TIME New York

Bill de Blasio Learns How to Eat Pizza Like a New Yorker…in Italy

New York mayor Bill de Blasio (L) eats a pizza made by Napoli's pizza chef Gino Sorbillo (2nd from L) in Naples, Italy on July 23, 2014..
Pietro Avallone—Zuma Press New York mayor Bill de Blasio (L) eats a pizza made by Napoli's pizza chef Gino Sorbillo (2nd from L) in Naples, Italy on July 23, 2014.

Proof the mayor of the Big Apple can also eat pizza with his hands

New York City is a place famous for welcoming inhabitants of all stripes and persuasions—”Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”—but the one thing New Yorkers will not abide, it seems, is a mayor who eats his pizza with a fork.

No New York City mayor—in recent memory, at least—has had his pizza eating style critiqued quite so much as Mayor Bill de Blasio. Within days of his election in January, de Blasio was fending off verbal barbs from irate denizens of the Big Apple after he was caught on camera eating pizza with a fork at a pizzeria in Staten Island. (The Boston-born, Italian-lineage de Blasio later said he was employing the methods of his “ancestral homeland.”)

While on vacation with his family Wednesday in Naples, Italy — that “ancestral homeland” of his — de Blasio was busted again using a fork while devouring an authentic Italian pizza pie. But before your inner Yankee dusts off the old pitchfork, see this photo taken the same day—proof that Mayor Bill de Blasio is fully capable of standing upright while awkwardly wielding a handful of napkins and folding a greasy pizza slice in half before shoving it into his pie hole, like any civilized New Yorker would.

TIME

LeBron James Sends Cupcakes to His Neighbors to Apologize for Causing a Ruckus

A sweet gesture

As soon as LeBron James announced that he’d be returning to his native Ohio, everybody pretty much just went totally nuts. Cleveland Cavaliers reporters (and fans) swarmed his home in Bath Township near Akron, causing traffic jams and general chaos.

LeBron was aware of all this, and to apologize to his neighbors, decided to send shipments of cupcakes.

Each box included six “Just A Kid From Akron Cherry Cola” cupcakes and six “Homecourt Chocolate Chunk” cupcakes from a local bakery, ESPN reports. Both flavors were created specifically for James’ foundation. We’re a bit skeptical about a cherry cola cupcake, to be quite honest, but hey, it was still a nice gesture.

TIME animals

The Purrfect Supercut of Cats in Movies

Featuring furballs from Milo and Otis to The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

The Argentine-based filmmakerAriel Belziti has graced the Internet with “Supercats!,” a supercut of cats in movies. The clip is filled with your favorite furry Hollywood felines, like “Cat” from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, the protagonist of That Darn Cat!, Buttercup from The Hunger Games and the poor star of the 1903 classic The Sick Kitten. There’s even a montage of cat-stroking villains and, yes, Garfield is in the mix. To top it all off, the video is soundtracked by The Cure’s “Love Cats”.

The uber-montage of cinematic cats — kittens, furballs and CGI creations — is the perfect clip to watch when you are stuck at work on a summer Wednesday or any other time you need some feline-based escapism.

(h/t io9)

MORE: The Hottest New Exercise Equipment Is a Giant Hamster Wheel…for Cats

MORE: This Website Knows Where Your Cat Lives

TIME celebrity

Jack White Was Not Impressed by the Cubs Game Last Night

More like take me out of the ball game

Jack White, the American musician best known as one half of the The White Stripes, was spotted looking as if he was bored and annoyed during a game between the Chicago Cubs and the San Diego Padres at Wrigley Field on July 22.

The Internet has been having a field day over his expression.

A MLB.com post described the scene in the form of his songs. (“Looking to have a baseBall and a Biscuit, Jack White was spotted at Wrigley In The Cold, Cold Night.”)

Hopefully, for his fans’ sake, he turns that frown upside down before his concerts in Chicago tonight, July 23, and tomorrow night, July 24.

