TIME Appreciation

Happy Talk Like A Pirate Day!

Ahoy, mateys!

Today is International Talk Like A Pirate Day, an annual celebration that brings together all the swashbuckling scoundrels who set their Facebook languages to ‘English (Pirate),’ have closets full of costume eyepatches, pledge allegiance to the Jolly Roger or just want an excuse to walk around saying “Arrrrgh!” or order people to walk the plank.

There are many ways for landlubbers to celebrate today without hitting the high seas – Krispy Kreme is offering a free doughnut to anyone who talks like a pirate, and a dozen free doughnuts to those scallywags who show up in full pirate garb. (Need to brush up on your pirate parlance? Here’s a helpful how-to.)

After your free doughnuts, check out this Google map of all the Talk Like A Pirate Day events around the world. From free mini golf to pirate-y pub crawls, there’s sure to be something that will shiver your timbers.

And when your day of yo-ho-ho-ing is done, sit back with a bottle of rum and have a good laugh over these trending tweets about hypothetical pirate TV shows:


TIME Appreciation

Hero Starts a Petition to Get His Cat Into the High School Yearbook

Seems like a totally reasonable and attainable dream

Draven Rodriguez is just a normal high school kid in upstate New York hoping to make his dreams come true. In this case, those dreams involve getting the administration at Schenectady High School to agree to use the following photo as his senior portrait:

Vincent Giordano / Trinacria Photography

The school has said the photo can be included in the yearbook somewhere, but not as Rodriguez’s official senior portrait, a local CBS affiliate reports. So Rodriguez has started a petition as a “pre-emptive strike.” He hopes to gain enough backers so that the school simply can’t deny this request.

His goal was to reach 500 signatures by Sept. 15, and by the morning of Sep. 11, he’d already hit 721.

TIME celebrities

Celebrities and Comedians Mourn Joan Rivers With Funny Anecdotes and Reflections

ABC's "Good Morning America" - 2010
Steve Fenn—ABC / Getty Images Joan Rivers talks about her documentary, "A Piece of Work," on "Good Morning America."

From Kathy Griffin to Whoopi Goldberg to Billy Eichner

As soon as word spread that the legendary Joan Rivers had died Thursday, fellow comedians and celebrities swiftly took to social media to mourn the comedy icon.

As tributes and memories and reflections continue to roll in, here are a few of the responses to Rivers’ death:

Ryan Seacrest, in a statement: “Joan was a trailblazer in so many ways, and I greatly admired her talent and humor. She was a colleague and friend, as we worked together on E!, and she was also a treasured guest on my radio show many times. Regardless of the forum, Joan was full of funny, witty surprises and she had so much spirit. She will be greatly missed. My thoughts and prayers go out to Melissa and her family.”

Louis CK, in a statement: “I feel very lucky that I knew Joan Rivers and I feel very sad that she’s gone. She was a great comedian and a wonderful person. I never saw someone attack a stage with so much energy. She was a controlled lightning bolt. She was a prolific and unpredictable, joyful joke writer. She loved comedy. She loved the audience. She was a great actress and should have done that more. She loved living and working. She was kind. She was real. She was brave. She was funny and you just wanted to be around her. I looked up to her. I learned from her. I loved her. I liked her. And I already miss her very much. It really fucking sucks that she had to die all of a sudden.”

Amy Schumer, in a statement: “Joan was hilarious and relevant all the way to the end. She inspired every comic I know and we will carry her with us and quote her jokes forever. When I met her at the premiere of her movie, “A Piece of Work” she was so kind and wanted to make sure all the comics were going to stay so we could all hang out together. I thought that was so cool. Such a pro, such a hard worker. This was a huge loss for us all.”

Tyler Oakley, in a statement: “Whether you loved her or hated her, you can’t deny Joan Rivers’ impact on comedy as we know it. To me personally, she was kind, present, and genuinely interested in hearing my story. Her energy was electric and her presence was unmatched. She was unapologetically herself, yet always evolving. If her work ethic on Earth is any indication, she’ll have absolutely no interest in resting in peace – and I love her for that.”

TIME Appreciation

Hear the Wise Words Joan Rivers Said On Louie About Being a Comedian

The legendary TV host died Thursday at age 81

Joan Rivers, who TIME’s Richard Corliss remembers as an “acidly funny comedy diva,” has died at 81 after complications from throat surgery. Though her contributions to the world of television of comedy are incredibly vast, we’d like to take a moment to appreciate a small but bright little moment from the later years of her career: a 2011 cameo on Louie.

