Posts Tagged ‘The Interview’

Letter From New York 12 23 14 The Eve of Christmas Eve

December 24, 2014

It is the eve of Christmas Eve and I am freshly back from my friends Lionel and Pierre’s where I had a wonderful Shepherd’s Pie. They will come tomorrow at three for us to exchange presents and then again at 6 for dinner. I am cooking pumpkin soup, a salad of haricot verte, followed by ham, yams, asparagus and other things.

I have spent the whole day shopping for the next three days as I will be cooking for the next three days. I have organized menus and purchased food and prepped as best I can for the Holidaze.

In the background Christmas sounds are playing. I have a couple of presents left to wrap but I’m done. And I’m glad I’m done. It feels good to have organized it all and to have it all [almost all] wrapped and underneath the Christmas tree.

It all feels good. The chatter of all the troubles in the world seems far away.

Who knows the reason the Internet in North Korea went down? Was it a “proportional” response on our part or was it just an accident? I don’t know though I am suspicious.

It might have been the Chinese, who seem to be getting a little annoyed at the North Koreans. Not a good thing – the Chinese are about the only people who actively prop up the North Koreans. Oh, sorry – Putin has invited Kim Jong-un to Russia.

But Putin has his own troubles. The falling price of oil and the collapsing ruble and those pesky sanctions against him are causing a bit of a free fall in the Russian economy.

THE INTERVIEW, the silly movie at the heart of so much controversy, may actually get a limited release in some movie theatres. Something praised by the White House. Congress would like to have some screenings so they can see what all this ruckus is about and they might get it in the New Year.

Outside my window, at the desk where I am writing, Christmas lights burn.

On Friday, I will have a “Boxing Day” party. It’s the day after Christmas and according to some, it was the day the servants got to celebrate in England after having spent the last couple of days dancing on the whims of the Lord and Lady of the Manor.

It was also, according to legend, the day children in England went around with boxes to collect alms for charity.

But, whatever, the day after Christmas is Boxing Day in the Commonwealth countries and I have given many a Boxing Day party and this year will be doing one for about twenty folks, neighbors and friends, a chance to continue the celebration of the Holidays.

I shopped for that too, today. Never in my life has my grocery basket so overflowed! Never have I been so grateful to gather together the elements of celebration. It feels good to be gathering folks to the Cottage for the Holidays.

I love bringing people together at Christmas; it is a natural outgrowth of my upbringing when it seemed that every Christmas our house was full of friends and relatives, celebrating and feasting.

So let us celebrate and feast! Let us sing the songs of Christmas. Let us drink [carefully or take a cab!] and make merry. It is Christmas.

Letter From New York 12 17 14 Up to ourselves…

December 17, 2014

It is dark and drear here in the Hudson Valley. The temperature is relatively mild but seems much colder due to the damp. Across the creek, wisps of fog play through the barren tree branches. Almost all the snow has been wiped away by the steady days of rain.

After my morning coffee, I built a fire and put on jazzy Christmas music and sat down and wrote out my Christmas cards, taking them to the post office and sending them off on their way. It feels like a night to curl up with a good book but I won’t be doing that until later; I am off to the Red Dot tonight with friends for a mid-week get together.

While grey and drear in the Hudson Valley, it is peaceful in Claverack. I feel far from the madding crowd and am grateful that I am. I have one more trip into the city tomorrow for a Holiday party and then I’m here until the New Year begins. I’m looking forward to that.

It will be another extended respite from the world.

And that will be appreciated. It’s not all quiet out there in the world.

The Sony hacking situation seems to get worse, with violence threatened against theaters that show THE INTERVIEW. Most large theater chains are “suspending” their showings of the comedy. Warnings were given to stay away from theaters because there might be 9/11 style attacks.

JUST in from CNN is the news that Sony is canceling the December 25th release of the film due to the threats.

Current and former employees are suing the studio over the damage while they are scrambling to protect accounts by changing passwords as fast as their little fingers can type.

Other studios seemingly aren’t pleased with Sony and aren’t rushing to its defense. Is it every man for himself?

Helen had the face that launched a thousand ships. Sony has the picture that seems to be sinking a studio.

There are other exciting things happening that I will delighted to explore from the comfort of Claverack Cottage. The Rover has detected methane on Mars, one of the building blocks of life. What will Rover find next? I’m hoping that it is a Christmas discovery.

And I will bow my head today and say prayers for the children who were murdered in Pakistan. The country has declared three days of mourning post massacre and has called meetings of all political sides to deal with the Taliban threat. In the last decade, the Taliban, driven on by their absolute belief that they alone are right, have killed 50,000 Pakistanis.

Absolutism is hard to contradict and elusive to defeat.

Before leaving for the Red Dot, I will turn on my Christmas lights. North America burns brighter in December and January with all the Christmas decorations and the difference can be seen from space.

We are perhaps combating the psychological darkness with Holiday lights, defying the literal and figurative night with joyful decorations. I would like to think so; it has been a hard year for many and I know lots of people who would like to see 2014 disappear in the wake of their lives.

It’s not easy though. The end of the year is a marker but doesn’t magically change anything.

That we have to do ourselves.

Letter From New York 12 12 14 Not all storms come from nature…

December 12, 2014

In the background I am listening to Christmas Carols playing softly on Pandora. I have three Christmas stations bookmarked there and I rotate between them and before the Holidays are over, will probably add one or two more to keep me company as we count down to Christmas.

The tree is up, the crèche is set and almost all the Christmas presents are taken care of…

This afternoon I will go out and purchase the last couple of things I intend to give and probably will go on to do Christmas cards tomorrow and wrap the few presents that remain to be done.

I am in pretty good shape this year.

Outside it is a winter wonderland. White, crisp and clean. A family of deer just ran by my window. All is tranquil.

It isn’t tranquil in Los Angeles. They had heavy rains there last night and northern California was pummeled. 200,000 people are without power and there are fears of mudslides due to all the land that was burned clear during the summer fires sliding away.

On the front page of the L.A. Times, there are stories about the storm but there are also headlines about the hacked emails of Amy Pascal of Sony Entertainment and Scott Rudin, the producer. There is open speculation that she may not be able to keep her job post the “racially insensitive” emails about President Obama the flowed between her and Rudin.

Both have come out and apologized but apologies may not be enough. Shonda Rimes, she of the golden fingers who created Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy and owns Thursday nights on ABC, tweeted something almost unquotable about the situation. It was something like: you can put a cherry on a pile of s*it but it don’t make it a sundae.

Wow.

Lots of unpleasant things were said about talent, including Angelina Jolie. And Kevin Hart. And Mark Ruffalo. And and and…

Apparently a lot of executives are spending time on the phone with agents and managers apologizing while also letting them know there might be more to come.

Ouch.

I think the group claiming responsibility for this hacking mess is something called Guardians of the Peace. They object to a comedy coming out on Christmas Day called The Interview, which is about an attempt to assassinate the leader of North Korea. Just how assassination attempts become a comedy I’m not sure but it stars James Franco and Seth Rogen so I am sure there is some bumbling involved.

North Korea denies responsibility for the hack while at the same time praising whoever did it. Good on you, they say.

So it is storming in California and not all the storms are of the natural kind.