Miss Cellania's Blog Posts

The Year in Media Errors and Corrections

In Poynter’s annual roundup of the funniest, weirdest, and most egregious errors and corrections, the top prize went to an incident in which a satirical website was quoted as real. That happens more often than you’d think. That’s just one type of error, and 2014 was full of them. One of the runners-up was from The Washington Post:

An earlier version of this story erroneously said that Joaquín Guzmán was found in bed with his secretary. He was found with his wife. This version has been corrected.

Oops. The tragedy is that corrections are tiny sentences in a box on an inner page, while the original article was probably front and center. Here's another, less tragic, correction:

This post originally quoted photographer Tom Sanders as saying it takes him five years to get on the dance floor. It takes him five beers.

There are also test pages that were published, stories that turned out to be completely untrue, and plenty of small but embarrassing errors that snuck into newspapers, news sites, and blogs. Oh yeah, and some serious journalism goofs, too. Read them all at Poynter. -via Metafilter


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A Fresh Look at Princess Leia’s Slave Outfit

(YouTube link)

British television personality Adam Buxton had a conversation with his 5-year-old daughter about Leia Organa’s slave costume in the movie Return of the Jedi. It’s both refreshing and enlightening to hear the fashion opinion of a child who has no understanding of sexism, or even sexiness, much less objectification and bondage. But this little girl is not quite a blank slate. She’s very well spoken and open to learning new things. It was animated is by The Brothers McLeod for the TV special Adam Buxton's Shed Of Christmas. -via reddit

See more about baby and kids at NeatoBambino

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Husky and Puppies

(YouTube link)

Parenting can be a lot of fun when you’re not stressed out about daycare and bills and what Timmy just ate. Here, a husky mom discovers that when herpuppies learn to get around, she suddenly has a whole slew of playmates! “Look, kids, I can jump on the couch and you can’t!” She’ll be surprised in a few more days when they do it themselves. -via reddit

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

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A Pictorial History of Santa Claus

We often think that the image of Santa Claus as we know him came from Thomas Nast’s illustrations or the description in Clement Moore’s “A Visit from St. Nicholas.” Some people will tell you that Santa achieved his modern form thanks to the Coca Cola ads of the 1930s. Those theories are all partially right, but the vision we have of Santa started long before that. A book illustration had Father Christmas wearing a coat and hat trimmed with white fur as far back as 1686! Of course, he’s gone through many incarnations on the way to his modern look. Public Domain Review has a slew of pictures of Kris Kringle through his history, along with explanations of the evolution of the jolly old elf’s look. The magazine cover above is from 1902. -via Digg


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How NORAD Began Tracking Santa

Remember when you were growing up, on Christmas Eve you could hear radio reports of how U.S. military radar picked up a mysterious object flying away from the North Pole? Those reports, called NORAD Tracks Santa, began in 1955, when a Sears store in Colorado Springs invited kids to call Santa Claus, and a typo in the phone number led children to a high-security line at the Continental Air Defense Command. Colonel Harry Shoup was the man who answered the hotline. StoryCorps recently talked to Shoup’s three children about how that first phone call.

His children remember Shoup as straight-laced and disciplined, and he was annoyed and upset by the call and thought it was a joke — but then, Terri says, the little voice started crying.

"And Dad realized that it wasn't a joke," her sister says. "So he talked to him, ho-ho-ho'd and asked if he had been a good boy and, 'May I talk to your mother?' And the mother got on and said, 'You haven't seen the paper yet? There's a phone number to call Santa. It's in the Sears ad.' Dad looked it up, and there it was, his red phone number. And they had children calling one after another, so he put a couple of airmen on the phones to act like Santa Claus."

The phone calls were only the beginning. Read (or listen) to the story of what Shoup did on Christmas Eve that same year that started the tradition and led him to be called “Santa Colonel” for the rest of his life, at NPR. -Thanks, Daniel Kim!

(Images credit: NORAD)


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McVitie’s Victoria

(YouTube link)

This is a silly yet strangely charming Christmas ad for cookies, which are called biscuits in the UK. It features cute and somewhat uncanny baby animals singing a song I like but can’t place my finger on. There’s a surprise baby animal you would never expect to see… you’ll have to watch for that one yourself. -via Metafilter


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Gingerbread Enterprise

Look at the detail on this model USS Enterprise made of gingerbread! It’s mounted on a tractor beam made of candy canes hovering over a rocky terrain of cookies and mints. The starship was made by, and on display at, Blackmarket Bakery in California. See it from all angles in an imgur gallery of enlargeable pictures. Set phasers to yum! -via Boing Boing

If this meets up with the gingerbread Borg cube, things could get interesting.


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39 Dishes from the First Christmas Menu, Published in 1660

If you want to try something new for Christmas dinner, you might try something very old. However, you’ll need to have a particularly carnivorous guest list.

The first known suggested menu for Christmas dinner was from 1660 book The Accomplisht Cook by Robert May. May was a chef to the nobility, so let’s assume this menu is supposed to feed a lot of people. It’s a list of 39 dishes, in which 35 or so of them are meat. Then there’s salad, quince pie, and custard. There's also something called “Made dish in puff paste,” whatever that is (probably meat). Otherwise it’s a flock of geese, chickens, swans, ducks, turkeys, pheasants, and other birds, plus venison, mutton, rabbit, pork, beef, and fish -and a few other animals. Read the list, with some information about some of the more obscure recipes, at mental_floss. In case you were wondering, there are partridges on the menu, and pears, although not in the same dish.

