A Christmas Sampler

Dear patient readers,

I was going to write a post about gift-giving but I had too many non-convergent ideas for it besides wanting to reminisce about my favorite childhood gifts, all for transportation! A sled, a Flexible Flier, which ironically introduced me to infinity (the Flexible Flier had a little image of a Flexible Flier with a tinier drawing of a Flexible Flier in the logo and a barely discernible even tinier image inside that one), and later bikes: my first training wheel bike in first grade (which I managed to drive off the porch, landing on my chin without breaking my neck), then a larger, sturdier models which took me all over the small towns in which we lived, and in my teens, a spiffy ten speed.

I have to confess also to having a bit of a blue Christmas. My mother seems to be getting even more feeble and I am concerned that this is another leg down for her. And on top of that, I offended a well-meaning local friend who wanted to bring over some salmon for dinner. My injuries have gotten worse and I am having difficulty walking. I just couldn’t handle it, even getting myself and the kitchen presentable enough to meet her at the door.

I know this pales compared to the real stresses that many of you are having and I hope those of you who are having health or financial stresses have been able to find some holiday cheer despite that.

So I instead opted for some entertainment, and hopefully at least some of the clips below will amuse you. Lambert has set a high bar for holiday musical assortments in the past, so I have some trepidation about serving up a mix, particularly since it is pretty conventional. But here we go!

For the hard-core realists (hat tip Hepativore):

This is a mixed bag, only partly Christmas-y and a lot of kitsch, but with some nice bits: the duet with June Carter Cash (2:55), Roy Orbison (24:00), Jerri Lee Lewis (27:13).

More a classic than a Christmas classic:

Another fine rendition:

Now to a chestnut:

And more classics:

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


    1. JohnnyGL


      Everyone: You are now currently browsing the best news gathering and commentary and analysis operation on the internet!

      I hope everyone has a good holiday season!

    2. John k

      I echo the above. A merry and restful holiday season, and a happy, peaceful 2020 to all, writers, moderators, and the commentariat.

  1. Dave Miller

    “I know this pales compared to the real stresses that many of you are having…”

    No Yves, yours are the real stories of Christmas for those of us watching the prrevious generation slowly fade, with whatever consulation we can provide. Those with children have an entirely different experience of Christmas, sometimes better, sometimes worse.

    Many of us have a foot in each world. May your physical ailments get better. Go to the gym; take yoga classes; get stronger and more flexible.

  2. Martine

    Merry Christmas to you, Yves! You’re a true heroine. So sorry you’re down. Still:

    Tidings of Comfort and Joy!

    1. Howard Beale IV

      Ah, yes, the ‘ole professer has some wonderous takes that one of this line of verses made it into the Unix motd (message of the day):

      “Hark the Herald Tribune sings / advertising wonderful things”.

  3. Savedbyirony

    What a wonderful post. Truly, Last night I was hoping people would share music here today. Thanks for the NC gift.

    Ever since 1988 when this concert first aired my mother and I would watch this program sometime on each Christmas day, with her singing joyfully along. She loved to sing, especially in a choir and PP&M were her type of music and concert audience. After a long illness, with this last year being absolutely horrendous due to all too common nursing home neglect and exploitation, she died this past September. For the first time in over thirty years I watched this concert last night after midnight mass, alone, and wept like fool at moments. Partly as a release from all the pent up stress over her care and treatment this past year, and partly because her voice was not part of the songs.

    I include this carol because I have always loved it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2J-VqbGejFA

    I hope all here have a peaceful day and thanks for all the hard work, commentary and company of this past year.

  4. The Rev Kev

    Christmas night here….so much food….too much…hard to reach keyboard over belly. That is the thing about Christmas – you get memorable ones and you get one that you would rather forget. Having an elderly parent or parents makes it harder and my mother barely knew that it was Christmas last year and now she will never have another. But we only ever have so many so we may as well try to make them as good as possible.
    In any case, it is winter in America and I have often thought of winter as being a time of renewal. A time to look back over the year and reflect where you have been and where you want to go next year. I certainly loved the selection of Christmas songs with a few favourite musicians thrown in such as Vivaldi, K.D. Lang and Handel. Along with a wish for a merry Christmas, may I offer another song to that list?


