Random Open Thread

| December 17, 2018

If you set foot in a shopping mall during the holiday season, you’re all but guaranteed to see the festively adorned pavilion marking the presence of everyone’s favorite jolly old elf. If you celebrate Christmas, the sight probably conjures up memories of sitting on Santa’s lap yourself as a child. But now that you’re a grown-up, you may find yourself wondering what it’s like to be the other person in that scenario.

Listening to the requests of small children, all while embodying the spirit of Christmas, might sound like a delightful way to make some extra cash—or it may sound like an utter nightmare. Either way, any mall Santa will tell you that the job is far more than just throwing on a red suit. Mall Santas-to-be often go through a rigorous training process, learning the ins and outs of North Pole etiquette.

And, of course, Santa needs a suit before he can start taking Christmas requests. While many mall Santas are provided with the iconic red getup, some must provide their own, Vox reports. And those suits, especially custom-made ones, can cost upward of a thousand dollars—and real-looking white beards cost a pretty penny, too.

Does the salary make up for those expenditures? Well, according to GOBankingRates, Santa’s salary itself can vary quite a bit. The median hourly rate for a mall Santa is $30, but rates can be as low as $12 or as high as a whopping $75. That can add up to an annual take of around $7,000 to $10,000. And then there’s something of a “Santa elite”—people who are deeply passionate about the job and return to it year after year. These distinguished Kringles, who may progress from mall jobs to higher-profile appearances at corporate events and private parties, can rake in as much as $20,000 every year.

But even the smaller paychecks for mall Santas average higher than the hourly take for most other seasonal jobs. GOBankingRates reports that the average hourly rate for seasonal jobs is just $10, with Santa earning more than the norm.

What all Santas can agree on, though, is that it’s not a job you do for the money. You take on the mantle of Santa Claus because you love the holiday season and want to spread Christmas cheer. The money is just icing on the milk and cookies. Read on for the full list of surprising things your mall Santa won’t tell you.

Read about it here:Santa’s salary: How much does Father Christmas get paid?

Category: Open thread

Comments (69)

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  1. Combat Historian says:

    Worth doing only if you have a gaggle of very attractive blond lady elves in shorty skirts and high-heels helping you…

    • rgr769 says:

      I pulled an unconscious SF E-6 out of his smoke-filled apartment once, but no one nominated me for a soldier’s medal. But then, unbeknownst to me, the smoke was from a pan of burning chili he left on the stove burner just before he passed out drunk on his bed. The SOB didn’t even thank me for saving his ass, cuz the firefighters said he would have only lasted about another ten minutes if I hadn’t broke a window, went in and pulled his ass out of his apartment.

      • 2/17 Air Cav says:

        It’s time to play, Can You Top This?” I once came upon a car stopped in a lane on a street. It was billowing smoke and the windows were up so I couldn’t see who, if anyone was inside. As I was whacking the driver’s side window (sideglass, for the pros) with a fire extinguisher, I learned from a watcher that the driver had left and was alone. So, at least you rescued someone.

  2. Perry Gaskill says:

    I’ll just leave this…

    • NHSparky says:

      Welp, I know what I’m searching for on Netflix tonight.

      Throw in Die Hard, cause it ain’t Christmas until Hans Gruber falls off Nakatomi Tower!

  3. Slow Joe says:

    Mall? What is that?

    I buy everything online.

    • HMC Ret says:

      Slow Joe:

      “Mall? What is that?” It’s a horrible place, Joe, a place where married men are forced to go, often at gunpoint, by their wives. It is a place which should be avoided if at all possible. It is a place where the populations of entire zip codes go to buy stuff they don’t need, only to return said stuff weeks later, which necessitates yet another trip to the, ugh, mall. It’s a horrible, horrible place.

    • 26Limabeans says:

      I watched them get built across the countryside, swallowing up farm land.
      Fifty years later I watch them crumble into bankruptcy and become fields of busted up asphalt and overturned shopping carts.

  4. Ex-PH2 says:

    CHicago Bears 24

    Green Bay Packers 17

    From worst to FIRST!!!!! Bears win! Bears win! Bears win!

    In. Your. Face. Sis.

    • Twist says:

      My BIL is from Chicago and is a die hard Bears fan. Right after my Colts beat the Bears in the Super Bowl I called him. Instead of answering the phone with a “hello or hi” the first words I heard were “fuck you”.

      I’m just glad that the Colts whooped the Cowboys 23-0.

