Miss Cellania's Liked Blog Posts

Explaining the Solar Eclipse

Did you see the eclipse today? It was 97% where I was. Watching the sun turn into a crescent, and then seeing that crescent flip around, was really weird. Some places actually went dark for a couple of minutes. Zach King (previously at Neatorama) explains what causes a solar eclipse.

(YouTube link)

Things should return to normal now that the job is done. -via reddit


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Hogging the Glory

Matthew Inman of The Oatmeal looks at the eclipse (with glasses, of course) in a way most of us haven't. While everyone is talking about looking at the sun, we will actually be looking at the moon while it just pushes through where it doesn't normally belong. -via Matthew Inman


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Mama Raccoon and Bratty Kit

Motherhood has never been easy, especially when you have several young ones to keep track of. This raccoon has at least two kits, maybe more. When it's nap time, she wants to get them all into the tree where they live so she can get some shut eye. But that last child does not want to cooperate.


(YouTube link)

This raccoon family was recorded in Leesburg, Virginia. Note that at about two minutes in, the mother notices the camera operator. She doesn't have time to smile for the camera, at least not until every kit is inside and accounted for. -via Tastefully Offensive

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

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RIP Jerry Lewis

Comedian and movie star Jerry Lewis died Sunday morning at his home in Las Vegas. He was long known as half of the comedy duo Martin and Lewis, who performed together in 16 films over ten years. Lewis then starred in a series of comedy films on his own, the most memorable of which was The Nutty Professor in 1963.   

Barely out of his teens, he shot to fame shortly after World War II with a nightclub act in which the rakish, imperturbable Dean Martin crooned and the skinny, hyperactive Mr. Lewis capered around the stage, a dangerously volatile id to Mr. Martin’s supremely relaxed ego.

After his break with Mr. Martin in 1956, Mr. Lewis went on to a successful solo career, eventually writing, producing and directing many of his own films.

As a spokesman for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Mr. Lewis raised vast sums for charity; as a filmmaker of great personal force and technical skill, he made many contributions to the industry, including the invention in 1960 of a device — the video assist, which allowed directors to review their work immediately on the set — still in common use.

Jerry Lewis was 91.

Read more about Jerry lewis in some Neatorama articles by Eddie Deezen: 

11 Facts You May Not Know About Jerry Lewis

Jerry Lewis' The Nutty Professor

The Day Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis Teamed Up 

Jerry Lewis' Flop TV Talk Show

Jerry Lewis' Lost Film: The Day the Clown Cried

Why Do the French Love Jerry Lewis?

Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis: Restaurant Owners



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Your City's 'Ghost Signs' Have Stories to Tell

Once upon a time, the side of a building was as good an advertising medium as any, and many were painted to alert passers-by to the business inside, or for some totally unrelated product. Now they are part of history, sometimes faded and barely readable, sometimes only existing in photographs. Seeing one provokes a sense of whimsy and nostalgia. Should these 'ghost signs' be preserved? Even if you think they should be, the greater question is "How?"  

Some cities and towns are restoring ghost signs with fresh paint, but that can be a contentious issue. Winslow says that in the sign painting community, many people believe that for a restoration to be authentic, it must be repainted by the person who originally painted the sign, or a direct apprentice. That’s tough for a 75-year-old sign.

Color and paint choice presents another problem. Ghost signs have lasted so long because the paint contained lead. Modern paints peel, rather than slowly fading away. Many of today’s restorations are painted in bright colors, but old paints were less vibrant, and the available palette was limited.

Preservationists see the question as the kind of tradeoff they confront all the time. Tod Swormstedt of the American Sign Museum said,

“It’s kind of a subjective call, like when you restore an old house; are you going to restore it back to not having electric lights and have gas lights and not have a bathroom, not have indoor plumbing like some of the early Victorian houses?” Swormstedt says. “How purist do you want to get?”

But experiential designer Craig Winslow has a totally different method for preserving ghost signs, one that doesn't affect the building at all. Read about his work at City Lab. -via Metafilter

(Image credit: Bill Whittaker)


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Are You Above Or Below Average?