  5. larry

    Thanks for KD Lang. Not as all conventional. It was something else. Boy, can she hold those notes. Awsome.

    I didn’t know you were injured. I hope you make a quick and full recovery. Have a good Xmas and may the New Year be better than the last one.

    Be well.

  6. ShawnD

    Not Christmas music but a CBC radio tradition I stumbled upon last night while driving home from a family Christmas eve. A reading of “The Shepherd“.

    Cheers all!

    1. JEHRr]

      Being a regular listener to CBC, I have heard The Shepherd many times and it still grabs me emotionally.

      Thanks for the double whammy–KD Lang and Leonard Cohen. What a pair!

      1. wilroncanada

        Another regular CBC listener here. Discovered “The Shepherd” one Christmas eve on the way to a Christmas Eve service on Salt Spring Island in the early 1980s. Sat in the car listening and was late getting children into costumes for the regular pageant. Have listened to it almost every year since. Bought a tape of “Fireside” Al Maitland reading this and other stories. The CBC has always provided this kind of program, for better or worse, usually better.
        You can look it up on UTube now.

  7. anon y'mouse

    Merry Christmas, NC. Merry Christmas to the elves who make it run.

    Maybe your friend would be willing to come for Boxing Day?

    Time to clean the house around here…

  8. ChiGal in Carolina

    Ah Yves, thanks for showing your pensive side as well as adding some Cash to my Christmas!

    My 90yo mother has decided she wants to try stopping eating and drinking to take herself out. She is increasingly dependent and fragile and has been ready to go for a while now but none of her conditions (painful spinal stenosis, sciatica, and arthritis in her shoulders and knees; breast cancer she opted not to treat; and aortic valve stenosis; not to mention pesky little things like bladder prolapse and chronic digestive issues (she has just recently had to give up coffee! and no longer drinks wine because alcohol doesn’t taste good anymore) seem likely to oblige any time soon. Since in this benighted state hospice considers that suicide, she is exploring options for a private nurse as she doesn’t think she can do it without assistance.

    Last night for Christmas Eve I prepared her favorite scalloped oysters using a slightly different recipe and they were the absolute best ever—she was unable to resist a generous second helping! My gift to her was a book which I will read to her (failing eyesight makes reading as much as she used to difficult). We had music and candles and a tree. It was a lovely evening and I feel at peace spending today on my own opting out of toxic family.

    Merry Christmas to Yves, Lambert, and Jeri-Lynn and to all the fellow travelers in the commentariat.

    p.s. well meant I know, but I cringed reading the advice to Yves re managing what are now chronic conditions that developed from injuries. She has posted many times on the importance of strength training and shared her extensive knowledge of what the body needs. We all know the grit and determination she shows in pretty much every aspect of her life.

    Just sayin, Yves, we do listen.

    1. Anon

      Starvation as death inducer requires substantial fortitude. A relative of mine did this. Doctors, who weren’t allowed to intervene, indicated it is a painful exit . Look into a visit to the Oregon coast, a contemplative view of the Pacific and enlightened end-of-life hospice opportunities there.

      Happy Chistmas to All and . . .

    2. Stillfeelinthebern

      Please know I am with each and every one of you in spirit as you are with your parents in their final days.

      I read and remember how it felt with mine. It was agony, because, the “system” and not really having a clue what to expect, yet the best knowing my parents trusted me to be there for them in the end. I greatly appreciate that you write about your experience. It’s a previous gift.

  9. Arizona Slim

    Yves, I can relate to the kind of holiday season you’re having. Oh, can I ever.

    No words can describe the feeling that goes with realizing that your mother may be heading toward another leg down. That’s how I felt last Christmas, and it was a truly lousy day.

    Mom passed in July, and I. Do. Not. Feel. Like. Celebrating. Christmas.

