15 Things You Never Noticed on a Dollar

Found on yahoo.com

Pull a buck from your wallet now and prepare to be amazed.

We’re serious. Did you know a dollar bill has hidden pictures, flecks of color, and mysterious symbols? And that’s just the beginning. What do all those seemingly random letters and Latin phrases mean, anyway?

The Basics: How much is a dollar worth?

The question seems simple, but the answer is quite complex. Since 1973, the dollar bill has had no value tied to it. You cannot trade in a dollar to the government for gold, silver, or any other commodity. The value of the nation’s currency is related to the decree by the government that a dollar is legal tender for all debts. This means if someone attempts to pay a debt using dollars, the person being paid must accept the money or the law no longer recognizes the debt. This is important enough that the phrase is printed on every bill the government creates.

It is also vital for the nation’s citizens to agree that the bills have value. If the members of a society decided that they did not believe in the currency, it would quickly be worth no more than the paper it is printed on. For the record, each bill costs the government 6.4 cents to print.

What kind of paper are the bills made from?

Bills are made from a blend of linen and cotton, which is why they don’t fall apart in the wash the way paper does. If you look closely, you can see red and blue silk fibers woven throughout the bill. The threads are thought to be an anti-counterfeit measure.

Hint: Look in the white spaces on the face of the bill for little bits of the colored thread. They look like lint but you can’t scratch them off!

On the face of a dollar, what does the letter inside the circular seal mean?

The black seal with the big letter in the middle signifies the Federal Reserve bank that placed the order for the bill. A = Boston, B = New York City, C = Philadelphia, D = Cleveland, E = Richmond, Va., F = Atlanta, G = Chicago, H = St. Louis, I = Minneapolis, J = Kansas City, K = Dallas.

The letter also corresponds to the black number that is repeated four times on the face of the bill. For example, if you have a bill from Dallas with the letter K, then the number on the bill will be 11 because K is the eleventh letter in the alphabet.

Can you find any tiny owls or spiders hidden on the front of the bill?

Many people believe they can see a tiny owl (some say it is a spider) next to the large “1” on the upper right of the bill. If you look at the shield shape that surrounds that “1,” the tiny owl rests on the top left corner.

More than likely, the markings are nothing, just a point where the webbed design of the border varies. That won’t stop some people from associating the peculiar detail with Masonic symbols, or with more practical things, like anti-counterfeit measures.

The Great Seal of the United States

The green back of the dollar bill features the two sides of The Great Seal of the United States. The founding fathers approved its design in 1782. Ben Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson all had a hand in devising it. The seal provides great insight into the values of the newborn nation and, like the Constitution, provides a direct link to its formative days.

What does Annuit Coeptis mean?

The first of three Latin phrases on the back of the bill is translated as “God has favored our undertakings.” Many founders, Franklin and George Washington among them, believed that God’s will was behind the successful creation of the United States.

Beneath the pyramid, what does Novus Ordo Seclorum mean?

These Latin words mean “New order of the ages.” Charles Thomson, a statesman involved in the design of The Great Seal of the United States, proposed the phrase to signify the beginning of what he called “the new American Era,” which he said began in 1776 with the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

The letters are Roman numerals for 1776. M is 1,000, D is 500, CC is 200, L is 50, XX is 20, VI is 6. Add the numerals on the pyramid together and you get the year 1776, when the Declaration of Independence was signed, and when the Novus Ordo Seclorum began.

Why is there an unfinished pyramid with a glowing eye?

Thomson explained the sturdy pyramid as a symbol of “strength and duration”. He did not explain its unfinished state, but many believe it signified that our nation remained unfinished. The pyramid also stops at 13 steps, the number of the original colonies.

The “Eye of Providence” is a visual representation of the words Annuit Coeptis, and reinforces the founders’ notion that God looked upon the endeavor of the new nation with favor. Many theorists mistakenly believe the symbolism of the eye is related to the Freemasons (a secret society whose members believed they were under the careful scrutiny of God), but the symbolism of the glowing eye is far older than any Freemason thinking. Scholars have traced versions of the symbol as far back as the ancient Egyptians.

What does E Pluribus Unum mean?

“Out of many, one.” The 13 disparate colonies came together to form one nation.

Why a bald eagle? The founders wanted an animal native to America to be the new nation’s symbol. In its talons the eagle holds arrows and olive branches, signifying war and peace.

