Hoops & Yoyo Ruin Christmas (2011)

Hoops and Yoyo are a pair of characters created for Hallmark. Personally, I find it disturbing to discover there are no laws on the books preventing greeting card companies from building their own franchises, but that's just me. According to Wikipedia, Hoops is a cat and Yoyo is a rabbit. I was not able to determine this from the special itself, but I can kind of see it now. The special is stylized to look kind of like it was done using paper cutouts, but it's all clearly cheap CG. The plot follows the two title characters, along with a mouse, as they somewhat accidentally stow aboard Santa's sleigh, then fall off while he's flying through a wormhole and get flung back in time. The wind up interfering with a young Kris Kringle and nearly destroying Christmas forever. This thing isn't without charm. The wormhole sequence is interesting if derivative, and the young Santa is handled pretty well. The special actually picks up some momentum as it follows him to a t

Musical Interlude, Part 6

It's time for part six of my slog through my new holiday music. The good news is that this is the last of it... for the time being, at least: I'm expecting new music soon.... Album: A Very Veggie Christmas Artist: VeggieTales Surprise, surprise: the VeggieTales Christmas album is really awful. Mostly, it's just obnoxious comedy targeted at four-year-olds. Even at that level, is this really what civilization has come down to? Anthropomorphic vegetables with bad voices singing about Jesus? Seriously: I understand why people tend to gloss over the whole "animals don't have souls" thing, but plants? Come on! Album: The White Album Artist: Various This seems to mostly be a collection of New Age Christmas music. Overall, pretty boring, but there are a few tracks that are decent. Album: Yulenog 3: Hardest Workin' Man in Christmas Artist: Yulenog & Nathan Kuruna This is tough to describe. I bought the album after finding o

Sporcle Christmas Quizzes!

Everyone got some time? Slow day at work? It had better be, because if you haven't been down the internet rabbit-hole known as Sporcle before, you're in for a treat. Sporcle is a quiz site, and while not all the quizzes are great (they are submitted by users), the site is really addictive. Here I've picked out for you my favorite Christmas quizzes. Challenge yourselves! Here's a funny one to get you started. Type in the name of the Christmas carol (or holiday song) indicated by the reworded clue. So "the holiday prior to this one" would be "Last Christmas" or "Can you register a sound that I am also registering" for "Do you hear what I hear" The clues aren't all as smoothly written as they could be, but many of them you'll probably be able to figure out even if you aren't familiar with the carol. Now that you've had a warm up, the next two are also about Christmas son

Fiction: 25 Christmas Eves, part 1

I'm sorry: did I give you the impression this series was entitled 25 Christmas Eves simply because it contained 25 stories about Christmas Eve? That's nowhere near confusing enough! In addition, it's also the title of the series's longest story, a sort of magical realism piece I'll be sharing over four nights. By: Erin L. Snyder PART 1 It would have been somewhat inaccurate to say that Hector Stewart did not want a red bicycle with silver handlebars for Christmas, but no less accurate than to say he did. Hector did want a bike eventually, but there was little rush, particularly since he wouldn’t have a chance to use it until spring. The fact he’d have no other opportunity to get a bicycle before then was little consolation, nor was the knowledge there’d be nothing he’d rather have when May finally came around. Because Hector was eight, and at eight May is as distant from December as college or retirement. It is a future beyond sight, beyond imagining. W

The X-Files: How the Ghosts Stole Christmas (1998)

While I maintain the previous year's 2-parter about Scully's genetically engineered baby represents what was bad about X-Files, this is a perfect example of the show at its best. Whimsical, darkly humorous, and fun, this was a fantastic episode which works as a standalone. It's better if you've seen a few other episodes of the show, but it's really not required. This one opens with Scully joining Mulder outside a cliche haunted house on Christmas Eve. The two immediately start sniping at each other like a married couple. The dialogue is witty and clever and sets up the premise quickly: long ago, two young lovers killed themselves here and, according to legend, their ghosts still haunt the mansion every Christmas Eve. Scully dismisses the story and is ready to take off. Unfortunately, she can't find her keys. Reluctantly, she follows Mulder inside, and they begin investigating. Things escalate quickly, and they soon uncover two decomposed bodies that bear

The X-Files: Christmas Carol/Emily (1997)

I actually considered skipping the write-up for this two-parter or combining it with the following year's Christmas episode, How the Ghosts Stole Christmas , but decided it really needed to be considered in its own right. The first half focuses entirely on Scully, who's gone home to spend Christmas with the members of her family who weren't killed in earlier episodes. Scully is shocked to receive a phone call from her dead sister, who simply says that someone needs her help. Apparently calling rates from the great beyond are low enough to allow ghosts to place calls but just a little too high for them to have time to offer any useful details. Scully immediately has the call traced and finds it was placed from a house where a woman has just apparently killed herself and not been murdered at all. Later investigation will reveal - I hope you're sitting down for this - that she actually was murdered, and that the murder was made to look like a suicide. As I recall, th

Book Review: A Christmas Journey

A Christmas Journey Anne Perry, 2003 Premise: A bunch of rich snobs drive a young lady to suicide at a Christmas party and then make another lady travel to Scotland because she feels guilty. What in the hell did I just read? It wasn’t a romance. It wasn’t suspense. It barely had a plot. I guess it’s tepid historical fiction? It was really odd. I liked the beginning, I thought maybe it was going somewhere. I liked that the main character’s name was Vespasia, that’s dramatic even just to read. However, as the insignificant details mounted, and discoveries came to light about a character who really got very little page time prior to her death, I just couldn’t bring myself to care. There were some almost okay parts where Vespasia reflects on her friendship with Isobel and how it brought them both to the back end of Scotland in the dead of winter (to carry the news of the deceased young lady to her mother). But sadly, most of it was just navel-gazing. Boring navel-gazing. Vesp