TIME celebrity

21 Things You (Maybe) Didn’t Know About Justin Bieber

They grow up so fast

Justin Bieber turns 21 years old today, but it seems like he’s been around forever. But how well do you really know the Biebs? (If you’re a responsible grownup, we’re betting, not as well as you think you do.) Read these 21 facts about the Canadian pop sensation, and you’ll be a Belieber in no time.

1. He’s the first solo artist to have four Top 40 singles before even releasing an album.

2. He is the youngest artist to have five number-one albums in the U.S.

3. He delayed the start of his Jan. 7, 2013 concert in Salt Lake City, Utah, because he was visiting a 7-year-old girl with leukemia in the hospital.

4. He likes the movie The Notebook.

5. In its review of Bieber’s 3D concert film and documentary, Never Say Never (2011), New York Magazine described him as “a bland, pious, profoundly unthreatening little Furby of a pop idol.” The film grossed nearly $100 million worldwide.

(MORE: How the Internet Made Justin Bieber a Star)

6. Smallville and Friends are his favorite TV shows.

7. He loves Disneyland, and has visited it on a romantic Valentine’s Day date with former main squeeze (and Disney star) Selena Gomez and to perform at the 2011 Disney Christmas Parade.

8. Jeremy Bieber, his father, is a former MMA fighter.

9. T.G.I. Friday’s is Justin’s favorite restaurant. Sorry, Tim Hortons.

10. He likes the cereals Cap’n Crunch Berries and Frosted Mini-Wheats.

11. His haircuts have cost up to $750, one gossip publication claims. That’s one thing he and John Edwards have in common.

12. While R&B singer Usher famously helped launch Bieber’s career, he did initially turn him down, which meant the youngster was free to consider a partnership with another singer — Justin Timberlake — until Usher watched his videos and had a change of heart.

13. He and Kanye West are bros. Kanye teamed up with Wu Tang’s Raekwon for a surprisingly palatable version of Justin’s hit “Runaway Love.”

14. With more than 35.1 million followers, Justin became the most-followed person on Twitter on Jan. 21, 2013 — beating Lady Gaga. Now he boasts more than 60 million, but Katy Perry now holds that title with over 65 million. He still has more Twitter followers than the population of his native Canada. We can see why:

15. If he could do any other job, he would be an architect.

16. His favorite word is #swag. Or at least we think so because he uses it constantly.

17. His favorite website is FreeTypingGame.net

18. He has a fair number of tattoos for a 21-year-old, including: an owl and the word “Believe” on his left arm, a crown and Roman numerals on his chest, a bird on his hip and Jesus tattoos on ribcage and his left calf.

19. Before he hosted Saturday Night Live in 2013 (and apologized for smoking pot), his first appearance on the show involved performing in a “Church Lady” sketch with comedian Dana Carvey. Carvey debuted the character on SNL in 1986 — eight years before Bieber was even born.

20. In his backstage dressing room, he has been said to request three packages of white lo-rise tube socks—one in size XS and two in size L—as well as one XS mens white crew neck T-shirt and one in size L, according to The Smoking Gun.

21. His favorite sandwich is tomato and mayo on Wonder Bread.

This article was first published on March 1, 2013, and the statistics in the piece have been updated.

TIME relationships

Couple Married for 67 Years Die Together While Holding Hands

Couple Dies Holding Hands
Cynthia Letson—AP In this March 2014 photo provided by Cynthia Letson, Floyd and Violet Hartwig pose together in a yard in Easton, Calif.

"They wanted to go together," said the couple's daughter. "It was meant to be that way."

In the end, this couple, who were married for 67 years, got their wish of wanting to die together, surrounded by family.

Floyd, 90, and Violet Hartwig, 89, from Fresno, California, got married on Aug. 16, 1947, and died at home on Feb. 11 while holding hands, according to theFresno Bee.

Their family noticed something was wrong when their synchronized breathing stopped. Floyd died first, and Violet followed five hours later.

“They wanted to go together,” Donna Scharton, the couple’s daughter, told the newspaper. “It was meant to be that way.”

