Arriving From Abroad, And Seeing The Oscars

[Waves.] Hello from upstate New York – about three hours’ drive north of Manhattan – in the Catskills. We’ve made it!:

Windham Mountain ski resort (about 5 miles away), left. Hunter Mountain (about 15 miles away), right. Taken from our house earlier just around sun up. It's nearly all "artificial" snow. [Photo by me, 2016.]
Windham Mountain ski resort (about 5 miles away), left. Hunter Mountain (about 15 miles away), right. Taken from our house earlier just around sun up. It’s nearly all “artificial” snow. [Photo by me, 2016.]
And what a strange winter this is: last day of February and there’s almost no snow. And I mean NONE. Natural snow has been so rare since December, the ski resorts have all had to rely mostly on the “man-made” variety.

The trip was fine. We had a good flight from London. Got the rental car at Newark Airport no problem.

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Let’s Not Forget The Balcony Scene

We seem beset lately with academics being funded to study high-profile, fantasist entertainment. We’ve recently been informed that “Disney Princesses” are dangerous to young girls. Now, for older ones, it’s being widely reported that so are the likes of Love, Actually:

Screen capture of the Telegraph.
Screen capture of the Telegraph.

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Recollections Of Spectre

I’ve seen all of the Daniel Craig James Bond films in cinemas. With Spectre, though, I hadn’t had a chance. Last night, we finally got to a showing before it finished its run.

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If you haven’t seen it and are interested in what happens, the first thing I feel I must point out is that it went by so quickly I’m not sure I recall some of it. If you have seen it, you may double-check my recollection below – if *you* remember it any better than I do.😉

WARNING HUGE SPOILERS:

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His And Hers

Please forgive a Saturday morning ramble. Writing some Christmas cards for mailing here in the U.S. yesterday (I still do some, mostly for “older” relations), it struck me my uncle doesn’t get one this year and will never get one again. That’s the sort of moment it’s toughest: the holidays are indeed the worst of times after losing those you love.

I have one of his later books, which I’d borrowed earlier in the year from my mother, on my bookshelf behind my desk here. I can’t return it to her, of course (this year has, frankly, been awful in our family), and my father wouldn’t care that I have it. So it’s mine now, I guess.

My desk, here in the Catskills. (A little bit of Christmas "cheer" is also visible.) [Photo by me, 2015.]
My desk, here in the Catskills. (A little bit of Christmas “cheer” is also visible.) [Photo by me, 2015.]

It’s the hardcover version, and I was browsing through it last night – and remembering. Glancing at his dust jacket author photo, I recalled him being thrilled years ago when a respected Hollywood star (who you would almost certainly recognize if I told you her name) had optioned one of his earlier novels. Its main character was a woman detective, and she had thought it might be excellent for herself in the lead and wanted a chance to see if it could be produced.

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Welcome To Clooney, Berkshire

Seems I’ve missed this. “Where have you been?” my wife asked. Umm, I’ve been working on my book, that’s where!:

Screen capture of BT.com web site.
Screen capture of BT.com web site.

So the Clooneys have been creating “issues” in the local village.

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Our Reality Is Fragility

Somehow I found myself in an argument over the phone on Wednesday evening with a member of the family in the States with whom I’ve argued vehemently quite a few times before. I had thought we’d by now put that sort of behavior behind us. Apparently, though, I’d “triggered” something in that individual and all hell broke loose from that side of the Atlantic.

The phone was slammed down on me. I can’t go into why and I really shouldn’t anyway. Suffice it to say we have all probably had something like that happen in our lives at some point or another.

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It’s “Schmaltz,” Say The French

The Independent newspaper here in Britain reports that France’s film raters will not give Fifty Shades of Grey an “adults only” rating. That means those as young as age 12 will be allowed to see it:

France’s classification president, Jean-Francois Mary, said that the movie, starring Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson, “isn’t a film that… can shock a lot of people”.

He believes that the movie, which contains nudity and sadomasochism between an entrepreneur and a virginal student, is “a romance – you could even say schmaltz”.

The book was a huge seller in France as elsewhere, and the film will get a wide release there. However, while there have even been protests over the film in the U.S. and Britain about its portrayal of domestic violence, that rating in France is, one might say, a “Gallic shrug.” What Mr. Mary is essentially asserting there is that it’s not really a film that needs to be taken all that seriously by adults.

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And You Ask Where Novelists Find Material?

Here’s a UK TV listing for a showing of The Longest Day. I screen grabbed it back on Saturday. Why? Because it made me chuckle:

Screen capture of The Longest Day listing on Sky, on Saturday afternoon.
Screen capture of The Longest Day listing on More 4 on Saturday afternoon.

You gotta love it. The British do “subtle” like almost no one else. Notice that the British cast – despite John Wayne’s photo – get first national mention. And also note which country gets last mention…. after even…. the Germans.

I love stumbling on stuff such as that. We all seem hard wired to have a bit of a dig at each other. A couple of decades of encountering the likes of that has helped provide me with material in two novels so far.😉

Happy Monday [grumble, grumble], wherever you are in the world.🙂

A Huge International Cast

Saturday morning poignant film trivia:

From the Humphrey Bogart estate's official Twitter.
From the Humphrey Bogart Estate’s official Twitter.

If you visit regularly, you well-know I’m a huge Bogart fan. Films don’t really get better than that one. Not that I’m “biased” or anything, of course.

Also, I am greatly flattered that the Bogart Estate follows me – Me! – on Twitter. His son, Stephen Bogart, occasionally tweets there. Amazing, “social media” today, isn’t it?🙂