No Birthday Would Be Complete Without…

…A fat guy in a dress shouting “Let’s Party!”:

Which is to say, top of the day to you, John.

Oh — and let me just say that this is how I’m sure your birthday guests will approach the mean mannish boy* of the hour:

*Which allows me to offer a song in celebration of the day that I think is waaay better than the usual:

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Images:  Nikolai Nevrev (1830-1904) Protodeacon proclaiming birthday party at the merchant longevity (which I’m guessing is an inadequate translation from the original: Протодиакон, провозглашающий на купеческих именинах долголетие), 1866

F Winterhalter, The First of May 1851, (The Duke of Wellington presenting a birthday gift to his godson, Prince Arthur, on the Prince’s first birthday). 1851

90 replies
  1. 1
    mr. whipple says:


  2. 2
    Mike Kay (Team America) says:

    So Cole is 41. I wonder when his mid-life crisis begins.

  3. 3
    stuckinred says:

    Mike Kay

    Mine waited till 45.

  4. 4
    The Dangerman says:

    Dude in the dress reminds me of John Belushi, circa Animal House:

    “Let’s do it!”

  5. 5
    scav says:

    Now it’s a party. Those pants.

  6. 6

    Google says the Russian title is “Archdeacon, proclaiming to the merchant’s name-day longevity,” which is pretty much what you said.

    The guy does look like he is saying “Partay!”

  7. 7
    trollhattan says:

    McKinley Morganfield! If I haz a musical hero, he’ll do the job nicely, thx.

    Also, too:
    fat man in dress needs fat man in bathtub to complete the Cole tie-in.

  8. 8
    cathyx says:

    John’s not married and has no children. He has no reason to have a midlife crisis. He’s still free to do all those things he dreamed he would do some day.

  9. 9
    mr. whipple says:

    He’s still free to do all those things he dreamed he would do some day.

    True, but now he only has a half a life left to do ’em.

  10. 10
    erlking says:

    In honor of the day, a _Going Down the Road Feeling Bad_ from ’88. A fine, fine vintage. Haters don’t click.

    Happy b-day, Mr. Cole.

  11. 11
    dr. luba says:

    In Eastern Europe, it was names days that were celebrated, rather than birthdays. They were usually pretty much the same, as it was the custom to name a child after the saint on whose day they were born. Since the rate of illiteracy was high, and bookkeeping not the best, most people weren’t really sure on what exact day they were born.

    Additionally, rather than wishing a “Happy Birthday,” it was customary to wish the celebrant “many (additional) years” or life, or, simply, longevity. Even today, Ukrainians sing a rousing chorus of “mnohiyi lita” (many years) to the birthday boy or girl.

  12. 12
    YellowJournalism says:

    Happy Birthday, John.

    Anyone else get the feeling that first picture was the artist’s rendering of a massive belch let out at a family get-together?

  13. 13
    Anne Laurie says:

    “God-botherer reminding Deity (& anybody else within earshot) that the guy paying the tab should be granted many prosperous solar returns”. Seems most appropriate.

    Also, fashion notes, those glaring blue/pink/purple aniline dyes were the very latest thing at the time…Victorian chemists had just perfected the method of producing colorfast dyes cheaply, and the intersection of British imperialism in India & improved steam-loom technology gave them stiff silk taffetas that showed those new colors to perfection. Kinda like florescent colors in the 1960s/70s — they may have been glaring & cheesy, but they had never been seen before.

  14. 14
    Tom Levenson says:

    Well, trollhattan and erlking, if we’re going to turn this into a thread about non-small men making great party music, how about this?

    Or this?

    Or, from bizarro world, this?

  15. 15
    Lolis says:

    Happy Birthday, John. I turned 31 in May and it is starting to get weird, all the things that have been making me feel old lately. It is not a horrible thing, I am just worried time is going by too fast without making it meaningful. For me, adventure has always been a priority and the older I get the harder it is to do, even without kids and a husband. Everyone around you begins to act like old people and their priorties change. Le sigh.

  16. 16
    Tom Levenson says:

    dr. luba: thanks

    Anne Laurie: ditto.