Violet had dementia for the last few years, and the family noticed a decline in her health over the holiday season, reported ABC News. Then, in January, Scharton got a call from Floyd’s doctor telling her that her father had kidney failure and two weeks to live. At that point the family decided to put them in hospice together.

When they noticed Floyd had passed, they pushed their hospice beds together.

“They weren’t fancy,” Scharton says. “They were just decent people that were always committed to each other, no matter the situation.”

The couple had three children, four grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

“They never, ever asked for anything,” Scharton says. “All they ever wanted was their family, and it was amazing that they got that in the end.”

This story was originally published in People.com

 

TIME Bizarre

5 Penetrating Facts About Sword Swallowing

These tales are hard to swallow

On the last Saturday of every February, sword swallowers gather at Ripley’s Believe It or Not museums throughout America to commemorate World Sword Swallower’s Day. It’s a sideshow so dangerous there are only a few dozen full-time professionals, according to trade association Sword Swallowers Association International (SSAI). The society claims sword swallowing takes 3-10 years to learn, though some say they mastered it in six months. We talked to five professionals about how it’s done and how it has almost killed them.

Beginners practice using wire coat hangers.

“Most people start with a coat hanger stretched out in the outline of a sword,” says Todd Robbins, 56, a sword swallower who has lectured about the history of sideshows at Yale. Beginners also use paint brushes, spoons and knitting needles to desensitize their gag reflexes.

Here’s how Dan Meyer, 57, Tampa, Fla.-based SSAI president and former America’s Got Talent contestant whose personal record for swords swallowed is 21, describes the technique at an American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting:

“When I put the sword in my mouth, I will repress the gag reflex in the back of the throat. Then I have to go behind my Adam’s apple, my prominentia laryngea, behind the voice box, the larynx, down about through the crichopharyngeal sphincter, up in the upper part of the mouth here. Then down into the esophagus, repress the peristalsis reflex, [muscular contractions] that swallow your food. From there relax the esophageal muscles, relax the lower esophageal sphincter, and slip the blade down into my stomach, repress the wretch reflex in my stomach.”

Below is an X-ray of Meyer swallowing one at Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn., on Feb. 5, 2013, for a Discovery Channel Canada show:

You can thank sword swallowers for the endoscope.

Dr. Adolph Kussmaul is said to have used a sword swallower to develop the rigid endoscope, a medical device with a light and a camera that often travels through a patient’s throat, in 1868.

Turns out non-surgical procedures are a breeze for people like Robbins, who says, “I had to have an endoscopy done, and normally they knock the person out and have to intubate them, but since I was a sword swallower, [the doctor] just handed [the endoscope] to me.”

Sore throats are a common side effect.

So says a 2006 study of 46 sword swallowers (40 men) published in the British Medical Journal, which found dire injuries like intestinal bleeding, perforations to the pharynx and esophageal lacerations are more likely to plague performers with elaborate routines, too many consecutive shows or who use multiple swords, especially unusually-shaped ones. Co-written by Meyer and British radiologist Brian Whitcombe, it won an Ig Nobel Prize, awarded annually by the Annals of Improbable Research magazine at Harvard University for especially imaginative scientific achievements. (Meyer accepted the award at the university’s Sanders Theatre and then swallowed a sword on stage.)

Case in point, Meyer punctured his esophagus after setting a world record for swallowing two swords simultaneously underwater and once punctured his stomach swallowing five swords, which caused fluid build-up around his heart and lungs. Robbins once had a neon sword, which lights up the chest, break inside of him. And Natasha Veruschka, a belly-dancing sword swallower in New York City, says she chugged heavy cream and rum to soothe her throat after she accidentally swallowed a sword covered with little barbs that made it painful to remove.

The “oldest, longest performing” sword swallower is said to be 79.

Unlike the aforementioned performers, Jim Ball of Oakley, Kansas, says he has avoided life-threatening injuries by sticking to a “kind of conservative” routine, swallowing a Japanese samurai sword about once a month (though throughout his life, he has swallowed bayonets, cavalry sabers, and a stove poker). Raised by parents who were professional sword swallowers, he entertained fellow Army soldiers by swallowing rifle cleaning rods. If you’re wondering what it’s like to swallow a sword, especially for the first time, he says, “it feels like accidentally swallowing a piece of ice.” Nowadays, he’s teaching his college-age granddaughter how to do it.

