Punxsutawney Phil Is A Load Of Crap

Well, more specifically The officialdom in Punxsutawney, PA that continue to perpetrate this asinine myth of a prognosticating groundhog appearing at Gobbler’s Knob every year delivering predictions of whether or not winter will end early, is the real load of crap.

As my brother once pointed out, it’s obvious that nobody has ever taken the time to think through the logic of the groundhog’s predictions.

In truth, when you look at it more closely you realize just how screwed up the whole thing is.

The story goes, If the groundhog sees his shadow on February 2nd then there will be six more weeks of winter. If on the other hand he does not see it, then we’re supposed to get an early spring with winter ending pretty much when it’s supposed to on March 21st.

The thing is, no matter how you slice it, that still adds up to six weeks. On the one hand you have a prediction of six additional weeks of winter, on the other you have winter ending when it’s supposed to on March 21st. From Feburary 2nd to March 21st is (you saw this coming right?) six weeks.

Oh, groundhog.org claims that there has only been one Punxsutawny Phil and that he’s been doing his thing since 1887. That too is a load of crap. Groundhogs live 5 to 8 years tops.

[tags]Punxsutawney, groundhog questions, Groundhog Day, weather, marmot,forecast, February 2, Candlemas Day, Punxatawney, Punksatawney, Puxatawney, Puxatawny, Punsxutawney, Puxsutawney, superstition, load of crap, bullshit[/tags]

Light is Essential

In any video making effort, proper lighting is essential. In fact, it’s the single most important factor. It’s even more important than having a script or idea to base your video on because without light there won’t be anything to see.

The thing is, even if you’ve got what looks like “enough” light to shoot a decent or at least passable video you could still be short of enough light to be able to use effects like chroma key.

The reason for this is that the chroma key background (usually blue or green) MUST be VERY well lit so that the video editor will be able to properly key out all of the needed color without leaving ‘holes’ in the effect or other things like unwanted green or blue ‘halos’ around the actors.

I used Chroma key in a recent project and while I had enough light for most purposes, it turns out that I didn’t *quite* have enough for a really good chroma key effect. As a result, several of my actors have green halos in places. This, in my opinion takes an otherwise good script and kicks it DOWN two or three notches in terms of quality.

This is what I get for having to rely on sunlight coming in the windows to give me enough light for Chroma key. I’d love to get a few work lights to light up the green screen but given the way my house is wired I’d probably blow the circuit breakers if I used more than about 200 watts on any one circuit.

Result: I STILL don’t have enough light!

[tags]filmmaking, video making, visual effects, chroma key, light, lighting[/tags]

Proof No One Is Safe

This week’s episode of “Points of View” should prove once and for all that nobody but nobody is safe from being called out as a boob if that’s how they’re seen acting.

It matters not who you are or what your position in life is. Get caught displaying signs that you’re a boob and there is the chance that Bob will slam a bra on you and declare you the “Boob of the Week” award winner.

Even if your name is Barrack Obama.

Don’t believe me? Watch this video.

[tags]obama, federal, worker, wage, freeze, not, cost of living, ineffective, economy, recovery, recession, depression, cash, for, clunkers, new car, used car, used car industry, devastated, short sighted, financially irresponsible, boob, boob of the week, iamnotahamster[/tags]

And Here I Though They Were Just Crazy

In recent weeks I have encountered stories of not one but two people that had decided to put a national brand of sandwich spread / salad dressing to what I thought was some rather unorthodox uses. One was using it to create his own line of acne products and the other was using it as the basis for a new skin treatment formula. In both cases I honestly thought that it was just another case of Nutjob Hills residents doing what comes natural… acting strange to one degree or another.

However as it turns out it’s not nearly so strange after all. It seems that this stuff has been used for a lot of things besides as the condiment that it started out as. Including a silver and brass polish!

I suppose that just as truth is stranger than fiction, it’s also sometimes stranger than the natives of Nutjob Hills.

Go figure.

[tags]nutjob hills, acne, skin problems, unusual treatments, home remedies, weird[/tags]

Why Are Sale Days Called Black Friday

Recently there were several retail chains trying to give themselves a “Christmas in July” by offering huge sales. The media, no doubt at the prompting of those chains, has been calling it a “second Black Friday“. Obviously they’re trying to make a connection with the Friday after Thanksgiving when stores traditionally offer deep discounts and usually have some of their biggest profits.

This habit of retailers goes the usual use of a “black” day which is normally not something to celebrate. The term Black Friday was originally used in reference to to Sept 24, 1869, when the stock market crashed because a gold speculation plan fell apart.

Black Monday, 10/19/1987 is considered by many as “the most notorious day in financial history because of another stock market crash. The point being, generally speaking, black days aren’t usually good.

Of course, the real explanation goes back to the accountants. Traditionally red ink was used to show losses and black ink showing profits. “Black Friday” is then a day when retail accounting departments will be using a lot of black ink because of the huge profits they’re getting. Retailers trying to create a second such day in the year isn’t so much about the savings that customers can find (though that is a big influence) as it is about the boost in profits the retailers can expect.

[tags]misc, observations, random, semi random stuff[/tags]