Miss Cellania's Blog Posts

5 Really Weird Ways That Actors Got Into Character

Top actors have a way of becoming their characters that allows us to forget they are movie stars for a little while. How they inhabit someone else's skin can be a real wonder, at least to those of us who will never have that skill. Each actor has their own way of preparing for a role, and sometimes they end up preparing in a way you'd never guess in a million years. Take, for instance, Tom Cruise in the 2004 film Collateral.

You might not remember this film but that’s okay because it really kind of flew under the radar for the most part. To prepare for the part of the unknown assassin though Tom Cruise actually delivered for the UPS for a short while to get the feel of being able to get into and get out of a place without being recognized. That was the whole point of the movie to be quite honest, to go unnoticed until it was too late.

Read about how four other stars got into character for a movie role at TVOM. 


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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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Couch Monster

Check out this couch monster! Someone's playing with their dog under a blanket. But wait -that's not a dog! What kind of critter is this?

(YouTube link)

It's Loki, the red fox! He loves playing games with his humans. -via Tastefully Offensive

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

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Alan Hale Jr. "the Skipper"

Neatorama presents a guest post from actor, comedian, and voiceover artist Eddie Deezen. Visit Eddie at his website or at Facebook.

Alan Hale MacKahan was born on March 8, 1921 in Los Angeles, California. He was the son of two actors. Alan's father, Alan Hale, had been a legendary journeyman supporting actor in over 200 films, both silent and talkies. His mother, Gretchen Hartman, was also a screen actress. Under the name Grace Barrett, she was a silent film actress in the 1920s. Alan thus grew up around show business personalities (he was a classmate of Mickey Rooney and the two remained lifelong close friends).

Alan caught "the bug" early and started acting at the age of 10. Alan made his Broadway debut in Caught Wet in 1931 (the show ran for less than two months). He was to appear in five or six more plays in his checkered career, before devoting himself full-time to films and later, television. His film debut came in 1933 in Wild Boys of the Road, where he was billed, but was edited out of the film's final release.

After being educated and graduating from Blacke-Fox Military Academy, Alan soon began a steady career as the classic "working actor" in motion pictures. Alan appeared in scores of other films before world war ii, including Dive Bomber (1941) with Errol Flynn, Time Out for Rhythm (1941) with Rudy Vallee and The Shores of Tripoli (1942) with Harry Morgan.

It was probably during this period that Alan, to supplement his income, also found work as a vacuum cleaner salesman. While it is known that Alan did sell vacuums, no specific dates for this alternate employment are given.

In 1943, Alan married Bettina Doerr, who was to have four children with him- Brian, Chris, Lana and Dorian. Alan and Bettina were to be married for 20 years, until 1963. During World War II, Alan enlisted and served in the U.S. Coast Guard. After the war, in 1946, Alan signed a contract with Monogram Studios, Hollywood's "bargain basement" studio, where he proceeded to churn out dozens of films.

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The Marshmallow Experiment

This lecturer must have a PhD in "completely missing the point." She assumes that the only reason a child could resist a marshmallow is because they don't like marshmallows. It's an even greater leap away from logic to assume that the dislike of marshmallows has any link to superior intelligence. Or she's just into conspoiracy theories.

The Stanford marshmallow experiment tested children's ability to delay gratification in exchange for a larger reward. Those who were able to control their temptation later had better SAT scores, educational achievement, and were healthier than those who succumbed to the lure of immediate gratification.

This is the latest comic from Zach Weinersmith at Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal.


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An Honest Trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy 2

A movie that's barely off theater screens gets the Honest Trailer treatment. Guardians of the Galaxy 2 never quite lived up to the original, but we rarely expect a sequel to recreate the magic of the first movie. We keep hoping, though. Oh, yeah, this contains spoilers.

(YouTube link)

Oh yeah, there's plenty of action, and comedy, or at least an attempt at comedy. And plenty of hints at what will be in stores in the Christmas toy aisles, despite the fact that the movie was totally inappropriate for children. 


