The Widdershins

Christmas Is Coming

Posted on: November 27, 2021

Howdy Widdershins,

We have survived Thanksgiving. Hopefully everyone got stuffed! Now the season of Christmas music begins. Honestly, if anyone is fighting a War On Christmas, it should be over Christmas music. It’s everywhere. Every TV commercials. Every TV show will have a Christmas special. Every store and gas station is playing the same dozen Christmas songs, although it’ll be one of a billion different versions. Speaking of which: anybody that records a Christmas album at this point is just an ass. Like seriously, a royal ass. There is nothing left to say about “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” New Christmas albums should be made illegal. Anybody that attempts to record one should be sent into space, one way.

This is an open thread, as always.

85 Responses to "Christmas Is Coming"

if anyone is fighting a War On Christmas, it should be over Christmas music. … New Christmas albums should be made illegal.


On the omicron (sorry, I was calling it omnicron on the other page, lol)

physicians have seen a higher rate of breakthrough infections among those previously vaccinated in South Africa. … initial data indicates the vaccines are still proving effective, with the majority of hospitalizations being among those who hadn’t gotten the shot.

Wow. I hadn’t realized that with Biden the US has donated so many vaccines!

Biden called on other nations to increase vaccine donations to poorer nations.

“The news about this new variant should make clearer than ever why this pandemic will not end until we have global vaccinations,” Biden said. “The United States has already donated more vaccines to other countries than every other country combined. It is time for other countries to match America’s speed and generosity.”

Good title! It does feel very GOT-ish. Foreboding. But then, it feels like that every year for me. I loved Christmas as a kid. But as an adult, not so much.

Joining your war on Christmas music!! I don’t own any guns, but I can refuse to play Christmas music at home. That ought to get Bill O’Reilly going!

DYB, I have to laugh at your reaction to Christmas songs. I can’t imagine the season without songs, but I do agree there are only a few good ones that were recorded many moons ago.

This is my favorite Christmas song, and I am not Mormon. My sisters and I were all in a choir in a public high school and loved singing this song.

My favorite song from last year.

Lordy, yes. Christmas music. What *are* they thinking? I knew a prof, a very calm polite rational man, who’d run out of stores to avoid murdering anyone when The Little Drummer Boy came over the store speakers AGAIN. (He also loved opera, come to think of it. If you have any musical sense it’s got to be much worse. It’s bad enough when you don’t, like me.)

About omicron, you want to look at the scariest diagram in the world: Stanford has a site showing mutations in the viral binding domains. (The bits it needs to attach to the human receptor protein and invade cells.)

The link goes to omicron, but page up to compare the others, all the way back to Alpha, which was the early UK variant, I think. Notice how many mutations they have. Compare to omicron…. The most significant parts are RBD, RNA binding domain” and within that, the RBM, RNA binding motif.

It could take a lot of luck to avoid vaccine escape with that one. Alternatively, it’s so highly mutated, it may have done itself right out of a job. That happens with viruses. They mutate right to extinction. Not that omicron has done that yet, but if high mutability is somehow a trait it has, and it keeps going down that path, who knows. It may kill itself. We can hope.

Joseph was an ass.

A feminist Christmas ballad from the mother of traditional folk music, Jean Ritchie:

@9: The Cherry Tree Carol dates back to at least 1500 CE, probably earlier.

@6 MsMass> They’re doing something different! I’ll allow it.

Love the post, DYB! Yes, we survived Thanksgiving. We dropped my aunt and uncle off at the airport yesterday – they were with us for 6 days. It was really fun to host them.

We are supposed to be in Aruba in a couple of weeks and then go to NJ from there, for the holidays (spending time with friends). I sure hope omicron doesn’t cancel those plans. It’s our 25th anniversary trip.

Just like I no longer wonder “how low can they go” about Republicans, I can no longer wonder “How much stupider can they get?” about covid lovers.

Organ transplant patients are at risk from covid. But some donors and recipients are fighting vaccination requirements.

MB, I hope things will still be good and you will have a happy anniversary holiday!

6 MsMass

I like that it’s fresh and upbeat.

Happy Hanukkah to all who celebrate this holiday.

Thank you all for the Hanukkah wishes!

