Patterico's Pontifications


Weekend Open Thread – Christmas Edition

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:01 am

[guest post by Dana]

For those of you who want to discuss anything but politics, this is your thread! Feel free to talk about anything non-political, whether it be where you’re spending Christmas, what the weather is like in your neck of the woods, what you’re cooking for Christmas dinner, movie and/or book recommendations, etc. Let’s keep this thread nice. No snark unless directed at yourself.

I’ll start: I made cranberry muffins because they looked so beautiful on a baker’s Instagram account as well as sounding yummy. And mine would have looked just as beautiful and been yummy if I hadn’t forgotten to add one teeny-tiny ingredient…the cranberries! I blame it on the fact that I was simultaneously listening to the Dumbest. Mystery. Ever. and was so intently rolling my eyes and snorting over the implausible situations in which the characters found themselves that I lost track of where I was in the recipe. But given that they are called cranberry muffins, that’s a pretty weak excuse. But hey, it works for me.

Request: My lovely neighbors dropped off a huge orchid for Christmas. It’s just beautiful. And now I feel this intense pressure to keep it alive. If you know anything about orchid survival, let me know. I’m an avid gardener, but these mysterious beauties are beyond my ken.

Merry Christmas!


22 Responses to “Weekend Open Thread – Christmas Edition”

  1. Hello!

    Dana (1225fc)

  2. Merry Christmas to you, Dana. And thank you for all that you do here, with such grace.

    Jim Miller (f29931)

  3. The last of my uncles passed away last week. I was fortunate that my father’s family had so many siblings, giving me many men for role models. Some of them were quite accomplished: a Superior Court judge, a senior JPL engineer, a self-made businessman, and this last one maybe more so.

    My uncle was a retired Marine colonel and helicopter pilot. He fought in Vietnam, commanding squadrons (or whatever they call them) of copters. Robert Duvall played him in a movie (kidding) (I think). He also flew Marine One for Johnson and Nixon. He was about as conservative as they come, but that’s probably par for that course.

    Anyway, my father’s generation once 6 aunts and uncles is now down to 2 aunts. This aging thing sucks at times, but I have to look to the blessings.


    Kevin M (1ea396)

  4. A Merry Christmas to us all; God bless us every one.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  5. Thanks to all the folks here who are kind and thoughtful. It has been a terrible few years for me, but the love and health of my wife and children gets me through it.

    I miss many of the former posters here, but I am grateful to those still here who have been pleasant to me, like Dana, DRJ, Kevin M, nk, JVW, and as always Patterico.

    Happy holidays to all.

    PS: Dana, my wife insists that overwatering is the main problem growing orchids. I sometimes think it is just too much attention; orchids are shy and don’t care for complements.

    Simon Jester (f97b12)

  6. 54 years ago tonight… Christmas Eve, 1968- as the most wretched, tumultuous year in a century on Earth came to a close…

    It was already early Christmas morning for us in London; watched this alone on a 6 in. b/w Sony portable TV perched on a washing machine as light snow fell outside in the dark, chilly night. To this day, it remains the most moving, powerful and spiritual moment of my life revealing perspective–and purpose.

    Merry Christmas to all…

    DCSCA (6099f9)

  7. Leaning West:

    Ukrainians are choosing an unusual date for Christmas: Dec. 25

    Ukrainians are about to celebrate Christmas for the first time since the Russian invasion began on Feb. 24. But which Christmas, exactly?

    Earlier this year, the Orthodox Church in Ukraine (OCU), which represents tens of millions of worshipers, announced that member churches would be free to celebrate Christmas on Dec. 25, the same as Western Catholics and Protestants.

    That would place many of Ukraine’s Orthodox faithful at odds with the practice of other members of Eastern Orthodoxy who celebrate Christmas on Jan. 7 (according to the old Julian calendar). But that is precisely the point.

    “Many Ukrainians are now moving toward celebrating Christmas on Dec. 25. And that’s only natural, because it’s part of our European choice,” Serhiy Prytula, a Ukrainian philanthropist and TV personality, told me. “We were always part of Europe before Soviet rule, so it’s obvious and logical that people in Ukraine are ready and willing to celebrate Christmas together with the European family of nations to which we historically belong.” A recent poll shows that the number of Ukrainians willing to adopt the Western date has risen from 26 percent to 44 percent over the past year.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  8. Make a lemon cranberry glaze?

    My wife thinks I could leave out the chicken in baked chicken, so you are not alone

    We are doing Pozole… well my wife is. Because… see above

    steveg (b61982)

  9. Thank you , Jim Miller.

    Kevin, I’m sorry about the passing of your uncle. What history.

    Simon Jester, I’m sorry you have faced some rough years. But isn’t it amazing how much the love of those closest to us helps carry us through. While they can’t remove the trial, they sure let us know that we aren’t alone.

    PS Thank Mrs. Jester for the orchid tips!

    DCSCA, thanks for sharing that memory. You are at your best when you share moments like this from your unique history.

    Steveg, where were you this morning! Lemon cranberry glaze sounds perfect! I have to Google “pozole”….

