Christmas Eve at Emptywheel

Well, it is that time of year again. We have reached another Christmas eve here at the Wheelhouse. Here at Casa de Bmaz we are still finishing up some shopping, doing some cooking and getting ready for happy hour. Marcy and Mr. Wheel are in the Keystone state visiting family and Jim White and family are preparing for a sunny Christmas day down in Florida.

Don’t have a lot to say here, just a hello and thanks for making this forum the best in the blogosphere. Times change, but the consistency and quality of our friends, colleagues and commenters is amazing. Thank you.

One last note, today marks the second anniversary of the passing of our colleague and friend Mary Perdue, or as she was simply known here “Mary”. There are two days that I will forever associate with Mary, Kentucky Derby day because of her love for horses and Christmas Eve. So, as we did last year at this time, raise a glass, have a laugh, think of the Constitution and salute.

If you are around, chime in with what you are up to, what you are eating and cooking, what you are drinking and what you are thinking.

Have a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays folks!

67 replies
  1. Peterr says:

    Putting the last touches on my sermon, thankyouverymuch, while keeping watch over the pies for tonight.

    Eating, drinking, and such will commence sometime around 11.

  2. bmaz says:

    @Peterr: This is why I could never be a padre, padre. To much work, not enough drinking and football on holidays! Hope you have a great sermon and Christmas.

  3. Jim White says:

    Christmas Eve at our place is always chili. And that is a mighty fine batch simmering on the stove, if I say so myself. Wife and daughters are happily making the traditional almond loaf (it’s basically a caramel with almonds in it, yum). Tomorrow younger daughter and I will make a batch of snickerdoodles. Gonna grill a turkey breast with some special bacon stuck to it. And there’s the sweet potatoes with lots of rum and the cranberries cooked with lots of brandy. Lots of fun with the tree last night, but we did need to buy more rum today.

  4. Mary McCurnin says:

    Happy Christmas everyone!!

    We are staying home tomorrow but headed to the Bay Area where two grandbabies await our late arrival on Saturday. I love me some babies.

  5. rosalind says:

    Dungeness Crab. Nice chilled sauvignon blanc (alta maria vineyards). Season 4 “Justified” on the DVD. 78 degrees.


    i raise a toast to our magnificent mary, and bid sad farewell to our sweet Bob Schacht.

    merry merry everyone!!

  6. bmaz says:

    @rosalind: Yeah, we are totally lame here. All three of us going out for Chinese for dinner tonight. But have a lot of food cooking for tomorrow.

    Yes, Bob Schacht, Scarecrow and Mad Dog too. Man, I miss these people terribly.

  7. Deb at home says:

    Always miss Mary. Found some canned spring rhubarb in the basement and tiny summer strawberries in the freezer. That might still make a Christmas pie, say I.

  8. rosalind says:

    @Peterr: (and if you by chance have any suggestions for what I should do with a box of my great-grandfather’s sermons – he was a Methodist minister who graduated divinity school at the start of the Civil War and moved West from Church to Church – i welcome any and all!)

  9. bloodypitchfork says:

    @Mary McCurnin: quote” I love me some babies. “unquote

    Indeed, Mary. And on this night some 2 thousand years ago, I submit another Mary contemplated the same thing.

  10. Saltinwound says:

    Mary was the absolute best.

    My fifteen year old former stepdaughter lives with me. Long story. Her father is from Guam. He is in my kitchen, and he is cooking Chicken Kelaguen.

    Thanks for everything, Wheel, Bmaz, Jim, and commenters.

  11. P J Evans says:

    And an especially merry Christmas for all the newlyweds in Utah: the 10th has turned down the emergency-stay appeal!

  12. matt carmody says:

    Merry Christmas all. Boise St & The Beavers on TV. Still sober after many many years so Rose’s Lime Juice and tonic substitute for kamikazes.
    I appreciate all the work done here and apparently I’ve been away too long – I knew about Mary god rest her soul but was unaware of the other wonderful people mentioned supra.
    Have a great holiday all and a peaceful new year.

  13. burnt says:

    Delurking to say an amazing sunset is nearly finished in the Bay Area where Bittersweet and I are visiting relatives. Venus is brilliant tonight.

    We miss Mary’s sharp and witty commentary. We will find some Lagnitas in the fridge and raise a glass to her.

