Magpie Monday

Here are some shiny things that caught my eye recently:

♦ One of my favorite Christmas specials is the Rankin/Bass delight ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, which I don’t think has ever been as popular as I think it should be. Anyway. The plot is a variation of the “Non-believer learns to believe in Santa” trope, wherein a smartypants dooms his town to not receiving a visit from Santa because he doesn’t believe and writes a letter to that effect. Did I mention this smartypants is a mouse? That’s the weird thing about this town–people and talking mice, who dress like people, too. Anyway. A second complication ensues, but in the end Joel Grey (didn’t I mention that he’s the star?) gets to recite Clement Moore’s titular poem, and everyone’s happy. A huge singing clock is involved, too, and every time I hear these lyrics

Christmas chimes are calling, Santa! Santa!
Every heart beat calling, Santa! Santa!
C’mon, ol’ Kris Kringle, down the Milky Way
Christmas chimes are calling, Santa, we need you today!

I just get happy and sad at the same time. You have to hear it to get why. Anyway, I watched ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas on ABC Family the other night and cried into my eggnog, so happy was I.

♦ In the category of geeked-out cool, io9 compiled a chart of “The Rules of Magic, According to the Greatest Fantasy Sagas of All Time.” Really impressive research—and neat to read, too.

♦ Over on SF Signal, Daniel Abraham offers A Private Letter from Genre to Literature, which I thought was nifty, straddling the two as I do in both my day job and my own writing. Nick Mamatas offers a more pragmatic response to the letter, and I don’t disagree with him, but I still think Abraham’s letter is fun (am I an epistolary nerd?). Here’s a good piece of advice from Mamatas’s post:

Anyway—here’s a secret. This is what creative writers should be interested in doing. Writing their own best material. Not the most popular thing, or the most acclaimed, or that which will be part of some conversation or leave a mark on this or that genre (including bourgeois realism), but that stuff that is unique to yourself and the complex of life experiences and interests and prior readings and environmental factors of which your writing is an emergent property.

♦ Stevan Živadinović only has three parts available of Hobo Lobo of Hamelin, a retelling of “The Pied Piper of Hamelin,” but it’s definitely worth checking out. io9 describes the cool visuals thus:

But the visuals here really are a treat. This isn’t a 3D comic as in “put on your 3D glasses and watch uncanny rats jump out at you.” It’s a digital experience that gives the illusion that you’re looking inside a story box. As you scroll through the comic, scenes and characters move around in a way that looks far more mechanical than digital, and although Živadinović occasionally uses animation in his storytelling, it complements rather than overwhelms the rest of the art.


♦ I’m pretty interested in the first issue of Unstuck, a new literary annual based in Austin, TX, which comes out today. The website describes the annual as emphasizing “literary fiction with elements of the fantastic, the futuristic, the surreal, or the strange.Stefan Raets reviews Unstuck #1 at, too.

♦ Once Upon A Blog…. talks about the 2011 Pageant of the Masters, an annual event of the Festival of the Arts in Laguna Beach, CA, wherein famous works of art are presented with live people (as opposed to dead ones, naturally). This year’s theme is “Only Make Believe,” which produced some great pieces—images and video at the link above.

I wish I’d been able to buy this ornament—creepy cool. I’ll just keep an eye out at Madame Macabre Shop on Etsy and hope she makes another.


♦ On Facebook, Theodora Goss linked to this post at Carl King’s blog about 10 Myths About Introverts, which I found fascinating, probably because they describe me to a tee. King’s post was inspired by the book The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World, by Marti Olsen Laney, which I’m going to put on my wish list. Or just buy it myself.

♦ I love Kate Beaton’s work, and this week she posted some great cartoons about Wonder Woman. Below is my favorite, but do click through and check out the rest.

Me, too!

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4 Responses to Magpie Monday

  1. Robert, love the blog post! That ornament is freaking me out. :-) And, I agree… awesome Christmas special!

  2. Ha! I can read your blog now… at work… on my lunch break. For some reason the link doesn’t open on my home computer. A reversal of what you have with my blog I guess. Haha. Anyway, I can’t wait to check out some of those links you posted –> esp the rules of magic one.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Love the ornament!

  4. filmdr says:

    Hey, Robert. Enjoying your blog.

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