My Little Pony Friendship is Magic: Hearth's Warming Eve (2011)

YAY PONIES! This is an unusual sort of Christmas episode. Since Equestria has no relation to Earth, their midwinter festival is a bit different. It’s a holiday in honor of the founding of their land, and the friendship between the different sub-types of ponies. It’s clearly a Christmas-type holiday, though, complete with garlands, ribbons, bells, and a story from long-ago. The main plot is that the characters are starring in a holiday pageant in Canterlot which dramatizes the story of the founding of Equestria. Most of the episode is this story-within-a-story, dramatizing the legend of the original leaders of the Unicorn, Pegasus and Earth clans. It’s about how their differences nearly destroy Equestria before it starts, but then their friendship saves the day. The warmth of their friendship drives away windigos, evil ice-creatures that feed on hatred and come close to starving all the ponies in an endless winter. I kind of love that under the ‘friendship’ story, it’s a classic w

Welcome Back

Welcome back. I type those words, but they're misleading: none of us ever really left. How could we, with the Christmas season slowly stretching towards eternity ? No, we've been here all along, keeping the yule log burning, the eggnog pouring, and the DVD player humming. But, still, we've crossed a threshold. Black Friday's Eve is upon us once more, with turkey, mashed potatoes, throngs of screaming shoppers trampling each other to death, and cranberry sauce. A lot of people don't like cranberry sauce, but I've always been a fan of the stuff. This year brings us something special. Well, really, it brings more of the same. But when the same refers to endless Christmas specials and a never-ending supply of holiday music, well... that's pretty special in its own right, isn't it? You may be wondering what we still have left to watch after three years of this blog. If so, you're a poor, misguided fool with no conception of the depth this holiday

Frozen (2013)

Cards on the table here: Lindsay and I don't agree on whether this even qualifies for the blog. She thinks it's not a Christmas movie because it technically takes place in the summer, has nothing to do with Christmas, and never once mentions the holidays by name. And those are valid points. But here's where I'm coming from: I'm looking at a movie with five main characters where one's a talking snowman and another is a reindeer. A full 40% of the leads are Christmas tropes. "Are there bells?" you may ask. Yes - hanging ice bells that the reindeer gets tangled in. "But does the reindeer appear to fly ?" you'll respond. There is a scene where the reindeer leaps over a ravine that's reminiscent of flight. Let's add this all up: xMY = (1.25 Talking Snowmen * Reindeer * Winter Wonderland)  / (No Santa * No X-Mas mention) If I'm doing the calculations right, that still comes out to 2.71 megayules, which is well above th

The Sequel

So, they're making a sequel to It's a Wonderful Life . The actress who played the kid in the original is going to be an angel this time (I'm not sure whether she's playing a different character or if Zuzu met some unfortunate fate and is returning from the great beyond). Regardless, she's assigned to the grandson of George Bailey, and the twist is that she's making a case against his life. In other words, the world actually would have been better off if he'd never been born. I'm of two minds about this. On one hand, it's a better premise than simply redoing the original. In fact, when I don't think too hard about it, it seems like a great premise. The problem is that, when you invert It's a Wonderful Life, you wind up with A Christmas Carol. The angel is demonstrating to the lead that he's lived his life poorly in order to get him to change his ways: sound familiar? In fact, it's so similar, you'd almost think that It's

The Unveiling

Remember last year, when I wrote a novel-length collection of short Christmas genre fiction and posted it daily to the blog in December? Well, I enjoyed it so much, I decided I'd rather rip my teeth out with pliers than try to do it again this year. So if you were hoping to get another twenty-five short stories out of me this December, you're out of luck. I might - MIGHT - write a handful if I get any ideas worth pursuing, but don't expect anywhere near the level of fiction I wrote in 2012. I burned through just about every idea I had, and I don't have the kind of free time this year I had last. To make it up to all of you, I'm giving away the new e-book version of last year's*  collection for a limited time on Smashwords . Now you can take the stories of Mainlining Christmas with you wherever you go. I mean, you could probably do that before, assuming you have a smart phone. The stories are still sitting here on the site, after all. But then y

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 group

Book Review: NOS4A2

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 p