I keep forgetting this, but our VP’s hubby is Jewish. Kamala and Douglas are quite the diverse couple!

@20 – hysterical!!

@20, LOL, my cats disrespect me frequently!

Would be interested in quixote’s opinion on if this animation is fairly accurate?

@23 gorgeous animation. Yes, entirely correct.

In double-stranded DNA, which is what everything except RNA-based viruses have, you have that second strand which gives you an option to correct errors. The amount of error-correcting organisms do varies by species. Humans are pretty good, but nowhere near the same league as Deinococcus radiodurans which can live inside nuclear reactor water.

Single-stranded RNA viruses, like covid, have no error-correction. Zero, zip, nada. That means they often mutate themselves to extinction. But it also means that if you give them lots of opportunity, like unvaxxed people, they can come up with the occasional ghastly mutation very quickly.

And on that cheerful note….

(Oops, just looked it up. There are some single-stranded DNA viruses, but, as they say in literature, they need not concern us here.)

@24 Wow. That’s pathetic. But not surprising (I’d like to know how many hours were spent on emails…). That says it all about the media. Like you were saying earlier MB, the media was really pushing him. I do think it’s hilarious (but predictable) that no one is buying his book – even with all that free advertising/promotion. I think he kind of threw Trump under the bus (I didn’t read the book nor will I). Which of course, destroyed the BUS. Christie of all people should know what happens when you take on that degree of fat mass.

People around here are still basking in the glory of the Rittenhouse “win”. Rittenhouse really struck a blow for the white man (h/t Mississippi Burning). They’re still smarting over the Arbery case and believe that it will be overturned on appeal. In both cases (as well as Zimmerman), they see it as “A white man’s right to protect (kill for) property!” Even when that property isn’t his… well, technically not his (white men think they own everything). White men used to (and still to a large extent) see white women as property too. There’s nothing chivalrous about their protection of white women. We’ll see if the Supreme Court strikes another blow for the white man in the Mississippi abortion case. Too many white women have gotten too independent and it’s time to put a stop to that.

Some hopeful-ish early indications re omicron variant in data (meaning -data-, not something pulled out of somebody’s ear) from South Africa.

“We’ve seen a sharp increase in cases for the past 10 days. So far they have mostly been very mild cases …. “Of recent hospitalizations 87% have been unvaccinated, 13% have been vaccinated,” Jassat said of the 455 hospital admissions in the Tshwane area in the past two weeks.

Vaccination appears to have also helped people avoid infection, she said.

Of South Africa’s 60 million people, 16.5 million are vaccinated and the number of fully vaccinated who are testing positive is very small, said Nicholas Crisp, the acting director general of the department of health. “It is a very small number of those people who tested positive. It’s minute in comparison to unvaccinated people.”

So omicron sounds like it’s more transmissable than delta (not good), but leads to milder symptoms. (Although we’ll see how it affects older people, since these data are mostly 30-40 year-olds.) Also, no way of knowing yet how often it causes long covid.

It does *not* look like it’s good at escaping vaccines. That’s very good.

Mark Meadows has decided to cooperate with the January 6 Commission. (I guess he doesn’t want to be charged with obstruction.) But we’ll see what he actually says and what documents he shares with them.

@32, Rats — nicer than many people.

Was reading the replies and saw this:
Marc Reeve@McpMarc
Replying to @JoshuaPotash
Having read the actual study, they also determined that female rats were more empathetic than male rats (or perhaps smarter – 25% of male rats never figured out how to open the restraint tube, 100% of female rats were “openers”)

DYB – that clip was fabulous. There are some pop singers who really know what they’re doing!

That is good news about omicron. I think a lot of the break through infections in general are caused by lack of mask wearing. I always wear mine indoors unless I know the people I’m with and their vaccination status. Even when we were briefly told we vaccinated could take off masks inside, I rarely did it.

As for the Supreme Court, my guess is they will agree with Mississippi and impose a ban on abortions after 15 weeks. This will give them a basis to then overturn the Texas law.

This will be a huge blow to settled law and to women all over the country, as well as counter to the desires of the American people. But the media will act like it’s reasonable and people will convince themselves it’s not so bad. 😡

This is a good article about the possible decisions the court would make and what the impacts would be.

