Posts Tagged ‘21st Century Fox’

Letter From the Train 09 10 15 On the train south, with an eerie landscape slipping by…

September 10, 2015

It is a grey and almost cool day as I ride the train south to the city; tomorrow I am making a day trip with a client to Washington, DC. The Hudson River is almost bronze in color, with small waves rocking the boats at anchor. It is a day that feels depressing; I have worked hard to be cheery and not cranky.

Mostly I have succeeded.

Bernie Sanders is “stunned” by the fact he is pulling close to Hillary Clinton in polls in key states like Iowa. Hollywood Democrats are re-thinking their support for her; wondering if Joe Biden will cease biding his time and jump into the race. One headline today from the Washington Post suggested it might be time for Hillary to go into panic mode.

On the Republican side, Trump and Ben Carson, both outsiders, are now doing a bit of infighting, while dominating the field. Carson questioned The Donald’s faith and Trump, of course, shot back. He also took a slam at Carly Fiorina, saying something that sounded like he thought she was ugly. He responded, nah, not her face, just her persona.

It certainly is keeping things amusing if not just a little frightening.

Scientists stunned the world with the announcement of a new human ancestor, Homo Naledi, found in a dark cave in South Africa by a team that was supported, in part, by the National Geographic Society.

That estimable group has now sold the majority interest in all its media properties to 21st Century Fox, including the venerable magazine, raising nearly three quarters of a billion dollars for the society. For the first time in its history, National Geographic Magazine will be a for profit operation.

I was stunned when I heard the news. Somehow it feels wrong.

Today there was a procedural vote to disapprove the Iranian Nuclear Deal. It was blocked by a vote of 58 to 42. Obama will not have to use his veto. It was a significant win for Democrats. We will all see how it plays out over the next decade.

A mist is now hovering over the river, obscuring the west bank of the Hudson. It is barely visible and slight streaks of rain are splashed against the window next to me. It is oddly comforting to be here, sitting on the train and watching the eerie landscape slide by.

We just slipped by Bannerman’s Castle, a structure built in the 19th century as a munitions depot that has fallen into ruins. It looks like a haunted castle, sitting on a small island that hugs close to the east bank of the Hudson. Dark and threatening clouds hover over the river.

IS is offering a Norwegian citizen and a Chinese citizen “for sale” in their online magazine. The Chinese government has not responded and the Norwegians have said they won’t pay ransom. A wealthy individual could rescue them, I suppose. The amount requested is, according the Norwegians, substantial.

To assist President Assad of Syria cling to power, the Russians have sent military advisers and troops to that country, bolstering Assad and his forces at a time when they seem to be losing on all fronts. Syria has been close to Moscow since 1955 and Putin is determined not to let it slip from his side. It complicates the equation for everyone.

In a story that brought me a smile, Queen Elizabeth II of Britain, is now the longest reigning British monarch, having now reigned longer than her great-great grandmother, Queen Victoria. She has now been Queen since 1952 and Britain today is much different from Britain then, wildly more diverse with great gaps in wealth between the cities and the countryside. Through it all, the slow devolution of a great Empire, Elizabeth has been there, a calming presence.

How it will go with Charles on the throne is yet to be seen. But in the meantime, good on you, Ma’am…

The rain has increased. It looks like a scene from a thriller out my window. Soon I will be arriving in New York.

Have a good evening.

Letter From New York 06 23 15 Of Confederate Flags and Media moves…

June 23, 2015

I am sitting in an office in New York that I use once in a while. Outside there are streams of sunlight bouncing off the building across the street but my weather app has warned that severe thunderstorms have a strong chance of occurring this afternoon.

This will likely be a pretty short Letter as I am due at a reception being held by the Producer’s Guild here in New York for East Coast members and I’m heading there in a few minutes. It has been a bit of a solitary day as everyone in Todd’s office is out on a shoot and I’m the only one around so I’ve had the run of the place. Have had a couple of conference calls today but no real interpersonal reactions except for the doorman and the newsvendor.

There has been a fair amount of media news today.

Changes are starting to happen at 21st Century Fox as the company prepares for Rupert Murdoch to give way to his son James. David Hill, a major executive there, is leaving to form a production company, standard procedure in Hollywood when you are being exited from a big job.

Verizon has completed its purchase of AOL and my friend who works there will now receive a discount on his phone service as well as a small rebate on Verizon Fios plus a tablet. Now for the integration…

I spent some time today researching environmental issues out of curiosity after a friend sent me a response to one of my Letters. I have more of that to do tomorrow.

James Horner, who was an Academy Award winning composer, died yesterday in a small plane crash near Santa Barbara. He composed the music for “Titanic,” “Braveheart,” “Avatar” and many others.

Dick Van Patten, a Hollywood child star who grew up to play the beloved dad in “Eight is Enough” passed away. He also starred on “The Love Boat.” He always seemed a decent fellow.

Everyone involved in the Greek Debt Crisis is, of course, scrambling to avoid default at the end of the month. The Greeks put forward a plan that “needs work” according to Angela Merkel but there might be something here they could work with…

Amazon has decided it will no longer sell Confederate Flags as have some other retailers and Governors in three Southern states are working to remove the Confederate flag from their states’ license plates following the Charleston shootings.

I have a fondness for robots, at least conceptually, since I read Asimov’s “I Robot” years ago. Yesterday, a thousand robots were offered for sale at about $1600 in Japan and sold out in less than a minute. They are designed to be emotional companions.

My emotional companionship will come from attending the PGA reception so I must close and be off.

Have a good evening.