TIME animals

Recycle Plastic Bottles in This Machine, and It Will Dispense Food for Stray Dogs

A recycling bin that's good for the earth and its four-legged inhabitants

In Istanbul, Turkey, where an estimated 150,000 stray dogs and cats reportedly wander the streets, a Turkish company called Pugedon believes it has come up with a way to feed the animals: “Smart Recycling Boxes,” a machine that dispenses food and water in exchange for recycled plastic bottles, Big Think reports.

The benefits of the vending machine are supposed to be two fold: encourage recycling and feed the city’s strays. Recycling is put on top and food is dispensed out the bottom within easy reach for animals in need. There’s even a water dish attached so users can pour the remaining water from a plastic bottle before recycling it. The recycled bottles are supposed to cover the cost of the food.

The problem of managing stray dogs in international cities most recently came to light during the 2014 Winter Olympics, when stray dogs roamed the street’s of the Games’ host city, Sochi, Russia. When it was reported that some of the Sochi strays were going to be culled, animal rights activists sprung into action to rescue the homeless pups, and even some of the athletes brought them back to the United States.

MORE: 10 Stray Sochi Pups Arrive in U.S.

MORE: Mystery Photo Found In Stray Dog’s Collar Baffles County

TIME celebrity

Chris Pratt Gets Up During Interview to French Braid an Intern’s Hair

Further proving that he's the boyfriend of your dreams

A few months back, actor Chris Pratt showed off his admittedly very impressive French braiding skills on Instagram. In a recent interview with Entertainment Tonight, the Guardians of the Galaxy star got a chance to prove that he’s really the exceptional hairstylist he claims to be. Halfway through the otherwise average interview, an intern came out to put Pratt to the test. He gamely begins to fashion her hair into a braid as he carries on with the interview — and while he says the result isn’t perfect, it looks pretty good to us.

Somehow we just can’t imagine Andy Dwyer being able to pull this off.

TIME

Pizza Hut Built a Giant, Real-Life Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Pizza Thrower

Comic-Con fans will be able to take turns operating it

Some publicity stunts are really, really dumb. Other publicity stunts involve building a 12-foot Pizza Thrower and realizing your Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle dreams. Thank you, Pizza Hut, for providing the latter.

The chain will debut a massive vehicle, complete with a 16-foot rotating cannon to launch pizzas, at Comic-Con in San Diego, which takes place July 24-27.

Comic-Con goers, who probably owned the toy version seen below, will literally eat it up. Well, metaphorically eat it up. Unfortunately the launched pizzas will be fake.

Pizza Hut partnered with Paramount for Michael Bay’s live action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film, out August 8.

TIME animals

Whale Lifts Up Kayakers in This Absolutely Terrifying Video

Whale watching

Kayakers reportedly paddling off the coast of Argentina recently got the fright of their lives when a whale swam under them and lifted their boat up with its back. The scary moment, which reportedly took place near Puerto Madryn in Patagonia, was captured in a video uploaded to YouTube by user gisela6652 and has been going viral on Reddit in the past day.

Fortunately, the kayakers appear to be okay at the end of the clip, unlike this National Geographic video of a fatal encounter between sea lion pups and a killer whale off the coast of Argentina that boasts more than 12,000,000 views on YouTube.

MORE: Whale Collisions Spark Calls for Ship Speed Limits in Australia

MORE: Japan Is Planning To Resume Whale Hunts

TIME viral

Watch a Little Girl and Her Dad Dance to Ariana Grande’s “Problem”

This will make your day

Most little girls ask their dad for a pony, or like, an iPad or another iSomething. But this little girl asked her father for a different gift: the gift of joining her in a choreographed dance to Ariana Grande’s hit song “Problem.”

As you can see, he was game — and the results are pretty adorable.

TIME Food & Drink

Meet the Man Behind Hot Dog University

Mark Reitman

A frank conversation with a professor at "the nation's college of encased meat knowledge." Mark Reitman is neutral about ketchup but doggedly opposed to the meatless and veggie impostors

In honor of National Hot Dog Day on July 23 and National Hot Dog Month, TIME talked to the man behind Hot Dog University, also known as “the nation’s college of encased meat knowledge.”

On Mondays and Tuesdays at Vienna Beef’s Chicago factory, Mark Reitman, 66, who has been called a Ph.D — “Professor of Hot Dogs” — teaches a $699 two-day course about the business of operating a hot dog stand — or as he calls it, “the art of the cart.”