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The Bloody San Antonio Origins of Chili Con Carne

An article earlier this summer hinted that the defining factor in the development of Texas chili is chili powder, but the ingredient that makes chili a Tex-Mex dish is cumin, a spice imported from the Old World. Chili con carne is the crowning achievement of San Antonio cuisine. Most historians date its origin to 1880, with the rise of the "chili queens" that sold the dish to the public in outdoor stands. But that date is an function of the name chili con carne existing in published sources. A stew of meat and chili peppers had been around long before that. So how do you define chili con carne in order to find its origin? An article at Smithsonian gives some of the conflicting origin stories, including one that goes back as far as an uprising in 1813. It was another in the long line of wars fought over Texas.

Most of that, save for the two post-San Jacinto Mexican incursions, is well known. Far fewer people remember the troubles of 1811 and 1813, even though the latter of those conflicts featured the bloodiest battle ever fought on Texas soil, and, according to San Antonio tradition, produced the first Chili Queen.  

Were it not for the fact that the (partially) American side lost in ignominious fashion, movies would have been made about the Gutierrez-Magee Expedition of 1812 to 1813.

Encouraged by the near-success of the 1811 Casas Revolt in San Antonio, and with covert support from Washington, D.C., Spanish Texan revolutionaries traveled to Louisiana and enlisted Anglo and Louisiana Creole soldiers of fortune in a joint “Republican Army of the North” to sever Texas from Madrid for good. (The Spanish and Anglo contingents had different plans—the former wanted Texas as part of a free Mexico, while the latter preferred annexation to the U.S., or perhaps an independent republic as envisioned by Aaron Burr. It seems both sides agreed to set that matter aside until they had seized Texas.)

And from there is born a love story, when a wealthy young Louisiana Creole fell for a teenager from a prominent San Antonio family. Read that story and how Jesusita de la Torre became the first of the "chili queens" at Texas Monthly. -Thanks, WTM!

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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6 Weirdly Specific Ideas Movies Have About Normal Bathrooms

A bathroom is a wonderful thing to have in your home. You must admit they are very useful. But normal people don't spend a lot of time hanging around in them. Bathrooms are small, full of hard surfaces, and sometimes very humid. It's different in the movies and on TV. It's possible you've noticed some Hollywood tropes about bathrooms, or maybe they've never crossed your mind. If that's the case, you'll be surprised by the many times the same weird thing goes on in a bathroom across different fictional worlds.

The only reason you should ever be fully clothed in a bathtub with other people is if you've been murdered or you're training your Olympic bobsled team, yet for some reason it tends to happen in movies quite a bit. Characters love to sit fully clothed together in a bathtub and bond as they talk about their lives, hopes, dreams, and how they don't even own enough towels to get them dry now.

That's followed by an unreasonable number of examples. (However, if you are in the path of a tornado and don't have a basement, it is recommended that you get into the tub fully clothed.) Other weird bathroom events concern testing a shower's temperature, rinsing one's teeth after brushing, and more odd things that only happen in the bathrooms of Hollywood, at Cracked.


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Five Awesome “Happy in the Rain” Moments in Movies

My town is undergoing the wettest August in memory, or at least since I began growing a garden. Too many days I've skipped my morning walk, because it takes some special circumstances to be happy while getting soaked. Movies are great for illustrating special circumstances, though. If you've forgotten how joyous a rainfall can be, check out video clips from five movies that will remind you at TVOM. They will leave you in a better mood all around.

PS, looking at the bright side, this is another day I won't be mowing the lawn.


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Google Search as an Omen

Google search term statistics are good for detecting trends. Sometimes they can be a harbinger of disaster. If the predictions are correct, there is the possibility for traffic gridlock all across the United States. Due to her summer job schedule, my daughter is moving to her new college on August 21 instead of move-in day this week. At first I was quite disappointed, as the path of totality is only a couple of hours away from me in normal traffic, but now I see that decision as a blessing in disguise. This is the latest comic from Randall Munroe at xkcd. Go to the comic page to see the hover text.      


