Miss Cellania's Blog Posts

A Cosmic Groaner

Redditor terrafarma lives on a small farm, so my guess is that he is responsible for this sign. If you don’t get the joke, you might want to listen to the song. If you get the joke, you’ll love the comment flammablepenguins left underneath.

When the celery is in the Seventh House

And arugula aligns with Mars

Then spinach will guide the planets

And turnips will steer the stars

This is the dawning of the Age of Asparagus

The Age of Asparagus

Asparagus! Asparagus!

Pumpkin and understanding

Sorrell and tomato abounding

No more gherkins or derisions

Golden living dreams of onions

Mystic shallot revelation

And the leeks true liberation

Asparagus, Asparagus

When the celery is in the Seventh House

And arugula aligns with Mars

Then spinach will guide the planets

And turnips will steer the stars

This is the dawning of the Age of Asparagus

The Age of Asparagus

Asparagus! Asparagus!

Let the sun shine, Let the sun shine in, The sun shine in

Let the sun shine, Let the sun shine in, The sun shine in…


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Clones of Cloned Sheep Aging Normally

Dolly the sheep was the world’s first cloned animal to survive to adulthood, while 277 other attempts failed. She was born 20 years ago, and lived for six and a half years. When she died of a not-uncommon sheep lung disease, there was some speculation that Dolly might have been suffering the effects of old age because she was cloned from a six-year-old sheep, or possibly that clones age differently from natural-born sheep. However, a few years later, Dolly’s cells were used to produce four more clones. Those clones were assessed at nine years and found to be aging normally and were as healthy as natural-born sheep of the same age. Michelle Kuepper of Research Gate talked to the study’s lead author Kevin Sinclair about Dolly, her clones, and the future of animal cloning. -via reddit

(Image credit: Nottingham University)


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The Man Engine

Monday in Tavistock, UK, a 33-foot man wearing a Cornish miner’s helmet woke up, waved to the crowd, and starting walking across Cornwall. He is the Man Engine, and he’ll be walking or crawling a 130-mile route for two weeks until he reaches the Geevor Tin Mine on August 6th. Along the way, he’ll stop at all ten Cornish Mining World Heritage Sites to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the mines’ designation.

(YouTube link)

The Man Engine is powered by heavy equipment behind and controlled by puppeteers with cables. You can follow the Man Engine’s progress at Facebook. -via Arbroath 


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Where Our Food Crops Come From

The International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) conducted a vast study of global agriculture and how foods that originated in one region ended up sustaining different regions, both by exported agriculture and by exported food. Part of that study is a map that shows where those foods were once native plants. At the site, the map is interactive and at the top of the page you’ll find links to information specific regions and links to broader articles about the findings. You could end up spending the rest of the week learning about global food systems. -via Digg   

(Image credit: Colin K. Khoury, Harold A. Achicanoy, Carlos Navarro-Racines, Steven Sotelo, and Andy Jarvis)


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The Stretch Batmobile and Other Crazy Limousines

The definition of a limousine is a hired car with a driver, but in practical usage the word means a luxury ride for showing off. Nothing says “Look at me!” like a car that’s so long it has trouble making a turn, or looks like a Brinks truck with a fully-stocked bar. And some limousines incorporate the look of fictional vehicles, like the Batmobile limousine:

Few people don’t know what the Batmobile from Tim Burton’s Batman movie series looks like, whether they’re a DC Comics fan or not. The iconic ride has become an important part of the Batman franchise, and a super fan decided to build a limo version of it in 2012. It looks every bit the part on the outside, and inside the Batmobile limousine has a V8 Corvette jet engine. Creating such an amazing recreation of one of the most recognized cars in the world wasn’t cheap, and the project cost over $4 million.

But it’s far from the most expensive car in the list. You’ll also see a limousine that resemble an airplanes, a gold-covered car, armored security limousines, a ridiculously long stretch, and more in a list of the 10 Most Over the Top Limousines in the World at Money Inc.


