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30 Pixar Easter Eggs to Look for Next Time

PixarWikia.com
PixarWikia.com

Pixar is famous for sneaking little inside jokes and references into their movies. You probably already know about A113—if not, we'll get to that in a minute. But the famous room number is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all of the "nudge-nudge-wink-wink"ing the animators do. Here are a handful to look for when you find yourself watching Toy Story for the seventeenth time, or when you're trying to distract yourself from sobbing through the beginning of Up.

The Luxo Ball

The Luxo Ball has a long history with Pixar, appearing in its first-ever short, Luxo, Jr.—you know, the one with the playful desk lamp. The short changed the face of the industry, showing hand animators that computers were assets to the industry instead of the end of it. Along with the lamp, the Luxo Ball has become an icon for Pixar, which is why they like to squeeze it in whenever they can. In addition to the shots above, here are a few places you can find the little guy.

1. When Buzz Lightyear “proves” that he can fly in the first Toy Story, the Luxo Ball is the toy he bounces from.

Photo courtesy of JimHillMedia.com 

2. It’s also in a toy basket at Sunnyside Daycare in Toy Story 3.

Image courtesy of Pixar.Wikia.com 

3. If you really squint at Russell’s merit badges in Up, you’ll spot a familiar shape in there. Hint: Check the middle row on the lower left.

Image courtesy of Amptoons 

4. The Luxo Ball's cameos aren't limited to feature-length films. It can also be found in Pixar shorts, such as Presto, which originally ran before WALL-E. In this case, it appears as one of many items that fall out of the magician's sleeve. 

5. And there's Jack-Jack Attackthe 2005 short based on The Incredibles. Jack-Jack's babysitter thrusts a bunch of toys at the little superhero in an attempt to keep him entertained. One of them is no ordinary bouncing ball!

See Also: 11 Disney Character Cameos in Other Disney Movies

I Spy the Pizza Planet Truck

The pizza delivery truck that played a central role in the first Toy Story movie has turned up in every Pixar movie since, except for The Incredibles. Keep your eyes peeled the next time you’re watching these movies.

6. In A Bug’s Life, the To“YO”ta can be found parked next to the trailer with the deadly bug zapper.

7. In Monsters, Inc., the Pizza Planet delivery truck can again be found parked next to the trailer with the bug zapper from A Bug’s Life, because that’s where Randall the monster is banished when he’s kicked out of Monstropolis.

8. In Finding Nemo, you can catch a blurry glimpse of the truck through the thick aquarium glass as Gill the fish plots the escape from the tank.

9. It makes perfect sense that the pizza delivery truck can be found watching the Piston Cup race in Cars, doesn’t it?

10. It’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo, but the Toyota can be found taking in the Paris sights in the background of Ratatouille as Skinner is chasing Remy near the Seine.

Image courtesy of eeggs.com

11. The Pizza Planet truck fared about as well as the rest of humanity in WALL-E. EVE finds the truck and scans it, then shuts the hood and moves on.

12. As Carl’s house sails into the air in Up, we get a bird’s eye view of the streets below. The truck is down there, faithfully delivering pies as always.

Image courtesy of PixarWikia.com

13. “Yo” is definitely a racing fan, because in addition to the Piston Cup in the first Cars, he’s also in attendance at the Radiator Springs Grand Prix in Cars 2.

14. By the time Brave came out in 2012, fans were on to the whole Pizza Planet truck inside joke—and they wondered how in the world animators were going to work a modern-day vehicle into a film set in ancient Scotland without totally disrupting the continuity of the storyline. Here’s how:

15. All college students—even those of the monster variety in Monsters University—love pizza. Proof:

Image courtesy of pixartimes.com

Character Cameos

Animators love to sneak in references to other Pixar movies, sometimes even including films that haven’t been released yet. For example...

16. The poster of Finn McMissle from Cars 2 (2011) that showed up in Andy’s bedroom in Toy Story 3 (2010).

Image courtesy of ComingSoon.net 

17. Lotso, the bad guy from Toy Story 3, can be found in a little girl’s bedroom in Up (2009) as Mr. Frederickson’s house flies past her window. Also spotted: the Luxo Ball.

Image courtesy of eeggs.com

18. In Monsters, Inc. (2001), Boo hands Sulley a stuffed clownfish, which is really a sneak preview at the lead character in 2003’s Finding Nemo. And check out what else he's holding in his paws.

Image courtesy of Pixartalk.com

19. The dentist in Finding Nemo has pretty good waiting room material—a little boy waiting for his appointment can be seen reading a comic book that stars none other than The Incredibles (2004).