Some started doing it to overcome childhood demons.

While Ball, Robbins and Veruschka learned sword swallowing from growing up around sideshow performers or seeking them out at shows, Meyer described his younger self as a “shy wimpy kid” with “social anxiety,” often picked on by bullies, who tried sword swallowing after a near-death experience with malaria inspired him to take risks and fear nothing. New York-based freelance writer Ilise Carter, 40, whose stage name is “The Lady Aye” says when she learned, “I was a recovering bulimic, but I eventually decided the only way to combat your fear is to go straight through it. You [develop] a great connection to your body, and the audience’s positive reaction has made me a much stronger person in general.”

TIME celebrity

President Barack Obama: ‘I Loved Spock’

'I had the chance to meet Leonard in person. It was only logical to greet him with the Vulcan salute,' the president said

President Barack Obama, whose affect has often earned him comparisons to Leonard Nimoy’s Spock, paid tribute to the Star Trek star, who died Friday morning at age 83.

Long before being nerdy was cool, there was Leonard Nimoy. Leonard was a lifelong lover of the arts and humanities, a supporter of the sciences, generous with his talent and his time. And of course, Leonard was Spock. Cool, logical, big-eared and level-headed, the center of Star Trek’s optimistic, inclusive vision of humanity’s future.

I loved Spock.

In 2007, I had the chance to meet Leonard in person. It was only logical to greet him with the Vulcan salute, the universal sign for “Live long and prosper.” And after 83 years on this planet – and on his visits to many others – it’s clear Leonard Nimoy did just that. Michelle and I join his family, friends, and countless fans who miss him so dearly today.

Read next: This Is How the New Spock Said Goodbye to the Old Spock

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME celebrity

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Leonard Nimoy

From his personal heroes to the pranks William Shatner would play on him

Leonard Nimoy, known for his role as “Mr. Spock” on Star Trek, died Friday morning at 83, his family confirmed. Here, a few fun tidbits you might not have known about the actor and his role on the hit sci-fi show.

• During the filming of Star Trek, William Shatner would repeatedly steal Nimoy’s bicycle during lunch breaks to get to the front of the commissary line, he said in an interview.

• Spock’s Vulcan greeting, the three-pointed hand gesture, was inspired by the Hebrew letter “shin,” which he saw men use as a blessing during a synagogue service he attended with his father as a young man.

• The Boston native once said the worst job he ever had was selling newspapers in the city in the winter.

• On the subject of heroes, he once cited actor John Garfield (nominated for an Oscar for Body and Soul and Four Daughters). He also especially admired Meryl Streep for her performances in Sophie’s Choice and The Deer Hunter.

• His favorite artist was Vincent Van Gogh. Nimoy said he identified with the artist when he was a struggling actor because they both believed “they had something to offer” and “wanted to give it.” He did a one-man film play about the artist.

Read next: This Is How the New Spock Said Goodbye to the Old Spock

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TIME Crime

Someone Dressed Up a Wooden Dummy to Drive in the Carpool Lane

Suffolk Highway Patrol

It would have worked... until he got pulled over for speeding

A Long Island man was able to drive in the carpool lane Friday morning by allegedly putting a sweatshirt on a wooden dummy– until police pulled him over for speeding.

James Campbell, 56, was issued two tickets after police found him driving in the high-occupancy-vehicle lane of the Long Island Expressway with a crude wooden dummy shaped like a human. He was pulled over for speeding Friday morning, and told the officer he was trying to get to a new job on time.

The dummy was a wooden board with a “head” attached, wearing a hooded sweatshirt. Sounds like a genius plan.

Read next: Leonard Nimoy’s Final Tweet Will Make You Cry

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TIME Food & Drink

Taco Bell Wants to Know If You’d Eat These Cap’n Crunch Icing-Filled Donut Holes

taco bell capn crunch milk icing donut holes
Taco Bell

The chain started testing the treat this week

Taco Bell is now selling warm donut holes covered in Cap’n Crunch’s Crunch Berries cereal and filled with “milk icing,” a spokesperson tells TIME. The test began Thursday in Bakersfield, Calif., and the pastries are available in packs of two for $1.00, four for $1.69 or 12 for $4.49.

