Once again, the terrorists have won. Sony Pictures announced this week that after receiving threats, it would pull “The Interview” from theaters. Nate Silver estimates that the studio will lose out on around $100 million. The American people will lose out on nothing because if we’re all being honest with ourselves, it looked like an awful movie anyways.
Not everyone thinks the movie is quite that bad. The New Yorker reviews it here.
The thing that I find most interesting is that a human rights group was planning to airlift DVDs of the movie into North Korea using hydrogen balloons. And this is not a new activity (the following lines were written before Sony decided not to release the movie):
Fighters for a Free North Korea, run by Park Sang Hak, a former government propagandist who escaped to South Korea, has for years used balloons to get transistor radios, DVDs and other items into North Korea — not to entertain the deprived masses, but to introduce them to the outside world.
In the past two years, the Human Rights Foundation in New York, created by Thor Halvorssen, has been helping bankroll the balloon drops, with the next one set for January. The Interview likely won’t be out on DVD then, but Halvorssen says he’ll add copies as soon as possible. Halvorssen, whose group also finances the smuggling of DVD players into North Korea, says that the past dozen or so drops have included copies of movies and TV shows like Braveheart, Battlestar Galactica and Desperate Housewives. Anything with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone is also popular.
“Viewing any one of these is a subversive act that could get you executed, and North Koreans know this, given the public nature of the punishments meted out to those who dare watch entertainment from abroad,” Halvorssen says.
“Despite all of that there is a huge thirst for knowledge and information from the outside world,” he says. “North Koreans risk their lives to watch Hollywood films … and The Interview is tremendously threatening to the Kims. They cannot abide by anything that portrays them as anything other than a god. This movie destroys the narrative.”
Who would have guessed? It will be interesting to see if Sony ever releases the film.
December 21, 2014
I was going to write about something else last night, but Andy wanted help with the letter he was writing to our insurance company. So another couple of hours down the tubes. I should have known it was a dream to think I was out of the loop. As usual, it pays to have a sense of humor.
I hope your evening was more fun.
December 20, 2014
Pope Francis has given hope to gays, unmarried couples and advocates of the Big Bang theory. Now, he has endeared himself to dog lovers, animal rights activists and vegans.
During a weekly general audience at the Vatican last month, the pope, speaking of the afterlife, appeared to suggest that animals could go to heaven, asserting, “Holy Scripture teaches us that the fulfillment of this wonderful design also affects everything around us.”
Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper, analyzing the pope’s remarks, concluded he believed animals have a place in the afterlife. It drew an analogy to comforting words that Pope Paul VI was said to have once told a distraught boy whose dog had died: “One day, we will see our animals again in the eternity of Christ. Paradise is open to all of God’s creatures.”
—NYT, Dogs in Heaven? Pope Francis Leaves Pearly Gates Open
Yay, Pope Francis! It wouldn’t be much of a heaven for me if pets and other animals weren’t welcome too.
December 19, 2014
Remember that health insurance issue — they mistakenly sent us a check, which we signed over to the provider — that both their email service and Customer Service Center say has been settled? We received another letter about it:
Thank you for the recent inquiry concerning this account. We are responding to your note that you endorsed the check over to your paid your provider of service. Please submit the provider statement showing this payment was applied to the date of service in question, or remit the amount in full so that this matter will be resolved.
Please make checks payable to [insurance company name] and return in the enclosed postage-paid envelope. If you have already refunded the amount due, please accept this letter as our thank you.
I would have just written that, as we told them before, we don’t have that information, please contact Customer Service at [phone number]. But Andy wants to get it settled, so I’m cheerfully handing the problem off to him.
The adventure continues. I will let you know how it goes.
December 18, 2014
bikehikebabe says her neighbor found his driver’s license — it was in his wallet in his suitcase. I’m so relieved for him. I don’t know exactly when he’s leaving on his trip, but there wouldn’t be that much time to get another ID.
I hate losing/misplacing things, and when I was younger I had a lot more problems with that than I do now. I’m not naturally an organized person, but I’ve saved myself a lot of grief by working on it.
What about you?