  17. 17
    stuckinred says:


    Lady, I’m 61 and it’s no problem.

    Most things I worry about
    never happen anyway

    T Petty

  18. 18
    mr. whipple says:

    If 50 is midlife, where are all the 100 year olds?

  19. 19
    Gin & Tonic says:

    “Name-day” was more significant than birthday, and among older Slavs it still is. Meaning that if you are named, say, Peter, your birthday is unimportant, but the day of St. Peter’s death is. So on St. Peter’s day, every Peter was feted. And among the traditional blessings was long life — usually “sto let”, or a hundred years. So the Archdeacon is wishing the merchant a long life on his name-day.

    ETA – I see I’m slower than others.

  20. 20
    K488 says:

    Many Happy Returns from a long-time lurker, and very infrequent commenter, who is also the help to a Tunch lookalike named Paul. We illuminate our desk top with various pictures of His Large Majesty, in celebration of both Himself and Paul, and we all (myself, the other Kochel numbers, plus Paul and his five companions) raise a glass (or a mouse, as the case may be) to JC in honor of the day.

  21. 21
    kdaug says:

    Welcome to the Men’s Downhill Race, Cole.

    On the upside, everyone reaches the Finish Line.

    (To be sure, I’m certainly best represented by the white-haired gentleman in the second pic, coming humbly bearing gifts on bended knee. No whiff of snark or sarcasm to be found.)

  22. 22
    trollhattan says:

    @Tom Levenson

    Holy moly, Pavarotti and James Brown? Now I’ve truly seen everything. Nice discovery!

    However, it’s still a Tunch World.

  23. 23
    Mike Kay (The Base) says:

    I think my cat is going through a mid-life crisis. She just turned 9 and she started hitting on the young stud cat across the street, after ignoring him for years.

  24. 24
    MomSense says:

    Happy birthday, John Cole.

  25. 25
    burnspbesq says:

    I wonder when his mid-life crisis begins.

    You’ll know when he shows up at a stop mountaintop removal rally driving a Porsche.

  26. 26
    Martin says:

    Thank god for the jihad against NPR funding. Someone alert the teatards that the soçialist menace has been quelled:

    Liberty University students received approximately $445 million in federal financial aid money last fiscal year, according to U.S. Department of Education data, making LU the top recipient in Virginia.

  27. 27
    jo6pac says:

    I thougtht it was about a party

  28. 28
    Mike Kay (The Base) says:

    Liberty University/Jerry Falwell = Welfare Queens

  29. 29
    Anne Laurie says:


    I turned 31 in May and it is starting to get weird, all the things that have been making me feel old lately. It is not a horrible thing, I am just worried time is going by too fast without making it meaningful.

    If it’s any consolation, a lot of the people just ahead of you in the queue find they’re happier in their 40s than they were in their 30s, and happier in their 50s than they were in the 40s. For one thing, as we get older (I’m 55) it’s easier to see how much “meaningfulness” happened even while we were worrying that we’d lost the chance to have any…

  30. 30
    eemom says:

    the birthday boy has just removed ABL’s latest I don’t dare piss off Jane Hamsher controversial post.

    Real classy.

  31. 31
    burnspbesq says:

    WTH? Who’s the team in the black unis with gold numbers? Is that Mexico, or Wake Forest?

  32. 32
    erlking says:

    @ Tom Levenson. I see your Willie Dixon and raise you a Bruddah Iz with a side of schmaltz.

  33. 33
    General Stuck says:


    Just saw, yep, first Mike Kay and now ABL. Don’t know about the lack of evidence concerning Jane’s role, if any with the bus ads, but there is no doubt. or shouldn’t be she is either a racist, or allows a blog she owns to be a racist one, and someone would have to convince me there is any difference between the two. Good thing no one took my odds Cole would apologize before midnight.

  34. 34
    John Cole says:

    EEMOM- You wouldn’t know anything about class if you were given 400 birthdays to learn.

    Do you have any evidence Jane knows anything about the bus ad campaign or is behind it? Or do you just like stirring up shit?

