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Wooden Calvin & Hobbes Snowmen

Here’s a way to have some really cool snowmen even if you don’t have snow! Etsy artist Sean Daigle spent Thanksgiving alone, but kept busy by building a wooden cutout lawn ornament that recreates one of the famous snowman scenes from calvin & Hobbes. Then he made another, and another, until there were seven pieces in all. See more pictures at Daigle’s Instagram page.

Incidentally, if you're driving around Austin, Texas, it won't be too hard to figure out which house is Daigle's. -via The Daily Dot


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Greatest Jenga Move Ever

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Well, maybe the greatest human Jenga move ever. It’s hard to beat the video of a cat playing Jenga. Still, this young lady deserved 15 minutes of fame for this gutsy move that paid off. -via Daily Picks and Flicks


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The All-Star Musical Finale From The Final Episode Of The Colbert Report

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The Colbert Report is no more. The final episode included a fitting tribute from his friends, a singalong to “We’ll Meet Again,” including everyone who is anyone, whether they were there or not. There’s Patrick Stewart, George Lucas, Gloria Steinhem, Henry Kissinger, Alan Alda, Ken Burns, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Willie Nelson, Cookie Monster, and a whole lot of other folks you may recognize. -via Uproxx


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Cthulhumas Cookies

Maika Keuben is busy with so many Cthulhumas preparations. She’s got her tree ready and a wreath for the door, and now she’s baked Cthulhumas cookies! Dozens and dozens of chocolate cookies with peppermint-flavored icing, all in the image of the dreaded elder god Cthulhu.

At first it just sounded like wind in the trees, but beneath that there's the guttural whisper of an ancient voice saying "Into the kitchen with you, there's unspeakable baking to be done." Now my throat is sore from the endless chanting, my clothing and hair covered in flour, sugar, slime and soot (don't ask), and I can't remember the last time I slept through the night, but I wouldn't dare complain. The Great Old Ones demanded Cthulhumas cookies, so cookies I did make. So very many cookies.

The process of making these cookies is documented in an imgur gallery with plenty of pictures and hilariously Lovecraftian narration. The confluence of holiday cheer and despair, of delicious and dreadful, is irresistible.  

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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Indiana Bones and the Raiders of the Lost Bark

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He’s just a puppy, but intrepid explorer Indiana Bones must save the Ark of the Covenant from the evil Catzis! You’ll enjoy this delightful sequence produced by FinalCutKing.

This video was created with 3 rolls of duct tape, 108 glue sticks, 18 large boxes of cardboard, a few all nighters with an adorable puppy.

And to think that the entire adventure took place while his human was out on a coffee run! No animals were harmed, even the Catzis, in the making of this film. -Thanks, Zach King!

Love cute animals? View more at Lifestyles of the Cute and Cuddly blog

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The Deviant History of the Snowman

Documented snowmen go back at least as far as the Middle Ages, but we can assume that the art of building a human figure of snow goes back before recorded history. After all, snow is free and easily-manipulated, and human figures are our natural go-to art icon. The snowman in particular was often used as stress-relief, a structure we can abuse to our delight. They were often created as political statements, sinister beings, or ephemeral art illustrating taboo subjects. Or targets, as suggested in the painting above.  

In the Middle Ages, building snowmen was a way for a community to find the silver lining in a horribly oppressive winter rife with starvation, poverty, and other life-threatening conditions. In 1511, the townspeople of Brussels banded together to construct over 100 snowmen in a public art installation known as the Miracle of 1511.

Their snowmen embodied a dissatisfaction with the political climate, not to mention the six weeks of below-freezing weather. The Belgians rendered their anxieties into tangible, life-like models: a defecating demon, a humiliated king, and womenfolk getting buggered six ways to Sunday. Besides your typical sexually graphic and politically riled caricatures, the Belgian snowmen were often parodies of folklore figures, such as mermaids, unicorns, and village idiots.