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An Orthotic Boot for Purps the Penguin

Yellow Purple the penguin (Purps for short) lives at Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut. She injured her foot and needed help with her mobility, so the aquarium staff enlisted the help of the ACT Group/3D Systems and a local middle school. They all worked together to design and 3D print a boot to help Purps get around while she heals.

(YouTube link)

See the video about how the boot was made at Laughing Squid.

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

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The First Political Conventions on Live TV

The Democratic National Convention is going on this week in Philadelphia, which brings to mind the conventions of 1948. Three major parties held their conventions in Philadelphia that year, and there was something new and special happening that year: the presence of TV cameras. It was the first year that the Republican and Democratic conventions were televised. There was a relatively small audience, since few people had TV sets, but the spectacle of the broadcast made the entire convention ritual different.   

So, what, exactly, did viewers see? A lot of sweat, for one thing. The Philadelphia conventions that year were the last time political conventions were held in a venue that didn't have air-conditioning. And in video of Truman's speech at the convention, convention-goers are seen getting creative in how they fanned themselves, many using what appeared to be programs, mostly in vain.

On stage, things were considerably worse, mostly because of the lights. If the convention was to be televised, networks told convention organizers, the dais would need to be lit up. And, because of the primitive camera technology of 1948, that meant highly lit up. As a consequence, convention speakers, many of whom could be seen with visible sweat stains, probably had it the worst of anyone. (Their wives, sitting behind them, didn't have it much better.)

Of course, that changed everything forever. Not only did air conditioning debut at the next political conventions, there was also makeup, staging, and meticulous planning to make the television broadcast acceptable to viewers. Read about the clash of the old ways and the how television change politics at Atlas Obscura.


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R.I.P. Marni Nixon

You might not know the name Marni Nixon, but you know her voice. Nixon was a singer, actress, author, and music professor, with an extensive filmography. The strange part of her film career is that she was often uncredited. Nixon sang the songs that made other actresses famous

Classically trained, Ms. Nixon was throughout the 1950s and ’60s the unseen — and usually uncredited — singing voice of the stars in a spate of celebrated Hollywood films. She dubbed Deborah Kerr in “The King and I,” Natalie Wood in “West Side Story” and Audrey Hepburn in “My Fair Lady,” among many others.

Her other covert outings included singing for Jeanne Crain in “Cheaper by the Dozen,” Janet Leigh in “Pepe” and Ida Lupino in “Jennifer.” “The ghostess with the mostest,” the newspapers called her, a description that eventually began to rankle.

While these musicals went on to win multiple Academy Awards, Nixon was under contract to keep her involvement a secret, which bothered her more and more as time went on. She eventually vowed to never sing in secret again. It’s Nixon’s voice you hear in these songs, courtesy of Metafilter:

Ms. Nixon died of breast cancer in Manhattan on Sunday. She was 86.

(Image credit: Flickr user John Morton)


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Organic

To be honest, this scenario could apply to anyone with a diet designed to make them appear superior to the rest of us common folk. You might know someone who is vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free by choice, grain-free, sugar-free, paleo, or all-natural, and won’t hesitate to make you feel awful about your inferior food choices.

The attitude makes all the difference. A relative offered me a soda pop once, and I replied that I don’t drink soda. She asked why not, and I said my teeth are too sensitive for cold drinks. That put her right at ease, because it let her know I wasn’t going to lecture her about her soda habit. To each his own. This is the latest from Sarah Andersen.


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Dead pool vs. Comic Con

Get ready for mischief when Deadpool is around! D-Piddy attended Comic Con again this year as Deadpool, in order to stir up trouble!

(YouTube link)

All skits on the convention floor were set up with the other cosplayers, and there was no contact without consent. However, just like the Deadpool movie, some scenes are not for children. -via Tastefully Offensive


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Adam Savage Incognito at Comic-Con 2016

Every year, Adam Savage wears a costume to San Diego Comic Con in order to get around without being recognized. This year, he was a bear. No, he wasn’t trying to be a furry, although that’s what quite a few people assumed. He was supposed to be the bear from the movie The Revenant.  