Image courtesy of Loffee

20. Actually, that’s not all that’s in his waiting room. He also has a treasure chest of toys, including everyone's favorite space ranger.

Image courtesy of Finding Mickey

21. When the newly-announced Cars 3 eventually comes out, keep your eyes peeled for the Radiator Springs Drive-In. In Cars, it’s showing Toy Car Story. In Cars 2, Mater and Lightning McQueen drive past the sign that states it's showing The Incredimobiles.

22. When the Toy Story gang is cruising through the aisles of Al's Toy Barn, Barbie isn't the only toy they happen across. Eagle-eyed viewers will be able to spot A Bug's Life toys on the shelves.

Image courtesy of Pixartalk.com

A113

Now, let's get to those A113 references. A113 is the number of the classroom where many California Institute of the Arts graphic design students studied, including Pixar heavies John Lasseter and Brad Bird. Hiding references to it has become a nod that animators like to hide within their work—and not just Pixar films. "A113" has appeared in episodes of The Simpsons, American Dad!, South Park, Tiny Toon Adventures, Rugrats, and more. But that's another post—today we'll just stick to a few of the Pixar references.

23. Here it is on the scuba diver's camera in Finding Nemo:

Photo courtesy of PixarPost

24. In Roman numeral format above a doorway in Brave.

Image courtesy of PixarTimes

25. Andy's mom has a familiar license plate in the Toy Story movies.

Image courtesy of PixarTalk

26. When Mr. Frederickson has to appear in court for his little assault charge in Up, the court's room number happens to be A113. And here's an extra little tidbit: The summons number is 94070, the ZIP Code for San Carlos, CA, where a Pixar producer was once mayor.

Image courtesy of Slashfilm

27. In WALL-E, A113 is the directive given that means humans can never go home. 

See Also: 11 Disney Character Cameos in Other Disney Movies

28. When Mr. Incredible is being held captive by Syndrome, he's being held in Level A1, Cell 13.

Image courtesy of Pixar Place

29. Mater's license plate in Cars 2? A113, of course.

Image courtesy of FindingMickey 

30. Finally, this one is the most fitting of all of the A113 appearances yet. In Monsters University, as Sulley is entering his first class at college, the plate on the door pays homage to one of the first classes his animators took. That one, in my opinion, is going to be pretty hard to top.

Image courtesy ofPixarTalk

Have a favorite Pixar reference that wasn't featured here? Share in the comments!

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13 Fascinating Facts About Nina Simone
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Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Nina Simone, who would’ve celebrated her 85th birthday today, was known for using her musical platform to speak out. “I think women play a major part in opening the doors for better understanding around the world,” the “Strange Fruit” songstress once said. Though she chose to keep her personal life shrouded in secrecy, these facts grant VIP access into a life well-lived and the music that still lives on.

1. NINA SIMONE WAS HER STAGE NAME.

The singer was born as Eunice Waymon on February 21, 1933. But by age 21, the North Carolina native was going by a different name at her nightly Atlantic City gig: Nina Simone. She hoped that adopting a different name would keep her mother from finding out about her performances. “Nina” was her boyfriend’s nickname for her at the time. “Simone” was inspired by Simone Signoret, an actress that the singer admired.

2. SHE HAD HUMBLE BEGINNINGS.


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There's a reason that much of the singer's music had gospel-like sounds. Simone—the daughter of a Methodist minister and a handyman—was raised in the church and started playing the piano by ear at age 3. She got her start in her hometown of Tryon, North Carolina, where she played gospel hymns and classical music at Old St. Luke’s CME, the church where her mother ministered. After Simone died on April 21, 2003, she was memorialized at the same sanctuary.

3. SHE WAS BOOK SMART...

Simone, who graduated valedictorian of her high school class, studied at the prestigious Julliard School of Music for a brief period of time before applying to Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music. Unfortunately, Simone was denied admission. For years, she maintained that her race was the reason behind the rejection. But a Curtis faculty member, Vladimir Sokoloff, has gone on record to say that her skin color wasn’t a factor. “It had nothing to do with her…background,” he said in 1992. But Simone ended up getting the last laugh: Two days before her death, the school awarded her an honorary degree.

4. ... WITH DEGREES TO PROVE IT.

Simone—who preferred to be called “doctor Nina Simone”—was also awarded two other honorary degrees, from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Malcolm X College.