Even in modern times, we get a kick out of putting snowmen in situations we would not abide for real humans, such as the famous snowmen in the comic strip Calvin & Hobbes and several traditional snowman-destroying rituals to summon spring weather. Read about the horrible ways we’ve used snowmen throughout history at Atlas Obscura.    


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Ice Pancakes

It gets very cold in Scotland in December. Cold enough for ice pancakes! These strange discs of ice were seen on the River Dee at Lummels Pool in Aberdeenshire.

River Dee Team biologist Jamie Urquhart said it was thought foam floating about on the water started to freeze and bump together, forming the discs.

The phenomenon can be found in rivers and in the open sea.

Mr Urquhart, who found and photographed the "pancakes", said: "What we think happened is this - foam floating about on the water started to freeze, probably at night.

"Bits of frozen foam got pushed around in the eddy, and in the ensuing collisions became roughly circular."

There is more to the story of how the discs got their peculiar shape over several days. We could observe the process to make sure, but who wants to stay up all night outside when it’s cold enough for running water to freeze? See more pictures at BBC News.

(Image credit: Jamie Urquhart/River Dee Trust)


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Megatron Speaks the Truth

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Alexandra Trew toured Universal Studios Hollywood, and took a minute to grab a selfie with Megatron. Megatron did not like the idea. Trew was lucky she escaped with her head. What she got was a lecture on social media vs. real life. As if Megatron knew anything about real life! -via Daily Picks and Flicks


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CGP Grey Explains The Lord of the Rings Mythology

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You bet I snagged this video for you as soon as I saw who did it. CGP Grey takes an entire library of Tolkien writings about Middle-Earth and explains that universe in four minutes, or at least where the different types of characters come from. All this happened in that universe long before the rings appeared, which also happened before the events of The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings trilogy, so Grey plans to tackle that part in an upcoming video. There’s a discussion thread about the video here. -via Viral Viral Videos


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Cold Weather Myths

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Your mother probably told you you’d catch your death of cold if you went outside without an adequate winter coat. She probably also said, “I told you so” when you caught a cold, whether it was soon after or the next month. I still find myself arguing that cold temperatures don’t cause the common cold or the flu, but those I argue with will never change their minds. Aaron Carroll of Healthcare Triage gives us the science behind these old myths about cold weather and your health. -via Laughing Squid


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Rudolph’s Revenge

They say that living well is the best revenge. However, when you suddenly have power over those who tormented you in your youth, it’s hard to resist the temptation for a little payback. Unfortunately, it turned out to be difficult to get all those toys delivered by Christmas morning that year. This is the latest comic from John McNamee at Pie Comic.  


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New Word Suggestions

I had a ploopsie just the other day, when I called in the guy who sold me a washing machine that didn’t work. It worked just fine as soon as he arrived. I joked that it must have missed his company. And I well remember a few instances of filmcholy when I was a kid. These are words we should have to convey those exact situations, conceived by the guys at Doghouse Diaries.


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Deck the Halls with Nobel Physicists

’Tis the season to fold and cut paper snowflakes- but they don’t have to look like just any old snowflakes. Thew physics magazine Symmetry has patterns for cutting out snowflakes in the images of Nobel Prize-winning physicists Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, and Erwin Schrödinger (with a cat). Just download their templates, along with handy instructions.

Practice makes perfect, but remember, no two snowflakes are supposed to be alike anyway.  

There’s even a video that shows you how it’s done. Find what you need here, besides paper and a knife. -via Boing Boing


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16 Innovative Origins of Holiday Traditions

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Who opened the first roadside Christmas tree stand? Where did that Christmas pickle thing come from? Who was the real-life inspiration for the character of the Grinch? In this week’s mental_floss List Show, John Green gets to the bottom of how some of our Christmas traditions began. I was surprised to find that mistletoe isn’t even a native plant in America! But nothing compares to the very last bit of trivia -how our artificial Christmas trees got their particular form.