  5. HMCS(FMF) ret says:

    Using AI to identity hate speech – work is being done at Bezerkeley and published here:


    • Ex-PH2 says:

      A.I., huh? Man, I hate robots. I really, really, really hate robots. They creep me out!!! Skynet goes active at 12:00 hours on Friday, December 28.

  6. OAE CPO USN Ret says:

    Someone is about to get a unpleasant Christmas.

    The Sheriff’s Office arrested a Junction City, Kansas man early Saturday morning after receiving a complaint that he was driving to Mountain Home to clandestinely meet a 16 year old girl he had been communicating with on social media.

    The end of the article reads: ANDREW O’BRIEN was determined to be on active military duty stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas. The military base was contacted regarding the incident, and the military police have also placed a detainer on O’BRIEN.


    • OWB says:

      It may be significant to know how old is O’Brien, and if the girl really is 16. If he’s 18, it may or may not be a big deal, if she’s 16. Him 32? Not good at all.

      • NHSparky says:

        According to the presser, he’s 31. You win, he loses.

        • HMC Ret says:

          Well, Merry Christmas MOFO. Hear that flushing sound? That’s your career circling the drain.

          Let’s see. He’s 31. IF he joined at, say, 19, he would have ten or more years active duty. Half way to retirement eligibility.

          Wanted some young strange, huh? Well, you’ll probably find it in the jail.

        • OWB says:

          Thanks for the assist, NHS. Just too much going on to do my own research. Maybe things will settle down in a week or so??

          Merry Christmas!

  7. HMC Ret says:


    Trivia: Who was the first female Navy Chief Petty Officer?
    Answer: YNC Loretta Perfectus Walsh
    Chief Walsh, at age 18, on 17 March 1917, enlisted for 4 years in the U.S. Naval Reserve, becoming first woman to serve in any of the armed forces in a non-nurse occupation.
    On 19 March 1917, the Navy Department authorized enrollment of women in Naval Reserve with ratings of yeoman, radio electrician, or other essential ratings, becoming the first branch of the United States armed forces to allow enlistment by women in a non-nursing capacity. Walsh was sworn in as Chief Yeoman on 21 March 1917, 4 days after her enlistment.
    12 days after Chief Walsh was sworn in as Chief Yeoman, President Woodrow Wilson went before the US Congress late on 2 April to ask for a declaration of war with Germany, which Congress did on 6 April 1917.
    The war ended on 11 November 1918. Chief Walsh and other female yeomen, all of whom held enlisted ranks, continued in service during the first months after the November 1918 Armistice was signed.
    However, as a result of the post-World War I Naval reductions, the number of female Yeomen declined steadily, reaching just under 4,000 by the end of July 1919, when Chief Walsh and the remaining female Yeomen were all released from active duty.
    Chief Walsh continued on inactive reserve status, receiving modest retainer pay, until the end of her 4 year enlistment on 17 March 1921.
    Chief Walsh fell victim to influenza in the fall of 1918, and later contracting tuberculosis.
    She died on 6 August 1925 at the age of 29 in Olyphant, Pennsylvania.

    Thank you for your service, YNC Walsh. You were a trendsetter.

  8. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    Score another loss for Michael Avenatti. He defended Therese “I Hate This Country and That’s Why I Came Here From Africa” Okoumou, the 4th of July Lady Liberty climber. She was found guilty of unspecified charges. The original charges were trespassing, disorderly conduct, and interfering with something or other. In court, she said that “images from the southern border with Mexico gave her nightmares, adding that she couldn’t live with the sight of ‘children in cages.’” That’s funny. Looking at her gave me nightmares.

    • rgr769 says:

      Plus, she seems oblivious of the fact that all the media photos of “children in cages” are either photos from the 0bama admin period or they are staged protest stunt photos. But then why get caught up in reality when you are a prog engaged in an agitprop stunt. Since Avenatti is a tax criminal, he should be disbarred. One of my fave lawers was disbarred for tax fraud.

  9. HMC Ret says:

    Never saw this as being a problem. Anyway, omoron has saved us from ourselves once again.

    The Navy will soon be barred from punishing grunts with bread-and-water diet

    On January 1, high-ranking Naval commanders will no longer be permitted to use one of the punitive tools previously at their disposal: a bread-and-water-only diet. According to NavyTimes, under rules signed by the Obama administration and amended by the Trump administration that go into effect in the new year, skippers can no longer punish lower-ranking service members with a 3-day confinement and bread-and-water diet.