The key part to me is that according to the Guttmacher Institute, lack of access to abortion primarily adversely impacts young, poor, minority women. The most invisible people in this country.

I don’t know how old you are, mb, but something tells me: post-Roe.

Not having the right to make decisions about your own body affects *everybody*. To different degrees, yes. But you have to be an over-30 independent one percenter to have minimal impact, and there’s less than 0.5% like that.

The biggest practical difference now is that we have medication abortions, meaning pill-induced, (e.g. one source of info), and pills can be sent anywhere in a plain brown wrapper. Plus, in different dosages, birth control pills can be used for the purpose. Good luck shutting that down. It’ll be like Prohibition. Only much worse.

Interestingly enough, the link to using birth control pills led to (h ttps:// but has now been taken down.

We have web sites detailing how to 3D print ghost guns, but God forbid women should get information enabling them to make their own decisions.

(There is still an archived version.)

@37, quixote, damn about that link to using OCPs as emergency contraception (not medical abortion). That’s the reference I’ve used.

This lists a few brands and dose instructions for emergency contraception equivalents, though it references the Princeton site for more brands.

Detailed dose info on the math to apply to OCPs: 100 micrograms (mcg) of ethinyl estradiol together with 0.5 milligrams of levonorgestrel taken in two doses 12 hours apart is approximately 75 percent successful at preventing pregnancy, if taken within 5 days (120 hours) after sex that occurred when a birth control method failed or wasn’t used.

Plan B and generic versions are 88 percent effective at preventing pregnancy if taken within 72 hours; they are OTC. This should mean they are out on the regular shelves. Warning: some right-wing pharmacies may not be compliant.

WTH is it so hard for women to get info on legal medications for their healthcare & bodily autonomy? Rhetorical question.

Darn it, my comment didn’t post! I am pretty sure I won’t need an abortion in my lifetime.

Lawrence O’Donnell made the point better than I did. I’m not the one to convince about voting Democrat to keep access to abortion available to all…it’s all the women who vote Rethug because they don’t care about poor and minority women and know they will always have access to abortion – or think they will. They are selfish beyond belief, and frankly they disgust me.

I cannot understand R women, except that they are under the thumbs of their husbands.

I think there is a lot of that. The rest is psychopathic selfishness and racism.

I’m just so done. We shouldn’t have to keep fighting these Neanderthals. We defeated them in 1865, yet these zombies just won’t die. Their descendants are still trying to go back to a time when black people were enslaved and women couldn’t vote, own property or control their own bodies.It’s beyond understanding that anyone could still think these antiquated notions are not just okay, but correct.

There are still things the Democrats can do to protect women’s rights. Pass legislation in the Senate. Add more Supreme Court justices. I think we should assume we’re going to be screwed, and start putting pressure on Manchinema to ditch the filibuster.

I agree, MB. It definitely feels like we’re in a horror movie – zombies, YES! They are mindless and relentless. But unlike zombies on the screen, they are able to replicate themselves (as you pointed out).

I can’t tolerate watching the coverage of the Supreme Court. I’ve tried. The thought of the two creepy pervs Thomas and Kavanaugh having power and control over women’s bodies/reproduction is more than I can take. (I also think Alito is super creepy – maybe he just hasn’t gotten caught). Can you imagine if those two had become gynecologists? (((shudder))) This is far worse, though. Instead of violating just one woman at a time, they have the opportunity to violate millions. I wonder if there are any hard-ons going on under those robes? (rhetorical)

I think we all knew about how fascist the QOP has become, but here’s some comparison data that really makes it clear.

It’s just like “the cruelty is the point.” The inequality is the point. Power, in this case over women, is the point.

These are people protecting their privileges, which is something people have done since forever. The only good thing to come out of this disaster is that it looks like a lot of people are finally starting to get that there is no point, zero, zip, nada, to taking them at their word.

They are not and have never been “pro-life.” They are not and have never been worried about “viability.” They just want to keep women in the service box, and they don’t and never have cared who they kill to do it.

Depressing news with SCOTUS likely to classify women as serfs. Yes, we got rid of Trump but — as we all knew — the long-term effects from his judicial picks will last decades.