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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The Mundane and the Weird: British News Headlines

We are always looking for weird news stories to pass along to you. It’s an easy shortcut to check British news sites for that sort of thing -yet you have to sift through the many local stories that leave you with a feeling of “That’s it?” because no matter how small a British paper or it’s accompanying website is, they go with stories that would be passed over as "not news" in the U.S. The website UsVsTh3m looked at extremely mundane stories that make the papers, with a few truly bizarre stories thrown in to keep us looking -just like it happens when I surf the net. I still have to wonder if these headlines are really posted on sidewalk signs, or if there’s a British news sign generator somewhere. -via b3ta


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The Most Radioactive Places on Earth

(YouTube link)

We hear plenty about the remaining radioactivity near the failed Chernobyl nuclear plant in Ukraine, but what about other places? Dereck Muller of Veritasium takes us on a tour of other historically radioactive sites such as Fukushima, Hiroshima, Marie Curie’s office, the Trinity test site, a uranium mine, and the basement of Pripyat’s hospital. The amount of radiation is presented in bananas as a visualization device to keep track of which place is more dangerous. -via Viral Viral Videos


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The Best Literal LOLS in Cake Wrecks History

A “literal LOL” happens when a bake shop clerk writes down instructions for a custom cake, and then the decorator takes them a bit too literally -as in writing the instructions on the cake in icing. Jenn Yates at Cake Wrecks went through her archives and has posted a two-part list of the best instances that have appeared at Cake Wrecks. See them in part one and part two.



And if you’re a 12-year-old boy at heart, you might also want to check out Cake Wrecks' Top 12 Unintentionally Erotic Cakes.

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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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

(YouTube link)

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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Rejected Christmas Card Design

Killhouse was asked to design a Christmas card for his office. They nixed his first idea, despite the fact that it goes above and beyond to be all-inclusive and offend no one. He said,

This is the second, cleaned up, version so anyone can use it if they want to, so my hard effort doesn't go to waste.

They had me draw a Santa hat beside some cookies and a glass of milk instead. It was pretty boring.

I’m sure that your clients will enjoy a card with a Santa hat and cookies… while the internet enjoys the Bumble and his nonsensical holiday greeting.


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

(YouTube link)

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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Sticky Fingers: 6 Brazen Acts of Culinary Thievery

King Frederick inspects the potato crops.

1. POTATO PUSHER

The potato came to Europe in the late 1500s, but it wasn’t met with a warm welcome. Disregarded by most, it was first used only to feed livestock. But Frederick the Great of Prussia saw the tuber’s potential. Sure, potatoes tasted bland, but they were versatile, cheaper than bread, and easy to stockpile. He introduced them to his army in 1744 and later freely distributed them to peasants during famine. The people weren’t convinced. In fact, the town of Kolberg was so put off that it responded in a letter: “The things have neither smell nor taste, not even the dogs will eat them, so what use are they to us?” To change public opinion, King Frederick employed some reverse psychology and established a royal potato field patrolled by soldiers. Soon, curious citizens were slinking around at night with stolen potatoes to plant in their gardens -exactly what Frederick wanted.

2. THE RICEMAN COMETH

Thomas Jefferson knew how important healthy farms were to his fledgling nation, and he didn’t mind getting his hands dirty to keep his country strong. By summer 1787, the American rice industry was starting to crumble. The rice was mostly grown in swamps, and the stagnant water was a breeding ground for mosquitoes that made nearby workers sick. During his tenure as minister to France, Jefferson found the farmers’ solution: a dry, upland variety of rice grown in Italy. There was just one problem: Italian law forbade “the exportation of rough rice on pain of death.” Jefferson, however, used his power to declare the rice independent, secretly filling his coat pockets with the unhusked varietel before making for the border.

3. CROSS YOUR TEAS

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We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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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

(YouTube link)

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

(YouTube link)

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

(YouTube link)

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

(YouTube link)

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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Robot Christmas Party

(YouTube link)

The actual name of this video is Autonomous Christmas Lab 2014, but that’s no fun. The folks at Autonomous Systems Lab, a part of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, programmed robots, drones, and maybe even a few Roombas to dance in their holiday finery for your entertainment. It’s weird but festive. -via The Daily Dot


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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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People Are Awesome 2014

(YouTube link)

The latest in the People Are Awesome series has clips from videos uploaded in 2014. These people are doing awesome things, dangerous things, things that made me cringe. I’m a Mom, after all. Don’t try this at home. Well, try watching the video. No one gets hurt in it, although there were probably lots of injuries getting to point of perfection. -via Tastefully Offensive

Check out more amazing talents over at our Mad Skills blog

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16 Innovative Origins of Holiday Traditions

(YouTube link)

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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The Fox Of Bloody Women Island

(vimeo link)

This short film is about a man who builds boats by hand in the small town of Kjerringøy, Norway, north of the Arctic Circle where you don’t see the sun in winter. Ulf Mikalsen lives a particularly simple yet awesome life, sailing the fjords amidst breathtaking scenery, living happily among family and friends, and singing songs. And for a 62-year-old man, he looks pretty good skinny dipping.   

Ulf has his own website, which is in Norwegian, but the photographs are gorgeous, and more at Facebook. -via Metafilter


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Profile for Miss Cellania

  • Member Since 2012/08/04


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