How average you are depends on how many different parameters you are looking at. If you look at more statistics, you'll find some category in which you are exceptional, and that, too, is quite normal. It turns out I am average in almost every way, except for how many children I have, and whether I am above or below the average depends on your definitions. Still, being above or below average does not mean you are abnormal.    

(YouTube link)

Then again, you are probably more average than you think you are. All my life I've been told that I'm short, when I have always been the exact average for a woman my age. I knew that. Where people are particularly bad at knowing their own "averageness" is in their intelligence and competence. That's where the Dunning-Kruger Effect and Impostor Syndrome come in.


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Her Name is Dignity

Riding along interstate 90 in South Dakota, you expect to see roadside art. But a glorious new statue went up last year that dominates the landscape as she welcomes you. You'll find Dignity between exits 263 and 265 near Chamberlain.

She was created by artist Dale Lamphere, who has been South Dakota’s Artist Laureate since 2015. He received the commission from a local couple.  Eunabel and Norm McKie of Rapid City wanted to create something to commemorate the 125th anniversary of South Dakota’s statehood but they also wanted something which would celebrate the determination, wisdom and bravery of the state’s indigenous peoples, the cultural inheritance of the Lakota and Dakota.   The couple gave over a million dollars to support the project.

Dignity is 50 feet tall and constructed so that the wind flows through her blanket instead of pushing against it. Read all about this magnificent statue at Kuriositas. And look for her the next time you drive through South Dakota.

(Image credit: Amphibol)


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10 Witty Facts About The Marx Brothers

On August 19, 1977, Groucho Marx died at the age of 86. He spent more than 70 of those years entertaining those around him. Fifty years later, Marx Brothers movies are still entertaining generations who never knew them in life. To mark the milestone, you might enjoy some stories about Groucho and his brothers Harpo, Chico, Zeppo, and Gummo.

1. A RUNAWAY MULE INSPIRED THEM TO TAKE A STAB AT COMEDY.

Julius, Milton, and Arthur Marx originally aspired to be professional singers. In 1907, the boys joined a group called “The Three Nightingales.” Managed by their mother, Minnie, the ensemble performed covers of popular songs in theaters all over the country. As Nightingales, the brothers enjoyed some moderate success, but they might never have found their true calling if it weren’t for an unruly equid. During a 1907 gig at the Nacogdoches Opera House in East Texas, someone interrupted the performance by barging in and shouting “Mule’s loose!” Immediately, the crowd raced out to watch the newly-liberated animal. Back inside, Julius seethed. Furious at having lost the spotlight, he skewered his audience upon their return. “The jackass is the finest flower of Tex-ass!” he shouted, among many other ad-libbed jabs. Rather than boo, the patrons roared with laughter. Word of his wit soon spread and demand for these Marx brothers grew.

Read more about the Marx Brothers at Mental Floss.


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Where Statues Go to Retire

Confederate statues are being taken down in cities across the South. Where will they go? The United States is far from the first country to confront such a dilemma, and there are places all around the world that can be seen as "retirement homes" for statues and monuments that have been removed from public places.

Sometimes statues are collected in one place, where the immortalized fallen crowd together in awkward silence, historical repositories of different eras. Take the “Garden of the Generalissimos” in Cihu, Taiwan, where scores of Chiang Kai-shek statues sit together, regarding one another. The statues are some of the thousands on the island—a controversial legacy of the late leader of the Republic of China (not to be confused with the modern mainland People’s Republic of China).

There are places like this in Hungary and Lithuania, and even in Dallas, where there's a private collection of statues of erstwhile European rulers. Read about them at Atlas Obscura.

(Image credit: Prince Roy)


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Confessions of a Costume Curator

Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell cares for and exhibits historical clothing, and she loves her job. She has an appreciation not only for the textiles and the displays, but also for the people who once wore them, even if they lived hundreds of years ago. Preserving those clothes helps us to know those people and what their lives were like.   

Thanks to modern technology and the efforts of specialist textile scientists, curators can now appreciate historical garments in ways their original beholders and wearers could not. Polarizing microscopes and high-resolution digital images reveal textures, weaves, and threads invisible to the naked eye. Cutting-edge conservation treatments reinflate sleeves crushed by centuries of careless storage or restore shattered silk linings. X-rays reveal the complex interior boning of a Balenciaga evening gown, and military-grade chemical inhibitors remove aluminum corrosion on Neil Armstrong’s space suit.

