Miss Cellania's Blog Posts

The Evolution of American Barbecue

The particularly American form of cooking we call the barbecue has a long history -in fact, it was well established long before Europeans arrived. Since the early explorers passed the technique around to colonists, different styles sprang up, now loosely categorized as Carolina, Texas, Memphis, and Kansas City. The differences can be traced to what was available and what flavors one's ancestors liked. For example, Southerners often insist that real barbecue is made of pork. It's tradition.

Unlike cows, which required large amounts of feed and enclosed spaces, pigs could be set loose in forests to eat when food supplies were running low. The pigs, left to fend for themselves in the wild, were much leaner upon slaughter, leading Southerns to use the slow-and-low nature of barbecue to tenderize the meat. And use it they did. During the pre-Civil War years, Southerners ate an average of five pounds of pork for every one pound of cattle. Their dependence on this cheap food supply eventually became a point of patriotism, and Southerners took greater care raising their pigs, refusing to export their meat to the northern states. By this time, however, the relationship between the barbecue and pork had been deeply forged.

But Texas is a different story. And barbecue sauce reflects the traditions that immigrants brought from the Old World. Read how these factors came together at Smithsonian's Food and Think blog. Link

(Image credit: Flickr user ATOMIC Hot Links)

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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New Dinosaur Looks Like a Cow

A new species of dinosaur has been uncovered in Utah. It was named Nasutoceratops titusi, which means means "big-nosed horned face." An apt name.

A University of Utah grad student discovered the first specimen in 2006 in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in the high desert of southern Utah. At 15 feet long and 2.5 tons, the quadrupedal herbivore belonged to a family called ceratopsids, a group of dinos from the Late Cretaceous period that had beaks, horns and frills, like the Triceratops.

Nasutoceratops' unusually elongated, forward-facing horns likely served as a sign of dominance and, if necessary, weapons in the competition for mates.  

Nasutoceratops is estimated to have lived 76 million years ago. Link  -via the Presurfer

(Image credit: Lukas Panzarin)

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The Wired Robot

(YouTube link)

Wired magazine brought a 9.5-foot-tall, 400-pound mech to Comic Con. In this video, the robot tries to make friends with a little girl at the convention. You can read more about the robot, and see more video at Wired. Link

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A White Night in Norway

A White Night is when the sun only dips a bit below the horizon and then comes back up. This happens in midsummer in places that are near the Arctic Circle. Redditor uspn took this photograph at 1AM local time, and explained that dusk and dawn are at the same time, so the night never got completely dark. The lake is named Lysvatnet, on the Norwegian island of Senja. The original photograph is much larger. Link

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Spud Helps with Proposal

(YouTube link)

John proposed to Sarah with a little help from Spud. “So whaddya reckon?” is a good enough way to say "Will you marry me?" I suppose, when you have a big diamond ring delivered by man's best friend. And I would like to think that "Asshole" is term of endearment in the Australian dialect. -via Daily of the Day

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

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How the Hexagonal Honeycomb Happens

Honeybees are pretty talented, but they didn't come up with the hexagonal design of the honeycomb. That's just physics. What bees do is build cells in a cylindrical shape and stack them together. The wax then just naturally formed a hexagon.

A regular geometric array of identical cells with simple polygonal cross sections can take only one of three forms: triangular, square or hexagonal. Of these, hexagons divide up the space using the smallest wall area, and thus, for a honeycomb, the least wax.

This economy was noted in the fourth century ad by the mathematician Pappus of Alexandria, who contended that the bees had “a certain geometrical forethought”. But in the seventeenth century, the Danish mathematician Erasmus Bartholin suggested that the insects need no such forethought. He said that hexagons would result automatically from the pressure of each bee trying to make its cell as large as possible, much as the pressure of bubbles packed in a single layer creates a hexagonal foam.

Engineer Bhushan Karihaloo of the University of Cardiff managed to catch honeybees in the act of cell building wax cells. The newest cells were circular, and as they got older, they settled into hexagons, aided by the slight warmth of the worker bees bodies. Read more about how that happens at Nature. Link -via Not Exactly Rocket Science

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Saving the Little Penguins of Phillip Island

The adorable species called Little Penguins are a big tourist draw on Australia's Phillip Island. THe penguins stage the nightly "penguin parade," when they emerge from the water and waddle off to their burrows.

As I discovered when I visited Phillip Island earlier this month, the entire spectacle is like witnessing a herd of humans coming home from work, only with a lot more feather cleaning, wing pinwheeling, and general OMG-I-want-to-cuddle-now-ness.