[ (YouTube link)

The particulars of the suit construction are in another video to come; this one follows him as he wanders the halls of Comic Con. -via Digg


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The History of Cosplay

Who knew? The first person to wear a costume to a science fiction convention dates back to the very first science fiction convention in 1939. The idea grew from there when people realized that it was fun, frivolous, and the better the costume, the more the fun. You got attention, made friends, and spread the news that fictional world fandom can bring the real world together.




(Facebook link)

While I have an extensive history in costumes, I only attended a science fiction convention in costume once. Conventions are a major hassle when you live in the middle of nowhere, while there are many opportunities to use a costume of one sort or another, at various jobs, parties, and when you have children. This video is from Timeline.  -via Digg


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Asphalt Lakes And The Secrets in Their Depths

Instead of water, some lakes are filled with the gooey petroleum substance known as asphalt, tar, or bitumen. It forms when crude oil thickens due to long contact with air. How thick is it? That varies, which is why animals can be trapped in it. At Pitch Lake in Trinidad, you can walk on the surface, but if you stand still, you’ll eventually begin to sink. That fate befell the ancient animals trapped in the La Brea tar pits in Los Angeles.

In addition to geologists and oil barons, asphalt lakes are objects of interest for naturalists and paleontologists too as well, because hidden beneath the sticky, gooey layers are remains of unimaginable amount of prehistoric life. Over thousands of years these lakes have swallowed saber-toothed cat, dire wolves, bison, horses, turtles, snails, clams, millipedes, gophers, mammoths and hundreds of other species of vertebrates and invertebrates. These animals had wandered too far looking for food perhaps, and became trapped in the asphalt. The trapped animals attracted predators who became stuck as well as. Death came either by suffocation or hunger. It’s a terrible way to die, but a fantastic way to preserve fossils.

We use the tar itself for paving roads and sealing roofs. Read about the weird phenomenon of asphalt lakes at Amusing Planet. -via the Presurfer

(Image credit: Flickr user Betsy Weber)


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20 Things You Didn’t Know about Amy Poehler

Comedian, actress, writer, producer, and all-around character Amy Poehler is best known for her work on Saturday Night Live and Parks and Recreation. But she’s got a lot more going on, both on and off screen. Get to know Poehler better with some facts about her life and work.   

8. It may sound surprising that she was anything but a hilariously funny comedian, but Amy Poehler was once a teenager. Like many teenagers, Amy Poehler had a summer job. She worked at Chadwicks, an ice cream parlor in the neighborhood she grew up in. In addition to serving up yummy ice cream, part of her job was to dress up in old-fashioned outfits. On customer’s birthdays, they would sing happy birthday, play a kazoo, and bang a drum in celebration.

9. We all know Amy Poehler starred in the movie Mean Girls. If not, then you need to go out and rent or buy the movie today. Amy Poehler played the part of Rachel McAdams’ self-obsessed mother. Seems normal enough. What you may not know is she was only seven years older than Rachel McAdams at the time.  Seems pretty crazy but it happens all the time in Hollywood.

There’s lots more about Amy Poehler at SheBudgets.


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True Colors, and Where They Came From

The following article is from Uncle John’s Factastic Bathroom Reader.

Here’s something to think about next time you open a box of crayons. We take it for granted that the pigments used to color our clothes, dishes, and art supplies are clean and safe— but as these colors of the past reveal, that’s not necessarily so.

(Image credit: Zubro)

Color: Mummy Brown

Made From: Actual mummies

How Did That Become a Thing? Long before there were art stores, the most reliable source of powdered chemicals of all kinds was the apothecary. Europeans had gotten it into their heads that Egyptian mummies were powerful medicine, and from the 1300s to the early 20th century, ground mummies were prescribed for everything from headaches to gout to epilepsy. Adventurous artists discovered that when mixed with oil paint, powdered flesh from mummies made an excellent light brown color. It was used extensively from the 1700s into the mid-1920s.