5. HER CAREER WAS ROOTED IN ACTIVISM.

A photo of Nina Simone circa 1969

Gerrit de Bruin

At the age of 12, Simone refused to play at a church revival because her parents had to sit at the back of the hall. From then on, Simone used her art to take a stand. Many of her songs in the '60s, including “Mississippi Goddamn,” “Why (The King of Love Is Dead),” and “Young, Gifted and Black,” addressed the rampant racial injustices of that era.

Unfortunately, her activism wasn't always welcome. Her popularity diminished; venues didn’t invite her to perform, and radio stations didn’t play her songs. But she pressed on—even after the Civil Rights Movement. In 1997, Simone told Interview Magazine that she addressed her songs to the third world. In her own words: “I’m a real rebel with a cause.”

6. ONE OF HER MOST FAMOUS SONGS WAS BANNED.

Mississippi Goddam,” her 1964 anthem, only took her 20 minutes to an hour to write, according to legend—but it made an impact that still stands the test of time. When she wrote it, Simone had been fed up with the country’s racial unrest. Medger Evers, a Mississippi-born civil rights activist, was assassinated in his home state in 1963. That same year, the Ku Klux Klan bombed a Birmingham Baptist church and as a result, four young black girls were killed. Simone took to her notebook and piano to express her sentiments.

“Alabama's gotten me so upset/Tennessee made me lose my rest/And everybody knows about Mississippi Goddam,” she sang.

Some say that the song was banned in Southern radio stations because “goddam” was in the title. But others argue that the subject matter is what caused the stations to return the records cracked in half.

7. SHE NEVER HAD A NUMBER ONE HIT.

Nina Simone released over 40 albums during her decades-spanning career including studio albums, live versions, and compilations, and scored 15 Grammy nominations. But her highest-charting (and her first) hit, “I Loves You, Porgy,” peaked at #2 on the U.S. R&B charts in 1959. Still, her music would go on to influence legendary singers like Roberta Flack and Aretha Franklin.

8. SHE USED HER STYLE TO MAKE A STATEMENT.

Head wraps, bold jewelry, and floor-skimming sheaths were all part of Simone’s stylish rotation. In 1967, she wore the same black crochet fishnet jumpsuit with flesh-colored lining for the entire year. Not only did it give off the illusion of her being naked, but “I wanted people to remember me looking a certain way,” she said. “It made it easier for me.”

9. SHE HAD MANY HOMES.

New York City, Liberia, Barbados, England, Belgium, France, Switzerland, and the Netherlands were all places that Simone called home. She died at her home in Southern France, and her ashes were scattered in several African countries.

10. SHE HAD A FAMOUS INNER CIRCLE.

During the late '60s, Simone and her second husband Andrew Stroud lived next to Malcolm X and his family in Mount Vernon, New York. He wasn't her only famous pal. Simone was very close with playwright Lorraine Hansberry. After Hansberry’s death, Simone penned “To Be Young, Gifted and Black” in her honor, a tribute to Hansberry's play of the same title. Simone even struck up a brief friendship with David Bowie in the mid-1970s, who called her every night for a month to offer his advice and support.

11. YOU CAN STILL VISIT SIMONE IN HER HOMETOWN.

Photo of Nina Simone
Amazing Nina Documentary Film, LLC, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

In 2010, an 8-foot sculpture of Eunice Waymon was erected in her hometown of Tryon, North Carolina. Her likeness stands tall in Nina Simone Plaza, where she’s seated and playing an eternal song on a keyboard that floats in midair. Her daughter, Lisa Simone Kelly, gave sculptor Zenos Frudakis some of Simone’s ashes to weld into the sculpture’s bronze heart. "It's not something very often done, but I thought it was part of the idea of bringing her home," Frudakis said.

12. YOU'VE PROBABLY HEARD HER MUSIC IN RECENT HITS.

Rihanna sang a few verses of Simone’s “Do What You Gotta Do” on Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo. He’s clearly a superfan: “Blood on the Leaves” and his duet with Jay Z, “New Day,” feature Simone samples as well, along with Lil’ Wayne’s “Dontgetit,” Common’s “Misunderstood” and a host of other tracks.

13. HER MUSIC IS STILL BEING PERFORMED.

Nina Revisited… A Tribute to Nina Simone was released along with the Netflix documentary in 2015. On the album, Lauryn Hill, Jazmine Sullivan, Usher, Alice Smith, and more paid tribute to the legend by performing covers of 16 of her most famous tracks.

