Merry Pixelmas

What kind of device are you reading this on? That's right-it's the electronic revolution, and it's transforming Christmas into a virtual holiday.  Here is a small sampling of the imaginative new "products" that Internet pioneers have come up with to make your hearts--and pockets--lighter this holiday season:


           *E-Blab, the innovative cybergifter, is offering a "Holi-Pak" of fifty assorted pre-bookmarked blogs on  the recipient's favorite subjects, virtually gift-wrapped with a free screensaver photo of a favorite pet, celebrity, or Swiss summer- meadow/winter-mountain scene (please specify).

           *Santa's Cobbler Shoppe is the exciting new interactive Website  that explains, via animated step-by-step instructions  with voice coaching by board-certified cobblers, how to re-sole, re-heel, re-line -- in brief,  how to rebuild and restore your  spouse's or other loved one's favorite worn-out footwear to as-new condition in time for gala seasonal activities. Just slip their  favorite beat-up shoes out of the shoe caddy after they've gone  to bed, get to the PC or Mac with glues, nails, awl, rubber cement,  soles, and heels, shoe polish, and buffing wheel at the ready, and hit should have a surefire surprise Holiday gift by morning.  And there's no bill to foot!

          * Here's a pioneering Yuletide gift sensation-- "Sno-Tacular!" Order before 7 pm on Christmas Eve (important:  include precise GPS co-ordinates!),  then gather with the whole  gang to watch on the live streaming Internet Sno-Tacular Channel  as a giant drone transport plane high overhead  drops up to  three tons of  pure, fine-grain Santa-approved snow for a direct hit  on the roof  and lawn of the lucky recipients' house. If they didn't know it  was Christmas before, they will now!

           * Sentimental? It's Holiday time--you're entitled! That's why lets you indulge that  nostalgia to the full with a custom-shot, heart-stopping personalized cybervisit to the graves of any bakers' dozen  of deceased relatives, friends, or business associates. Professional camerawork, lingering pauses at every site, all reverent all  the time. Tasteful soundtrack to the music of Michael Jackson's last album - after all, he's just as dead.

          *Finally, if by any remote chance you've had your fill of all this and want a real fire in a real space with real hot cider and a hand-knitted sweater for a present, there's Just go to the site, click on the "E-nough!" button, and your computer will go dark, with no access allowed,  for twenty-four hours.


Bruce McCall is a New York artist and writer whose work frequently appears in the New Yorker and Vanity Fair.




July 26: On this day in 1602 "A booke called the Revenge of Hamlett Prince Denmarke" was entered in the Stationers' Register by printer James Robertes.

Crime fiction legends Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly discuss the new book that unites their beloved sleuths Patrick Kenzie and Harry Bosch.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Paradise and Elsewhere

Canadian short story marvel Kathy Page emerges as the Alice Munro of the supernatural from these heartfelt tales of shapeshifting swimmers, mild-mannered cannibals, and personality-shifting viruses transmitted through kisses.


When a persuasive pastor arrives in a sleepy farm town, his sage influence has otherworldly results (talking sheep, a mayor who walks on water). But can he pull off the miracle of finding kindly local Liz Denny the love of her life?  Small wonder looms large in this charmer from Andre Alexis.

The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).