In the episode — titled “Joan” — Louis C.K.’s semi-autobiographical character, Louie, finds himself hanging out with Joan in her hotel room after an Atlantic City gig. Louie starts to whine about being a comedian, and Joan immediately shuts him down to deliver some serious real talk.

“Listen, I wish I could tell you it gets better, but it doesn’t get better. You get better,” the comedy veteran tells him. “I’ve gone up, I’ve gone down, I’ve been bankrupt, I’ve been broke. But you do it, and you do it because we love it more than anything else. That’s why you’re doing it.”

After she finishes her very wise and heartfelt speech, Louie of course pulls a Louie and totally ruins the moment, but the impact of her words remain.

TIME animals

Giant Hippo Splashes Into River Thames

Giant Floating Hippo River Thames
Steve Stills

The artist's latest creation following his giant floating rubber duck

Along London’s River Thames are some notable landmarks: the London Bridge, the Millennium Bridge, and now, a giant floating hippo.

The nearly 70-foot-long replica of the water mammal—named “HippopoThames”—is the latest project of Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, according to CNN. The work was commissioned by the Thames Festival Trust, which had approached Hofman earlier this year to design artwork for Totally Thames, an annual festival celebrating the river.

Hofman, who debuted the “world’s largest rubber duck” last month, is known for his humor, sensation and maximum impact, In line with his artistic vision, HippopoThames was inspired by everyday objects, especially those that time warp people to their childhoods. It’s also designed to force viewers to appreciate public spaces, even after the installations are removed.

“I wanted to use the hippo to get people out of their homes, away from the Internet and the TV, and to explore London with a new perspective,” Hofman told CNN.

HippopoThames will be on display until Sept. 28.

TIME Appreciation

Google Doodle Honors Black Tennis Star Althea Gibson

Gibson was the first African-American to win the U.S. Nationals and Wimbledon tennis championships

Monday’s Google Doodle pays tribute to black tennis star and barrier breaker Althea Gibson, who paved the way for tennis greats including Venus and Serena Williams.

Gibson, who was born on Aug. 25, 1927, was the first black person to take the title at Wimbledon and the U.S. Nationals. The Harlem-raised Gibson was also the first African-American named the Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year in 1957; she won again in 1958.

TIME wrote of Gibson in 1957: “Lean, tall and well-muscled (5 ft. 10½, 144 Ibs.), Althea Gibson is not the most graceful figure on the courts, and her game is not the most stylish. She is apt to flail with more than the usual frenzy, and she often relies on ‘auxiliary shots’ (e.g., the chop and slice). But her tennis has a champion’s unmistakable power and drive.”

Gibson died in October 2003 in East Orange, N.J.

TIME Appreciation

Mara Wilson Pens a Beautiful Tribute to Her Mrs. Doubtftire Dad Robin Williams

Twentieth Century Fox

"Robin Williams, as I knew him, was warm, gentle, expressive, nurturing, and brilliant"

Former child star Mara Wilson, who memorably played Robin Williams’ daughter in Mrs. Doubtfire, said she was too devastated last week to talk openly about the actor’s shocking death. Three days after the fact, she posted a “quick update” on her blog, briefly explaining that she was felt “shocked, confused angry, regretful, and above all, sad.”

Now, having had a week to process her emotions a bit more, the 27-year-old has posted a beautiful, thoughtful tribute.

“He always reminded me a little of my father,” she begins. “Robin Williams, as I knew him, was warm, gentle, expressive, nurturing, and brilliant. While it can be hard for me to remember filming Doubtfire, I’ve been flooded with memories in the past few days.”

She recalls his brilliant comedic mind and his ability to relate to kids without ever being patronizing or condescending. But she also remembers seeing a more vulnerable side of his personality:

Robin was so on so much of the time that I was surprised to hear my mother describe him as “shy.” “When he talks to you,” she told her friends, “he’ll be looking down at his shoes the whole time.” I figured he must have been different with grown-ups. I wouldn’t see that side of him myself until a few years later, when I was invited to be part of a table read of What Dreams May Come. … Robin crossed to me from across the room, got down to my level, and whispered “Hi, how are you?” He asked how my family was doing, how school was, never raising his voice and only sometimes making eye contact. He seemed so vulnerable.