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Stephen Colbert is Raffling Off His Set

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The final episode of The Colbert Report will air Thursday on Comedy Central. Stephen Colbert will resurface in 2015 as he replaces the retiring David Letterman at CBS, but The Colbert Report will be no more. As a goodbye gift, Colbert is raffling off his set for charity. First prize is his desk, and second prize is his fireplace and leather chair. Proceeds will go to support The Yellow Ribbon Fund (for injured veterans) and DonorsChoose.org (for classrooms). You can enter for the next few hours at Omaze. -via Stephen Colbert
 


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An Honest Trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

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Before you go see the final film of the Hobbit trilogy, The Battle of the Five Armies, take a look back at the previous film with Screen Junkies. Here’s their Honest Trailer take on the second movie of Peter Jackson’s opus, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. After watching this video, you might even think twice about fighting the theater lines for the opening of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies today. After all, it will probably be available in multiple showings over the next few weeks. -via Geeks Are Sexy


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Epic Christmas Caroling

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It’s a rare treat when anyone shows up in the neighborhood Christmas caroling anymore. A choir came to our shut-in neighbor’s house last year and the whole street turned out to listen. Now, Improv Everywhere knows that nothing succeeds like excess, so when they went Christmas caroling, they took not only a four-part chorale, but a full choir, an orchestra, and a chorus line of Santas and snowmen!  

What if no one was home? What if the family doesn’t celebrate Christmas? There were just too many variables to be able to go up to a random house, especially when you’re going to all the trouble to transport a 39-person cast to New Jersey.

So we came up with a solution: we rented a house and then invited families into the home under the guise of getting a family photo taken. We reached out to our NYC-area email list looking for families in the Bergen County, NJ area who were up for a surprise. In all we surprised five families over the course of the evening. The moms acted as our accomplice– they were the only ones in the family who knew that something was going to happen, but they didn’t know what. They kept the secret from their husband and kids. Once the families arrived for the photo, a producer told them to wait their turn in the living room and to please answer the door if the doorbell rings as we were expecting more families soon.

That explains why no one was upset about the artificial snow tossed all over the yard. When I first watched the video, I imagined myself in the Mom’s spot, thinking “I don’t have enough treats to offer all these people!” Sorry, I’m all out of figgy pudding. Read more about the Christmas mission and see behind-the-scenes pictures at Improv Everywhere. -via Tastefully Offensive


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Adoption Ad For a 'Terrible' Chihuahua

The Humane Society of Silicon Valley posted an ad for a chihuahua who needs a home. They don’t pull any punches about Eddie the Terrible. They lay out three big reasons Eddie might not be the dog you want. Here’s one.

2) Want your kids to grow up with a full complement of fingers and toes? Not the dog for you.

Some dogs love kids. We have a bunch of child-lovin' dogs. Eddie the Terrible, however, is not one of them. Honestly he's a little whiffy with some adults, too. Not in an eat-them sort of way but in 'this makes me very nervous' sort of way.  Eddie's never actually bitten anyone but we're not saying it could never happen.

In a home environment Eddie is lovely. He's housebroken, loyal, fun and friendly. He lives to play fetch. But socially? He stinks. We're in Silicon Valley - if we started throwing out the socially awkward no one would ever have another piece of new technology again. We know somewhere out this little guy has a match.

All this honesty might not be such a bad thing. Eddie needs a local home with no children or other pets and a human who has time for him. I would bet that the Humane Society is busy sifting through applications for hm already. Read Eddie’s full story at the Society’s blog. -via HuffPo Green

Love cute animals? View more at Lifestyles of the Cute and Cuddly blog

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Zapatou’s Best of the Web 7

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Zapatou (Luc Bergeron) is back with another mesmerizing compilation of the crazy, scary, and amazing things that people (and animals) do, culled from 233 viral videos of 2014. It’s not only the action that amazing, it’s also the new way we get to see them, as this collection is heavy on POV and mounted cameras, so we are extremely close to the action and can even put our feet in someone else’s shoes. Take that as a warning that some these clips may induce vertigo. You’ll recognize a lot of them. Zapatou has a list of the source videos here. -via Time

See also: more from Zapatou.

