April 28, 2023

Lamenting the Loss of the Red Envelopes

I was very upset by the recent announcement that Netflix was terminating its DVD delivery service this fall. I first joined Netflix when all content was delivered by the Postal Service. I have continued to receive DVD and Blu-ray disks in the mail, though I use Netflix’s streaming service as well. The good news is that I will be paying Netflix less, but much is being lost.

Why do I continue to receive physical disks? No, I am not a Luddite; I enjoy the content I can receive via streaming. There are two losses I will experience when the red envelopes cease to arrive in my mailbox, however. The most important loss is access to films not available via streaming. Secondarily, I will lose access to the extra content that is frequently found on DVD or Blu-ray disks.

My interest in watching movies is atypical of Netflix users generally, but may not be atypical of DVD.com subscribers. I do not search available movies for “somethng to watch.” In a sense, I am not looking for “entertainment.” Instead, I am seeking insight into movie history, seeking classics every movie buff should see, and exploring the films of particular actors or directors. Because of my somewhat academic interest in cinema, I will even watch moves that I don’t expect to like. On physical disks, I can see older movies and movies lacking universal appeal. And, of course, I can even watch well-liked movies that are simply not available on Netflix for whatever reason.

Of course, the bonus of getting those disks in the mail is the extras usually found on DVDs and Blu-ray disks: commentaries, deleted scenes, “making-of” documentaries, biographical information, and the like. Such extras help put a film into a larger context and provide insight into the movie-making process. Seldom do I return a disk without watching all the extra on that disk.

In principle, there is no reason that movies available only through the mail could not be streamed. And why couldn’t those extras be streamed as well?

Will the demise of DVD.com result in movies now only available by mail becoming available to stream? I can hope, though I don’t expect it. I wonder what will happen to the large inventory of physical disks held by Netflix.

While there is still time, I am trying to see all the DVD.com movies I can before the service ends.


Netflix (DVD) envelope
One of the famous red envelopes

April 10, 2023

Fed Up

I often post graphics on Facebook that never appear here on my blog. What appears below began as a Facebook post. I thought others might want to see or use it. This may be copied freely.

April 4, 2023

Of Course, It’s Political

I am tired of hearing Trump and his minions complain that the various investigations of the former president—and now at least one actual indictment—are “political.” Yes, in fact, they are, but being political does not make them illegitimate. The primary meaning of “political” is, according to Merriam-Webster, “of or relating to government, a government, or the conduct of government.” In this sense, the judicial system is definitely and intrinsically political.

Of course, “political” can also refer to party politics. This is clearly the meaning in Trump’s mind and those of his supporters when they complain of political persecution. The term is imprecise and technically ambivalent. What they should be saying—not because it’s true but because it is what they want the public to believe—is that the investigations of Trump’s behavior is partisan. This word means “feeling, showing, or deriving from strong and sometimes blind adherence to a particular party, faction, cause, or person.”

One suspects that Donald Trump, who exhibits little concern for truth, is equally indifferent to the subtleties of the English language. 

April 1, 2023

A Walking Tour of Clifton Springs

Today was the first day of sunny, 70-degree weather in Clifton Springs since I moved here in November. I had to go outside just after noon and decided to walk south along Sulphur Creek. I was surprised to see dozens of ducks both in the creek and on its banks. (I’m still learning to identify ducks. I can recognize mallards, but I’m not good at naming other waterfowl.) The creek flows past the Clifton Springs hospital, and I discovered a pond with a fountain on the hospital grounds. There were more ducks around the pond, two mute swans in the water, and two turtles sunning themselves on a rock. I had a very pleasant stroll.

I’ve wanted to explore Clifton Springs further. The pleasant weather and my discoveries along the creek inspired me to take a longer walk through the town. Clifton Springs is a small village, and it is not unreasonable to plan to explore each of its streets. I thought of doing this by car, but today it seemed like a walking tour was indicated. My walk lasted more than an hour. Although I have not yet explored every street in the town, I am off to a good start.

I returned home with a number of impressions. First, the town has a large amount of parkland for such a small place. The housing stock seems surprisingly good, sometimes even charming. And, although sidewalks are not universal, there are a lot of them. Finally, I was already aware that this area is not a bastion of liberal sentiment. (I have disliked virtually every vote my Republican congresswoman has cast, for example.) I was a bit taken aback by a number of Christian-oriented signs I saw in front of houses, which I assume were not indicating the presence of Episcopalian families. (One house had a large cross that said: “JESUS SAVES.”) I saw only one Trump sign and a distressing banner: “JESUS IS MY SAVIOR/TRUMP IS MY PRESIDENT” No, actually, he isn’t.

On the whole, Clifton Springs, New York, is a fine place. I doubt I will be able to do much to improve the sentiments of its residents.