Read Wilson’s full blog post here.

TIME Appreciation

Pizza Place Honors Robin Williams With Awesome Themed Specials

For example: the Pork & Mindy pizza and the Good Will Hotwing

People around the country have been finding all kinds of ways to honor Robin Williams following his shocking death Monday. In Brooklyn, the employees of Vinnie’s Pizzeria created a tribute that was a bit tastier than the rest. They named their specials after some of the actor’s most memorable works and displayed them on a whiteboard next to some lovely illustrations:

Showing our respects in the only way we know how. Rest in Pizza, Robin.

A photo posted by Vinnies Pizzeria (@vinniesbrooklyn) on

Vinnie’s is known for its pop culture-themed specials and corresponding illustrations — seriously, check these out, because they’re really great — but this one definitely stands out as a lovely tribute to a fallen star.

(h/t Grubstreet)

TIME celebrity

Cast of Broadway’s Aladdin Pays a Special Musical Tribute to Robin Williams

Remembering Williams' classic role as the Genie in 1992

On Wednesday, Broadway theaters across New York City dimmed their lights to honor to Robin Williams. But the previous night, one particular group of Broadway performers paid a much livelier tribute to the actor, who died Monday at 63.

After their performance, the cast of the musical version of Aladdin took a moment to pay their respects and then lead the audience in a singalong rendition of “Friend Like Me.” Williams, of course, sang this song when he played the Genie in the 1992 animated Disney movie.

James Monroe Iglehart, who plays the Genie on Broadway, also spoke a bit about Williams’ incredible talent and influence, calling him “one of the greatest — not comedians — but one of the greatest entertainers of all time.”


TIME Appreciation

Top 10 Lefties

As the world celebrates International Left-Handers Day — or at least as roughly 1 in 10 of us does — a look at some of history's most notable southpaws

  • Barack Obama

    Jewel Samad—AFP/Getty

    In the past hundred years, the U.S. presidency has veered more and more to the left — not in policy, but in handedness. Barack Obama is the latest to join a long list of left-handed presidents from the 20th century: James Garfield, Herbert Hoover, Henry Truman, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton were all southpaws.

    What makes lefties so electable? Some experts think left-handed people have a greater aptitude for language skills, which may help them craft the rhetoric necessary for political office. And as for the bout of recent left-handed presidents, some think it’s because teachers only recently stopped working to convert lefties to righties at an early age.

  • Bill Gates

    Andrea Comas—Reuters/Corbis

    Claiming the nation’s richest man among their number is a source of considerable pride for America’s society of southpaws. In fact, the Microsoft titan and philanthropist is one of a surprising number of U.S. business moguls to be left-handed, including Henry Ford, John D. Rockefeller and former IBM head Lou Gerstner. But the club seems to be a guys-only fraternity — research suggests that while left-handed men tend to earn more than their right-handed colleagues, there is no similar advantage for women. A study by the National Bureau of Economic Research floated the idea that left-handed men favor “divergent” thinking, a form of creativity in which the brain moves “from conventional knowledge into unexplored association.” Maybe that’s what it takes to develop a net worth estimated at $57 billion.

  • Oprah Winfrey

    Fred Prouser—Reuters/Corbis

    The talk-show queen doesn’t need much more to set her apart from the rest — what with her estimated $2.9 billion fortune and a magic ability to sell books just by glancing at them — but she also has the distinction of being a member of the left-handed club. Since men are more likely to be left-handed than women, that makes Oprah doubly impressive. She’s in good company: Other show-biz ladies of the southpaw persuasion include Whoopi Goldberg, Julia Roberts and Angelina Jolie (live-in boyfriend Brad Pitt is also a lefty).

  • Babe Ruth


    Even casual baseball fans — heck, even your grandma — are familiar with the Sultan of Swat and his 714 home runs. But fewer people realize that early in his career, Ruth was also one of the game’s élite pitchers. Between 1915 and 1919, he won 85 games (plus three World Series contests) while notching an ERA of 2.02, before the Boston Red Sox decided he’d be more valuable at the plate.