    So, I’m not. And that’s okay.

    Yves, and everyone else, if you’re interested in joining my holiday boycott, I’ll welcome you with open arms.

    1. sd

      Sincere condolences on losing your mother this year. It takes a piece of you in a way that is unexpected. This is also my first Christmas without my mother. I don’t really the know why it’s so challenging, but it is. Looking forward to 2020.

      So, not quite a boycott, Christmas over here is just a bit dialed down and subdued this year. I opted to indulge myself with a breakfast of bagels, scones and smoked salmon. And in my mum’s honor, I’m having Scottish mincemeat with bourbon and ice cream for lunch.

      Spread kindness where you can, the world needs more if it.

      Merry Christmas, seasons greetings, to Yves, Lambert, Lynne and the entire NK commentariat for creating an island of sanity in a world gone mad. Thank you for all that you do.

      1. Arizona Slim

        Appreciate your support, sd!

        Getting off to a slow start this morning. But the rainstorm that rolled in yesterday is moving away from Tucson. I think I’ll go for a bike ride later today.

    2. ChiGal in Carolina

      Good for you, Slim. Maybe go to a matinee of the new movie, Knives Out. Might suit your mood. Come to think of it, from what I’ve heard, many in the commentariat might enjoy it; I’m going on Friday.

  10. Susan the Other

    Yves, please get your feet up. Just kick back. Maybe a little CBD oil – everyone I know swears by it. And your mom will rally when the sun comes back; Christmas is enough to break everyone’s heart.

  11. Michael Fiorillo

    No celebrating Baby Jesus without giving props to Mommy: this jewel (“Ave Maria No Morro”)by Brazilian singer Monica Salmaso might make a Believer out of you: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpGcA-u3-vQ

    Merry Happy to all, and many thanks to Yves, Lambert and Jerri-Lynn for providing nourishing sanctuary for seekers…

    1. MichaelC

      Thank you for that peaceful and beautiful gem.
      Your, and everyone else’s sharing on this thread gives me comfort and hope that perhaps the MSM propaganda and ‘conventional wisdom will pivot in our favor in this cycle.

      The holidays may be a time for sentiment, but every day I come for crital analysis, and the holiday greetings exchanged here are consistent w the daily exchanges.

      So thank you all for keeping me grounded and focused and hold your loved ones close

  12. The Heretic

    Merry Christmas to you, Lambert, and the whole of Naked Capitalism community.

    may you recover quickly from you injury.

    To all, may we all enjoy good health, peace and harmony in the new year.

  13. Joe Well

    Instead of plutocratic luxury, your life’s work has brought you thousands of grateful readers and countless Calpers pensions rescued, and I’m sure many other benefits to society.

    Merry Christmas and thank you.

  14. Krystyn Walentka

    Christmas or not, thanks to Yves and Lambert for the work and time and love they put into this sanctuary, and the great community of open minded people commenting and supporting each other here.

    Yves, he very fact that you are comparative in your suffering tells me more about the person you are than you know.

    And now, getting back to all things austeric:

    Father Christmas, The Kinks

  15. Bazarov

    Merry Christmas, Naked Capitalism!

    Even though I don’t comment very often, I read NC religiously and look forward especially to the comments.

    My love to everyone!

  16. RWood

    Here, from Ugo Bardi:

    Actually, the Sicut Cervus is not just a beautiful harmony, it is something more. Its theme is a thirsty deer looking for water. It says, “Sicut cervus desiderat ad fontes aquarum, ita desiderat anima mea ad te Deus.” Which you can translate as: “As a deer longs for a spring of water, so my soul longs for you, oh God.” And that, I think, can express the burning desire of the West, the angst for something that Westerners themselves don’t understand but have been seeking for centuries with such a reckless enthusiasm that they set half of the world on fire. And, whatever it was that they were seeking, it seems clear that they didn’t find it. Today, the parable of the Western world domination seems to be mostly concluded, even though it still flares here and there. But there remains to us something distilled from so much ardor, the music of a remote age when our ancestors had managed to create something eerie and beautiful that we can still admire, today: polyphonic music.

