Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, December 19, 2015

MVNews this week:  Page 12




Mountain Views-News Saturday, December 19, 2015 


TABLE FOR TWO by Peter Dills




By Sean Kayden

Originally dubbed “the devils wine” because the bubbles 
tended to explode in the thin bottles, champagne has 
long been the choice (well, my choice) to celebrate special 
occasions for as long as I can remember. January 1st is 
National Champagne Day, and for good reason - more 
bubbles will be served from December 24th to January 
1st than any other time of the year. Remembering that 
only grapes from the region of Champagne, France 
can be so-titled, our last review for the year celebrates 
bubbles from Champagne: Mumm Cordon Rouge Brut. 
This is a non-vintage winner - just like many blends I 
have written about from California, some of the best 
champagnes I’ve had are non-vintage. The wine maker 
has access to over 500 acres of grapes, and the Reims 
area of Champagne produces great juice year after year. 
The Mumm name is rivaled only by the House of Moet 
for champagne dominance. Though you might see me 
at the local market picking up a bottle of Veuve Cliquot, 
for $10 less I can hardly notice the difference.

 Of course, this is not a beverage I would recommend 
drinking on a regular basis, but for a very lasting 
memory of a great occasion, this champagne will surely 
create it! Many of you expressed the need for me to 
keep the prices down in this article - trust me I hear 
you loud and clear - but for a celebration I do like this 
champagne. The Cordon Rouge has a wonderful depth 
of flavor, though some say a little too sweet (I disagree). 
If stored properly and chilled to the right temperature 
you will enjoy this immensely. Save the strawberries 
and cherries for the prosecco, this is real champagne. 
Champagne goes also very well with fried food (the 
bubbles cut through the oils of the food) and will also 
compliment a nice bowl of salty popcorn. Yes, I said 
popcorn. One last tip for the holidays, your sparkling 
wine or champagne will not keep overnight, so once it’s 
opened at the restaurant or your home plan on sharing 
with a friend to finish it.

Closure: Corked

Dills Score

Each week I will give you my Dills Score. Starting with 
a base of 50 points, I have added 8 points for color, 7 
points for aroma or “nose”, 9 points for taste, 8 points 
for finish, and 9 points for my overall impression, which 
includes my value rating.

 Total Score 91, retail $44 on Sale, around $34 at most 
area supermarkets

 Tune into Dining w/Dills Sunday 6 PM KLAA AM 
830 Radio

Find my food blog

Writer/director Tom McCarthy’s “Spotlight” is 
the true story of how the Boston Globe exposed 
the colossal scandal of child molestation and 
cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese, 
which ultimately shook up the entire Catholic 
Church to its core. In 2001, editor Marty Baron 
(Live Schreiber) of the Boston Globe assigns a 
team of journalists from the “Spotlight” division 
of the paper to investigate accusations against 
John Geoghan, a dismissed priest suspected of 
molesting more than 80 boys. Led by editor Walter 
“Robby” Robinson (Michael Keaton), journalists 
Michael Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo), Matt Carroll 
(Brian d’Arcy James) and Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel 
McAdams) interview victims and try to unseal 
complex documents. The reporters make it their 
utmost duty to deliver evidence of a cover-up of 
sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic Church. 

 “Spotlight” is a solid picture as it shows how this 
team of journalists was utterly relentless on digging 
up the truth. As far as storytelling goes, the movie 
has a clear goal and goes through the motions in 
reaching it. It balances between a detective story 
and a newsroom drama. In regards to character 
development, there’s not a lot going on with the 
individual lives of the film’s principal characters. 
There’s some chatter about Marty Baron (Live 
Schreiber’s role) coming in as the new editor of 
the paper, but nothing of any real importance 
concerning the main plotline. Then again, this isn’t 
a character driven story, but plot driven. When the 
victims have an opportunity to tell their accounts 
to the reporters of what had happened to them, its 
significantly affecting. In fact, their retellings give 
“Spotlight” a strong emotional core. 

“Spotlight” is kind of like rolling out a huge carpet, 
eventually it will be all laid out for you. It’s incredibly 
informative as it is consistently throwing out names 
of priests and victims to the audience. “Spotlight” is 
deeply absorbing coming from a script written by 
McCarthy and is co-writer, Josh Singer. The entire 
story is insightful and expressive every step of the 
way. With a terrific ensemble cast, “Spotlight” 
delivers great writing and acting. However, the film 
is unwavering with its pacing and revealing new 
information. The momentum builds very slowly 
as “Spotlight” is on a steady course throughout its 
duration. After the journalists acquire different 
bits and pieces from an array of sources as well 
sensitive court documents, the “story” is finally 
unveiled (published in the paper). It was a laborious 
journey for the journalists to reach the end, but the 
unraveling of this scandal is an important one in 
US history and “Spotlight” is now an important 
film as well. 

