Christmas, Christmas at Ground Zero, Cold War, MUSIC, Weird Al Yankovic

My Favorite Christmas Songs #25

“Christmas at Ground Zero,” ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic, 1986

The world was still in the throes of the Cold War in the 1980’s, so this holiday themed apocalyptic tune from the Prince of Parody (dunno if that’s his actual title but it sounds good to me) hits a nerve in addition to being pretty darn funny.  Look for President Ronald Regan about halfway through in the video.  The air raid sirens fading out at the end genuinely creeped me out at a teenager, because fear of someone ‘pushing the button’ and ending the world was still a thing back then.

That’s all, folks!  Thanks for reading, and Merry Christmas!



Blockbuster has been on my “companies I hate” list for some time now because of a screw-up on their part some years ago where they all but labeled me a thief for supposedly not returning a game.  Thus, the news of their slow death (mainly at the hands of Netflix) has filled me with glee.  I am only disappointed that they didn’t buy Circuit City before they imploded; two crappy companies could have been taken off the map at once.  I’ve been noticing signs that The End Is Near for both Blockbuster and Hollywood Video for some time, as various locations in the neighborhood have been closing.

In terms of value, Netflix kicks Blockbuster to the curb: For $10 a month, I get a movie a week from Netflix in the mail AND an all-you-can-watch buffet from their Instant Watch service…or I can rent two first-run movies at Blockbuster for two nights.

The impending demise of Blockbuster and its ilk was made much more apparent to me when I took a trip to one yesterday.  In the past, the lines at Blockbuster on a Saturday evening are as long and as slow as the ones at the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Yesterday was different; there were just over half-a-dozen cars in the parking lot, and just as many people inside.  Instead of the hustle and bustle of familes, couples, and kids sorting through the movies, and debating the merits of Shrek 3 versus Finding Nemo, all was quiet save for the rustling of the employees and my size 14s tromping throughout the store.  The line was nonexistent as I went to the counter to pay for my movies and get my foot-and-a-half-long receipt.

As I walked out, I thought about the company I used to work for.  I thought about the movie “Other People’s Money” and the speech given by Danny DeVito’s character:

“We’re dead alright, we’re just not broke…and do you know the surest way to go broke?  Keep getting an increasing share of a shrinking market.  Down the tubes.  Slow but sure…”

I’d like to say its been nice knowing you, but don’t let the door hit you where the Good Lord split you, Blockbuster.

TECH, Video

Tangled Up In Blu

Someday, I will buy a PlayStation 3.  I’m not sure when that day will be, but once there are enough good games to justify the purchase, I will go out and buy one.  It would be nice if Sony would drop the price on the blasted thing, though, because with $400 I could buy a netbook and have cash left over.

Hmm, now I’m contemplating a netbook.  Anyways…

The impending PS3 purchase has me in a bit of a bind where buying movies is concerned.  Blu-ray looks pretty good on those nice shiny displays at the stores, and I imagine they’d also look pretty good on my 32-inch Sony LCD (its a placeholder, I’m reserving getting the real TV for after I buy a house).

When a new movie I like comes out on video now, I have to decide whether I should buy it on DVD, or wait until I get that Playstation 3 and can watch it in glorious high-definition via Blu-Ray.  The decision isn’t quite so cut-and-dry, though.

On the one hand, DVDs are relatively inexpensive, and while they have to be “stretched” to fill a widescreen, they still look good.  The pretty picture of Blu-Ray, on the other hand, comes at a cost: the difference in price between Blu-Ray and DVD versions of the same movie can be from five to twenty bucks!

Next time you are at a store that sells movies, browse through the Blu-Ray section and look at the prices.  I promise you that at some point you will say to yourself: “No way I would pay THAT much for <insert crappy movie name here>”  Its so ridiculous, you might even say that about a movie you like.

The other consideration is that there are some movies and  TV shows that don’t really need to be seen in high-definition.  Movies like The Matrix would rock in high def, as would anything by Pixar.  In contrast, I could watch Chris Rock or Futurama on a crappy old black-and-white TV and they wouldn’t be any less funny.

So thus we have the question:  “DVD now, or Blu-Ray later?”

The answer?

Well, lets just say I haven’t bought any new movies in months.