Merry Christmas!

A break from politics (for one day at least)

Merry Christmas

On behalf of all of us at OTB, a Merry Christmas to you and yours and best wishes for a great year ahead.

We’ll be back to the politics tomorrow, no doubt, but for now, I’ll just let Mr. Nat King Cole take over. Otherwise, consider this an open thread.

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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. rodney dill says:

    Merry Christmas All!

  2. Grewgills says:

    Mele Kalikimaka!

  3. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Is that how you conservatives do it!!??!!

    Just go about wishing everyone a Merry Christmas??? … enforcing your belief system on everyone else??!!!

    Everyone… Come and see the violence inherent in the system. Help! Help! I’m being repressed!

    In my day, we didn’t wish people greetings… we were so poor, we couldn’t AFFORD to wish people a holiday greeting…

    MP: Aye. In them days, we’d a’ been glad to have the price of a cup o’ tea.

    GC: A cup ‘ COLD tea.

    EI: Without milk or sugar.

    TG: OR tea!

    MP: In a filthy, cracked cup.

    EI: We never used to have a cup. We used to have to drink out of a rolled up newspaper.

    GC: The best WE could manage was to suck on a piece of damp cloth.

    TG: But you know, we were happy in those days, though we were poor.

    MP: Aye. BECAUSE we were poor. My old Dad used to say to me, “Money doesn’t buy you happiness.”

    EI: ‘E was right. I was happier then and I had NOTHIN’. We used to live in this tiiiny old house, with greaaaaat big holes in the roof.

    GC: House? You were lucky to have a HOUSE! We used to live in one room, all hundred and twenty-six of us, no furniture. Half the floor was missing; we were all huddled together in one corner for fear of FALLING!

    TG: You were lucky to have a ROOM! *We* used to have to live in a corridor!

    MP: Ohhhh we used to DREAM of livin’ in a corridor! Woulda’ been a palace to us. We used to live in an old water tank on a rubbish tip. We got woken up every morning by having a load of rotting fish dumped all over us! House!? Hmph.

    EI: Well when I say “house” it was only a hole in the ground covered by a piece of tarpolin, but it was a house to US.

    GC: We were evicted from *our* hole in the ground; we had to go and live in a lake!

    TG: You were lucky to have a LAKE! There were a hundred and sixty of us living in a small shoebox in the middle of the road.

    MP: Cardboard box?

    TG: Aye.

    MP: You were lucky. We lived for three months in a brown paper bag in a septic tank. We used to have to get up at six o’clock in the morning, clean the bag, eat a crust of stale bread, go to work down mill for fourteen hours a day week in-week out. When we got home, out Dad would thrash us to sleep with his belt!

    GC: Luxury. We used to have to get out of the lake at three o’clock in the morning, clean the lake, eat a handful of hot gravel, go to work at the mill every day for tuppence a month, come home, and Dad would beat us around the head and neck with a broken bottle, if we were LUCKY!

    TG: Well we had it tough. We used to have to get up out of the shoebox at twelve o’clock at night, and LICK the road clean with our tongues. We had half a handful of freezing cold gravel, worked twenty-four hours a day at the mill for fourpence every six years, and when we got home, our Dad would slice us in two with a bread knife.

    EI: Right. I had to get up in the morning at ten o’clock at night, half an hour before I went to bed, (pause for laughter), eat a lump of cold poison, work twenty-nine hours a day down mill, and pay mill owner for permission to come to work, and when we got home, our Dad would kill us, and dance about on our graves singing “Hallelujah.”

    MP: But you try and tell the young people today that… and they won’t believe ya’.

    ALL: Nope, nope..

  4. bill says:

    u2 Doug, although just saying that has political meaning to some.

  5. Tony W says:

    Merry Christmas Everyone!!

  6. C. Clavin says:

    Merry Happy to each and every one of you and yours.

  7. gVOR08 says:

    And a happy new year.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Bah! Humbug! 😉

  9. James Pearce says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I incline towards that view, but screw it….

    Merry Christmas everybody!

  10. Ol' Nat says:

    Merry Christmas! Thanks for another great year!

  11. michael reynolds says:

    Merry Christmas!

    It’s a magical time of year when we remember that 2014 years ago some Jewish family forgot to make reservations and ended up sleeping in the barn. It was Joseph’s fault although he tries to blame his wife, which doesn’t work and he ends up apologizing – like always.

    But of course it’s too late by then and Mary just won’t let it drop. And what’s Joseph going to do, argue with a woman who’s about to give birth? Oh, no, he is not, despite the fact that he’s pretty sure he never even banged her.

    Never fear it’s all part of God’s plan. His plan to send his son to be tortured to death because apparently God screwed up his little human creations. Why is that on Jesus? Don’t ask, you know how God gets when he’s been drinking. God doesn’t handle frustration well and has a tendency to lash out.

    And that’s what we call The Gospel, the Good News. Good news: the God who knew in advance that you would sin sent his Son to die so that God wouldn’t have to send you to hell for all eternity (say what?). Unless of course you refuse to drink wine and pretend it’s Jesus’ blood.

