The future of entertainment is 0nline

I’d been hearing so much about it from my political pals, I just had to see what the buzz was all about.

So I typed in and signed on for $7.95 a month (first month free). I clicked on “House of Cards,” a hot political thriller starring Kevin Spacey as the cold and cunningly ruthless Congressman Francis Underwood (whose initials are – appropriately, perhaps – “F-U”).

The original, made-for-Netflix series has earned three Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series, and nine nominations including Outstanding Drama Series.

Now I know what the term “binge-watching” means. “House of Cards” had me at the opening notes of its compelling theme.

If “House of Cards” is a runaway hit, all the more so is Netflix’ on-demand viewing. Have an iPad, tablet, or smart phone? With a wide variety of movies and original productions featuring top names in showbiz, the future of at-home or on-the-go television viewing is here, when you want it, where you want it.

However, just as it is dog-eat-dog in the political realm (“For those of us climbing to the top of the food chain, there can be no mercy. There is but one rule: hunt or be hunted”), a debate rages between Netflix, Comcast and AT&T’s executives over bandwidth usage and ‘Net neutrality, a situation that the fictional Congressman Underwood would doubtlessly use to his advantage. Who should pay for heavy bandwidth usage? Netflix thinks it’s up to the Internet Service Provider (ISP) and carriers. And of course, D.C. regulators are right in the middle of it.

PCWorld reported last Saturday:

In a blog post published Thursday night, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings took aim at Comcast – you know, the company Netflix paid in order to get better network access – for its stance on ‘Net neutrality. So naturally, AT&T had to chime in.

In a post published to the AT&T Public Policy blog, AT&T executive Jim Cicconi took issue with Hastings’ insistence that “ISPs must provide sufficient access to their network without charge.” Cicconi counters that somebody needs to pay for high bandwidth usage, and that it shouldn’t all fall on the ISPs and their customers.

“In the current structure, the increased cost of building [network] capacity is ultimately borne by Netflix subscribers. It is a cost of doing business that gets incorporated into Netflix’s subscription rate,” Cicconi wrote. “In Netflix’s view, that’s unfair. In its view, those additional costs, caused by Netflix’s increasing subscriber counts and service usage, should be borne by all broadband subscribers – not just those who sign up for and use Netflix service.”

Stay tuned, and don’t be surprised if enterprising screenwriters work this war for Internet accessibility into a “House of Cards” plot line.

I’ve binge-watched all 26 episodes of “House of Cards” first two seasons. And I’m drumming my fingers waiting for season three. “Knock-knock.”

Create your own Hitler video

You’ve seen those parody videos of Hitler in which der Fuhrer rages against contemporary events using subtitles to rewrite the Hitler-rant scene from a 2004 German-language movie?

For example, in this video Hitler learns that he can’t keep his doctor under Obamacare. This hilarious spoof was created by “Crappelfratz” last November, yet it’s as relevant today as it was five months ago, perhaps even more so with millions of Americans now unable to afford health insurance under the “Affordable” Care Act.

You’ve probably seen your share of ‘Hitler finds out …’ and ‘Hitler reacts to …’ videos that take the famous scene from the 2004 movie “Downfall (Der Untergang)” and add funny subtitles misrepresenting the reason for Hitler’s rage. If you need to freshen up on the meme’s history, it’s pretty well documented on Know Your Meme.

Did you know you can make your own Hitler video at a website that lets you easily create them? All you do is come up with the captions, and the site operators create the video and upload it to your YouTube account.

You’re joking!Have you heard the one about the drone that can steal what’s on your phone? Not a joke. We are living in the technology age, where nothing is private and everything is up for grabs. Snoopy is no longer just that lovable little cartoon character. This joke’s on us.

Political party time

Here’s a website that lists a schedule of fundraisers being held for federal and state candidates. In addition to a social calendar, Political Party Time also lists hot links to Congressional committees where you can see current membership, events and a blog.

The high and low of it

Time and tide wait for no man, it is said. Except for Michael Marten, who has photographed British coastal locations at both high and low tides. The resulting change in landscape/seascape is stunning as you’ll see by this series of photos.


Look deep into my eyes …

In keeping with a visuals meme, check out this mesmerizing movement.

Commented one viewer, “Manually creating hypnotic patterns on a spinning turntable. There are several segments of 5 min or so each, and I couldn’t resist watching it all.”

I dare you to look away!

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