It's What's for Dinner

As Americans, we're used to winning. We're used to being the best, especially when it comes to war. But if we want to hold on to our crown, we're going to have to step up our game this holiday season, because England has completely redefined the war for Christmas. They're relatively secular, so their fight isn't over chopping Jesus up and stuffing him in boxes in a misguided attempt to put Christ in Christmas: they've found another issue to fight over.

ABC has an article up about some animals rights and environmental groups battling to keep reindeer out of Christmas. Specifically, Christmas dinner: a supermarket chain is getting ready to sell the meat to families who want something with a clearer holiday connection than ham.

I don't really have much invested in either side of this debate, beyond being amused there's that much interest in reindeer meat during the holiday season. The stuff isn't cheap, either - about $12/lb. I'm sure the groups fig…

Book Review: NOS4A2

Joe Hill, 2013

Crossposted from The Blue Fairy’s Bookshelf

Premise: Victoria “Vic” McQueen has a special talent: she can use her bike and a bridge that isn’t there to find lost things. Unfortunately, Charlie Manx has a talent too. Vic is the only child to escape from Manx’s one-way trip to Christmasland, but it takes more than luck to break an evil man, and every power comes with a price.

I thought this book was good, but I’m not sure I actually enjoyed reading it. The tone wasn’t quite my cup of tea, and it needed to be more tightly written.

Some positives: Vic herself is a great protagonist. She’s broken and flawed in completely believable and sympathetic ways. She’s brave when she has to be, even if she has to talk herself into it. The talents are interesting. Broadly and only vaguely defined, they hint at much more out of sight. The writing is quite good: the descriptions of the supernatural and creepy as well as the mundane and everyday were evocative and often poignant.


Halloween is Grinch Night (1977)

Halloween is Grinch Night was made in the late 70's, presumably in an attempt by Dr. Seuss to cash in on the popularity of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. It is in no way a great work of art, but it's nowhere near as bad as the last part of the "trilogy", The Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat.

There's very little plot to this thing. Mostly, it's a series of Seussical rhymes and jokes (almost all of which are below the expectations we've formed for the good Doctor). The special focuses on a Who named Euchariah who gets lost on Grinch Night and runs into the Grinch. He allows the Grinch to subject him to various horrors in order to buy time until daylight.

When I say horrors, I'm referring to a magic cart apparently full of specters, ghosts, and illusions; sort of a portable haunted house. The sequence is a little unpleasant, actually, not from the content but from the premise of a young child allowing a creepy man to subject him to scary things in th…

M is for Merry Christmas (2013)

Aint it Cool posts a weekly list of short films, which is usually worth glancing through. Like the drug stores around here, they're not waiting for Halloween to wrap up before mixing in some Christmas offerings.

"M is for Merry Christmas" is only about three minutes long. It stars Krampus, a Christmas demon who really needs more exposure. It's a dark, fun little piece that's definitely worth the time. Check it out:

M is for Merry Christmas from Holomax on Vimeo.

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 figure, hang …

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 that co…