TIME animals

This Man’s Enthusiasm About Sea Lions Is Truly Infectious

"They're sleek ... like a torpedo through the water!"

If you’re feeling kinda meh about everything today, we highly recommend taking a few minutes to watch the BBC’s Steve Backshall as he encounters a group of sea lions in California’s Monterey Bay. Backshall is just so, so, so excited about the creatures he has encountered, and his enthusiasm is infectious. Pretty soon, you’ll be feeling totally invigorated and excited about life.

“This is a truly unbelievable spectacle,” Backshall shouts gleefully. “Surrounded by California sea lions!”

He then gets a little defensive—but still totally joyful—about how incredible sea lions are. “These creatures are completely transformed here in their underwater world. They can appear to be clumsy when they’re on land but here, they are agile, graceful and zip through the water using those extraordinary wing-like front flippers.”

Seriously, Backshall just can’t stop telling us how incredible sea lions are. “They’re sleek … like a torpedo through the water!”

The video is a preview of the next episode of PBS’ Big Blue Live, a program showcasing the marine life of Monterey Bay. We recommend watching the episode, which airs Sunday at 8pm EST, to see Backshall declare sea lions the “absolute masters of the big blue.”

(h/t Jezebel)

TIME animals

Grumpy Cat’s Getting a Wax Figure and Of Course She’s Mad About It

It will debut at Madame Tussauds San Francisco later this year

Poor Grumpy Cat had to tolerate all the measuring and fitting it takes to become a wax figure at Madame Tussauds. The museum just announced that the famous feline will be immortalized in wax at its San Francisco location, Business Wire reports.

In the clip below, you’ll see Grumpy Cat begrudgingly sit for the Madame Tussauds sculptors, who clearly want to make sure they get the wax figure just right.

Grumpy Cat’s figure will be “an animatronic with five different movements” and will be unveiled at the San Francisco museum later this year. After a short stay there, the figure will then tour the remaining five locations around the country. Until then, keep an eye on the Madame Tussauds Instagram for updates:

TIME celebrity

Watch Serena Williams Sing ‘Under the Sea’ at U.S. Open Karaoke

The ultimate warm-up

You already knew Serena Williams was great at tennis, but did you know she moonlights as a karaoke star? On Wednesday night in New York City, to prepare for the upcoming U.S. Open, the tennis champ showed off her vocal skills at a Delta-sponsored karaoke event.

She told the Associated Press she was more nervous about her song choice than her tennis game.

“I’m going to make a game time decision,” she said. “I always get so nervous every year like, ‘I don’t know what to do, I don’t know what to do.'”

The 33-year-old athelete ended up chooing a Disney classic: “Under the Sea” from The Little Mermaid. Last year, she went a different route with “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend”:

Read next: Serena Williams Contemplates Life After Tennis

TIME Food & Drink

Watch American Kids Try School Lunches From Around the World

"My nose says it wouldn't be so good"

American kids aren’t exactly the most adventurous eaters, as we learned from this new clip from Cut Video, which features seven kids testing out typical school lunches from India, Sweden, Japan, Cuba, France, Kenya and Afghanistan.

The kids are often grossed out by the unfamiliar dishes, offering commentary like “Isn’t plaintain, like, something you rub against?” and “I am definitely not eating this every day. Man, this is gross. I am out of here. Straight to the toilet.”

Many of them do, however, appreciate some of the dishes, like the High Energy Biscuit from Afghanistan and the stew from Kenya.

But when testing out a Japanese dish, one kid pretty much summed it all up: “I like pizza way better.”

TIME celebrity

Watch Amy Schumer Rap a Kanye West Song With Talib Kweli

"You mean Talib? Lyrics sticks to your rib"

You probably know Amy Schumer as a writer, actress and a comedian, but the Trainwreck star just proved she’s actually a quadruple threat, because she also raps.

Schumer joined rapper Talib Kweli at a Chicago venue Tuesday night for a joint show, where they teamed up to perform Kanye West’s 2004 hit “Get ‘Em High.” The song was originally a collaboration between Kanye West, Talib Kweli and Common, but Schumer totally held her own. She proudly posted a clip of her performance on Instagram Wednesday:

You mean Talib Lyrics stick to your rib

A video posted by @amyschumer on

And here’s a slightly longer clip:

So THAT happened! @TalibKweli feat. DJ Fudge (aka @amyschumer).