And that's the problem. Since the early twentieth century, people have been flocking to Phillip Island for both its natural beauty and the so-called Penguin Parade. Vacation homes were built in the areas where penguins dug their burrows. Excited humans would run around picking up Little Penguins as they came in from the sea, sometimes destroying the waterproof seal on their feathers. So many people crowded the beaches to witness the cuteness that the penguin population on Phillip Island was threatened. In the 1970s, their numbers were plummeting.

What to do? In the mid-'80s, a project was begun to save the penguins without losing the tourists. It involved designing a park completely around the penguins and their needs, habits, and lifestyle. The result is that the Phillips Island penguins have bounced back from less than a thousand birds to around 30,000 today. Read how they did it at io9. Link -via Phenomena

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

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Whodunit: Bell, Booke, or Kendal?

The following is a Whodunit by Hy Conrad featuring Sherman Oliver Holmes, a mysterious crime solver and great-great-grandson of Sherlock Holmes. Can you solve the crime?

(Image credit: Flickr user TheeErin)

"My regrets, Wilson. I have no idea who killed him."

"What?" Sergeant Wilson thought he would never hear Sherman Holmes say those words. He wasn't too happy about it, either. "Okay, okay, calm down." Wilson sounded close to panic himself. "Mr. Boren, maybe you should review the facts."

Sherman and the sergeant were in the downtown offices of Boren Technologies, a designer of handheld computers. Arvin Boren sat at his desk, eyeing the professional detective and the eccentric amateur. "Someone's been stealing our designs. My vice president, Don Silver, and I kept the problem secret. And we narrowed the suspects down to three." He pointed out the window of his private office to where a skinny kid in shirtsleeves was stuffing yellow envelopes into a mail slot.

"That's Wally Bell, an intern from City College. He does a lot of our copying and binding, so he has access to our priority documents. The heavyset guy sitting outside my office, that's Solly Booke, my assistant. He's sending his son to private school. I don't know where he gets the money.

"The third possibility is Inez Kendal." A young woman in a tasteful, expensive suit was tacking a newspaper article to a bulletin board right next to the elevators. "Inez is director of public relations. She has the most contact with our competitors."

Sherman nodded. "Was it Mr. Silver's idea to try to trap the traitor?"

"I'm afraid so," Boren sighed. "We're developing a new version of our Wrist 2002. Don left the plans lying conspicuously on his desk. The thief never took originals, only copies. Don planned to hide in the copy room and catch the guy. Only the guy must have caught him."

Sergeant Wilson took over the narrative. "Silver was killed in the copy room by a blow to the head. Mr. Boren and an associate found the body almost immediately. All three suspects were immediately sequestered and their possessions searched. We haven't been able to locate the plans."

Continue reading

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Whodunit: The Pointing Corpse

The following is a Whodunit by Hy Conrad featuring Sherman Oliver Holmes, a mysterious crime solver and great-great-grandson of Sherlock Holmes. Can you solve the crime?

Meet Sherman Holmes

(Image credit: Flickr user Michael Rhys)

When the detective business was slow, the great Sherlock Holmes had spent the long, empty hours playing the violin. Sherman Holmes did the same, but with less soothing results. "Maybe I should take lessons," he would think as he sawed back and forth across the strings. When things got really slow, Sherman switched on one of his police band radios.

After two boring days of drizzle and inactivity, the detective intercepted a call reporting a murder victim found in a car. Sherman happened to be driving his classic Bentley at the time and made a quick turn up High Canyon Road.

He arrived to find Gunther Wilson standing between his patrol car and a white sedan parked beside a panoramic view. The sergeant actually looked glad to see him. "I'm a little out of my depth on this one," he said. "It's a celebrity, Mervin Hightower. Shot at close range. I'm waiting for forensics and a tow truck. On top of being murdered, his car battery's dead."

The whole city knew Mervin Hightower, a newspaper columnist who specialized in scandalous exposes. Sherman walked around to the driver's side. An arm extended out the partially open window, propped up on the glass edge. The hand was made into a fist, except for the index finger, which was straight and firm with rigor mortis.

"He appears to be pointing," Sherman deduced. "How long has the fellow been dead?"

"What do I look like, a clock? The forensics boys will narrow it down. I saw the car and stopped to see if he needed help, which he doesn't. I recognized him, even with the blood."