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13 Secrets From the Guinness Archives
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Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images

Guinness has been a staple in Irish pubs for nearly 260 years. With so much history, it's no surprise that the Guinness Storehouse Archives—which are open to the public—are stuffed with intriguing artifacts that tell some pretty wild stories. Here are a few.

1. THE LEASE TO THE DUBLIN BREWERY WAS INTENDED TO LAST 9000 YEARS.

In 1759, founder Arthur Guinness signed a lease for a four-acre property at St. James’s Gate in Dublin. The lease required a down payment of £100, an annual rent of £45, and a term of 9000 years (not a typo). Such lengthy leases were relatively common back then: “At the time in Ireland, there was a lot of instability to do with land tenure,” explains Fergus Brady, Archives Manager at Guinness. Centuries earlier, the British had begun confiscating land from native Irish in an effort to build plantations, and extra-long leases were a means of avoiding this fate. As Brady explains, “You see these really long leases: 99-year or 999-year leases. It seemed to be a legal custom at the time that they used the number nine.”

2. ARTHUR GUINNESS WAS NOT AFRAID TO DEFEND HIS PROPERTY WITH A PICKAXE.

In 1775, the Dublin Corporation—that is, the city government—demanded that Arthur Guinness pay for the spring water flowing to his brewery. When Guinness argued that he was already paying for water rights through his 9000-year rental agreement, the Dublin Corporation sent a sheriff and a committee to his brewery to cut off the water supply. Guinness was livid. He seized a pickaxe and unleashed a torrent of obscenities so colorful that the Dublin Corporation’s goons eventually retreated.

3. GUINNESS ONCE DEPLOYED FIELD AGENTS TO CATCH COUNTERFEITERS.

Guinness Apology
Guinness Archive, Diageo Ireland

In the 19th century, there was no such thing as brand consistency. Guinness did not bottle its own beer; instead, it shipped the suds in wooden casks to publicans who supplied their own bottles and applied their own personalized labels. Occasionally, these publicans sold fake or adulterated Guinness. To prevent such sales, the company sent special agents called “travellers” into the field to collect beer samples, which it tested in a laboratory. “If a publican was found to be serving adulterated or counterfeit Guinness, they had to give a public apology in their local newspaper—and even the national newspapers,” archivist Jessica Handy says.

4. FOR 21 YEARS, THE COMPANY HIRED A GUY TO TRAVEL THE WORLD AND DRINK BEER.

In 1899, Guinness hired an American ex-brewer named Arthur T. Shand to be a “Guinness World Traveller.” It was arguably the coolest job in the world. For 21 years, Shand traveled the world taste-testing beer. According to Brady, “His job was to travel the world and taste Guinness, say whether it was good or bad, who our bottlers in the market were, who our major competition was, what kind of people were drinking our product.” Shand traveled to Australia and New Zealand, to Southeast Asia and Egypt. “He was sort of a Guinness sommelier,” Brady says.

5. THE COMPANY'S HARP LOGO CAUSED TROUBLE WITH THE IRISH GOVERNMENT.

The Celtic harp—based on the 14th century “Brian Boru Harp” preserved at Trinity College—became a trademarked Guinness logo in 1876. Forty-five years later, when Ireland gained independence from England, the Irish Free State decided to use the same Celtic harp as its official state emblem. This became awkward. Guinness owned the trademark, and the Irish government was forced to search for a workaround. You can find their solution on an Irish Euro coin. Look at the coin, and you’ll notice that the harp’s straight edge faces the right; meanwhile, the harp on a glass of Guinness shows the straight edge facing left [PDF].

6. GUINNESS REPORTEDLY SAVED LIVES ON THE BATTLEFIELD.

The old slogan “Guinness is good for you” sounds like a marketing gimmick, but it was born out of a genuine belief that the beer was, in fact, a restorative tonic. The health claim dates back to 1815, when an ailing cavalry officer wounded at the Battle of Waterloo reportedly credited Guinness for his recovery. For decades, the medical community widely claimed that the dark beer possessed real health benefits—and they weren’t necessarily wrong. “There was little safe drinking water at the time,” Handy says. “But with brewing, consumers knew they were getting a safe beverage.”

7. THE COMPANY CREATED A SPECIAL RECIPE FOR CONVALESCENTS.

A label for Guinness invalid stout
Guinness Archive, Diageo Ireland

From the 1880s to the 1920s, Guinness produced a special “Nourishing Export Stout”—a.k.a. “Invalid Stout”—that contained extra sugars, alcohol, and solids and came in cute one-third pint bottles. “It was very common practice for people to buy a couple bottles and keep them as a tonic, even if it was just a glass or half a glass,” Handy says. In fact, Guinness went as far as asking general practitioners for testimonials attesting to the beer’s medical benefits. According to Brady, “Many of them wrote back and said yes, we prescribe this for various ailments.” One doctor even claimed a pint was “as nourishing as a glass of milk.”