    Dana (1225fc)

  10. For a short story for tonight, try Arthur Clarke’s “The Star” (pdf)

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  11. December 24, 1968

    Rip Murdock (9e2068)

  12. Dana: thank you as always. I married up. Way up.

    Kevin, that story is one of Clarke’s best.

    Simon Jester (f97b12)

  13. Sometimes things that seem like they will never change, change:

    December 25, 1991

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  14. My favorite Christmas joke:

    Bill was wondering why his old friend, Joe, was so determined to get home at Christmas. The weather was bad, it was long trip, and so on.

    So Bill asked him: “Is it the ceremonies, the opening of presents, and all that?”

    Joe replied: “No, those things haven’t been important to me since I was a kid.”

    “Is it to be with your family?”

    “No, I see them regularly during the year.”

    “Well, what is it?

    “Well, you see, at Christmas, and only at Christmas, my mother makes this wonderful sauce, with eggs and lemon juice, . ”

    Bill interupts: “I see. You want to be home for the hollandaise.”

    (In my experience, good cooks love that joke.)

    Jim Miller (f29931)

  15. Happy Christmas everyone, and I do mean everyone.
    We went from black ice on Friday to a pineapple express today, so our Christmas Day skiing plans are a cockup.

    Paul Montagu (8f0dc7)

  16. Since you asked for book recommendations, I’ll give you one-and-a-half. The one is Steven E. Koonin’s Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Soesn’t, and Why It Matters. (Koonin has worked at high levels for Cal Tech, the Obama administration, and BP.)

    The half is Philipp Detmer’s Immune: A Journey Into the Mysterious System That Keeps You Alive.

    I give it a half because not everyone will like Detmer’s all-too-vivid prose. Here’s a typical example:

    The Neutrophil is a bit of a simpler fellow, It exists to fight and die for the collective. It is the crazy suicidal Spartan warrior of the immune system. Or, if you want to stay in the animal kingdom, a chimp on coke with a bad temper and a machine gun.

    But if you can get past that, you will, most likely learn about the immune system, in its extraordinary complexity. And I have to admit that his metaphors often do stick with me.

    Jim Miller (f29931)

  17. Merry Christmas. Rejoice for He is born.

    NJRob (eb56c3)

  18. My neighbors growing up had acres of greenhouses full of orchids, but mostly cymbidiums they sold for corsages.
    Lately the cymbidium has fallen out of style and I think the new management is going to convert to cannabis.

    Anyway, I worked for them for cash when I was a kid and learned absolutely nothing about growing orchids except we had to go up on the glass houses with bristled push brooms and water to lighten up the whitewash and bring out the blooms to coincide with prom schedules. Not a great job choice for a complexion that belongs in Northern Greenland.

    This site has some tips
    The only one I know anything about is the east-west exposure, half day light.
    The greenhouses were situated long wise towards the ocean (which is due south here). I think I remember us lightly washing the west slope of the roof 2-3 times.
    Just remembered I think they also watered with more of a mist

    steveg (8678c5)

  19. Here’s well-timed feel-good story:

    10 South Korean tourists were stranded in a blizzard near Buffalo. Then they spent 2 nights in a stranger’s home, cooking and watching football.

    There are worse ways to spend the 23rd and 24th of December.

    Luckily, their hosts, the Campagnas, have a large house, and had stocked up in preparation for the blizzard. The couple likes Korean food and even had some Korean specialities in their house. (I won’t even try to guess the odds against that.)

    Jim Miller (f29931)

  20. I love that story, Jim Miller. Just lovely.

    Dana (1225fc)

  21. 10 South Korean tourists were stranded in a blizzard near Buffalo

    Some people were stranded in their cars. It was not only a heavy snowstorm but a blizzard with winds up to 70 miles per hour and whiteout conditions – and the storm came a bit earlier than expected (on December 23) and there was only a 40 minute no drive order or warning . About 40 people died, most of whom froze to death.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  22. ON Saturday night December 24, I turned on the television and tuned it to NBC and I saw a movie in black and white. It sounded like Jimmy Stewart. I guessed that this was at the beginning of “It’s a Wonderful Life” (made in 1946, copyright never renewed 27 or 28 years later) which I have probably never seen the beginning of.

    I caught at the point were they are dancing the Charleston in 1928. These days you have to know some history to follow it, although this is an unrealistic story — I mean the ordinary life part. Slums?

    I was under the impression that Uncle Billy had lost the money but he simply put it in a newspaper while talking to Mr. Potter. Mr. Potter knew who it belonged to. This is the next thing to stealing the money. Things sort of worked out but Mr. Potter never got caught. Crime paid.

    I am surprised it passed the Hays code.

    All criminal action had to be punished, and neither the crime nor the criminal could elicit sympathy from the audience,[5] or the audience must at least be aware that such behavior is wrong, usually through “compensating moral value”.[30][37] Authority figures had to be treated with respect, and the clergy could not be portrayed as comic characters or villains. Under some circumstances, politicians, police officers, and judges could be villains, as long as it was clear that those individuals portrayed as villains were the exceptions to the rule.[38]

    I guess Mr. Potter never technically committed a crime. There is no sympathy for him.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

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