True Colors: Despite the belief that mummies were indestructible, it turned out that flesh in paint tended to shrink and crack with time. But the thing that really doomed Mummy Brown was the dwindling supply of mummies. By 1964, it was officially as dead as a pharaoh; an article in Time magazine quoted a representative of a major art supply house as saying, “We may still have a few limbs lying around somewhere, but not enough to make any more paint.”

Color: Chrome Yellow

Made From: Lead chromate

How Did That Become a Thing?

Continue reading

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5 Terrifying Unsolved Murders

Fiction is full of spooky weird stories that will give you chills, but truth is stranger than fiction. There are plenty of cold cases from the past in which the murder was never determined, but some stand out for their complete weirdness. Some leave evidence that doesn’t make sense, some have several possible explanations, and some are the stuff horror films are made of, like the series of five murders and three near-murders in 1946 in Texarkana.

The first attack came on February 22, when the killer ambushed Jimmy Hollis, 25, and Mary Jeanne Larey, 19, in their car. Pointing a flashlight at the couple's faces, he ordered Hollis out of the car, told him to remove his pants, and proceeded to beat and stomp him so badly that he would spend days in a coma. In a way, Larey was even less fortunate: The attacker ordered her to run, and soon chased her down, beat her, and assaulted her with the barrel of a gun. She managed to escape this deadly game of cat and mouse, and in true horror movie style, ended up pleading for help at the door of a house half a mile away, sure to the last second that she was being followed.

A few weeks after the first attack, another young couple was attacked in their car. This time, after an unknown sequence of events, the Phantom shot both victims execution-style. Another couple of weeks later, yet another two kids were found dead. They had made it out of the car (or had been forced to leave it), attempted to struggle and perhaps escape the murderer, but were shot several times nevertheless. The final victims were farmer couple Virgil and Katie Starks, and for them, the killer significantly changed his modus operandi, straight-up gunning them down through their window. Despite taking two shots in the head, Mrs. Starks didn't die in the attack. After a terrifying chase with the killer inside the farmhouse, she managed to escape to the neighbors' house before collapsing. A trail of blood and pieces of teeth marked her trail.

While the case spawned a movie and an entire genre of slasher films, the case has never been quite solved, although there were a couple of suspects. Read about that case and four others at Cracked.


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40th Birthday Cake

When you bake a birthday cake for someone celebrating a substantial number of years, say more than 12, the easiest way to do it is to put one candle on top, or use those candles that come in the shape of numbers. Or you can put all the candles on and have someone stand by with a fire extinguisher for a good laugh. But these folks went all out. Redditor OyVeyzMeir posted the cake from a friend’s 40th birthday in which firetrucks were standing by for the expected conflagration.


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Doctor’s Orders

What’s the cure when you're overcome by work? A little play! Better follow Dr. Feelgood’s orders, and  shake, rattle, and roll, those blues away. This is the latest from Lunarbaboon.


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Avalanche Fences Exposed!

In mountainous areas of Europe, you might enjoy the breathtaking view of a snow-covered Alp in winter. But in summer, the snow melts and the infrastructure underneath is exposed. These are avalanche protection fences, designed to mitigate the effect of sudden slides.  

Strangely, the purpose of this kind of fencing in mountainous regions is not to stop a snow drift but to cause one.  The fences (usually referred to as snow fences) are positioned so that drifting snow is blown in to a place where it presents the least amount of danger.  By forcing a drift on the side of the mountain, it is then less likely to cover the transport routes below.

Over many centuries, communities have learned, often to their great cost, where the initiation zones of avalanches are located.  This led to the very human desire to stabilise the snow and it was the idea of a fence which was found to work.  No doubt there was much trial and error but the idea was to help absorb the force of the snow-pack through a system of fences – and to transmit that force to the ground, keeping the snow in its place.

