Where Did the Week Go…


— Ryan Beltram, EDN

So in case you hadn’t heard, the Ducks are going to the Rose Bowl again, and with that comes more merchandise.

The new gear became available on Monday at the Duck Store, and one of the new shirts unveiled reads “Leader ‘O’ The Pac.” Oh Nike, so clever. But we’ve moved on from the conference champion shirts. Now we need the Rose Bowl attire. Judging from the website, the shirts look simple: your traditional “Oregon Ducks” with a big rose in the middle, or the classic image of two football helmets — in this case a Wisconsin and a Duck helmet, facing one another. They all look good and soon most of it will be gone.

I’ve never been a big swag guy, meaning I don’t often wear apparel from my teams. I have nothing against people who do, I just prefer to wear other clothing. Plus I think if I’m going to buy a new Duck shirt, I’ll wait until after the outcome of the Rose Bowl. Every time I would see those “12-0” shirts last year I would get a little irritated. There’s still one more game to go guys. Then, of course they lost the national title game and now people, including my sister, have these shirts that say “12-0” when really they should say “12-1.”

Every year there’s new stuff that comes out commemorating what the Ducks have just accomplished, and that’s great. But really it’s just a way for people to remind other people of what the Ducks did that specific time. Remember that one year when we played in the Civil War? Yeah, that happens every year. I don’t need a shirt confirming the specific day and time they played. If I’m going to a buy a new Duck shirt, I want it to say “Rose Bowl Champions” or “13-0.”

US Postal Service Troubles Could Help Netflix

Seeing Congressman Peter DeFazio hold a news conference to speak out about possible USPS cuts occurring at the Gateway processing facility made me think about Netflix and its CEO Reed Hastings speaking at an investor conference in New York on Tuesday.

It’s been a really bad year for the company. First, they split the DVD-by-mail and streaming services into two separate price points, and by doing that raised its prices by as much as 60 percent. Then they tried to make nice by naming the mail part of the subscription something other than Netflix, thinking consumers would change their minds about the raw deal because it didn’t say Netflix when they received their DVD in the mail.

The customer backlash has resulted in a staggering decline in Netflix’s stock price. In July, the company’s stock was trading at a peak of nearly $305. But in the five months since the subscription increase and subsequent fleeing of customers, Netflix Inc.’s stock was trading at about $71 on Wednesday.

The leading company in online streaming thought the DVD-by-mail service would eventually die and more and more customers would prefer watching movies through a computer. But the company pushed people just a little too quickly and paid the price for it.

But with the U.S. Postal Service facing bankruptcy and moving forward with cuts to first-class mail next spring, Netflix might just get their wish of becoming just a movie-streaming service. The Postal Service’s drastic attempt to save money would provide short-term relief, but ultimately could prove counterproductive for businesses who use the mail.

Movie buffs would have to wait just a little longer for those red envelopes to arrive in the mail, and they might get frustrated and finally cave in and switch to the streaming-only plan. Reed Hastings and Netflix envisioned a day when everything they did would be online. Now that might happen, thanks to the mail.

Un-Jolly Christmas Movie Pick

You would think a movie called A Christmas Tale would be a typical holiday film. It certainly has the elements: families coming together, snowy scenery and presents. But this French film from 2008 is not the happiest holiday tale ever told. It’s about a family dealing with mental illness, cancer and banishment.

Almost the entire film takes place at the home of the parents, Junon and Abel. Their daughter Elizabeth and her son Paul arrive, followed by the parent’s son Ivan, his wife Sylvia and their young sons. The last to show up is their son, Henri and his girlfriend, Faunia. The entire family is under one roof for the first time in six years following Henri’s banishment from the clan by sister Elizabeth after she had to pay off Henri’s debts and demanded he never see her again or visit their parent’s home.

But the banishment is lifted once Junon is in need of a bone marrow transplant. Two family members are a match, but the spats, fights, drunken toasts and overall bad behavior might threaten all of it.

A Christmas Tale is somewhat of a grind. It’s two-and-a-half hours long, has subtitles and portrays a family that isn’t always likable. But there’s heart and love under all the bickering. No family is perfect and the film accurately portrays the insecurities and jealousy that arise when loved ones come together. The story is heavy and sometimes bleak, but these characters are able to sustain a light mood throughout and prevent the film from becoming depressing. The cast has great chemistry and you believe they’re a family.

The holidays are a time when family comes together, and unfortunately it isn’t always happy or joyful. This is a film that breaks down damaged relationships and attempts to repair them through laughter and memories. It’s another unconventional Christmas film worth seeing.

Brandon Roy Forced to Retire

If you follow the Portland Trail Blazers at all, then Friday was not the greatest day. It was reported that Brandon Roy would retire due to injuries in both knees. It wasn’t a surprise that this would eventually happen, but the timing was. Just three days earlier it was announced that he would not only be ready for training camp but also compete for a starting job.

But at a meeting with his doctor, it was determined that if Roy continued to play basketball, his knees would get worse and he would risk the threat of not being able to walk as he got older.

Just like that, the franchise player who represented the team’s transition from the “Jail Blazers” era to the team of the future was done. Roy was the most talented player in the Blazers’ organization since Clyde Drexler, and it was only two years ago that many sports writers were saying he would eventually surpass Kobe Bryant as the best shooting guard in the Western conference. But at 27, a time when players enter their peak, Roy is forced to give up the game.  Who could blame him. His quality of life was at stake. Now the Blazers and fans need to move on.

Passionate about movies, sports and writing, Ryan hails from Bend but lives in Springfield now. He earned his college degree in journalism from the University of Oregon and hopes to one day write a novel. He also enjoys sunsets and long walks on the beach.

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