TIME Food & Drink

9 Surprising Uses For Bacon in Honor of International Bacon Day

international bacon day 2014
Getty Images

A meaty round-up

August 30 is the 14th annual International Bacon Day, a holiday which should be celebrated by waking up, making yourself some nice sizzling strips of bacon and spending the day properly appreciating all things bacon. And I mean all things.

Here are 9 uses for the comfort food that take bacon fanaticism to a whole new level:

Air Freshener

Want to keep that delicious bacon smell lingering long after breakfast? Now you can, with bacon-scented air freshener.

Toothpaste

This bacon-flavored toothpaste allows you to “practice oral hygiene [and] satisfy cured meat cravings” at the same time, according to its website.

Prayer

The patron saint of bacon is believed to be St. Anthony the Abbot, who was a healer and used pork fat to treat skin diseases.

Landscaping

Who knew bacon could be so picturesque? Photographer Carl Warner is known for his photographs of food landscapes, and he once made a world entirely out of bacon.

Vodka

According to its website, Bakon Vodka is “Pure. Refreshing. Bacon.” It even has a list of recipes, including a BLT Martini.

Shaving Cream

Here’s some bacon shaving cream, for all the guys out there who want their faces to smell like bacon.

Perfume

But don’t worry girls, you can wear eau-de-bacon as well with this bacon perfume.

Lube

For couples who want to incorporate bacon in the bedroom, here’s some bacon lube that “is sure to have the bacon lover in your life squealing with pleasure.”

Coffin

And for the truly die-hard bacon fans out there, here is the bacon coffin you’ve all been waiting for.

TIME Family

Mom Says Her Facebook Rant Got Her Child Expelled from Preschool

A mother named Ashley Habat was upset that her son’s preschool, Florida’s Sonshine Christian Academy in Florida, didn’t give her enough warning about school picture day. So, like many people do when they’re upset, she took to Facebook to vent.

“Why is it that every single day there is something new I dislike about Will’s School?” the post read, according to Jacksonville, Fla. news outlet WJXT-TV. “Are my standards really too high or are people working in the education field really just that ignorant.” She also tagged Sonshine Christian Academy in her post.

Will was expelled the next day, she claims. WJXT-TV reported that a letter of dismissal said that Habat’s “relationship with Sonshine did not get off to a very good start the first day of school . . . You utilized social media to call into question not only the integrity but the intelligence of our staff.”

“I was in shock,” Habat told WJXT-TV. “Why would you expel a 4-year-old over something his mom posts on her private Facebook page only people on her friends list can see?”

TIME society

Artist Hid $16,000 Worth of Gold on a Beach, and You Have to Find It

Single gold ingot.
Single gold ingot. Anthony Bradshaw—Getty Images

Starting today, it's finders-keepers.

There is about £10,000 ($16,000) worth of gold bullion buried in the sand on a beach in England as part of an innovative public art installation. Oh, and starting today it’s finders-keepers.

German artist Michael Sailstorfer buried the bars in the sand of Outer Harbour beach in Folkestone, England as part of the Folkestone Triennial, a public art project. The mad dash to uncover the buried treasure will begin this afternoon when the tide goes out, and if you find one of the gold bars, it’s yours.

But how, some might ask, is giving away free gold a work of art?

Lewis Biggs, the Triennial curator, told The Guardian that the art piece is about what the lucky few will do with the gold, rather than about the precious metal itself: “Do you take it to the pawnbrokers or do you take it to Sotheby’s? Or do you keep it on the mantlepiece because you think it is going to be worth more later?”

Claire Doherty, the director of the group who commissioned Sailstorfer’s piece, told The Guardian that the beauty of the project is that it will endure even after all the gold is found, sold or displayed: “A lot of people won’t admit to having found one even if they have. Would you?”

 

TIME Food & Drink

Why Veggie Aisles at Supermarkets Could Start Looking More Like Junk Food Aisles

Getty Images

Can shelves lined with veggie snacks produce that "kid in a candy store" feeling?

Next time you go to the grocery store, bags of carrots might come in flavors like “chili lime” and look suspiciously like packets of potato chips. At least, that’s the idea behind Bolthouse Farms’ new campaign to get kids to eat more veggies.

NPR reports the company is rolling out products like these carrot “Veggie Snackers” and tubes of pureed fruit to market the healthy foods to children, designing the packaging and aisle layouts to look more like the candy section than produce shelves.

Laura Karet, CEO of Giant Eagle, told NPR that these child produce stations are a “win-win.” Giant Eagle is installing these kid-friendly sections in about 400 stores in the mid-Atlantic and Ohio, and Walmart plans to implement them in 1,500 stores later this year.