    Peace to you all.

  17. eg

    Joyeux Noel!

    My first bike was a Christmas gift — a green banana seat beauty circa 1970. As we lived under mountains of snow on the island of Montreal at the time, I learned to ride it in our unfinished basement in the shadow of the oil furnace…

    1. RMO

      That is the bit I used to introduce .my wife to SCTV the first Christmas we were dating! Nothing beats a Leutonian Christmas! She had seen many of the SCTV alumni in other contexts but it was a pleasure to show her how talented and wide ranging these people were.

  18. mpalomar

    Best to all at NC as the light turns once more to the Northern hemisphere. Seasons nearly miraculous in accord with the orbit and tilt of the earth that transports each of us on our ways.

    One of the joys of childhood winters, trudging up and racing down a snowy neighborhood hill on a spiffy Flexible Flyer or Lightning Glider

    And a poem by liz B who spent some formative years near here on an art I have yet to master.

    One Art By Elizabeth Bishop

    The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
    so many things seem filled with the intent
    to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

    Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
    of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
    The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

    Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
    places, and names, and where it was you meant
    to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

    I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
    next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
    The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

    I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
    some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
    I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

    —Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
    I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
    the art of losing’s not too hard to master
    though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

  19. richard

    Yves, thank you and everyone here for helping me organize my thinking, and even change my thinking on many topics. NC is such a big part of my life, and what I learn here insinuates itself everywhere, even unto the smallest parts of my existence, teaching a second grade classroom, or deciding what to find out about next, or just shopping or cleaning up. To take one example, yes, mmt does come into play in second grade. After some exposure to this idea, i decided that my lifelong instinct of hating false/arbitrary scarcities was not just some personal idiosyncrasy, but had a basis in shared experience and deserved being reflected in my practice. It is reflected to some degree in how I talk about common materials. I won’t pretend we’re short on snack if someone is hungry and it’s not snack time, or crafts materials if someone has a sprawling, ill-designed, over-budgeted :) 2nd grade project. We will take time at least to reflect on our use of common materials, and we do learn about the raw materials things come from, and problems of waste. But I won’t pretend we don’t have it.
    It is even reflected a little in how I budget my time: I try to not pretend that it is in short supply either. This is a bit more of a mental trick, since i do only get 6.5 hours a day. But in education, especially with small children, so much of what we do is budgeted down to 5 minute segments, and there are institutional pressures to follow a pretty strict schedule. I’ve found myself more able to flexibly adapt to human needs that conflict with this schedule, from everyday arguments to symptoms of depression, since learning more about mmt. Okay, maybe not a direct connection, but I play it that way:)
    Anyway, all this is just my way of showing how different i am from just meeting you, and the others here at nc. Thanks and good karma are owed from above and in abundance.

    1. Carla

      Thank you for this Christmas gift, richard… I opened it this boxing day morning having been too busy yesterday. Applying MMT to teaching second grade — I love it!

  20. Jeff W

    One of my favorites, by the velvety-voiced Korean “King of Ballards,” Sung Si Kyung (성시경)’s Winter Wonderland album here. [Each song is time-stamped in this comment.]

    And, because nothing says Christmas quite like Mariah Carey and Queen, here’s “Don’t Stop Christmas Now,” which gets points for creativity (or something) at least.

    Happy holidays, everyone, and a joyous 2020!

  21. smoker

    Oh my, sounds like there are a number of stormy holidays going around this year, hugs to all having them.

    Very sorry about your mom, and hoping maybe it’s a temporary reaction to the horrid bank treatment.

    And really sorry (sounds like hips or ankle[s]) about your ailments while taking care of a loved one – when it rains, it fricking storms. Hopefully part of it is the winter weather, as certainly hips will do.