Sherman looked in to see the columnist's familiar face contorted and frozen in agony. "I presume the man survived for a minute after the attack. What do you think he was pointing at, old bean? Something that could identify his killer?" Sherman lined up his eyes along the extended arm. "What story was he working on?"

Continue reading

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Adam Savage as Admiral Ackbar

(Image credit: Norman Chan)

(Image credit: Frank Ippolito)

Adam Savage of Mythbusters attended Comic Con on Thursday dressed to the nines as Admiral Ackbar in a classic British naval uniform! See how effects master Frank Ippolito built the prosthetic mask at Tested. Link | Photo Gallery -via Laughing Squid

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Obeying the Genie

How many times have you heard the rule about genies: you can't wish for more wishes. Kids always think they are the first to think of this loophole. Barring that, they are going to look for other loopholes! This comic is from Buttersafe. Link -via Daily of the Day

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The 100-meter Scroll

Have you ever thought you'd like to take part in a race, but you just can't seem to tear yourself away from the computer? Here's a race that's right up your alley! Test your scrolling skills (and your mouse design) with the 100-meter scroll! I can scroll 100 meters in 25.64 seconds, which is pretty good, but there's ten thousand people who did it faster. Well, maybe not, just some players that did it faster ten thousand times. What's your score? Link -via b3ta

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Rolling Clay with Keith

(YouTube link)

This is not only a song parody, it's an ad for Keith Brymer Jones Contemporary British Porcelain. Keith is serious about his pottery, as you can tell from his emotional performance. Contains one NSFW word. -via b3ta

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This Week at Neatorama

Here we are in the dog days of summer. Still two weeks before school starts, and I should be outside picking beans, but it's so hot, I just want to stay in the office and surf the net. As I jotted down the schdeule for the new school year on the August calendar, I realized that Neatorama's anniversary is coming up! What should we do that's special to celebrate eight years? I'm open to any suggestions, since we've never done much to celebrate in years past. We usually forget about the anniversary until after it's over and gone. Meanwhile, it's been an eventful week here at Neatorama, and it might help to have a list of the high points so you can catch up.

Alex brought us two, count 'em, two fantastic photographic features at the Neatorama Spotlight blog. First there was Snow + Volcano = Magic, followed by Urban Zoom.

Jill Harness showed us 14 Great Geek Bouquets And Boutonnieres.

Eddie Deezen wrote about the song "She Loves You" by The Beatles.

Stilettos and Schizophrenia came from The Annals of Improbable Research.

Uncle John's Bathroom Reader gave us TV's Father: Philo T. Farnsworth.

Just Add Milk: How Cereal Transformed American Culture was from mental_floss magazine.

David Israel came by long enough to ask us some Questions In Need of Answers.

Hy Conrad presented another Whodunit called The Unsafe Safe House. I had to stage the photograph for it -that's Mr. Cellania wearing my father's fedora behind the coat rack.

In the What Is It? game this week, the picture shows the switch matrix for the old Voice of America towers that were located next to I-75 just north of Cincinnati, Ohio. It's basically a giant switch box for the antennas. Berhard came the closest to getting it right (even though he was trying to be funny), but this week we wanted funny but wrong answers. One great answer came from tarnation, who explained, "Another superb Wile E. Coyote paint job, that the Road Runner (and probably an Acme truck) will go right on through. Of course Wile E. will then try…" That's worth a t-shirt! Samantha Simons also had a great guess: "It's a giant musical instrument. When you drive through, it makes random sounds like a cow mooing, a bubble popping, and a hedgehog hiccuping. It was originally put in the middle of a city, but the noise disturbed the locals to the point of riots. So they moved it out into country." That sounds like something someone should build! So Samantha wins a t-shirt, too. Thanks to everyone who played -we had a lot of great entries, so you should go read them all. See the answers to all of this week's mystery items at the What Is It? blog.

The post with the most comments was Questions In Need of Answers. Nothing else came close, except the giveaway. Do you reckon we should make this a regular column?  

The most popular post of this week was Send Pizza, followed by Snow + Volcano = Magic, and Libraries Used to Look Like This. For the second week in a row, The Forbidden Island was actually the most-viewed post, but it wasn't from "this week."

The post with most ♥s was Libraries Used to Look Like This, followed by a tie between Teenager Saves Kidnapped Little Girl and Pulling Quills From a Raven.

The most emailed post was Send Pizza. In second place we had a tie between What it's Like to Have a Brother with Autism and Picnic Launch.

Over at the NeatoShop, we're fixin' to have a run on lunch boxes, pens and pencils, and backpacks. Yes, if you want to get something special and personal for your offspring amid all the everyday supplies for back to school, you need to order it early, before your favorite theme or character sells out!  