Fun activities you and the kids can do with a dollar bill

Track your bills. Go to the website Where’s George? and enter the serial number of the bill. If the bill has been in circulation long enough, you might be able to see where your bill has been as it travels from wallets to registers and back. After you enter your bills, check back later to see where they have gone.

Play dollar-bill poker.
Each of you takes a dollar bill and examines the green serial numbers as if they were a hand of playing cards. Make your best poker hand and see who wins.

Why is MDCCLXXVI on the bottom of the pyramid?


‘Winter’s Bone’ Wins Grand Jury Prize for Drama at Sundance



Reporting from Park City, Utah – Dark films, particularly those that engage with social and political themes, dominated the Sundance Film Festival awards Saturday night.

“Winter’s Bone,” writer/director Debra Granik’s mystery-tinged tale about an impoverished teenager (Jennifer Lawrence) searching for her missing, meth-cooking father in the wooded Missouri Ozarks, won both the grand jury prize in the U.S. dramatic category and the prestigious Waldo Salt screenwriting award.

And rugged terrain of a different sort was the setting for the winner of the U.S. documentary grand jury prize, “Restrepo,” Sebastian Junger’s and Tim Hetherington’s verite examination of a U.S. Army unit stationed in Afghanistan’s dangerous Korengal Valley.

In the world category, David Michod’s “Animal Kingdom,” a gangster-themed coming-of-age drama from Australia, took home the grand jury dramatic prize, while Mads Brugger’s “The Red Chapel,” a comic documentary about a Danish group’s stunt infiltration of North Korea that explores the enigmatic and totalitarian country, landed the grand jury prize for best world documentary.

Domestic issues also resonated at Sundance as Davis Guggenheim’s “Waiting for Superman,” an eye-opening indictment of the U.S. educational system from the director of global-warming jeremiad “An Inconvenient Truth,” earned the audience award for U.S. documentary.

The lighter twentysomething comedy “happythankyoumoreplease,” the directorial debut of “How I Met Your Mother” star Josh Radnor, scored the audience prize for U.S. dramatic.

And the world cinema audience prize for documentary went to Lucy Walker’s art-world exploration “Wasteland,” while Javier Fuentes-Leon’s Peru-set ghost story “Undertow” won the world cinema audience award in the dramatic category.

“Winter’s Bone,” adapted from Daniel Woodrell’s novel by Granik and Anne Rosellini, marks the sophomore effort from Granik, who won the director’s award at the 2004 Sundance Festival for her film “Down to the Bone.”

A New Yorker, Granik told The Times last week that she made a film about rural America because she’s “always attracted to a place I’ve never been [to] or a life that’s outside my own experience.”

On Saturday, Roadside Attractions announced that it had closed a deal to distribute the film, with plans to release it theatrically this summer.

Winning a prize at Sundance doesn’t guarantee commercial success or even a commercial release, though it can be the first step toward a fruitful theatrical life.

Last year, “Precious: Based on the novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” scored the U.S. dramatic jury and audience prizes and a special acting prize on its way to more than $45 million in domestic box office and a collection of awards season accolades.

Sundance will officially conclude today after 11 days of screenings and events. Qualitative themes are difficult to extrapolate at a festival as sprawling as this one, but a consensus emerged that it was an especially strong year for documentaries.

In addition to the jury and audience-award winners, the list of notable nonfiction films included Amir Bar-Lev’s Pat Tillman expose “The Tillman Story,” Jeffrey Blitz’s lottery winner examination “Lucky,” a documentary about and by legendary street artist Banksy titled “Exit Through the Gift Shop,” and Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost’s ”Catfish,” which details a twisty online relationship between a young New York photographer and a family in Michigan.

On the feature side, the Ryan Gosling-Michelle Williams marital drama “Blue Valentine” and the Annette Bening-Julianne Moore lesbian dramedy “The Kids Are All Right” also were standouts.

The festival went through a reinvention of sorts this year, its first under new director John Cooper, who was promoted to replace Geoffrey Gilmore. Among the innovations Cooper and festival founder Robert Redford introduced were the creation of a programming section for low-budget films, distribution of select titles via YouTube and a program to screen festival movies concurrent with Sundance at theaters around the country.

“To me right now, it’s not about getting more people to come to Park City,” Redford said. “What I want right now is to bring the festival to people everywhere else.”

LA Times

Kellene’s 2010 Oscar Nomination Predictions

Dustin Hoffman at the Oscars Getty

So here we go again. We’re in the middle of awards season with the granddaddy of them all still several weeks away. Academy Award nominations will be announced on February 2nd. Until then it’s up to analysts (and psychics) to discuss and ultimately guess who will get a nod.