  14. What Constitution? says:

    Visiting relatives in Haverford PA — a teensy dusting of snow, wholly foreign to me and quite the fun. Japanese food for dinner and the annual world’s best chocolate+peppermint cookies now in the oven, our son off in Paris after college. Different but lovely — merry, merry to all at EW and a special thanks and best wishes to Mr. Snowden.

  15. posaune says:

    Merry Christmas to all!
    And thanks for all the deep-think here. This is quite a place!

    Just finished stuffing the stocking for our 9 year old son.
    Mr. posaune is hunkered over a set of open source hardware (Arduino and Little Bits)
    hoping to finish the home-made robot by daybreak.

  16. Greg Bean (@GregLBean) says:

    With 5 grand kids under the age of 5, Christmas has that old familiar feel of childhood about it again.

    But who in reality is their Santa Claus; who is the person or persons who give them the greatest gift?

    To these infants, their need for privacy is already apparent as they build pillow and cardboard-box forts in which to play out their earliest desires. Their despair when their private fort is invaded by the prying eyes of adults is palpable. We joke about their joy at playing with these pillows, or cardboard boxes, more than the gift, rarely, if ever realizing that it is the privacy these forts permit that actually is the object of their effort.

    Privacy, even to the youngest child is a wonderful and likely character building opportunity.

    So, while these infants may never know it, whistle-blowers, journalists and concerned individuals who fight to ensure that a similar level of privacy will be available to them as adults may be the greatest gift they receive.

    And is altruistically given as these infants will likely never know the sacrifices made for their future.

    So, thank you to the principled people who strive to ensure that all the grand children of the world can enjoy the gift of privacy.

    Thank you to all those who contribute here with relentless vigor to provide the greatest gift all grand children will every receive.

    And a very Merry Christmas to you all.

  17. pdaly says:

    Merry Christmas, Emptywheelers.

    To remember Mary, I ordered a copy of the movie “The Ox-Bow Incident” (–-an-answer-to-cap’n-jack/)
    I hope to watch it tonight and then every year at this time (and every anniversary of 9/11).

    Well wishes to Marcy, bmaz, and Jim for all the work you do at this site and to the community of commenters whom always add to the conversation. Cheers.

  18. Peterr says:

    @bmaz: And also with you.

    So what’s on the menu today at La Casa Bmaz? Besides margaritas, that is.

    Around here, it’s a standing rib roast with twice baked potatoes, and various pies to follow.

  19. bmaz says:

    @Peterr: Started the day’s eating not too long ago with some egg, sausage, cheese and bread souffle (a family specialty of my wife, and quite delicious) with a side of custom Applewood bacon (also quite delicious.

  20. scribe says:

    Well, bacon is always good. Had some here this morning for breakfast.

    Here, at Casa Scribe, the menu is 5 hour roast duck (rolling into hour #5 as I write this), brussels sprouts, and sweet potatoes. K.I.S.S. And lots and lots of cookies. The dog is happy – got a new cow femur from Santa – and scribe is, too.

    Merry Christmas to all!

  21. jo6pac says:

    Yes, a Merry Xmas to all and thanks for all the thoughtful news that you don’t even have to make up;)

    Leg of Lamb is waiting for me to start the BBQ with yam and the 1st salad from the greenhouse this year with fresh crab the neighbor gave me:)

    If I had time I would Beam to every ones house for a taste of all the wonderful food talked about but I think my tin foil hat is blocking the ray beam.

  22. bmaz says:

    @jo6pac: Friend at DOJ just told me that NSA already has your taste profiles stored, and will retain the same for five years. Gotta hand it to them, the buggers are efficient!

  23. Valley Girl says:

    Best holiday wishes to all. And, thanks to all of you at the Wheelhouse, principals and commenters, for your savvy, and always, a “great read”.

  24. jo6pac says:

    @bmaz: I’m thankful for that because as I get older the mind just doesn’t work as well and I can contact them or they me to tell me what I was going to do;) Enjoy bmaz, started the BBQ so it’s my only thought except open the bottle of wine stupid:)

  25. P J Evans says:

    72 degrees outside, and 6% humidity at Van Nuys airport. The dew point is 1 degree F. No frost tonight…

  26. lefty665 says:

    Whisky – Laphroaig 18, loses the creosote, keeps the peat and lets the salt marshes surface. Also, whiskey out of a mason jar for someone I’d played music with for 40 years who died last week. Even when we cut time into little pieces on fast tunes there’s not enough of it.