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Muscle Up

Take a trip through Muscle Beach at sunrise with the world's smallest drone. Robert McIntosh brings us an amazing continuous shot that draws you in as it zooms out.

(vimeo link)

While watching this, I bet you started to wonder how he did this. It becomes clear when you watch the raw video that was taken that morning.

(vimeo link)

That was before it was reversed and stabilized with ReelSteady for Adobe After Effects. But in some ways, the raw video is more impressive. I especially liked the part where the drone approached Jim Morrison. -via reddit


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How Far Away is Voyager 2?

The two Voyager probes have been traveling through space for 40 years. Voyager 2 launched on August 20, 1977, and is now over ten billion miles from Earth, yet it is still sending signals back. When we try to picture the space probe leaving the solar system, we imagine the models we used in school that showed us where the planets are in relation to the Earth. But those models were not made to scale, because that wouldn't be practical -they wouldn't fit in a classroom. To give us a more realistic idea of what that distance really looks like, Vox set up their own scale model and made a video.

(YouTube link)

So, Voyager 2 was barely started on its journey when it passed Pluto. And it's just now leaving the heliosphere. Cosmic. -via Digg


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Raccoons Riding a Bike Wheel

Trash pandas just wanna have fun! This adorable trio of raccoon cubs discovered that the wheel of a hanging bicycle makes a great swing.

(YouTube link)

They can't wait for their turn, so they fight a little, and then end up piling on all at once. Whee! -via Laughing Squid

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

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The Magyar Moustache Experiment

The following is an article from The Annals of Improbable Research, now in all-pdf form. Get a subscription now for only $25 a year!

Detail from the study: Photographs, collected by Ottó Herman, of “Magyar faces”.

Research about historic hairs
compiled by Alice Shirrell Kaswell and Otto Didact, Improbable Research staff

Of all the European experiments that center on mustaches, the Magyar Mustache Experiment is perhaps the one most tightly tied to the interpretation of Hungarian history.

The Magyar Moustache Experiment and Controversy
“The Magyar Moustache: The Faces of Hungarian State Formation, 1867–1918,” Emese Lafferton,
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, Part C, vol. 38, no. 4, December 2007, pp. 706–732. The author, at the University of Edinburgh, UK, explains:

[I]n defining the Magyar face, ‘we are often compelled to dispense with a significant basic element, the ... shape of the mouth, because the Magyars are not only a moustached people, but also one that is proud of the moustache, that recognises in it a basic element of its honour and respectability’. Thus, if not the mouth, than the hair that covers it gains significance....

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How to Make a Blockbuster Movie Trailer

(YouTube link)

If you thought movie trailers are looking more and more like every other movie trailer lately, you're not alone. They all follow the same formula, as explained by Auralnauts. The real test would be to put a movie trailer into YouTube Doubler with this video and see how close they are, if you find one that's about the same length. -via Tastefully Offensive


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How to Spot a Fake Viral Video

If we couldn't manipulate moving pictures, we wouldn't have all the wonderful movies that transport us to fictional worlds through special effects. But there are more and more manipulated videos that pass themselves off as real life, and it's hard to know the difference. Technology always jumps ahead of common knowledge, so it's little wonder that faked videos fool people just the way manipulated photographs have since the 19th century, and fake news on social media passes itself off as real news. The lines between raw videos of real life, advertising, fiction, and the quest for virality have become blurry. Alan Melikdjanian, known on the internet as Captain Disillusion, has some lessons on developing a sense of what's real and what's fake in a viral video at The Verge. -via Digg


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John Ballou Newbrough's Orphan Utopia

In 1881, a dentist named John Ballou Newbrough wrote a new bible called Oahspe. According to Newbrough, the text was dictated to him by angels who visited him every morning for fifty weeks. This text was the foundation of a new religion. While plenty of new groups were being formed under the mantle of Spiritualism at the time, Newbrough's Faithists were under scrutiny because their bible plainly contradicted Christianity.