A video posted by Sarah Spain (@spain2323) on

 

TIME Crime

Man Gets Busted for Crime Because of Facebook, Then Brags on Facebook

Facebook logo shown on an iPhone 5s.
Lukas Schulze—AP

He was just looking out for his fellow taxpayers

Long Island resident Stephen Ruth recently decided he was fed up with traffic cameras. And then he decided to take action. Ruth tampered with the cameras, got arrested for it, and then bragged about the incident on Facebook, New York’s PIX11 reports.

How did police manage to track Ruth down? He conveniently posted a series of Facebook videos explaining how exactly he tampered with the cameras. “All it took was a pair of balls and a painter’s pole,” he explained. “I’m going to show you how easy it is to take the power back.”

Police said he used his contraption to push the cameras upward so that they capture footage of the sky instead of the road. He changed the position of four cameras in total, and police soon found him after receiving tips about his videos, which were starting to go viral.

Following his arrest, Ruth returned to Facebook, where he expressed pride about his actions:

To all the people thinking “why would he do that? Didn’t he think he was going to get arrested?” Of course I knew I would be arrested. I did it for the people who come back from war and get abused by these cameras. I did it because senior citizens are getting these, the same ones that went to war for us. These same seniors live in New York’s high cost environment and are being forced out of New York because of its high taxes. I also did it because every vehicle that you see with an out of state license plate is not receiving these tickets regardless of who they are. These same people live in our state and pay lower insurance rates because their cars are registered out of state under someone else’s name.

So far, plenty of people have expressed gratitude and declared Ruth a hero. According to his Facebook, Ruth is due in court Oct. 27. Let’s hope he doesn’t get caught speeding on his way there.

TIME Food & Drink

9 Fast Food Hybrids That Would Be More Marketable Than the McWhopper

And potentially more delicious

On Wednesday, Burger King reached out to its rival McDonald’s, proposing that the two chains come together to create a hybrid of their signature burgers, the Whopper and the Big Mac. McDonald’s declined Burger King’s proposal to make the so-called McWhopper, which was publicized in full-page ads in the New York Times and Chicago Tribune.

We’re not too upset about McDonald’s rejection, though, because really, the McWhopper just isn’t that exciting. We’ve got a few ideas for way more outrageous (yet totally marketable) unions between fast food chains.

  • Starbucks + Chipotle = Pumpkin Spice Guacamole. Sometimes a busy young woman just doesn’t have time to visit both Starbucks and Chipotle, especially in autumn when she’s got an apple-picking date to get to. That’s why we need to combine both chain’s signature flavors.
  • Subway + Einstein’s = Footlong Bagel. Sometimes bagels are just too small. This is America, so if you want a bagel that measures 12 inches across, it’s your right. (Ideally, this would come with a small bucket of cream cheese in your choice of three flavors.)
  • McDonald’s + Bojangles = American Poutine. For an American twist on a classic Canadian dish, combine McDonald’s iconic fries with Bojangles’ gravy and mac and cheese.
  • Auntie Anne’s + Panda Express = Soft Pretzel Chopsticks. You should get a reward for using chopsticks to eat your fried rice or beef and broccoli, and that reward should obviously be that the chopsticks are made out of soft pretzels.
  • Pizza Hut + IHOP = Pancake Pizza. This is pretty simple: it’s a pizza, but where you’d normally find pizza dough, you instead find a pancake. This could work well as a breakfast item (think pizza with ham or bacon and a fried egg on it) or an anytime item.
  • Arby’s + Taco Bell = Meat Tornado. This could also be known as the Ron Swanson Special. It would combine Arby’s Meat Mountain with Taco Bell’s meatiest burrito.
  • Crumbs + Jamba Juice = Cupcake Smoothie. Finally, a totally healthy way to enjoy a cupcake. You just blend it up with some fruit. Done!
  • Domino’s + Krispy Kreme = Pepperoni Pizza Doughnuts. Pizza bagels are simply too healthy, so let’s make pizza doughnuts instead.
  • Chik-fil-a + KFC = Chicken Sandwich on Fried Chicken Buns. KFC offers the Double Down sandwich, which consists of bacon and cheese wedged between two chicken fillets, which serve as buns. Why not bring Chik-fil-a’s beloved chicken sandwiches into the mix to offer a chicken sandwich on chicken buns? Everyone loves chicken. Super marketable.