    Also: you get presents.

    They just don’t write stories like that anymore. Not outside of your local hospital for the criminally insane at least.

  12. Paul Hooson says:

    Great classic photo and classic Nat King Cole song. Either Nat King Cole or Tony Bennett leave you with warmest holiday feelings…

  13. John425 says:

    @michael reynolds: Asshole!

  14. C. Clavin says:

    You are such a good Christian!!!

  15. C. Clavin says:

    @C. Clavin:
    Hahahaha….I got down-voted for a holiday message.
    Someone has serious issues.

  16. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @michael reynolds:


    You forgot about the zombie part.

    The zombie part is really, really important.


  17. michael reynolds says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    It’s some crazy stuff looked at objectively. As a story the whole Bible is gibberish – the writers can’t decide whether the main character (God) is some crazy Liam Neeson on a hyper-violent vengeance rampage or Matthew Jesus McConaughey rambling on about the poor and the weak alright, alright. I mean, that’s basic, you need some character integrity.

    Don’t try and tell me OT God and NT God are the same guy, that’s nonsense. At very least we’ve got a Sybil thing going on. It veers from “Kill all their children and take all their stuff!” to “Whoa dude, money ain’t the thing, alright?”

    Just saying the whole thing really needed an editor.

  18. Tony W says:

    @michael reynolds: I completely agree on the crappy storyline (Genesis 19:30 is a great story of incest, however I am not sure the point of its inclusion in a holy book) and I sincerely admire your passion on this subject Michael. I don’t know what happened to me. I used to be such a passionate and self-righteous atheist. Lately I’ve adopted a “live and let live” philosophy around people’s invisible friends. Many of my acquaintances probably don’t even know I don’t believe in their god. I guess it’s not worth the battle, and I love to get xmas gifts for the kids & grandkids.

  19. ernieyeball says:

    @michael reynolds:..Just saying the whole thing really needed an editor.

    May I suggest Citizen Azimov?
    Or President Jefferson.

  20. Mikey says:

    @Tony W: Come join us. Or not. We don’t really care.

  21. michael reynolds says:

    @Tony W:

    Oh, I actually agree. I don’t go out of my way to pick on Christians. I was just having some fun based more on the fact that I’m staring down the barrel of my own editing than any hard-on against Christians.

    They do get on my nerves to the extent that for the most part they don’t even read their own holy book, or have any idea what’s in it. I end up having to listen to these nonsensical, dreary fairy tales from people who haven’t spent ten seconds actually thinking about them.

    Here’s an obvious question I’ve never seen a believer even think about. If Jesus is God then is Baby Jesus Baby God or is he Adult God trapped in a baby’s body? Because if he’s Baby God then we’ve got some serious theological problems of mini-godhood. And if he’s Adult God just temporarily housed in a baby body then why the hell didn’t he miracle up a hotel room with a midwife? He’s got divine Expedia but he lets his mother give birth to him in a barn? That’s a dick move.

    Was he God when he spent the next year or so crapping his diapers? So Mary’s got to clean that stuff up despite the fact that Jesus was perfectly capable of potty training himself? For that matter, he could have miracled his poos away, like Kim Jong Un.

  22. John425 says:

    @C. Clavin: Get in line with the other Christian-baiting assholes. Reynolds’s attack was an smear of a faith-based story that millions, even billions believe in. Whether one believes it to be factual, word-for-word or an allegory, Reynolds’s diatribe is a hater POV and as such should be subject to ridicule. Atheists (read Progressives), like yourself are free to say what you think, so why should religious believers not have the same rights without being ridiculed?

    As to Reynolds’s remark that the Bible is gibberish, he shows himself to be unenlightened by being unable to believe in certain things not seen. Funny how he then readily accepts the idea of quarks, mesons and the like. Religion has not attacked him so “Turn the other cheek” so we can kick all of your ass, hater.

  23. michael reynolds says:


    Tell me: when have I ever claimed a right not to be questioned, challenged and ridiculed? I have literally more than 100,000 people opining away on what I’ve written and published. Every single day my Google alert serves up a mix of praise and contempt. So, put on your big boy pants and accept the fact that free speech also applies to your favorite fairy tales.

    By the way, I don’t hate real Christians. There are real Christians right now feeding the hungry and caring for the sick, often in terribly dangerous situations. I admire those people. I admire what they do. But I am not required to accept their mythology.

  24. Surreal American says:

    Atheists (read Progressives), like yourself are free to say what you think, so why should religious believers not have the same rights without being ridiculed?

    1) Atheism isn’t synonymous with progressivism/liberalism.

    2) No one is interfering with religious individuals’ freedom of speech.

    3) In addition, no one here is exempt from ridicule.

  25. John425 says:

    @michael reynolds: Nor do you have the right to condemn their “mythology” faith. Excepting Islam, no major faith promises to kill you if you don’t believe. But where is it your place to challenge it?

  26. John425 says:
  27. Liberal Capitalist says:


    Excepting Islam, no major faith promises to kill you if you don’t believe. But where is it your place to challenge it?