    If you and your mom like it, perhaps some chicken broth/soup with garlic, saltines, and ginger ale and comfy bathrobes, slippers, and a favorite and simple pastime, or movie; or just heartfelt conversation. I’m sure your local neighbor can come around to understanding your circumstances, if they can’t it’s on them.

    Oh and those Christmas snow vehicles, and training wheelers. I slammed dead on into a tree which grew in the middle of the sidewalk, on an extremely steep hill; thankfully I was lucky, with no severe damage.

    Oh lord, sigh, an old favorite, unsolicited song just instantly popped up in my head after I wrote that last sentence Those were the days my friend …

      1. smoker

        Oh my, just noticed your comment – while hoping one comes out of holiday moderation below – you just made my bleak day (a bleak, but pretty large, smile you gave me!).

        THE TREE was fricking enormous at that time, near the assassination of John F. Kennedy, likely an oak, maple, or elm tree (in which case it may have died shortly after I didn’t even dent it, actually in any case, the city may have made an ordinance against huge trees in the dead center of a sidewalk). I still don’t recollect why I was paralyzed from getting out of its way, at least to one side of it; the street, I instinctively knew to be a no-no by that time, I had already sat on a curb helplessly watching the hit and run fate of a cat I had adopted days earlier).

        Other details: The bike was turquoise, in case the tree is still alive and THE LAW wants to track me; there was a Piggley Wiggley [sp?] at the end of the incredibly steep hill.

    1. D.M. Dunkle

      The Little Drummer Boy is one of my very favorite tunes. Hope today is a better one for you and your mother, Yves. Happy 2020!

  22. boz

    Ave Maria – Chris Cornell


    A Christmas staple for me… and forever poignant given his untimely passing.

    Somewhere in the Christmas mystery there is a joyful but terrifying message for us all.

    Thanks again to all the NC staff and the commentariat, for this beacon in a world that seems ever darker and maddening at the years go by.

    Happy holidays to all however you choose to use the day.

    Joy to the World!

  23. ChrisFromGeorgia

    Merry Christmas! Don’t feel too bad about the friend you offended. You can always apologize. If they’re really a friend they’ll get over it. And my motto these days is, if I’m not offending at least one person or so a week, I am not trying hard enough.

  24. Kate

    Our Christmas kicked off with my 21 year old son getting violently car-jacked. We spent the night of the 23rd in Highland Hospital’s ER (Oakland’s county hospital–as crazy as you might imagine ); fortunately he sustained mostly abrasions, plus a broken wrist. We spent the 24th recovering his ruined car from the grifting lot where the police had it towed. All this has only underscored the power of the small traditions, the childhood memories, to carry us through hard or dark times….. I wish a peaceful Christmas to this community and gratitude for the unfailing strength, philosophy and humor you all bring to my days.

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield

      That’s terrible! Hope he makes a speedy recovery.

      Merry Christmas to all and best wishes for a healthy and joyous 2020.

    2. smoker

      So many politically sanctioned injustices going on, so increasingly little time to forewarn others of them

      I wanted to respond when you first wrote your comment above, but it brought such a visceral reaction of memory recall in a year that’s been so loaded with unjust blows to my loved ones and myself, it’s mind boggling, I couldn’t. I’m always surprised that some can easily write about events that left them utterly traumatized, and not at all saying you’re one of them who found it easy.

      First of all, what a hideous thing to happen to your son. So sorry he had to endure that, as did you.

      Secondly, this, emphasis mine:

      We spent the 24th recovering his ruined car from the grifting lot where the police had it towed.

      A loved one, who works full time in a highly talented profession which makes dirt for income (with a car as an absolute must) after repeated prior blows, this last year alone, which will surely make them homeless quite soon (can’t just move to another state and start the profession a new,) had their 1990’s used car stolen in a San Jose Mall, in broad daylight and just yards away from very busy companies.