TIME animals

17 Dogs You Should Be Following on Instagram

Meet the canines who will bring you joy every time you check your phone

Some people think Instagram is just a place for brunch, sunsets and people’s feet on the beach. But really, Instagram is a place for dogs. It’s the perfect platform to get daily updates about a dog’s day and watch his journey from puppyhood into adulthood. With some skill, patience and a good eye for cuteness, you can curate a wonderful, diverse feed full of adorable pups with distinct personalities and aesthetics.

From the famous dogs with massive followings to the more obscure pooches flying under the radar, Instagram offers an endless supply of canine cuteness. We encourage you to go out and explore the wonderful world of Instagram dogs on your own and find some pups who really speak to you. (Seriously, there are so many worthwhile dog accounts out there.) But in the meantime, to get you started, here’s a selection of 17 dogs worth following.

TIME animals

21 Reasons This Dog Is the Best Dog in the World

In honor of National Dog Day, meet Maru the Shiba Inu, who's become an international canine star

Every dog owner thinks their dog is the Best Dog in the World (shout-out to Stanley Grossman, always #1 in my heart) but the truth is, only one of us can be right. And that honor goes to Shinjiro Ono, proud owner of Maru, who really is the Best Dog in the World.

Maru, a Shiba Inu living in Japan, is everything the Best Dog in the World should be: inspirational, handsome, photogenic, friendly, and, most of all, fluffy. He is so, so fluffy.

Neither hyperactive nor aloof, Maru’s personality is truly what makes him “the world’s dog.” He’s mellow enough to cuddle with at night, fun enough to play fetch, and he isn’t above a sprightly dance or a totally spontaneous freakout. Can’t you imagine him at your feet as you read this? Don’t you want to pet him? Don’t you want to squeeze him? Don’t you love that his name is Japanese for “round”?

Rather than keep the Best Dog in the World all for himself (as one understandably might), owner Shinjiro Ono is generous enough to share this glorious canine with the world through an Instagram account, which has an impressive 1.8 million followers. So, with the help of some Instagram snapshots, here are 21 reasons why Maru is the Best Dog in the World.

1. He has interspecies friendships.

Maru gets along with everybody, even goats. And horses.

2. He teaches us things.

For example, how to make “the fluffy ball.” Behold:

Voilà:

Looks good?🐶✨どう?いい感じ? #原宿歩いちゃうか #沙悟浄じゃないからね

A photo posted by Shinjiro Ono (@marutaro) on

3. He has a panda backpack (and several other backpacks).

Why would a dog need a backpack? What would he keep in there? The answer is treats.

wait for the rain to stop🐶🐶雨やまないかな〜 #teaser #ティーザー

A photo posted by Shinjiro Ono (@marutaro) on

まる7歳ピカピカの1年生

A photo posted by Shinjiro Ono (@marutaro) on

4. He makes the cutest howling noises.

When some dogs howl, it’s annoying. When Maru howls, it’s pure music.

5. He posts a goodnight photo or video for his fans every night.

He makes us feel loved.

6. He appreciates his mom.

And makes sure to thank her for helping him become “an attractive big Shiba-boy.”

7. And his dad.

He has so much love for the human who takes care of him.

With daddy🐶👴🏼パパと一緒にいニコ生出てるよ〜 #アゴ出てるよ @niconico_official

A photo posted by Shinjiro Ono (@marutaro) on

I'm back!! Thank u Taiwan!! 👴🐶ただいま〜(≧∇≦)そしておやすみ〜

A photo posted by Shinjiro Ono (@marutaro) on

8. He eats clean.

And also adorably.

Yummy!! 🐶🍉金曜日おつまる〜*\(^o^)/* スイカあま〜い! #シャクシャク #長野産

A video posted by Shinjiro Ono (@marutaro) on

9. He reminds us to hydrate.

And he sets a great example by always drinking plenty of water.