Here’s a cute furry critter:

As others have said, this is very much like Iran with a group of religious elders deciding how much bodily autonomy they are going to “allow” women to have. Six of the nine Justices are Catholic, with the seventh being Gorsuch who lists as Anglican/Catholic. Let’s leave Sotomayor out of this – she is clearly NOT a theocrat. So we’re back to six of the nine. It’s looking like the “one religion” Flynn was talking about is going to be Catholicism (I believe Flynn is also Catholic). No one does sexism/misogyny quite like the Catholics! I’ve been out of the loop for a long time, but I believe even contraception is still not allowed (officially).

Anyway… I thought Fundigelicals, Klan types, etc. hated “Papists” because they bow to a Roman dictator (h/t again, Mississippi Burning). Maybe the common cause of oppressing women has united them?

This SCOTUS truly is a disgrace. As Sotomayor said out loud at the hearing, how will they ever get rid of the stench. Of course the current majority of SCOTUS really doesn’t care. And Republicans wanted this majority. And we are stuck with it for generations unless the court is reformed. But Biden isn’t interested in that. (And don’t even get me started on Breyer.)

So in 2014 Tucker Carlson asked Hunter Biden to write a letter of recommendation for his son to get into Georgetown. Hunter did. This is according to an email leaked by Linn Wood, who is at war with Tucker.

@51 Hahahahaha! That’s hilarious! Isn’t Wood also at war with Sidney Powell?

“Looks like the rattlesnakes are starting to commit suicide” (yes, once again, Mississippi Burning).

Mississippi is on my mind… After being at the bottom of the heap for so long, Mississippians must be so proud to be leading the country into the 20th (maybe 19th? fingers crossed) century. Texas must be so J.

That wombat is so cute! Those ears!!! 😍😍😍

DYB, that robot/android was just too creepy. Why are we doing these things? What’s the point? Cui bono?

I really hope the Democrats do something to stop theocracy from taking over our country. They have a couple of options. I think the most likely is passing the Women’s Health Protection Act (I think that’s its name) through the Senate. Yes I know,the filibuster.

We have time to try to make an impact before the Court rules in May.

The Supremes are going to rule in May? I mean, good. Any extra day as a person is a good day. But what takes them so long? It’s not like they haven’t made their minds up already.

I do hope the Dems have the minimal sense to make it moot. Their attitude ever since Roe seems to be “let’s dangle loss of human rights to get our voters out.” So do you think they process info fast enough to realize the situation has moved beyond that gambit?

Pardon the language, but this is how I feel about all the 3rd-party, Trumpists, and non-voters in 2016.

@56 Luna, yep. There was a great line on “Veep” a bunch of years ago. Julia Louis Dreyfus said: If men could get pregnant, they’d be getting abortions at an ATM.

Totally agree, Luna and DYB. Quixote, I don’t know the answers to your very good questions. I have noticed there is traditionally a delay between the hearings and the decisions, but have no idea what drives them.

Speaking of profanity, this is how I feel too.

@59, Senator Shaheen! She branded “LIAR” on Cotton’s forehead!

I’m sad that Chancellor Merkel is leaving. What a strong, intelligent woman!

I had no idea there were such creatures as numbats! Looks like a cross between a fox and a doe and a squirrel.

@Luna, I agree on Merkel. She’s been an anchor not just for Europe, but USA. I shudder to think at what comes next…

@63 Yikes!! I guess she’s not going for the “I was just another victim of Epstein” defense. Whoa! She looks like a stone-cold psychopath to me. That glare scared the shit out of me. Where’s the mask she usually wears? The one she used to lure women in for Epstein?

When it came to grooming victims, I think Ghislaine had the attitude of Melisandre, the red priestess from Game of Thrones:

Melisandre: You know what I mean to do with him.

Stannis Baratheon: Then why bathe him and dress him in fine clothes? If it needs to be done, then do it. Don’t torture the boy.

Melisandre: Have you ever slaughtered a lamb?

Stannis Baratheon: No.

Melisandre: If the lamb sees the knife, she panics. Her panic seeps into the meat, darkens it, fouls the flavor.