But no amount of scientific analysis can capture the feel, sound, and smell of historic clothing—and that’s where costume curators and conservators (who are responsible for the technical examination and treatment of textiles) have a privileged perspective. We get to touch it. We enjoy intimate proximity with other people’s clothes, laid out on lab tables under lights and magnifying glasses like surgical patients, not in dimly illuminated public galleries where the objects are kept out of reach behind glass or velvet ropes. We find the hidden pockets; the discreet padding; the lingering whiff of perfume or tobacco. By the time they go on public display, we know them as well as the clothes on our own backs.

The article goes on to tell us about some of the nuts-and-bolts details of historic garment display. Read more about the work of a costume curator at The Atlantic. 

(Image credit:  Katie Posner)


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1,069 Dancing Robots Set a World Record

WL Intelligent Technology Co, Ltd, in Guangzhou set up 1,069 Dobi robots and had them all dance in unison. This set a new world record. Well, they actually set up more robots than that, but the few that fell over while dancing were deducted from the total count by Guinness officials. They still looked good.

(YouTube link)

The Dobi robots broke the previous record that was set only a couple of weeks ago by another Chinese company. This may be the beginning of a competitive back-and-forth that could eventually bring the robot apocalypse upon us. -via Boing Boing


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The Devil’s in the Details of These Dark Miniature Scenes

Artist Frank Kunert makes beautiful miniature scenes, but they each have something weird going on. The doorway above opens up to a small but nice balcony for a little fresh air, and it's only when you look at the ground below that you see how deadly it is.The scene below is a little more obvious.

Every dumb thing we humans do in this modern-day ‘civilized’ world is laid out in excruciating detail in these miniature scenes by artist Frank Kunert – not to mention our fears and anxieties. A row of public toilets is placed on a stage so strangers can watch you poop. A bride and groom poise at the end of a diving platform far too high above a pool, their friends and family watching below. A children’s slide empties onto a highway, and a bassinet is equipped with a desk so the little one can get to work as soon as possible. Pipes funnel human waste straight from the toilet upstairs into a television set, and a balcony projects into the path of a train.

See a selection of Kunart's works at Web Urbanist.  -via Nag on the Lake


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All Set for the Eclipse

Robert is ready. He's got his eclipse glasses, a GoPro headband, and an array of various types of cameras since he doesn't know what will work. Yeah, that's a flash attachment. You give a little pre-flash to reduce red-eye in the sun, or the moon as the case may be. His wife Heather is supposedly pretty chill about his obsession with getting the perfect eclipse photograph, as if there won't be millions of them taken by people who actually know what they're doing. Redditor robertandheather posted this picture last night. He's still got three days to hold that position.  

View more fun pics over at our NeatoPicto Blog

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NASA's Ambitious Plan To Save Earth From A Supervolcano

Yellowstone National Park's many thermal mineral springs and geysers are features of the volcanic activity underneath the ground. Scientists at NASA are convinced that the threat of a supervolcano erupting from the magma chamber under Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho is greater than the threat of an asteroid or comet hitting the earth.

When Nasa scientists came to consider the problem, they found that the most logical solution could simply be to cool a supervolcano down. A volcano the size of Yellowstone is essentially a gigantic heat generator, equivalent to six industrial power plants. Yellowstone currently leaks about 60-70% of the heat coming up from below into the atmosphere, via water which seeps into the magma chamber through cracks. The remainder builds up inside the magma, enabling it to dissolve more and more volatile gases and surrounding rocks. Once this heat reaches a certain threshold, then an explosive eruption is inevitable.

The solution is to vent more heat from the ground. The side benefit would be that the energy released could be harvested for our use. Read about a plan to do just that, at BBC Future. -via Digg


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10 Things You Didn’t Know about The Social Network

The movie The Social Network came out in 2010 and was supposed to tell the story of how Mark Zuckerberg developed Facebook and then dealt with the many lawsuits that followed. Zuckerberg had no involvement in the film, nor in the book it was based on. If you saw the movie, you'll probably enjoy finding out some of the behind-the-scenes trivia about its production. For example:   

7. Jesse Eisenberg used fencing lessons to get into character.

It makes a good deal of sense. Fencing has a lot to do with strategy and trying to outmaneuver your opponent, much like business in a way.