Grade: 4 out of 5

Jeff’s Book Pics By Jeff Brown

Healing and Awakening the 
Heart: Animal Wisdom for 
Humans by Laurie A Moore 
(Author), Kathy Glass (Editor), 
Josephine Wall (Illustrator), 
Bentinho Massaro (Preface)

This Book Is The Broken Heart’s 
Solution. For anyone who’s heart 
has been hurt I wrote this book. I 
had to write it because these tools 
tenderly re-nourished my broken 
heart. These concepts led me to a 
deeply satisfying life-experience. 
All that I wrote was inspired by my 
animal friends. I wrote from their 
wisdom so that others may walk 
out of pain. Take my hand into the 
awakened heart, the endless love 
that is here for you, in even the most disappointing 
challenges. I had to write this for all the people who 
will find hope, recover from pain, and go on to find 
immense bounty and fulfillment. I had to write 
this because the tools in this book helped hundreds 
of my clients. I know there are millions out there 
who seek these same tools. I wrote it for all of you 
who believe in love’s goodness but 
feel betrayed by something that 
has happened. The animals are my 
teachers. We welcome you back into 
full love. You are invited home.

Boys in the Trees: A Memoir 
by Carly Simon

Rock Star. Composer and Lyricist. 
Feminist Icon. Survivor.Simon’s 
memoir reveals her remarkable 
life, beginning with her storied 
childhood as the third daughter of 
Richard L. Simon, the co-founder 
of publishing giant Simon & 
Schuster, her musical debut as half 
of The Simon Sisters performing 
folk songs with her sister Lucy in 
Greenwich Village, to a meteoric solo career that 
would result in 13 top 40 hits, including the #1 song 
“You’re So Vain.” She was the first artist in history 
to win a Grammy Award, an Academy Award and 
a Golden Globe Award, for her song “Let the River 
Run” from the movie Working Girl.
The memoir recalls a childhood 
enriched by music and culture, but 
also one shrouded in secrets that 
would eventually tear her family 
apart. Simon brilliantly captures 
moments of creative inspiration, 
the sparks of songs, and the stories 
behind writing “Anticipation” and 
“We Have No Secrets” among many 
others. Romantic entanglements 
with some of the most famous men 
of the day fueled her confessional 
lyrics, as well as the unraveling of 
her storybook marriage to James 

The Silkworm (A Cormoran 
Strike Novel) by Robert Galbraith (A.K.A. 

Private investigator Cormoran Strike returns in 
a new mystery from Robert Galbraith, author 
of the #1 international bestseller The Cuckoo’s 
Calling.When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, 
his wife calls in private detective Cormoran 
Strike. At first, Mrs. Quine just 
thinks her husband has gone off 
by himself for a few days--as he 
has done before--and she wants 
Strike to find him and bring him 
home.But as Strike investigates, it 
becomes clear that there is more 
to Quine’s disappearance than 
his wife realizes. The novelist 
has just completed a manuscript 
featuring poisonous pen-portraits 
of almost everyone he knows. If 
the novel were to be published, it 
would ruin lives--meaning that 
there are a lot of people who might 
want him silenced.When Quine 
is found brutally murdered under 
bizarre circumstances, it becomes 
a race against time to understand the motivation 
of a ruthless killer, a killer unlike any Strike has 
encountered before... The Silkworm is the second in 
the highly acclaimed series. .All of the above from 
Amazon .com

On the Marquee: Notes from the Sierra Madre Playhouse


By Artistic Director, Christian Lebano

Last week I wrote about how most of us in the 
theater were once those little kids with powerful 
imaginations and a yearning to live in that place 
of wonder, and this week I have been confronted 
with it in my own child. My son is ten – many of 
you have met him at the theater as he often tags 
along with me. He is a sweet, funny, loving, and 
exceedingly bright kid who prefers encyclopedias 
over fiction, endlessly curious about the facts 
of being in the world and how it works, and yet 
he still believes in Santa Claus. He was aided in 
this by my partner, a Christmas baby himself, 
who still professes to believe in Santa and all that 
Santa represents. We tread lightly around my son’s 
doubts – when he asks me, I tell him that I believe 
in the spirit of Santa. My partner and I had many 
discussions about Santa as we were preparing to be 
fathers. I was more ambivalent, but my spouse was 
adamant that we would foster the belief in Santa 
until our child decided for himself how we as a 
family would relate to the Man in Red. 

We had a family crisis yesterday when, at my 
son’s school the kids in his class presented their 
persuasive essays and the final one was Why Santa 
Doesn’t Exist. It created some serious anguish and 
upset for both my son and partner and lead to long 
discussions about Christmas and believing and 
how we choose to be the people we are. 

We took him for his annual photo and the Santa at 
the mall (whom my son has seen for the last several 
years and whom he describes as one in a legion of 
helpers that the “real” Santa employs) said some 
encouraging things about some challenges my son 
has faced this year. My son was impressed that he 
knew about them and pleased at the kind words. 
As he left, he turned to my partner and said: “Dad, 
I want to be like you – I want to believe in Santa all 
my life.” And so there it is.

