Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all the OTB regulars and anyone else who may drop by! Nothing political today, at least not from this corner for the Internet. Instead, some Christmas music and consider this an open thread for the day. We’ll be back to our regularly scheduled political ranting soon enough.

To set the mood, let’s start with some Nat King Cole:

Throw in a little Sinatra:

And end with Ms. Ella Fitzgerald:

And, finally, the seemingly odd and yet perfect combination of Bing Crosby and David Bowie:

I’ve made a “no-politics” vow for today, but things will be back to what passes for normal tomorrow.

FILED UNDER: Open Forum, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. OzarkHillbilly says:


  2. sam says:

    And to you, Doug.

  3. Liberaal Capitalist says:

    Its a Saturnalia miracle!

    The Pogues – Fairytale Of New York (Christmas Day)

    The Waitresses – Christmas Wrapping

    Dropkick Murphys – The Season’s Upon Us

    Tom Waits – Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis

    Pretenders – Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

  4. Liberal Capitalist says:

    ( moderation, of course )

  5. CSK says:

    Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!

  6. Sleeping Dog says:

    What no pagan holiday songs 🙂

    Merry Christmas and happy holidays, all.

  7. Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral, celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all . . .

    Sentiments of a similar nature are also sent for a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2020, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great, (not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country or is the only “AMERICA” in the western hemisphere), and without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith, choice of computer platform, or sexual preference of the wishee.

    (By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms. This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for her/himself or others, and is void where prohibited by law, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year, or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.)

    And I mean that sincerely!

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Liberaal Capitalist: Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis… How in the hell have I missed that all these years? Thanx, bonus Tom Waits. For some reason or other it kinda reminds me of my ex (6 years in Chillicothe).

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Doug Mataconis: What can I say? A merry fuckin’ christmas to you too! 😉

  10. Kit says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    How did that ever escape the moderation filter?

    In any case, my lawyer looked it over, and I’ve been given the green light to wish you the same.

  11. Mister Bluster says:

    The Gift of the Magi
    O. Henry

  12. MarkedMan says:

    Best wishes to the whole dang lot of you!

  13. KM says:

    Happy everything, y’all! And merry whatever is important to you. Now’s the time to celebrate food, drink and family & friends (that of blood and choice). Since we all choose to hang around here, that means all y’all. Have a fantastic day. Know no matter where you are, whomever is or isn’t in your presence and the state of fill of your glass, you’ve got at least one person who’d welcome you in and feed the living hell out of you (even the resident trolls since they clearly need some positivity in life). I’m already feeding 50+, what’s a few more? 🙂

    2020 – we’re all in this together, one way or the other. So have a drink to destress, contemplate your soul /conscious /bank account after all this spending and have a truly joyous day. See you all tomorrow with horror stories of how dinner’s going to go!

  14. Mister Bluster says:’ve got at least one person who’d welcome you in and feed the living hell out of you…

    How close are you to Makanda Township, Illinois?

  15. Slugger says:

    Thank you for this posting, Doug. My heart has a few remaining cockles not atrophied by age or cynicism. The songs warmed them. When David Bowie cuts in it makes me so grateful that I got to live in the same era as the great artists that are featured.
    Love the Tom Waits!
    My favorite nonChristmas Christmas song is . Joni Mitchell.

  16. Kurtz says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I live in a Red area of a Purple state. During 2009-2010 “Stop Socialism” bumper sticker were ubiquitous. For the last few months, “Keep Christ in Christmas” magnets have been almost as common.

    Your PC holiday greeting would ruffle some gray and white feathers here. I love it so much, i might print it onto a t-shirt and wear it around here. Of course, they would need powerful reading glasses and ten minutes to read it. It may be well worth my time.

    Happy Festivus!

  17. Kurtz says:


    And to you, brother. Best wishes!

  18. gVOR08 says:

    Although I’m a hard core liberal, I will ignore the orders from the Central Committee and wish you all a very Merry Christmas.

  19. KM says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    Too far for a drive, especially with the traffic you’d see 🙁 Would you accept homemade cookies by mail? May take a few days but better late then never!

    In fact, digital Christmas cookies for everyone just in case. If nothing else, this is the time of year to gorge yourself on treats and not feel bad about it. Snacks for all!

  20. Mikey says:

    A Merry Christmas to all. Here’s the ultimate song of Christmas unity (for old punks like me, at least):

    Oi! to the World

  21. Kathy says:

    I’ve wanted to talk about presents for a while, especially about receiving them. I’m a very hard person to buy gifts for, or the easiest depending on how you look at it.

    when one buys a gift for someone else, one tries to get them something they will like, enjoy, and appreciate. Something that will delight them. This is hard to do, more so when the recipient is not very sociable and has very particular tastes.

