TALES FROM TINSELTOWN: A real taste of Christmas spirit - Hollywood joins in on the act

It's just the first week in January and already I've broken three New Year's resolutions. I plan to break another one later today.

Before we wipe last year's slate clean and start afresh with renewed vigor and replenished hope (nice, eh?) there are a few things to address.

For the first time in years I did not get a Far Side calendar from Santa.

Mr. C, are you telling me to grow up and put childish things away? Well, I won't. So there.

And speaking of all things Yule, it seems too much attention was focused again on consumer spending patterns and not on the festivities. Is shopping really the reason for the season? Religious significance aside, shouldn't it be a time for joy and good cheer, gold card or not? Whatever happened to the 'spirit' of Christmas? Isn't it possible to ring in the season without a cash register?

LA has never been a particularly good Christmas town. Too many folks leave, the weather is at odds with the traditional ideal (snow, sleds, mittens) and the percentage of decorated homes is abysmally low. It's probably the lowest in the nation. Clearly, Santa needs a new publicist.

As for the coming new year, it looks to be mellow. It will be difficult, if not impossible, to top the monumental political occurrences of the past two years. Hopefully things will now settle down in our nation's capital so that Americans can get back to being obsessed with Hollywood and its stars.

Steve Martin hosting the Oscars is a great start. And with a potential strike looming this summer, Tinseltown will be buzzing during the next four months. Everyone is working and, yes, some are working here! Imagine - filmmaking in Hollywood! Eat your heart out Canada! We're back. At least for now.

Even yours truly is busy as hell, forced to turn down offers. I've tossed enough bones to my publicist friends in the last two months to build a T-Rex skeleton. (My friends, in turn, have agreed to organize my sock drawer and address me as 'Sir Lawrence.' I think that has a nice ring to it. Very medieval.)

I start work in a few weeks on a movie with one of the world's biggest stars and one of its hottest new talents. And I resolve not to rest, not even for a moment, until they become the two most famous people on the face of the Earth!

Oh, wait a second ... I forgot. It's a closed set: there will be no production publicity happening at all. (How's that for a sweet gig?) Well then, let me focus on my last resolution: to stop drinking cheap beer and partake of only the finest in carbonated malt beverages.

Now that I can do. Happy brew year!

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