  35. 35
    mr. whipple says:

    the birthday boy has just removed ABL’s latest I don’t dare piss off Jane Hamsher controversial post.


  36. 36
    HRA says:

    It was an all day open house on my Dad’s name day. I never heard of female name days being celebrated. Did anyone know otherwise?

    Happy Birthday, JC.

  37. 37
    eemom says:

    @ John Cole

    yes, and you do rigorously screen ALL posts here for EVIDENCE, don’t you Cole?

    Just like Jane.

  38. 38
    Tom Levenson says:

    @erlking #32: Not sure I can call, as that’s one large man with a fine voice.

    But one must never fold. Hence, 300 lbs of joy!

    Howlin’ Wolf and Willie Dixon, singer and the song. Watchoo got?

  39. 39
    Corner Stone says:


    Mine waited till 45.

    What shape did it take at 45? What’d you do?

  40. 40
    General Stuck says:


    Taking the post down, and closing comments was pure chickenshit dude. There were other ways to handle this without taking those draconian and demeaning steps. You didn’t do that when Anne Laurie posts her bullshit about the fresh murders of Christians. And assorted other nonsense.

    And it’s not like there is no other supporting evidence Jane Hamsher is a racist individual with a racist blog.

  41. 41
    eemom says:

    @ John Cole

    and how TF am I the one “stirring up shit,” Cole? I didn’t write the post.

    I am just absolutely disgusted that you would betray your own non-censorship principles — which are exactly what made this blog better than most — in the service of someone whose fucking modus operandi is to engage in high profile, fact free slanders of others. Including your own idiot self, Mr. “Misogynist.”

  42. 42
    erlking says:

    @ Tom Levenson #38. Admiration for a hand well played. I’ll defer to the fight a-brewing.
    Thanks for the thread anyway.

  43. 43
    John Cole says:

    Taking the post down, and closing comments was pure chickenshit dude.

    Is your internet broken? Are you unable to follow the link in the post?

    Am I not allowed to exert any editorial control?

  44. 44
    Mark S. says:

    Since I just wished you a happy birthday on a dead thread from eight hours ago, I should probably do it again:


  45. 45
    Corey says:

    @eemom – Dude, the post was factually incorrect. ABL made something up (that the buses running this unconnected-to-Jane-Hamsher ad primarily served black neighborhoods) and then used it to call “Jane’s” “actions” racist.

    Sure, Hamsher’s a tool. But there’s no need to make shit up to attack her.

  46. 46
    Corner Stone says:

    @John Cole
    Hey Cole. How does your CNN moment feel? I’m sure it’s going to get better soon.

  47. 47
    WaterGirl says:

    @ stuckinred

    I will try one last time to ask you when your trip to C-U is. Any more than this and I will feel like a stalker. (this is my third time)

    Also, all praise to stuckinred for your comment a few days ago about the zagg keyboard for the ipad. I ended up ordering and it looks very cool.

    On the downside, after placing that order, my debit card was compromised, someone tried to charge a 500+ item on my card in spain and on the same day that happened i am suddenly on someone’s spam list, as I have gotten about a zillion spam messages i have never received before. Did anything like that happen to you after you ordered your zagg keyboard?

    Edit: where are my manners? Happy birthday, John Cole! That makes it even suckier that bambi ate all your tomatoes.

  48. 48
    General Stuck says:

    Am I not allowed to exert any editorial control?

    Of course you can, It’s your blog and you can use whatever control you want. I was just saying the way you did it was crappy and overbearing, imo. It’s just my opinion, that of a fake General on the internet.

  49. 49
    LGRooney says:

    I’ll raise a glass of Nadurra in the kid’s honor. I can say kid because I’ve got 2 years and 354 days on him. Mazel tov!

  50. 50
    hamletta says:

    Happy birthday, Mr. Cole!

    And I just want to chime in some support for your decision. I love ABL, but that was not her best work. It was thinly-sourced enough to warrant a takedown.

    Jane Hamsher’s an asshole, no doubt about it. And whoever is behind the bus campaign is an idiot. But you need to show your work.