    My sister in law stopped trying years ago (bless her heart). Her last attempt was almost disastrous. She wanted to get me a hard cover set of the complete Lord of the Rings trilogy. Fortunately this was shortly after the first movie based on it came out, and she had a chance to learn my opinion about it (which is another story).

    Another time, my brother’s mother in law (who is my acquaintance at most), got me an edition of The Tyrannosaurus Prescription by Janet Jeppson (Isaac Asimov’s wife), in Spanish. The last time I read a Spanish translation of a book written in English was 1982 (We The Living, if you must know). I don’t read Spanish translations of English works for the same reason I don’t watch dubbed movies: why get an interpretation(*) when you can have the original? For that matter, I also won’t read an English translation of a Spanish work (nor watched a movie dubbed into English).

    The point is what I may find enjoyable turns on subtle details which most people either don’t know, don’t understand, or don’t care about. And there you can see why I’m a hard person to buy presents for.

    How am I the easiest? Simple: I’m just as happy not to get any presents. Nothing can be easier than that, right?

    One thing, though, I’m easily pleased by small gifts. One time I met some friends for lunch on my birthday. A married couple from North carolina gave me a simple silver chain with a small silver foot crosshatched on the heel, a “tar-heel.” I wear it often. Another time a coworker who lasted less than five weeks, gave me a wood pencil cup for some reason (likely because I was the only one who was nice and helpful to her during her brief time). It survived a house move, and I keep things in it in my bedroom (not pencils, though).

    (*) I’ve done translations of gaming guides, of all things, for a friend who wanted to set up a Spanish web site (didn’t). These are rather technical and rigid, but just the same there is interpretation involved. I tried to keep very close to the meaning and far from simply being literal, and that’s an interpretation.

  22. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kurtz: I’m going to get a t shirt for next year that says, “Get your own Dogdamned holiday Christians and stop stop sucking off our pagan solstice celebration”

  23. Michael Reynolds says:

    It’s a magical time of year when we celebrate the story of Jehovah who, having created humans and having perfect knowledge of how they’d behave, refused to take the blame himself but instead insisted the only way he could avoid venting his rage on his own creations, was to send his son Jesus to be tortured and killed.

    Because God is love. But when you piss him off he’s gonna have to kill someone before he can forgive you for behaving just as he designed you to behave. And throughout all this Jehovah somehow managed to forget to reserve a room for the kid, so he made a star go supernova (sorry about that all sentient races in orbit around said star) which led some wise men to deliver perfume.

    Merry Christmas!

  24. Michael Reynolds says:

    My wife and I don’t give each other gifts. We do give gifts to the kids. (20 and 22 year-old kids.) . The 20 year-old loves it. The 22 year-old provides wry commentary as she opens. We’re all just glad when the whole thing is over.

    Long ago I proposed a simple solution to gifting: everyone gives everyone else $20. Everyone breaks even, there’s no shopping, no returns, and after a decade or two it’ll occur to people to just drop the whole thing. While obviously brilliant the idea has surprisingly not caught on.

  25. Mister Bluster says:

    @KM:..Would you accept homemade cookies by mail? May take a few days but better late then never!

    A kind offer indeed! However I’m sure your local food bank can use the donation to brighten the lives of any deserving kids in your village. Tell them the Cookie Monster had leftovers.

  26. Mister Bluster says:

    What I want to know is why do Christians kill a tree for Jesus’s birthday?

  27. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I haven’t mentioned what I do when I want to give someone a gift 🙂

    I’d take the exchange of $20s. But there’s a flaw, call it the Sheldon Cooper Gifting Principle: As the people involved will not all die at the same time, some will end up $20 poorer and some $20 richer (but dead).

    IMO, my view on gifts also goes way back to childhood. At my birthday I got lots of gifts, naturally. I wanted, back then, toys most of all: dolls, board games, chemistry sets, handicraft kits, etc., also books would have been nice. I mostly got ugly sweaters, socks, and pajamas. By age ten, I wasn’t even excited to open them.

  28. Kurtz says:


    Fantastic! Maybe we should start a movement.

    Either that or start wearing the “Chris died for our sins” shirt from Weeds.

  29. al Ameda says:

    … and Merry Christmas to you too, Doug.
    Wishing you peace, peace of mind, and good health.

    also: No animals were harmed in the making of this comment

  30. CSK says:

    As to receiving gifts: I’m at the stage where I’m trying to get rid of stuff, not accumulate it. I still like giving presents, though.

  31. Gustopher says:

    For those of you in the Christmas Spirit, Merry Christmas.

    Otherwise, Happy Hanukkah — you get more days of joy, and it’s a celebration of fuel efficiency. Other than the presents, it’s a better deal, and my house is kind of full so I don’t need more things.

