Miss Cellania's Blog Posts

Super Friends Valentines Superpack



Transport yourself back to grade school -to 30 years ago when this Super Friends Valentine package hit the stores. Pages from the 11 x 17" book of valentines are scanned big so you can print, cut, and put these simple paper crafts together, such as putting wheels on Batgirl's Batcycle. Pages and pages are available at Andertoons. Link -Thanks, Mark Anderson!

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What Is It? game 163



It is once again time for our collaboration with the always amusing What Is It? Blog. Can you guess what the pictured item is? Do you know what it is?

Place your guess in the comment section below. One guess per comment, please, though you can enter as many as you'd like. Post no URLs or weblinks, as doing so will forfeit your entry. Two winners: the first correct guess and the funniest (albeit ultimately wrong) guess will win T-shirt from the NeatoShop.

Please write your T-shirt selection alongside your guess. If you don't include a selection, you forfeit the prize, okay? May we suggest the Science T-Shirt, Funny T-Shirt and Artist-Designed T-Shirts?

For more clues, check out the What Is It? Blog. Good luck!

Update: The very first answer was the correct one. Berhard said it was a nutcracker, and he's right. Among many funny answers, the winner is The Professor, who claimed that due to budget cuts, this is the new Times Square New Year Ball Drop! Both win t-shirts from the NeatoShop.

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The 12 Worst Valentine's Day Gifts Ever

"Refreshing" head wipes for bald guys? This strange product is real, although it's not something guys would admit using ...so of course it would make a horrible gift.
Don't worry ladies, there are plenty of ways for you to passive aggressively tell your man he isn't attractive enough. This great product can remind him that he's not only bald, but that he's disgustingly sweaty too. Hooray for destroying your lover's self confidence!

This is just one of a dozen gifts that say, "I have no idea how to shop for Valentines Day." Link

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An Intimate Look at Infographics



Dave Fields explains how the rash of internet infographics from the past couple of years differs from ...well, from what they should be.
A well done infographic has the power to capture one’s acute attention span and convey information that would have taken longer to simply read (oh no, not reading!). However, for every brilliantly thought out and well executed mashup of art and data, there now seems to be an influx of mundane and formulaic counterparts infesting the very internet that we hold so near and dear.

Here we have an infographic that explores commonalities between the seemingly vast expanse of contrived infographics that appear to have spawned in mass over the past year. If you’re an infographic purest, view at your own risk.

Yep, the rest is in the form of an infographic that manages to be more entertaining than most. Link -via Rue the Day

See also: Infographic

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World's Oldest Person Dies

Eunice Sanborn, who outlived three husbands, was 114 years old when she passed away Monday at her home in Texas, according to caretaker David French. Or was she 115?
Census records show Sanborn was born on July 20, 1896, in Lake Charles, La., according to the Los Angeles-based Gerontology Research Group, which listed Sanborn as the world's oldest person.

But French said Sanborn always maintained the Census Bureau had made a mistake and she was really born in 1895. She celebrated what she believed was her 115th birthday on July 20, Agence France-Presse reported.

Either way, with Sanborn's death, the oldest person in the world is now 114-year-old Besse Cooper of Georgia. Link

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You Can't Hurry Love


(YouTube link)

The BBC has a TV program called Fast and Loose. It's a game show with a segment called Interpretive Dance, featuring David Armand, whom you might remember as the guy behind the hilarious interpretation of "Torn" by Natalie Imbruglia. Now he has a regular job doing what he does so well. -via Arbroath


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The Cliques of Social Networking



How true are these stereotypes? I have accounts at a half-dozen of these networks, but since I don't spend much time at any of them, it's hard to keep up with trends. Found, of course, at a Tumblr blog. Link -via Buzzfeed

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Poor Huemul :(







(YouTube link)

Allie Brosh of Hyperbole and a Half made this video in support of her friends at the Huemul Conservation Project who are raising funds to study and protect the Humemul with the Wenger Patagonian Expedition Race. Link


