TIME viral

Watch This Prominent German Literary Critic Scrutinize Ikea’s Catalogue

After all, the catalog is the most circulated book in the world

Hellmuth Karasek is probably Germany’s most famous living literary critic, and so perhaps it is his intellectual duty to examine the book that calls itself the world’s most circulated. That book is Ikea’s annual catalogue, with twice as many copies as the Bible printed each year.

In a new promotional video for the Swedish furniture firm, Karasek turns his faculties to the catalogue, treating it as if it’s an attempted piece of literature.

“It is a furnished novel,” he says. “The characters are forced to crowd themselves between the furniture, they seldom get their say, they barely speak coherently — and yet this work has become such a success.”

He then goes on to disdainfully read aloud from its pages. Watch for yourself.

 

TIME Food & Drink

This Chef Makes Fries From Slivers of McDonald’s Cheeseburger and It’s the Stuff of Dreams

Introducing the world’s first burger-fry

Chef Tym Bussanich has created the ultimate fast-food snack — a McDonald’s cheeseburger that’s been rolled, breaded, sliced and deep-fried into a tasty, gooey chip that he calls the ‘Mc Fry.’

“I hope the Internet is ready for this!!!” he wrote on Instagram. “The fry game is reaching a whole new level!!!!”

He even posted a step-by-step video demonstrating the process involved in creating these culinary delights so you can make them at home.

Bussanich has made a name for himself on social media by creating ingenious food creations, which usually involve stuffing one foodstuff (quite often cheese) into another.

Included in Bussanich’s gastronomic repertoire is the Bacon-Wrapped Big Mac, Stuffed Chicken Tots and Steak Bombs.

TIME celebrities

Kermit the Frog: That Pig Isn’t My ‘New Girlfriend’

kermit frog denise pig muppets
Andrea McCallin—ABC

Denise and him "are simply close friends," Kermit said

Kermit the Frog denied rumors of his “new girlfriend” in statement posted Tuesday to Twitter, just weeks after breaking up with longtime lover Miss Piggy and reportedly becoming close with a new pig named Denise.

“While I prefer to keep my personal life private, this is Hollywood, so who am I kidding?” Kermit said. “It is true that I am dating again. However, at this time no one woman — pig or otherwise — is my official ‘new girlfriend.’ We are simply close friends.”

The Muppets’ romantic drama arrives ahead of the premiere of a rebooted The Muppets sitcom. The docu-series, which explores the Muppets’ personal lives and relationships, premieres on ABC on Sept. 22.

TIME animals

Watch a New Video of the Adorable Panda Cub at the National Zoo

The mother panda left her palm-sized cub alone for a quick bathroom break

Giant panda Mei Xiang offered staff at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo a rare close-up view of her newborn cub on Monday when she left him alone for a short bathroom break. In the “Panda Cam” footage above, the mother panda is shown putting down her son — not yet named — for the second time since giving birth on Aug. 22, just hours having eaten some sugarcane and diluted apple juice, according to zookeepers. The tiny cub, who has yet to open his eyes or develop black patches of fur, can be seen up close for four minutes before Mei Xiang returns.

Mei Xiang had also given birth on Aug. 22 to a second male cub, who died four days later. A paternity test showed the father panda is Tian Tian, one of the National Zoo’s four giant pandas.

TIME viral

Watch a Baby Cry Every Time His Parents Reach the Last Page of a Book

He's also wearing an adorable shirt

Michigan parents Dan and Alicia Stevers have uploaded a YouTube video of their 10-month-old son crying when they turn to the last page of various children’s books — such as Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown and I Am a Bunny by Ole Risom. “Emmett has a mini-meltdown every time we finish a book,” the baby’s father, a video producer, wrote on Twitter. “This kid really loves his books.” The youngster’s blue t-shirt that reads “The Snuggle Is Real” is just the icing on the cake.

The video racked up nearly 80,000 views by Tuesday evening, prompting Dan Stevers to tweet, “This kid may have just started his own college fund.”

Read next: The 100 Best Children’s Books of All Time

TIME U.S.

Watch the New ‘Sexy’ Las Vegas Water Conservation Ads

"There's Nothing Sexier Than Saving Water."

(LAS VEGAS) — Another part of the drought-ridden West is attempting to make water conservation sexy, this time with funny ads in Las Vegas.

The Southern Nevada Water Authority this week launched a campaign on television, radio, print and social media themed: “There’s Nothing Sexier Than Saving Water.” The ads were developed by R&R Partners, the firm behind Vegas’ most famous tagline: “What Happens Here, Stays Here.”

The new advertisements depict people adjusting watering clocks as members of the opposite sex ogle with lust. It coincides with the new fall restrictions that began Tuesday, which through Oct. 31 limits watering to three days a week and prohibits sprinklers during the day and misting systems at businesses.