What most fascinated the newspapers, though, was Newbrough’s intention to found a colony. Oahspe enjoins its followers—called Faithists—to gather orphans and raise them to be independent, vegetarian, and spiritually pure, as preparation for leadership of a New World Order. The New York Times reported that “all that was asked of the members was that they should buy tracts of land in order that head-quarters might be established and people removed to them from the profanity of the world,” and at the time of the article’s publication, the search was already underway for a site in the southwestern desert.4 Shalam, as Newbrough ultimately named the colony, would be a religious community and a refuge for thousands of indigent babies, far from the corruption of cities. As they prepared to leave a year later, the New York Times reassessed the colonists’ aims: “[the Faithists] have given no intelligible idea of what they want or seek to accomplish.”5

Newbrough and his Faithists founded a commune called Shalam in New Mexico to raise their orphans. They eventually took in 28 children, but the commune did not last long enough to become as well known as some other communal religions of the period. Read about the Faithists and the strange bible they followed at Cabinet magazine.  -via Metafilter


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Victorian Banana Candy with Banana Facts

Gregory Cohen of Public Displays of Confection (previously at Neatorama) knows that we love watching the process of making hard candy with images inside.

(YouTube link)

Cohen also knows that the process can be tedious, even on video, so as the candy is being cooled, pulled, shaped, and pulled again, he tells us everything he knows about bananas. Like, how they are cultivated, the internal structure of a banana, and why banana candy usually doesn't taste like a banana. The candy factory is also a soda fountain called Lofty Pursuits in Tallahassee, Florida, so Cohen is fairly enamored of the bananas he uses for banana splits.  

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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What Counts as a Mountain?

(YouTube link)

There are mountains and molehills, and we can pretty much tell the difference. But what's the difference between a hill and a mountain? And what's the difference between a mountain and a mountain range? If you recall the 1995 movie The Englishman Who Went up a Hill but Came down a Mountain, the difference was whether the hill was 1,000 feet high or not. But is that from sea level or the surrounding plain? And what if there is no surrounding plain? Tom Scott has a more precise look at the question.

You have to draw the line somewhere, but there's the question of who gets to draw that line. And then there are the various cultures around the world that have designated their hills and mountains before any such regulation in the terms was proposed. Scott has information about the question, but whatever answer you come up with will have exceptions. It depends, in other words.


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A Brief History of Mooning

We saw people mooning in the movies Brave and Braveheart, which make it seem like an ancient Scottish ritual, although adults might assume that Brave (2012) took the idea from Braveheart (1995). Still, you have to wonder whether Scots really did that, and were they the ones who came up with the idea. The answer is, um, no. Baring one's butt as an insult to one's enemies has a long and sordid history, that may have extended back before written language. However, the existing literature does have quite a few examples.  

There is ample evidence that people mooned each other during the Middle Ages. One of the earliest known instances of mooning happened during the Fourth Crusade around 1203, when Western Europeans attempted to take Constantinople. As the crusaders’ ships pulled away after the failed attack, the Byzantines hooted and hollered and “showed their bare buttocks in derision to the fleeing foe.” Another account tells of the Italian nobleman and troubadour Alberico da Romano, who in the first half of the 13th century was so indignant at losing his favorite falcon during a hunt that he “dropped his trousers and exposed his rear to the Lord as a sign of abuse and reviling.”