See a gallery of avalanche fences in summertime images at Kuriositas. -via the Presurfer

(Image credit: Stephan Möller)


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Fan.tasia: Disney Millennial Mix

This Disney mashup will bring back memories of the magic you felt when you first watched these films as a youngster, although you have to be pretty young to have seen all these as a youngster! While the video highlights how Disney uses the same set pieces and angles over and over, it also shows how well they work.  

(YouTube link)

Lindsay McCutcheon set clips from the last twenty years of Disney movies (and some older) to the song “Pop Culture” by Madeon. If you doubt this was made by Millennials for Millennials, Lindsay was named after Lindsay Buckingham. He says he worked on this video on and off for about five months. -via reddit   


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Star Trek Christmas Ornaments Just Keep Getting Weirder

Hallmark has offered a different Star Trek keepsake Christmas ornament every year since 1991. And since this year is Star Trek’s 50th anniversary, you’d expect something really special. Well… they did go back to the premiere episode of the original Star Trek TV series. But if you thought last year’s ornament that depicted the death of Spock was weird, get a load of Captain Kirk being attacked by the M-113 creature, also known as the salt vampire, from “The Man Trap.” And it talks!

First airing back in 1966, the first Star Trek™ episode to be broadcast featured the crew’s visit to an outpost to conduct medical exams, only to be attacked by a murderous shape-shifting alien, the Salt Monster. Press a button on this Keepsake Ornament to hear dialogue from this famous episode.

Won’t this add cheer to the Christmas tree! The ornament is available now from Hallmark. Better order yours soon, because collectors will snap them up.  -via Metafilter


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How Did Hitler Rise to Power?

How does a tyrant rise to the type of power that Adolf Hitler held over Germany? You take a defeated and fractured nation and unite the people by giving them a scapegoat to blame their troubles on. Fear, anger, and bigotry can lead crowds to do things they would never do as individuals.

(YouTube link)

Hitler was in the right place at the right time, and if he hadn’t taken advantage of the situation, it’s possible that someone else would have. Would someone else have used that power in a different way? It's hard to say, because we know how power corrupts, and how power inspires the desire for more power. -via Metafilter


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First Trailer for Wonder Woman

The trailer for the upcoming Wonder Woman movie debuted at San Diego Comic Con. We first saw Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and now it’s time for her to kick ass and take names in her own film.

(YouTube link)

Chris Pine is Steve Trevor. The movie will be out in June of 2017. -via Uproxx


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A Journey Worth Taking

When you are deeply involved in video games, and then Pokémon GO comes along, you gotta go out and catch ‘em all! But maybe you aren’t as familiar with the “real world” as you should be. Try to remember that there aren’t charging stations everywhere in the real world wilderness. This is the latest comic from Kevin Erdmann at The Meerkat Guy. -via Geeks Are Sexy


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The Animals of World War I

Horses, mules, dogs, pigeons, cats, camels, koalas, even elephants were enlisted for their service in World War I. While a few were just mascots for the purpose of morale, most were put to work carrying soldiers and equipment. The British dog pictured here was photographed around 1915, delivering medical supplies to the front lines. The Atlantic has a collection of 45 photographs of animals in wartime. Warning: while not overly graphic, a few images contain deceased men or horses. -via Everlasting Blort


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Funny Vanity Plates Can Backfire on You

Getting a vanity license plate for your car is an opportunity to bring smiles to the drivers around you. Thousands of people have used the system to make jokes and puns. But there are some words that have unintended consequences when they are attached to your car.

In 1979 a Los Angeles man named Robert Barbour found this out the hard way when he sent an application to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) requesting personalized license plates for his car. The DMV form asked applicants to list three choices in case one or two of their desired selections had already been assigned. Barbour, a sailing enthusiast, wrote down "SAILING" and "BOATING" as his first two choices; when he couldn't think of a third option, he wrote "NO PLATE," meaning that if neither of his two choices was available, he did not want personalized plates. Plates reading "BOATING" and "SAILING" had indeed already been assigned, so the DMV, following Barbour's instructions literally, sent him license plates reading "NO PLATE." Barbour was not thrilled that the DMV had misunderstood his intent, but he opted to keep the plates because of their uniqueness.