At first glance, they will probably make you think of milk and cereal snack bars. There are more mouth-watering photos over at the food blog FoodBeast, which first reported the story.

The Associated Press reported this week that big food companies like Taco Bell are trying out more “hipster” menus, looking for ways to “feel out changing tastes and cozy up to new customers, particularly those in their 20s and 30s.”

Read next: Now You Can Pig Out on Bacon-Wrapped Pizza Crust

TIME Television

Sex Box and Other Reality Shows We Can’t Believe Are Actually Real

From 'Dating Naked' to 'Who is the Worst Driver in the Netherlands?'

Friday marks the U.S. premiere of Sex Box on We TV — a show in which struggling couples actually have sex inside a box onstage. Sure, the box is soundproof and there’s no camera inside. And yes, the idea is that the couples will be more vulnerable and honest after the act, when they talk to a panel of expert in the hopes of solving their issues. But that doesn’t make it any less cringeworthy.

The premise is so simple, so bizarre, that it’s something you’d fact check before posting about it on Facebook because there’s no way it could be real. But Sex Box is no parody. The U.K. show of the same name aired in 2013 and received tepid reviews. But it’s only the latest in a series of reality shows that we can’t believe got the green light.

Here are other reality shows that make The Bachelor look totally sensible:

Born in the Wild
This Lifetime series, premiering March 3, is about women who give birth in nature. “No inductions, no epidurals…just expectant mothers facing and giving birth in the arms of Mother Nature,” boasts the show’s YouTube page.

Who is the Worst Driver in the Netherlands?
The series, which has run in several different countries, gathers the worst drivers in a specific region and has them show off their lack-of-skills behind the wheel. In 2011, a Netherlands contestant proved himself worthy of the title after he accidentally ran over the show’s host. (No one was seriously injured).

Are You Hot?
Before there was Tinder there was a show in which people walked down a runway and displayed their goods to judges who essentially swiped right or left. Are You Hot? aired on ABC in 2003.

The Will
CBS may have agreed to pick up the 2005 reality show — in which family and friends of a rich benefactor compete to be included in his inheritance — but the network had the good sense to cancel it after just one episode.

Dating Naked
A contestant actually sued VH1 for showing a little too much nudity.

The Swan
This show was a heartwarming retelling of The Ugly Duckling in which producers turned contestants into swans by giving them lots and lots of plastic surgery. The series was more than a little problematic.

Read next: Leonard Nimoy, Who Played Spock on Star Trek, Dies at 83

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TIME viral

Watch a Dog Interrupt the Weather Report in February’s Best News Bloopers

Plus, lots of reporters breaking down in giggles

Another month, another collection of hilarious news bloopers. February’s collection of on-air blunders, compiled by YouTube channel NewsBeFunny, is ten solid minutes of pure schadenfreude.

There’s the anchor who has no idea what a sphincter is and the other one who can’t stop raving about how great the poop emoji is. Then there’s the weatherman who keeps his cool when his map displays ridiculously high temperatures, and the other weatherman who keeps his cool when a dog keeps interrupting his report.

And, as usual, there are plenty of inappropriate video bombs and lots of uncontrollable laughter.

TIME viral

These Amazon Reviews of #TheDress Are Amazing

The debate over whether the dress is white and gold or blue and black continues

On Thursday night, a BuzzFeed post “What Colors Are This Dress” sparked a worldwide debate over one very basic question. It started as a simple question on Tumblr, then became hashtag #TheDress, and pretty soon, high profile figures such as Taylor Swift, Kim Kardashian, Rob Lowe and a member of Congress were offering their two cents. Even Adobe touted its software as a way of answering the question before U.K. fashion brand Roman stepped forward to settle the matter.

By mid-morning Friday, the Amazon.co.uk listing for “Roman Women’s Lace Detail Bodycon Dress Royal Blue” had been flooded with more than 140 snarky customer reviews inspired by the Internet meme. Here are funniest ones:

Amazon
Amazon
Amazon
Amazon
Amazon

Read next: This May Be Why You’re Seeing the Dress as White and Gold

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