    Thanks to all for the opportunity to participate in sorting through what’s happening in the world and making some sense of it. The wheelhouse is a unique and wonderful community.

  27. bmaz says:

    @lefty665: Whoa, that is some fine Scotch. And that is coming from a pure Bourbon, not Scotch, man. Cheers to your musical colleague, and what he did while here.

    The holidays are a brutal time to lose people in a way, but in a way also a great way to take the sadness of loss away and provide good path to yearly celebration.

  28. JohnT says:

    Merry Christmas

    Emptywheel rawks 24/7 365! Luv everyone, although the occasional troll throws a wrench into things, but that’s fine, it keeps us sharp. Greatly miss all those who’ve gone on to better places.

    PS Rio Bravo or El Dorado? I’d go with Rio Bravo. Can’t go wrong with the Duke and Deano, Walter Brennan, and a young Angie Dickinson

  29. bmaz says:

    @JohnT: Same could be said about any movie with Jack Elam or Slim Pickens. But Arthur Hunnicut, who plays “Bull” in Rio Bravo, ain’t bad.

  30. Frank33 says:

    It is an outrage. The Daily Dot, lists the Internet’s top ten freedom fighters during 2013. Marcy Wheeler is merely at Number 10. And they say no one matches EmptyWheel.

    Justin Amash is placed at Number 5. Ha ha ha. I do not think so. Maybe next year justice will prevail.

    Simply put, no one matches Wheeler, a former corporate legal advisor, when it comes to piecing together the fragments we know of the NSA’s secret legal justifications, themselves governed by the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, whose rulings are usually classified, or at least heavily redacted.

  31. Greg Bean (@GregLBean) says:

    @Frank33: Far from an outrage for being 10th, it is astonishing that Marcy has penetrated the noise as she has. It is a near impossibility to do so for mere mortals.

    But I agree, Marcy should more appropriately be ranked second only to Snowden for what she has contributed.

    I have no doubt that had Marcy been provided the Snowden dump we’d not only be having ‘a necessary conversation’ but ‘necessary indictments, resignations and a long passed due impeachment’.

    But you know what they say about instant stardom; you just have to do the decades of slogging to achieve it.

    I have no doubts Marcy will be pivotal to the future of the news industry should she choose to be.

  32. emptywheel says:

    Sorry for being so scarce.

    Made big old ham dinner yesterday and played with the family.

    Merry Christmas to all.

  33. bloodypitchfork says:

    Post Christmas food hangover notwithstanding, it’s 8am..time to go to work.
    As I began my usual morning habit of blog visits, this morning I happened to come across this…

    Not being familiar with the story of this contemptible schmuck, and already outraged by his ONE DAY SENTENCE..I called upon Google, whereby,
    what do I find right below Wikipedia’s listing?…

    I should have known. I’ve only been registered here for a few months, but now I understand why Ms Wheeler has been declared one of the “Internet’s top ten freedom fighters during 2013”. Congratulations. However, I do have to commend bmaz and Jim White for their contributions to emptywheel as well, as the post linked to above was authored by bmaz.

    Emptywheel is now #1 on my daily excursions into the bloggosphere. I should note Peter Van Buren too, as his site, We Meant Well has been instrumental in forging my interest as it was his site where I found the link to emptywheel. I should also acknowledge Kevin’s blogroll at The Dissenter, as I began to understand the breadth of the community while visiting these sites. In that light, I look forward to the coming new year as now, I don’t feel so damn alone. Thank you all.

  34. bloodypitchfork says:

    @emptywheel: quote” Made big old ham dinner yesterday and played with the family.”unquote

    Ham. mmmmmmmmmmmmmm…. That’s what we had too. And this morning…fried ham, eggs and mashed potato patties…mmmmmmmmmmmmm! What better breakfast while looking at 12″ of snow while it’s snowing. Happy Post Christmas, food hangovers notwithstanding. :)

  35. bloodypitchfork says:

    @emptywheel: quote:”Oh, that particular post was bmaz.”unquote

    Yes, that’s why I acknowledged the fact in my reply. :)

    quote:”He developed quite a healthy focus on Bloch evading justice.” unquote

    He may have escaped a prison term by virtue of his standing in the Two Tiered Dept. of Injustice system, however, I am living proof he can NEVER escape the internet. :) Even though he tried..

    god I love the net.