8. DOCTORS REGULARLY PRESCRIBED THE BEER TO NURSING MOTHERS.

From the 1880s to the 1930s, many physicians believed Guinness was an effective galactagogue—that is, a lactation aid. The company sent bottles to hospitals as well as wax cartons of yeast (which supposedly helped skin problems and migraines). Hundreds, possibly thousands, of doctors prescribed the beer for ailments such as influenza, insomnia, and anxiety, David Hughes writes in A Bottle of Guinness Please: The Colourful History of Guinness. According to Brady, the company was sending beer to hospitals as late as the 1970s.

9. THE COMPANY ONCE DROPPED 200,000 MESSAGES-IN-A-BOTTLE INTO THE OCEAN.

A Guinness message in a bottle
The message within every bottle dropped in the Atlantic Ocean in 1959.
Guinness Archive, Diageo Ireland

In 1954, Guinness dumped 50,000 messages-in-a-bottle in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. In 1959, they repeated the stunt again, with 38 ships dropping 150,000 bottles in the Atlantic. The first bottle was discovered in the Azores off Portugal just three months after the initial drop [PDF]. Since then, the bottles have turned up in California, New Zealand, and South Africa. Just last year, a bottle was discovered in Nova Scotia. (If you find one, you just might be offered a trip to the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin.)

10. THE PERSONNEL FILES IN THE GUINNESS ARCHIVES CONTAIN SOME DOOZIES.

The Guinness corporate archives are open to the public. According to Handy, “Some of the stories you get in there are amazing, because you get accident reports and you get crazy stories of people bouncing on bags of hops outside the brewery." This may sound less surprising considering that, back in the day, Guinness employees were given an allowance of two pints of beer every day [PDF].

11. A GUINNESS SCIENTIST MADE A STATISTICALLY SIGNIFICANT MARK IN THE FIELD OF STATISTICS.

If you’ve taken a statistics class, you might be familiar with the Student’s t-test or the t-statistic. (It’s a method of working with a small sample size when the standard deviation is unknown.) The t-test was first described by William S. Gosset, a brewer and statistician at Guinness who was attempting to analyze a small sample of malt extract. Gosset’s discovery not only helped Guinness create a more consistent-tasting beer, it would lay the bedrock for one of the most important concepts in statistics: statistical significance.

12. GUINNESS IS SO BIG IN AFRICA, IT LAUNCHED A SUCCESSFUL FEATURE-LENGTH FILM.

Guinness began exporting beer to Africa in 1827. In the 1960s, it opened a brewery in Nigeria—followed by Cameroon and Ghana. Today, there are reportedly more Guinness drinkers in Nigeria than there are in Ireland. “In Ireland, England, and the United States, everybody thinks that Guinness is synonymous with Ireland,” Brady says. “But in Nigeria, there’s a very very low conception of that.” The beer is such a cultural staple that a fictional character who advertised the product named Michael Power—a James Bond-like, crime-fighting journalist—became the star of a feature film in 2003 called Critical Assignment, which was a box office smash. (Of course, there’s some branding built into the script. As Brady explains, “There are definitely scenes where Michael Power is enjoying a pint of Guinness.”)

13. DISPENSING BEER WITH NITROGEN WAS ORIGINALLY CONSIDERED LAUGHABLE.

In the 1950s, Guinness scientist Michael Ash was tasked with solving the “draft problem.” At the time, dispensing a draft pint of Guinness was ridiculously complicated, and the company was losing market share to draft lagers in Britain that could be easily dispensed with CO2. “The stout was too lively to be dispensed with CO2 only,” Brady says. “Ash worked on the problem for four years, working long hours day or night, and became a bit of a recluse apparently. A lot of doubters at the brewery called the project ‘daft Guinness.’” But then Ash attempted dispensing the beer with plain air. It worked. The secret ingredient, Ash discovered, was nitrogen. The air we breathe is 78 percent nitrogen. Today, a Guinness draft contains 75 percent nitrogen. Not only did the discovery make dispensing the beer easier, it created a creamy mouthfeel that’s been the signature of Irish stouts since.

Full disclosure: Guinness paid for the author to attend an International Stout Day festival in 2017, which provided the opportunity to speak to their archivists.

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