The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Merry Christmas

I hope you are of good cheer, healthy, and in no danger or meaningful deprivation.

I’m not celebrating this year, since my immediate family is dead and my extended family far away, but it’s a lovely day of rest, and I am happy if others are happy.

Regular posting will resume soon, there seems little point in anything extended right now. (One of the things daily traffic charts make clear is that people surf far more at work than home!)

Take care of yourself.


Open Thread


Book Review of “Dark Age Ahead,” by Jane Jacobs


  1. V. Arnold

    Back at you Ian.
    I haven’t celebrated for decades; I find the Winter and Summer solstices, along with the Spring and Autum equinoxes, far more meaningful and significant.

  2. V. Arnold


  3. Annia

    Enjoy your rest Ian. And thank you for your work. Thinking of all the people I appreciate today, and you’re on the list.

  4. S. Rowell

    Merry Christmas. At least the roads are usually quite this day.

  5. atcooper

    Merry Christmas, Ian.

  6. You too 🙂

  7. realitychecker

    Warmest wishes for the holiday season, Ian. You are a treasure, and much appreciated by me.

    Thanks for all that you do.

  8. marku52

    Thanks for all you do. I will be following with interest your analysis of the Trumpening.

    Best wishes for the new year.

  9. Tony Wikrent

    Christmas as the divine reminder of the value of equality:

    Luke 2:

    [8] And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
    [9] And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
    [10] And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
    [11] For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
    [12] And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
    [13] And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
    [14] Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

    So, when the Lord finally decides to make the big PR announcement, She doesn’t pitch it, like a Lexus or Mercedes commercial, to the people who can afford a big celebratory binge. She has Her angels go and talk to the people on the lowest rung of the socio-economic ladder, some poor guys working outside at night. This foundation story means that Christianity, no matter how much it would be corrupted (see, for example, Kevin M. Kruse, One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America, Basic Books, 2015) would be a religion that affirmed the value of all people, not just the leaders and elites. In fact, Christianity was first the religion of slaves in the Roman Empire. Two millenia later, when the world finally began to seriously attempt to eliminate slavery entirely, it was radical Christians who led the Abolotionist movements around the world.

  10. Ché Pasa

    “Peace on Earth, good will to men…”

  11. StewartM

    I woke up a tad under the weather today, so I am postponing my trip to relatives. But a restful Christmas watching the Yule log on TV with Christmas carols in the air is wonderful, too.

  12. markfromireland

    Happy Christmas Ian – it’s always worth saying twice 🙂

    @Tony Wikrent. – You’re quoting the King James Version translation of Luke 2:14

    However if you look at the Demotic

    δόξα ἐν ὑψίστοις θεῷ καὶ ἐπὶ γῆς εἰρήνη ἐν ἀνθρώποις εὐδοκίας.

    and the Vulgate

    Gloria in altissimis Deo,
    et in terra pax hominibus bonæ voluntatis

    And then translate to English you get this:

    Glory to God in the highest:
    and on earth peace to men of good will.

    you could also translate it as:

    Glory to God in the highest:
    and on earth peace amongst men of good will.

    Whichever of those two you accept it’s an entirely different proposition to the KJV.

    You’re right about the shepherds being on the lowest rung of society, not only where they the lowest rung but they came equipped with a reputation for dishonesty. Think of any low status social or ethnic group of which you’ve heard something along the lines of “you can’t trust ’em, you have to keep your eye on them” and you’ll be close to how shepherds were regarded in the Middle East at the time of Christ.

  13. dude

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all, Ian and regulars.

    Ian: I recall you once said Jane Jacobs was worth reading especially concerning cities and economies. Taking your advice, I am on the third of several of her books–Dark Age Ahead, the last of her writings circa 2004. She was by then a resident of Toronto and mentions how much it has gone down-hill–bad transit, trash on the streets, austere budgets. She thoroughly destroyed all the images I had of the place. As a Canadian who often informs American about Canada please tell me: How true a picture did she paint?

  14. David

    Merry Christmas everyone and good luck to all
    in a very uncertain 2017

  15. barrisj

    From one old Agonista to another, cheers, mate. Man, those were the days.

  16. nihil obstet

    Merry Christmas to everyone here, and to all your friends and family, too.

  17. THX1138

    Friend Ian,

    Be of good cheer!
    Your family may be far away but your friends surround you now.
    If not in person, in word and thought.
    And they should give you hope.
    Hope should give you faith.
    Faith makes all good things possible.
    Be of good cheer!
    And keep your Faith.

  18. brian

    Merry Christmas. Sorry about the no family.

  19. The true “American spirit of Christmas”:
    Displayed at shopping malls across the U.S. this past holiday weekend.
    I must say it makes ME so “proud to be an American” …

  20. White Buffalo Calf Woman

    I am happy if others are happy


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