And that’s where I come in!

I do this to stretch my brain. I don’t work for PricewaterhouseCoopers; I don’t have some inside track. I just want to see how well I can guess. And the best way to prove my intentions is to post them on the web. Where else? The time stamp is proof I posted beforehand.

Best Picture


Up in the Air


The Hurt Locker



Inglourious Basterds

The Hangover or The Blind Side

A Serious Man

An Education

New rules this year stipulate there will be TEN best picture nominees. Yes, you read that right – ten! The first five possible nominees were somewhat easy to choose, but it’s the second set that may doom me. Should ‘The Hangover’ be nominated? I really don’t think so, but when you widen the net it really could be nominated.

Best Actor

Jeff Bridges – Crazy Heart

George Clooney – Up in the Air

Robert Downey Jr. – Sherlock Holmes

Morgan Freeman – Invictus

Colin Firth – A Single Man

I’ve been on the fence for this one for months – until I saw Sherlock Holmes in early January. I was absolutely taken aback by Downey Jr.’s performance. It was nice seeing him back in his element. He deserves to win, but I also thought Mickey Rourke also deserved to win last year. (Instead Sean Penn won for Milk.)

Best Actress

Sandra Bullock – The Blind Side

Meryl Streep – Julie & Julia

Gabrourey Sidibe – Precious

Helen Mirren – The Last Station

Carey Mulligan – An Education

All year I’ve said Meryl Streep would win (and she still could); did you hear this woman’s voice as Julia Child? Oh my God, to die for! Only she could bring her to life as how we all remember her.

But now that some time has passed I’m starting to lean more towards Sandra Bullock. Ms. Streep has been nominated 1,000 times before and although the academy adores her, it’s nice to see someone else come up the ranks.

Best Supporting Actor

Matt Damon – Invictus

Christoph Waltz – Inglourious Basterds

Stanley Tucci – The Lovely Bones

Woody Harrelson – The Messenger

Alfred Molina – An Education

No one really stood out for me until I kept seeing Christoph Waltz keep winning awards. Gotta go with him.

Best Supporting Actress

Anna Kendrick – Up in the Air

Mo’Nique – Precious

Penelope Cruz – Nine

Vera Farmiga – Up in the Air

Diane Kruger – Inglourious Basterds

I think this category has got to be a no-brainer unless you have lived under a rock this pas year.

Best Director

James Cameron – Avatar

Jason Reitman – Up in the Air

Kathryn Bigelow – The Hurt Locker

Lee Daniels – Precious

Quentin Tarantino – Inglourious Basterds

Is there really any doubt on this one? The man disappeared for a decade only to resurface to break his own record! He now has directed two top grossing films of all time! If James Cameron doesn’t win I’ll lose all faith in humanity! (Mental note: pray things I write come true!)

Best Animated Feature

Fantastic Mr. Fox


The Princess and the Frog

Pixar produces fabulous movies, but I think Up will get a best picture nod thanks to the new 10 nominee rule. With that said, this category really opens up to other interesting choices. I gotta go with the Fantastic Mr. Fox. (But notice I’m also banking on there will be three nominees like in years past.) We’ll see what happens.

Slamdance Announces Winners

Utah Slamdance’s 16th annual fest wrapped here Thursday night with the announcement of winners in three competitive categories: grand jury, audience and sponsored awards.

Fest’s grand jury Sparky feature prize winners are limited to first-time filmmakers working with production budgets of $1 million or less.

Grand jury narrative feature Sparky went to “Snow and Ashes,” helmed by Charles-Olivier Michaud, with a special mention going to Conor Horgan’s “One Hundred Mornings.”

Docu prize winner was “American Jihadist,” directed by Mark Claywell.

“Seed,” from helmers Ben Richardson and Daniel Bird, snapped up the animation short kudo. Narrative short prize went to “First Day of Peace,” helmed by Mirko Rucnov. Special mention for a short doc went to “Out That Bout,” directed by Nico Sabenorio.

Audience prize winners for narrative feature went to “The Wild Hunt,” directed by Alexandre Franchi and documentary “Mind of the Demon: The Larry Linkogle Story,” directed by Adam Barker.

Audience Sparky for Anarchy Online Film went to Laura Harris’ “Sugar Stick.”

Jeremy Engle’s “Mosquito” won the audience Spirit of Slamdance Sparky short award.