December 17, 2014
One of bikehikebabe’s neighbors is supposed to fly back east for Christmas, but he can’t find his driver’s license. And now in the U.S. you can’t fly without a valid identification card.
bikehikebabe thinks his children took the license away from him because he’s too old to drive. One of his grandchildren is coming to escort him on the trip, so maybe his family can get him a valid ID? I wish him luck, and the situation made me think about what we would do if/when we get too old to drive.
The first thing is to keep our passports updated — ours are still good until spring of 2016, so we’ll probably renew them then. We would probably also get a state ID, which means going down to the Department of Motor Vehicles with the following information:
- 1 document of your identity with documents such as:
1 document proving your identification number with
- Your birth certificate.
- A valid U.S. passport.
- A military ID.
documents such as your Social Security card.
2 documents proving your New Mexico residency with
documents such as:
- A rental or mortgage agreement.
- Utility bills.
- A bank statement.
I assume an old driver’s license would also count as a document of identity, since it has a picture, but who knows. Both Andy and my social security cards specifically say “Not for identification purposes.” We’ve had many a good laugh about that.
What kind of identification card do you have? How often do you need it?
December 16, 2014
It was a bright, sunny day down here yesterday, but below freezing, overcast, and windy up on the land. Andy had to clear four or five trees off the road going up, and another three new ones coming home. He did have help with two of them — one going up, one coming down.
What a difference a few miles and a couple of thousand feet makes!
What is it like where you are?
December 15, 2014
I received an email the other day advertising this sabre.
The Authentic Laguiole Champagne Sabre.
This is the authentic French champagne sabre, first used by Napoleon’s army to open champagne bottles in dramatic fashion when celebrating battle victories. Handmade by a master cutler in Laguiole, France where sabres have been made since 1850, the blade is hand-forged from stainless steel and the edge is left blunt—ideal for separating the champagne bottle’s collar from the neck in one fell swoop. In the hands of a skilled sommelier, the sabre opens bottles with minimal loss of champagne, save for the initial celebratory spout when the bottle is struck.
I’m sure it’s a real bargain at $299.95 plus shipping and handling, but we don’t drink champagne, and even if we did I’m sure we don’t have the required expertise to use it. I do enjoy the Hammacher Schlemmer ads, though.
How do you celebrate your successes?
December 14, 2014
Andy did indeed drill the hole in the right spot. He made it big enough for the condensate tubing plus two electrical cables.
So now any liquid condensing in the exhaust duct for the refrigerator will drip into the funnel and flow down the tubing to the drain in the crawl space.
The electrical cables will connect the electronics Andy is designing/building from its place in a kitchen cabinet to its power supply in the crawl space.
Andy has also attached a thermometer probe to the cooling fins of the refrigerator so he can compare their temperature to the room temperature of the kitchen. If the difference between the temperatures is large enough, he knows the refrigerator is working.
That means he could replace the wood panel that hides the sides and back of the refrigerator, so the kitchen looks neat again.
December 13, 2014
File Under “How Dreadful!”: Duchess Kate Recycled A Dress For A Fancy Dinner Party Last Night
Kate Wears Jenny Packham Gown for a Third Time (and It’s Just as Pretty as Ever)
Thrifty Kate strikes again: Pregnant Duchess wears designer dress for the THIRD time as she attends gala dinner with Prince William in New York
What’s the fuss about? Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, wore the same dress for three fancy occasions, all within the space of 14 months.
I’m sure glad I don’t have to worry about things like that. I wear pretty much the same style every day — navy polyester pants and either a T-shirt or white polo shirt. And even most of the T-shirts are same style — gray with the following Sidney Harris design.
I started wearing them years ago, and I’m glad the company still makes them. They still warm my heart. (I have ordered a Consider this diem carped. and this Yay, tammy! Yay, Captain! one, so my rut occasionally does let other designs in.)
Andy’s wardrobe, of course, has even less variety. Remember the fellow who saw us in Santa Fe a few years ago? He recognized Andy but Andy had forgotten him. The fellow didn’t mind. He said, “Well, I recognized your clothes. I thought to myself ‘I recognize those clothes.’ Then I looked at your face and thought, ‘I recognize that face too.’ ” There’s some advantage to being consistent.
What about you? How much variety do you like in your clothes?
December 12, 2014