And don't forget, we have extra content and fun at our Facebook page every day! You are also invited to follow Neatorama on Twitter and Pinterest. And mobile users: Flipboard makes it easy to keep up with Neatorama.

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What Sharknado Got Right

We all had a good laugh at SyFy's monster movie Sharknado, about a tornado that sucks up hungry sharks from the ocean and flings them at unsuspecting landlubbers. But ...could something like that ever happen in real life?

In real life, of course, sharks don’t fall from the sky. But fish, frogs, and alligators do—and scientists think the likely cause is a weather phenomenon called a “waterspout,” a term first coined in 1738 by traveler Thomas Shaw.


And a waterspout might sweep up animals that dwell near the surface of a body of water and bring them to land. Vaccaro says waterspouts are somewhat like vertical rotating washers at a carwash, which circulate water and then fling it an anything in their path.

There have been accounts of fish, snails, alligators, frogs, and worms raining down on inland areas, most likely after they'd been transported by a waterspout. Read about those incidents at NatGeo's Pop Omnivore. Link -Thanks, Marilyn Terrell!

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The Walking Dead Preview

(YouTube link)

AMC premiered a four-minute preview of The Walking Dead season four at Comic Con in San Diego today. The show won't be back until October, but it looks to be pretty exciting: new characters, new problems, and a whole lot of walkers (zombies)! -via Warming Glow

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Justin the Kitten

Justin was estimated to be about five weeks old when he was found abandoned and abused in Philadelphia. Someone had set fire to the kitten! Taken to the Pennsylvania SPCA, Justin underwent medical treatment for several weeks, and is now with a loving foster family. He's made a remarkable recovery! Read more about Justin and see his progress at Buzzfeed. There's also a number for anyone having information about the perpetrator. Link

There are more pictures of Justin in an album from the Animal Alliance of New Jersey, but be warned that some are disturbing. Link

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

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Raccoon Pulls Off Audacious Theft

(YouTube link)

This raccoon knows the importance of an easy meal, or else she knows how easy it is to bluff her way past well-fed cats. Watch to the end, because her getaway is hilarious! -via Tastefully Offensive

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

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Man Cut In Half Prank

(YouTube link)

Comedian, illusionist, and ventriloquist Andy Gross went around scaring people in his man-cut-in-half illusion suit. You have to admit, it is a bit startling the first time you see it. -via Viral Viral Videos

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R.I.P. Schoep

You remember Schoep, the dog whose photograph touched the world last year. After the image of John Unger and his dog swimming in Lake Superior went viral, people all over began following them on Facebook, and many contributed money for Schoep's medical care. Schoep died Wednesday at the age of twenty.

After Stonehouse Hudson's photo went viral, Unger's Facebook page was a way for animal lovers to keep up on the John & Schoep story. Unger frequently posted photos and greetings. The last update -- before the announcement of Schoep's death -- was on Monday. It featured a photograph of Schoep falling asleep in a sunny field of wildflowers. The status update was a happy one:

A fantastic day we had. Up early to walk and go to the beach, eat, nap, go shopping, eat, laundry, go to the beach, eat, nap and one more walk. All without the humidity, that's what made it fantastic -- especially for Schoep!

Link -via Fark

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

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10 Rules of Internet

Anil Dash wrote a list of ten internet rules, which all make pretty good sense. Here's one that is pretty well known to bloggers. Or should be.

If your website's full of assholes, it's your fault.

That's the rationale behind Neatorama's comment system. We have few rules, but if a commenter breaks them, they are edited/warned/deleted/banned depending on the behavior. That's to make it nice for everyone else, because we LOVE it when people comment to add information, make jokes, tell personal stories, or just give feedback on a post.   

People will move mountains to earn a gold star by their name on the Internet.

Well, we don't have gold stars, but we do have ♥s for comments (which anyone can hand out) and the "comment of the week" (which doesn't happen every week, sorry). Besides, if you are a registered Neatoramanaut who has not been edited, chastised, moderated, or banned, you are part of an elite group of wonderful people, so pat yourself on the back. Here's a rule that made me smile:

Given enough time, any object which can generate musical notes will be used to play the Super Mario Brothers theme on YouTube.

Ha! Don't we know that! Read the rest of the rules, with related links, at Dash's website. Link -via Metafilter

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20 Great Insults from Science Fiction and Fantasy Books

There are some great lines in this list. Can you identify which books these insults came from?

