Posts Tagged ‘Benedict Cumberbatch’

Letter From New York 01 14 16 Oscars, reunions and bombs…

January 14, 2016

The sun has set and I’m freshly home from a haircut which means I’m a little itchy around the neck.  A fire burns in the stove and jazz plays in the background.  Lights illuminate the creek and I have made myself a martini to sip while writing.  I spent three hours today volunteering for Habitat for Humanity of Columbia County, helping clean up their database.

The stock market didn’t swoon again today, which is good news for almost everyone I know.  It was up 1.41% after falling 2+% yesterday.  I was at the gym yesterday on the treadmill, watching CNN.  They were tracking the market by the minute, which was too depressing to watch while on the treadmill.  So I watched an ancient Kay Francis film on TCM.

It was great to escape into a world where you knew it would all come out right in the end.

Which is what we don’t know about the life we’re living now.  It could go in any direction and we have no way of knowing what that direction might be.

And that, my friends, is why I treasure evenings like this at the cottage.  For a moment, the world seems on hold, even as I am assimilating events from the day.

In Jakarta, IS claims responsibility for multiple explosions in the capital.  At least seven are dead and there is concern that Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim State, which has a secular government, is going to be under fresh attack after several years of calm.

In brighter news, at least three people can claim a piece of the $1.5 billion Powerball jackpot though others may surface. 

And today the Oscar nominees were announced.  “Revenant” with Leonardo di Caprio leads the pack with twelve nominations.  Also up there is “Mad Max: Fury Road.” Not long ago an industry insider wondered why they were even mounting a campaign.  Today provided the reason why.

Alan Rickman passed away today.  He played Professor Snape in the Harry Potter films. I saw him live in a relatively obscure Ibsen play, “John Gabriel Borkman” at BAM five years ago and he was electrifying.  His characters were mostly cold and sinister, very different from the man portrayed in the memorials today.

As I type there is another Republican debate beginning.  Politics is becoming reality TV in more ways than just having The Donald dancing on the scene.  Whose idea was it to have all these debates so far in advance of the election?  I want it over already!  Really!  What did my students used to say?  Gag me with a spoon?

There are two iconic television series I have never seen a complete episode of, much to the amazement of my friends.  One of them is “Seinfeld” and the other is “Friends.”  There will be a sort of reunion of the “Friends” cast in the February tribute to James Burrows who created the program.  Matthew Perry may or may not be there as he will be in London for rehearsals of a play.

My martini is finished.  The fire is playful.  The jazz is beautiful.  I am going to sign off and watch the newest episode of “Sherlock” and then head off to bed.  Have to be up early in the morning for phone calls and meetings.

It’s been a lovely day.  Hope yours was too.

Letter From New York 11 02 15 Working on not to being a cranky old man…

November 2, 2015

Henry Hudson.  Hudson River. Russian Jet Crash. Halloween. The Red Dot. The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.  Amazon Prime. Benedict Cumberbatch.  Hamlet. Ophelia. European Refugee Crisis. Sumte, Germany. Nazi. Turkey. Erdogan.

I am gliding south on the 8:45 out of Hudson, down to the city for a few meetings this week and then will head back Wednesday evening. The Hudson River is still and mirrors the muted colors of fall. A barge makes its way north to Albany. In certain stretches, it is possible to imagine that this was the way the river looked when Henry Hudson first sailed north.

It is so placid a scene that it is almost possible to detach from the battering of the news.

It has been two days since I have written; Saturday afternoon I was having a late, for me, brunch at the Red Dot before heading home to service any Trick or Treaters. Several people were sitting not far from me, chatting rather loudly and raucously about their summer exploits of jet skis and pool parties, dancing and dating.

At the moment, I was reading the New York Times and was feeling very aware of the various crises that are engulfing the planet. A Russian jet had crashed in the Sinai earlier that day. More had drowned in the Aegean and Germany is preparing to settle nearly a million refugees within its borders.

The conversation happening not far from me grated on me. Unreasonably, I wanted to walk over and say to them something like: you fools! Don’t you know serious things are happening?

I didn’t.

They were having a harmless conversation. I have had harmless conversations about silly things, too. And I am also aware of what is happening in the world. It bothered me at the moment because on the Saturday of Halloween it seemed no one was paying attention except me. I was having a cranky old man moment.

Last year, there had been a few Trick or Treaters. This year, there were none. As I waited, I watched “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir” from Amazon Prime. When I finished, I went off to bed to read a book, soon falling into the arms of Morpheus.

Early up on Sunday, I went off to Christ Church, slipping away after communion because I had a ticket for an HD version of Benedict Cumberbatch’s “Hamlet.” He and the production were superb. It is the first time I have witnessed a production that indicated that Ophelia was fragile even before the Prince of Denmark’s attentions.

At home, afterwards, I did some paperwork and read some more and am now heading down to the city.

The Russian airliner is much in the news; it apparently broke up in mid-air and it is being posited that some “external event” resulted in the loss.

In Germany, one small town of 102 individuals is being asked to take in 750 refugees. The Mayor of Sumte’s wife thought it was a joke when they were first notified. It has energized a youngish local Nazi who has a seat on the town’s council: it will be good for his brand of politics he thinks. This is a harbinger of the challenges facing Germany and those challenges also threaten Angela Merkel’s position as Chancellor.

Erdogan has won a big victory in Turkey, giving him the impetus to push forward once again with a plan for an executive presidency, not that it has been a de facto executive presidency since Erdogan took that office. He has been playing the role of both Prime Minister and President as he feels like it, a bit like the arrangement Putin had with Medvedev.

The day, which began gloriously, has turned grey as we have moved south. Mild temperatures are expected this week, a last gasp of Indian summer.

Loving to entertain, I am having two sets of people in for dinner this week.

We will talk, I’m sure, of silly things and serious matters and I will do my best to not be a cranky old man.