While You Were Out: Clooney Meets Downton, Sony Releases The Interview, and Christmas!!!

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Due to the Christmas, this week’s “While You Were Out” comes to you lighter and sans grid. All the same, we’re pleased to bring you the Verily editors’ quick takes on the happenings of this week!

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Let's Do This Again Next Christmas
Michael Buble rang in Christmas week with his Christmas in New York special on NBC. Among favorite carols, the crooner sang "I'll Be Home for Christmas," Elvis' famous "Blue Christmas," and a lovely acoustic version of one of Buble's originals "Cold December Night."

On the Real Holiday Spirit
Feeling overwhelmed by the Christmas sales and commercialized bonanza? Struggling to find a moment of peace? Be sure to check out "Coping with the Commercialization of Christmas" by James Poulos.

The Grinch Who Called You on Christmas
If you get a phone message this week from an automated message purportedly from the IRS, ignore it! Thousands are being scammed with phone messages purportedly from the Internal Revenue Service, a government branch which mainly communicates by mail, not phone. One hopes the FBI will get to the bottom of the Grinch behind this. In the meantime, maybe the IRS could work on not being so easily confusable with scam artists trying to take your money?

Sony Releases The Interview on Demand
After deliberating if and how to release its feature film The Interview amid terrorist threats, Sony has collaborated with Microsoft and Google to release the film on demand. In a statement on Wednesday the entertainment company explained, "It was essential for our studio to release this movie, especially given the assault upon our business and our employees by those who wanted to stop free speech. We chose the path of digital distribution first so as to reach as many people as possible on opening day, and we continue to seek other partners and platforms to further expand the release." Now the only question is... is it worth watching? Reviewers appear ambivalent.

Play about Sherlock Holmes plans to hit Broadway in 2017
Fans of PBS' Sherlock  Holmes will be happy to hear this: The British detective will be coming to Broadway in as little as two years! Not in musical form but as a play—which is how, I'm sure, Sherlock would like it.

Downton Abbey Appetizer
Downton fans cannot miss this short 10-minute skit featuring characters from the PBS show alongside a surprise guest. It will not only whet your appetite for season five of Downton Abbey reaching U.S. televisions on January 4, it reminds you these actors are people who know how to poke fun at themselves.