They didn't call it "mooning" in the Middle Ages, so you have to wonder if the common people had their own term for the gesture, if it was that common. Read what we know about the history of mooning, in a link-heavy article at Slate.  -via Metafilter


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The 5 Toughest Fictional Female Soldiers in Movies

If you read the list of ripped women movie characters we posted last week, you'll love this one. It's a video roundup of movie scene featuring women soldiers of all kinds, and they are all different characters from the other list. I'm just glad there are enough recent movies that acknowledge the bravery of women soldiers to compile a list like this, and that women soldiers are becoming less of a novelty and more of a regular character type. See them all at TVOM.


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Overqualified in His Mind

Okay, he's got this idea that he's very talented at what he does, yet for some reason he's complaining that people aren't buying it? You've probably known people like that. Then, somewhere between the third and fourth panels, he sees the contradiction. Or maybe he's just desperate for a little success. This is the newest comic from Jeff Lofvers at Don't Hit Save.


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Conversation With My Cat

Cats are great listeners… until they aren't. While they're around, all fluffy and calm, they are your best friend, willing to keep you company as you pour your heart out. That is, until something better comes along, like a floating dust bunny. Then you may as well be talking to your stuffed teddy bear. This comic is from Yasmine Surovec at Cat vs. Human.


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How to Put a Kid to Bed

Children do not want to go to sleep at 8 PM, or whenever you've decided bedtime is. They're not sleepy, and they want to play. But their parents have been waiting all day for a chance to catch their breath, and they'd love to have a few minutes of calm before they fall into their own exhausted sleep. New Zealand dad Jordan Watson (previously at Neatorama) shares some of his wisdom about putting children to bed.

(YouTube link)

It's a losing battle. You cannot make a child fall asleep. You can only hope to outlast them so you can have a few minutes to yourself. Good luck. -via Tastefully Offensive

See more about baby and kids at NeatoBambino

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Looking Back at Fast Times at Ridgemont High

Fast Times at Ridgemont High was released 35 years ago today. It was a high school comedy  full of unknown actors who went on to stardom, such as Jennifer Jason Leigh, Phoebe Cates, Sean Penn, Nicolas Cage, Forest Whitaker, Eric Stoltz, Judge Reinhold, and Anthony Edwards. Cameron Crowe wrote the screenplay, which was based on the book he wrote about a high school he attended and researched undercover. The movie wasn't promoted much, but it became a smash hits among teenagers and grew into a classic. Variety talked to Crowe and director Amy Heckerling about the film's origins.  

Save for Ray Walston, as the acerbic history teacher and Spicoli’s nemesis, Mr. Hand, there are very few adults in “Fast Times,” including the characters’ parents.

“I hate parents,” said Heckerling. “Parents open a whole box of stuff I didn’t want to get into. I just wanted to say ‘Here’s the world of kids in their own universe. This is real. This is this particular time and place. These are real characters and what they were going through.’”

Crowe recalled being told that if you make a movie just for kids, it will fail because not enough kids will come to the movie. “That was strange to all of us,” he said. “So we banded together to make this movie where parents barely existed. It was raw in what it was showing. There was pot smoking and abortion and all of this stuff.”

Read more about the making of Fast Times at Ridgemont High at Variety.


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A Brief Tour of European Wedding Cake Traditions

Sweet treats, often including a very specific type of cake, are a near-universal part of a wedding celebration. We are used to the traditional tall wedding cake in America, and we've posted many modern interpretations. Wedding cakes and their traditions vary widely in other countries.  

At weddings in France and parts of Belgium the croquembouche is served. The name croquembouche derives from the French “croque en bouche” meaning crack in mouth. This is apt as croquembouche is a tall, conical structure of cream-filled pastry buns enveloped in hard sugar. On top of the croquembouche are a set of figurines symbolizing the newlyweds. Similar to a croquembouche are the Icelandic wedding cake known as kransakaka and the Danish kransekage. These are wreath cakes consisting of multiple almond pastry rings of decreasing size placed one atop the other to form a cone of cakes. Each ring cake is decorated with white icing and the whole cake is filled with confectionary. According to Danish tradition the newlyweds should remove the top layer with the number of layers that adhere to it indicating how many children the couple will have.