Check out more amazing talents over at our Mad Skills blog

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Cats vs. Christmas Trees: a Supercut

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Your Christmas card from Tastefully Offensive is a compilation of the funniest clips of cats in their annual battle against that most tempting toy/hiding place/enemy, the Christmas tree. It was edited together by Robert Jones and Christian Baker, and appropriately set to the music of “The Russian Dance” from Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker. A list of the videos used can be found at the YouTube page. -Thanks, Robert!

Love cute animals? View more at Lifestyles of the Cute and Cuddly blog

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Pop Danthology 2014

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Daniel Kim’s annual year-end mashup is here! Pop Danthology 2014 blends the top songs of the year into a smooth dance mix. You’ll find an alphabetical listing of the songs used and the lyrics at his website. Whatever you think of the state of pop music, you have to admit it takes a real artist to mash it up this well.


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Penguins Play a Video Game

(vimeo link)

Sara Mandel takes care of a flock of Magellanic penguins at the Aquarium of the Pacific. She had bought the iPad app Game for Cats and since her cat liked it, she thought she’d offer it to the penguins. It involves chasing a tadpole, and penguins chase fish, so it was a natural for them. Will wonders never cease? -via mental_floss


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Mongooses in a Ball Pit

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There is no end to the strange things people will think up- and share on the internet. A ball pit in a wading pool is an enrichment activity for the mongooses at the Houston Zoo. It’s about as chaotic as you’d imagine. -via Daily Picks and Flicks

Love cute animals? View more at Lifestyles of the Cute and Cuddly blog

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This Dog Hates Pineapple!

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Stella the pit bull has never seen a pineapple before. And she doesn’t like it, no, not one bit. Jolene Creighton, who dared to purchase the demon fruit, assures us that Stella eventually made friends with the pineapple. If we looked at the offending fruit through Stella’s eyes, it probably looked something like this.  -via Uproxx

Love cute animals? View more at Lifestyles of the Cute and Cuddly blog

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The Excruciating Final Hours of President George Washington

A couple of months ago, we told you about the painful last days of King Charles II. Over a hundred years later, when former president George Washington fell ill in December of 1799, medical science hadn’t much more to offer. Washington felt worse the next morning, so his estate’s overseer, George Rawlins, tried to help.

At 7:30 a.m., Rawlins removed 12 to 14 ounces of blood, after which Washington requested that he remove still more. Following the procedure, Col. Lear gave the patient a tonic of molasses, butter and vinegar, which nearly choked Washington to death, so inflamed were the beefy-red tissues of his infected throat.

Dr. James Craik, Washington's longtime physician, was summoned. He didn’t have much to offer, either.

Dr. Craik entered Washington’s bedchamber at 9 a.m. After taking the medical history, he applied a painful “blister of cantharides,” better known as “Spanish fly,” to Washington’s throat. The idea behind this tortuous treatment was based on a humoral notion of medicine dating back to antiquity called “counter-irritation.” The blisters raised by this toxic stuff would supposedly draw out the deadly humors causing the General’s throat inflammation.

That was just the beginning of the efforts Dr. Craik made to save Washington’s life. Washington died on December 14, at the age of 67, but not before enduring dubious remedies that only made his last day likely the most agonizing of his life. Read about the treatment the father of our country endured at PBS Newshour. -via Digg


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The Creepy, Kitschy and Geeky Patches of US Spy Satellite Launches

Since the Gemini program, NASA has allowed astronauts to design patches for the missions they fly on. There are also patches for each mission of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), which launches spy satellites. Those patches aren’t as well publicized, and they are definitely weirder than NASA’s mission patches.