Reitman has been serving hot dogs since he was eight years old and even did it part-time when he worked as an appliance salesman and taught middle school and high school before opening his own stand in 2003. After working at events in Wisconsin, he started Hog Dog University in 2006 and partnered with Vienna Beef in 2009. Now there are satellite campuses in Vernon, California, and Scottsdale, Arizona. Reitman says over 800 students have taken the class — 300 have opened restaurants nationwide and 500 have set up hot dog carts.

“When I first started this, my friends thought I was doing swan dives into empty pools, or they thought I had lobsters growing out of my ears,” he says. “But guess what? The joke’s on them!”

What’s the trick to cooking a hot dog properly?

Just put a pot of water on a stove, get it up to 165 degrees and drop the dog in there for 6-8 minutes. Simmer it, don’t boil it because that will cause it to split at the ends or crack, and you’ll bleed out the spices.

You can chargrill a dog, but don’t just throw the dog on there. You take it, score the dog, crosscut the ends, and they will begin to open up. Same goes for putting a hot dog on a stick and cooking it over a campfire. They’ll taste so much better than sticking them right into the fire, where they start getting large and explode.

Is there a right way to put on the toppings?

When you put the condiments on a hot dog, you never put them on the bun. And there is an order. A Chicago-style dog has seven condiments, starting with a thin line of mustard on top, then green relish, then diced onions. On one side of a poppyseed bun, you put two thinly-sliced tomato wedges, and on the other side, you put two sport peppers. Then throw on a cold pickle spear in the middle and a dash of celery salt.

New York-style uses a red onion sauce and sauerkraut, and for Carolina-style, run line of mustard on it, cover it with chili, throw on some chopped onions and finely shredded cheddar cheese or coleslaw. Those are the three main style dogs.

As you go further West, like in Seattle, they’ll dress their dog with cream cheese and put grilled onions on it.

How do you feel about ketchup on a hot dog?

I don’t become politically involved with the use of ketchup. It doesn’t belong on a Chicago-style hot dog because the tomatoes and relish already provide that sweetness. But if customers want ketchup on a hot dog, they can have it on a hot dog. That’s my philosophy on ketchup.

What do you think of veggie and meatless dogs?

I’m not a fan of them. Hot dogs are not health food, they’re comfort food. People have wanted me to cater parties with veggie dogs, and I don’t want to do it because I don’t want to develop a reputation for being the caterer of veggie dogs, okay? I do hot dogs that are all-beef. I’ve never had a veggie dog. And I won’t.

What do you think of the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest and competitive hot dog eating in general?

It’s a popularity contest. Hot dogs taste so good when you have them in the right bun, downing them is something I could never do. But I don’t have any objection to it.

When did you serve your first hot dog?

In 1955 when I was eight years old. My father owned a soda fountain, and I would go in on Saturdays and Sundays and serve people ice cream and milkshakes. One Saturday when I went to work, he had a [new] machine, a big glass case with a wire rack in it. I cooked the hot dog, put it on the plate and gave out ketchup and mustard packets.

What’s the future of hot dog stands?

We lead our students to become private caterers with these little hot dog carts so they can do corporate and private parties where there’s a referral system that comes off of it. Right now with what’s going on with the economy, I really think [running a hot dog stand] is going to be an alternative for people who have lost their jobs or who want to do something for additional income.

What tips do you give your students for selling hot dogs?

I’ll have my students grill onions because the smell, when we get that wafting into the air, oh my God, it just brings people from blocks away to come and buy stuff. Even if we don’t put the onions on the hot dogs, we do that whenever it gets slow to attract customers to the cart.

I also train my students to make fresh-squeezed lemonade and sell ice cream. On a day when it’s 100 degrees, people may not want to eat hot food, but they’ll buy a fresh-squeezed lemonade or an ice cream. That way, you can still make a living selling lemonade and ice cream.

One Halloween, my wife and I decided to hand out candy to kids. So every time a family came, we’d give bubble gum to the kids, and the parents would say, “What about me?” Basically hot dogs are kid food. You never grow up when you have a hot dog.

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