This is not an official blog of the City. It is the work of Mark Kapel who is solely responsible for content.

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Monday, January 28, 2013

Tomorrow is the 29th and Downton Abbey Subscription Schemes Abound !

The problem with Downton  Abbey is that it is set up for for world wide distribution. Thus the English spoken has a slightly generic sound to it. None of the stuff we remember from private prep school is used. No sticky wickets as in "it can be done but will be a bit of a sticky wicket.".Nobody has a rum go at anything and going round the bend  as in an extreme case of being daft is unheard of. It may be that those expressions  didn't exist until much later like in the Yanks in the R.A.F. era.

Unless you count Heathrow Airport, the last time  this writer  was in  London was  a long time
ago. Then and there, the word "scheme"  was used to indicate a path one might take to acquire something. There were  for example  Car-for-Hire schemes and home financing schemes and even value for your money schemes at Wimpy Hamburger Bars.

A scheme in English seemed synonymous with our  word "plans."In American  usage if  I am not mistaken the word "scheme" is reserved  for something nefarious. Long ago I decided that the British use of the word was just plain peculiar. For this post I decided to look the word up and  discovered the following from Dictionary.com


Hmm. Must be an English Dictionary. At any rate today is last day to plan or scheme for the complete
9 episode  third season  of  the popular Public Broadcasting (PBS)  mini series Downton Abbey. Tomorrow said series  will available for public purchase in the United States . The series currently airs locally on Sunday Nights at  9pm on Channel 56  and last night the fifth episode of the season was shown. While many enjoy the  weekly installments there are others who prefer their entertainment and perhaps enlightenment in one big gulp. Some will purchase the boxed set of the third season and watch the ten plus hours  in a single sitting or two. They will then be five hours and five weeks ahead of the rest of the North American world.

Some are even further ahead than that. In late December of the year prior PBS in exchange for a rather generous  donation would have sent you the complete third series for arrival in early January. You may have seen the offer made many times during a Channel 56 auction. Some of you may might even wonder how such an offer was even possible. Others get positively petrified at the idea that Television which was once a fixed and definite time commodity has become unstuck in the cosmos and can now appear anytime. The phenomena ever has a name and is called time shifting. Einstein had somthing to say about that.

Truth be told,  the physics of Sir Issac Newton works just as well  at explaining why you can watch Downton Abbey now while others have to wait and it has nothing to do with time warps or parallel universes.   It was filmed in England. The Brits saw it first and then shipped it out world wide. Apparently we  were next. And if you live in Australian outback you may still be waiting.

The only thing the least bit tricky or sticky wicket about it is that if Downton Abbey were an American venture, impatient  Americans wishing to get the end first would just have to bloody well wait  like everyone else. That is what our friends in the British isles had to do. Starting tomorrow in America the program producers and select retailers can  sell  the DVD's to the impatient while Public Broadcasting continues to broadcast it free of charge. PBS  obliges because it recognizes the high cultural content of the program  and serves as a disseminator of said rather than profit maker.. That's why PBS needs your help at auction time.


In our neck of the woods where book and video stores are disappearing  Barnes Noble would be your best bet for a retail purchase of a boxed set of the third season of Downton  Abbey. The Blue Ray edition,  the last I heard was around $38.00 and the standard one $34. Before having a rum go at it  you should call ahead. I don't know if they will hold a copy for you. You'll just have to zip and hope you picked the right store That is what excites the bold and the daring. I  would have purchased mine from Barnes Noble on line last week but the the coupon I received in the mail only days before expired before I could send off.. Most annoying.

I spent a good portion of Sunday (which annoyed the wife) , trying to figure out the various schemes and calculating the cost per episode on my Amazon Kindle HD Fire device. I guess I also irritated  Amazon by constantly  punching in and out of  Buy Now screens without buying, I sensed that  when I received a message  telling  me the price might go up at any moment.
After a long day's journey  into night, I decided on the above instant  video scheme. So far I have received 7 episodes for $1.89 a piece ( I  pre-orderd)  which if there are nine  episodes will cost  $17.01. That versus the DVD  for $25 which includes shipping.The difference being where you watch. The HD  Kindle  Fire is more convenient than our DVD player and I never watch  on Sunday night  or  miss details due to distractions  when I do.
Later  when the fourth season is due to premier I can buy the Season 3 DVDs  for posterity, at prices approaching dollars in single digits. In the scheme of things the extra estimated $2  cost is worth it for a jolly good show.

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