Snoop-y Dog 2015

Christmas 2014

Santa came through once again with the latest box set of “The Complete Peanuts”. It’s been ten years since Fantagraphics began publishing the collection, and they’re now up through 1994, which means the next two-volume set will leave only 1999 and the nine strips from 2000 to be done. Yesterday was the 15th anniversary of the final daily “Peanuts” installment.

"Peanuts" - January 3, 2000

“Peanuts” – January 3, 2000

Next Christmas will see the premiere of the first “Peanuts” animated feature in many years. It’s spear-headed (not block-headed!) by Craig Schulz, and I think the final look of the computer animation is very appealing. Here’s hoping the movie will do well in theaters and on video, so that the Peanuts gang — a perennial favorite in TV rerun ratings — will gather new generations of fans and continue to be popular when the characters are 100 years old, in 2050.

Special K3

Kristel Verbeke, December 20, 2014

Kristel Verbeke, December 20, 2014

HAPPY NEW YEAR from Kristel Verbeke, Karen Damen, and Josje Huisman!

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The British are coming to Boston… again!

British Invasion

HAPPY NEW YEAR! “One if by land, two if by sea, three if by music!” Andrew Sandoval‘s British Invasion Tour is coming to Boston! Thursday, February 26th. Denro and I will be front and almost center at the Wilbur Theatre to see and hear Peter Asher, Chad & Jeremy, Billy J. Kramer, Denny Laine (is in my ears and in my eyes) and members of the Searchers and the Hollies. This is going to be a fab show, for sure!

Retreating from Roku

I was not late getting into streaming video. The day Netflix said I could stream on my PC in early 2007 I installed the browser app. Roku introduced its first player in mid-2008 and, once I saw it was going to hang in, I bought one in early 2009 and put it on my Sony 32″ SD TV with an S-Video cable. After replacing the TV with a 40″ HDTV Samsung in the sun room I bought a Roku 2 XS and moved the Roku player to the projector, where the receiver accepts only coaxial and optical digital audio. And that is one of the reasons why, as of this Christmas Day, I am saying goodbye to Roku.

The XS was pretty good, but I wanted something faster, and Amazon’s pre-release offer of $20 for the Fire TV Stick was too good to pass up. So that’s on the Samsung now. Downstairs, on the projector, I used the old Roku player until getting a new Sony Blu-ray player a year ago. The Roku is extremely slow and only goes up to 720p, so I streamed Netflix and Amazon on the Blu-ray, but the Sony network is very annoying because there are often lengthy delays in starting online playback, and sometimes the connection fails to come up altogether.

So, acting on a $70 deal from Amazon, there is now an Amazon Fire TV downstairs. I have no interest in updating my Dolby Digital receiver to one with HDMI switching, and the XS doesn’t have optical audio, but the Fire TV does. As an early and enthusiastic supporter of Roku I don’t feel good about leaving them, and if they hadn’t dropped optical audio I would have bought a Roku 3. But circumstances, and pricing, being what they are, I am now deeper than ever in the Amazon ecosphere.