Stannis Baratheon: And you’ve slaughtered many lambs.

Melisandre: And none have seen the blade.

@62, DYB, yup. It’s what Republicans do.

DYB, I don’t know if you mean Olaf Scholz specifically? Or just in general about what comes next?

Scholz seems like he may be okay, assuming he has at least some of Merkel’s strength to stand up to bullies. He’s SPD, which is the center-left party, and comes from Hamburg, which is a fairly cosmopolitan liberal city. Or do you know something about him specifically? Aack, if so.

@23 Yipes, that DNA strand!

The Supremes vs Women, someone needs to open up a manufacturing plant to make handmaiden outfits for young women if the religious sexists vote their way.

@62, that look tells it all.

52 @ DYB

Robotics is advancing rapidly, pretty soon they will make a robot that will follow a man’s command almost as well as female GOP woman.

I’m afraid that Ghislaine’s defense will be to attack the victims. From the movie, “Denial”:

Julius: Yes. And put survivors on the stand and Irving will humiliate them. Remember the Zundel trial. Remember the Exodus trial. The survivors got torn apart. Because survivors don’t remember. Not every detail. They get something wrong – they say a door was on the left, when actually it was on the right – and wham! Irving’s in. “You see! They’re liars, you can’t trust anything they say…”

Libson: That’s it, that’s the technique.

Morning/afternoon, all! Had a late night last night. I’ll post tomorrow.

I have never seen a defendant drawing the court artist before. She seems delusional and psychotic.

Also from the Post – Dana Milbank calls out his fellow journalists for trashing Biden and elevating Drumpf. It’s behind a paywall, but the jist is,he asked A data analysis firm to analyze the sentiment of the Mango Moron and Biden coverage, and from 1/20 on, IQ45 has gotten better coverage – after trying to overthrow the government in a violent coup and being the target of several criminal investigations. To see the data is mind blowing.

@76, MB, yes. I have a sub to WaPo if anyone wants to see the entire article. It’s yet another one to file under “What Liberal Media?”

Chris Cuomo was just fired from CNN.

Many of you don’t like Chris but I do. I hope another station, like MSNBC will pick him up.

I’m kind of with you, Shadowfax. Both brothers were excellent when it came to bolstering spirits during the pandemic, and I guess that gave me an attachment to them. I haven’t been following the whole harassment bizzo, because early on I caught a strongish whiff of Repubs trying to get rid of an inconvenient Gov. Possibly by now some really awful stuff has come out. And I gather at least Andrew is pretty full of himself in person. But I just can’t get rid of the feeling that if the people who are so mad at those two really cared about what happens to women, they’d be on the Dump’s case. Not Cuomo’s, sr or jr.

Quixote, I don’t have any inside info on Merkel’s replacement. I actually know nothing about him at all. I was just commenting generally that she’s been such a rock for Europe and beyond…

This is funny…

DYB, who do you like in the NY governor’s race? I really like Kathy Hochul, but I really, really like Letitia James. I don’t think you can go wrong with either woman, but do you have a favorite? Or maybe someone else?

I wish I could play that video (curses!)

Which makes me think of another favorite of mine, Stacey Abrams and her race in Georgia (loved the pic of her and Hillary @62!).

I want her to win so bad and I want her to bring Raphael Warnock with her.

@80, I’ve had to give cats baths several times, and if you hold the cat right, and have soap, towels ready within reach it’s not a big problem. You can indeed prevent the kitty from getting out of the sink. I also regularly clip my cats’ claws, so their claws are dull rather than needle-sharp hooks if they do get a paw loose and grab at me.

@81 PJ, that’s a tough one. I like both Hochul and James, but I’ll be sticking with Hochul in the primaries. I’m surprised James decided to run, to be honest. She was just elected as the AG in 2018. I’m not a huge fan of politicians who run for one job and *immediately* try to get another. James didn’t even complete one term as AG. There’s something very unserious about that.

DYB, that video of Jennifer Garner is hysterical. “We didn’t get to do conditioner” was the perfect end to it.

As an ex-NYC-er, I agree with you about Hochul. She has been leading up to this for a while and building her experience and reputation. James has been a great AG – she should finish out her tenure and then see where she wants to go next.

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