    But while Ruth is baseball’s most decorated left-handed player, he’s hardly the only Hall of Fame southpaw. It’s almost impossible for lefties to thrive in certain positions — including catcher, shortstop, second and third base — because they are required to throw awkwardly across their bodies to make plays in the field. But southpaws have distinct advantages on the diamond. Lefty Grove, Sandy Koufax, Warren Spahn and Steve Carlton are among the left-handed pitchers who have frustrated hitters. Lefty batters also do better at the plate: they do better against right-handed pitchers and stand a precious step or two closer to first base, advantages that sluggers from Ty Cobb and Stan Musial to Ted Williams and Barry Bonds have clearly used to their benefit.

  • Napoleon Bonaparte

    Francis G. Mayer—Corbis

    Legend has it that Napoleon objected to the time-honored military practice of marching on the left side of the road with weapons at the ready in the right hand: it put lefties like him at a strategic disadvantage. Once in power, the story goes, the French emperor — whose queen, Josephine, was also a southpaw — ordered his armies to switch sides. Civilians in countries he conquered had to do the same. Hence, supposedly, the rules of the road as we know them were born, which also explains why the British (who, along with the Prussians, defeated Napoleon at Waterloo) still drive on the left.

  • Leonardo da Vinci


    Leonardo da Vinci, one of the most brilliant men in history, took his sinistrism to an extreme: he wrote from right to left. Historians have plenty of creative theories to explain this so-called “mirror writing” — named because you had to hold it up to a glass to read it. For example: perhaps he was trying to make it harder for people to sneak a peek at his notes and lift his ideas. One argument, however, is less fanciful but perhaps more logical: writing in ink from left to right was too messy because Leonardo was a southpaw. Some historians have suggested that da Vinci’s left-handedness added to his genius, because it forced him to think and see in an extraordinary way. (If so, he wasn’t alone: fellow left-handers include rival Renaissance titans Michelangelo and Raphael.)

  • Marie Curie


    Not only was atomic scientist Marie Curie left-handed, but she was the matriarch of a whole family of accomplished, southpaw scientists. Curie, who discovered the principles of radioactivity and won two Nobel Prizes, was married to fellow lefty Pierre Curie, who was instrumental in helping Marie’s atomic research and shared one of her Nobel awards. Historians believe their daughter, Irene, was also left-handed. Irene went on to win a Nobel Prize of her own with her husband — who, you guessed it, was also left-handed.

    Lefty scientists are hardly unusual. In addition to the Curie clan, Einstein, Newton and Alan Turing — founder of modern computer science — all were left-handed as well.

  • Aristotle


    Some of the earliest works of western philosophy and science were written with a left hand. Aristotle, he of the scientific method, early physics, astrology, meteorology and ethics, penned an exhaustive list of works that laid the foundation of much of modern science. And his philosophical musings influenced a much later, left-handed thinker: German philosopher Frederick Nietzsche.

  • Ned Flanders


    Ned Flanders is left-handed, devoutly religious, and has a surprisingly chiseled physique. Oh, and he’s fictional.

    In Season three of The Simpsons, Homer Simpson’s next door neighbor uses his life savings to open the Leftorium, a store that specializes in products for left-handed people. Homer Simpson sends the store out of business but feels guilty about it and helps revive it. Although the store only appears in one episode — “When Flanders Failed” — Flanders occasionally references it throughout the series, so we know it’s still around. According to Springfield’s most religious lefty, the Leftorium is suffering now that a left-handed megastore, Left-Mart, opened up nearby.

  • Jimi Hendrix

    Elliott Landy—Corbis

    Jimi Hendrix played guitar upside down and backwards, and to his devout fans’ parents, it probably sounded like it. The six-string revolutionary favored a right-handed Fender Stratocaster, slung upside-down across his shoulders, that didn’t even need to be restrung: Hendrix taught himself how to hit the strings in reverse order, producing a unique sound and allowing him to alternate between left- and right-handed playing if he so desired. (He could play right-handed but generally preferred not to).

    Hendrix learned to play in Nashville blues clubs before touring as a back-up musician for the Isley Brothers and Little Richard. He broke out on his own in 1966, but his career was cut short by a drug overdose in August 1970. Hendrix’s use of distortion and wah-wah effects warped and extended notes in ways no other player could quite achieve; for years, right-handed guitarists have tried to emulate his sound, going so far as to put left-handed necks on their own guitars.

    There was one technique not impacted by Hendrix’s lefthandedness: setting his guitar on fire. For that, he used both hands.

    This article was originally published on Aug. 13, 2009, and has been updated with the latest relevant figures.

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