    Per the legislation, called the Military Justice Act of 2016: “Article 15, as amended, would retain the wide range of punishments available to commanders to address misconduct through non-judicial proceedings, while precluding punishment in the form of a diet consisting only of bread and water.”

    The NavyTimes reports that yes, this actually happens: “Bread and water had for decades been an arcane disciplinary tool at the disposal of commanding officers at sea.” The article notes this affected service members on the lowest three tiers of the enlisted pay scale.

    Food, of course, has long been used as a punitive measure in prisons. Nutraloaf—or merely the threat of being fed Nutraloaf—is used as a deterrent to bad behavior in correctional facilities. The brick officially consists of “shredded cabbage, grated carrots, dry pinto beans, mechanically separated poultry, dairy blend, soy oil, scrambled-egg mix, and 24 slices of bread,” shaped into a loaf and baked for 50-70 minutes.

    In addition to banning the bread-and-water diet, the Military Justice Act of 2016 makes changes to how criminal behavior is handled by the armed forces, including protecting whistleblowers, updating the handling of sexual crimes, and clarifying rules about cruelty to animals.

    Yum, Nutraloaf. I loved Navy chow. USMC chow also. Never a problem. Breakfast was the best deal. Eggs, bacon, toast, hash browns, milk, coffee, etc. Started out about a quarter back in the 60s IIRC. Don’t recall how much when I retired in 1991.

    • Claw says:

      Chief, from what I remember when I retired in 1991, the breakfast meal at the Army mess halls was 70 cents.

      Here’s hoping the “etc” you listed in the menu above included SOS./smile

  10. HMC Ret says:

    Anyone in the Portland, Oregon area who can take time to attend the burial of this man who has no known relatives.

    * Call for Attendance (Portland, OR) *
    We have an unclaimed veteran being laid to rest on 20
    December. You are invited to join us as we honor the life and service of US Air Force and Army veteran, John C. Calhoun. He passed away on November 11, 2018, in Gresham, Oregon with no one to claim him. He served honorably in the US Air Force from 1964 – 1968 and retired from the US Army in 2005.
    Graveside Service with Military Honors
    20 DEC 2018
    Willamette National Cemetery
    11800 SE Mt. Scott Blvd.
    Portland, OR 97086

    • 2/17 Air Cav says:

      Thanks for that, HMC Ret. If we cannot be there, we can give him a thought and maybe say a prayer for his eternal rest.

  11. Twist says:

    In North Pole, Alaska Santa is there year round. One of the city counsel members name is actually Mr. Claus. Christmas decorations stay up year round. There is the Santa Claus House.

    In years past when kids would put a letter to Santa in the mail and only addressed it to North Pole it would eventually arrive at the Santa Claus House, North Pole, Alaska. The inside of the house used to have it’s walls wallpapered with letters to Santa. They even have reindeer that you can feed. You can even have them send a letter from Santa to a youngen if you want.


  12. AnotherPat says:

    “Deer Poacher Sentenced To Watch ‘Bambi’ Once A Month For A Year In Missouri Jail”


    • Combat Historian says:

      I notice there’s a trend developing in children’s animal movies to commingle poachers with legal hunters. No better way to indoctrinate and brainwash little kids about banning guns and banning hunting by making them think all hunters are poachers and all poachers are hunters, so they need to be all banned…

      • 2/17 Air Cav says:

        There’s nothing like a bambi wrapped in foil and slow-cooked in a covered pit.

        • AnotherPat says:

          2/17th Air Cav:

          Shhhhh….the PETA folks will start looking for you…😉


          • 2/17 Air Cav says:

            Years ago, at a traffic light, one of those maniacs, holding a bucket with PETA on it, approached my car. I declined to donate but did offer him a lucky rabbit’s foot. He first smiled, then realized what I had said, and walked away mumbling.

  13. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    “I am starting a week of self-care….” Commie Octagon-Cortez What’s self care? Is that like self abuse? I have no idea and neither does she. After saying that, she tweeted, “So I’ve decided to take others along with me on IG as I learn what self-care even means….” She’s the gift that keeps on giving. What a dumbass.

  14. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    A guy named Keith Gwinn spent 20 years in the Navy and then, in 2000, took a job with the West Virginia Department of Veterans Assistance. After a few years, he became director of the agency and, two years later, in 2011, he became the agency’s first cabinet secretary. Good job. Navy pension. Solid. Right now, he’s in prison. Being a service-minded fellow, he took on the job of fiscal officer and vice president with a volunteer fire company. At some point, he decided that he could open up a personal bank account, sign checks to the fire department and deposit them in his own account for his personal use. So, now, he’s in prison.