      First, the police in a huge metro area (San Jose, California) for some insane reason did not check automatically for a lojack tracking device with the VIN (Vehicle Id Number) as the identifier, until repeatedly pestered to do so (it didn’t have a lojack device, but it is standard procedure to check for one as the lojack device transfers for free to any new owner). Then, when they found the car parked on a residential street, gave no opportunity to retrieve it prior to towing, despite the fact that within about an hour of being notified that the car was found, we went to pick it up. Over $200 and the towing lot the City has a contract with treated us like criminals, and we were not at all forewarned about the fact that an after market theft device (installed by a prior owner), was draining the battery, even though they most likely had to charge the one year old AAA battery before we picked it up.

      San Francisco, at least, instituted 48 hour laws to slightly protect those (RESIDENTS ONLY) whose cars are stolen in San Francisco from such grifter fees imposed on victims who are San Francisco residents, and usually poor; which grifters fees – all over the state of California – are most likely shared in some manner with the Law Enforcement which gave the grifters the contract. My loved one’s Local State Rep office, when told of this, offered no legislation sponsoring whatsoever. The most commonly stolen cars in the California Bay Area are 1990’s – early 2000’s Hondas and Toyotas owned predominantly by persons being increasingly pushed into homelessness.

  25. Jen

    Yves, thank you for the wonderful musical interlude and the incomparable NC commentariat for adding their favorites. Thank you, much more, for creating this community.

    No Christmas of mine is complete without the Pogues Fairy Tale of New York. So here you go:


    Wishing a better time for all in 2020.

  26. ewmayer

    Allow me to add a little note along the originally intended “gift giving” lines, using the Flexible Flyer as a backdrop. Said sled was obviously made in-country back in those days … thanks to miracle of globalization, were it still being made it would be in China or some other low-wage/low-environmental-protections offshore locale, but thanks to the miracle of injury-accident-lawsuit-lawyers even that is no longer an option.

    So last nigth was at my sister & her family’s place, me and one of the 10-y.o. nephews are playing one of our traditional hard-fought games of Holiday Family Death Scrabble™ – used to be me vs. sis, but now we got her 2 boys into the game, so they can tag-team it: Mom needs to do something in the kictchen, boy jumps in and takes over. So as we’re putting the game – theirs is fairly new, unlike the 50s-vintage model I have at my place – away, I spot the prominent “Made in USA” label at bottom left of the boxtop. Wait, what’s that tiny print at bottom of said label? Aha, “With Some Imported Parts.” More tiny print at bottom of one of the box sides clarifies: the wooden tiles are made in China, and the drawstring bag is made in India. So it seems domestic content is down to the cardboard (box and game board) and the cheap plastic tile holders, which used to be made of nicely shaped wood to match the tiles. Within a few years I expect the boxtop label to still misleadingly tout “Made in USA”, with microscopic print to the effect that the parts are all sourced elsewhere, but “final assembly” and perhaps some printing services are done here. Perhaps even a patriotic “Drawstring of tile bag proudly drawn shut in USA”.

    Yves, I hope the new year brings some lessening of your physical woes … thanks for all you do!

  27. 3.14e-9

    Reminders surface from time to time on NC cautioning us not to fancy ourselves as so exceptional that we become guilty of the kind of group think for which we regularly pillory elites in finance, politics, academia, etc. And yet, and yet … there is no denying the extraordinary spirit of NC and the NC community, as the above comments reflect.

    Part of what makes it so special is that we find support to confront reality head-on. If there is to be any resistance to the corruption and abuse of power by the Davos class and its curators, it must start with knowing what they’re up to. However, that can make for some very depressing links. At times, I’ve been mentally paralyzed by fear, followed by self-loathing for failing to resist harder. Then I read comments about what others are doing and realize that there are many ways to fight back, that small acts of defiance add up, and that I am not alone (although it gets lonely as hell in this rural red district where the closest thing to organized opposition is a small group of pink-pussy-hat wearers with malignant TDS).

    Wishing everyone much love and courage as we cross the threshold into a new decade.

  28. 3.14e-9

    My offerings for the musical interlude:

    1) In keeping with the news theme of all things Ukraine, here is a recording of the Ukrainian folk song from which Carol of the Bells was composed. Evidently, it dates back to the pre-Christian era and was sung at the New Year to bring prosperity.