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30 Facebook Ad Parodies

The folks at Urlesque have been busy making ads for Facebook. No, not to sell anything; these are just for laughs!
Anyone with a Facebook Account can create advertisements on Facebook. You could legitimately advertise your business or perhaps a waterproof blow dryer. I decided to use the feature to create ads for things that could really use more exposure like potatoes, VHS tapes, and Reddit. If your budget is under $30,000 you can post an ad for anything you want, as long as you meet the strict guidelines. Sorry everyone, "Images of unrealistic body changes, such as extreme weight loss or muscle gain, are not allowed."

Then again, you have to admite they get your attention. I mean, I really want a cheesburger now! See all 30 fake ads at Urlesque. Link

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The Littlest Storm Trooper

Yan Fortin, the webmaster at Geeks Are Sexy, has been working on a secret project for the past nine months and today unveiled ...his new clone! No, we can't leave it at that, because his mama deserves credit as well. Here's the little storm trooper coming home in that big helmet he's going to grow into. Congratulations from your friends at Neatorama! Link

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Worst Ice Skater Ever?


(YouTube link)

Skaters at New York's Bryant Park were asked to clear the rink for ice resurfacing, but Kenny Moir had a little trouble just getting around, much less getting out of the way. The crowd gathered to watch his embarrasment. It turns out that it takes a lot of talent to skate this badly! Link -via Cynical-C


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The Zombie Tabernacle Choir



This is kinda cute! Click the zombies in the Zombie Tabernacle Choir to make them sing their little heads off, sweetly, yet a little bit creepily. Link -Thanks, John Schnall!

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What’s the Language?



When you come across text you can't read, can you at least identify the language? Maybe sometimes? In today's Lunchtime Quiz at mental_floss, you'll be given characters from languages not easily typed on your keyboard, and you match it to the language. It's not easy -I only got three right. Surely you can beat that! Link

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The United Kingdom, Great Britain and England (and a whole lot more)







(YouTube link)

We once featured an Euler diagram that explained the British Isles, the United Kingdom, and Great Britain. This video explains all that clearly but quickly, then goes on to explain the British Empire, the Crown Colonies, Crown Dependencies, and other terms that confuse Americans and others who don't deal with such geographical concepts every day. If this goes too fast for you, the script is available from C. G. P. Grey. Link -via reddit


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The History of the History Game Oregon Trail

Can you believe it? The game Oregon Trail will turn forty years old in 2011! The first version was a little different from what you may remember:
With no monitor, the original version of Oregon Trail was played by answering prompts that printed out on a roll of paper. At 10 characters per second, the teletype spat out, "How much do you want to spend on your oxen team?" or, "Do you want to eat (1) poorly (2) moderately or (3) well?" Students typed in the numerical responses, then the program chugged through a few basic formulas and spat out the next prompt along with a status update.

"Bad illness—medicine used," it might say. "Do you want to (1) hunt or (2) continue?"

Hunting required the greatest stretch of the user's imagination. Instead of a point-and-shoot game, the teletype wrote back, "Type BANG."

If the user typed it in accurately and quickly enough, the hunter bagged his quarry.

The game was first played in a history class on December 3rd, 1971. Students had to wait up to a half hour just to take a turn! But they wanted to play again and again. Strangely, the code was deleted from the school computer at the end of the year, but the teacher, co-creator Don Rawitsch, printed out the code -hundreds of lines- on a roll of computer paper. It may have never been used again if Rawitsch hadn't looked for a community service job in order to avoid the Vietnam draft. What happened was that Oregon Trail became "the most widely distributed educational game of all time." The story of how three Minnesota student teachers invented the game but never saw any profits is a fascinating tale. Link -via Rue the Day

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Neon CRAP Sign in Idaho Neighborhood

A new glowing neon sign appeared in Nampa, Idaho around Christmas. It wasn't a holiday decoration. Large red letters spell out the word CRAP.
Ryan Gravette remembers the day the sign came to town.