6. The opening scene took 99 takes.

There’s no real explanation for why this took so long. Maybe the actors were having trouble getting into character or maybe the director wanted to see it from different angles.

Read the rest of the trivia list about The Social Network at TVOM.


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The Haunting Magic of Ghost Buildings

On crowded city streets, builders have long taken advantage of the idea of shared walls. Why build four walls when you can build two and appropriate the brick walls of the buildings on either side? That eventually leads to the phenomena of "ghost buildings." They aren't there anymore, but have left evidence of their existence on the shared walls of the adjacent buildings -sometimes even evidence of their interiors.   

Ghost buildings are a product of constant urban development and regeneration. They can be found throughout by cities and towns wherever old buildings are being torn down, and their modern replacements have yet to be built. These poignant relics of old homes are in always in plain sight, but are more often that not unnoticed by passers by. They’re found in open air carparks, abandoned building sights, or half way up modern adjoining structures.

Urbex photographer Luke J. Spencer documents ghost buildings and shares them on his Instagram feed. He also tells us the stories behind some of them at Messy Messy Chic.

(Image credit: Luke J. Spencer)


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Hair in the Streets

In a segment from The Late Late Show with James Corden, Corden's Crosswalk ensemble got a little help from Lin-Manuel Miranda in performing selections from the musical Hair -at an intersection on Beverly Boulevard.

Both CBS and the state of California have told us we can't be nude in a crosswalk. Then again, people told me that Alexander Hamilton wasn't a Puerto Rican rapper with beautiful brown eyes.

So guess what happened.

(YouTube link)

Of course, this was TV, so my guess is that there were flesh-tone Speedos underneath all that pixelation. Otherwise, there would be people bragging on Facebook about seeing Lin-Manuel Miranda in the altogether during their evening commute. -via Mashable


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The Untold Story Of America's Southern Chinese

Potential entrepreneurs are always given this concrete advice: identify a need, and then fulfill it. Chinese immigrants who settled in the Mississippi Delta a hundred years ago saw an economic opportunity. They sold goods to both blacks and whites, although separately, as was required at the time. Unwelcome at any of the local segregated schools, they sent their children to small church-organized schools until just a few decades ago. Their descendants still live in the South. 

(YouTube link)

A hundred years later, people outside the community are still surprised to see them, and even more surprised to hear those Southern accents. "Who taught you to speak English?" Why, their parents, of course! -via reddit


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Carpet Ride by Pogo

Nick Bertke, also known as Pogo, is back with a new musical remix of the 1992 Disney movie Aladdin.

(YouTube link

Since you know the story already, you'll enjoy this musical collage of movie snippets as a four-minute movie viewing with a beat. And since Bertke works directly with Disney, the visuals are a high-res kaleidoscope. And there's a surprise at the end. -via Tastefully Offensive

See more from Pogo.   


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The World's Sewing Kit

Do you have one of these in your house? If you open it, what would you expect to find inside? Redditor salvalya posted this picture and said, "These cookies sat, untouched, on the table at work for nearly 2 weeks because it never occurred to anyone that there could be cookies inside." About 98% of the commenters on the photo just knew that there were sewing supplies inside. The other 2% admitted keeping marijuana in theirs. One person had one with sewing supplies that had been passed down for several generations in her family.

Royal Dansk cookie boxes are made of long-lasting metal and their lids fit tightly, so that pins and needles are less likely to fall out of them than other containers. All grandmas know that. You may think that it's an American thing, but people from Greece, India, Swaziland, Singapore, Sweden, France, Uruguay, and other nations all confirmed that these boxes are sewing kits. However, several Danes said that's not right; these boxes contain cookies. 


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Nebraska's Fearless Maid

Neatorama is proud to bring you a guest post from history buff and Neatoramanaut WTM, who wishes to remain otherwise anonymous.