    So john, you are not very well read on history, overlooking all those fun killings on behalf of the Christian god?

    I, for one, was roman Catholic specifically because of the Teutonic Knights that rode into Lithuania and insisted that the pagans convert or die.

    Many chose death over Christianity.

    Then there are all the heretics, witches and various religious wars of the Middle Ages.

    Believe what you will, but your belief have a long history of blood on their hands.

    But where is it your place to challenge it?

    Well, I guess Martin Luther would have a word or two to say about that… and for that matter, most of the founding fathers of the USA, as they were children of the Enlightenment Era.

    We Learn, we think, we grow.

  28. Surreal American says:

    Nor do you have the right to condemn their “mythology” faith.

    Shorter John425: “1st Amendment rights: How do they work?”

  29. michael reynolds says:


    As LC suggests, I think you’re a bit sketchy on our rights. According to the Declaration, our rights are granted by the very God you pray to, and according to the Constitution my right of free speech is defended by the people of the United States.

    Yes, that includes snarking about your religion.

  30. michael reynolds says:

    Actually that was SA, not LC, but it’s all good.

  31. Guarneri says:

    Is the deep theological discussion over yet??

  32. Lib Cap says:

    Hey moderators… Let my people post go !!!

  33. Moderate Mom says:

    OTB, where a simple holiday greeting can unleash the assh*le in so many.

    You know, sometimes you just need to let things slide and accept them in the spirit they were meant. Which means not being an assh*ole. But maybe that’s too much to accept from the comments here.

  34. Puck says:

    @Moderate Mom:

    OTB, where a simple holiday greeting can unleash the assh*le in so many.

    You know, sometimes you just need to let things slide and accept them in the spirit they were meant. Which means not being an assh*ole. But maybe that’s too much to accept from the comments here.

     If we shadows have offended,

     Think but this, and all is mended—

     That you have but slumbered here

     While these visions did appear.

     And this weak and idle theme,

     No more yielding but a dream,

     Gentles, do not reprehend.

     If you pardon, we will mend.

     And, as I am an honest Puck,

     If we have unearnèd luck

     Now to ’scape the serpent’s tongue,

     We will make amends ere long.

     Else the Puck a liar call.

     So good night unto you all.

     Give me your hands if we be friends,

     And Robin shall restore amends.

  35. PT says:

    jeebus, editors, post some content already. The natives be gettin’ restless.

  36. Paul Hooson says:

    I’m grateful to my relatives, Moses, Joseph, Mary and Jesus for this great holiday. I’m a Jew…

  37. Stonetools says:

    You know, on the one day it would have been OK to wish people Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, or whatever, and leave the critical comments for another time, even if you have the right to criticize. Just sayin’.
    Oh well. Happy holidays, everyone, and here’s hoping for a good new year to all.

  38. PT says:

    @Stonetools: ” yea, everyone but you leftoid, libtards!

  39. PT says:
  40. John425 says:

    @michael reynolds: Since when does a snark equal a hateful trashing?

  41. rodney dill says:

    Given the tone this post has taken I guess I should amend my holiday greeting, so here goes.

    Merry Christmas to those that wish to accept this message in the spirit in which it is given.

    ….and to the rest, God bless your black little hearts.

  42. grumpy realist says:

    @John425: No he doesn’t. This clown doesn’t understand physics or probability, misquotes Paul Davies in his article, and in general, acts like a jerk loudly yelling on a mountain to conceal the fact he doesn’t have the foggiest idea of what he’s talking about. His argument is on the level of claiming that because he pulled a Royal Flush in last night’s poker game that proves the existence of the Poker Fairy.

    P.S. Merry Xmas, everyone!

  43. What says:

    @rodney dill:

    ….and to the rest, God bless your black little hearts.

    Do you wish to explain your implication of term “black little hearts”?

    Is “black” some sort of immediate insult… or are you suggesting that those who are not some Christian sect are not capable of having a normal heart?

    Is this part of the Christian love for all mankind that we are told?

    Or is it a reflection of the colloquial terms common in the region where you matured?

  44. ernieyeball says:

    @What:.. RE: Rodney Dill. He was referencing Joan Jett and her band. You know. The Blackhearts.

  45. What says:


    … I guess he doesn’t give a damn ’bout his bad reputation.


  46. Pinky says:

    @michael reynolds: Huh? Do you really think that Christians have never pondered and debated the nature/natures of Jesus? Half the Councils of the Church revolved around those questions. That’d be like me saying, you know what’s weird about science fiction, they never do stories about time travel.

  47. grumpy realist says:

    @Pinky: And half the religious wars were over the issue….

  48. Pinky says:

    @grumpy realist: Not really. The Catholics and most Protestants have a similar understanding of Jesus. I don’t want to discount the size of earlier religious wars, because they were a greater percentage of the population, but most of the debates on this topic go back before the Catholic & Protestant wars. I guess you could argue that the wars between Christians and Muslims were over their understanding of Jesus, and that would increase the body count.