Jeff Dunn, CEO of Bolthouse, explained to NPR that the “Veggie Snacker” carrots “give you that crunch and flavor” of chips, and that you’ll “get that same sensory [experience] you get with salty snacks.”

Now it just remains to be seen whether hungry kids will agree.

TIME Sports

Black Cat Interrupts Barcelona Game

A cat runs on the pitch during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between FC Barcelona and Elche at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014. Manu Fernandez – AP

Paws-ing play until it trotted off the field

It looked like an unlucky beginning to the Spanish soccer season yesterday when a black cat wandered onto the field, mere minutes after kickoff in the Barcelona vs. Elche match.

The feline intruder upstaged all the players as it raced around the field and evaded capture, much to the delight of laughing fans and commentators. It eventually trotted off the field, apparently done with its time in the spotlight.

Turns out the cat was a bad omen for Elche – Barcelona won the match 3-0.

Manu Fernandez – AP
TIME celebrity

Patrick Stewart Does the Ice Bucket Challenge in the Classiest Way Possible

He sits quietly writing a check, pulls a bucket of ice onto his desk, and makes himself a nice, stiff drink.

+ READ ARTICLE

While everyone else is dumping big buckets of ice water over themselves and screaming their heads off on Facebook, Patrick Stewart — aka Star Trek Captain Jean-Luc Picardtook a more refined approach to the Ice Bucket Challenge, which is raising money and awareness for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) research.

In the video, Stewart sits quietly writing a check, pulls a bucket of ice onto his desk…. and makes himself a nice, stiff drink.

The viral fundraising campaign has raised more than $50 million so far.

 

TIME celebrity

Benedict Cumberbatch Strips Down for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Nominated by Tom Hiddleston, the Sherlock actor has challenged Harvey Weinstein, Kylie Minogue and race car driver Lewis Hamilton

+ READ ARTICLE

Benedict Cumberbatch did the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in a suit. And in the shower. And on a motorcycle. He gets doused five times in the two-minute clip, part of the viral fundraising campaign in which people post Facebook videos of themselves getting buckets of ice water poured over their heads or donate $100 to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) research.

Nominated by Tom Hiddleston, the Sherlock star then nominated Harvey Weinstein, Kylie Minogue and race car driver Lewis Hamilton. Let’s see if they can top Cumberbatch’s creativity and dramatic use of slow motion.

The fundraising effort has raised more than $50 million.

 

TIME U.S.

Now There’s a 61-Foot-Tall Rubber Duck in Los Angeles

A giant yellow vinyl duck joins sailing ships and motorboats during the Tall Ships Festival L.A. parade in the Port of Los Angeles on Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014. Jeff Gritchen/The Orange County Register – AP

On display in the Port of Los Angeles until Aug. 24

The “world’s largest rubber duck” is making a splash in California this week, spending Wednesday, Aug. 20 through Sunday, Aug. 24 in the Port of Los Angeles.

Created by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, the 61-foot-tall rubber duckie has traveled all over the world, already making stops in Australia, Taiwan, China, Belgium, Japan, New Zealand, Brazil and Pittsburgh. And it hasn’t been an easy journey – the duck got “sleepy” and deflated during its time in Hong Kong.

But now the famous duck is re-inflated and back in action for the Tall Ships Festival L.A. But don’t assume its just a super-sized bath toy; Hofman has grander designs for his duck.

“The Rubber Duck knows no frontiers, it doesn’t discriminate people and doesn’t have a political connotation,” he said in a statement on the festival’s website. “The friendly, floating Rubber Duck has healing properties: it can relieve the world’s tensions as well as define them.”

MORE: Rubber Duck Inducted into the Toy Hall of Fame

 

TIME Education

Cambridge Is Looking for a PhD Student to Study Chocolate

Who says you're too old to play with your food?

Now your chocolate cravings can land you a job.

The University of Cambridge is seeking a doctoral student to study the “fundamentals” of chocolate, according to the job posting. The purpose of this “fully-funded” three-and-a-half year program based in the Department of Chemical Engineering & Biotechnology is to find ways to keep chocolate from melting in warm temperatures. The listing adds the position will be “mainly experimental.”

There is just one catch: Only EU nationals can apply.

(h/t AP)

MORE: The Secret to Winning a Nobel Prize Could Be Eating More Chocolate

LIST: 9 Weirdest Uses for Chocolate

LIST: The 13 Most Influential Candy Bars

 

TIME Pop Culture

A Weekend With ‘Nerds’ at the Pokémon World Championships

Players at the 2014 Pokémon World Championships in Washington, D.C.
Players at the 2014 Pokémon World Championships in Washington, D.C. Aaron P. Bernstein—Pokémon Company International

Why people travel from all over the world to don their Pikachu ears

Jaxson Piwek wants to be a world champion. He has been training for this day for months, even waking up at 4 in the morning and going to bed at 7 at night for the past week so that the time change between his home in Vancouver and the championships in Washington, D.C. wouldn’t affect his performance.