  15. AnotherPat says:

    Please say a prayer for Richard Overton and his family:

    “Richard Overton, Oldest WWII Veteran, Hospitalized With Pneumonia, Family Says”


  16. AnotherPat says:

    This is for Ex-PH2 and other horse lovers:

    “Finding Purpose; Nonprofit Gives Veterans A Chance To Work With Horses and Themselves”


    • 5th/77th FA says:

      Wonder why we haven’t seen this in the Lame Street Media? Oh, I forgot, all combat veterans are homeless, drug addicted murderers.

      Good story Bro AP.


  17. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    Speaking of needing prayers, I’m off to the MVA/DMV.

    • 5th/77th FA says:

      Well your day just got shot to hell. Hope you didn’t have any other plans.

      • 2/17 Air Cav says:

        It was a Christmas miracle! Got in at prime time, resigned to wait and wait and wait and maybe pick up a new germ. Intesda, I was #3 in line and my number was called AS I WALKED AWAY FROM THE DESK! Tears of joy were running down my cheeks. Elapsed time from parking to pulling out? 12 minutes.

  18. AnotherPat says:

    Wet Willie, you may be interested in reading this story. There IS hope! Never give up! 🤗

    “Government To Seek $830,000 From Navy Vet For Benefits Fraud”:


    “HELENA, Mont. — A 46-year-old Columbia Falls man has admitted overstating his disabilities to receive government payments for nine years.”

    “The U.S. Attorney’s Office says it will seek $830,000 in restitution from John Cicero Hughes, a Navy veteran who pleaded guilty Dec. 12 to theft of government money and Social Security disability fraud. Sentencing is set for April 12.”

    “Prosecutors say the VA found Hughes was 100 percent disabled in 2009 after confirming his multiple sclerosis diagnosis. He said he could walk only a few steps, had no feeling in his left arm and leg and couldn’t care for himself. He received about $8,400 in benefits each month.”

    “Investigators discovered Hughes drove himself to the VA in Helena in January 2018, walked around a grocery store using a cane and used both hands while gambling at a Helena casino.”

    • 5th/77th FA says:

      It really makes you wonder how a faker can get all he wants and can scam like this, while someone with real needs can’t get anything. This is a good example of why there isn’t any money for the troops that are in need. This case and WW’s brother are just 2. How many more are out there? smh


      • AnotherPat says:

        Love the ending of the story:

        “Investigators discovered Hughes drove himself to the VA in Helena in January 2018, walked around a grocery store using a cane and used both hands while gambling at a Helena casino.”

        And the paragraph before it:

        “Prosecutors say the VA found Hughes was 100 percent disabled in 2009 after confirming his multiple sclerosis diagnosis. He said he could walk only a few steps, had no feeling in his left arm and leg and couldn’t care for himself. He received about $8,400 in benefits each month.”

  19. AnotherPat says:

    You Be The Judge:

    “GAO: Navy Training Certification Improved, But Sailors Still Report 100 Work Weeks:”


    • 5th/77th FA says:

      Ok let’s see. We had 17 dead and how many millions of dollars in damage because of errors due to lack of sleep. How many sailors could we have recruited and trained for that amount of money? No amount of money can replace the lives of the sailors lost.

      We don’t want highers signing off/pencil whipping readiness reports, but we also don’t want higher ups working the troops beyond their physical ability to stay awake. Really, no sense in this. It is semi understandable during combat ops, but not for a business as usual, this is the way we’ve always done it.

      • OWB says:

        Put another way: There are times when the circumstances dictate loss of sleep. Practicing it is not necessary. Kinda like bleeding. I can accept on faith that I will bleed when cut. We don’t need to practice that either.

  20. AnotherPat says:

    Someone please help me make sense of this story. How could this former Army Medic received 2 PHs saving 2 Soldier’s lives? There is no mention of him being wounded:

    “Nearly Undefeated Army boxer With Two Purple Hearts In Indy Nursing Home”:


    “In Japan, Willis trained to be a medic. It would be his job to keep his brothers healthy and safe, giving shots and bandaging up wounds.”

    “His first Purple Heart came doing just that during the Korean War, saving a man’s life as bullets whizzed past his head.”

    Let me think back now. They sent me over the nob and over the nob was over the hill,” Willis said. “I went over. I had to go by myself to find that guy that was shot to bandage him up and bring him back. And I didn’t like that too well. Bullets were flying all around me. I didn’t like it. But I went after him.”