  36. lefty665 says:


    Thanks to you both. Didn’t intend to talk about death, but it just came out. I think it was because this community seems a lot like the musical one. It’s a varied lot of knowledge, experience, and (com)passion. We are all finite, in the end what’s left is what we give.

    I still miss Steve Goodman too. He was an amazing musician. First time I saw him was in Richmond when he was opening for Emmy Lou’s inaugural national road tour. It was their first stop out of D.C. They had an incredible bunch of musicians wrapped around her (Scotty Moore on guitar among others) to protect her. Goodman had more energy standing on stage by himself with a guitar than Emmy Lou and the whole damn band. Goodman’s song for his father is among the best I’ve ever heard.

    And the scotch ain’t bad either:) The corn’s more interesting with fruit, cherries or pears mostly here.
    Dunno how long her site will stay up.

    “take the sadness of loss away and provide good path to yearly celebration.”



  37. Frank33 says:


    Perhaps Amash might be Number 500. But if Amash is 500, I am at least Number 499. Most of the Congress Kritters have failed to keep their Oath of Office to defend the Constitution. So I doubt that Amash or any other Kritter would be higher than Number 5000.

    The Congressional “Crickets” regarding the numerous crimes of sleazebag Bloch just proves what cowards the Kritters have become. It is OK to lie to Congress if you are in the Secret Government. And then you can make “7 Level Swipes” to protect the lies and spies. But give Bloch credit, the Bloch Crime Family has been quite successful with their crime spree. And Bloch has been greatly rewarded instead of greatly punished.

  38. klynn says:

    EW (and crew) sit at #1 on my list of freedom fighters.

    Hope everyone is enjoying their holiday season and traditions that anchor our lives.

    EW provides a lens that keeps everything in focus. Hope each EW team member and commenter enjoy a blessed New Year.

    Take care, Marcy, bmaz and Jim.

  39. bloodypitchfork says:

    @bmaz: bmaz..I am astounded.

    While I don’t often equate people’s acts as courageous, you are one brave mofo.

    And this simply blew me away. …

    quote” Please do not dishonor the memory of Judge Robinson, the sanctity of your Oath, and the preeminence of your Court – not to mention the romantic notions of a California lawyer who believes in the American system of justice – by allowing the present efforts of the Department of Justice to whitewash the despicable actions of Scott Bloch. Please, please, PLEASE send at least Scott Bloch to PRISON for the violations of law to which he has already pleaded guilty, and do NOT facilitate the cowardly and despicable efforts of the Justice Department to establish a principle that governmental criminals should be exempted from the Rule of Law when it comes to sentencing.” unquote
    Despicable. Both Bloch AND the DOJ. Fabulous.
    Now I feel confident my assessment of Scott Bloch was in the ballpark. And his Internet life sentence is justified and in the record. Thanks so much for your link.

  40. thatvisionthing says:

    One last note, today marks the second anniversary of the passing of our colleague and friend Mary Perdue, or as she was simply known here “Mary”.

    Mary and Bob and Mad Dog and Scarecrow, as you say above, and also Sara.

    To quote Admiral Kirk from Star Trek III as he raised a glass: “To absent friends.”

    Sorry for the late post. I was thinking it…

  41. thatvisionthing says:

    @bmaz: Isn’t there a term for that kind of letter?

    Just so we know where they are. Plus, the crime Bloch ended up pleading to — “the misdemeanor crime of destruction of property for his role in deletion of files from government computers” — I can’t help but think of Thomas Drake and the very different prosecution and career consequences he suffered.

    wikipedia: In 2010 the government alleged that Drake “mishandled” documents, one of the few such Espionage Act cases in U.S. history… On June 9, 2011, all 10 original charges against him were dropped. Drake rejected several deals because he refused to “plea bargain with the truth”. He eventually pled to one misdemeanor count for exceeding authorized use of a computer;

  42. thatvisionthing says:

    @pdaly: I could hug you for that or light a candle or something. Mary. That clip. You remembered. You carry forward. Glow, I think. Not exactly my place to thank you, but I do.

  43. bmaz says:

    @thatvisionthing: Yes, that is exactly what Bloch’s letter was. It was also hollow total bullshit. The tell is that he never tried that junk here, and we’ve been on him for years, only with people he thought couldn’t and wouldn’t defend themselves.

  44. thatvisionthing says:

    Wondering did the redacted addressee who gave you the letter copy cave? I hope not. Terrorism is bullyism.

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