Four weeks later he received his first notice for an overdue parking fine, from faraway San Francisco, and within days he began receiving dozens of overdue notices from all over the state on a daily basis. Why? Because when law enforcement officers ticketed illegally parked cars that bore no license plates, they had been writing "NO PLATE" in the license plate field. Now that Barbour had plates bearing that phrase, the DMV computers were matching every unpaid citation issued to a car with missing plates to him.

Barbour received thousands of such notices over the next few months, and it was years before anyone did anything about it. He was far from the only one. Read about other people with different vanity plates that got them into trouble through bureaucratic means at Snopes.  -via reddit

(Image credit: Randall Munroe/xkcd)


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NASA: On the Edge of Forever

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Star Trek and the opening of the new film Star Trek Beyond, NASA has produced three videos about the link between the science fiction franchise and the real-world space agency. The first one is about the International Space Station (ISS).

(YouTube link)

NASA has always loved Star Trek. The fictional universe inspired generations of young people to pursue science and technology careers, and among those who didn’t, it engendered a respect for space exploration that enables NASA to continue funding projects like the ISS and Mars exploration. -via Boing Boing


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The Common Chameleon

This “nature documentary” is actually animated. The chameleon’s biggest flaw is its “untamed sense of appetite.” He wants to eat anything that flies by, which turns out to be his downfall.

(vimeo link)

Karma, chameleon! This is episode two of the series Our Wonderful Nature. You can see episode one here. We may see episode three in another five years. -via Digg


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15 times Star Trek Altered the Timeline

In the Star Trek universe, the Prime Directive prohibits Starfleet personnel from interfering with the internal development of alien civilizations. They violate the directive over and over, but even worse, they interfere constantly with the space-time continuum. You can’t really blame the Enterprise crew, or even the writers, because time travel makes for wonderful stories. But it does mess up the continuity of several TV series and a dozen feature films. The Deep Space Nine episode “Trials And Tribble-Ations” even had the DS9 crew interacting with the characters in the 1960s series!

Plenty of Trek episodes dealt with time travel before DS9, but “Trials And Tribble-Ations” is the first to show characters traveling back to the events of a previous series; in a way, it serves as a prototype for the direction the new movie franchise would take, dipping in to the nostalgia of the original series while still maintaining its own voice. The plot here is largely an excuse to let the crew of DS9 interact with some of their “heroes,” as the episode uses footage from the classic original-series entry “The Trouble With Tribbles” intermixed with matching footage from the present. The effect is hugely entertaining, allowing the show to both mock and pay homage to the flaws and wonders of its predecessor. As a bonus, “Trials” also introduces the Department Of Temporal Investigations, a group dedicated to maintaining the internal logic of history. They mostly serve as a framing story, but the existence of the department is a helpful reminder that time travel and the shenanigans that result from it are an integral part of the franchise.  

The A.V. Club counts 14 other instances that time travel threw the Star Trek universe off-kilter. They always manage to “set things right” by the end, but who knows what changes they made in their timeline that the characters will never realize?   

(Image credit: Nick Wanserski)


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Grandmothers in the Wedding Party

When Maggie and Josh Wakefield got married, Maggie asked her grandfather to walk her down the aisle. The couple also wanted to include their grandmothers in the ceremony, as both women were influential in their lives. So 75-year-old Joyce Benedict and 74-year-old Drue Fitzgerald were the flower girls! The two grandmothers picked out their matching gray gowns together, and walked down the aisle dispersing rose petals for the bride to walk on. A good time was had by all. -via TYWKIWDBI 

(Image credit: Ashley Elizabeth Photography)


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Profile for Miss Cellania

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