Here on Christmas Eve, we've decided to make the Christmas spirit the focus of this, our second time hosting Silflay Hraka's magnificent Carnival of the Vanities. Because you don't have to believe in Christmas to believe in the Christmas spirit. Let me tell you a story:
A number of years ago, we lived next door to a diplomat at the Pakistani Consulate. You might think this would be a recipe for friction, but he was nice enough. 9/11 was several years away and if anyone had a legitimate beef, it was our (formerly Pakistani) Isma'ili Muslim neighbours on the other side. But I digress. Anyway, Christmas comes around, and some bright acquaintance decides to give this Muslim diplomat a bottle of whiskey for the holidays. Since this is sort of like sending the Israeli Consulate a smoked ham, our neighbour came over with an embarassed expression. Would we like a bottle of fine whiskey? To this day, I still think of it as the perfect North American holiday story: a Muslim giving his Jewish neighbours a bottle of whiskey… for Christmas.Carnival entries are listed by blogname in reverse alphabetical order, and are arranged into several categories: * Holiday Spirit * Religion * Humour * You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch * The Human Condition * Space: It's Not Just for Santa any More * International Politics * Domestic Politics G-d bless us all, every one.
Spirit of the Season * UPDATE 4:21pm: Apolgies for the lateness of this - missed one: WeckUpToThees!: I'll be home for Christmas A series on getting home for Christmas in 2001 from Operation Enduring Freedom. A new post will be added each day to update my progress from Central Asia to the arms of my family. * Wordlab: Seasons Greetings from Bucky (As in, Buckminster Fuller) Best Wishes for the year-end Holiday Season, and a happy, prosperous and peaceful New Year for all of us on Spaceship Earth. * Winds of Change.NET: Gratitude from Operation Gratitude The founder of Operation Gratitude thanks us for their inclusion in our comprehensive "Support the Troops" list, and talks about their success in spreading the spirit of giving. * Wäldchen vom Philosophenweg: "A Christmas Stories Review" My favourite Christmas stories, and why. See also "A Christmas Carol Review," discussing Dickens' famous book. * Sneakeasy's Joint: A Newport Harbor Christmas A first hand report from one of the New York Times "Top 10 Holiday Happenings in the nation." * Scrappleface: Yes, Virginia, There is a United States of America Scott Ott gets serious for a change. It's just as good as his funny stuff. * Priorities & Frivolities: A Holiday Card to the World In learning the history of a Filipino holiday custom, I find meaning in my young marriage's new Christmas experiences. * Pragmatic Conservatism: Merry Christmas from Dan K. O'Leary Here are the reasons why we need to appreciate liberals and protestors on Christmas. * Plum Crazy: Oy Chanukah A series of posts about Chanukah featuring clickable menorahs with playlists of (mostly) Jewish folk songs. Well, and one post with a latkes recipe. * Patriot Paradox: The True Meaning of Christmas The true meaning of Christmas, as told by Linus van Pelt, and brought to you by Patriot Paradox. * OxBlog: "Holiday Season Reminders – How You Can Help" A list of good causes helping to rebuild Iraq and Afghanistan that people can support. * Mudville Gazette: Ghosts of Christmas Past Greyhawk wasn't always Grey, and in this first of a multi-part entry he reflects on Christmas past. It's playtime in Mudville! * Interested-Participant: The Ghosts of Christmas Past Reflection on the past is fully in the spirit of Christmas. And so we bring you thoughts on Christmas... in 1777. * Ego: X-MA$ Martin Lindeskog writes from Sweden with a historical background of Christmas and reasons for why this holiday should be commercial. * Discriminations: Kwanzaa and the Serial Comma An analysis of a description of the principles of Kwanzaa reveals the need for clear rules, in life and law as well as in grammar. * Blackfive - The Paratrooper of Love: Meet Some American Heroes I have a reader that has sent several Christmas poems to me which I posted. After a few email exchanges with him, I discovered that he had two boys in Iraq, both paratroopers in the 82nd Airborne Division - one wounded. He wished ME a Merry Christmas. Religious * King of Fools: Little Natalie Grace Christmas of 2003 will forever be remembered by a young couple from Houston, TX. * The Flag of the World: Merry Christmas! A musing on why it is that I, as a Christian, prefer Christmas to Easter when, theoretically, Easter is more important. The answer: Christmas is about the intersection of the epic and the common, and few things stir the heart more. * Gleeful Extremist: Family In addition to a little Christmas nostalgia, we look at the religious idea of your wife as your sister. No, this does not involve Arkansas dating. Humour * You Big Mouth, You! Christmas Wishes In the spirit of the season, I wave my magic wand, and give my fellow bloggers their heart's desire. * Wizbang: Times Are Tough All Over Downsizing at Claus Enterprises, Inc. A parody news release. * Wicked Thoughts: Wicked Thoughts Wicked thoughts has a joke about a man names Olafsen in Chinatown * Who Tends the Fires: Rudolph roasting over an open fire... A short tongue in cheek account of why Santa tries very hard to bypass my block on Xmas, to the consternation of my neighbors and my godkids. * Thief's Den: 'Twas Two Weeks Before Christmas "As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly/ When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky/ So down to some farmhouses the 600 men rode/ With a convoy of whup-ass all set to unload..." * The Speculist: Xmas Special Since I didn't have anything planned for the week, instead of my usual previews of things to come, I wrote a bunch alternate-universe revisions of holiday classics and gave some utterly pointless gift-giving and general holiday advice. * The SmarterCop: Santa Claus is Coming to America It's time to kick off the holiday season with a familiar song, with some link-u-endo attached. * Quibbles-n-Bits: My Christmas Contribution... Rewriting an overplayed Holiday classic for Senator Clinton... * Mad Kane's Notables: Holiday Humor Mad Kane takes a break from politics to offer seasonal humor about holiday office parties, gift giving, and other holiday aggravation. * Fringeblog: "Happy Holidays, You Right Wing Religious Zealot, You" What's in a Christmas card? Blessings for good cheer and peace for the season? Or just fundamentalist, right wing spittle lathered up on cheap cardboard? Find out here. * Da Goddess: Not Under My Tree! Da Goddess has been poking at the cat and the BTOTB, and now she's poking at a beloved blogging institution. Then again, it’s Glen’s own fault that he requested a Hummer for Chirtmas. * Amygdala: Your Seasonal Item from the National Security Archive Ho ho ho from the CIA. You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch * A Small Victory: Working retail in december: a horror story Working retail during the Christmas season is bad enough without blue-haired Julio Iglesias fans humming Quiet Riot tunes. * Joe Kelley's The Sake of Argument: Ho Ho NO! A small firehouse in Illinois has had to remove their interior Christmas decorations because passersby could see them from outside. In this post, I compare the living quarters of the firemen to that of our President. Has anyone asked President Bush to take down his Christmas decorations? * BoiFromTroy: Little balls banned in California Lawyer sues manufacturers, distributors and Martha Steward over those little decorative silver jimmies used on holiday cookies... product now unavailable in California. The Human Condition * Taken In Hand: No helpless hysterical heroines here! In this charming article, which may help men understand how many women feel, Amber Jackson of Taken In Hand writes about her childhood irritation with helpless movie heroines, and about her later discovery that being submissive does not have to mean giving up your strong, independent, effective self. * Snooze Button Dreams: Bestofme Symphony, 3rd Performance The Bestofme Symphony is one of the red-headed step-Children of the Carnival. It deals with posts from the archives instead of current content. This was the first week where the Symphony was not aggressively plugged and it still filled out at almost two dozen submissions. * Liquid Courage: Dolled Up and Pissed Off. Builds on an earlier post making fun of "Razanne," Islam's burqa-clad answer to Barbie. From its initial outrage, the post moves on to discuss the position of women in society. * DodgeBlogium: Winter Solstice Thoughts by Andrew Ian Dodge A contemplative piece on the past year in the life of Andrew Ian Dodge. It includes an excerpt from his most recent novel (as yet unpublished) Slither Service. Space: It's Not Just for Santa Any More * Musings from Brian J. Noggle: Rovers That Pay For Themselves Interplanetary rovers could pay for themselves, if only space agencies would properly manage the ends of their life cycles effectively. International Politics * QandO: Agreed Framework: Lessons learned, applied The Agreed Framework was not the success we'd hoped it would be, but the Libya deal proves we've learned from our failures. I discuss the weaknesses of the Agreed Framework and how those are fixed in the Libya deal. * Peaktalk: The Year of Europe We have seen a monumental shift in geopolitical relations this year. The disappearing transatlantic alliance and the internal divisions in Europe will have repercussions for decades to come. * Overtaken by Events: Wrap Your Brain Around This Not exactly festive, but a fisking of a Palestinian columnist writing in the Seattle Times who is very sad that Saddam is no longer in power. On the light side, there is my Saddam/Han Solo moment. * Idler Yet EPITAPH The waning year is sometimes pictured as an old man with a scythe. Here's a poetic verse to see him out. * Dean's World: My Brother Gladimir Dedicated to the memory of our brother. * Curiosity: Sadly the USA isn't Perfect This post analyses BBC bias about Israel and the ambiguity of the U.S. response to Sharon's recent policy speech. * Blogo Slovo: Russia, Russians, & Americans A book review in The Atlantic magazine sparks a discussion of Russia's future, and the similarities and differences between Russians and Americans. * Bad Money: Saddam Captured – The Conversation Description: My completely fabricated notion of the conversation that took place when Saddam was captured. Domestic Politics * Useful Fools: Democratic Candidate Opportunism Threat Level Raised to Orange The threat of Democratic Candidates taking cynical advantage of a terrorist attack is raised to Orange. The DCOTL scale is shown with a description of each level. * Political Correctness Watch: Voodoo Correct Too? Even voodoo seems to have become accepted in U.S. Courtrooms * The People's Republic of Seabrook: "Can we PLEASE get a grip on reality here??" It's no wonder that Conservatives think that Liberals are all wacko nut jobs. Perhaps it's because, in cases like this, that's EXACTLY what we sound like. * Patterico's Pontifications: Repeal Of First Amendment Not So Bad After All The Supreme Court repealed the First Amendment in the campaign finance decision for "practical" reasons. Patterico decides that this was the correct call, and discusses some other pesky constitutional amendments that are also impractical and should be repealed by judicial fiat. * Outside The Beltway: Level Orange James Joyner argues the terrorism alert system has become bureaucratic background noise. * The LongBow Papers: Mississippi Sorrows It is not a Holiday Season post. This is a personal story between myself and Trent Lott; a story about some 40 years of personal conflict. It is unlike any story you have read about Lott and those ugly days in Mississippi. * Feste...a foolsblog: Back Away From the Cliff, Governor To better understand the Dean phenomenon, a little background is in order. * DissectLeft: The Lying Skeptics The "Skeptical Inquirer" is devoted to exposing frauds, quacks and charlatans. John Ray gives evidence to show that they themselves are frauds, quacks and charlatans.