    2) I’m a big fan of Weird Al, but for parodies of Christmas carols, the hands-down winner is Bob Rivers. Among his titles: Wreck the Malls, I’ll Be Stoned For Christmas, Chipmunks Roasting on an Open Fire, I Came Upon a Roadkill Deer, Carol of the Bartenders (parody of Carol of the Bells doubling as a PSA), and my personal favorite:

  29. Keith Newman

    All the best to Yves and all the NC crew and commentariat.
    Thanks for the music. We listened to KD Lang, then Leonard Cohen. It reminded us of seeing him perform in two terrific shows in Ottawa, Ontario, a few years ago.
    ”Bon courage” Yves re your health related issues.

  30. petal

    Yves, I’m sorry about your mom, and that you aren’t feeling well yourself. I hope you feel better soon.
    Am home alone taking care of a sick dog, haven’t slept in 24+ hours and I’m exhausted. Will be glad when the holidays are in the rear view mirror. It’s my least favourite time of year.
    Here’s my music contribution: moe.’s Together at Christmas.

  31. meeps

    Thanks for sharing this compilation, Yves, amid your own present challenges. The care and commitment you confer on this community is immeasurable. May some part of that bring you strength when you need a boost.

    My son also conveys his thanks, Yves, for turning him onto Emerson, Lake, and Palmer. He’d not heard of them until you shared a track from Brain Salad Surgery in the links. It was at least a year ago or more, but it stayed with him until he ran straight into a vinyl copy of it at the music store while Christmas browsing. It’s now part of his collection. Not only is this site influential for the fearless commentary on finance, economics, politics and power, it’s unbelievably cool. ?

    Seasons best to all, and a good night.

    1. Cynthia

      Perhaps there is no only rock song, then or ever since, that better explores the weighty theme of man versus machine than “Karn Evil 9” from Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s 1973 album entitled “Brain Salad Surgery.” Also, the music for this song was, by far, the most technologically advanced for its day. In fact, the music was so advanced back then that some in the audience truly believed that it was completely generated by a computer. The men performing on stage played no role in this. They were merely there for show.

      Nevertheless, here it is and enjoy:


  32. Janie

    Thank you, Yves, for this post and for opening it to comments. What wonderful links! Thanks to all who share this site and make it what it is. You all enrich my life, teach me, inspire me and move me to tears. May 2020 be a healing year for all of us.

  33. epynonymous

    On AI, competition, and the stupidity of competition.

    So I’ve been brooding for a few days on the news the world champion of the game of Go has retired while mucking about with chess for the last few months.

    Just got let into one of the dirty secrets of chess a few days back, which is that all ‘classical time’ competitions between grand masters end in a draw. Just like predicted by “WarGames” the movie in 1983, the only rational choice is not to play! Especially in a world where both sides have access to these highly ‘sophisticated’/’complex’ AI systems. Markets be warned!

    My real point is tied not just to competition, and the endless human obsession with it, and winning. It is about America and post-colonialism. Quite enjoyed the piece (by counterpunch?) on Mexico and the endless cycles of revolution and re-conquest by the monied classes of the West.

    Much like Modern Art, Post-Colonialism has out-stayed it’s welcome and strained the believability of its tenets by its very continued existence.

    One more note on these thoughts from chess. The world’s second ranked junior chess player has gone and turned over to the west after a few years of what one other source described as some unofficial sanctuary in France.


    Won’t dump my chess source here, because they’re not innately political (but even the world of chess is, unsurprisingly) and the rumor is the kid might be convinced (read as- paid off) to play for America instead of France.

    Enough hinting at my point. It is this! America shouldn’t be worried about Iran. It should be worried about shoring up NATO and relations with Europe. Such idiocy! Let the kid play for France and take the hit, bank it under good will and good relations.

    You can’t win EVERYTHING all the time, but America has forgot that. We will lose out in the long run for needing to win everything *right now.*

Comments are closed.