"We actually had some friends over," Gravette said. "They went out and said: ‘Do you realize that there's a sign that says crap out there?'"

Gravette said: No. No, I didn't. But, yes, there is a "CRAP" sign lighting up our sky.

That sign belongs to Andy Joseph.

"My crap sign on the roof," Joseph said. "It stands for: 'Can't Resist Andy's Place.'"

No, he's not using the neon to attract the ladies. Andy's Place is a second-hand appliance store. For Joseph, "CRAP" is a business decision.

The slogan came about when Joseph got a deal on an old sign from a defunct floor covering store. The sign spelled CARPET, which gave Joseph some letters he could use for a different business. Link (with video) -Thanks, Funny Laughs!

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Fasciated Saguaro



Have you ever seen a saguaro cactus like this? This is a cristate ("crested") cactus, a result of fasciation, which is explained at TYWKIWDBI. The cactus somehow leads to an explanation of the Stevie Nicks song "Edge of Seventeen". Link

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Billy Writes Macbeth


(YouTube link)

The Royal Shakespeare Company commissioned the Brothers MacLeod to produce six short animations about William Shakespeare and his pet pig Francis searching for inspiration. The project is part of the celebration of the reopening of the Royal Shakespeare and Swan Theatres after a three-and-a-half year renovation project. Three videos of the series titled "Billy", are available at YouTube. Link -Thanks, Myles!


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The Beagle Freedom Project

Shannon Keith and Gary Smith started the Beagle Freedom Project to find new homes for beagles that have been used for research. They named their first rescue dogs Freedom and Bigsby, and videotaped the beagles' first brush with the great outdoors. Be warned that the video, while not graphic, may be disturbing and you'll want to have a hanky handy.
Anyone interested in fostering or adopting a lab beagle should be aware of the challenges these dogs have. They will not be accustomed to life in a home and will not have experience with children, cats, or other dogs. They will not be house-trained and accidents will happen, although they learn quickly. Many have gone directly from a commercial breeder to the lab, and have never felt grass under their feet or even seen the sun. They will have been fed a special diet formulated for lab animals and may be difficult to adjust to new foods. They will be unfamiliar with treats, toys, bedding and may never have walked on a leash. They will have lived in cages with steel wire floors and may have inflamed or infected paws from the pressure. They may be fearful of people initially and may have phobias from a lifetime in confinement or from being restrained. They are likely to have been surgically de-barked by the breeder and have an ID number tattooed in their ear. Please also be aware that although these beagles are considered healthy, you will be given very little information about the beagle’s medical history, and you will not be told its origins or what kind of testing they may have been used for.

The video of Freedom and Bigsby is at the home page of the organization. Link -via Nag on the Lake

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Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day


(video link)

Bubble Wrap {wiki} was invented in 1957. Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day is observed on the last Monday in January. There are many ways to celebrate, from enjoying LOLcats with bubble wrap to playing with virtual bubble wrap to reading all about the holiday. Link


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Alchemy’s Shower of Gold

The following article is from the science humor magazine Annals of Improbable Research.

Chemistry’s colorful past
by Neil Gussman
Chemical Heritage Foundation, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Paintings of alchemists show them holding up flasks. The contents of those flasks are almost always golden in color. That’s because alchemists were obsessed with urine.

Trouble comes to the Alchemist, 17-18th century,17th century Netherlandish. (FA 2000.001.269. Oil on canvas Fisher Collection Chemical Heritage Foundation Collections.) Photo by Will Brown.

And no wonder. The limits of science all through history are set by the limits of instruments. So despite having just five senses for test instruments, the alchemist could use urine to diagnose patients and make scientific discoveries. (He was often the local healer, dentist and bleeder.) At the time when alchemy was the leading edge of chemistry, in the 16th and 17th centuries, the alchemist could observe, sniff, touch and taste this vital fluid to look for clues to the ills his patient suffered.