Today NRO launches about four to six satellites per year, including the NROL-35 mission, with the patch seen above, slated to fly this Thursday. The public still doesn't know exactly what each satellite is doing, but for a couple decades now the agency has advertised the date and time of its launches—probably because, as Pearlman points out, “it’s hard to hide a rocket.” In response, a subculture of fervent hobbyists has become committed to watching the skies at night, piecing together the satellites’ orbits. At some point, those hobbyists discovered that—just like NASA—NRO also issues mission patches. The agency didn’t seem to care if the patches were leaked, and eventually it even started publishing depictions of the patches along with launch announcements. Even so, for years knowledge of the patches largely remained confined to enthusiasts, especially in the days prior to widespread social media.

That changed somewhat in 2000, when a fan figured out a spy satellite’s mission from clues on the patch. Since then, the symbols on the patches have become more outlandish and obscure -even frightening at times. We don’t know if there’s a method to the madness, or whether the NRO is just having fun with the designs, but you can read the story and see a gallery of the patches at Smithsonian.

(Image credit: National Reconnaissance Office)


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20 Maps That Never Happened

You are probably pretty familiar with maps of the world, especially maps of the English-speaking world. But if history had been a little different, our maps might now be very different. What would Europe look like if the Nazis had won World War II? Hitler had a map for that. What would have happened to the U.S. if Germany had won World War I -with the help of Mexico? There’s a map for that, too. Where would Africa’s national boundaries be if the continent had never been colonized by Western powers? It might look like Nikolaj Cyon’s vision of national divisions along ethnic boundaries. Vox has twenty maps that give us a glimpse of alternate history, including the 1998 map shown above of how at least one Russian envisions the economic breakup of the United States.


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Denver Eats Tree Ornaments

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We’ve seen Denver the Guilty Dog before. But she keeps doing things she’s not supposed to do! Now that it’s Christmastime, Denver is in trouble again. She's been caught red-handed -or red-lipped, in this case, eating Christmas tree ornaments. I was worried for a minute, but I found out that the ornaments are made of foam, not glass or hard plastic. -via Daily Picks and Flicks

Love cute animals? View more at Lifestyles of the Cute and Cuddly blog

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Birdbox Studio Christmas Card

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Birdbox Studio has given us many delightful cartoons, so you’d think their Christmas card would be animated …and it is, sort of. What they have is an old-fashioned flip book animation with music and a special effect at the end. It’s not clear whether this is a single “card” they made to film or whether it has actually been mass-produced. Then again, it could be rigged with a bit of video magic. Either way, it’s gloriously odd and retro. If this is their Christmas card, you have to wonder how much money these guys spend on actual gifts! -via Tastefully Offensive


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Slut-Shaming, Eugenics, and Donald Duck: The Scandalous History of Sex-Ed Movies

The first attempts at sex education in the U.S. over 100 years ago were to reduce the incidence of venereal disease (now called STDs). The medium of movies proved to be a valuable tool for disseminating information, although laws against pornography caused problems for those who honestly tried to educate. Public health concerns, changing laws, moral panic, and politics created a tug-of-war over sex education in schools (which continues today), although the military cut right to the chase in the war against VD. Sex education films for schools continued to demonize premarital sex, masturbation, and homosexuality, and didn’t even address venereal disease until 1959.

In Coronet’s 1947 film “Are You Popular?,” Jenny, the promiscuous high schooler, is shamed and compared unfavorably to proper, virginal Carolyn. The voice-over says, “Jenny thinks she has the keys to popularity, parking in cars with boys at night. When Jerry brags about taking Jenny out, he learns that she dates all the boys, and he feels less important. No, those who park in cars are not really popular, not even with the boys they park with. Not when they meet at school or elsewhere.”

“That was certainly a message in these films, which I think still exists today, that a young woman who is interested in sexual relationships, who maybe initiates sex, is seen as the ‘bad girl’—and that’s the girl nobody wants to sustain a relationship with.” Goodman says. “That was a burdensome message to many young women.”

Sex education films changed drastically in the 1970s, when movies were produced that would never be approved for schools today. You can read a fairly comprehensive history of sex education films going back to the beginning of motion pictures at Collectors Weekly.


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Profile for Miss Cellania

  • Member Since 2012/08/04


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