Jaxson, 10, plays the Pokémon trading card game. And this is his first time qualifying for the world championships.

“It’s very overwhelming for my first time,” he says as he looks around at the more than 3,000 fans packing the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, not far from the White House.

Overwhelming is a good word for it. There are two competition arenas at either end of the massive room—one for the video game competitions, the other for TCG, or trading card game. There is a stage in the front of the room with three screens on which they project the most exciting matches, with live commentary from an ESPN-style booth a few yards away. Gasps and roars come from the mesmerized crowd at crucial moments in the games. If you just heard the audio, you would think you were in a stadium watching soccer.

Pikachu is everywhere. The little yellow creature is emblazoned on t-shirts, backpacks, hats, sweatshirts and iPhone cases, and a giant inflatable Pikachu hangs suspended over the crowd: a smiling cartoonish deity for the pilgrims who have come from 33 different countries to watch the players like Jaxson battle to become world champion. (There are three age brackets—juniors, ages 12 and under; seniors, ages 13 to 16; and masters, ages 17 and up. Jaxson comes in 36th in the junior division.)

Caleb Judkins, 17, is one such pilgrim. He’s an avid Pokémon video game player but isn’t on the competitive circuit. He and his friends traveled here from Gainesville, Va., to see a competition firsthand. “It was on my bucket list to come,” he says. “I wanted to see the battles in progress.”

One person many people are here to see is Ray Rizzo. Ray, 21, is a three-time world champion in the video game—no one has won Worlds more times than he has. He won in 2010, 2011 and 2012 but didn’t make finals last year, so he’s coming back this year with a vengeance.

I talk to Ray after his first match of the weekend; he’s just won his battle so he’s feeling pretty confident. “I don’t really get too nervous anymore because I’ve been playing for a long time,” he says. (This year Ray once again did not make the finals, so he was unable to get a record-breaking fourth win.)

But for those who aren’t veterans like Ray, this weekend is packed with nerves. It’s a year-long road to get here—to qualify for Worlds, players have to compete in regional and national competitions, earning a certain number of “championship points” in each depending on how well they do. The number of these points a player accrues over the season determines if he or she is eligible to compete.

So why Pokémon? What is it about the characters and the games that inspire these people to spend months honing their skills and obsessing over strategy, or to don their Pikachu ears and travel across the world just to be here?

Jaxson Piwek’s answer seems to sum it up —“All the friends I make.”

“Everyone’s so happy and passionate and really enjoying the game,” his mother Shauna says. “It’s a great community.”

J.C. Smith, director of consumer marketing for The Pokémon Company International, says this idea of community is built into the game itself. “The principle they build the game around is communication,” he says. “They really want people to talk and to come together, either online or face-to-face to build these communities. This is the ultimate expression of that. … This is a world championship, but it doesn’t feel cutthroat to me. It feels like a community of people who like to play games, coming together to play games.”

The international element of the tournament does spur some divisions and regional pride—many spectators come armed with their country’s flag, and cheers of “USA! USA! USA!” erupt when American Nikolai Zielinski wins the senior video game tournament.

But people say the game still unites more than it divides. “You can be [an American kid] playing a Japanese kid, but you can totally get it and you can have an interaction through Pokémon,” a company spokesman says of the tournament.

Nikolai, 15, also talks about community, beaming and energetic after his win. “The video game Pokémon community is the best community I’ve ever been a part of,” he says. “Compared to other video games even, it’s amazing. Everyone is so friendly and really nice. I’ve made friends just by placing well in tournaments—people have wanted to become my buddy. And everyone just helps each other out a lot, online and in person. It’s a really, really nice community to be in, and great people to be around.”

Andrea Bacca, 18 and wearing a black and gold costume that includes striped knee socks and ears, puts it both bluntly and affectionately: “I like that we can all fit in and be nerds together.”

Sunday evening after the finals sees 12 trophies awarded—one for each runner-up and champion in the three age divisions of the two games. The most coveted awards of the evening, the masters division trophies, went to Canadian Andrew Estrada for TCG and South Korean Se Jun Park for video game.

As the champions stand onstage, holding their Pikachu trophies and being showered with confetti, the cheers from the audience change. No longer are the viewers chanting country names or clapping for individual players. Now, yelling over the triumphant music blaring from the stage, the audience swells behind a single cheer: “Pokémon! Pokémon! Pokémon!”

 

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