  51. 51
    Corner Stone says:

    “Let’s Party!”

  52. 52
    General Stuck says:

    Cool, it’s back up. Now ABL. it is your turn to explain how Jane is connected to these bus ads. If there is no evidence of that, then you need to mea culpa.

  53. 53
    eemom says:

    @ General Stuck

    the point is that his primordial terror of and/or attraction to Jane Hamsher is the one and only thing that has EVER prompted him to this, um, exertion of “editorial control.”

    There’s been all kinds of moronic shit posted here by all kinds of people. Quite a lot of it was FACT FREE, and none of it was EVER taken down.

    But THIS? Oh, this is……different.

  54. 54
    John Cole says:

    I hate all of you people.

    This birthday sucks.

    Fuck off and die.

  55. 55
    eemom says:

    @ hamletta

    I will say something here that I once did at FDL.

    What a bunch of starfuckers.

  56. 56
    Mark S. says:

    @Corner Stone:

    What’s a CNN moment?

  57. 57
    John Cole says:

    the point is that his primordial terror of and/or attraction to Jane Hamsher is the one and only thing that has EVER prompted him to this, um, exertion of “editorial control.”

    Oh, good lord.

  58. 58
    General Stuck says:

    Personally, I quit even acknowledging birthdays. They only make you older.

  59. 59
    hamletta says:

    Tom Levenson, I love that first painting! It shows the pure joy of singing, even if you’re not that good (witness the lady and child on the right, who are less than charmed).

    I need to share it with the rest of my church choir!

  60. 60
    hamletta says:


    What a bunch of starfuckers.

    Fuck you.

  61. 61
    eemom says:

    @ John Cole

    awaiting other examples of when you’ve removed a post because it was “thinly sourced.”

    Take your time.

  62. 62
    slag says:

    Well, this is going well. Happy bday again, JC!

    But more to the point…
    Does anyone want to suggest a good quality monitor (and speakers) compatible with Mac and Wii (RCA plug)? Looking only to watch movies and play video games.

  63. 63
    Corner Stone says:

    @Mark S

    What’s a CNN moment?

    When CNN hired Erick Erickson(sp) Cole prognosticated the truth. At some point, Erick would do or say something damaging to CNN and they would have to deal with it.
    And when that happened, that CNN moment, Erick would play the hoooge victim card and CNN would look like a complete fucking fool for ever giving Erick the space to damage them.
    So here we see Cole’s CNN Moment.
    ABL has been damaging his “brand” for some time but he hasn’t done a damn thing about it. Now she goes so far off the rails Cole decides it doesn’t make sense to let it continue. And then does something “editorial” about it.
    And gets roundly fucking hounded by the utter assholes he has given an opening to.
    Now we see he’s capitulated.

  64. 64
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    And before the haters pile on ABL- I like her, and will have her back when I think she is right.

    That just doesn’t sound right to me but it’s your house so run it as you may. Putting the post back up and not letting the cards fall as they may by allowing further discussion/hashing it out, which could include a mea culpa by ABL if proven wrong (as you have done in the past), seems very un-Balloon-Juice-like.

    But you’re the boss here and it’s your call.

  65. 65
    eemom says:

    @ hamletta

    “oh John……I’m a cool hip chick who’s down with ABL……but you TOTALLY did the right thing axing her post….cuz you have STANDARDS here and ‘thinly sourced’ just doesn’t cut it.”

    Simper away, fangirl.

  66. 66
    burnspbesq says:

    E, you’re both wrong and out of line. Give it up.

  67. 67
    hamletta says:

    Oh, for God’s sake.

  68. 68
    SBJules says:

    Happy Birthday John. It gets better, really. I’m pretty much older than dirt and way more contented than I was when young.

  69. 69
    hamletta says:

    Canapé, anyone?

  70. 70
    Nicole says:

    Happy birthday, John, and many more that don’t “suck.”