The Alchemist, 17th century, by Mattheus van Helmont. (Oil on canvas. Fisher Collection, Chemical Heritage Foundation Collections. FA 2000.001.277. Another alchemist working in a messy back room. This one holds the specimen at arm’s length, maybe because he is farsighted, or maybe because he decided against the sniff test. Photo by Will Brown.

The Medical Chemist, 18th century, by Franz Christoph Janneck. (Oil on copper. Fisher Collection, Chemical Heritage Foundation Collections. FA 2000.001.275.) A shabby and dirty alchemist looking for cues of the maladies of the patient through urinoscopy. Photo by Will Brown.

The Iatrochemist, 17-18th century, by Balthasar van den Bossche. (FA 2000.001.279.Oil on canvas. Fisher Collection, CHF Collections.) Many alchemy paintings hung in the homes of prosperous merchants as a warning to their children: Don’t Be an Alchemist! This painting shows the alchemist as a poor man, working in the back room of a Publick House, using his five senses to analyze an anxious lady’s urine while a dentist works in the background. This scene was almost 200 years before ether, so the alchemist worked in loud and foul conditions. Photo by Will Brown.

Arguably the greatest discovery made by an alchemist was from urine. Sometime around 1669, German alchemist Hennig Brandt distilled buckets of urine and then heated the paste that remained. In addition to creating a horrible smell, he isolated phosphorus. When the secret got out—Brandt’s neighbors certainly knew a lot about his research—alchemists across Europe began collecting urine from public loos in hopes of replicating his results. Alchemy hung on till the 19th century partly because Brandt found the route from piss to phosphorus.

Science, 17-18th century, after Gerard Thomas. (Oil on canvas. Fisher Collection, Chemical Heritage Foundation Collections. FA 2000.001.265.) This atypical alchemist works in clean clothes in neat surroundings with servants and a dog at his side, but he is still staring at a beaker of urine. Photo by Will Brown.

Acknowledgement

Thanks to Amanda Antonucci, assistant image archivist at the Chemical Heritage Foundation, for help in preparing the historical images displayed here.

_____________________

This article is republished with permission from the July-August 2008 issue of the Annals of Improbable Research. You can download or purchase back issues of the magazine, or subscribe to receive future issues. Or get a subscription for someone as a gift!

Visit their website for more research that makes people LAUGH and then THINK.

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Dog Takes Bullets to Save Master

Osmar Persisco of Garibaldi, Brazil, took his dog out for exercise in a field and was approached by two robbers who demanded his car keys. When Persisco declined, they shot him, grazing the man's head. That's when Max the dog went into action.
“He saw the blood and was furious,” Persisco told Brazilian newspaper Globo. “He left like a rocket to attack the thieves. One of them ran away, but Max dominated the other one. To defend himself, the thief ended up shooting the dog. Max thwarted the assault and saved my life.”

Max was hit twice in his chest and once in his leg, but by then he had scared off the potential thieves.

Max was treated by a veterinarian and is expected to make a full recovery. Link -via Breakfast Links

(Image credit: Porthus Junior)

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Zuckerberg-Eisenberg-Samberg: SNL Goes Meta



We don't often post about "what happened on TV last night," but this is pretty neat. The host on Saturday Night Live was the actor who played Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in the movie The Social Network. His name is Jesse Eisenberg, and he's up for an Oscar for the role. He is in the middle of this picture. Eisenberg was joined by SNL cast member Andy Samberg, who looks like Eisenberg, but is doing his Zuckerberg impression on the right in this picture. Then, Mark Zuckerberg himself crashed the monologue on the left. There had been speculation that if the three were ever in the same room, the universe would collapse. See the video clip at the Saturday Night Live website. Link -via The Daily What