"If your brains were dynamite there wouldn't be enough to blow your hat off."

"'It would seem that you have no useful skill or talent whatsoever,' he said. 'Have you thought of going into teaching?'"

"To describe the young haremaid's singing voice as akin to a frog trapped beneath a hot stone would have been a great insult to both frog and stone."

The list of twenty such insults are all labeled with their sources at io9. Link  -via HuffPo Books

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The First Tour de France

The 2012 Tour de France is the 100th such race, as it began in 1903 and was skipped during the World War I and II years. The origin of the race is an interesting story, involving anti-semitism, treason, and journalistic squabbling. The Public Domain Review has pictures of the event, including this one from the finish line. The winner, Maurice Garin, is the one man smiling. Link -via Nag on the Lake

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Picnic Launch

Behold this work of genius. What a way to spend a day on the lake! Redditors had some suggestions for a reality TV show based on these two guys: Dock Dynasty, Pond Stars, RelAX Men, and American Picnickers. Link

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Snoring Duck

(YouTube link)

"Honey, could you hand me my camera? No, I can't get it myself, the duck's asleep on my belly. And he's SNORING!"

This is the same duck from the video A Man and His Duck. They grow up so fast. -via Daily of the Day

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

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Release the Kraken!

(YouTube link)

What happens when you combine NH4Cr2O7 and HgSCN and expose it to fire? A portal to hell opens up and the most dreaded denizen of the deepest slime is awakened. Whatever these chemicals are, they are dangerous, and the reaction is even more dangerous, so don't ever do this. But it is a guaranteed way to make a class of children yell "Kraken! Kraken!" no matter what their language. -via Geeks Are Sexy

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Pitch Drop Experiment Drops!

The longest-running scientific experiment in the world is a pitch drop experiment that began in Queensland, Australia, in 1927 (described in this post). The setup is basically putting pitch in a funnel and see if it drips out. The point is to prove that pitch is a viscous liquid that will flow, instead of a solid. The problem is that it takes years for a drop to actually drop, and has never been witnessed. A similar experiment was begun in 1944 at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. Now, for the first time, a drop has been recorded!

Over several decades a number of drips did form in the funnel and fall into the jar, giving credence to the hypothesis that pitch is indeed viscous.

However, the dripping was never witnessed or captured on camera, which would have definitively proved the theory.

A number of weeks ago, scientists in the department noticed that a drip had formed.

In order to finally and definitively end the experiment, they set up a webcam to video the experiment around the clock.

Last Thursday, the drip finally dropped into the jar, and was captured on camera.

The Australian pitch drop has dripped eight times, but has never been recorded on video. See the Trinity College video yourself at RTE News. Link -via Boing Boing

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Where is Matt Damon?

When you tell a story on Twitter, you can only give a line or so at a time. But that just makes it more like listening to a friend tell a story in real time, especially when other listeners jump in with their own comments. And so goes the story Erin Faulk told on Twitter. See, she was in Morocco and bored, and heard Matt Damon was in the country filming a movie. So she convinced her four classmates to go on a quest to find him. Once you get started, you won't be able to "put it down," as if this were a book. But it's a entire story told in Tweets, archived at Storify. Link -via Metafilter

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People in Movies Watching Movies

(YouTube link)

Clara Darko and Brutzelpretzel edited together 139 clips from 93 movies to make a supercut of people in movies going to the movies. After all, this is the kind of behavior that Hollywood wants to encourage! Contains NSFW language. Things get really exciting about halfway through, when the theater experience goes bad. You'll find a list of the films used at Slackstory. Link -via Laughing Squid

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The Godzilla Experience at Comic Con

Barnaby Legg of Legendary Pictures is promoting the 2014 Godzilla movie with a pop-up exhibition in San Diego to coincide with Comic Con.

Rather than create a staid museum of Godzilla artifacts, Legg and his team spent three months planning, designing, and building an immersive, multi-stage presentation that, in Legg’s words, “physicalizes the impact Godzilla has had on popular culture.” The experience will open to the public starting on Thursday; fans can download a free iTunes and Android app, via a special “Godzilla Encounter” website, that will help guide fans on a merry scavenger hunt leading them to the building pictured below:

Seeing the building is just the very first part of the "experience," which includes, yes, a museum, but also an encounter with Godzilla. Read all about it at Buzzfeed. Link

(Image credit: Erin LaRosa/Buzzfeed)

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Profile for Miss Cellania

  • Member Since 2012/08/04


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