingly, the highs were really quite good. The plot started with Louis (LaBouf) locating the Hanukkah presents and opening them early. In a botched attempt to conceal them afterward, he inadvertently destroyed them and was (of course) punished. He then wished he'd never been born, transitioning to a "Wonderful Life" story. What should have been derivative was saved by some innovative twists. When they introduced the "guardian angel" stand-in as a stereotypical old Jewish grandmother, I cringed for the worst, but I wa

Seattle Center Lights

Seattle Center is all lit up for the holidays, so we took a few pictures. Sponsored, as you can see, by T-Mobile. Here's another picture of some of that view: That is a radio or cell tower that's all lit up in the center, and it's actually pretty far away from where I was standing. We went indoors for a bit, and found some more decorations and a model train. (see separate post on that) Sort of cute snowman with freaky-looking deer. Back outside. Erin walked down to play in the projections. The fountain was still running in the dark, and still blaring music from the 90's.

Fiction: One Night's Work

I ask you, what's Christmas Eve without pirates? To correct that omission, here's a short fantasy piece titled "One Night's Work," the newest addition to our 25 Christmas Eves project.  By: Erin L. Snyder You could see it in the men’s faces even if you couldn’t feel it: they were getting older. There were few of us, fewer every time you’d look around. The English colonies pinched us from the south and the Americans’ navy pressed us in the north. Their ships were getting faster and their captains smarter. The days of the pirate were waning, and we were dying. The era of legends was a hundred years gone, and we felt dwarfed by their shadows. Against the tales of Black Bart or Morgan, how could we see ourselves but as common thieves? I was the youngest man on the Red Gull, and I’d been at sea more than a decade. I’d sailed with Laffite before I landed on the Gull, and I knew as well as any of the others that our days had all but passed. I think we all kne

Eight Crazy Nights (2002)

Eight Crazy Nights performs an important service by virtue of its 12% Freshness Rating, which establishes a much needed margin of error on the Tomatometer (turns out it's 12%). Upon finishing this movie, the very idea that someone out there could conceivably have liked it is sickening. This is, without a doubt, the worst Adam Sandler movie either of us have ever seen. Think about that for a minute. The film is an utter mess. Worse still, it seems to think it's actually funny, charming, subversive, and touching, while offering absolutely nothing of value. The jokes, often punctuated by the narrator restating the obvious intent, come off as mean-spirited and pointless. The movie's premise is somewhat similar to Bad Santa's, but it misses its mark to a degree that's almost incredible to behold. Not only is it painfully clear that the producers have never made an animated film before, we found ourselves wondering if they'd ever actually seen one. The timing was

Interview with an Elf

Five years ago, Shortcake Jingleberry, a Christmas Elf with experience at the North Pole, was transferred to Santaland (located in Macy's New York flagship) to assist Santa Claus at that location. Since that time, she has blogged about the experience . Despite being extremely busy, Shortcake graciously agreed to answer some questions from Mainlining Christmas, offering us a rare opportunity to glimpse inside the life of the elusive Christmas Elf. MC: Do you commute from the North Pole or do you live in New York? SJ: Shortcake lives in New York City. It's too much for the reindeer to move everyone from the North Pole to Macy's and back every day, so they just move Santa, and the elves find housing in New York. This way, the elves are also well positioned to keep an eye on boys and girls during the year for Santa's Naughty and Nice lists. MC: Do you travel by reindeer or do you use public transportation?   SJ: Santa travels by reindeer from the North Pole. Shortcake uses