Clown Shortage

EXCLUSIVE: National clown shortage may be approaching, trade organizations fear

Membership at the World Clown Association, the country's largest trade group for clowns, has dropped from about 3,500 to 2,500 since 2004.

"What happens is they go on to high school and college and clowning isn't cool anymore," he said. "Clowning is then put on the back burner until their late 40s and early 50s."

"American kids these days are thinking about different careers altogether," said Zavieh, 44, who has worked under the moniker Cido for nearly two decades.

"They're thinking about everything other than clowning."

"Our audience expects to be wowed," said David Kiser, Ringling Bros. director of talent. "No longer is it good enough to just drop your pants and focus on boxer shorts."

It's the "EXCLUSIVE!!" that really gives it a sense of urgency.

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.


The Great Recodening

I just had to re-encode ~700 music videos that ITunes 11 has decided it won't play. That was about 14% of them, 20GB. So that was annoying.

I knew there were codec problems with some of my video collection, because a few years back iTunes 10 decided to stop playing them after some upgrade or other. There was a fix, though, which was simply to check the Finder box that caused iTunes to launch in 32-bit mode instead of 64. Apparently without that it wasn't able to load whatever part of Quicktime rendered these videos playable.

Well, iTunes 11 still has that problem, but now with the extra bonus feature that it is no longer launchable in 32-bit mode at all. Joy.

Everything is terrible. Here are the details, possibly more for my benefit than for yours.

The names of the recently-unplayable codecs, according to qt_info, are:

  • FLV1 -
  • H264 -
  • SVQ1 Sorenson Videoª Compressor
  • SVQ3 Sorenson Video 3 Compressor
  • VP6F -
  • XVID -
  • cvid Apple Cinepak
  • h263 H.263

These still work:

  • avc1 H.264
  • avc1 -
  • mp4v -
  • mp4v Apple MPEG4 Compressor

I don't particularly understand what any of those names mean.

I recoded the files using my script: --force --video --quality 20 --retry

which eventually runs something like:
HandBrakeCLI --encoder x264 --encopts cabac=0:ref=2:me=umh:bframes=0:weightp=0:8x8dct=0:trellis=0:subme=6 --aencoder faac --ab 160,160 --arate Auto,Auto --previews 30 --custom-anamorphic --modulus 16

The --retry option means "if the output file ends up being more than 30% larger than the input file, keep changing --quality and trying again until it is not." Possibly there's an easier way to accomplish this, but I'm not sure I'd trust it.

Then I re-imported them using Munge Videos.scpt, since iTunes loses its mind if you just change the file out from under it.

Perhaps if I build an airplane tail section of out palm fronds, the cargo will return.

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Face Mask



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