The Netflix Relief Fund

28-Jul-11 3:06 PM by
Filed under Humor; Comments Off on The Netflix Relief Fund

With Blockbuster in its dying throes, Netflix has exploited its dominance over the home video market with a recent raise in rates. Customers are outraged that they are now expected to pay for one month of streaming service nearly as much as they now pay for a single Starbucks latte.

I've offered an affordable and civic-minded alternative, but it is not American consumers' way to change their habits; they want to keep doing what they've always been doing, regardless of how viable it is. Fortunately, their cause now has some celebrity weight to it. Jason Alexander speaks on behalf of the Netflix Relief Fund:

If this plea doesn't put things in perspective, then please give generously.

(Hat tips to Kara Swisher and Ryan Faas)

Come On Down!

04-Jun-07 12:30 PM by
Filed under Celebrities, Television; 6 comments.

Next Friday will mark the end of an era: after 35 years, Bob Barker is stepping down as host of The Price Is Right.

It's an event I can't help but commemorate. When most kids might've been outside playing stickball, I grew up inside watching game shows, sitcoms, and soap operas. Here, I was exposed to language before I was taught its meaning: I thought the host was saying, "All this could be yours if The Price Is Right", when what he meant was, "All this could be yours if the price is right." A subtle difference… My sense of time, too, was distorted (as it probably is for all children) when I turned on the show one day and found Mr. Barker's hair had gone white! Had it been so long since I'd last seen him that he'd aged so much??

The high point of my affair with TPIR occurred in late June of 1998, when my youngest brother and I were in the show's studio audience. So many myths and misconceptions were dispelled that day: the stage and studio are small (the camera really does make things look bigger!); Bob Barker is really sexist — the things he said to the female contestants during commercial breaks were shockingly rude (and, admittedly, rather funny); and the late Rod Roddy did great standup before the filming started. Sadly, I was never told to "come on down!", probably because one of the showcase showdown prizes was a trip to Boston, which would not prove a very exotic award for someone living an hour west of there. But my brother and I did get shot high-fiving each other as the camera panned the audience before cutting to a commercial.

Despite all that, I don't feel as sad about Mr. Barker's departure as I did when Johnny Carson left The Tonight Show. Both Mr. Barker and Mr. Carson were not the first hosts of their shows and neither were they the last. But I think the format and style of TPIR has been and will be more consistent than the unique personality with which Mr. Carson invested The Tonight Show.

Still, it's a significant milestone in daytime television, and I hope it's been a fulfilling career for Mr. Barker. If you want to share your sentiments with him and other fans and hear what they have to say, visit the CBS video site "15 Seconds".

[Bonus: check out Crystal Waters' hit single, "Come On Down"]