Like all parents, I want all the best for my son. 
But as a man of the theater I hope that includes 
a powerful imagination. A willingness to throw 
himself head long into it – to indulge it, and follow 
it wherever it leads. As a man of the theater I know 
that it will serve him well in whatever profession 
he ends up in, that an imagination will take him 
down unknown paths and will reveal things to 
him that his encyclopedias never will.

It has for me.

* * *

A Christmas Memory is sold out this weekend and 
we only have a few tickets left for the days around 
the holiday. It has definitely struck a chord with 
those who have seen it. I’m so happy that we’ve 
been able to share it with you. A Christmas 
Memory runs through the holidays to December 
27. And Deathtrap is selling briskly – it opens 
January 15 and runs through February 20. I’ll 
share some of the publicity pictures next week. 
Please visit our website at SierraMadrePlayhouse.
org or call Mary at 626.355.4318 to arrange your 

Jeff’s History Corner By Jeff Brown

1.Christmas has its roots in pagan festivals such as 
Saturnalia (December 17-December 23), the Kalends 
(January 1 -5, the precursor to the Twelve Days of 
Christmas), and Deus Sol Invictus or Birthday of the 
Unconquerable Sun (December 25). The Christian 
church heartily disapproved of such celebrations and 
co-opted the pagans by declaring December 25 (in 
350 Pope Julius I, bishop of Rome) as Christ’s 
day of birth, though there is no evidence Christ was 
born on that day.

 2.Evergreens (from the Old English word aefie 
meaning “always” and gowan meaning “to grow”) 
have been symbols of eternal life and rebirth 
since ancient times. The pagan use and worship of 
evergreen boughs and trees has evolved into the 
Christianized Christmas tree.

 3.The traditional three colors of Christmas are 
green, red, and gold. Green has long been a symbol 
of life and rebirth; red symbolizes the blood of 
Christ, and gold represents light as well as wealth 
and royalty.

 4.Ancient peoples, such as the Druids, considered 
mistletoe sacred because it remains green and bears 
fruit during the winter when all other plants appear 
to die. Druids would cut the plant with golden sickles 
and never let it touch the ground. They thought 
it had the power to cure infertility and nervous 
diseases and to ward off evil.Mistletoe’s associations 
with fertility and vitality continued through the 
Middle Ages, and by the 18th century it had become 
widely incorporated into Christmas celebrations.As 
the legend goes, Balder was killed by an evil spirit 
with an arrow made of mistletoe. Saddened by her 
son’s death, Frigga wept tears of white berries, which 
brought Balder back to life. Frigga was so overjoyed 
that she blessed the plant and promised a kiss to all 
who passed beneath it. The kissing tradition appears 
to have first caught on among servants in England 
before spreading to the middle classes. As part of the 
early custom, men were allowed to steal a kiss from 
any woman caught standing under the mistletoe, 
and refusing was viewed as bad luck. Yet another 
tradition instructed the merrymakers to pluck a 
single berry from the mistletoe with each kiss, and 
to stop smooching once they were all gone.

 5.Santa Claus is based on a real person, St. Nikolas 
of Myra (also known as Nikolaos the Wonderworker, 
Bishop Saint Nicholas of Smyrna, and Nikolaos of 
Bari), who lived during the fourth century. Born 
in Patara (in modern-day Turkey), he is the world’s 
most popular non-Biblical saint, and artists have 
portrayed him more often than any other saint 
except Mary.St.Nicolas had a reputation for secret 
gift-giving, such as putting coins in the shoes of 
those who left them out for him, a practice celebrated 
on his feast day (6 December in the Gregorian 
calendar, in Western Christianity; 19 December in 
the Julian calendar, in Eastern Christianity);[38] 
and thus became the model for Santa Claus, whose 
modern name comes from the Dutch Sinterklaas, 
itself from a series of elisions and corruptions of the 
transliteration of “Saint Nikolaos”.

 6.Christmas stockings allegedly evolved from 
three sisters who were too poor to afford a marriage 
dowry and were, therefore, doomed to a life of 
prostitution. They were saved, however, when the 
wealthy Bishop Saint Nicholas of Smyrna (the 
precursor to Santa Claus) crept down their chimney 
and generously filled their stockings with gold coins.

 7.The earliest known Christmas tree decorations 
were apples. At Christmastime, medieval actors 
would use apples to decorate paradise trees (usually 
fir trees) during “Paradise Plays,” which were plays 
depicting Adam and Eve’s creation and fall.

 8.Christmas is a contraction of “Christ’s Mass,” 
which is derived from the Old English Cristes mæsse 
(first recorded in 1038). The letter “X” in Greek is the 
first letter of Christ, and “Xmas” has been used as an 
abbreviation for Christmas since the mid 1500s.The 
above from

 “Sheldon (Queenie) under the Christmas Memory tree” photo by Gina Long.

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