As for the sponsored awards, the Kodak Vision kudo for cinematography went to Bob Persons for “General Orders No. 9.” Dos Equis’ Most Interesting Film Award went to “Nothing but Everything,” directed by Wallace Cotton.

Fest’s first Script Accessible Screenplay Award, sponsored by Lonely Seal Releasing, went to “The Wrong Reasons,” penned by Gia Milani. Prize is part of a year-round script competish.

Fest drew a record 5,000 submissions from around the world and programmed 91 films this year, under its mission of “by filmmakers, for filmmakers.”

Selected grand jury and audience award winners will be screened in a few domestic venues throughout the year, including Gotham’s IFC Center.

On Wednesday, Slamdance’s new distrib partnership with Microsoft went live on Zune and Xbox LIVE platforms. Four 2010 fest films are part of the Microsoft program: prizewinners “American Jihadist,” “Mind of the Demon” and “The Wild Hunt,” as well as feature “The Scenesters.” The films are available to rent for a seven-day period via computers or on Xbox LIVE until Feb. 2.


63 Songs Compete for Oscar

Sixty-three songs are eligible for an Oscar nomination and five of them are from the “Hannah Montana” movie.

“Hoedown Throwdown” is one of them, but Miley Cyrus’ hit “The Climb” is not because it wasn’t written specifically for the movie.

“The Princess and the Frog” has four songs on the list.

The theme from “Avatar” sung by Leona Lewis is eligible, along with the theme to “The Young Victoria” sung by Sinead O’Connor.

The song “(I Want to) Come Home” from “Everybody’s Fine” written by Paul McCartney is on the list, as is the U2 song “Winter” from “Brothers.”

There’s also a song called “The Word Is Love” from “Oy Vey! My Son Is Gay!”

Academy members will vote on the songs and up to five will be nominated.

Oscar nominations will be announced February 2 and the awards given on March 7.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

How Do You Define Celebrity?

The reason I ask is because of two different incidents this week.

First – several media outlets reported sightings of Jon Gosselin and his new gal-pal pacing Main Street in Park City during the Sundance Film Festival.

Second – during the Jersey Shore reunion show (which I watched for the first time Friday night), Mike “The Situation” forceably mentioned twice ‘he’ (meaning the reality show) was on Thursday nights.

I think both these incidents show a blurring of reality: the everyday normal life ‘reality’ vs a ‘glamourized’ life 1% of the world is priviledged to attain.  

If MTV’s newest hit flopped, no one would have cared about Mike or his cohorts. I think media coverage (good plus bad), even SNL’s parody helped build a glowing mystique around the cast members. On the other hand, Gosselin who already briefly enjoyed favorable coverage (until his divorce) is now vying for attention his ex-wife still receives months later. Don’t know what you got until it’s gone.

And then I saw a promo for VH1’s Celebrity Fit Club and I didn’t even recognize half of them! Designer Jay McCarroll won the first ever Project Runway. I love the guy to death and am happy to see him again, but I don’t know if I’d consider him a ‘celebrity’ per se. 

It seems America’s definition of celebrity has loosened up a bit since the advent of reality television (which makes sense since you can’t ignore it). But you can’t put Octomon on the same level of Sophia Loren do you know what I mean? It’s just not right.

I also think if you end up on reality television it’s a short ride up and short ride down. Survival of the fittest. Yes, most likely your show will end up on DVD for eternity, but will anyone care after 5 years? Americans have short attention spans. Andy Warhol was right when he said ‘everyone will have 15 minutes of fame.’

I don’t mean ill will towards anyone – this is just merely an observation on my part.

Remember how hard celebrities like Madonna, Jay Leno and Beyonce had to work to get the attention they now enjoy? Today all you need is a blog (!), reality show or … yeah, a reality show.

By chance I just finished watching Julie & Julia.  Both women worked at their craft before they became famous. I’m not sure I would call the Julie half a celebrity but she is now publicly recognizable. Yet some people might consider her a celebrity.

I’m on the fence about this as you can clearly read — what do you think? Share your thoughts about this.

Scenes From Sundance 2010

Signage advertising the Sundance Film Festival is seen during ... Reuters

Main Street is seen during a snow fall in Park City, Utah January ... Reuters

Pedestrians walk down Main St. during the first day of the 2010 ... Reuters

The best part is while Sundance is going on so is the U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix Finals. All in Park City. And you thought it was already crowded for winter fun!