When one hears mention of the year 1888, it usually concerns something involving Jack the Ripper, but many noteworthy events other than the Whitechapel Murders occurred that year. Vincent Van Gogh cut off his ear. The ballpoint pen was patented. George Eastman produced the first Kodak camera, and National Geographic magazine published its first issue. And then there was the winter of 1888, which produced The Great Blizzard of 1888, the worst in US history.

The Great Blizzard, aka “The Great White Hurricane”, was a major winter storm that adversely affected the Northeast, which became literally buried; snow in New York City alone was over fifty feet deep in places. Hundreds of deaths resulted and commerce ground to a halt. The Hudson and East Rivers froze over. As is often the case, though, good comes from bad, and the greatest effect of The Great Blizzard of 1888 was to cause New York City to construct its subway, which first opened for business in 1904.

But just two months earlier than The Great Blizzard of 1888, another major winter storm in the Midwest, the ‘Schoolhouse Blizzard’, aka ‘The Children’s Blizzard’, claimed the lives of more than 200 people, most of them schoolchildren. However, not as many children died as otherwise might have, this due to the heroic efforts of Minnie Freeman, aka Nebraska’s Fearless Maid.

Minnie Mae Freeman was born in Pennsylvania in 1868, and her family moved to Nebraska in 1871. As such, she, like other inhabitants of the Great Plains, grew up to be ‘weather-wise’. Not only is Nebraska deep in the heart of Tornado Alley, its summers can be infernal and its winters as severe as those of the Arctic. Minnie soon came to learn, as did everyone else in the Great Plains, that one didn’t live to old age by not paying attention to one’s surroundings.

Minnie was only nineteen years old when she got a job as schoolteacher in rural Mira Valley, Nebraska, teaching thirteen (or seventeen, accounts vary) children of all ages and grades in a small, isolated sod schoolhouse, the Midvale school.

Continue reading

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Poetry, or the Lack Thereof

You don't have to use any of the the classic means of expression to make your feelings clear. The world is full of ways to show how you feel about someone. My husband was not all that eloquent, but I truly felt loved the day he got up and came to salt my icy back steps before daylight. That said more than all the greeting cards in the world, because he paid attention and knew what I needed. As long as you get your message across to someone who will benefit, that's what matters. This is the newest comic from Lunarbaboon.


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10 Things You Didn’t Know about The Conjuring

The 2013 horror film The Conjuring scared audiences enough to make back twice its production budget in its first weekend. It went on to be very profitable as well as frightening. If you enjoyed the movie, you'll want to read trivia from behind the scenes.

8. It was a work in progress for 20 years.

There was actually a bidding war for the movie that was between six different studios. Before and after that the fate of the film was stuck in limbo.

7. It had a different title to begin with.

Originally the title was The Warren Files before producers finally settled on the more well-known name.

There's a lot more to learn about The Conjuring in a list at TVOM.


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Dog Cries with Baby

This is the story of two who are so clueless that you have to laugh. Dog takes baby's cracker. Baby realizes cracker is gone. Baby cries. Dog cries in sympathy. The world makes no sense.

(YouTube link)

You have to admit, it's both cute and funny. -via Digg

See more about baby and kids at NeatoBambino

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Say "No" To Being A Bridesmaid

Sarah has been a bridesmaid five times, which is more than anyone should ever have to endure. This time, she's a guest! It's a liberating experience, as you can see in this video from comedy troupe Above Average. It contains NSFW language.

(YouTube link)

The things bridesmaids are expected to do these days is just plain crazy. The expenses are outrageous, the events are too numerous, the duties are onerous, and doing it more than once in a lifetime is just too much. The website for the wedding Sarah didn't attend (except for the reception) would easily be confused with real ones. -via Tastefully Offensive  


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Keep It Cool

(Image credit: Leszek Kozlowski)

A brief history of humans trying to chill out by any means necessary.

Life in the past was all about blood, sweat, and tears. But mostly sweat. Before the invention of air conditioning, summers felt like one big Bikram yoga studio: hot, sticky, and uncomfortable.

Consider the summer of 1896. It was too infernal for New Yorkers to sleep in their apartments, so many spent their nights snoozing on rooftops and fire escapes- with restless sleepers rolling off the roofs and falling to their deaths (the heat wave’s death toll in New York: 1,500). In an attempt to keep people cool -and alive- an obscure police commissioner named Teddy Roosevelt organized police stations to give out free blocks of ice.