  71. 71
    Matt says:

    I know everybody’s all interested in ABL/Hamsher fight club (or something) but Happy B’day John Cole. And just for reference from an old Russianist, the Nevrev painting is usually translated as “A Protodeacon Sings Happy Birthday (wishes a “long life”) at the Merchants’ Name Day Party.” As bunch of folks have noted, Russian cultural traditions are very different from Western so you don’t wish “happy birthday!” but “long life!” and used to celebrate your saint’s feast day rather than your birthday (which was often similar). A proto-deacon is the fellow who sings those beautiful masses in the Orthodox liturgy. They were usually quite loud as well.

  72. 72
    mr. whipple says:

    “I hate all of you people.

    This birthday sucks.

    Fuck off and die.”


  73. 73
    eemom says:

    @ burns

    Sorry burnsy, I don’t agree. In fact I vehemently disagree.

    So take your pious scolding elsewhere, k?

  74. 74
    Mark S. says:

    Hmmm, play some Xbox, watch some TV, or go argue about Jane Hamsher?

    Decisions, decisions.

  75. 75
    Pinacacci says:

    Really, really?? Happy birthday Mr. Cole! Ignore the crabby haters.

  76. 76
    Pinacacci says:

    er, um, I meant “Long life!”

  77. 77
    srv says:

    If we get Amanda Marcotte to attack BJ tomorrow, would that cheer you up?

  78. 78
    scav says:

    ee? “So take your pious scolding elsewhere, k?” coming from you, that’s rich.

  79. 79
    elisabeth says:

    Just like real life family events ~ someone’s got to piss in the punch bowl.

    Happy birthday, John.

  80. 80
    slag says:

    If we get Amanda Marcotte to attack BJ tomorrow, would that cheer you up?

    Has Amanda Marcotte been attacking BJ?

  81. 81
    Joe Lisboa says:

    What kind of an asshole takes a shit on a birthday cake and boasts about it?

    Oh right, eemom.

    Get a fucking life and a better sock-puppet already.

  82. 82
    shortstop says:

    mr. whipple at 72: I think it was supposed to be a
    parody of ABL.

  83. 83
    eemom says:

    I don’t give a shit what any of you morons think.

    Taking down that post was a craven, cowardly thing to do — and as I’ve already said, without fucking precedent on this blog.

    That said, I give John Cole credit for putting it back up. I’d wish him a happy birthday, but I’d only get a “fuck you” response.

  84. 84
    Ruckus says:


    61 here as well as stuck. And like he said, whatever you are worried about today will be different when you’ve had twice as many days as now. From my perspective life is never what I thought it would be and I’ve lived a lot longer than I expected to at 30. I’m a risk taker to a degree and it’s led me down some roads I never would have taken otherwise. Trying to say, as long as my breathing permit hasn’t been revoked I’ve tried to see the bright, sunny side. Been comfortable and been pretty far down on the money scale. Met some great women, met some stinkers too. Have a few friends, don’t see them often enough. IOW a normal life, just nothing like I thought it would be.

  85. 85
    Joe Lisboa says:

    That said, I give John Cole credit for putting it back up. I’d wish him a happy birthday, but I’d only get a “fuck you” response.

    Boring, predictable troll trolls his/her trollitory. Snooze at eleven.

    Try harder, troll better.

  86. 86
    Corner Stone says:

    There’s nothing better than Hall Monitor allan brauer completely fucking punking John Cole.
    Happy 41 old timer.

  87. 87
    Ruckus says:

    Wow. Just Wow.

    I see not reading all the posts before I start clacking away sometimes pays off. I was happy a few minutes ago, listing to a great music off between Tom L and erlking. And now this?

    Some of us aren’t like wine, we don’t get better with time we just whine.

  88. 88
    debbie says:

    Age, shmage. I got to see Muddy sing that and many other songs in a small blues club in Boston (a basement club named Paul’s-something) in 1971. Underage and drinking at a front table. It’s still the best musical experience I’ve ever had.

  89. 89

    @Mike Kay Any proper geek plans his mid-life crisis for 43. What else is there for you after you’ve been the ultimate answer for a year?

  90. 90
    Chris D. says:

    A better translation would be The protodeacon wishing the merchant long life on his name day

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