10. Maru is universal.

Daunted by the prospect of following an international dog? Don’t be! Maru doesn’t rely on pop culture references to be adorable and relatable. Fluffy is the global language. But when he does make a pop culture reference, it’s going to be universal and easy to understand. And bizarre and adorable.

Plus, sometimes Maru teaches us all about Japanese culture, like the annual cherry blossom festival.

11. He makes a good chair.

Maru offers support — be it emotional or physical — to anyone in need.

12. And a good piece of exercise equipment.

Maru wants to help you be healthy.

13. He shows great enthusiasm and determination.

For example, when he digs.

Digging machine🚧🐶🚧穴掘り教室始めるよ〜(≧∇≦) #集まって #穴掘り選手権

A video posted by Shinjiro Ono (@marutaro) on

14. His photos are always delightful, even when they can’t be explained.

Maru is mellow enough to put up with the cutest, strangest photo ops.

Orange night!!🍊🐶🍊ねぇはやく寝よ〜(。-_-。)

A photo posted by Shinjiro Ono (@marutaro) on

15. He lets his human bother him as much as he wants.

Maru understands that when you’re a really cute dog, people will want to bother you, and you should really just let them do it. That’s just the price of free room and board and a life of permanent leisure.

16. Maru’s life is better than yours.

What is Instagram for but enabling your daydreams while you’re stuck at work? Unless your job involves drinking from pristine mountain streams, frolicking in lush meadows, and sleeping and playing whenever you want, Maru helps you dream bigger four to five times every day.

17. He’s been featured in art galleries.

Maru is literally art.

18. He works hard to look that good.

Maru is a gorgeous creature, and he works hard to maintain his beauty. This video, called “Making of Fluffy,” shows his grooming process:

Making of fluffy🐶✨ ふわもこになったよ〜\(^o^)/ #もふりたい?

A video posted by Shinjiro Ono (@marutaro) on

19. Before he was the Best Dog in the World, he was the Best Puppy in the World.

Look at Baby Maru. Look at him!

20. He is extremely inspirational.

He sets goals for himself, and then he’s (rightfully) proud when he achieves them. He encourages all of us to have the same attitude.

get better and better with practice🐶💦今日もうまくキャッチ出来なかった〜(。-_-。)

A video posted by Shinjiro Ono (@marutaro) on

21. He’s also extremely positive and has a perfect smile.

Maru is often wearing a big ol’ smile on his face, and encourages the rest of us to “be smile” too.

Good morning!! Put a smile on your face.🐶✨今日も1日笑顔でがんばろ〜\(^o^)/

A photo posted by Shinjiro Ono (@marutaro) on

You might still be thinking that Maru is just a dog. Really, though, he’s more than that. Ono began posting photos of Maru after Japan’s devastating earthquake in 2011, “with the hope of easing people’s anxiety, even a little bit,” he writes on Maru’s website. When people responded to tell him the photos were helping cheer them up, he continued to post three photos a day, every day. Now, four years later, Maru has racked up nearly 2 million Instagram followers.

As Ono says, “Photography has the power to transcend all the barriers such as race, gender, religion, philosophy, and politics.” Photos of Maru have transcended all of those barriers, bringing joy to people all over the world. He is cute, he is smiley, he is entertaining, and he truly is the Best Dog in the World. (Also, did I mention he’s fluffy?)

TIME celebrity

Amy Schumer and J.K. Simmons Perfectly Recreated American Gothic

Schumer's social media game is so strong

Some people might taken offense if you compare them to the people in American Gothic. Comedian and actress Amy Schumer, however, is totally on board with the comparison.

On Monday, somebody posted the following musing on Twitter: “I think I have revealed a genealogy line for @amyschumer. The American Gothic lady could be an ancestor #NoDisrespect.” Schumer responded in the best way possible: by recruiting actor J.K. Simmons to join her in recreating Grant Wood’s iconic 1930 painting:

Schumer sent this response after just a few hours, which raises the following question: How was she able to meet up with J.K. Simmons so quickly? Are they already friends? Had they already taken this photo to save it for the perfect opportunity?

The next day, the Art Institute of Chicago, which houses the original American Gothic painting, chimed in:

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