Until the 1920s, much of America shut down entirely when things got too hot, including government: The capital would close its doors. Broadway theaters also went dark, giving birth to summer stock productions held outdoors. Across the pond, to keep babies cool, London moms bought the “baby cage,” a little box they’d attach outside the window of their apartment, dangling babies stories above the pavement.

Continue reading

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The Atomic Bomb That Was Too Big To Use

On October 30, 1961, the Soviet Union tested the largest nuclear bomb ever made, the Tsar Bomba. It was deployed 13,000 feet above the Barents Sea north of the USSR. The energy it released was estimated to be equivalent to 57 megatons of TNT, and sent a shockwave around the world three times.      

In order to give the two planes a chance to survive – and this was calculated as no more than a 50% chance – Tsar Bomba was deployed by a giant parachute weighing nearly a tonne. The bomb would slowly drift down to a predetermined height – 13,000ft (3,940m) – and then detonate. By then, the two bombers would be nearly 50km (30 miles) away. It should be far enough away for them to survive.

Tsar Bomba detonated at 11:32, Moscow time. In a flash, the bomb created a fireball five miles wide. The fireball pulsed upwards from the force of its own shockwave. The flash could be seen from 1,000km (630 miles) away.

The bomb’s mushroom cloud soared to 64km (40 miles) high, with its cap spreading outwards until it stretched nearly 100km (63 miles) from end to end. It must have been, from a very far distance perhaps, an awe-inspiring sight.

But what was equally astonishing was that the original design was even bigger. The Tsar Bomba was scaled back from having a 100-megaton blast. That design was unworkable because it couldn't have been delivered to any target. As it was, Tsar Bomba turned its creator, Soviet physicist Andrei Sakharov, completely against nuclear weapons research and into an activist for peace and freedom. Read about Tsar Bomba and its effects at BBC Future.

(Image credit: User:Croquant with modifications by User:Hex)


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26 Wild West Facts

(YouTube link)

We love watching movies about the pioneers, gunslingers, and cowboys of the Wild West. The historical facts about the settlement of the American West was different from what the movies give us, but is just as interesting. John Green has a bunch of those details about the Wild West in the latest episode of the Mental Floss List Show.  


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Carrot Steals Diamond Ring

Okay, to be technical, the carrot found a lost diamond engagement ring in the garden, and decided to wear it. Mary Grams of Camrose, Alberta, lost it while working in her garden in 2004.

"We looked high and low on our hands and knees," she said. "We couldn't find it. I thought for sure either they rototilled it or something happened to it."

She has had the ring since 1951, a year before she married her husband, Norman. After it was lost she quickly replaced it.

"I didn't tell him, even, because I thought for sure he'd give me heck or something," she said.

In 2017, her daughter-in-law pulled up a carrot that was wearing the ring.



Read the story of the carrot and the ring at CBC News. -via Peter Lindelauf

PS: It's not the first time this has happened.


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Found: One Lost Drummer

The Scottish band Belle and Sebastian had a concert scheduled in St. Paul, Minnesota, last night. It almost didn't happen. They had performed in Missoula, Montana, on Sunday, and were traveling by bus. They stopped at a Walmart in Dickinson, North Dakota, Monday night to get some water, and their drummer Richard Colburn took the opportunity to use the restroom. The bus left, everyone went to sleep, and Colburn was left behind, without his phone.

In an radio interview Tuesday morning, singer Stuart Murdoch told the story.  

STUART MURDOCH: It's been a morning. It feels like a whole day that we've had already.

MARY: Just give us the little synopsis version of what went down.

STUART: Well, when I woke up a few hours ago, we realized we left our drummer in North Dakota.

MARY: Yeah, that happens.

STUART: What happens, or what?

MARY: That's just one way to get rid of a drummer, I'm thinking.

A flurry of phone calls Tuesday resulted in a volunteer fetching Colburn and delivering him to the Bismarck airport, and he made it to St. Paul in time for the show. -via Metafilter  

(Image credit: Karl af Geijerstam)


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Profile for Miss Cellania

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