In June, San Francisco officials also unveiled sexy ads, which urged residents to go “full-frontal” and take short, steamy showers.

Spokesman Scott Huntley said the new Las Vegas campaign was developed over the last year and that Nevada officials were not aware of San Francisco’s recent ads.

He said the Nevada water agency has for years done two-week long “compliance” promotions during the seasonal transitions, using humorous messages to remind users to be complaint. Violators are first given warnings before fines start at $100, exceeding $1,000 for repeat offenders.

The advertising, which cost about $1.6 million annually, is a part of the longstanding effort to plug water conservation in the desert area that has been in drought for years.

“We were the first to the game on this. We’ve had a tremendous amount of success that’s being emulated in other places,” Huntley said.

The previous “Don’t Make Us Ask You Again” theme was used for eight years in Vegas and featured male-centric slapstick humor because research showed that the typical household water controller was, according to Huntley, a “Joe Six Pack,” or a man in his late 20s to 50s.

And perhaps as proof that sex sells to everyone, Huntley said the new ads were made to also target expanding demographics, including those who are older and more diverse and female.

“There are certainly things that grab people’s attention and humor does it a lot and one of the primary aspects of humor is the sexual humor, the sexy humor — that’s one of the basics,” Huntley said.

TIME celebrities

Ronda Rousey Says She’d Go to Prom With Marine

Ronda Rousey
Matt Sayles—Invision/AP Ronda Rousey arrives at the premiere of "Furious 7" at the TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX on April 1, 2015, in Los Angeles.

Except she doesn't know how to get in contact with him

Ronda Rousey has accepted a viral Facebook invitation to attend the Marine Corps Ball with a man who called the UFC Champion a “phenomenal person” and his “celebrity crush.”

The star fighter told TMZ on Tuesday that she “would go for sure” to the December prom with U.S. Marine Jarrod Haschert, who had invited Rousey last week in a Facebook video that has amassed over 4 million views. Rousey had previously been unable to attend due to her preparations for a January fight, she said, but the upcoming fight has since been moved up to November.

“He’s cute. He’s gotta be a gentleman, though, I’m not a first date kind of girl,” Rousey said. “But, I dunno, we’ll see when I meet him.”

The only issue? Neither of them seem to know how to directly get in contact with each other, especially Rousey. “Do I call him? Or do I set up a time and place like Never Been Kissed and wait until the clock runs out and be like, ‘I’m here!’”

TIME celebrities

Listen to Hozier’s Perfect Cover of Sam Smith’s ‘Lay Me Down’

The question is: Will the two U.K. stars collaborate anytime soon?

Irish singer and songwriter Hozier performs a much more upbeat version of the ballad “Lay Me Down” by the English singer and songwriter Sam Smith in the BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge. It works so well that it would make any fan wonder if the two U.K. stars would do a song together anytime soon. In a November 2014 interview with Mix 104.1, Hozier (whose real name is Andrew Hozier-Byrne) told the radio station, “It has crossed my mind, and nothing is definite . . . but there’s been very brief discussion about it.” And of course, Smith couldn’t help but tweet his appreciation, with the Irish musician returning the favor:

TIME Books

Here Are the Best #BackToHogwarts Tweets

"Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home"

J.K. Rowling sure knows how to ignite her fan base, which exploded in nostalgia when the author Tweeted on Tuesday that Harry Potter’s oldest son was headed to his first day at Hogwarts.

The Twitterverse took to posting about heading back to the wizarding school themselves. After all, as Rowling once said, “whether you come back by page or by the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.” See how fans (and brands) reacted to the big day.

The fan who learned a thing or two from Ron

The fan who always believes

The fan with proof the Hogwarts Express exists

The fan whose family might be like the Dursleys

The fan who seems to think Ginny Weasley’s hair has turned grey already

The fan with a great sense of humor about You Know Who

The fan craving some pumpkin juice

The fan who just can’t deal

The fan who has her quill and parchment at the ready

The fan who wants more than 140 characters

TIME Books

J.K. Rowling Reveals That Harry Potter’s Son Is Following in His Footsteps

Where dwell the brave at heart

J.K. Rowling brought back many a memory on Twitter when she reminded Harry Potter fans that today would be the first day of school for Harry’s oldest son, James Sirius Potter. School, of course, means Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. And as we well know, Hogwarts is no ordinary school.

After fans (and brands, too) went nuts using the hashtag #BackToHogwarts, Rowling chimed in on the fun once again, mentioning the annual Sorting Hat ceremony, where new students are placed in one of the four houses at Hogwarts.

The Teddy Lupin she refers to is the son of the late Nymphadora Tonks and Remus Lupin, who, for those who’ve not kept up with the Potter universe, is dating Victoire Weasley, the daughter of Bill Weasley and Fleur de la Coeur.

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