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Scale


(vimeo link)

Brad Goodspeed watched the recent lunar eclipse and wondered how an exact copy of the earth would look if it were as close to us as the moon. Then he thought about the other planets. In this animation, he has several planets revolving around the earth at the same distance as our moon. Beware: Jupiter can be scary, especially if you watch this in full-screen mode. Link -via Metafilter


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Mal and Chad's Fill in the Bubble Frenzy 17





It's time once again for the Fill in the Bubble Frenzy with boy genius Mal and his talking dog Chad! What goes in this empty speech bubble? Tell us and you might win any T-shirt available in the NeatoShop -take a look around, pick one out and tell us what shirt you’d like with your submission in the comments. If you don't specify a t-shirt with your entry, you forfeit the prize. Enter as many times as you like (text only, please), but leave only one entry per comment. For inspiration, check out Mal and Chad’s comic strip adventures by Stephen McCranie at malandchad.com. Have fun and good luck!

Update: A t-shirt goes to Darrel, who gave us this line: "Get higher, Chad! That's the porcupine balloon!"

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Mal and Chad's Fill in the Bubble Frenzy 16





It's time once again for the Fill in the Bubble Frenzy with boy genius Mal and his talking dog Chad! What should he be saying in this empty speech bubble? Tell us and you might win any t-shirt available in the NeatoShop -take a look around, pick one out and leave your t-shirt choice with your submission in the comments. If you don't specify a t-shirt with your entry, you forfeit the prize. Enter as many times as you like (text only, please), but leave only one entry per comment. For inspiration, check out Mal and Chad’s comic strip adventures by Stephen McCranie at malandchad.com. Have fun and good luck!

Update: Darrel came up with the winning line this week: "Boy somebody needs a Tic Tac." That wins him a t-shirt from the NeatoShop!

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Name That Weird Invention!



It's time for the Name That Weird Invention! contest. Steven M. Johnson comes up with all sorts of crazy ideas in his Museum of Possibilities posts. Can you come up with a name for this one? Commenters suggesting the funniest and cleverest names will win a free T-shirt from the NeatoShop.

Contest rules: one entry per comment, though you can enter as many as you like. Please make a selection of the T-shirt you want (may we suggest the Science T-shirt, Funny T-shirt, and Artist-designed T-shirt categories?) alongside your entry. If you don't select a shirt, then you forfeit the prize. Good luck!

Update: The first place winner is Golfyball for the name Bumpermarket. Second place goes to ladybuggs for the Grumpcart. Both win t-shirts from the NeatoShop!

Honorable Mentions:
Stacey Bumper Basket
Michael Wendell Bumpercarts
BrisusCheez BumperBuggies and CrashCarts
ladybuggs Crash Cart
ladybuggs Bumper Buggy
tcchuang The Amusement Mart
ladybugs The Grumple Mover

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Fly the Flag, Boys!

The following is an article from the book History's Lists from Uncle John's Bathroom Reader.

Either India or China invented them. The Roman Empire helped popularize them. Armies and soldiers used them to identify who was in charge, and everyone from pirates to military ships have flown them to proclaim their loyalties. Every nation has its own flag. Here are five sovereign banners with interesting histories.

1. SWITZERLAND: THE NEUTRALITY OF BEING SQUARE

It seems only appropriate that Switzerland, with its neutral position on international conflicts, should share similarities to the international rescue group the Red Cross. Both have similar flags. Switzerland's flag is unique for being square rather than rectangular. Its stubby white cross on a red background evokes the Red Cross, which employs the same design but with the colors reversed.

The Swiss flag, which is one of only two square national flags (the Vatican has the other one), traces its heritage to banners used by the Holy Roman Empire and adopted by the cantons of Switzerland after they were granted sovereignty. The flag has come to represent peace, refuge, democracy, and neutrality. Though Switzerland has had democratic traditions since 1291, political struggles within the confederation of cantons and a French invasion in 1798 prevented the formal adoption of a national flag. The creation of a constitution for a federal state in 1848 established the national flag, which was formalized in 1889 by the Federal Assembly.