Read how the idea of a wedding cake came to be, and how that tradition is interpreted in different European countries at FolkloreThursday. -via Strange Company

(Image credit: Eric Baker)

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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Cat Runs Away in Style

GirthyBurritos spotted this vehicle filling up at an interstate exit. This cat is clearly headed for a new life in a new place. Since he had to strap his cat tree on top, you can assume that the interior is full of catnip, Fancy Feast, and hair ties. The reddit thread underneath gives a collaborative speculation as to his story.

Salty

"Sitting in James' truck at the gas station, I began to question my choice to leave. No. Karen and James had their chance, that sparrow was the last straw.

I had hunted, killed and gifted 47 prey by that point and every one had been met with disgust and rejection. After duly showing gratitude for my humans handing me ownership of themselves and their land, Karen grabbed me by the neck and rubbed my face in the delicious meal I had brought them. I was baffled and deeply offended. I didn't understand them, they didn't understand me, it was time to move on.

Without me patrolling the garden, Karen and James would most likely be eaten by dogs. So be it, I had no more use for them."

Bifferer

...so, with 2 kilos of catnip and my lookout post strapped to the roof, I topped off the tank and left town.

Snarkhive

"We were just outside of barstow when the catnip began to take hold"

xtraordinaryshitpost

I would watch this movie.

Further down in the comment thread, the plot gets much weirder. Wherever he's going, he's definitely in the driver's seat. I bet his name is Toonces. The moral of the story: Never leave your car keys out where the cat can get them. 

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

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The Teenager Who Stole Queen Victoria’s Panties

Edward Jones was a lifelong criminal. He got started early, and made a real reputation for himself by sneaking into the royal palace during Queen Victoria's reign. At age 14, he was caught stuffing the queen's underwear down his pants. Jones had gotten into the palace by dressing as a chimney sweep. Strangely, he was acquitted of the charges, which only emboldened him to return and make somewhat of a career of sneaking into Buckingham Palace.

The boy was very good at getting into the palace. Two years after the original incident, Her Majesty had just given birth to her first child, and Jones climbed a palace wall, walked around the palace, and left undetected. He came back the following night and was discovered in the Queen’s dressing room, hiding under a sofa. He was sentenced to three months in prison, and while the first break-in caught the public’s imagination, the second caught the public’s ire, as concern for the newborn princess overrode the novelty of a kid breaking into the castle.

But almost immediately after Jones’ sentence, he was back. This time he helped himself to a snack, but the palace had increased security, and a guard caught him. Jones was sentenced to three months hard labor, and still more palace guards were added.

Read about "the boy," as Jones came to known, at the A.V. Club.


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Squirrel Ruins 82,000 Liters of Milk

Burnaby, British Columbia was the locale for one of those chain reaction stories in which a small action becomes a big mess. A squirrel chewed through a wire on an (electric company) BC Hydro utility pole. The pole caught on fire as a result, and electrical power was down for more than 150 Burnaby residents …and one factory. Scardillo Cheese was able to rent generators to keep their cheese refrigerated, but not enough to refrigerate the milk waiting to be made into cheese. Power was restored after about 12 hours, but by then, 82,000 liters of milk were spoiled.  

The company is estimated to lose about a week of production disposing of and cleaning up the milk. The squirrel is still at large.

-via Atlas Obscura


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The Courtship Dance of the Hooded Grebe

The hooded grebe is a critically endangered species of bird that lives in South America. They are known for their spectacular mating dance, which is even more stylized than the human tango.

(YouTube link)

Yeah, it's funny-looking, but it works for them. If they can memorize all those moves that precisely, they can certainly raise a flock of chicks. Hey, at one time, the Hustle worked for us. This footage is from the upcoming documentary Tango in the Wind. -via reddit


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Profile for Miss Cellania

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