The Decorations Are Up Early This Year

Toy News International has posted some pictures of 2014 Hallmark ornaments that were on display at New York Comic Con , and - as always - I'm conflicted. I actually like Hallmark ornaments as collectibles: they generally feature good sculpts and impressive paint ops. However, they seem ridiculously overpriced for a small piece of plastic. I was only half kidding a few years ago when  I suggested picking up cheap action figures and turning them into ornaments  as an alternative to going to Hallmark. There's at least one new sub-line that drives home the absurdity of the Hallmark brand: Lego Star Wars ornaments. Hallmark is currently charging sixteen bucks for a replica of a Yoda minifig for your tree, and next year it looks like  they'll be doing the same for Boba Fett . I find it hilarious that someone would pay as much for a fake minifig as Toys'R'Us charges for a whole building set. I can't think of any reason you couldn't attach a wire to a Lego fi

Slight Reworking of the Nightmare Before Christmas's "What's This?"

So, this is making it's way around the internet. The lyrics are definitely NSFW, so take that in consideration before hitting play. I disagree with the claim this improves on the original , but I do think it's clever and surprisingly well executed.

Save Black Friday

It's with a heavy heart I type these words. Time magazine's website is reporting that Black Friday, the ancient holiday celebrating American values and officially starting the holiday season, is facing possible extinction . Apparently, Americans are no longer going out in the same numbers and are spending less. I'll let Time explain: A study from Accenture estimated that 44% of consumers were likely to go shopping on Black Friday 2011, down from 52% in 2009.... Last year, shoppers spent $11.2 billion in physical stores on Black Friday, a decline of 1.8% compared to Black Friday 2011, according to ShopperTrak. That's huge. Granted, it could be worse. I mean, it's not an undeniable sign of imminent extinction like, say, a magazine's circulation dropping almost 35% in a single year , but Black Friday is clearly threatened. Brad Tuttle, writing for Time, goes on to probe the cause of this frightening prospect: Part of the reason for the decline in spending is

The Date is Set

The most recent "How to do Everything" podcast opened with a statistician calculating the date of the Christmas Singularity, when Christmas Creep will cause holiday decorations to start appearing the previous Christmas. He crunched some numbers and came up with 2099, which was already slated to be an interesting year . Have a listen if you're interested . The Christmas section only occupies the first few minutes, but the rest of the podcast is pretty interesting, assuming you care about things that aren't Christmas.

Reindeer Games (2000)

For the record, we didn't go out of our way to watch this because of the Affleck connection: this has been sitting in our NetFlix queue for months, slowly climbing its way to the top. And now that it's there, we finally got to watch the damn thing. It. Is. Bad. It's almost impressively bad. With the right crowd - and the right drinks - this thing could easily cross the fabled line into "so bad it's good." But it doesn't earn that honor, not on its own merits; it would take a huge amount of work from the audience to meet it halfway. And, frankly, we just didn't have the energy. The plot is borderline comical. For a solid twenty minutes, I almost gave this the benefit of the doubt and assumed it was intended as a comedy, albeit one lacking in humor. But, as the movie dragged on, it became crystal clear I was being far too kind: this was supposed to be suspenseful. We were supposed to care about the characters. Let me see if I can summarize the

It's Like Christmas in July, Only With More People Trampled to Death

In a true sign of the times, Best Buy is holding a Black Friday in July event tomorrow. You can find sale information on their site here . A quick search verifies the word "Christmas" doesn't appear anywhere on the sale page. Yet another example of corporations bowing to special interests trying to remove Christ from mobs of screaming shoppers clawing at each other's throats in a mad rush for discount MP3 players. All I can say is the 4th of July better watch its back: Black Friday has taken its rightful place as a holiday in its own right, and there's little point debating which day is truly more American. I just wish we'd had more notice. We didn't even have time to buy a turkey for dinner tonight.

Secret Identity (2011)

I saw this on a weekly list of short films at  Ain't it Cool News . I clicked on it because it was about superheroes, but - lo and behold - it turned out it was set at Christmas. It's not what I expected from the premise and title. What it is, beside sweet and well made, is better experienced than explained. So, assuming you've got ten minutes, check it out: "Secret Identity" (2011) from Tyler MacIntyre on Vimeo .