2. NETHERLANDS: HOIST THE RIBBON! IT'S PARTY TIME!

The Dutch tricolor national flag has three horizontal stripes of red, white, and blue positioned from top to bottom. What's unique is that the flag is festooned with an orange pennant whenever the royal family has special occasions such as birthdays. And for families throughout the kingdom, it is customary to place a schoolbag atop the flagstaff to indicate students who have graduated.

Like the flags of many nations, the Dutch flag has roots on a battlefield. It was used for the first time in the 16th century during the Dutch revolt against Spain, which was led by prince William of Orange. His followers called the banner the Prinzenvlag, or "prince's flag". Orange, white, and blue at the time, the flag's orange stripe was eventually changed to red. The flag was officially recognized by the Netherlands Council in 1937.

3. FRANCE: THE HOLY TRICOLOR

Like that of the Netherlands, France's flag, created in 1790, is also distinguished by the tricolor design in red, white, and blue, but in this case the stripes are vertical. The colors come from the city flag of Paris that was used the day French radicals stormed the city's Bastille prison in 1789 to usher in the French Revolution and overthrow the aristocracy of King Louis XVI. The Marquis de Lafayette is said to have designed the flag, which fell out of favor after French emperor Napoléon Bonaparte was defeated at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. However, it came back into vogue in 1830 and was flown over France ever since (except for two weeks in 1848 when it was changed, and then changed back). The colors represent three religious figures important to France: blue for St. Martin of Tours, a French-Roman officer who gave his cloak to a peasant suffering in the cold; white for the Virgin Mary; and red for St. Denis, the patron saint of France.

4. TURKEY: THE MOON STAR FLAG

The Turkish national flag is mostly red, with a white star and crescent in the center, and dates back 700 years; Sultan Selim III formalized the look in 1793. The crescent and star have been adopted by many other Muslim nations since then. What is not so well known is that in Turkish history, the crescent symbolizes Diana, the patron goddess of the ancient Turkish city of Byzantium, and the five-pointed star at the mouth of the crescent symbolizes the Virgin Mary, the patron saint of Byzantium after it became Constantinople in AD 330.
Continue reading

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A City of 42 Million People



China plans to merge nine cities along the Pearl River into one huge mega-city that will cover an area twice the size of Wales and initially have a population of 42 million people.
The new mega-city will cover a large part of China's manufacturing heartland, stretching from Guangzhou to Shenzhen and including Foshan, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Zhuhai, Jiangmen, Huizhou and Zhaoqing. Together, they account for nearly a tenth of the Chinese economy.

Over the next six years, around 150 major infrastructure projects will mesh the transport, energy, water and telecommunications networks of the nine cities together, at a cost of some 2 trillion yuan (£190 billion). An express rail line will also connect the hub with nearby Hong Kong.

"The idea is that when the cities are integrated, the residents can travel around freely and use the health care and other facilities in the different areas," said Ma Xiangming, the chief planner at the Guangdong Rural and Urban Planning Institute and a senior consultant on the project.

The new mega-city does not yet have a name. Nearby Hong Kong, with another seven million people, will not be included in the new mega-city. Link -via Metafilter

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Kitty Midnight Madness!


(YouTube link)

Find a cat just right for covering up that hole in your couch! Scratch and dent models available! They've got girl cats, boy cats, and "used-to-be-boy" cats! The Winnipeg Humane Society adapted hard-sell local advertising techniques to finding homes for cats, with the help of Andy Hill from Kern Hill Furniture Co-op in Winnipeg. The midnight madness event is not real, but the Winnipeg Humane Society is, and will be glad to accommodate you during regular hours. -via Digg


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Profile for Miss Cellania

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