Down on Sesame Street...
They cannot see me naked...

You're busted...

While I don't talk about it all the time, I have mentioned, seemingly with pride, the fact that I rent my movies from Netflix. Not Blockbuster, not Hollywood... Netflix. I love the 'flix and there is nothing that will take me away. And, just when I thought my loathing of them couldn't get any worse, I find yet another reason to hate them. More specifically Blockbuster.

I was heading to a Starbucks on Saturday morning because, well, I was just in desperate need of caffeinated rejuvenation. It was 7:45 in the morning and there was no natural reason to be awake. Yet I was. What does one do when they don't want to be awake, but need to be? We wish for a direct-line, caffeine IV drip straight into our forearms. When we get over that fantasy, we do the next-best thing... buy and drink copious amounts of coffee.

A Blockbuster lay in my path to Starbucks and, despite being closed, I decided to take a look in the window. On their sale rack, I saw two movies, School for Scoundrels and Harsh Times, and they had an odd little feature to their cover design. Upon closer inspection, I discovered it read "Blockbuster Exclusives."

I remember having heard about this, that Blockbuster had somehow managed to secure exclusive rights to the video rental distribution of these films. I seethed the first time I read it. It sincerely ticked me off. And, looking at Blockbuster's site just now, I discovered several movies that fall under this "Exclusives" category, such as Bobby and Miss Potter. In fact, this entire post was initially going to be about how I hate that Blockbuster uses such strong-armed tactics to muscle out its competition.

Then I looked at Netflix and discovered that every single one of Blockbuster's so-called "Exclusive" movies is, in fact, available for rental.

Huh? What am I missing here? Is this just some wickedly deceptive advertising on Blockbuster's part? Are these films that they're tagging "exclusive" some kind of special edition?

Then I looked at the title line of the Web page on Blockbuster's site which reads "Blockbuster Online - Exclusives." Could this mean that these movies are exclusive to Blockbuster's online rental service and are not in the store (the ones I saw in store were actually previously viewed copies now for sale)? If this is the case, then it would seem that Blockbuster is really only screwing over their own customers by telling them that they cannot rent certain movies in the store and are forced to go online.

But this wouldn't make any sense, would it? Leave it to Blockbuster to do something moronic like that, though.

So what does this mean? Are there any Blockbuster users out there that can explain this one to me?

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): And in a case of a company not screwing us over, we have Apple's iTunes Store having just started to sell DRM-free versions of some of the songs in their vast catalog. What does this mean? Well, simply put, you can now put your music on any number of MP3 devices, burn any number of CDs, transfer the songs to any computer, and, I believe, can even load them on non-iPod players (why you would want to do this last one is beyond me, though).

Yes, the songs cost $.30 more each, but they are also at a higher bit rate than the versions that were originally available. And, if you're really in need of DRM-free music or are an audiophile, then the extra cost should mean little to you.

What I love, though, is the fact that I was given three free songs on iTunes by Ticketmaster for ordering those Rocco DeLuca tickets last week and the "free" status even covers the DRM-free versions. It would've been easy enough for Apple to say "no, you can only use these free purchases on the $.99 songs" or to just forget to make them one and the same. But they didn't.

I used one to buy Human League's "Don't You Want Me" DRM-free and the track cost me nothing extra. I'm really happy about this.

You're a good apple, iTunes.

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