Sunday, April 17, 2011

Fast Forward

I cannot believe this. My neighborhood Blockbuster is closing up shop. I thought maybe it was because they were re-locating, but no, it's finito for Blockbuster in my neck of the woods. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. It's been awhile since I took advantage of my membership because it's easier to watch pay-per-view movies through On Demand Comcast. Little did I know that I was just part of the critical mass doing the very same thing that pushed Blockbuster over the edge toward extinction.

Similarly, thanks to this whole craze with Kindle and ipad notebooks, all the Borders book stores are closing down in this area, too. Now that's where I draw the line. I DO NOT want to be reading a book off a laptop screen. I like the tactile feeling of touching a book and reading the last page before I even start a book. What's next, the closing of Barnes & Noble?

Then there's the gradual disappearance of huge CD inventory in stores. I know what that's about, and once again, I am one among millions that are to blame. For the past six years, I've downloaded all my music off the internet. I've gone years without buying one single CD. So why should I be surprised when suddenly you can't find half the music you want in stores? Now I'm feeling sentimental about CDs. I've begun buying them again, along with DVDs because I am certain one day they will become collector's items that I can sell on Ebay. Then again, I've never heard of anyone getting rich selling obsolete VCRs or vinyl record albums.

I want the original CDs of classic Beatles albums with their iconic covers instead of some generic disk with a black magic marker scribble as a label. Yes, I contributed to the demise of these institutions, but it's upsetting that I no longer have options between On Demand and Blockbuster or between Borders and Amazon.com.

Our technology is moving at warp speed, and while many people embrace the latest and the greatest in iphones, TV screens and laptops, others go kicking and screaming into this changing world. Within that mix, I sit somewhere in the middle. Now I'm realizing that when things like Wifi and text messaging come along, I might as well jump on the band wagon because I'll have to adapt sooner or later.

Besides, it makes you more marketable as an employee. But it's still sad. I liked hitting Blockbuster and loading up on movies when an impending Noreaster was about to hit New England in winter. I loved lounging through Virgin Records on a lazy Sunday afternoon listening to all the latest CD releases through headphones. That's how I discovered Zero 7 and Michael Buble. Those days are over.

When I went into Blockbuster today, I had hoped to get some great closeout deals on movie classics like Gone With The Wind, Citizen Kane and The Sound of Music. But the sales associate just laughed and said those were the first to go three weeks ago. Then he continued giving his colleagues the details of when and where the store closing farewell party would be. I guess I'll just have to give Amazon.com and itunes more money for movies and music. But Kindle and ipad will NOT get my money. The real books stay!

P.S. Speaking of change, Here are two versions of the song, God Bless The Child, which Billie Holiday wrote in 1939. See how Blood Sweat & Tears re-invented the song 30 years later. I guess the evolving technology of music isn't all bad.

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