  32. CSK says:

    @Gustopher: Chag sameach!

  33. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    What I want to know is why do Christians kill a tree for Jesus’s birthday?

    They used to kill Jews for Christmas, so I count this as an improvement.

  34. Gustopher says:


    I don’t read Spanish translations of English works for the same reason I don’t watch dubbed movies: why get an interpretation(*) when you can have the original?

    But what if the translation is better? I mean, it probably isn’t, but given how entirely different different translations of the same work are, there’s bound to be a few cases where the translation is better.

    And, as we celebrate a holiday that has been reinterpreted many times, including through the lens of a religion where the Holy Books have been translated from translations, and there are four different telling of a key part of the story… isn’t it just the right time to read a new translation of something you already know?

    I recommend Emily Wilson’s translation of “The Odyssey”

  35. Kit says:

    A Hungarian colleague told me that American cartoons like The Flintstones weren’t so much translated as reimagined. When he finally got to see the originals, we was taken aback by how stupid and low-brow they were.

    Also, the Soviet adaptations of Winnie-the-Pooh have a charm that anyone brought up on the Disney version would never expect.

  36. Kathy says:


    I’ve heard the same things about old cartoons dubbed in Spanish, notably “Top Cat.” ON the other hand, the Spanish versions of “Rocky and Bullwinkle” leave out a lot of political commentary.

  37. Kathy says:


    Shortly after I read We The Living in Spanish, I read the original in english.

    There’s a scene where the committed Communist, Andre, tells Kira, the protagonist, “I know. You admire our ideals but loathe our methods.” In the original, Kira replies “I loathe your ideals.” End of sentence.

    In the Spanish version she says “I loathe your ideals and admire your methods.”

    Since the Soviets’ methods in question include repression, terror, and extrajudicial killings, it struck me as a stupid thing to say, even for a young woman, and even if she were trying to be provocative or shocking (which would be out of character).

    I blamed the author, when the fault was with the translator.

  38. Mikey says:

    @Michael Reynolds: My family is large, when we get all the grown-ups together with spouses and significant others there are about 20 of us. So some years back we just started dropping everyone’s name in a hat and having everyone pull one. Not Secret Santa, because everyone knows who everyone got. That’s who you get a gift for. The upper limit is $50. Saves a lot of money and stress.

  39. Grumpy Realist says:

    Happy Winter Solstice and Merry Xmas to all!

  40. Bill says:


    Also, the Soviet adaptations of Winnie-the-Pooh have a charm that anyone brought up on the Disney version would never expect.

    A Soviet TV Guide included these programs

    Bowling for Rubles
    My mother the tank
    The Boris and Natasha Show. Watch as our comrades do battle against the imperialist moose and squirrel
    The Streets of Stalingrad
    Firing Squad hosted by William Bucklov

    Merry Christmas everyone

  41. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Hmmmmm… Somehow or other I, Sleeping Dog, and Michael Reynolds, managed to trip somebody’s whistle and got down voted. What ever was the commonality?

  42. Pylon says:

    Happy Holidays!

  43. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mister Bluster: If it helps you any, I don’t, but when I was young, I liked the lights on the tree and the smell of the pine for a few days until the tree dried out too much. But I never understood the symbolism. Why do pagans kill a tree for Christmas? Why do they celebrate Christmas at all?

  44. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Good point! 🙂

  45. Just nutha ignint cracker says:
  46. Bob@Youngstown says:

    Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!
    Praying that we might all live in peaceful coexistance with each other.

  47. DrDaveT says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    What no pagan holiday songs?

    Just for you:
    Ring Solstice Bells (Jethro Tull)

  48. Mister Bluster says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:..forgot

    Thank you for doing my thinking for me. 72 is right around the corner and I can use all the help I can get. I remember my Dad singing it when I was very young.
    Per Google the oldest copyright date I can find on Walt Kelly’s Christmas Opus is 1949.
    Apparently this image is from 1942.

  49. Barry says:

    Merry Christmas, everybody!

  50. Kathy says:

    Happy Boxing Day to our friends in the UK!

  51. CSK says:

    @Kathy: And Canada.

  52. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mister Bluster: My apologies. I should have said “decided to forego” or something else. There was a men’s wear shop in Seattle called Boston Charlie’s when I was a teenager. My college concert band bought some of it’s costume from there in 1971 for our university promotional tour. I’ve always had a warm spot for the song ever since.

  53. Mister Bluster says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:..My apologies.

    I did forget.
    My gratitude was sincere.
    No apology needed!

  54. 95 South says:

    @Michael Reynolds: God didn’t sacrifice someone else. Jesus said “I and the Father are one”. God sacrificed himself.