September 25th 2009

As you probably know, since the 50s that most films are shot for a 1.85 or even narrower (2.2, 2.35, 2.85, etc) aspect ratio, meaning an image much wider than the 4x3 (1.33) aspect ratio of ordinary television sets. So while films on television should obviously be letterboxed (meaning the addition of black padding outside the film frame), stupid viewers everywhere (I’m sorry, there’s no other way to put it) demanded the ‘stolen’ area of their TV sets back, which gave rise to the practice of doing ‘pan and scan’ reedits of the films, with the frames (and many times the actual editing) readjusted for 4x3 screens.

I absolutely hate watching pan-and-scan films. You keep all of your TV set’s pixels in use and instead it’s the actual film that’s being stolen (as if advertising breaks weren’t annoying enough). This video pretty much explains it all.

Ten Dirty Little Restaurant Secrets

It’s an interesting reminder, even though nothing on this list is new. You should never ask for well-done meat in restaurants, and the same goes for being careful in those joints where they pepper your steaks — basic tricks in hiding bad meat. There’s also another cheap trick they haven’t mentioned, which is done in almost every ‘better’ restaurant — using a salt ‘bed’ to tenderize the meat.