    Somehow, Willis managed to cover the man’s wounds and carry him back over the hill. He met a few GIs along the way who helped Willis get the man to safety. That man lived and Willis received a Purple Heart.”

    “Willis can’t remember exactly why he received the other Purple Heart. Kathy Rinks suspects it may be the time he saved his sergeant who had been shot in the head. Willis took off his own helmet and put it on the sergeant after bandaging him up.

    “And he lives,” Kathy Rinks said. “You get shot in the head, you don’t live like that very often.”

    In the mail, soon after, Willis received a letter. It was from the sergeant’s wife, thanking him for saving her husband’s life.”

    • OWB says:

      Maybe it’s just implied that he was wounded or he would not have received the Purple Heart Medal? Perhaps the writer just opted to not provide pics of the scars?


      • AnotherPat says:

        Am scratching my head on this one, OWB, because he claims he saved two Soldiers during the Korean War.

    • 5th/77th FA says:

      I can’t help you understand this Brother. I read it three times thru all the pop up thingies, overlays, shifts, and what nots.

      Could not find one single reference to him being shot. Was a touching story about him and his wife being together at the end. Nothing on being wounded. Back when, you didn’t get another PH, you got the leaf for each additional award.

      I CAN help you celebrate when ROLL TIDE ROLL whups hell out of everyone and takes the National Title again.

      • AnotherPat says:

        The King of Battle! 🔱

        Thank you for the feedback, Bro. I can’t make any sense of that story unless it did not happened as he described it to the reporter.

        It is so strange.

        Thank You for supporting the Crimsom Tide…29 December 2018!


        • AnotherPat says:

          His story told to the Veteran’s Project. He even stated that as a Medic, he did not a weapon. Yet, in the story below, he pulled out a __from his holster. This does not make any sense and does not seem to match his recent story. Also, a Soldier does not receive a PH for frost bite. He said he got “jabbed by a North Korea.

          He also said he got the PH 40/41 years later and that it was published in his local factory newspaper.

          His story is confusing.


          “We was under attack one night and was in this stand up fox hole and I told my wife about it. And this guy this North Korean he come in slipping in on us and he jumped over in the fox hole with me and all he had was a stick with a bandit on the end of it, he never had a riffle. And he was trying to work that around and jab me and I was so scared you know, I pulled my _______ out of my holster. And just like I said I was so scared. Well, I let him have the hole because I cut his guts out, his hands off, I mean you know what I mean I just kept jabbing and cutting on it so. Like I said I was scared. But anyway I let him have the hole. I come on back. And then they left us and we went out on _________ and I went back–we went down to the Fushion and there they sent me back to the hospital.”

          “Lesley Reser:”

          “You worked in the hospital?”

          “Curtis M. Willis:”

          “No. That’s where they sent me back to for my wounds and my frozen feet, I laid in the hospital for quite a whole then they sent me back to Korea again.”

          • 5th/77th FA says:

            May have to kinda give him a slight pass for old age, memory impairment. That story tracked all over the place too. Not sure if the PH was awarded for frost bite or not. Sounds like it would take a FOIA and a ‘214 to get the “rest of the story.”

            Does sound like he had honorable service, just can’t remember all the details. I’m a little fuzzy on some exact dates and times myself and I’m not 80+ yo.

            Flying to Tampa area for Christmas, flight should get me home in time to see the Tide on 29 Dec. They won’t let me drive by myself that distance anymore. Damn a stroke. Hey, coulda been worse.

            • OWB says:

              Yep, with ya on not getting bent out of shape on this one until we discover just how he is intentionally embellishing things for some sort of gain. He may have hearing loss. Or something else. His responses may or may not be to the actual questions asked. Or, he may have had the same difficulty we have in trying to figure out just what the writer is trying to say.

              Who knows.

            • Twist says:

              He does say he got treated for his wounds and frozen feet. I can only assume that the PH was for the wounds and they just happened to treat him for his feet at the same time.

            • rgr769 says:

              No purple heart for frostbite. PH requires a wound from enemy fire. If you could get one for every owie you experienced in a combat zone, practically everyone who served in one would have multiple PH’s. How many oak leaves would I have on mine for the times my medic treated me for jungle rot?

  21. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    The Trump administration is moving on the bump-stock ban. When the reg is effective, folks who own them can turn them in or destroy them. No one who shoots for accuracy would use one of those. It’s a spray and pray approach only. Nevertheless, I would use one for yucks.